Search This Blog


18 April 2014

Countdown to my 2014 Genealogy Road Trip

In 8 more days I will retire and hit the road for a 'little' 2600+ mile genealogy road trip through the midwestern United States.  I have spent the past year trying to prepare, but there is still so much I could have done.  It has forced me to review all the basic information I have for my ancestors and my attempts to fill in the tree down from the known ancestors.

In January this year our pastor (who is amateur/hobbyist photographer) spoke to our genealogy group about how to take better pictures.  He said he starts all of his days of photography by asking God to surprise him.  I told him that is NOT what I want to happen when I am in a cemetery photographing gravestones!  SURPRISE!   NOOOOOOOOOOO!  :-)

Looking forward to small town cafes and interesting stories along the way.

14 January 2014

Remembering: Gorman Lee Webb

Gorman Lee Webb (1933-2013)

When divorce breaks families apart it sometimes ruins all the relationships that were brought together in the marriage.  Thankfully, that was not the case with my in-laws, Joann and Gorman Webb, who were so very good to my son, Nicholas and I. Nick's grandma Joann passed in 1996.  Nicholas passed away in his sleep 7 years ago.  And today, January 14th, 2014,  Gorman was removed from life support after a short illness, and passed away.

Gorman Lee Webb was born the 13th of June 1933 in Spencer, Clay County, Iowa to Hazel Marian Iverson and William Forrest Webb.
On his father's farm in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

Gorman was raised by Hazel who took young Gorman and  moved to Des Moines where she worked full time to provide for her and her son.  Gorman met the love of his life, Dorothea JoAnn Still while attending Des Moines Tech High School.

With the Korean War a little over a year old, Gorman enlisted in the Air Force on the 31st of July 1951. He served with the 18th fighter bomber wing  as a mechanic and was deployed to Chin Hea and Huan Ju, Korea.
This is the bottom hole of the USS Meigs. Gorman took this ship to Yokomaha, Japan. That was the point of debarkation for going to Korea. Went from there to Camp Drake in Japan.

Gorman lived on the other side of the door on the right hand side. MV = Motor Vehicle Squandron. Right behind the tent, 25 or 30 yards there was a runway.

In 1953, he returned to the US, attended jump school at Fort Benning, Georgia,  married Joann on the 14th of June 1953, then they were off to Donaldson Air Force Base in Greenville, South Carolina.
Gorman and Joann's engagement announcement

Gorman was discharged the 30th of July 1955.
Gorman worked for the Des Moines School Board most his life and retired as a maintenance supervisor.

Gorman and Joann raised 2 children, their daughter Sherry, Des Moines, Iowa,  and their son Mark, who with his wife and daughter live in Western Canada and who are left to mourn.
Joann & Gorman Webb with their grandson, Nicholas
Nicholas adored his Grandpa Gorman.  They could talk political theory for hours!  Nicholas inherited his grandpa's love of story telling.

Gorman and grandson, Nicholas

Nicholas and his grandpa

Nicholas and his grandpa

There will be no funeral services.  Gorman will be cremated and his ashes buried next to his wife in Glendale Cemetery, Des Moines, Polk County, Iowa.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Animal Rescue League of Iowa in Des Moines.

Nicholas, me, Gorman

01 January 2014

52 Ancestors Week #1: John Hanlon (1831 - 1895) a Happy 183rd Birthday!

I was alerted to a new weekly blog theme by Randy Seaver on his recent post:  52 Ancestors Friday:  Frank Walton Seaver (1852 - 1922). He credits Amy Johnson Crow with the suggestion.  Amy's blog is  No Story Too Small.

My great grandfather, John Hanlon, was born the 2nd of January 1831 somewhere in Ireland.

I remember my first trip to the family history library in Salt Lake City around 1998.  I marched right down to the 'Irish' desk and said 'hi!, my great grandpa was born in Ireland, his name was John Hanlon'.  I showed her what little I had:  a photo of his gravestone, a few census records.  No obit (none exists that we can find).  The stern sister on duty that day told me to go back to Colorado and not to come back until I've done more work!

I cried.

