Wednesday, February 25, 2015

52 ANCESTORS, 52 THEMES: No 8, "Good Deeds?" - Thomas WHITEHOUSE 1829-1909

This year's challenge by Amy Crow is another weekly blog, but based on Themes. Last week, it was LOVE.  This No. 8 week's theme is GOOD DEEDS.  Well that was a bust - I couldn't think of, or find a story involving good deeds.  Sigh.  I'll just pick someone and move on, writing about my somewhat challenging ancestors!  

I have been digging through the collateral relationships of my BUNN & WHITEHOUSE ancestors, hoping for nuggets. My father's mother was a BUNN, and her mother was a WHITEHOUSE. An English acquaintance snorted on finding they lived in Dudley region: "If you throw a rock in that area you'll hit a Bunn, and if you throw three rocks you'll hit a Whitehouse".  Hmmm.  Sounds challenging to find my particular ancestors, doesn't it?! 

Let's look at Thomas WHITEHOUSE, my 2nd great-grandfather. As far as I can be certain, he was born 10 Jul 1829 in Rowley Regis, Staffordshire, but moved to Dudley (which was very near!) as a young man.  Although we know from his marriage and birth records that he had a father Joseph, and a mother Mary, I am not at all sure of his parents and siblings. Too many similar names in the same parish and region.

Thomas married for the first time in approximately 1851 to a Sarah (unknown). I have not requested this marriage certificate as yet. Unfortunately she appears to have died within 2 years, perhaps by illness or through childbirth complications.  

In Dudley Worcester on 31 Aug 1856, Thomas married a young widow with a daughter, Sarah PRICE, (previously married to Thomas Shutt).  I have the Marriage Certificate for the couple, plus the birth record for their 2nd child, Sarah Elizabeth, my ancestor.  It was rather disconcerting to realize that Thomas married two women named Sarah, and Sarah married two men named Thomas. 

Thomas WHITEHOUSE, b. 10 July 1829, Rowley Regis, Staffordshire, married 31 Aug 1856 to his 2nd wife, Sarah PRICE, (previously married to Thomas Shutt), b. abt 1827. They had the following children (Sarah's daughter Nancy "Ann" used the surname Whitehouse in Censuses):
  1.  Nancy "Ann" (Shutt), b. Jun 1853 Netherton; m. "?Homer" (no records found to date)
  2.  Sarah Elizabeth, [ancestor], b. 7 Nov 1858 Dudley, d. 30 Sep 1928, Barrow; m. 18 Aug 1879 to George BUNN; 9 children
  3.  Thomas jr., b. Dec 1860 Dudley; d. as infant
  4.  Benjamin "Ben", b. Mar 1867; m. 1890 to Margaret "Maggie" (?Milray); 1 son known (William)
  5.  Henry, b. 1869; m. 1889 in Barrow to Martha (unknown); 1 daughter known (Blanche)
  6.  William "Billy", b. 1871; m. 3rd Q 1889, Florence "Florrie" Milray; 4 boys
  7.  Enoch, b. 1875; no other information added as yet.

I've only just realized while typing this list that there are about 6 years between #3 and #4 child, and I'm wondering if there was another child born in that time. Sometimes one needs to look with fresh eyes at the known details to see the unknown details! 

Thomas worked in iron foundries most of his working life as a "Furnace Man," as can be found on Censuses, in the "Black Midlands" - first in Dudley area, then up north in Barrow.  The family moved from Dudley/Netherton area in Worcester up to Barrow-in-Furness, at some point after 1881. Thomas, Sarah, Ben & new wife Margaret, William and Enoch are seen on the 1891 Census living at 39 Byron Street. Nancy and Sarah Elizabeth were out of the home at this, married.

At about the same time, just before 1881, my GILLESPIE family moved to Barrow from Northern Ireland, so clearly there was good work prospects in Barrow at this time. 

