25 September 2014

The Importance of a Wedding Veil to Family Historians

My sister-in-law is helping her mother with a very special project. They are creating a scrapbook of 48 women in their family who have worn the same wedding veil in each of their weddings.  The scrapbook will accompany the veil as it continues to be passed down through generations.  They have photos of all the women in the family wearing the veil - except for one.

Her name is Jeanette Augusta Meier, the daughter of Abraham Meier and Minnie Eising.  She was born in Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon on 26 November 1902.  Jeanette is the granddaughter of Aaron Meier and Janette Hirsch.  Aaron Meier came to Portland in 1857 and later with  Sigmond Frank founded the Meier & Frank department stores in 1873.  

The Meier family were Jewish pioneers from Bavaria and very  prominent socially.  Aaron and Janette's son Julius Meier became the 20th governor of Oregon in 1931.

Jeanette Augusta Meier

Jeanette Meier was married to Walter David Heller on 14 November 1922 in Portland, Oregon.

Walter Heller, born 18 September 1894 in San Francisco, California to Moses Heller and Adele Walter.  Walter is the grandson of Martin Heller and Babette Kuper.  Martin Heller was a Bavarian Jew who came to San Francisco in the 1850's.  He was president of Congregation Emanuel in San Francisco from 1876 until his death in 1894.  The Heller family was also very socially prominent in San Francisco.

Since the bride was from Oregon and the groom from California, I have been trying to cover both areas.  I have searched these newspaper collections online:

• Chronicling America   http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/
• Historic Oregon Newspapers   http://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/
• Californai Digital Newspaper Collection
• ProQuest Historic San Francisco Chronicle online

I found several articles about the wedding, but no photos.  I have also contacted the Jewish Genealogical Society of Oregon, the Oregon Jewish Museum, and the Oregon Historical Society, and no luck there either.  I tried the Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life at the Bancroft Library on the University of California at Berkeley campus.   The collection had previously been housed in the old Magnes Museum in Berkeley.  I was told that the materials are as yet unprocessed and there's no way of telling whether this collection contains the photo I am looking for.

So I have reached out to people who might be able to help.  Like Janice Sellers who is the author of Ancestral Discoveries.  Janice is currently the vice president of the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogy Society and has promised to spread the word.

If you know of any resource that I might try, please let me know.  There has to be a photo of Jeanette Augusta Meier Heller on her wedding day wearing that veil out there somewhere!

23 September 2014

And the Award for County Clerk of the Year Goes To. . .

Jarrod Fritz
County Clerk of Fleming County, Kentucky

This morning I sent an email to Mr. Fritz requesting information on how to obtain a copy of a marriage record from his office dated 1818.  

Four hours later I received a reply with the marriage record in question scanned and sent as an attachment to the email.  

When I replied back asking how much I owed the County of Fleming, he replied that it was "On The House."

I have to tell you it was the nicest thing anyone has done for me in some time -  I got warm fuzzies all over!

Thank you Mr. Fritz! 

14 September 2014


For the past 48 years, Nevada City, California has held its annual Constitution Day Parade.  It is reported to be the oldest and largest Constitution observance in West of the Rockies.

Since my mother lives up in the area of Nevada City, my husband and I drove up there from Stockton today and brought her with us to watch the parade.  Although the weather was very warm, the skies were a beautiful blue in the Sierra Nevada foothills today.

My very pathetic & lame attempt at a selfie of me and my husband.

The judges review stand.  

This marching band traveled 250 miles - Watsonville, California to Nevada City, California - to be in the parade!

Love the authentic Revolutionary War era costumes.

The Ophir Prison Marching Kazoo Band & Temperance Society - these guys are not really prisoners and most certainly are  not temperate, but they are a most excellent marching band!

Above is Barack Obama and FLOTUS, the tail end of over 150 people who portrayed all 44 U.S. Presidents and their First Ladies. No you aren't seeing things - that is a cardboard cut-out of Michelle Obama! The Famous Marching Presidents of Nevada City, California  describe themselves as " a unique collection of citizens who see it as their civic responsibility to portray the 44 Presidents of the United States and their first ladies in honor of Constitution Day, the signing of the document that frames this country."

The parade had over 75 entries from all over California including two high school marching bands and a couple of elementary schools as well.  The wonderful Shriners were there, some dressed as clowns and driving in their little cars.  There were antique automobiles, fire trucks and horse drawn carriages.  There were politicians riding in shiny new convertibles.  The Captain John Oldham Chapter, NSDAR marched in the parade with a 15ft x 21ft recreation of the U.S. Flag that flew over Ft. McHenry when Francis Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner in 1814.  It had 15 stripes and 15 stars.  This year marks the 200th anniversary of the Star Spangled Banner!

