Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Tom Doran Story - A Wild Character in the Wild West

The past month has been crazy with more and more information about Tom Doran's life in Junction, Texas coming to my attention. I had made a couple of posts as I found it but thought it would be better if I can put it all into one coherent story. Here is the biography of Thomas H. Doran, the brother of my great-great-grandmother, Nancy Doran Dunnigan.

Much of the information regarding the events from September through December 1878 was found in newspaper articles obtained through the University of North Texas newspaper archive found here: http://texashistory.unt.edu/search/?explore=True&fq=dc_type:text_newspaper. These articles, along with the rest of the sources of this information are posted at the end of this post.

Tom Doran was born in Ireland on May 9, 1844. I suspect the family originated near Dublin but that is not certain at this time. His parents were Thomas and Catherine O'Hara Doran. At the time of Tom's birth, his parents already had at least two daughters, Fanny, about 18 years old, Nancy about 15 years old and one son, Henry, about 7 years old. They had two more daughters and one more son but it is unknown when they were born. Their names were Margaret (Reilly), Ellen and James.

The family emigrated to America, landing in New York City some time between 1844 and 1857. His sister Nancy became an unwed mother, giving birth to her son Thomas in 1857 in Brooklyn, New York. It appears the family moved together to the Germantown area of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania before moving on to Carthage, Hancock County, Illinois. The family lived near the Wabash train depot near the west end of Carthage.

Friday, March 20, 2015

More Details on Tom Doran in Junction, Texas

I love old newspapers! I found a couple of newspaper articles that give us more detail and a differing story about the fight between Tom Doran and Jim Deaton in Junction, Texas and about Tom Doran's death. Keep in mind that this Tom Doran is not my direct ancestor. He was the brother of my great-great-grandmother, Nancy Doran Dunnigan. They were born in Ireland but spent much of their lives in Carthage, Hancock County, Illinois. You can see the initial discovery about this story here: http://matthewkmiller.blogspot.com/2014/10/share-your-info-and-ask-questions.html

It seems that Tom and Jim (Joseph in one of the articles) were friends out drinking and gambling. Also, according to the newspaper article, the throat slashing and Doran

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

St. Patrick's Day - The Doran Family Immigration Records?

Since it's St. Patrick's Day, I feel an obligation to post something about my Irish ancestors. Back in November, I was looking for immigration records for the Doran family and found a good possibility.

The passenger list of the Bark Sherwood out of Liverpool, arriving in Philadelphia on March 31, 1849 shows names that line up pretty well with the Thomas Doran family.

Here are the ages shown on the passenger list:
Thomas: 45
Kitty: 45
James: 20
Fanny: 17
Harry (Henry?): 14
Margaret: 13
Eleanor (Ellen?): 8
Thomas: 2
 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Take a Walk Through a Cemetery

I was on the road for work last week, working in the Montrose, Colorado area. They were long days working. We had most of one day off while at the location. During this time, some of my co-workers went skiing and some others went bar-hopping. Neither of these activities interested me so I relaxed in my hotel room for a while, working on my genealogy.

Eventually, the words of my wife came back to me. Get out for a walk! I definitely didn't want to be cooped up in my hotel room all day long and it was the first nice day since winter started. It was a perfect day for a walk. I walked around the outside of the hotel. It wasn't very pleasant with the sights being a parking lot, a grocery store and a highway through town. I needed to find a nicer place to walk. While finding a park would have worked, I figured why not get something accomplished while enjoying the outdoors? I brought up Google Maps and did a search for cemeteries near my location. Google provided me with Grand View Cemetery in Montrose. According to Find-A-Grave, it was about 44% photographed. It also had two photo requests. I drove to the cemetery with camera in hand and the names of the two photo requests in my memory.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

FindMyPast - Free Access This Weekend - Offer Has Expired

FindMyPast is offering free access to all their records this weekend. This free access expires at noon (GMT) on Monday, March 9, 2015. For those of us in the United States Central Time Zone, that is 6:00am Monday.

You'll need to be signed in with a free FindMyPast registered account. You can sign in or register for your free account through this page: http://www.findmypast.com/freeweekend

--Matt

Thursday, March 5, 2015

County History Books

County history books are available for most if not all counties in the United States. These books typically cover subjects from the physical landscape of the county to its very early history to the founders of the villages in the county to prominent individuals and families. When you're able to find your ancestors listed in one of these books, it will typically tell at least the region they came from before arriving in the county, their occupation, their immediate family and the life they lived. Many times it will also provide a bit more information on the individual's parents and grandparents and children and grandchildren. This can prove to be a huge help if you don't already have this information.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Biography of Johan Anton "August" Menke

Known as August, Johan Anton August Menke was born November 25, 1864 in Dothen, Hanover in what would eventually become Germany. His parents were Diedrich Menke and Elizabeth Geers Menke. He was baptised on November 29 in Ankum, Hanover. Witnesses were Johan Heinrich Geers from Schwagstorf, Heinrich Kolde from Druchorn and Catharina Brinker Dollman from Schwagstorf.


He had four older half-brothers, Bernard Diedrich "Duke", 18 years old, Henry, 15 years old and Herman, 10 years old, all born to Diedrich's first wife, Anna Maria Catharina Rickelman, who died in 1856 and Bernard Heinrich, 6 years old, born to his second wife, Maria Catharina Brinker, who died in 1859. He also had one older full brother, Bernard Gerhard Heinrich "George", 3 years old. Later, younger sister Johanna Josephine was born when he was two and a half and Mary Elizabeth was born when he was almost six years old.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Web Searches and Iowa Death Certificates

Not every piece of genealogical information can be found online but knowing how to do a good web search, having patience and persistence can lead you in the right direction.