That was my entry into family history.  And in those years since, there is precious little more that I have found.  I have done a DNA test with every service, but apparently HANLONS IN IRELAND just aren't curious enough about us over here to do any DNA testing themselves.  (read as a little self pity).

So, dearest great grandfather.  I wish I could find out more about you.  WHERE in Ireland are you from?  I know your sister Margaret lived in the same town as you, in Stone City, Jones County, Iowa for a brief period of time.  She was married to Peter Finnegan.  But like you, she left no obituary.

WHERE did you meet and marry your wife Catharine Brady?  Was it in New York City?  According to the 1925 Iowa Census, your children were confused when they gave answers to the question of where their parents were married and gave differing answers.

The first place you and Catharine appear is in the 1860 Census of Brookfield, Waukesha County, Wisconsin. (Source Citation: Year: 1860; Census Place: Brookfield, Waukesha, Wisconsin; Roll: M653_1436; Page: 32; Image: 37; Family History Library Film: 805436.)
I wrote this summary of the census for my ancestry tree:  

The first appearance in the United States for John Hanlon and Catharine Brady is with their children, James and Andrew in Marcy Township, Waukesha County, Wisconsin.  The name is badly mangled, more than likely due to a thick Irish brogue.  Why Marcy Township?  James is listed as a laborer in a neighborhood of farmers.  Was he a farm laborer OR was he a laborer in the lannon mines in the area?  If Joan Hanlon’s father and aunt were correct and the Hanlons came from Kilkenny, Ireland, it would make sense that John would want to continue mining, which was a popular occupation in Kilkenny.  Marcy also provided a Catholic Church where their children could be baptized.  They had been living in Wisconsin since at least Nov 1857 when their first child (and my grandfather) James was born.  The census also lists their 2nd child, Andrew who was 9/12 of a year old when the census taker came calling the 10th of July 1860. (Andrew’s gravestone indicates he was born in 1861).  John’s personal estate was valued at $70, not the poorest in the neighborhood.  It is stated that Catharine cannot read or write. 

In 1868, you and your brother-in-law were in Joliet, Illinois long enough to petition for Naturalization.  No one has been able to find the actual petition yet, unfortunately.

By the time of the 1870 Census, the family has moved to Fairview Township, Jones County, Iowa. (Source Citation: Year: 1870; Census Place: Anamosa, Jones, Iowa; Roll: M593_401; Page: 59A; Image: 121; Family History Library Film: 545900.)

The name is still not spelled as we spell it today and John and Catharine must look WAY older than they are, OR are they even at home?  Catharine gives birth to her final child, Frank, the day after the census taker arrives.  This is indeed the family, but I am guessing someone else may have supplied the answers to the census taker since the ages are so far off.   Between the 1860 and the 1870 Census, John & Catharine move their family to Illinois (to be closer to family?  to avoid the draft for the Civil War?). They have four more children in Illinois:  Ellen, John, Mary and Thomas.   The census taker  arrives the 29th of Jul 1870  in Fairview Township, Anamosa, Jones County, Iowa.  Since Thomas, the youngest of the children, is 3 years old, the family moved to Iowa after 1867.  What brings them to this area?  On the two census pages over which the Hanlon family is spread,  you can find Catharine’s brother Andrew Brady as well as John’s sister Margaret (married to Peter Finnegan).  John is also employed at  the stone quarry (in Stone City?) and has increased the value of his personal estate to $100, which is equal to everyone else who is working at the quarry in his neighborhood.  Catharine is keeping house.  John is now a U. S. citizen and Catharine has learned to read and write.  James, Andrew, Ellen and John all attended school within the year.  Andrew is the only one that cannot write..  A few more years and this family will be on the move again. 

In 1880 John had moved his family once again. He is on a farm in Polk County, Iowa.  We have tried to find a land record, to no avail.  This may have been his first land purchase; it wasn't his last as he moved on to Dallas County, Iowa (next to Polk County, Iowa).  This is the last Census in which John and Catharine appear. (Source Citation: Year: 1880; Census Place: Walnut, Polk, Iowa; Roll: 360; Family History Film: 1254360; Page: 583A; Enumeration District: 175; Image: 0686.) 