13 September 2014

Two Weeks in September - Great Happenings in Stockton, California

There is a an old saying around my neck of the woods - "Nobody comes to Stockton on purpose."  Well I think that many minds may be changed when they learn about some great events coming up in the next two weeks.

Thursday, September 18th - 6:00 pm - Troke Library, 502 West Benjamin Holt, Stockton
The San Joaquin Genealogical Society will have its first meeting after the summer break.  Local author and historian Barbara Filbin will discuss San Joaquin County Pioneer Cemeteries.  Ms. Filbin has published 19 books, the most recent being "Four Lost Pioneer Cemeteries in Northern San Joaquin County, California.

Friday, September 19th - 5:00 pm - Chavez Central Library, 605 North El Dorado Street, Stockton
There is going to be a whole lot of celebrating going on! The downtown Stockton Cesar Chavez Central Library will be turning 50 years old -- FIFTY AND FABULOUS!!!! Mark your calendars and come spend an evening with them!

Saturday, September 20th - 9:00 am - University Park, corner of California and Magnolia Streets, Stockton
17th Annual Family Fun Day at the Park - There will be so much going on it is best to check out the website and see for yourself all the great activities.  The day will start off with a parade led by  Clifford the Big Red Dog, the mascot of University of the Pacific - Power Cat, dancing clowns and more!

Saturday, September 27th - Free Admission to Participating Museums sponsor by the Smithsonian Magazine.
To receive your free Museum Day Live! ticket for two people you must register at their website.  Once registered, you simply choose the museum you want to visit and download your tickets.  

As a gift for participating in Museum Day Live, you will receive the digital edition of Smithsonian magazine free for one year with no obligation, beginning with the October edition. 

In San Joaquin County, the museum participating is:

The Haggin Museum at Victory Park, 1201 North Pershing Way, Stockton

03 September 2014

Vote For Best Blog With County Clerk Information

Have you checked out my page on California County Clerks?
If you like what I've done then take a minute to vote for me - The Educated Genealogist - at the County-Clerks.com website.  County-Clerks.com is a directory of every single county clerk's office in the United States.

Help County-county clerks contestClerks.com decide who has the best genealogy site on the web! The entry with the most votes (entry in 1st position) by September 30, 12:00AM EST will be rewarded a $50 Amazon Gift Card. Second place (site in 2nd position) a $25 Amazon Gift Card.

To cast your vote for the best blog with county clerk information click HERE.

21 July 2014

Great Indexing Project, GeneaSleepover and Lineage Societies

If you have been living under a rock lately, maybe you haven't heard about the FamilySearch Great Indexing Project.  The goal is for 50,000 people to index just one batch of records in a 24 hour period beginning Sunday July 20th at 6:00 pm and ending Monday July 21st at 6:00 pm.

To help this project along, Dear Myrtle is having a first ever "GeneaSleepover" via Google hangouts.  She and her cousin Russ Worthington will be in the hangout for 24 hours talking about everything genealogy and also serving as cheerleaders for the indexers.

 She has invited oodles of people to help keep the hangout going.  I was thrilled to be invited to appear on GeneaSleepover.  I will be joining Myrt and Russ at 6:15 am Pacific time.  The topic of discussion for this segment is all about lineage societies.

Below is a very brief list of some of the more popular lineage societies:

Any woman age 18 and over who can prove direct blood lineage to a patriot ancestor who performed military or patriotic service between 1775 to 1783.
The application must be submitted with documentation to support each and every NAME, DATES and PLACES of BIRTH, MARRIAGE and DEATH.  The documentation must also show a link from child to parent in each generation from the applicant to the patriot ancestor.

ny woman eighteen years of age or over and is descended from an ancestor who came to reside in an American Colony before 1750, and whose services were rendered during the Colonial Period.

Direct descendants of honorably discharged soldiers, sailors, and marines who served in the Union Army or navy during the War of the Rebellion of 1861-1865.

An applicant for membership must be over eighteen years of age and show proof of direct descent from one of the Mayflower passengers.

Membership is open to female descendants, and legally adopted daughters, ten years of age or over, of honorably discharged Union soldiers, sailors and marines of the Civil War, 1861 to 1865

Any woman eighteen years of age or over and is the lineal descendant of an ancestor who lived and served prior to 1701 in one of the Original Colonies.

members are descendants of a man or woman who rendered patriotic or civil service to the American Colonies prior to 4 July 1776.

