Monday, November 18, 2013

Who is the REAL George W. Hackett?

I was excited to find an obituary and gravesite for George W Hackett, Phil's 2nd great-grandfather.  Now I have birth and death dates!  The Hackett family were solid Pennsylvania citizens spending decades in McKean County.  George was born and died there.  His son James (Phil's great-grandfather) was born in McKean County and died nearby in Potter County.  And so it goes.  So it should be simple to find his George's parents, right?  WRONG!!

There are many trees on Ancestry that point to a James Hackett as the father of our George (also known as George W).  James appears in the 1870 as James Hacket (one t) with a son named George.  But this George is listed as being 10 years old.  Our George was born in 1852 (per his gravestone and his obituary) which would make him 18 in 1870.  Yet all the other particulars check out, especially that they are living in Keating, McKean County, PA.  Looking at other 1870 census records, we find numerous George Hackett/Hackets born in the 1850s in Pennsylvania - much closer in age to our George.  But none of them living in McKean County.

So what to do?  Looking at the original image of the 1870 census helps.  Here George, son of James, is listed before a younger son, named Judson.  Judson's age is clearly marked as 12.  The numerals used for George's age are very faint with a clear one and a curled 0.  Or is it a 6?  I think it should read as 16.  Even though this doesn't match with the age calculated from his obituary/gravestone, it DOES make sense when we look at the numbers recorded on other censuses as George aged.

George's age as listed on the 1900 census would have him born in 1856.  In the 1910 census, his birth year is calculated as 1853 and in the 1920 census, it finally appears corrected at 1852.  I need to go and find the 1860 and 1880 census records to complete the set.  It will be interesting to see how old George is listed on these!  It appears that math was not his strong suit  - or maybe he just didn't like birthdays?

So if we assume that the Hacketts stayed in McKean and also that the age listed on the 1870 census is indexed incorrectly, we can conclude that George is the son of James and Eliza Hackett, with a younger brother named Judson!  Now on to climb more of the Norton/Palmer family tree.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Robert and Jean Brooks

Phoenix AZ

September 2013

My semi-annual trip to Arizona just ended and it was a great time with my parents.  We did a lot of family history and I exported 4 gedcoms.  The Brooks gedcom has over 1500 names and the Hammon/Slater/Belnap gedcoms have 3000+.  Silly me - I had originally thought about doing this all by hand.

I also spent time with my mother going through 600 photos that my amazing cousin, Jimmie Lee Guinn, scanned from her mother's unsorted stash.  I will get around to posting some of them soon.  There were many I had never seen and my mother's ability to go through and recognize people was fantastic.  She may not know remember who is coming when but she knows all of her father's siblings on sight!

My other big job is preparing my mom and dad's annual Christmas card.  Here's some pictures we took for that:

We celebrated my brother's birthday and our anniversary in the private Sagewood Dining Room.

Guess who Robert and I look like most!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Our Growing Family!

We are overjoyed to be expecting our first grandchild.  This weekend Jessi and I hosted a shower for Dani.  It was an occasion for family to gather.  The theme was "your favorite storybook" and Dani's baby will now have an amazing library of books to choose from.  Three months to go before we can start reading them!

A perfect ballerina dress!

Jessi, Christine Guymon and Dani

Sometimes family doesn't come by birth.  Mary Jane Guymon and I have known each other for almost 30 years.  She is the sister I never had and it's always a treat to get together.

Friday, August 23, 2013

A Lost Family!

The Palmer family seems to enjoy reusing names, especially Truman. So you can imagine how confused I was to find another Truman. This one came from a second family of the eldest Truman.  The Truman Palmer who was born in 1798 in Vermont lost his first wife, Meribah or Merab, in 1837. But I found him in the 1855 New York census with a wife named Elisa M. His daughter, Sarah Cecilia, was also there. But she was from his wife Merab. Only after locating the graves of Truman and Merab did I find two more children both to Elisa.  Truman and Robert were born in 1839 and 1845, respectively. Sadly they died a week apart in December 1851.  Both Trumans, Merab and Sarah are buried in the same cemetery. I will have to look for Elisa. And there are more Trumans in the family. Alvah Palmer, the elder Truman's brother, named a son Truman. And there is a Walter Truman Palmer in the family!

It was sad to learn that neither of Truman's young sons lived to carry on his name. But I was glad that I pursued the 1855 census to find his second family.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

New York New York!

