Saturday, November 8, 2008

oh baby....

... my grandmother, Lois Dorothy Kellogg, was born 20 Jun 1899 so this photograph was probably taken in late 1900. Her father, Spencer Kellogg, Jr., was something of a dilettante, avoiding the family business as much as possible and exploring the arts and other interests.

He was part of a group of amateur and professional photographers in the Buffalo, New York area. There are therefore a large number of photographs of his only daughter throughout her childhood although none of them are dated, sigh! In the photo to the right she looks to be in her early teens, perhaps only 11 or 12 years old.

I never knew my great grandfather as he died three days before I was born but I think he was an interesting person although I am not sure I would have liked him. 

To complete this little pictorial eddy in the stream of life, I include a picture of him, identified as being taken in 1912, where I believe he was trying to appear serious and intense... perhaps he was serious and intense in reality ... and also a photograph of him as a young boy, perhaps 7 or 8 years old. 

This has been an interesting experience. I have never really looked at some of these photographs closely and now I see some family resemblances particularly between myself and my grandmother that I have never noticed before... 

Saturday, October 25, 2008

a small anomaly....

... has caught my attention again. I frequently find that the small blips or anomalies of my ancestors lives grab my focus and sometimes even become obsessions. Alexander Gottlieb Weller, one of my maternal great great grandfathers, immigrated from Wuertemburg in 1832 with his parents, a sister and three brothers, settling in Buffalo, Erie County, New York. By 1850 he is listed as a carriage maker in the household of Jonathan Whitney, blacksmith, as are another blacksmith, a second carriage maker, a painter and a carpenter, he is perhaps an apprentice.

In 1855 he is with his mother and brothers, listed as a carriage maker. By 1859 he marries Catherine Wilson, born in England and is listed as living on Mortimor near Sycamore, a wagon-maker. Their daughter Elizabeth is born that winter (age 6 months at the 1860 census) and in 1861 they have twin daughters, Ida and Harriett. In 1863, another daughter, Emma is born in Illinois but by 1865 they are back in Buffalo where Alexander is in the carriage making business with Alonzo Armstrong. The following years bring more children and a growing carriage making business there in Buffalo.

A normal, upperwardly mobile life... but, what’s with that one child born in Illinois? We know Alexander was in Buffalo in 1860. In 1861, the twins are born there so Catherine is still in Buffalo although he may have already gone to Illinois. Emma is born somewhere in Illinois about 1863 and by June of 1865, the family is back in Buffalo in time for the 1865 state census and Alexander is in the carriage making business with Alonzo as Armstrong & Weller, employing five adults and one boy.

I’ve spent most of today trying to find sources for anything he may have done in Illinois and all I found was the 1863 Chicago City Directory: “Weller, Alexander, carriagemaker, h. 10 Hills.” That was found at but no listing was found for him in other years.

The only theory that occurs to me is the Civil War which began 12 April 1861 and ended 9 April 1865 ... did he take his wife and their three little girls to Illinois to make wagons for the Union Army? ... perhaps making enough money to go into business for himself? But, perhaps he just went to Chicago to try his luck there and returned to Buffalo within a year or so? What do you think?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

and on wordless wednesday ....

I have no clue why I am inspecting my younger sister's tongue but this picture makes me smile every time I see it

Saturday, October 18, 2008

caught by a meme ...

... and tagged for it by Judy Schubert of Genealogy Traces. Even though she got my name wrong, I forgive her ... so here goes:

Ten years Ago I...
1) was living in Cleveland, Ohio
2) had been sober almost 20 years
3) but was still smoking
4) my youngest two sons were still at home
5) and I had been happily remarried for 3 years

Five things on today's to-do list:
1) find the surface of my desk under all this stuff
2) catch up on my email including the one from a newly discovered 5th cousin
3) work on the local society quarterly
4) chat with another cousin and fellow blogger online
5) make some new to-do lists

Five snacks I enjoy:
1) Cheddar Chex Mix
2) cheese and crackers
3) oysters and crackers
4) doughnuts
5) anything chocolate

Five places I have lived:
1) New Canaan Connecticut
2) Boulder Colorado
3) Sonora Texas
4) Harlan Kentucky
5) Pasadena California

Five jobs I've had:
1) file clerk
2) bookkeeper
3) waitress
4) long distance moving van driver
5) medical insurance eligibility specialist

I couldn't find others I knew to tag so have funked out on that part and simply challenge anyone who wishes to join in to either comment here with it or, if they have a blog, post it there and comment here with the link. If you don't have a blog of your own yet, you could always start one with this meme !!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

the interesting and the unexpected ....

... found during the "Would You Care to Comment" Challenge at the looking4ancestors blog which turned out to be even more interesting than I had thought. The first stop of course was the challenging blog,

1) Looking4Ancestors where I naturally commented on the challenge itself.