Women no less than sixteen years of age who are blood descendants, lineal or collateral, of men and women who served honorably in the Army, Navy or Civil Service of the Confederate States of America, or gave Material Aid to the Cause. 

04 July 2014

My Patriot Acestors

Randy Seaver over at GenaMusings posted an article about his Revolutionary War ancestors.

What a great idea to honor our ancestors who in some way or another aided in the cause for freedom.

I have a few patriot ancestors myself and want to share them with you.

PETER BESS - 6th great grandfather
Born 1758 and died 17 February 1832 in Lincoln County, North Carolina.  He had 3 wives:  Christina Whittenburg, Elizabeth Forney and Leanna van Dyke Jenkins.  I descend through his son Boston Bess and his wife Polly Carpenter. Peter provided material aid.

JOHN TEETER BEAM - 7th great grandfather
Born 1732 in Hamburg, Germany and died 15 November 1807 in Lincoln County, North Carolina.  John had 2 wives:  Rebecca Raynolds and Elizabeth Rudolph.  I descend through his son John Derrick Beam and his wife Mary Hoyle.  John signed an Oath of Allegiance.

DAVID BOWLES - 7th great grandfather
Born 1730 in New Kent County, Virginia and died January 1807 in Bourbon County, Kentucky.  He was married to Winnie Minerva Rice.  I descend through his son Jesse Bowles and his wife Hannah Perkins. David was a Captain in the Virginia Militia.

CHRISTIAN CARPENTER - 7th great grandfather
Born 1725 in Switzerland and died 15 July 1799 in Lincoln County, North Carolina. Christian was married to Mary Kiser.  I descend through his son Peter Carpenter and his wife Susanna Cox.  Christian furnished supplies.

TOLLIVER CRAIG - 7th great grandfather
Born 1704 and died 5 August 1799 in Woodford County, Kentucky.  He was married to Mary Polly Hawkins.  I descend through his daughter Joyce Craig and her husband John Faulconer.  Tolliver was a defender of Bryant Station in 1782.

MARY POLLY HAWKINS CRAIG - 7th great grandmother
Born 1716 in King William County, Virginia and died 1 January 1804 in Scott County, Kentucky.  She was married to Tolliver Craig.  I descend through her daughter Joyce Craig and her husband John Faulconer. Mary carried water to the soldiers at Bryant's Station in 1782.

BAYLIS EARLE - 6th great grandfather
Born 5 August 1734 in Westmoreland County, Virginia and died 6 January 1825 in Spartanburg District, South Carolina.  He was married to Mary Prince.  I descend through his daughter Anna Nancy Earle and her husband Ephraim Timothy Rees.  Baylis was a footman, Cavalary Horseman and furnished a wagon and team for the militia.

NATHANIEL HAYDEN - 6th great grandfather
Born 21 February 1726 in Braintree, Suffolk County, Massachusetts and died 5 September 1812 at Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.  He was married to Zerviah Sutton.  I descend through his son Barnabus Hayden and his wife Sarah McClellan.  Nathaniel loaned money for the war effort.

MICHAEL HOYLE - 7th great grandfather
Born 12 January 1732 in Germany and died 12 March 1792 in Lincoln County, North Carolina.  He was married to Margaret Dellinger.  I descend through his daughter Mary Hoyle and her husband John Derrick Beam.  Michael furnished supplies.

BATSON NAYLOR - 6th great grandfather
Born May 1759 in Maryland and died 7 November 1830 in Davie County, North Carolina.  He was married to Eleanor Austin Smith.  I descend through his son Benjamin Naylor and his wife Mary W. Rhodes. Batson took an Oath of Fidelity.

EPHRAIM TIMOTHY REES - 5th great grandfather
Born 17 September 1755 in South Carolina and died 21 April 1823 in Trigg County, Kentucky.  He was married to Anna Nancy Earle.  I descend through his son Thomas Prince Earle Rees and his wife Mariah Fristoe.  Ephraim was an Adjutant & Brigade Commissary.

JOSEPH REES - 6th great grandfather
Born 1732 in Duck Creek, Kent County, Delaware and died 5 March 1795 in Camden District, Richland County, South Carolina.  He was married to Ann Reynolds.  I descend through his son Ephraim Timothy Rees and his wife Anna Nancy Earle.  Joseph was a member of the South Carolina General Assembly.

EPAPHRODITUS RHODES - 6th great grandfather
Born 1735 in Christ Church Parish, Middlesex County, Virginia and died 1816 in Albemarle County, Virginia.  He was married to Ann White.  I descend through his daughter Mary W. Rhodes and her husband Benjamin Naylor.  Epaphroditus provided material aid.

