Visiting Alice – Motivation Monday

Alice with her Siblings - Alice is 2nd on Left

Alice with her Siblings – Alice is 2nd on Left

Last week I had the privilege of traveling to Colorado and visiting with Alice.  She is my grandma’s first cousin and was born in 1920.  Her dad, Charles Edward Tracy, was my great grandfather, John Wesley Tracy’s, younger brother.  Alice was a genealogist before internet research and she had a treasure trove of records and pictures to share with me.  She has boxes of binders and boxes of books just full of research that she has worked on over the last countless years.  Before you could get online and just type in your search terms in a Genealogy Search Engine like Ancestry.com you had to write letters to relatives, courthouses, genealogy societies, libraries, etc..and ask for information.  You had to know exactly what you were looking for.  Or, many times you had to drive to those places and dig through records yourself.  Most of them weren’t indexed or even in great order.  I really realized how much easier it is now with so many records not only digitized but also indexed and sounded.  I can do so much of my research from the comfort of my own home.  But on the flip side, through her hard, patient work,  Alice has a large collection of old letters, photographs, telegrams, birth and death certificates, and more.  Genealogists like myself consider these real treasures.

Alice's baby pictures

Alice’s baby pictures

I thoroughly enjoyed swapping stories with Alice and I can tell that, like me, she was very happy to have someone to talk family history with that understood the fascination with our ancestors.  It was just so crazy to think through the steps every time she would tell a story that started with something like, “Aunt May”  and I had to realize that was my great grandmother May.   She spent time at the farm and met all the “cousins” who were really my grandma Mabel’s siblings or cousins as well.  I didn’t get near enough time to ask all that I wanted to ask and it really made me miss my grandma so much.  There are so many stories that I missed because I was too busy as a kid to really listen or pay attention when Grandma wanted to tell them to me.

Sara, Judy, Alice (sitting) Tara (behind), and Rosanna (me)

Sara, Judy, Alice (sitting) Tara (behind), and Rosanna (me)

One evening we ate dinner with her daughters, granddaughter (Tara), and Sara, another “cousin” (3rd once removed) who lives in the area and whom I had invited to join us.  I enjoyed meeting such extended family.  I worked quite a bit with Tara that week as she has the privilege of “housing” all of her grandmother’s treasure.  She let me rummage through, scan and copy to my heart’s content and I helped her organize and explain her grandma’s system, hopefully.

Best of all I came home with new energy, and fresh direction.  I now have most of the information I need to start writing about the John Edward Tracy family and I am ready to jump in.

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Genealogy and Facebook

If you haven’t already discovered the many ways that Facebook can help you in your genealogy research, get ready for a whole new world.  I use Facebook in my research and writing quite a bit.  In fact, it is actually so popular that most Genealogy websites have a facebook page and ancestry.com can even link the living people in your tree to their facebook accounts and profile pictures.

Unknown-1Early on in my Facebook journey I discovered the joy of reconnecting with family from all over the states.  Most of my cousins and aunts and uncles have facebook accounts.  Even my 84 year old grandpa has a facebook account and really keeps up with all of us through it.  And of course my mom and siblings have Facebook accounts.  This is great as for the most part we rarely get to see each other and through facebook we can keep up with each others lives, many times on a daily basis.

A couple of years ago I discovered that Facebook was a great way to further my genealogy research.  I created a closed group just for my father’s side of the family and invited all of my aunts, uncles, cousins, 2nd cousins, 3rd cousins and so on to join in.  Through it we have shared stories, memories, pictures, vital statistics of new members, current events, and really just had a lot of fun.  We also started planning a family reunion by using the group as a communication vehicle.  Facebook offers several ways to communicate to groups of people.  Of course there is the one on one friendships but you can also create groups which are only open to people you invite and therefore conversations are limited to people within the group.  Another option is to create a page which is really more one dimensional.  This works best if you are just wanting to share information without alot of interaction.  And if you are planning a reunion you can create a Facebook event through which you can invite people and share information, pictures and etc.  I have used all of the above options in my genealogical endeavors.