Our name is finally spelled as we spell it today!   It is unknown when John & Catharine moved the family to Walnut Township,  Polk County, Iowa, but on the 22nd day of June 1880, the family is all together for the very last time in a census record.  John (Sr.) is farming now, a change of occupation from mining labor.  It simply states “farmer” with no indication if he was renting land or had purchased land.  Catharine is keeping house.  Sons James, Andrew and John are working  as farm laborers.  Mary & Thomas attended school the previous year, but not Frank.  Thomas is also listed as  ‘working at home’. Apparently all in the family can now read and write as there is no indication to show otherwise.What happens from here?  I can find none of the family in either the Polk County nor the  Dallas County 1885 Census.  Did they move  away again before settling in Dallas County where Catharine & John die? Thomas disappears not to be found again.  Family notes indicate he dies in San Antonio, Texas before the death of his father in 1895.  Thomas is not mentioned in the will either.  Siblings James and Ellen marry O’Connell siblings in 1887.  Andrew marries Lizzie Moran in 1894.  John marries Lulu Bundy before 1894, but we have not yet found a marriage record.  Frank and Mary both wait til after the death of their parents to marry.  Frank in 1896 and Mary in 1897. 

Iowa conducts a state census in 1885 and 1895 but I have not been able to find the family in either of those census years.

Gravestone of John Hanlon, St. Mary's Cemetery, Dallas Center, Dallas County, Iowa, USA

John has no one missed you from your motherland?  Is no one searching for what happened to you and Margaret?  I will be here if they do.

Descendant tree of John Hanlon

22 December 2013

A Surname Christmas Tree

A most distinguished genealogy blogger, Randy Seaver, issued a challenge to show him a Christmas tree made of our surnames.
This is a tree with all my direct ancestors:

I created a custom report in Family Tree Maker 2014 that included only the name of my direct ancestor.  I exported that list to Excel, removed the first & middle names, removed the duplicates, 'spruced' it up in Word and here it is!

Thanks, Randy, for the idea!

06 December 2013

Surname Saturday: Who was Martha Morrison (1762-1829) Nova Scotia, Canada?

Who was Martha Morrison, my 4th Great Grandmother?

How Martha Morrison (1762 - 1829) is related to me.

It is only recently that I was able to find a clue (other than online family trees) that indicated the maiden name of my 4th great grandmother, Martha who was married to Jacob "Whispering Jacob" Lynds (1751-1833).  Thanks to FamilySearch, I was able to find a book titled "Historical and Genealogical Record of the First Settlers of Colchester County, Down to the Present Time, Compiled From the Most Authentic Sources" by Thomas Miller, published in 1873 in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Book Cover of  "Historical and Genealogical Record of the First Settlers of Colchester County, Down to the Present Time, Compiled From the Most Authentic Sources"

Page 381, references Jacob Lynds marriage to Martha Morrison

At the bottom of page 381, in a section regarding the family of Jacob Lynds Senior and Mary Guild, there is a reference to their son, Jacob Lynds and his marriage to Martha Morrison, November 13th, 1786.

With this information I went to the Nova Scotia Historical Vital Statistics site to search for their marriage record.  Alas, even though their site states marriage records date back to 1763, I could find no record for Martha marrying a Lynds or vice versa.

" As of July 2013, the following Nova Scotia Historical Vital Statistics are available at
RecordsDate CoverageTotal Records Online
Births1864-1877, 1908-1912
(delayed registrations 1830-1912)

MarriagesBonds 1763-1864
Registrations 1864-1937

Deaths1864-1877, 1908-1962
City of Halifax 1890-1908

Martha is a brick wall.  Who were her parents?
Why is there no marriage record in Nova Scotia?
What was the source of information for the Colchester County book?
I will research her children and their marriages and historical references to determine if additional information exists.

There is a reference in this same book to a Captain John Morrison.  He has a daughter Martha, but she marries a man named Williamson and no reference is made to a marriage to a Lynd or Lynds.