RICHARD THOMAS - 5th great grandfather
Born 19 October 1758 in Orange County, North Carolina and died 13 November 1843 in Bath County, Kentucky.  He was married to Elizabeth Bowles.  I descend through his daughter Sarah Anderson Thomas and her husband Lewis Wilson.  Richard served as a Private in the 6th North Carolina Regiment.  Richard's brother was General Philemon Thomas who became famous during the War of 1812.

HENRY WILSON - 5th great grandfather
Born 1 March 1754 in Augusta County, Virginia and died 1 November 1848 in Flat Rock, Bourbon County, Kentucky.  He was married to Frances Faulconer.  I descend through his son Lewis Wilson and his wife Sarah Anderson Thomas.  Henry served as a Private, a Sergeant and an Indian Spy.

ABNER WOMACK - 5th great grandfather
Born 7 January 1764 in Prince Edward County, Virginia and died 14 February 1845 at Butler County, Kentucky.  He was married to Agnes Nancy Reed.  I descend through his daughter Camilla Womack and her husband Peter Solomon.  Abner served as a Private in North Carolina.

12 May 2014

6 Generations of my Maternal Line

Top L to R:  3rd gg Margaret Dilks Robinson, 2nd gg Laura Robinson Berry, 
                   gg Hazel Berry Harris
Bottom L to R: grandmother Mary Ellen Harris Skillman, my mother, and me

Today, over at the Olive Tree Genealogy Blog, author Lorine McGinnis proudly showed off 6 generations of her maternal line.  

I am fortunate to have photos of 6 generations of my maternal line to show off as well.  

My 3rd great grandmother is MARGARET DILKS.  She was born 16 May 1839 in Pittsburgh, Alleghney County, Pennsylvania to Arthur Dilks and Margaret Bowman.  On 28 August 1855 in the same city, Margaret married David Robinson, a recent Irish immigrant.

Their daughter, my 2nd great grandmother, LAURA CORDELIA ROBINSON was born 12 June 1862 in Pittsburgh.  The family moved to Des Moines County, Iowa the next year.  David became the blacksmith in Dodgeville which is located outside Burlington.

On 19 September 1880, Laura Robinson married William Campbell Berry II.  Their daughter, my great grandmother, HAZEL BERRY was born near Burlington on 15 July 1896.  Sometime before 1900 the Berry family moved to Allen County, Kansas.

It was there that Hazel married Hillary T. Harris on 4 November 1915 in Iola, Allen County, Kansas.  They moved across the county line to Bronson, Bourbon County which is where my grandmother, MARY ELLEN HARRIS was born on 29 September 1916.  

The Harris family moved to Garnett, Anderson County where my grandmother graduated from Garnett High School in 1934.  The day after graduating, Mary Ellen and her best friend packed a bag and went to Wichita where they both became employees of Fred Harvey as "Harvey Girls."

In 1935, when my grandfather, Darrell Kenneth Skillman, graduated from Garnett High School, he went directly to Wichita and brought my grandmother back to Garnett where they were married on 4 November 1935.

Their oldest daughter is my mother who married my father and it is from that union that I am here today.  

11 May 2014

A Panel of Pros Appearing in Merced

3 Genealogists From Northern California Are Headed Out On The Road To Merced

Umm,  sorry.  The photo above was from different road trip us girlies took.  

The Real Story: 

Two colleagues and I are headed South to Merced, California next Saturday - May 17th - to the Merced County Genealogical Society to give a presentation about professional genealogists.  Who they are, How to find them and When to hire one.

Joining me will be Corey Oiesen from Santa Cruz, California.  Corey is such a talented person.  She has her research business - Genealogy Heroes,  is the editor of the California State Genealogical Alliance newsletter and is a board member of the Association of Professional Genealogists serving as their communications officer.

Janice Sellers is the third member of the panel.  Janice is from Oakland, California and writes a blog called Ancestral Discoveries.  She is vice president of the San Francisco Bay Area Jewish Genealogical Society, a director on the board for the California State Genealogical Alliance and has worked at the Oakland Family History Center since 2000.

03 May 2014

A Present From Pauline - Remember Her?

It's been about two years since I last wrote about  my "Problem With Pauline."  Finally another piece of the puzzle arrived in the mail recently from the Idaho State Archives.  You should really read my previous posts.
Parts one through nine can be read HERE.