I don't have full death dates for either Thomas & Sarah WHITEHOUSE, although I can see Sarah died in Barrow in the 4th Q 1895.  On the 1901 Census in Barrow, Thomas is found, widowed, living with his middle son, Ben & wife Margaret, with their only son William.  

Thomas died in the 3rd Q 1909, aged 80 years.  I'm assuming he's buried in Barrow, but some of the headstones are missing, and I haven't found records of his burial to date.

With more digging in Parish Registers and other records, I may yet get more specific details on Thomas, the Whitehouse children, and also manage to specify Thomas' parents and siblings. 

If you have more information to share please do not hesitate to contact me via calewis at telus dot net, or in the comments below.  NOTE: my blog is not allowing me to do replies to comments at the moment.  Thank you so much for visiting! \

Monday, February 23, 2015

GENEALOGY DO-OVER, Week 8 - How is it going?

Week 8 in the Genealogy Do-Over, and given the challenges I had with my eye surgery and post-surgery recovery time, I'm doing very well indeed!!

Week 8 focuses on two important research tools:
1.  Conducting Collateral Research, and
2.  Researching Offline Education Opportunities.

Tick!  Yes, I have researched collateral relatives family details as much as I have been able to find, for over 10 years.  Sometimes that has been the only way I found where a family originated from, or gained an understanding of the occupations of the family members.  Frequently looking through collateral relatives has helped me decide if a particular family group IS or IS NOT my ancestors - names, occupations, religions, neighbours - these details and more are so helpful. I keep details on my full family tree, and considered them "family" just as much as the direct ancestors.

In general I go up a few generations, and down several generations as well.  For my various Grover Buel(l) ancestors, I had to use collateral relatives' details in order to make sense of the line. And then I followed down the collateral relatives to see if any others kept up using the surname Grover as a forename.  The collateral relatives' research was  necessary also as I struggled to dig through the tangled lives of the several Archibald "Archer" Walters men, their parents and their children.   So this 'new' learning was actually old-hat for me, and all I'm doing is making certain that I have indeed done the research, and clarified the in-laws and out-laws!

Oh Dear:  The second point about researching offline education opportunities - this is significantly more difficult for me.  Retired on no pension, living with my youngest son who is unable to work competitively, means I have such a squeaky budget that my so-called disposable income is tiny.  I have to figure out where to spend it, and sometimes I decide to spend it on a haircut, or on tickets to Bard on the Beach in the summertime in Vancouver.  These are choices, of course, and I could choose to pinch even tighter to see if I could pull enough dollars together for a conference out of province.  Don't hold your breath!  I love conferences, but this is unlikely.

I have my BC Genealogy Society I belong to, attending meetings as well as some of the special events we put on.  The LDS Tri-Stake one-day Conference held here in the Lower Mainland (Surrey, BC) in October is one I attend almost every year.

But I have my list of want-to-attend conferences, with these two at the top of the list:  RootsTech, Jamboree (SCGS).  And wouldn't it be a treat to go to England for their huge Who Do You Think You Are conference?  Then again, there's the pull of visiting Northern Ireland... I would love to travel to my great-grandparents' village of Augher in County Tyrone, to see if I could find "something" about the Armstrong and Gillespie families there.

One day...  In the meantime, doing my second year of #52Ancestors posts on my blog, Twigs and Trees, gives me a weekly opportunity to research one ancestor at a time and save documents, maps, books, photos, "properly" - labelled correctly in a standardized way, as well as use my new habit of adding to my Research Log(s), To Do lists, Document Sources to cite.  I can't believe how easy it is becoming to do this in a methodical organized fashion.  Every time.

Amazing.  Thanks to all the helpful genealogy people on the Genealogy Do-Over Facebook group for their great templates, suggestions, helpful hints and examples. You're a great community.