I performed this google search:
~genealogy "mary morrison lynds" nova scotia and there were two results:
One for the history of the McNutt clan which included this listing of the children of Mary Morrison and Jacob Lynds:
Section of page from

The 2nd result was from a website I had not heard of:  The Network of Founding Families Genealogy, which is described as ". . . simply the group of families, and the researchers of those families, which have specifically been researched here, as amongst the founding families of America or Canada. They deserve to be recognized as such. There are many founding families who are not yet part of NFFG. Openings are available."

Unfortunately, there was no additional information regarding Martha.

I searched for Onslow, Colchester, Nova Scotia cemeteries and found this site for the Colchester Historeum.  They offer a free newsletter, for which I entered a subscription request.  They also have a Facebook page which I have 'liked'.  They have a search on their site and I found a Robert Morrison in Onslow along with Jacob Lynds senior as a "Planters Family" (Selected Heads of Families known to have settled in Cobequid, 1761 to 1780).
I have sent a genealogy rersearch request to

I have searched for Jacob Lynds and wife Martha.  It is my understanding they died in Onslow, Nova Scotia, Canada.  The only reference to Jacob Lynds is for his parents in Onslow Island Cemetery.

I also searched Nova Scotia with no success.

There is a nice page on the Municipality of Colchester website that gives a short description and history of their cemeteries and churches.  It mentions that Onslow had Presbyterian and Baptist churches.  I should attempt to find church records for this family as well.
Section of page from regarding churches in Onslow

There was an article from August of 2013 about a funding approval for Onslow Cemetery celebrations honoring its 250th anniversary.  Maybe they have published something about the original families for this anniversary celebration?
UPDATE:  Who her parents were NOT.
There is another Martha Morrison, daughter of Captain John Morrison and Mary/Martha Anderson.  Many online trees have this Martha as the wife of Jacob Lynds.  THIS IS INCORRECT