The family group is my favorite.  As I was preparing for the family reunion I started looking for living descendants of the family.  As I found names I would look for them on Facebook, then invite them to the group.  As they accepted they would in turn tell me about other descendants which would then get added.  It was an awesome way to really reach out and find so many connections.  Many of them couldn’t make it to the reunion but they enjoyed learning about their ancestry through the stories and pictues shared in the group.  To this day when I am researching a descendant line and I find a living person I immediately look for them on Facebook.

Recently I have begun working once again on my father’s father’s line which is still somewhat mysterious especially when it comes to pictures and stories.  I have found records through my research but the records only make me more curious about the family.  So I have started to work forward on the lines of my grandpa’s siblings and from his aunts and uncles lines.  Trying to find living relatives that I can communicate with and  who might possibly have the stories and pictures that I am missing. I have sent quite a few private messages and friend requests in the last few days and I am really hoping for some answers soon!  I am like a kid waiting for Birthday cards in the mail, I keep checking to see if anybody has answered my enquiries.

Another thing you can find on Facebook besides genealogy websites like family tree, ancestry, family finder, and so many others are genealogical societies like the DAR, the Mayflower Society, The Jamestown Society and so many more.  You can also look for groups or pages with Surnames you are interested and see if there are any connections.  Another thing I have seen are county and/or state historical or genealogy societies with Facebook pages.   And if there are genealogists that you follow they probably have a facebook page as well.  Look for mine at Rosanna’s Genealogical Thoughts.

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Motivation Monday – Genealogy Workshop with D. Joshua Taylor

Joshua Taylor on Genealogy Roadshow

Joshua Taylor on Genealogy Roadshow

If you keep up with the modern Genealogy world at all you probably know who D. Josh Taylor is.  He is the young genealogist recently starring on “Genealogy Roadshow” and also on several episodes of “Who Do You Think You Are?”.  His age and experience made sense to me once he told us he began his genealogy journey at ten years of age.  Last Saturday, I had the honor to be able to attend a full day workshop with D. Joshua Taylor, hosted by the Hardesty Library in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  Actually our little local Sapulpa Genealogy Club had about ten members in attendance.

Mr. Taylor graciously allowed me to take a picture with him.

Mr. Taylor graciously allowed me to take a picture with him.

Josh was a joy to listen to.  He conveys his excitement and curiosity about genealogical history in a fun loving way.  On one episode of Genealogy Roadshow he describes himself as “part detective, part historian and the other part extremely curious”.  It is very obvious that he loves Genealogy and the stories behind our ancestors.

Saturday he spoke on four topics:

  • Bridging the Gap: Finding Ancestors in the U.S. Between 1780 and 1830
  • Online Resources for Colonial America
  • Finding the Roots of Your Family Legends
  • Treasures in the Archives: Using Archive Grid
Syllabus for the first two sessions.

Syllabus for the first two sessions.

In Bridging the Gap he first helped us understand the reasons for gaps in record from 1780-1830.  Immediately following the Revolution the country was expanding rapidly, record keeping systems were still being worked out, and it was estimated that only 1 in 4 Americans were members of a religious group which at that time in history was the main recorders of vital statistics such as births, marriages and burials.  He then went on to give us strategies to help overcome the gap.  If primary vital statistic records are unavailable you have to build a profile using other records.  Sometimes you can use a process of elimination.  There is a “Proof Standard”: Build a case, Eliminate possibilities, Develop theories, and Draw conclusions.  He said to go back through the records you do have and look for other clues.  He said several times that it is important to try to look at original records, not just transcriptions.  There can be mistakes in transcribing but more than that there may be other information on the original records, notes written on the side, etc.  He spent some time in this session going over archives and lesser known repository research.  The kind where you have to put “feet to the ground” and do physical research.  This really got me fired up, dreaming of when I can plan another Genealogy Roadtrip.

The second session was about doing Colonial American Research online.  He went over using Google Books, Internet Archive, Early American Newspapers and American Ancestors.  All online databases that have books and newspapers digitized.  Many States and Universities also have digitized archives.

After the second session we broke for lunch.  Many in our group went to eat at McAllister’s.  Mr. Taylor ate there as well.  Which was good because we knew as long as he was there eating we weren’t late getting back.  We had a great lunch and I enjoyed getting to know the ladies in our club better.