And a huge THANK YOU to Thomas MacEntee for proposing such a crazy idea of actually "doing over" our genealogy tree and research work. Definitely crazy - definitely worth doing, and not as difficult as I thought it would be!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

52 ANCESTORS, 52 THEMES: No. 7, "Love" - Sophia ROLAND/RULAND

This year's challenge by Amy Crow is another weekly blog, but based on Themes. Last week, it was So Far Away This week's theme is - in keeping with Valentine's Day - LOVE.  Amy suggests an ancestor I feel close to, or love to research, or who seems to have lots of lovin'. Hmmm.  This is a challenge. I'm chosing FW PETTYGROVE's wife, Sophia ROLAND/RULAND.  

We know very little about my 2nd great-grandmother, Sophia.  Her surname has been spelled as either ROLAND or RULAND.  We do not know where in "New York" she was born, nor do we know anything about her family, parents, siblings.  Another messy brick wall which I will have to do more research on "soon".  Written in my To-Do list, with where, what, why details.  Other details in my Research Log.  (Thank you Thomas MacEntee at Geneabloggers for the great research tools!).

The Oregon Historical Society (Portland, OR) has a card on her as follows.  Unfortunately I have yet to find out the basis of their information noted here: 

She married in early 1842 in at the age of 18 years to a 28 year old entrepreneur, Francis William PETTYGROVE. After marrying, likely in Calais Maine, the couple stopped in New York to bring aboard various supplies which FW intended to sell to the new settlers making their way across North America to the Pacific Northwest.  He was an agent with A.G. & A.W. Benson of New York, purchasing over $15,000 of merchandise to bring with him. 

The newly-weds immediately embarked on 10 Mar 1842 sailing around Cape Horn to the Sandwich Islands (Hawai'i), where Sophia delivered her first child, Alfred, on 3 Jan 1843.  FW brought not only his new wife and items to sell, he also brought his one-year-older sister, Mary Charlotte Pettygrove, married to Phillip Foster, with their four children. Happily this meant that Sophia had an experienced sister-in-law to help her in her first child's birth. From Hawai'i, the two couples and their families moved to a different barque and in 19 May 1843 arrived in Oregon City, then moving to Portland, Oregon Territories.   After 3 more children were born, they moved up the coast, where FW founded Port Townsend; and 3 more children were born in Port Townsend.

In other words, Sophia spent the first year of their married life - this 18 year old girl and her 10 years older husband - on a sailing boat, pregnant, then with a small baby, born in a strange island out in the Pacific Ocean, ending up in a wilderness forest by the sea.  Whew! Courage indeed. And I'll suppose definitely, LOVE as well.  

While in Portland region, FW tossed a coin with his partner A.L. Lovejoy for the rights of naming the new city known as "Portland".  FW Pettygrove won the toss.

Sophia & FW had the following 7 children, all but the first born in Portland:

  1.  Alfred Benson, b 3 Jan 1843 Sandwich Islands, d. 19 Apr 1878; m. 1867 to Sarah F. Shean, 4 children (all deceased as children)
  2.  Amelia "Millie" Ann [ancestor], b 1844, d 18 Jan 1888 Brooklyn NY; m. 17 Jan1864 Dr. Louis DeBarth KUHN, Port Townsend, WA Territories; 10 children
  3.  Benjamin Stark, b 30 Sep 1846, d. 7 Mar 1913; m 10 Oct 1874 to Zalia McKinley, Victoria BC, 1 son, 3 stepchildren
  4.  Sophia, b 14 Nov 1848, d. after 1930; m. 17 Nov 1865 to James McIntyre Port Townsend, WA; 6 children
  5.  Lucinda R., b 28 Sep 1866, d 5 Apr 1872 (16 yrs old)
  6.  Lucy Charlotte, b 8 Feb 1858, d 21 Nov 1928 San Francisco CA; m abt 1890 to Edward Stephenson, 1 daughter known
  7.  Francis "Frank" W. Jr., b 28 Jul 1861, d 1 Dec 1922 San Francisco CA; m abt 1885 to Isabella Burkett, 2 children known

