Saturday, December 20, 2014

Surname Saturday : Bloomfield

The BLOOMFIELD surname is in my paternal line.  The origins are  English, though I've very little information on this line at present.

Stories and history :

Ahnentafel # 2261 : Abigail Bloomfield (1630-bet1714-18). Abigail was born in 1630 in England.  She married Richard Stockton (1635-1707) in 1652 in England.  Richard was born 1635 in Malpas Parish, Cheshire, England.  Richard died September 25, 1707 in Burlington County, New Jersey.  Abigail died between 1714 and 1718 in Burlington County, New Jersey.

Surname Saturday – create a post in which you discuss a surname and mention its origins, its geographical location(s) and how it fits into your genealogy research. Surname Saturday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

A Resolution of Respect : John Preston Metzner (1872-1900)

More newspaper research led me to additional information regarding cousin John Preston Metzner (1872-1900), whom I've written about previously.  Seems that he was well regarded by those in his church, who published the following declaration:

Resolutions of Respect
Resolutions of respect adopted by Emanuel Union Sabbath school.
 We, your committee, appointed to prepare a tribute of respect to the memory of Preston Metzner, our dear beloved brother, who departed this life April 6, 1900, after an illness of nine months of unspeakable suffering, but which he bore with that humble submission of "God's will, not mine, be done"
Whereas, God in his infinite wisdom has seen fit to call from labor to reward, our brother, Preston Metzner, and,
 Whereas, from mutual and personal acquaintance, we mourn the loss of our brother and co-worker of the Emanuel Union Sunday school, in the great harvest of life; therefore be it, 
Resolved, That while we bow in humble submission to the decree of divine providence, we deeply and sincerely mourn our loss and shall endeavor to cherish him in our memory.
Resolved, That we extend to his family and friends our tenderest sympathy, and with them, mingle our tears of sorrow over this sad event which has deprived them of a son, brother and friend, and us of a faithful member.
Resolved that we sorrow not as those who are without hope, for the hand that has broken can bind.
Resolved, That these resolutions be placed in full upon the minutes of our Sunday school.  A copy be presented to the bereaved family, and also a copy be sent to the county papers for publication.
Peace to his ashes! Consolation to his friends and loved ones! And may sweet memories ever linger around the memories of Preston Metzner.
Respectfully submitted : Estella Prillaman, Nora Stoltz, Wm. Prillaman, Isaiah Weisel, committee.

Portland Semi-Weekly Sun,
Portland, Indiana,
May 4, 1900, page 3

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Surname Saturday : Bonnell

The BONNELL surname is in my paternal line.  The origins are likely English, and this particular line was of the Quaker faith.

Stories and history :

Ahnentafel # 573 : Hannah Bonnell (   -1754).  Hannah's birth date is not known.  She married Jeremiah Haines (1713-1774) on September 6, 1736 in Burlington County, New Jersey. Jeremiah was born March 25, 1713 in Burlington County, New Jersey.  They raised 7 children in Burlington County.  Jeremiah died October 30, 1774 in Burlington County, New Jersey.  Hannah died August 15, 1754 in Burlington County, New Jersey.

Ahnentafel # 1146 : Robert Bonnell (1675-   ).  Robert was born in 1675.  He married Frances Goodwin (   -1750) on October 16, 1707 in Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania. Frances' birth date is unknown. They had at least 3 children.  Frances died 1750 in Burlington County, New Jersey.  

Surname Saturday – create a post in which you discuss a surname and mention its origins, its geographical location(s) and how it fits into your genealogy research. Surname Saturday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Alex man was on Oklahoma at Pearl

[This post originally appeared on this blog December 7, 2008.  In memory of the Pearl Harbor attack, I'm re-posting]

Source : Anderson Herald-Bulletin, Anderson, Indiana, Sunday, December 8, 1991.

Alex man was on Oklahoma at Pearl by Jim Bannon.