As you can see from the Historical and Genealogical Record of Colchester County by Thomas Millar (1803-):
"CHAPTER XVIII Capt. John Morrison was another of the first settlers of Truro, and was a Grantee of the Township. His front land was adjoining the Parade, on the North side, and extending North to the interval. Also the interval adjoining it, which is owned by Mr. John McClure and Robert Chambers, Esq. He built on his house lot, and resided there about seven years. He exchanged farms with Robert Archibald, and removed to Little Dyke, Londonderry, where he spent the remainder of his life. On June 6th, 1770, he took his seat in the General Assembly of this Province, and was the representative of Londonderry until 1778. He having left the Province for a few years to look after his business in New Hampshire, James, son of the Rev. David Smith, took his seat in the House of Assembly, December 5th, 1785, as representative of Londonderry. Mr. Morrison was born in New Hampshire, in the year 1725. He was married to Martha Anderson, daughter of Mr. Anderson who was shot by the Indians, while engaged thrashing grain in his barn. Martha, having gone to the barn with a drink for her father, and seeing the Indians behind the barn, ran for the house, but before she reached the house the Indians fired after her, and when she got into the house she found that her dress had nine ball holes in it and she was unhurt. They were married about the year 1757. Eleanor, their eldest daughter, was born in New Hampshire, September 21st, 1758. She was married to Edward Faulkner. They had nine sons. They settled in Economy, where they spent their lives, and reared nine sons, and died. 
Mr. Morrison came with the first company that came to Truro in the Spring of the year 1760. His wife remained in New Hampshire until the Spring of the year 1761, and then came on with a number of more who came that Spring. Daniel, their eldest son, was born in New Hampshire, November 24th, 1760. He was married to Rachel McLennan about the year 1790. He inherited a part of his father's farm, and was a Justice of the Peace for the district of Colchester for a number of years before he died. They had five sons and five daughters. His house stood near the place on which his son Alexander D. Morrison, Esq., lived and his grandson, Joseph Howe Morrison now resides. Daniel Morrison died at Little Dyke, November 26th, 1832, aged 72 years, and his wife died December 21st, 1843. 
Hannah, the second daughter of Capt. John and Martha Morrison, was born in Truro, December 25th, 1762. She died unmarried, at Londonderry, December 25th, 1792. John, their second son, was born in Truro, October 25th, 1764. He perished, in the month of December, 1799, on board of a vessel that foundered in the Bay, near Londonderry. He died a bachelor. 
Jonathan, the third son of Capt. John and Martha Morrison, was born in Truro, October 24th 1766. He was married to Martha Faulkner in the year 1794. They had six sons and three daughters. They settled at Five Islands, where they reared their family and spent the remainder of their lives. He died there in the year 1843. 
Joseph A. Morrison, their fourth son, was born in Londonderry, July 13th, 1769. He was married to Isabella, the third daughter of Thomas Fletcher and Jane Vance, his wife, of Masstown in the year 1802. They have four sons and four daughters. (Their third son, Thomas F. Morrison, Esq., now represents the County of Colchester in the Local Parliament of Nova Scotia.) He inherited a part of his father's farm at Little Dyke, and had his house near the place that his son, Samuel, now resides, where they reared their family, spent the remainder of their lives and he died there in the year 1846, aged 77 years, and his wife died October, 1821, aged 43 years. 
Samuel, the fifth son of Capt. John and Martha Morrison, was born at Londonderry, August 19th, 1771. He was married to Frances Hays in the year 1801. They had two sons and four daughters. He died February 12th, 1820, aged 48 years, and his wife died February 11, 1828, aged 47 years. 
Martha, the third daughter of Capt. John and Martha Morrison, was born March 13th, 1774. She was married to John Williamson. They removed, and settled in the County of Pictou. They had two sons and six daughters. Margaret, their fourth daughter, was born in Londonderry, March 3rd, 1776. She was married to Edward Faulkner, second. They settled in Economy, and had three sons and five daughters. She died there in the year 1860, aged 84 years. Ezekiel, the sixth son of Capt. John and Martha Morrison, was born in New Hampshire, October 10th, 1780. He was married to Elizabeth McLellan. They settled in Londonderry for a time. They had five sons and two daughters. They removed to the County of Hants, and he died in St. John, N.B. 
As before mentioned, Capt. John Morrison having left property unsold in New Hampshire, returned there at the time of the rebellion. He sold his property, but could not get his pay for a length of time. He worked at his trade as a blacksmith, and had to remain there so long that his seat in the Assembly was declared vacant, June 25th, 1778, and his family went to him and remained there until peace was restored. He obtained payment for his property, and he and his family returned to Londonderry, where he spent the remainder of his life. He died there December 27th, 1816, aged 91 years, and his wife died March 31, 1811, aged 72 years."

Here is how Martha fits into my Nova Scotia ancestors:


29 November 2013

Save the date! Family History Expo - January 11, 2014 Holy Cross Lutheran Church Genealogy Group

FREE Family History Mini-Conference
Holy Cross Lutheran Church
4125 Constitution Ave, Colorado Springs, CO

Have TV shows like “Who Do You Think You Are” made you curious about your family?  Want to find a little bit more about the war records of your ancestors?  Would you like to honor your parents and grandparents?  Everyone welcome!
Join us Saturday, January 11th, 2014 for a Computer/Family History Conference
Please call 719-201-7654 to reserve your spot
8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Time Slot
8:00 - 8:30


Joan Hanlon – Beginning Genealogy
Lee Williams – New Technology & Genealogy
Detective Shawn Peterson, Violent Crimes, Colorado Springs Police Department
Mary Ann Weeks – Daughters of the American Revolution
Pastor Doug, photography & genealogy
Dick Marsh – Sons of the American Revolution.  (In addition the color guard and James Barker, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, will be in attendance)
Dave Dolman:  Pikes Peak Public Library
Sheldon Jones – DNA and its role in Family History Research:  A TRUE STORY of success!
------------------ GREAT DOOR PRIZES! ---------------

Mini Classes include:

Plus, learn about . . .
FREE sources for your search:  Using Google for Family Search --- FREE sources:  Free Books, Free Records ---FREE sources:’s wiki, Message Boards ---  Privacy and your family tree --- Paid sites:  Which sites have the records you need --- Road trips for Family History: What you can do before you go --- Advanced Tools for Your Research:  Animap, GenSmarts ---- Continued Learning:  Free seminars

02 November 2013

Surname Saturday: Chinn (other spellings: DeCheyne, Cheyne, Chynn, LeChein)

Tonight I start my "Countdown of Ancestors". (With homage to Randy Seaver of, who has been doing this for a long time and provided the inspiration to attempt my own version!)