Unfortunately, when Sophia died on 21 Feb 1889, her obituary notice in the Morning Oregonian (Portland) stated only the following minimal detail:
"Port Townsend, Feb. 21.  - Mrs. Sophia Pettygrove, wife of the late T.W. Pettygrove, the oldest pioneer in Port Townsend, died today after a lingering illness of several months."  [note error in husband's name]

The photo of the Pettygrove family (Oregon Historical Society) has been copied into a number of books and articles about the Pettygroves, and shows FW PETTYGROVE seated with wife Sophia on the right, FW's sister, Mary Charlotte Foster seated on the left, Benjamin S. standing, daughter Sophia behind, Frank Jr on the ground.  

Note that the standing daughter could be either Sophia or Lucy.

If you have information about the Pettygrove family, or about Sophia Ruland/Roland, I would be thrilled to receive any details via calewis at telus dot net, or in the Comments below.  Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting.

Thursday, February 12, 2015


This year's challenge by Amy Crow is another weekly blog, but based on Themes. Last week, it was Plowing Through.  This week's theme is So Far Away.  I think that John COX,  my 11th great-grandfather, is likely one of the most distant ancestors I've found to date.  Many details have come from The Pardee Genealogy by Donald Lines Jacobus, plus from records filmed at Family Search.

It appears John COX was born about 1550, likely in the Pitminster region of Somerset in the southwest of England.  Cox is sometimes seen as Coxe and other variants.  For an interesting write-up of the Cox surname, click here.  

On the 20 Jan 1576/7, in Pitminster, at the St Mary & St Andrew church, John married Alice WALSBEER (variously seen as Walsbrow, Walsheer).  The various spellings seem to indicate the trials of transcribing a messy handwriting.  I have not looked for other surnames in parish registers to see what I might make of a register listing. Not all registers have been put online as yet. 
John & Alice appear to have had the following children (as seen in baptism records in the Pitminster church:

  1.  Margaret, bap 4 Oct 1577, bur 15 Sep 1596.
  2.  Elizabeth, bap 24 Jan 1580
  3.  Grace, bap 24 Mar 1582, bur, 5 Oct 1606.
  4.  Anstice [ancestor], bap 25 Jun 1587; m. 3 May 1614 to Anthony PARDEE; 7 children

The area around Pitminster is farming and the woolen trade, and it is possible that the Cox family were involved in some fashion in the trade.

The Pardee Genealogy book states that John COX died about 15 Oct 1607 in Pitminster, but he was already widowed at that time.  Alice may well have had other births than the four seen above, registered in Pitminster - as note the 5 year gap between #3 - 4 children.  

Somehow, John's death in his mid-50s seems too early.  Certainly that was not unusual, because of epidemics, accidents, and the like. But to think that several of his daughters died as young women, is definitely sad.  I have not found more information on the 2nd daughter, Elizabeth.  It is possible she married, and I will look for more details of her, if possible.  

It is quite remarkable to be able to know anything at all about an ancestor from the mid-1500s in England.  I look forward to continuing my searches for more details of this family.  

If you know anything more about the family or region, do please share that information with me, and if you have corrections - I am thrilled to correct my work on my ancestors.  You can add your information in the Comments section below, or via calewis at  Thanks for stopping by to read and comment. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015


My favourite baking activity:  making loaves of bread, slicing them, freezing them in half-loaves.

Potato bread, multi-grain/seed/nut bread, butter'n egg bread... Nothing makes the house smell so good. And I can make all 5 of these loaves at the same time.  Then, all 5 fit into the oven at once, so it doesn't take more than one baking period.  Easy.

The ones in the photo are likely potato bread.  I use a very easy recipe which is so flexible that I no longer even think of reading a recipe when I make bread.

I know this is not a photo of an ancestor... but I'll be someone's ancestor at some point, and they will see that I loved to make bread. Right?