When we put together our special Pearl Harbor anniversary section recently, we contacted some people in this area who were survivors of the attack.

Another survivor turned up later, and even though we couldn't get his story in the Pearl Harbor section, I thought it deserved telling.

John M. High is 72 years old now and lives in Alexandria. On the morning of December 7, 1941, he was a ship's cook first class serving on the battleship U.S.S. Oklahoma, anchored along battleship row at Pearl Harbor.

High has been in bad health recently, suffering two heart attacks and a stroke and his story was told to me by his son, Charles, of Anderson, who works at Delco Remy.

When the attack came, High was in his bunk, since he had just come off night watch.

The Oklahoma was hit hard. It caught fire and, though it did not sink, it rolled over. Many on board lost their lives.

John High managed to get from below deck to the main deck. Smoke and fire were everywhere. He jumped over the rail and swam through burning oil to safety.

His son says the one story that sticks out in his mind that his father tells of that day is the one about a Catholic priest. It seems several men on the ship were trapped by flames and the only way out was through a porthole.

The priest, a portly man, helped push 12 men through that porthole to safety. But when he tried to get through he got stuck and drowned when the ship capsized. "He saved those 12 men but he couldn't save himself," the younger High said.

He said his father never talked much about Pearl Harbor and World War II. He talked more about it after he had his first heart attack, Charles High said.

A twist on High's story was that his parents were notified their son was missing in action. High was from Rowesburg, W. Va. The message they received read: "The Navy Department deeply regrets to inform you that your son, John M. High, is missing following action in the service of his country."

The message added that to prevent any possible aid to the enemy, the parents should not divulge the name of the ship he served on or where it was stationed.

Then on Jan. 2, 1942, his parents got the wonderful news that John was, indeed, safe. John High went on to serve the rest of World War II with the Navy in the Pacific, serving on several different ships.

He went almost nine years without seeing his parents, from 1936 to 1945.

How did he get to Alexandria? He met his wife while in the Navy. She was from Alex and when the war ended they settled there. High worked at Pierce Governor in Anderson for awhile and then joined Haynes Stellite Corp. inKokomo. He retired from Cabot Corp. (which bought Haynes) in Kokomo.

"My father is a very patriotic person," Charles High said, "He has a great love for his country."

Source: NARA Record Group 331, Muster Rolls of Ships based at Pearl Harbor, 1939-47, Oklahoma, BB 37, Muster Roll, 1941, June 30, image on-line at

[John M. High married my maternal great-aunt, Clara Ellen Wright- TJL]

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Upgraded to RM7

Christmas came a few days early for me this year, as I downloaded version 7 of the RootsMagic genealogy software.  After watching the YouTube video on What's New in RootsMagic 7, I couldn't wait to try it out and take it for a spin.  I haven't even been using all of the features in RM 6, but am eager to dig into this version right away.

Notice the screen shot above of my database in RM7 and the yellow lightbulbs.  Those are the web hints from both FamilySearch (free site) and MyHeritage (commercial site).  The software API work behind the scenes to check out these databases and show that you have possible matches in the record to the people in your database.  

I'm really impressed with the way technology can be utilized to do the searching in the background for these hints.  Playing around on Saturday morning, I jumped from family to family, seeing what types of hints the software would show me.  I haven't added them to my database yet, but RM7 will allow you to add the sources and images right into your database!  Easy as pie!

I am not a subscriber to MyHeritage, but if I find that the hints are worth it, I may be adding that to my arsenal.  With a free site like FamilySearch having so many records  (and growing all the time), having the software do the hard part of searching will make adding information to my database a snap.

The data clean feature of the software will aid in cleaning up the names and places in my tree by eliminating problems such as invalid characters, same names as spouse, etc.

After watching the video, I'm also looking forward to using the web publishing, a feature from earlier versions I didn't use.  This version looks easy to use, and will allow me to upload and update a family tree easily that can be searched by others. This will be particularly helpful for my DNA matches, many of whom do not have an subscription.

