Best Genealogical Finds of 2017

2017 was an excellent year for my genealogical research. Here are my Top Finds, in no particular order.

It’s a great feeling to not just have cracked open a brick wall, but to have actually left some in ruins.

  1. Finding the family of the brother of my 2X great grandfather, Charles Stewart. His brother, Robert Nelson Stewart, was born in Charlotte, Maine, and like Charles, his birth was actually recorded there. His marriage in March 1860 was also recorded in Charlotte, but he was nowhere to be found with those two exceptions. I finally crashed through this brick wall and wrote about his family in May.
  2. In early January, another long time brick wall came toppling down when a descendant found me. Polly Williams Love, daughter of Samuel Williams who died in Cumberland County, Virginia in 1823, was named in her father’s will, but I could never find any solid leads to follow to try to find her. Blogging as cousin bait works because a reader found my post about her and Polly is no longer lost. 🙂
  3. In March, I was researching Charles Harrison Newton, a business partner of my 3X great grandfather, George Rogers Tarbox. I came across a mug book biography of Mr. Newton that detailed how they came to own their plaster manufacturing company turned granite quarry. I even learned that their quarry supplied granite for the (1898) new wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. This was a fun find.
  4. In July, I decided that the 1880 Isaac Sturgeon, physician of Conway County, Arkansas was really my husband’s 2X great grandfather, Isaac Sturgell, who was more like a con man than a doctor. That leaves only the 1900 census in which no sign of Isaac is found. However, I think he was living at the county farm and it either wasn’t enumerated or else that page was lost to time.
  5. Also in July, a Blyther cousin found my blog and contacted me! My 2X great grandmother, Sarah Moriah Crouse Coleman (1833-1930), lost her father when she was a toddler. Her mother married (2) Benjamin Blyther and had several more children. Sarah’s Crouse brothers started using the Blyther surname as Benjamin was the only father they knew. It’s the descendant of one of these brothers – Dean – who found me. I even have a photo now of Dean, thanks to my new-found cousin!
  6. In December, MyHeritage indexed the Ellis Island passenger records. I finally proved that my great grandfather, Michael Scerbak, visited his daughter, my Nana Julia, at least once between 1910 and 1932, when he died. Mike Scserbak’s Garfield home was the end point for Janko Murcko, Michael’s brother-in-law and Nana’s uncle. Michael was not in the 1910 U.S. census and Janko arrived in 1912, so Michael arrived sometime in that span of a couple of years. I have no idea when he left, but I suspect that his visit was for just a few months so he could earn money working in the factories to take back to the village. Nana told me her father came back to the United States a couple of times, but until now, I’ve found no proof of when he returned.

2017 brought in a half dozen fun finds for me. I wonder what discoveries will be made in 2018?


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