Friday, February 6, 2015


My Do-Over:

I'm feeling a mass of mixed feelings:  pride, consternation, relief, hope, frustration, and more!!
  • My new tree is slowly growing, person by person by person, details by details.
  • I have practical detailed research logs modified to my liking (love Excel)(Thank You, Thomas).
  • I'm using several new tools such as Evernote to help this process. 
  • My Research Toolbox is slowly being added to as I go along in researching, using every opportunity to see if something might be helpful.
  • My newly named and organized files make better sense to me and are easier to use. 
  • All documents I find are properly listed-cited-saved-named in my new naming system recommended by several genealogists:  SURNAME, First Name(s) - Date - ITEM, Place - Other imp't details if needed. (Thank you Miriam & Diana, others). 
  • All maps, photographs and more are also listed and named in a similar fashion. 
  • All documents are properly put into my Sources template with appropriate person details (Thank you Thomas once more).
Wow.  I love it!  It's all making so much more sense to me now, as I move along. No more repeat searching for a detail in the same database, or searching higgledy-piggledy, or getting distracted by all those new bright shiny things. In comparison with the past decade of genealogy work, I feel calmer when I research now, more purposeful!! Wonderful.


Two weeks ago I had intra-ocular surgery to remove an epiretinal membrane growing rapidly in my right eye, which is the 'only' eye with good vision. My left does peripheral vision - I suspect there's very little real estate in the brain for signals from that eye!  Currently, I have dozens of floaters which make reading challenging, but I know they will slowly be dealt with as my eye clears them out. We live in wonderful times where I don't have to go blind slowly! And living in BC, my only expenses were $58 for two eye drop preparations. Our taxes at work. Thank heavens.

Because of the eye issues, I wasn't able to do much computer work this past 10 days - and then my hard drive and one RAM unit died... fixed now with help from my friend, wearing one of his hats as a computer tech guy, and it's back to normal but better! (Thank you Dallas).

I'm quite happy with my results to date, and think I have a handle on what used to cause me to get so frustrated and disappointed with my work.  I also realize I'm essentially a disorganized visual-oriented person, so any system has to be very simple, very clear, in only 1 or 2 steps.  So far so good.

I'm sliding behind in the Do-Over weeks, but I truly don't give a darn, because I'd already decided this Do-Over will take as long as it will take.  I'm not in a competition with others, nor trying to race through the work to be done and dashing through a learning process. It will likely take all year or so.

Thanks for all the great ideas and suggestions on the Facebook page, plus I learn a lot by reading about others' problems or challenges.  Learning comes from many sources, eh?

Let's see how I do by another 5 weeks or so.  It's a great journey I'm on.  Feel free to add your comments or suggestions below - I love to know people have been by.  

Thursday, February 5, 2015

52 ANCESTORS, 52 THEMES: No.5, Plowing Through... John S. TERWILLIGER 1800-1873

This year's challenge by Amy Crow is another weekly blog, but based on Themes. Last week, it was Closest to My Birthday.  This week the theme is PLOWING THROUGH.  Hmmm, plowing through... fields of grain?  snow in winter?  mounds of laundry?  sinkfuls of dirty dishes?  bushels of fruit/veggies to can?  disease/death of family members?   doing what needed doing no matter what? 

I found this particular theme frustrating and couldn't readily find an example ancestor to write about.  Finally I decided to simply pick an ancestor to write about.  Consider this is my own plowing-through exercise!  

The photograph of my 3rd great-grandfather John S. TERWILLIGER taken about 1865, was provided by a third cousin (much appreciated!).  

John S. TERWILLIGER, b. was 16 Sep 1800 New Scotland, Albany, New York, & apparently baptized 23 Mar 1760 in Schenectady, Albany, New York. (I suspect the middle name is Simon, for his father.)  John S.'s parents were Simon TERWILLIGER & Jane (Jennetje) KOEN, both also born in New Scotland township.  