Surname Saturday : Berry

The BERRY surname is in my maternal line.  The origins of the surname are likely Scots-Irish and needs much more research.

Stories and history : 

Ahnentafel #391 : Mary Berry (1748-1828).  Mary was born 1748 in Virginia.  She married Samuel Nesbit (1754-1814), probably in Augusta County, Virginia.  Samuel was born 1754 in either Scotland or Virginia.  They raised 11 children and lived in Bourbon and Harrison County, Kentucky.  Samuel died before July 1814 in Harrison County, Kentucky.  Mary died October 28, 1828 in Livonia, Washington County, Indiana.

Ahnentafel # 782 : John Berry (c1700-1771).  John was born circa 1700 in Scotland.  He died in 1771 in Augusta County, Virginia.

Surname Saturday – create a post in which you discuss a surname and mention its origins, its geographical location(s) and how it fits into your genealogy research. Surname Saturday is an ongoing series at GeneaBloggers.

Friday, December 05, 2014

What was he doing in Kansas?

Old newspapers are fun to research in because of the tidbits of information you will find.  I always enjoy the local sections, where the comings and goings of people both near and far are told - sort of like the Facebook of the 19th century.

This particular piece in the Portland, Indiana Daily Commercial regarding a cousin, John Preston Metzner (1872-1900) was particularly intriguing.  Why was he in Abilene, Kansas?  No known relatives were living there.
Portland Daily Commercial, Portland, Indiana
July 3, 1899, page 3
Press Metzner, who has been spending several weeks at Abaline, [sic] Kansas, has returned home.
 John Preston Metzner was the son of Louis Napoleon and Henrietta (Weaver) Metzner.  He didn't live a very long life, dying at 28 years old on April 7, 1900 in Bearcreek Township, Jay County, Indiana.

Perhaps he was in Kansas for his health.  I haven't yet researched the cause of death, maybe his visit was to a sanitarium.  Or, he could have been working out there or just visiting.  As yet, this is just a tidbit in the life of a man cut short.

A link to his memorial page at FindAGrave is located here.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Exploratory Data Analysis : James Austin Davis (c1850-1909)

James Austin Davis (c1850-1909) was my maternal 3rd-great grandfather.  What follows is an exploratory analysis of the biographical data I have discovered about him.

1. Vital Records

     1.1. Birth Certificate

          James was born circa 1850 in Indiana, according to census records1,2, although it was also reported as 18513 or 18524.

          1.1.1. Birth Notice in Newspaper

               If James' birth was recorded in a newspaper, I've not located it yet.  Will need to check with local libraries and state archives to see if they have any newspapers from the time period.

          1.1.2. Bible Record

               I'm not aware of any surviving Davis family Bible that might record his birth.  Will continue to reach out to  family members in the hopes that one can be located.

          1.1.3. Baptismal Record

               I do not know of the church affiliation of the Davis family.

          1.1.4. Adoption Record

               There is no indication that James was adopted.

     1.2. Marriage License

          James married Mary Ellen Swafford on July 3, 1873 in Monroe County, Indiana5.  Mary Ellen was born August 30, 1854 in Monroe County, Indiana. They had two children and apparently were divorced before 1880.  Mary Ellen died January 28, 1932 in Monroe County, Indiana.

          1.2.1 Marriage Notice in Newspaper

               Will need to search contemporary newspaper accounts to see if mention was made of James and Mary's wedding.

          1.2.2. Anniversary Notice

               James and Mary's marriage lasted less than 10 years.

          1.2.3. Divorce Decree

               Need to search court records in either Monroe County, Indiana or Owen County, Indiana for divorce record of James and Mary.  By the 1880 census, Austin was no longer living with the family, and Mary was remarried in November of 1884.  Will add this to my list of "to-do" items for my next research trip.

