Sunday, October 19, 2014

Those Darn Dorans

I believe I've just found my first true "Black Sheep" family in my family history and it definitely was not where I expected it. Here is the story of one of my Irish immigrant families, the Dorans.

Thomas Doran was born around 1775 in Ireland. His wife Catherine O'Hara, also known as Kitty, was born in Ireland in about 1798. Their children were also born in Ireland. They were Fanny (born 1826) Nancy (born 1830), Henry (born 1837), Thomas (born 1839), and Margaret (born 18??). The family emigrated from Ireland to America some time between 1839 and 1853. It appears they arrived in New York before moving to Pennsylvania, likely around Philadelphia.

Nancy became an unwed mother in 1853, while either in New York or Pennsylvania, with the birth of her son, Thomas, my great-grandfather. It is unknown who the father was. Some time between 1853 and 1860, the family moved to Carthage, Hancock County, Illinois.

A newspaper article speaking of the incident that occurred on Wednesday, July 22, 1868, says "The Doran family, living beyond the Wabash depot, was often in trouble and history tells that 'Granny' Doran had an establishment in her home." So far, we have not been able to deduce what kind of establishment the article was speaking about but I tend to believe she purveyed alcohol, likely whiskey.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Share Your Info and Ask Questions - Thomas Doran in Texas

Here's another example of how taking a little bit of information you've found and sharing it with others can reap huge rewards in more information.

A couple of years ago, during my last trip to Carthage, Hancock County, Illinois, I had stumbled upon records of service in the Civil War for a Thomas Doran who would have been born in about 1843. He was listed as a musician in the Illinois 16th US Infantry. I knew this couldn't be my great-grandfather as he wasn't born until about 1853. He was also too young to be his father.
These are not documentation per se. They are just database entries showing Thomas Doran's Civil War service.

These are not documentation per se. They are just database entries showing Thomas Doran's Civil War service.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Uploading Genealogy Information to Family Tree DNA

In my relatively short time working with Family Tree DNA, the biggest problem I'm running into is when my matches either don't have their ancestor family tree uploaded or it's set to not show all the pertinent information. If we have a match through our "paper" genealogy, I wouldn't know it because I can't see who their ancestors were. Most of my matches don't have a family tree posted whatsoever. For those that do have one posted, here's what I typically see when I view the family tree of one of my matches. Note that I've replaced all names with just the word "Name" so I'm not sharing anything they may not want to share.
See all of the people showing up as "Private"? This is likely because they didn't have a death date entered and the privacy settings are set to not show matches information regarding living people.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Upcoming Doran Research

There are a few irons in the fire in regards to my Doran research.

First, I've been contacted by another experienced researcher interested in the Doran line. It sounds like she lives in the Hancock County area and she will be doing a local cemetery search for any of the Dorans. It sounds like Old Tommy and Nancy Doran were buried in Warsaw. The Kelly family was buried in Sacred Heart cemetery and it appears there are many stones missing there. The Hancock County Historical Society's cemetery index was taken in the early 1970s. If any stones were missing or illegible, they weren't included in the index. It is likely the case that the Doran headstones just don't exist any longer and possibly never did exist. Regardless, I'm wishing her luck in tracking them down.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Incarcerated in Iowa - An Historical Prison Project

This post isn't directly related to genealogy, although if you happen to be related to anyone incarcerated at the Fort Madison State Penitentiary in the past century and a half, it may have something to do with your genealogy. I still believe it's an important and interesting project.

 
My cousin, Mark Fullenkamp, is involved in a project, scanning in old glass negatives, some as much as 150 years old, found in the old Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison, Iowa. You may remember my post regarding photos Mark took at the St. James Cemetery in St. Paul, Iowa that demonstrated a bit of genealogical serendipity. You can find that article here: http://matthewkmiller.blogspot.com/2013/07/who-finds-who.html


The poster, created by Mark, incorporated one of the photos he found.
He selected this one due to the way his eyes capture the viewer.
Other than inverting the colors and adjusting the overall hue,
the eyes are exactly as shown in the original photo.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

DNA Test Request

Are you related to me? Have you had a DNA test done? If you can answer "Yes" to both of these questions, please let me know! If you're willing to have a DNA test done, again, please let me know!

I have literally hundreds of matches in my FamilyTree DNA Family Finder test results. Of these hundreds, I have genealogical research proving my relation to a total of 2 (two) of them. I am relatively closely related (up to 5th cousins) to two additional matches but we can't even figure out what branch we're related on.

The next step is to try to triangulate the matches by having other relations test. If I can get a couple of first and second cousins tested on both my mother's and father's side, it may help me figure out how I'm related to these other matches. If I can figure out what branches these matches are related to me, I may be able to get an area to search for the more stubborn branches of my tree.

For example, if I can get a cousin on my father's side to test and they match in a similar area as another match, that will tell me what branches I'm related to them on. If they have genealogical work done on that branch, it could tell me what area in Europe to look.

If you're related to me and have had a DNA test done, please let me know.

If you're related to me and are willing to have a DNA test done, again, please let me know. Thank you!

--Matt

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Free Access to New Records at Ancestry - Offer Has Expired

Ancestry has made available for free through September 1, 2014, access to their newest collections. I urge everyone to create a free Ancestry.com account now if you don't already have one and take advantage of free access to these new records.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

County Historical Societies - Nancy Dunnigan Obituary

I just received a copy of Nancy Dunnigan's obituary, found in the September 14, 1894 Carthage, Illinois Gazette. I received it from the Hancock County Historical Society. They have the Hancock County Museum in Carthage, right across the street from the jail where Joseph Smith, the founder of the LDS Church was killed. I had sent them a question regarding local cemeteries and where I might find the various Thomas Dorans buried in Carthage. In my email, I spelled out the current understanding of the Doran family.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Buying family history items on Ebay

 How can you find someone that has an item that has historical significance to your family? I know I always wanted to have some small physical piece of my family history so I kept doing searches on Ebay, hoping some elusive object would come up.

One item I tracked down was a personal journal written in the late 1800s. I looked up the name on Rootsweb and found someone that had this person in their family tree. I let them know about the item being auctioned off. They put in a small bid but didn't think the person was connected that closely to them. If I found a journal written by my direct ancestor, I know I'd be willing to spend way too much on it.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Biography of Benedict Bixenman

Benedict Bixenman was born on March 21, 1829 in Treherz, Donaukreis, Wurtemburg, now a part of Germany, to 40 year old Eusebius Bixenman and his wife, 31 year old Maria Anna (Reidmiller) Bixenman. His parents had already had five other children, at least three of which were still living at the time. They were Joseph, if he was still alive, who would have been 9 years old. and 8 year old Francesca. We only know the birth date and nothing further about these two. It's possible they died prior to Benedict's birth. The rest of the children were 6 year old Johannes, 5 year old Theresa and 3 year old Leopold.
 
Benedict Bixenman's baptismal record from the church book in Treherz