A quick recap of my "Problem With Pauline" - This is a collateral relation of mine. Pauline's father and my 3rd great grandfather are brothers. As a rule, for each person in my database, I like to locate a census record for each year they should appear in one.  Mary Pauline Sheern married George Benton Sanford on 8 October 1875 in Osage Mission, Neosho County, Kansas.  So I look for this couple in the 1880 census.  I find Dr. George B. Sanford in Kansas City, Missouri.  He is a dentist and states that he is married but no wife appears with him. Same thing in 1900, 1910 and 1920.  George Sanford died in 1928.  A search for Pauline by herself was not successful.  So I put this line on hold.  A couple of years later I found Pauline in a Neosho County history book. It said that Mrs. Pauline Sanford had died in a fire in Boise, Idaho on 13 September 1917.  

A check of the newspaper found that a woman did indeed die in a fire on that date, but the woman was named Mrs. Helen Hunt.  Curious, so I sent for a copy of the death certificate.  While I was waiting I did some research on Mrs. Helen Hunt and found that she owned a "rooming house" called the Ada House.  She also purchased prime lots of real estate in downtown Boise near the State Capitol as well as lots in areas soon to be developed just outside of the city limits.  In total over $250,000 worth of property.  So let's think about this - a single woman who owns a rooming house has cash on hand to purchase that much real estate?  She also homesteaded property 8 miles outside of Boise and it was that home that burned to the ground with her in it.  The death certificate arrives and it named the deceased as: Pauline Helen Hunt Sanford.  So this woman used two different names but she is most certainly my Pauline.  The following excerpts from a court record - a petition for divorce - explains where she has been.

15 Feb 1907
In the District Court of the third Judicial District of the State of Idaho in and for the County of Ada

Mary Pauline Sanford, Plaintiff
George Benton Sanford, Defendant

Married at Osage Mission, Kansas 8 October 1875

Last 5 years [since 1902] she has been a resident of Idaho

Defendant has treated plaintiff in a cruel and inhumane manner and in particular as follows:

1. "That plaintiff has at all times since the said marriage,demeaned herself as became a true and faithful wife yet shortly after said marriage defendant began a course of systematic persecution towards plaintiff, calling her "vile and reprehensible names" and "repeatedly threatened to cut her heart out."

2.  "That defendant continuously treated plaintiff as a servant stating to her that she shall not have anything whatever to do with the control of the home except to work according to his instructions."

3.  "That defendant continuously said that plaintiff and her relatives were not "bred and educated up to his standard and station in life."  Additionally defendant said that plaintiff's relatives were "socially and intellectually inferior" to said defendant."

4. "That in 1878, about three years after their said union, the defendant, in their home in Kansas City, Missouri caught hold of the plaintiff by her throat and threw her down upon the floor and choked, bruised and maltreated plaintiff in a most cruel, angry, vicious, rude, revengeful and brutal manner."

She must have been indisposed for some time and not able to carry our her wifely and servant duties because he again flew into a rage.

5. "Defendant shortly thereafter threatened to shoot plaintiff and applied to her the most vile, threatening, disgusting and nauseating names and threatened to cut her ears off."

6.  "That in 1883, about eight years after said marriage, the defendant informed the plaintiff that he had been criminally intimate and was carrying a course of undue intimacy in Kansas City, Missouri with Mrs. Newman, a female of Kansas City and informed plaintiff the he, the defendant, was privileged and had the right to do as he pleased."

This must have been an on again off again kind of thing because she continued to stay with him until March 1896 when after a particularly brutal beating she finally left and went to Cripple Creek, Colorado.  A little digging revealed that her brother James was living there at the time.  A few months later - in October - George went to Cripple Creek and convinced her to come home.

7.  "That on arriving back in Kansas City, the defendant again resumed his cruel system of persecution and cruel treatment towards plaintiff.  He informed plaintiff that he was on intimate relations with a female in Kansas City named Mrs. George Bradbury and further informed plaintiff that by reason of this illicit intercourse with Mrs. George Bradbury she had sustained a miscarriage and that he, the defendant, was obliged to advance a considerable sum of money to Mrs. Bradbury by reason of criminal intimacy and course of conduct.  The defendant then informed plaintiff that Mrs. Bradbury would be living in their residence and he would continue his intimacy with Mrs. Bradbury and ordered plaintiff not to interfere."

That was the last straw for Pauline.  The complaint says that she then left the home for the final time. I am not sure where she was from 1896 to 1902 when she first appears in Boise, Idaho.  My guess is that she was at home with George in Kansas City but when the enumerator showed up at the door George says he is married but does not name Pauline as living there.  Another cruel way to demean her.   
To me, this is a vivid reminder that people from 130 years ago lived their lives and had experiences that really are no different than people today.  Each generation thinks that they have invented new ways of behaving badly when the truth is human behaviour never changes .