I've not been in the blogging world for long and only had read a very few with any regularity so I followed up with the ones I knew:

2) Lori Thornton's Smoky Mountain Family Historian and

These are longtime friends and the quality and readability of their work is worth checking out. The sheer beauty of Bob's photographs are worth a visit even when, like me, you have no Mississippi interests at all. 

Through visitors to my blog, I had discovered three more blogs I was already following:

4) Joe Beine's Genealogy Roots Blog with it's reporting on online databases

5) Bill West's West in New England with a flair for storytelling and roots in my own deeply rooted New England

6) Randy Seaver's Genea-Musings where not only did I find an interesting and well written post (Digging in the Putnam Garden of Genealogy Mysteries) but it turns out Randy is a distant cousin of mine through the Bradt family!

Now I had run out of the blogs I had already found for myself and liked so I forged on using links from those blogs to check for more. I found quite a few that were good but I really had no comment on, the topics were too far outside my interests, no blog had been posted in months, or simmply totally useless and I didn't feel that I should comment on just any blog simply to fill the quota. My remaining choices for comments:

7) footnote Maven, one of the most attractive and readable blogs I saw

8) Thomas MacEntee's Destination Austin Family

9) Bootcamp for Genea-Bloggers and more by several authors, and an absolute neccesity for this beginner to the blogging world

10) The Virtual Dime Museum and a post on The Elephant hotel mong other posts on NYC area neat stuff.

do I have to stop now??

Friday, October 10, 2008

an unexpected face found ...

... while 'long shot' browsing. Every so often I'll toss a name, sometimes with a location, into the google search box and see what might turn up. A few months ago it was "Sophia Stanton" and "Louisiana" that I threw out there.  Sophia was the wife of the John Stanton whose passport request is in the blog header graphic and thus mentioned in my last post. Within a year or two of his death she had relocated back to their native New England and in 1858 remarried to Samuel Richardson. 

The google search results were mostly unrelated but then I stumbled on a link to a digital image at the Louisina Digital Library (LDL) at, "an online library of over 84,000 digital materials about Louisiana's history, culture, places, and people." The full link ( led to a digital image of a painting titled Sophia Stanton in the collection of the Louisiana State Museum, a thumbnail of which is shown here. 

At this point I was fairly skeptical that this would be my Sophia Stanton, wife of John Stanton who was brother to my direct line, Hatevil Stanton, and whose sister, Nancy, was married to yet another brother, Jacob Clark Stanton but my email to the museum confirmed that this was indeed "Sophia Stanton, wife of John Stanton, owner of Stanton & Co. Wholesale and Retail Dealers of Ice" of New Orleans. My further inquiry regarding how the portrait (along with some other odds and ends) ended up in Louisiana elicited the information that it had been bequeathed to the museum by Mrs. Elizabeth E. G. Mann of Sarasota, Florida, in 1997 and that Sophia Cook was her "grandmother". 

At that time I checked the research I had done and was certain that Elizabeth Mann could not be a granddaughter as a check of the SSDI (and a friend with access to more place of birth and death information for Florida deaths than Ancestry) finds her as born 26 April 1909 in Springfield, Hampden County, Massachusetts, and died 9 Feb 1997 in Sarasota, Florida, and none of John and Sophia's children had a daughter Elizabeth at anytime, much less at that late a date.  Then I had to lay it aside and concentrate on other things.

Today, cleaning up the assorted debris on my desk, I ran across my notes on the portrait and the question about how the owner, Elizabeth Mann, related to the family. Sophia and John Stanton had five children: Adelaide Bartlett, Charles Benjamin, Ada Sophia, Helen Elouise, and John Gilman Stanton. Three of the children were quickly eliminated: Ada died as a child and Adelaide had no children according to the 1900 and 1910 census schedules. John Gilman Stanton married and had one daughter, Alice, who is still at home in 1910 at the age of 30, showing no evidence of marriage or children. 

This left Charles and Adelaide. Charles proved difficult to trace. In 1880 he and his wife and children are in Chicago, Illinois, and none are found again until 1910 when he and two of his four children are in Tacoma, Washington. His wife Florence is shown with 4 children all still living but the two missing children, Victor born circa 1878 in Illinois and Helen born circa 1874 in Kentucky remain stubbornly hidden.

Failing in that direction, I turned to Helen. In 1873, she married Henry Hill Goodell (or Goodale) and they had two sons, John Stanton and William. From notes on Ancestry's family trees, John married Edith Friese and William married Ethel Morris. John Stanton Goodell was elusive and all I found were John and Edith with her mother Matilda, enumerated in 1920 Ellsworth County, Kansas but there is no daughter Elizabeth age 10. William however turned out to be a bit easier and I located him with his wife Ethel and daughter Elizabeth (!!!!!). In both 1910 and 1920, they are in Springfield, Hampden County, Massachusetts, and Elizabeth is age 12 months and then age 10 respectively. For both John and Williams's households I was certain I had the right people, not because of the Ancestry tree but because the father was born in Turkey and the mother in Louisiana, an unlikely combination. 

