Sunday, July 28, 2013

Interesting Clippings #16: When Men Were Sold

Philadelphia was the birthplace of the anti-slavery movement and there was a lot of controversy and conflict during the early and mid 19th century as to different state laws regarding slavery. It was not uncommon for black people in the north to be kidnapped and taken south where they were sold into slavery. They claimed to be capturing escaped slaves but Pennsylvania had a law that the burden of proof lay with the alleged slaved owner/kidnappers. Notably, there was the case that reached the Supreme Court, Prigg v. Pennsylvania, in which Edward Prigg had kidnapped a black woman named Margaret Morgan from Pennsylvania and sold her into slavery in the south.

This story from the Ambler Gazette, just outside Philly, holds echoes of Margaret Morgan's story and the Prigg v. Pennsylvania case. Click the link below to read the full article on page 7.

Source: The Ambler Gazette, February 17, 1898, Page 7. Access Pennsylvania Digital Repository.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

July 27, On This Day in My Family Tree...

253 years ago in 1760, my 6th great grandparents Jeremias Friis and Karina Nielsdatter were married in Herad, Vest-Agder County, Norway. Karina was 30 years old and Jeremias was 46. They had only one known child before Jeremias, a sailor, was lost at sea. To the right is the current church in Herad.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

July 21, On This Day in My Family Tree

140 years ago in 1873, my second great grandfather, Edward William Bauer, was born in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania. Allegheny was later annexed into Pittsburgh. Edward death date is unknown. It was originally thought he died in 1921 but this turned out to be a different Edward William Bauer who was born in 1867 and never married. "My" Edward can be found on the 1940 census living in West Virginia with his daughter and her husband so he probably died here. Though he can't be found on the West Virginia death index, it only goes up to 1969 for the county he was living in which suggests he died sometime after 1969. This would have made him at least 96 when he died.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

July 20, On This Day in My Family Tree

Marriage record for my 4th great
grandparents from the parish of
Herad in Norway.
253 years ago in 1805, my fourth great grandparents Jeremias Frederick Hanson Friis and Ædel Bergitte Hansdatter were married in the parish of Herad, Vest-Agder County, Norway. He was 20 years old and she was 23. They resided on the Fulland farm until they moved to America in 1848 and both died a year later within a week of each other in Norway Township, Racine County, Wisconsin of Cholera.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Understanding Records

It's really important to understand what a record is and where it's come from before attaching it to your tree. Take, for example,'s collection called "U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900". We all know that information from other genealogist's tree can be inaccurate and that is essentially where this collection comes from. Always be sure to read the collection's description, in this case it says the following:
Original data: This unique collection of records was extracted from a variety of sources including family group sheets and electronic databases. Originally, the information was derived from an array of materials including pedigree charts, family history articles, querie.
All of these sources must be taken with a grain of salt because they are not actual historical records, despite the title of the collection. If you wouldn't trust data from someone else's tree unless it had the records to support it, you shouldn't trust this collection either.

Case in point, the following marriage listing for William H. Wood from this collection:
Name: William H Wood
Gender: Male
Birth Place: AL
Spouse Name: Jane D Bradley
Spouse Birth Year: 1822
Marriage Year: 1853
Number Pages: 1
This is incorrect because William's marriage record from is dated to January 3, 1839, which makes much more sense considering the 1850 census shows him already married to Jane and with several children, all born after 1839. Note that the description of this record collection from details that it's an index of church records and civil registrations, both reliable sources, although potential indexing errors must be taken into consideration, it is more reliable than a record collected from pedigrees and family group sheets. You'll also note that the indexing batch number on the record refers to an IGI batch number which also tells you about the source of the collection by what letter/number it begins with and provides instructions on how to find the original document.

William's death, confused with his marriage year in another
I believe the incorrect marriage year as 1853 has gotten mixed up with William's death year, since his death record has him dying August 23, 1853 of a congestive chill (shown right). Obviously, somewhere in the process of compiling the data for this "U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900" collection, William's death year has been confused with his marriage year. This is a prime example of why I stopped adding "records" from this collection to my tree, I don't consider it an reliable source. And this is why it's so important to understand what a record is and where it's come from. Before you add it to your tree, always read the description of the collection and judge it's reliability.

Monday, July 15, 2013

July 15, On This Day in My Family Tree

199 years ago in 1814, my 5th great grandfather John Johnson Godshalk died at the age of 76 in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. He was buried in Doylestown Mennonite Cemetery. He was a Revolutionary War Veteran despite being a Mennonite, a pacifist religion. Entering the militia went against the traditional beliefs of his religion but some Mennonites joined anyway while others supported the cause by donating money, food and other supplies. Others still entirely refused to support either side.


  • (1856). John Johnson Godshalk (1737 - 1814) - Find A Grave Memorial. [online] Retrieved from: [Accessed: 13 Jul 2013].
  • U.S., Sons of the American Revolution Membership Applications, 1889-1970. Image 140 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

July 10, On This Day in My Family Tree

207 years ago in 1806, my 4th great grandfather William G. McBride was born in Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia. 


