Friday, January 25, 2013

My ORMSBEE Brothers: Jacob, Stephen Decatur

I recently found the name of my Ormsbee brothers' father:  Arnold ORMSBEE, and his wife Hannah or Anna.  This was a wonderful breakthrough, due not only to new photos and details on the FindAGrave site about Oakwood Cemetery, Syracuse, New York, but also by digging into clues in a newspaper article found on that wonderful site, Old Fulton Postcards - which is actually about Newspapers (turn down your speakers!).

Jacob ORMSBEE, born 21 Jun 1806 in Pompey, Onondaga, New York, is my third greatgrandfather on my mother's side.  He lived in Manlius, Onondaga, New York, for several years as an adult, moving about 1828 to Baldwinsville to work, finally settling in Syracuse, Onondaga, New York, by 1845.  He was a skilled carpenter apparently, and was one of the carpenters employed  in 1833 building the three story Seneca Hotel in Baldwinsville, as well as the old Globe Hotel and the first Onondaga Orphan Asylum in Syracuse, Onondaga, New York.

In approximately 1824 while still living in Manlius, he married Sabra/Sally TOWERS, born 22 Aug 1805, in Shaghticoke, Rensselaer, New York.  I can finally spell both those placenames without stumbling!  Both partners were 18 years old, Sabra being almost a year older, possibly 19.  Jacob and Sabra had 5 children, the eldest three married, and two of them had children for several more generations.  We have no photos of Jacob and his wife.  

My family line goes through their very long-lived 2nd child, Harriet "Hattie" Philena ORMSBEE, b. 28 May 1827, d. 20 Aug 1929.  She is the smaller elderly lady in the 1924 photo on the side.  Her taller daughter who is talking with her is Clara Augusta GRAVES, Clara's daughter Marguerite on the right holding my almost 2 year old mother.  Four generations.

 But what about Hattie's ORMSBEE family? Did she have uncles and aunts?  Did she know her grandparents?  For the past 8 years, I could find nothing about her family past her father's name, Jacob, and that they lived in towns in Onondaga county, New York.

Recently, I found an interesting clue about Jacob's family in the Syracuse Weekly Express, Wednesday, June 27, 1888.  It's a bit blurry, but states as follows:
Four Generations Dining Together.
    A pleasant gathering greeted Mr. Jacob Ormsbee Thursday afternoon at his home, No. 18 Rust street, the occasion being the eighty-second anniversary of his birthday.  Four generations ate and talked together.  Among those present were L.J. Ormsbee and his family, C.G. Graves and his family, Stephen A. Ormsbee and his family, Mrs. John Leary and others.  A purse of money was presented to the host in behalf of the relatives by H.J. Ormsbee.

I knew who all of those individuals were from my previous research... LJ was his son Lucius Jared Ormsbee, CG Graves married his daughter (my 2nd greatgrandmother), Mrs. John Leary was Jacob's daughter (widowed), and HJ Ormsbee was Lucius' son. But Stephen?  Unknown. 

I found he was also buried in Oakwood Cemetery in a different section from Jacob and his family members, and this information had been recently added with additional details. Including - the same parents as now listed for my Jacob - Arnold & Hannah Ormsbee. Amazing. Some digging showed that the newspaper had Stephen's middle initial incorrect - his middle name was actually Decatur, but errors can easily happen in journalism.  

I have since learned more about Stephen Decatur Ormsbee, such as that he lived in the same area, working as a carpenter like his big brother. He had three children I could find online, and at least one of them had a child. In addition, his 2nd child was a boy: James Arnold Ormsbee, named for his grandfather apparently. 

Perhaps there's a cousin out there somewhere who has photographs of the ORMSBEE families, or stories. I would love to find any relative who may have more information about these two brothers, and their parents.  Of course, there may have been a sister or two, but we know the challenges in finding women once they married!   Contact me if you know anything about either the ORMSBEE brothers and their parents.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Semi-Random Research

Randy Seaver, of Genea-Musings
1)  We're going to do a little bit of Semi-Random Research tonight...
2)  Go to your family tree database of choice (you know, like RootsMagic, Reunion, Ancestry Member Tree), and determine who the very last person on your list of names is.
3)  What do you know about this person based on your research?  It's OK to do more if you need to - in fact, it's encouraged!
4)  How are you related to this person, and why is s/he in your family tree?
5)  Tell us about it in a blog post of your own, in a comment to this blogpost, or in a Facebook Status post or Google+ Stream post.

My very last person in my tree in the person list is Georgianna "Georgia" May ZINN.  

Who on earth is she, I wondered?  Married someone way down in collaterals in my Kuhn line.