The third session was about Finding the Roots of Family Legends.  This was a fun one.   Typically in genealogy family legends are discounted.  He encouraged us to trace the legends, develop the historical context around the legend,  using newspapers of the time along with other sources.  We should document the sources we find that disprove the legend so that others won’t have to redo the same research.  But whether we can prove or disprove the legend we shouldn’t lose the legend.  We should write the legend along with our research on it into our family books because for many family members that is the interesting stuff that connects them to genealogy.

The last session of the day was Treasures in the Archives: Using ArchiveGrid.  This was a pretty technical session, at least for me.  I had never even heard of ArchiveGrid.  This session really made me realize what a novice I still am at this genealogy thing.  I took alot of notes and I am hoping that when I have time to learn this I will understand my own notes.  If not I will just have to find another Joshua Taylor workshop to attend.

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Where did our Tracey line come from? Research in progress.

dna2 Recently I have jumped into the world of genetealogy.  That is DNA genealogy research.  My second cousin, Marshall, offered to take the YDNA test through familytreeDNA.  The results were kind of surprising.  When my husband took the same YDNA test he got pages and pages of matches, when I took the autosomal DNA test I also received pages and pages of matches.  I had come to expect it from the entry level dna tests.  You have to upgrade tests to narrow down matches.  The entry level YDNA test matches 12 markers on a DNA strand, you can then upgrade to 25, 37, 47, and on.  For each level you should get less and less matches but it should narrow down your matches to closer relations.  So you should expect to get quite a few matches with an entry level test.

dnacubeslSo back to Marshall Tracy’s YDNA-12 test results.  He had 7 matches!  That is 7 matches total, not pages!  I am a rookie at this DNA research but even I knew something was up with that.  I reached out via email to the Tracey Surname project administrator, and a few other researchers.  Thankfully, the project administrator, Declan, got back to me pretty quickly and here is what he had to say:

“I had a look at the results and you are right that there are very few matches, which for 12 markers is very unusual. I see that you are upgrading to 25 markers but I think that this will not change the number of matches.

Your cousin belongs to an unusual group of individuals that are Rb1 and have the DYS392=11 mutation. There is one person who lives in DubIin Ireland, but he thinks that his family are descended from the English family [see Tracy Peerage Case]. This is what I wrote a number of years ago:

In the ancient Irish genealogies of the Uí Bairrche tribe, the Uí Treasaich and Mac Gormáin families belonged to the royal family and were related. Some members of the Tracy and Gorman DNA Projects contain a very rare mutation, DYS392=11. According to Seán MacGorman Powell, the Gorman Project Administrator, after a careful analyses of all DYS392=11 mutation bearers in every major geographical DNA project examined, he identified a total of 79 people worldwide within the R1b haplogroup (and subclades) who bear this mutation. Considering that tens of thousands of R1b people have been tested, it is clear that this represents an extremely rare mutation for R1b, occurring in less than one-half of one percent (< 0.5%) of that major haplogroup. As such, this may be a strong indication of a DNA relationship and may explain the reference to “Macraith, son of Gorman, son of Treasach” in the Annals of the Four Masters for the year 1042 AD. Seán has also compared the Gormans and Tracys who have the DYS392=11 mutation and in his opinion, there is no relation between the two groups outside of the mutation.”

So our Tracey branch is part of a very small DNA group of Tracey’s and Gorman’s.  Knowing this, I’d like to find some other Teague Tracey descendants that have taken the Y-DNA test and compare results and also some Tracey’s still living in Ireland and/or England.  I did notice that of those seven matches several of them listed their paternal ancestor and it was one that I believe was a descendant of Teague – I still need to confirm these.  There were also two from the UK – one from Edenfield, England and one from Ireland but those two had different surnames…curious.?  My goal is to find where our Tracey line was transported from way back in 1679 (or before).  And DNA may be able to get me where records alone could not.

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Tracey Immigration – Surname Saturday

Rosanna Ward:

I am reblogging this as a preview to my next post about what I’ve learned about the Tracey line through YDNA tests so far.

Originally posted on Rosanna's Genealogical Thoughts:

Teague Tracey (Trassey?)