     1.3. Death Certificate

          James died June 12, 1909 in Logansport, Cass County, Indiana.  I thought I had a copy of his death certificate, but apparently have not sourced it in my database.  Will need to add this to my "to-do" list for my next research trip.

          1.3.1. Obituary in Newspaper

               Will need to search contemporary newspaper records to see if mention was made of James' death.  Will add this to my list of "to-do" items for my next research trip.

          1.3.2. Funeral Home Records

               Somewhere in my files I have the records of the funeral home who handled James' body after his death.  I thought I had sourced that data in my files, but apparently I have not. Will add this to my list of "to-do" items.

          1.3.3. Tombstone Photograph

               There is no tombstone for James. His body was sent to the Indianapolis Anatomical Board. A memorial page has been set up at the FindAGrave website and can be seen here.

2. Census Records

     2.1. Federal Census Records

          2.1.1. 1900 Federal Census

               On June 2, 1900, James was enumerated in Cass County, Indiana at the Northern Indiana Hospital for the Insane3, as James A. Davis, inmate, born 1851 in Indiana.

          2.1.2. 1880 Federal Census

               On June 3, 1880, James was enumerated in Clay Township, Owen County, Indiana2, as Austin Davis, age 30, inmate, insane, born Indiana.  He could not read or write and had no occupation.  He was a resident at the Owen County Assylum.

          2.1.3. 1870 Federal Census

               On August 22, 1870, James was enumerated in the Lewis Walden household Stinesville, Monroe County, Indiana4, as Austin Davis, age 18, born in Indiana.  His occupation was listed as hired labor.
          2.1.4. 1860 Federal Census

               On June 18, 1860, James was enumerated in the Joseph Langwell household in Washington Township, Monroe County, Indiana1, as James A. Davis, age 10, born in Indiana.

     2.2. State Census Records

          The State of Indiana conducted state census in 1853, 1857, 1871, 1877, 1883, 1889, 1901, 1913, 1919 and 1931.  These, however, were merely for the purposes of legislative apportionment.

     2.3. Agricultural Census Records

          I have not yet examined these types of census records to see what light they might shed on the Davis family.

3. Military Records

     3.1. Draft Registration

          No draft records have been located for James.

     3.2. Pension Records

          I am not aware of any military service by James or his father that would make him eligible to receive military pension benefits.

     3.3. Service Records

          No service records have been located for James.  He was too young for the Civil War, and by the Spanish-American War was in an asylum.

4. Land Records

     4.1. Deed Records

          Deed records need to be thoroughly searched in Owen and Monroe Counties, Indiana to see what records might mention James.  Will add this to my "to-do" list for my next research trip.

     4.2. Plat map / county map

          Plat maps of Owen and Monroe Counties, Indiana will need to be searched to see what information might be relevant to my search for James.

5. Supplemental Records

     Supplemental records available for research on James include city/county directories, court records and will and probate records.  Will add these to my list of "to-do" items for my next research trip.

Sources :

1. Joseph Langwell household, 1860 U.S. census, population schedule, Washington Township, Monroe County, Indiana, page 14, dwelling 46, family 46; National Archives micropublication M653, roll 282, page 687.
2. Owen County Assylum, 1880 U.S. census, population schedule, Clay Township, Owen County, Indiana, ED 259, SD 4, dwelling 28, family 28; National Archives micropublication T9, roll 303.
3. Northern Indiana Hospital for the Insane, 1900 U.S. census, Cass County, Indiana, population schedule, Clinton Township, ED 131, SD 11, sheet 3; National Archives micropublication T623, roll 362.
4. Lewis Walden household, 1870 U.S. census, Monroe County, Indiana, population schedule, Bean Blossom Township, page 1, dweling 1, family 1; National Archives micropublication M593, roll 344.
5. Monroe County, Indiana Marriage Records, Book 5, page 442.

This post was developed as part of the series relating to Building My 2011 Research Template, an attempt to systematically document and source the details of my ancestors' lives. Comments regarding this template and the conclusions drawn in this article are welcomed.