My RootsMagic6 relationship calculator determined (in about 1 second) that Georgia is married to my 5th Cousin-once-removed, Louis/Lewis Francis KUHN.  So many Kuhn people in my family tree - they settled in Pennsylvania, arriving in approximately 1732.  I have yet to find a specific place of origin.

Our common ancestor is  John KUHN, b. about 1696 in Bavaria? ?Wurtemberg? Schlaitdorf?  We don't really know exactly where.  That's another blog or three right there, trying to find more of our KUHN line and their wives.

My research on Georgia is limited to on-line trees (2) and several Censuses.  The 1910 Census in Pennsylvania shows her living with her younger sister Arline and her parents George & Anne Zinn.  Her father is stated to be working as a Superintendent, Cemetery!  George, her father, states he was born in Pennsylvania, and that his father was born in Germany, mother in Pennsylvania.  Her mother, Anne, states she was born in Pennsylvania, as were both her mother and father.

You were born, show up with your parents and a younger sister in 1910, get married between censuses to my 5th Cousin-once-removed, Lewis Francis Kuhn, had your first child, a son (named after his father) who was 7 months old at the time of the 1920 Census.  Georgia, I'm afraid I know very little about you, and there's very little available in a quick scan of possible records.

The reason you are in my tree at all, is because there were so many repetitions of names in this extended family that I wasn't always certain I had the correct direct ancestor when I was looking at various records and gravestone inscriptions and burial records.  Louis Joseph, Joseph, Henry Joseph, Louis, John Francis, etc.  I followed some names down 4-6 generations to see who was who.

I suspect that her parents may have come from near the same area where my KUHN ancestors came from.  One day, I may dig a bit deeper in several of these collateral lines to see if there's a cross-over back there in perhaps Wurtemberg.  

One more Saturday Night Genealogy Fun completed

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Accentuate the Positive - 2012 Geneameme

Jill Ball - one of my favourite bloggers from Down Under with one of her blogs at Geniaus - has created another great geneameme, Accentuate the Positive 2012 Geneameme, and I'm pleased to start the New Year 2013 on such a positive note!  

Although I don't seem to have as many positives and accomplishments as others, here we go:

1. an elusive ancestor:  I did!  I found an elusive ancestor on my mother's side. My 4th greatgrandparents, Arnold ORMSBEE & wife Hannah (last name unknown), who also show up in the 1810 and 1820 Censuses in Manlius, New York. My ancestor, the elder son, Jacob, lived to be 86 when he died 29 Mar 1893 in Syracuse. His obituary and other articles said nothing about his parents - unfortunately for me. But I have new information, these new names, and more determination and suggestions to help me find more. This new name led me to their younger son, Stephen Decatur Ormsbee, who lived in the same area with his own family, and died a few months after his big brother Jacob did, in 30 Jul 1893.  His new information came from a wonderful volunteer FindMyGrave photographer at Oakwood Cemetery, who perused, transcribed and copied the burial record books for me. Love such generous volunteers!
2.  a precious family photo I found:   I went through a small banged-up old photo album shipped to me by the nursing home where my mother's older sister died in 2004, aged 89. Several photographs were very precious: rare photos of my grandfather who died in 1945, and of my grandmother when she was younger, plus photos of my Aunt Dot taken during the 1940s with her husband. She was an artist, designed for textile companies, lived in Greenwich NY, and was quite an independent woman (divorced after the war). Her photographs surprised my children into thinking they were of my mom - the two looked very alike.  
3. an important vital record:  Hmm.  I finally unearthed my own long form birth registration from deep in boxes!  It confirms my father's birth place and helped me find his own birth registration in Cambusnethan, Lanark, Scotland.  I'd always thought we were Scottish... but really, the family were only living there for a few years while Grandpa Gillespie worked near Newmains. I now know my Gillespie ancestors had been living in Northern Ireland for at least 5 generations, in Counties Tyrone & Antrim, possibly in the corner of Fermanagh which borders Tyrone (Clogher Parish).   
4. a geneasurprise I received:  This Christmas, my eldest daughter, Pia, decorated a large mug with a version of my immediate family tree descendants! All four kids and their partners, and the six grandchildren's full names. Labelled on the outside bottom as "Winky's mug" (my grandmother name is Winky), and with a big red heart with "XO Mom" on the bottom of the inside. Makes all this genealogy work worthwhile when I see this! Amazing, and definitely heart-warming. 
5.  My 2012 blog post that I was particularly proud of:  My first one, actually. After reading and commenting on many wonderful blogs, and posting a few things on G+ genealogy in 2012, I was encouraged by a number of bloggers to start my own. TWIGS and TREES began May 25, 2012! I've only done 25 posts in 2012, but I am hoping to do at least one per week during 2013. Thanks to all of the wonderfully encouraging and postive genealogy people who commented and +d my posts. You make my day positive and bright.  
6. My 2012 blog post that received a large number of hits or comments:  Then, I went and did it again. On August 18, 2012, I started another blog: Terwilliger Souvenir Album  My TERWILLIGER greatgrandfather's Souvenir Album, started in the mid1800s, and continuing into the early part of the 1900s.  I decided to inventory this huge fat souvenir album, filled with so many different cards, newspaper articles, menus, tickets, exhibitions, and other special events in their lives. The blog which received the most hits and comments was the very first one, where several people (Albert Riezebos helped immensely) not only commented but identified various ambiguous items on the inside front cover. So far, 11 posts have catalogued many calling cards, marriage invitations, and assorted hotel symbols and other items. Finally, I'm inventorying this wonderful family momento.
7.  I taught a friend how to ...  I teach classes for beginners in genealogy, and a friend of mine took my class in 2011. This year she was doing some research to help a friend of hers, and I was able to teach her about how to search more effectively, and about new-to-her helpful websites she had been avoiding. It seems as if I'm always talking to friends and acquaintances about genealogy, websites - free and commercial, how to go past the basic vital records to find more interesting arenas to search and, in particular, to help people be more conscious of the purpose of their searching. And, of course I learn so much each time I do anything in a teaching mode!!  
8.  A genealogy conference/seminar/webinar from which I learnt something new was:   
This is an easy one - I learn so much from every single webinar  I've taken: about searching for Irish ancestors, about thinking outside-the-box for potential records and paper trails, about using new-to-me databases, about finding new sources of records in various court records (thank you, Judy Russell), and about planning my research rather than just flying by the seat of my pants.  There are wonderful genealogists and historians offering their skills and knowledge weekly, and daily - and I love them all.  I simply can't pick out one.  Even in a field I feel confident in, I always learn at least one nugget more to work with.  
9.  It was exciting to finally meet:   This one is still empty... I've met so many wonderful genealogists and historians on the internet, generous, encouraging, thoughtful, sensitive, knowledgeable. The only well-known genealogist I've met was several years ago, when Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak, who taught about DNA & Genealogy here in BC Canada for our BC Genealogical Society. A wonderful warm-hearted genealogist - we learned a great deal from her very long workshop! I have a long list of people I'd love to meet now (in no particular order): Judy Russell, Michael Hait, CeCe Moore, Jana Last, Leslie Lawson, Jill Ball, Thomas MacEntee, Diane Beaumont, Tessa Keogh, Albert Riezebos, Carol Stevens, Moises Garcia, Marian Pierre-Louis, Lorine Schulz, Bill Smith, Randy Seaver, Kathy Reed, Susan Clark, Christine Woodcock. So many more - but those are the ones which pop to mind as I write this down, so forgive me if I've forgotten you!  I would love to meet any of you, and hope to eventually save my shekels to attend a conference/seminar and finally meet in person.  
10.  Another positive I would like to share is:  I finally cleaned off my desk of all the scraps and bits of details of my family in folders and messy piles, plus I actually went through most of the folders and binders, AND went through the computer files. Everything is labelled, transcribed into my tree, either filed or discarded as needed, and new file folders made to hold various genealogy projects and planned research. One paper at a time. Even my Dropbox and Mozy accounts are updated. There are still some bits and pieces of computer filing to rearrange and relabel, but the huge bulk of the task is done! The next task: clean up my awful citations and sources. Well, they're not awful, they're just not complete, nor in correct format at all, and don't link to the originals. Sigh.  
10 - postscript:Another positive - How could I forget! This spring, I wrote up my father's family: GILLESPIE (his father), BUNN (his mother), & WHITEHOUSE (his mother's mother) in a small booklet with maps, photos, and a few descriptions, for the relatives. They were shared with some of my first cousins and first-once-removed cousins at several funerals recently, and helped me find more details. I recently received an email from one special Bunn cousin who tells me she's been in touch with someone in England who has more research to share on the Bunn and Whitehouse group. Wow. Aren't these cousins wonderful?!  

Cheers for the New Year, and may we all find our wonderful elusive ancestors, tell their stories, and also write our own personal story for our kids and grandkids and others in the world. Thank you Jill Ball for the inspiration.  


Family, friends, and others - I hope you enjoy these pages about our ancestors and their lives. Genealogy has become somewhat of an obsession, more than a hobby, and definitely a wonderful mystery to dig into and discover. Enjoy my writing, and contact me at celia.winky at gmail dot com if you have anything to add to the stories. ... Celia Lewis