I decided to track down the death certificates of some of my ancestors. I did a search for Iowa Death Certificates and found the IAGENWEB Quick Reference to: County Vital Records found here:
http://iagenweb.org/state/research/bmdguide.htm

Clicking on Lee County brought me to the Lee County IAGenWeb page:
http://iagenweb.org/lee/

There is a link in the bottom right corner of the page for "Vital Records", which goes here:
http://iagenweb.org/lee/vr/index.htm

I then click the link for Death Records, leading here:
http://iagenweb.org/lee/vr/deaths/index.htm

There is then a link to the Lee County Death Certificate Index 1919 - 1933:
http://iagenweb.org/lee/vr/deaths/1919-33/19-33index.htm

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Brief DNA Primer

Here is a quick rundown of the different DNA tests and what you can find out with them.

mtDNA (mitochondrial) is the female line DNA that is passed from a mother to her children. Everyone, male or female, carries mtDNA and can be tested but males don't pass it along to their children. Only females pass it along. mtDNA can connect people on your mother's mother's mother's (etc) line and can show the distant ancestry of your strictly female ancestral line.

yDNA is carried only by males and only males can be tested. This traces your father's father's father's (etc) line and can help connect males of the same surname. For example if I was able to find another man with the last name of Miller that is a yDNA match to me, I'd know that we descend from the same man on our Miller line somewhere along the line.

Family Finder is Family Tree DNA's name for their autosomal DNA test. Ancestry provides only the autosomal test now. This is the "everything else" test. This is the bulk of your DNA and can show connections on any of your ancestral lines, not just purely male or female lines. This can show connections, as one example, on your mother's father's father's mother's mother's line and the person that matches you could connect to you on their mother's mother's father's father's line, or any other line for that matter. It will tell you that you are related but it will not tell you how you are related. For this, you'll need to narrow down your search by finding common names, common locations, common DNA matches or other ways. This is the challenge!

-- Matt

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Animated Photomosaic of an Ancestor

For those of you that enjoyed the project of creating a photomosaic of an ancestor (found here), I took that project one step further. A cousin who is a genetic match but we don't know how we're related, Robert, helped me get started on this project. This is definitely an advanced project. I pride myself in being able to figure out just about any technology or software and it took me a bit of time and help from Robert before I was able to learn how to create a project the way I wanted to.

The software I used was MemoriesOnTV. This is software designed to be used to create slideshows and allows you to pan across and zoom in and out of images and add a soundtrack to each slide or to the entire show. You can download a trial version of the software here: http://www.codejam.com/slideshow/features.htm.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Compare Information from Different Sources

Court records provide good information, as do church records, county records, property records, cemetery records, headstones and DNA test results. There are many other ways of obtaining information that are just as good. What's even better? Triangulating pertinent information by comparing what you find in one source with information from other sources. Here's an example I just found and it has provided me with a clue that gives me a location in Ireland to begin searching on one of my Irish lines.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Top Posts of 2014

With the end of the year, the beginning of the next and with many new readers, thanks to Geneabloggers, here is a rundown of my most popular posts of 2014.

1. The Family History Library in Salt Lake City - I started with an update on my brother's status after his serious fall and traumatic brain injury and just to bring everyone up to date, he is doing incredibly well and our entire family couldn't be happier with the outcome. We appreciate all the prayers and well wishes. The rest of the post is a tour of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. I never shared this post on Facebook or submitted it to any other bloggers or podcasts so it appears people are finding it on their own. I really hope it educates people enough to make the most of their first (and later) visit to the Family History Library.

2. (Tie) German Church Record Basics - Part 2 - Latin Records - Here's another post I never shared via any other medium so others must be discovering it on their own. It feels good to see that I have posts up that are likely helping others in their education and research. This post is a rundown of key words found in Latin Church records. I specified

Friday, December 26, 2014

Free Access to Ancestry Global Records - Offer Has Expired

Ancestry.com is offering free access to their global record collections through December 29, 2014. Set up a a free Ancestry account if you don't already have one and you can access the collections here: http://www.ancestry.com/cs/lookback2014.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Big Moves

My wife and I are in the midst of selling our old home, moving items into storage, then buying a new home and finally moving our things into our new home. It's a long and stressful period but in the end, we hope to be more comfortable and happy. It makes me wonder about how my ancestors experienced moves they went through.

The first one that comes to mind is when Franz Josef Panther moved from Stadelhofen, Ortenaukreis, Baden, Germany to Mösbach. The move was only about four miles down the road, just a little further than our move. Our move is going to be made easier by asking family and friends to help and renting a good sized UHaul truck. Obviously, they didn't have UHaul trucks back in the late 18th century. I don't know anything of their details but I'd imagine they used one or more wagons and possibly several trips to move their household goods. I'd imagine it would be a similar experience to what we're going through.

The moves that Franz Josef's grandsons, Aloys and Ferdinand Panther went through were obviously much more grueling.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Penny Has Hope

This isn't related to genealogy but it is important to my family. My sister-in-law has started a new blog "Penny Has Hope". It is about the struggles of raising special needs children, in particular children with autism. Please take a look and share it with anyone you know that knows about this struggle or would like to learn.

http://pennyhashope.blogspot.com

--Matt