  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Death Certificates Index, 1803-1915 about William Mc Bride.
  • "Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-1915," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 09 Jul 2013), William Mcbride, 1876.
  • Headstone: William G. McBride. Chestnut Hill United Methodist Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Monday, July 8, 2013

July 8, On This Day in My Family Tree

On this day in my family tree . . .

229 years ago in 1784, my fourth great grandfather Charles Gilbert (Sr.) was born in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.

And . . .

122 years ago in 1891, my fourth great grandmother Mary Ann Rorer died in Montgomery County at the age of 98. She was buried in Ivy Hill Cemetery in Mount Airy. Her maiden name is unknown, her husband was George Rorer II.


  • Headstone: Charles Gilbert. First Presbyterian Church of Springfield, Flourtown, Pennsylvania. 
  • Headstone: Mary Ann Rorer. Ivy Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Death Certificates Index, 1803-1915 about Mary A 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

July 7, On This Day in My Family Tree

William Henry Mills
On this day in my family tree . . .

158 years ago in 1855 my third great grandparents William Henry Mills and Emma Elizabeth Sherwood were married in Wyandot County, Ohio. He was 22 years old and she was 17, though she claimed to be over 18. They were married in a state which neither of them were born in and which they were not living in 5 years later in 1860. Between that and Emma lying about her age, is it possible they eloped? Perhaps because one or both of their parents disapproved of the marriage?

And . . .

Emma Elizabeth
159 years ago in 1854, my 2nd great grand uncle Jeremias Frederick Friis was born in Racine County, Wisconsin. He was actually the second son to be given this name, the first died only a few months old. It was quite common among Norwegian families such as the Friis' to name a child after a deceased one, especially considering it was a family name as it was also name of Jeremias' grandfather.


Thursday, July 4, 2013

July 4, On This Day in My Family Tree

Happy Independence Day! What were your ancestors doing during the Revolutionary War? My Godshall and allied families branch were Mennonites who, as pacifists, did not support the war and took a nonresistant stance, which basically meant they did not support either side. When states began mandating “militia duty”, numerous nonresistant Christians, including Mennonites, Quakers, Moravians and German Baptists, refused involvement and so Pennsylvania applied a war tax on them. Many still refused to pay stating that they “find no freedom in giving, or doing, or assisting in anything by which men's lives are destroyed or hurt.” In some cases their property was confiscated to pay the tax.

However, not all Mennonites took this position and some who supported the cause in one way or another were excommunicated, such as Christian Funk and his followers. Funk was a Reverend who preached that Mennonites should be donating to the cause because he felt independence from British rule would allow them more religious freedom. He is my 1st cousin, 7 times removed so I am not descended from him but I am descended from his uncle, Christian Moyer (or Meyer) II. Christian was one of the founders of the Salford Mennonite Meetinghouse in Harleysville, PA and served there as a Deacon. He was involved in the decision to excommunicate his nephew and it must have put great strain on the Moyer and Funk families, who had formerly been very close.

My grandparents sharing a
romantic kiss for the camera
To read more on this (and view citations), see my history of Moyer/Meyer family.

I told this all to my husband but he burst out laughing when he heard "Christian Funk" because it sounded like a genre of music to him. His exact words were "All I heard in that was WW FM 103, home of the Christian Funk." Har har.

And more specifically to the date, happy anniversary to my late maternal grandparents, who were married on this day 68 years ago at Grace Lutheran Church in Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania. My grandfather was 29 years old and my grandmother was 27, although it was a first marriage for both.

I thought the photograph of them to the left was an appropriate one for their wedding anniversary.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

July 2, On This Day in My Family Tree

On this day in my family tree . . .

Death/burial record of Inger Simonsdatter Bomen (later Narum)
from the parish in Gjerpen, Norway.
119 years ago in 1894, my 4th great grandfather James Frantz died in Lisbon, Columbiana County, Ohio at the age of 77.

And . . .

92 years ago in 1921, my great grand aunt Ruth Springer Pike was born in Columbiana County, Ohio. 

And . . .

182 years ago in 1831, my 5th great grandmother Inger Simonsdatter Bomen died in Gjerpen, Telemark County, Norway at the age of 58. (Document shown adove). Gjerpen has since been annexed into Skien.


  • "Ohio, Deaths and Burials, 1854-1997," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 29 Jun 2013), James Frantz, 02 Jul 1894.
  • (1894). James Frantz (1816 - 1894) - Find A Grave Memorial. [online] Retrieved from: [Accessed: 29 Jun 2013].
  • U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-Current [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2011. Ruth S. John.
  • and Ohio Department of Health. Ohio, Deaths, 1908-1932, 1938-2007 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2010. Ruth S John.
  • U.S. Public Records Index, Volume 1 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010. Ruth S John.
  • Norwegian Digital Archives. Death and burial records 1829 - 1834, Gjerpen Parish, Telemark. Inger Simonsdatter Narum, Page 238.