Our Immigrant Ancestor

by Rosanna Ward

May 22, 2012

There are a few genealogists who have been trying for years to figure out how our branch of Tracey’s came to America and where they came from.  We have pretty substantial evidence when tracing our line back to Teague Tracey born 1674 whose first appearance in Maryland, America was about 1679.  There is also record of a Teague Trassey being transported to Virginia in 1655 who may be Teague jr.’s father as there is much to suggest that his father was also named Teague.  Whether or not these two Teague’s are related has yet to be proven.  Teague is an Irish form of Timothy.  There are other records of Timothy Tracey in the area around the same time and these may have been one or both Teague’s or possibly a totally different person.  Most of the records we…

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Thankful Thursday – Genealogy friends

Wow!  I have so much to be thankful for, in life in general, but specifically in my genealogy hobby.  I took some time away from the blog this summer and away from research as well.  But I have still been busy in the genealogy world: I have had several people send me information and pictures that were such a joy to receive,  I have started dabbling in the DNA world more, and I joined a local genealogy club.

First book done!

First book done!

First, I finished the Rusler and Erxleben blogs and then edited them to flow together, added some source records, printed and bound about fifteen of them and sold them to interested relatives.  I also sent a few copies to genealogy and history libraries in the counties where my Rusler and Erxleben ancestors lived.  One of the copies I sent to the York, Nebraska County Historical Society and the lady there (who has helped me in the past) read it right away and seeing that I still had questions about some of the relatives, immediately sent me an obituary for one of them.  This is was such a great

George Rusler's Obituary

George Rusler’s Obituary

find! (although the obituary was quite sad).

Second, about a year ago I had taken part in the ancestry.com’s beta DNA test.  It came back that I was 99% Scandinavian which just seemed kind of crazy to me.  So this summer I transferred the raw data over to familytreeDNA.com.  Their family finder test gave me the results that I was 94% Orcadian of Western Europe and 6% Middle Eastern.  The Orcadian population was indigenous to the Orkney Islands north of Great Britain.  So basically I am descended from Vikings and people from that region.  Since this went along with ancestry’s findings I decided to start believing.  Last week I transferred the data to a medical DNA company called promethease.com ($5) and they gave me a fun breakdown of my medical DNA.  Turns out that most of my DNA would suggest that I would have blonde hair and blue eyes.  (I actually have brown hair and

Me

Me

hazel eyes).  This was funny but really starts to explain why we have two children with blonde hair and blue eyes.  (my spouse also has brown hair and hazel eyes)  There was alot of other information about what kinds of diseases I was more likely to get, the fact that I can taste bitter, I was lactose tolerant, etc…  It is definitely a fun little website and really helped me understand DNA a bit better.

I also had my spouse do a Y-DNA test, when I received the results I didn’t understand them much so I went ahead and did the family finder on his also, the results of which I am still waiting on.  It does says that he is Western European and gave him a haplogroup number (not sure what to do with that yet).  And my Tracey cousin did the Y-DNA test also and we are waiting on his results.  Maybe they will be easier to understand.  I learned alot about DNA this summer.

I have also recently had two researchers that connect to my ancestors 3-4 generations back send me pictures that I had never seen before.  It is like Christmas every time I receive pictures or stories from other researchers.  Just this week another descendant of my great great Gotcher grandparents sent me two pictures of the family.  While neither picture included my great grandpa it was great to see what my Gotcher ancestors looked like and after I posted the pictures to our family group on Facebook we all agreed that there is definitely family resemblance in many of us to these grandparents – especially my brother with great great grandpa Daniel.

Daniel, Delilah and Ledford Gotcher

Daniel, Delilah and Ledford Gotcher

Gotcher Family - Daniel Delilah and Girls

Gotcher Family – Daniel Delilah and Girls

My intent this summer was to take a break from my paternal genealogy and work on my husband’s paternal genealogy but I ran into a roadblock right away.  Oklahoma has changed their rules for ordering death certificates making it especially difficult for a genealogist to get them.  Now you have to send in evidence that you are related to the person you are trying to get a death certificate for.  Since I was trying to get a death certificate for my husband’s great great grandma, Texanna Dyer Ward, I had to show how Texanna was related to her son Elmer (census report, which I have), then how Elmer was related to Mike (census report, which I have), then how Mike was related to David (?), then how David is related to Jason (Jason’s Birth Certificate, which I have), and how Jason and I are related (Marriage Certificate, which I have).  The only way I can bridge the gap between Mike and David is to ask my father in law for a copy of his birth certificate…awkward?  Anyway, it is a maddening rule.  I mean, that is a lot of paperwork and it’s not like she even had a social security number that anyone is going to steal, which is their excuse for these new rules).