I am coming to the realization that all of Phil's family - both Norton and Palmer - were in upstate New York within a 100 mile radius during the 1800s.  Yet the two families didn't come together until Doris Palmer (from Pennsylvania) and Clinton Norton (from Michigan) met at the University of Rochester in the 1950s.  Nearby were the final resting places of their grandparents.  The Palmer side  stretches from Buffalo (where the Pattisons are buried) to Alfred (where the Palmers are buried).  The Nortons can  be found in Geneseo with status as founding pioneers of Groveland.  And just over the line in Pennsylvania we have the Hacketts.

Now I just need to organize my thoughts and research to spend a week or two driving the backroads!  But at least this week I'll be able to get to Geneseo and Temple Hill Cemetery for a visit with Asahel Norton. More picture to come I hope!

Pictures to come!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Our 4th of July Tradition

Our home in the Wisconsin Dells is the gathering place for Phil and I each Independence Day holiday. Phil makes waffles that we decorate in red, white, and blue. This year our numbers are few.  Rose, Dani, Dave, Phil and I made the trek along with dogs Riley and Sonny.  But the waffles (including gluten free) were great!  Lisa was across the pond in London, Jessi celebrated with Zach in Boston and Phillip joined Paty's family for their annual BBQ and picnic. Maybe these pics will bring them up to the Dells next year!

The big news?!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Pappy's Old Homeplace - Russellville Ark

Thanks to Mariruth for sending these photos from the only Brooks reunion in 1988.  We visited Nanya's place at 302 E 5th St.  I love the 80s hair on Bev and Mariruth!  I can see my father in the background of these pictures.  I was back in Russellville in 2004 with my father and mother.  What I remember most was the amazing magnolia trees and flowers in the Russellville cemetery.  I'll have to see if I took a picture then.

Monday, May 27, 2013

William Wellington Norton & Jennie Belle Lewis Marriage

I know that part of being a genealogist is locating original records.  But all my past attempts have met with silence on the part of the governmental unit contacted.  This time I went through the internet and found the record in Minneapolis, Hennepin, Minnesota!  For $9 this is what I got:

Many things fascinate me about this marriage license -
1.  It is certified!
2.  It lists William's father as Reverend A.W. Norton and a licensed minister.  A.W. is also listed as having an address in St Paul.  Though I knew A.W. was a professor and college president.  I was unaware that he was actually an ordained minister.  I also thought of him as living in the Dakotas, not Minnesota.  Not sure when the move happened.
3.  It leaves the mystery of how William and Jennie Belle met.  I believe that William Wellington was a student at the University of Minnesota.  I would love to know the real story.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Traveling Shell!

Not all family heirlooms are art or handmade.  One of the Palmer memories involves a conch shell.  Here's the story:
This Fighting Conch shell was given to Nelson Palmer by his long time friend Mac Heron (wife of Bill Heron)  in the 1950s. It was kept on the mantle at Nelson'sSilver Lake cottage for decades. Dianne Palmer Wetjen got shell when the cottage was being sold in the late 70s. It was in her New York house until they moved to Marco Island in 1994. Mac also lived here and had introduced Dianne to Marco years earlier.   When Mac saw the shell at Dianne's Marco Island home, she said it had come home.  Mac had picked it up in front of the Marriott on the island.  Dianne kindly gave it to Phil and me for our new Marco Island home!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Artistic talents of Ruth Autry Brooks

My paternal grandmother, known to me as Nanya, was an accomplished artist.  Sadly, this talent did not pass to me. But I do see it in some of my children.  Rosey has quite the flair for drawing.  Danielle uses makeup as her paint palette.  I have several of her paintings in my home.  But I just learned of some other items that my cousin, Mariruth, has in her home.  I was surprised at the variety, especially the casserole dish.  These are pictures that she recently took.  I'll put up the ones from my home soon!  These were done early in the 20th century.  The dish is dated 1910.

And her art palette, beautifully displayed with Indian Corn:

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Family Reunions

So happy that my lovely Lisa is with her grandparents in Phoenix. Robert & Jean Brooks are the best hosts!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Finding the Pattison Family!

Sunday was a blur as I sat down to work on our family history.  Immediately I was sucked into a shaky leaf on Ambrose Pattison's name.  There it was - his death date!  All through a connection on!  That website has been a treasure trove for me as I can often estimate a birth date through the census. But the death dates have been elusive.  So here we have the marker for Phil's 3rd great-grandfather's family.  I found Jesse Pattison, his wife Zelia and many of their children, including Ambrose.  They are buried at the Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo, New York.  One exciting piece was seeing the name of a sister to Phil's great-grandmother that we didn't know about.  I am grateful to all those contributors who trudge through the cemeteries, take the photos, upload and carefully record the data.  It was a thrill to find so many ancestors for Phil's grandfather, Nelson Pattison Palmer.