John S. TERWILLIGER was the third of the 4 children, all sons, of Simon & Jane [Koen] TERWILLIGER.  I can usually find one or more of these brothers living nearby on Censuses: Conrad, Richard, George. 

In approximately 1823, John married the first time to Margaret REID, likely in New Scotland. The marriage date is approximate and is estimated by looking at the birth year of the eldest son, my ancestor.  Margaret was apparently born in Scotland and emigrated with her parents - however, this has not been confirmed. Their children were the following, born in New Scotland: 
  1.  James M.,  b 30 Jan 1825, d. 18 Oct 1909, Roselle, Union NJ; m. 1851 to Harriet F. BUELL, 2 living sons [Grove & Harry]
  2.  George,  b 26 Apr 1827, d. 1890, Sterling, Whiteside, IL;  m. abt 1852 to Matilda B. Fowler, 3 girls
  3.  Nancy,  b 13 Apr 1830, d. 2 Jan 1915, Sterling, Whiteside, IL; m. John Harpham about 1855, 3 girls, 1 boy
  4.  Jane Reid, b 26 Feb 1835, d. 8 Apr 1922, Boston MA; m. approx 1865 to Dr. John Skinner, 4 boys [with marvellously interesting names!]
  5.  Mary E., b 24 Apr 1837, d. 15 Mar 1907; m. abt 1860 to Roswell O Brown; 1 boy known

Margaret REID, his first wife, died 11 Dec 1838 in DeWitt, Onondaga, NY, when their youngest child was about 20 months old, the eldest child 12 years old.   Two years later his father, Simon died.  By this time, John S. TERWILLIGER seems to have moved to Centreville, NY.

Shortly after, he married his 2nd wife, Jane DeGroff on 13 Feb 1841, and they had the following children: 
  6.  Jane, b abt 1842, d. before 1850
  7.  Sara C, b. 5 Mar 1845, d. 26 Dec 1928; never married [schoolteacher], very close to her eldest stepbrother, my ancestor, James M., and his eldest son, James Grover "Grove" TERWILLIGER
  8.  Lida, b. abt 1849, d. infant

His second wife, Jane DeGroff died 14 Jun 1849 in DeWitt, likely after birth of her third daughter, Lida.  Around the same time, he seems to have not only owned a farm but also a grocery store in Syracuse, as the 1855 Census lists his occupation as "Merchant", and that he owned the land. 

John then married for the third time on 4 Dec 1856 to Harriet Margaret Ives; no children. Harriet appears to have outlived him, and I have not yet found a death notice or obituary for her, nor a burial record.  

He died 31 Aug 1873 and was buried in the Collamer Cemetery, by Syracuse.  His unmarried daughter by 2nd wife Jane DeGroff, Sara(h) C. Terwilliger details are etched on the same obelisk as his own information.  Sarah died 26 Dec 1928.

I copied down thfollowing obituary found for him from an Albany newspaper [must get proper copy!].  There were a number of "John Terwilliger" men in New York, but the names of the sons and their residences helps clinch this as being his death notice. A few details about where he lived, for how long, and when are slightly incorrect.  

Albany NY dated, Aug. 31, 1873

--- John Terwilliger, one of the old residents of this county, died at his farm, near the city, last Sunday night, and aged seventy-three years. He settled in the northern part of DeWitt in 1836, where he resided twenty years.   After living in the city about four years, he moved to a farm near Centerville, where he has since lived.   Mr. Terwilliger was the father of James Terwilliger of Syracuse, and George Terwilliger, formerly of this city, but at present residing in Illinois.   The deceased was a man of pure life and character, a devoted Christian, and respected by all who knew him.  

If you have any further information on John S(imon) TERWILLIGER, his three wives, and his children, do please let me know via calewis at telus dot net or in the Comments below. Thank you for stopping by to read and comment.


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