But the best thing I have done this year is join a genealogy club.  I am a dedicated introvert but it is so fun hanging out with a group of people who share the same passion as I do and speak the same language.  Their eyes don’t glaze over when I talk about genealogy adventures and finds.  They understand the joy of the hunt and of finding a piece to the puzzle.  I have had a great summer, I have much to be thankful for and I am ready to get back to researching and blogging.  Stay tuned for more of Rosanna’s Genealogical Thoughts.

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Church Records Sunday – Council Church in York County, Nebraska

Council Church

Council Church

Last summer at the Tracy Family Reunion we visited the old family church on Sunday Morning.  We had a brief informal service where we sang some old hymns, shared memories of the church, my mom spoke about “legacy”, then we prayed and took pictures before we visited the cemetery out back.  Many of our relatives are buried there and many of them were members at the church.

Family picture out front

Family picture out front

While there we realized that when our children were singing songs in the church they were the 6th generation to do so there. 6 generations!!!  Council Church was established in 1872.  By 1880 my Tracy and Rusler ancestors were living in the area.  From that point on most of them were buried at Council Cemetery.  And many of them were members of the church.  I have fond memories as a child attending church there where my grandma would play the piano.  There

Reunion at Council Church

Reunion at Council Church

was no air conditioning and all the ladies had those paper fans attached to wooden “tongue depressors”  There was a picture of Jesus as the shepherd behind the pulpit and we sat on old hard wood pews.  As a child it never hit me that my ancestors sat in those same pews, played the same piano, etc…  But as an adult it sure means alot.  I love that there is a little church in the middle of Nebraska where 6 generations of Tracys’ and Rusler’s have worshipped God – It feels like we are building on each others faith.  My Faith foundation is firm because of that church and my family.

Worship

Worship

Last summer I also found some records that partially pertained to Council Church.  My Great Great Grandpa Michael Anthony Rusler’s older brother Charles J. Rusler left provision for the church in his will.

Section 6: “I , give, devise and bequeath to the trustees of the Council Church of Lushton, Nebraska the sum of Twenty Thousand Dollars in trust to keep the principal sum invested in good securities; and the income to be expended by them. less necessary expenses, for the upkeep of the said Council Church, so long as it maintains its organization and maintains church services.  this trust to be administered by the present trustees of Council Church and their successors.  When the said Council Church shall cease the organization and maintenance of its church services the said sum of money Twenty Thousand Dollars to be divided equally among my said two brothers, my sister, my niece Mary Tracy, my niece, Minnie Burton and my Niece Pearl Wagner share and share alike, the share of any of my said sister, brothers and nieces to go their heirs if they are not living at that time.”

Grandma Gotcher's favorite hymn.

Grandma Gotcher’s favorite hymn.

Charles J Rusler died April 12, 1930 and this will was filed May 4, 1931.  I have no idea where this Twenty Thousand Dollars is as of now but I hope that it is what helps keep this precious church standing and in good shape.  I know they still hold intermittent services there.  I just hope that whatever money is held in trust for this church that it keeps the church standing and the doors open.  I hope there are other wills like this one that left the church a little bit of money.  I wonder if Charles had any idea the church would function for so long after his death.  If that money was to be taken out and

Gotcher Kids at Council Church 1953

Gotcher Kids at Council Church 1953

distributed to all the heirs of the original heirs we would not really get any great amount of money.  There are alot of Rusler descendants.  I for one believe the money is being put to good use where it’s at for now.  I pray that one day my grandchildren have a chance to worship there as the 7th generation to do so.

Kids singing on stage

6th Generation singing at Council Church

 
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