With the solid listing of a daughter of the right name and age, I turned to the New England Historic Genealogy Society site and searched their Massachusetts Vital Records 1841-1910 database for Elizabeth Goodell's birth and hit the jackpot!! In City of Springfield records of births, Volume 583, on page 175, at Entry 670, recorded on 15 May 1909: Elizabeth Electa Goodell was born 26 April 1909 in Springfield to William Goodell, physician and wife Ethel Morris. 

So the identity of the portrait owner is determined, Elizabeth Electa Goodell, married to (--?--) at some time prior to her death, was the great granddaughter of Sophia Cook Stanton through Elizabeth's father William Goodell and his mother Helen Stanton. I suppose I ought to write the museum to update their information ... how come research seems to add to the stuff to be done?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

too many choices....

... all clamoring to be in the blog banner! After some stumbling around to figure out how to add an image to the header, I determined to get one done today. It was of course a foregone conclusion that it would be bits and pieces of my ancestors but frankly, I have far too many bits and pieces on hand and nearly all of them wanted to be there!!! 

Anyway, the bits that ended up above are as follows:

The background is part of the sampler completed by my 3rd great grandmother on my father's side, Sukey Foster, and completed by her in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in August of 1803 when she was 12 years old. 

The story of the sampler is at
and the sampler itself is shown at

The small journal on the left is a "Mathison's Life Diary" that was given to my great grandfather, Charles Stanton Adams for Christmas of 1905. After a small section for entering information about family, it commences with Jan of 1890 with three months to the page and continues until December of 1964. Charles, or "Thuddy" as he was called by family, made a scattering of back entries from 1890 to 1905 and then for a little over ten years he made frequent entries including listing everyone who came for Thanksgiving or Christmas and a number of small entries about his son and only child, my grandfather, Arthur Stanton Adams, who was born 1 July 1896. 

The miniature on the journal is a mourning locket with a braided lock of hair under glass on the reverse side along with the name "Wm Adams." It is believed to be William Adams, my 5th great grandfather, grandfather of Charles of the journal. There are two William's in a row but Charles' father William did not die until 1905, rather late for the miniature and portrait. The elder William was born 11 January 1789 and died 26 March 1827 and is the liklier candidate.

The little girl with the book is myself, circa age 2 or 3, and the book is Beatrix Potter's "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" and certainly typifies my childhood and much of my life, buried in a book!!!

The two girls to the right are my maternal great grandmother, Lida Deshler Willson, on the right and her sister Olive Sinks Willson on the left. The girls were born and raised in Leavenworth, Kansas, but the picture was taken in Dayton, Ohio, possibly on a trip back to see their mother's family in nearby Williamsburg in Clermont County.

The final item, the paper behind myself and the sisters, is my third great grand uncle, John Stanton's letter requesting a passport. On 4 November 1848, he writes, "Being out of health and ordered by my physicians to travel through the south of Europe for its restoration, I am desirous of obtaining a passport." He dies at sea on 25 January 1849 "on board barque Star, 25th Jan, on the passage from New Orleans for Marseilles, Mr. John Stanton, 39, of the firm of Stanton & Co, of N.O." as noted in the Boston Evening Transcript of 30 Mar 1849. 

I guess now I will have to figure out how to add images to the actual blog so I can stop the clamoring of all those who got left out.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

where the obsession leads I follow...

... or I suppose anyway. Some of my fellow genealogists even look askance at how far out on the limbs I will go chasing a collateral line to absurd lengths or researching all the bits of a line that is barely connected.

A couple of months ago I got caught up by Alonzo Ulmer, a nephew of my direct line and spent days chasing him across the country. (At least I got an article for our local genealogy society quarterly on "Pajama Genealogy" out of it and as editor I ALWAYS need articles.) If you'd like to see the start of this most recent obsession, the article, with a few added notes, is posted  at:

Alonzo, who seems to have been something of a ne'er do well wanderer, is still nagging me to continue the research even though he is only a first cousin four times removed. Even the costs of his 436 page pension file didn't satisfy him. I've pressed on to his only child, daughter Virginia Opal, as well but she (and probably Alonzo) will come up in another, future, blog.

What concerns me is why do I get so fascinated and enthralled with these peripheral people. Last year, hours  and hours were spent researching the family of Helen Fairchild for example. Okay, Helen was the first wife of my maternal great grandfather, Edward Payson Willson but she died the following year along with their first and thus only child. Certainly it was reasonable to add her parents and perhaps her siblings but I followed ancestry and descent and even the families of her siblings' spouses. To this day I keep an eye out for further bits on her relatives. 

Do others get as intrigued and absorbed by people with little or no significance to their own work?