There are 28 surnames I have identified in my direct ancestry.  That sure doesn't seem like much after researching these families for over 40 years (off and on!).  For some ancestral names, I have little information.  Hoping these posts might find fellow researchers.

Tonight:  Nancy Chinn
Here is my connection to Nancy Chinn, my 4th great grandmother:

Looking at the hints on my ancestry tree, there are 25 member trees that show different parentage for Nancy than what I have.  So would love feedback on this.

My only documentation at this time is a pamphet sent to me by the Des Moines County, Iowa Genealogy Society titled:  "The Pioneer Ross Family in Burlington and Southern Iowa" by William Junken, Nancy's grandson.  The pamphlet was published in 1911.  Portions of the story were published in the Burlington Hawk-Eye newspaper in Burlington, Des Moines County, Iowa.

The excerpts below refer to Nancy and her husband, William 'Captain' Ross AND a connection to George Washington's mother! (where is Genealogy Roadshow when I need them?)
Captain Ross migrates to Kentucky
Nancy Chinn, wife of Captain Ross.  Chinn Family story.

The only record I have, is actually just a reference from
"Source Citation: Source number: 1558.067; Source type: Family group sheet, FGSE, listed as parents; Number of Pages: 1.
Source Information:
Yates Publishing. U.S. and International Marriage Records, 1560-1900[database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2004.
Original data: This unique collection of records was extracted from a variety of sources including family group sheets and electronic databases. Originally, the information was derived from an array of materials including pedigree charts, family history articles, querie.
This database contains marriage record information for approximately 1,400,000 individuals from across all 50 United States and 32 different countries around the world between 1560 and 1900. These records, which include information on over 500 years of marriages, were extracted from family group sheets, electronic databases, biographies, wills, and other sources."

This is the family group sheet from my tree on

Things to do:  
  • Obtain probate records for Nancy's father and grandparents
  • Obtain probate records for Nancy's husband, Captain Ross
  • Obtain birth/marriage/death records for Nancy's children
  • Obtain obituaries for Nancy's children.
  • Write to historical and genealogical societies in Virginia and Kentucky for further information.
  • There are currently no graves listed on nor for a Nancy Ross in Fayette County, Kentucky.
I have checked on Animap and the borders of Fayette County, Kentucky have been stable since the early 1800's.

I have submitted DNA tests on, and  So far, no Chinn matches.  

Also looked at World Family Names on and found the info below.  (Screen prints used with permission of Alex Singleton of
I love how shows name distribution throughout the world.  I should probably do this for all the alternate spellings of the name as well.

UPDATE!  Nancy's grandfather, Charles a  'love child'? (Most trees identify Charles as Nancy's father.)
I found this on ancestry's message boards, which tells the story of Rawleigh Chinn, married to Esther Ball (half sister of George Washington's wife).  The marriage became difficult and they separated.  Rawleigh became involved with Esther's cousin, Margaret Ball Downman with whom he had 3 children, one of which was Charles, Nancy Chinn's grandfather.  Look for the posting by plinkmusic  for the full story.  Here is a snippet:
Since Rawleigh did not get a divorce, he and Margaret could never marry. Despite this, they had three sons, eldest Charles (born 18 Oct 1723 in Richmond Co), Christopher and Elijah. Margaret was, between about 1728 and 1735 repeatedly taken to court for 'adultery', fornication, leud character and at least twice for having an 'illegal' child. On occasion, Rawleigh too would be brought in on charges. Rawleigh died about 1741, and left to his 'godsons', "the sons of Mrs. Margaret Downman", land (in Prince William County) and personal effects, for the most part, equal to his other sons. "