It’s time once again to create a list of New Year’s resolutions and genealogical goals.
My personal postcard collection
My 2018 resolutions were to work on breaking down some of the brick walls in my husband’s and my family trees. Items in green are success stories:
- Anna Christina Estermann, born c1684; married Benedict Wittmer. This family lived in Barbelroth, Germany. Benedict’s parents are Johannes Jacob Wittmer and Christina (MNU). I’ve wondered if the Wittmers and Estermanns first came from the German area of Switzerland before living in Barbelroth.
- Eva Dingman, mother of Revolutionary War soldier John Stufflebean, and wife of Johannes Stoppelbeen, was born before 13 December 1730 in Kinderhook, Columbia County, New York. She is said to be the daughter of Johannes Dingman and Gertrude (Geesje) Elsie Janzen, but I have never directly researched this family myself. It’s not so much of a brick wall as just a family I’d like to investigate and prove myself.
- Wife of Zadock Jarvis, who was probably born c1760-1770. His wife’s name has been reported as Cynthia Valinda Frey, but I don’t think I believe that. Cynthia wasn’t a name given by Germans (or anyone else in the colonies) in the 1700s. The Jarvis family lived in Rowan County, North Carolina.
- Elizabeth Krieger, first wife of Frederick Alberty, born c1750. It took many years to follow clues to figure out her maiden name. Her father was Nicholas Krieger. These people were Moravians living in North Carolina. Where was Nicholas from?
- Wife of John Bandy, who was born c1752, probably in Botetourt County, Virginia. John died between 1816-1820, but I have never seen even a hint about her first name, never mind a maiden name.
As you can see, only item #1 in the list is in green. That isn’t very much progress. Perhaps 2019 will bring some break throughs.
The first five names are all in my husband’s tree. My tree is all colonial New England, some of whom became Loyalists.
- Benjamin Brawn, a Pre-Loyalist living in Maugerville, New Brunswick, Canada. I recently was contacted by a Brawn descendant and it looks like some new clues have turned up. Benjamin was born c1739 and died about 7 December 1798 in Maugerville. His wife, Mary (MNU) survived him.
- Parents of Ruth Hill, born 25 February 1743/44 in North Kingstown, Washington County, Rhode Island. She married William Boone on 21 May 1761 in North Kingstown. This family removed to Burtts Corner, York County, New Brunswick, Canada, but I am not sure if they were Pre-Loyalists, who like many others were tempted by open inexpensive land in Canada, or if they left after the Revolution. They had 11 children and I have exact dates of birth for all, but the only place of birth mentioned is for Mary, born in 1770 in North Kingstown. There might be a lot waiting to be found about this family!
- Parents of Richard Jones, born c1758 and died 1842 in New Brunswick, Canada. He married Mary Boone, mentioned in #2 above. They married about 1786, probably in Canada. It is believed he was also from Rhode Island.
- Finding parents or siblings for Walter Stewart and Elizabeth Briggs, Loyalists, in property or probate files in Dutchess County, New York. It is said that Walter Stewart farmed in the area with his brothers. Walter and Elizabeth married on 3 March 1774 in Poughkeepsie, Dutchess County, New York, but I have not found parents for either of them. However, the big surprise was connecting with a descendant who has a second family for Walter in Canada, plus TWO more wives. It seems that Elizabeth Briggs might not have been the mother of ANY of the Stewart children. It is more likely that Elizabeth died soon after marriage and Walter married (2) Sarah (MNU). She would have been the mother of Walter’s first six children, including my ancestor, John, born in the 1780s and 1790s. (3) Althea Wetmore was his third wife and the mother of his second set of six children born in the early 1800s. While I didn’t find any of Walter Stewart’s siblings or parents, finding two more wives and children is a huge plus!
- Finding an estate accounting for Joseph Coleman in 1791. The Nantucket court ordered his widow, Eunice Coffin Coleman, to provide one, but she had the choice of presenting it in Nantucket or to the Orange County, New York Court, where she was living with her family. I don’t know why no administration was begun until 1791 when Joseph died in 1775, unless it was because the youngest children were coming of age. The court minutes make it appear that Eunice still owned property in Nantucket, so I need to take a look at those files again.
I made a bit of progress in both of our lines. In Dave’s family, I did indeed discover the Estermann family in Switzerland, not too far from the German border and they were Walloons. That branch of the tree now has a couple more generations added to it.
In my own tree, I succeeded in tracing Ruth Hill’s family back several generations, although most of the women’s maiden names are unknown. I also found further information about Joseph Coleman, my 5X great grandfather who migrated from Nantucket, Massachusetts to Orange County, New York.
I’m please that four out of the ten brick walls have some real chinks in them and are starting to break down.
The others will remain on the back burner and I will periodically make new attempts to find some cracks with light shining through.
However, I have a new list of 2019 goals:
- I am a RootsTech 2019 Ambassador (and very proud of it!) and plan to post lots of news about the conference before it opens and provide daily updates as it is happening.
- Continue to give back to the genealogy community. This is a 3-part resolution. I will continue to teach my Anquestors group once a month. We have a good time and I hope they are learning a lot. RootsTech 2019 will see four of us attending this year. 🙂 Next, I will continue to post items for the Slave Name Roll Project, in the hopes that clues found in court documents and tax records will help a descendant connect to his/her ancestor. Lastly, I will continue to troll eBay for orphan photos with identified people in them, purchase the photos and return them to descendants. It’s a very personally rewarding activity! I absolutely love hearing back from descendants to whom I’ve either cold-called or directly mailed photos to. Everyone has been thrilled to have the pictures arrive out of the blue and I am thrilled the photographs are once again in the hands of descendants.
- I am extremely proud of my unbroken chain of daily posts on this blog now since September of 2014! I plan to continue with daily posts through 2019. Empty Branches will celebrate its 5th blogiversary in 11 days. 🙂
- Continue to work on brick walls in both family trees to extend them further back in time and identify more of those elusive England and Southern American families.
- Make a new attempt at the mind-numbingly boring task of renaming images and reattaching them in new family trees. I can find all of my images and they are sorted into surname folders. However, they aren’t named in any set pattern. I have about 12,000 images, so I am not sure how dedicated I will be to this task, but I can’t seem to let it go. Time will tell!
- Keep track of the expenses for my hobby. The genealogy expenses won’t be too bad, but then come the blog expenses and it adds up.
- Continue my genealogy education through conference classes and RootsTech 2019 and perhaps the FGS summer conference in Washington, DC, along with attending webinars.
- Pursue DNA leads now that I’ve jumped in and tested not only with ftDNA, but also Ancestry and MyHeritage since they had such spectacular sale prices on Black Friday.
I think these eight goals will keep me pretty busy in 2019.