Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Wordless Wednesday-Uknown photograph

I received this mystery photograph with a few other McFadden family items over Thanksgiving.  No one had any idea who she might be.  I'm guessing the photo might be from the mid-30s.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Friday’s Faces from the Past - Dennis Cornelius McFadden

Dennis Cornelius McFadden 20 June 1847-10 February 1924
Center, sitting down
Other people are unknown
The picture looks to be around the 1920s probably around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Included with the first picture was this one with the label "The Boobs".  No idea what to make of that, but it did give the 13 year old in me a little chuckle.  The couple looks to be the same as the first picture judging by their cloths and hats. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Census Sunday- Jessie Sample

My paternal great grandfather and great grandmother Joseph and Celia Sample lived in Lincoln Parish Louisiana in 1880. 

Sample,  Joseph H. age 31-farmer
              Celie E. age 20-Keeping House
              Mary E. age 5-daughter
              Lucinda age 4-daughter
              Dora C. 7 months-daughter

Living with them was a 23 year old black male whose relationship to the head of the household was listed as Servant.
Because Celia is one of my brick wall ancestors I am at the point where I need to start visiting some repositories in Arkansas  to find more information.  Because of that and because I have not done much African-American research I decided to see if I could find out anything about Jessie.
The indexers with and both entered Jessie’s last name as Sample, and looking at the record it does fit the pattern most indexers used to avoid having to write the same name multiple times.  I find it doubtful that that was his actual name, but looked into it as if it was. Then I looked into African-American men named Jessie, last name unknown. 
The information I have on Jessie from the census, assuming it is accurate:
  1. He was 23 in 1880
  2. He was a farmhand
  3. He was born in Louisiana
  4. His parents were born in Louisiana
  5. He could not read or write
  6. The category for Married/Single/Widowed was left blank
I have searched the census in Lincoln Parish for an African-American Sample family. I have also searched for an African-American resident of the area in 1860 and 1900 but so far have not come up with anyone that really fits the criteria listed above.

I have not done much African-American genealogy, but hopefully I can find something on this person.  This may turn out to be one of those unanswerable questions that curiosity drives me to look into.  At the very least, I will learn a little about African-American research in Louisiana and about some additional sources that I am not currently aware of.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Wordless Wednesday-Ruth McFadden

A picture of my grandmother Ruth McFadden from 100 years ago.  In an unusual occurrence for the majority of the family pictures I have collected it came with a note that listed names and the year.

Left-Ruth Mcfadden 8 years old, Baby Jack McFadden, Allie Hibbs

I do not know who wrote the note, but I believe I can say with confidence that it is not from 1913.

According to the 1910 US Census Ruth and her family were living in Roscoe, Washington County, Pennsylvania.  In the 1920 US Census they were in Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

So far, I have not found a Hibbs family who lived near the McFadden’s during this time.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Mystery Photo 076

This photograph was among others included in an album of my grandfather, Clyde Lee Webb (1898 - 1987).  The photos in the album appear to be from the early 1900s to the mid 1930s.  He married my grandmother Ruth Eileen McFadden (1905-1985) in 1937 and there are only a couple of pictures with her included.  

It's unusual among the pictures because it is of an interior of a house and there are no people included in the shot.   I do like the brief glimpse into what may have been the house my grandfather and his siblings grew up in.  I never remember hearing if my grandfather had a piano in his house when he was young or if he or anyone in the house ever had lessons or played.  Even when I and my brothers and sister were all taking piano lessons, the topic from what I remember never was brought up.  I'd also like to know what books are in the bookcases.  In the days before TV, computers and iPads, it would be interesting to know what they did for entertainment. 

The large picture on the wall, at first I thought was a portrait of a woman in a black dress with her head faded out.

 After playing around with the image for a little bit I now think it is a picture of a boy/girl on something with their arms around each other’s shoulders.  Or perhaps she is just behind him holding onto him.  There also appears to be woman on the right looking at them. So far, I have not found any other pictures in the album that match up with this one.

If it was the home or one of the homes where my grandfather grew up , it was most likely in or near Russellville Arkansas around the early 1900s to the 1920s.  Of course this is nothing but guesswork but since as far as I know, no one is still alive who would have remembered the house, guessing is about all I can do. 

**Edited to add:  Playing around with the picture a little more, it looks there is a small child with his back to the camera on the bottom right.  Can't tell what, if anything, is on the lower left of the picture. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Those Places Thursday-Pittsburgh, PA

This is a photo of my grandmother Ruth McFadden Webb (1905-1985) from what looks like the early 1920s. According to the 1920 census* they lived on Amabell Street in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Here is another photo of Ruth with an unknown girl taken at the same location. It looks like she is wearing the same dress but has different footwear.

Searching for the street address on the 1920 census in Google Maps pulled up this image from 2011. After zooming in and out and virtually 'walking' around the area it does not appear to be the same location even though the geography in the background appears to be similar. The style and type of houses do not match. I first ‘visited’ this location about 2 years ago and decided that the picture must have been taken somewhere else. Since the McFadden family moved around the area quite a bit, it could have been at one of their other addresses. Unfortunately, the other addresses I have found don't match up with the Google Map images either.

Yesterday, while organizing my files I decided to return to Google Maps and take another look around to see if I missed anything.

I noticed that the house next door was having some work done so out of curiosity I took a look at it. The image from Google Maps is dated 2011, but I don’t remember if this is the same image that was online the last time I looked for this address.

Looking at it more closely it seemed familiar so I pulled up the photo of my grandmother and compared the two.

The location of the windows and the roof overhang definitely look the same along with the two houses to the right and the patio cover on the main house.

Another nice aspect of Google Maps is the ability to zoom out then click on and zoom into other parts of the map. Doing this I was able to determine that the large building in the background is St. Mary of the Mount Catholic church where Ruth attended school. I’m guessing the picture was taken at that location rather than in front of their house because the background was a bit more scenic.

Hopefully in the not too distant future I'll be able to visit Pittsburgh and even take a picture at the same spot. I'd also like to find out who the other girl was.

*1920 U.S. census, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, population Schedule, Pittsburgh Ward 19, enumeration district (ED) 624, 139 (stamped), sheet number 4A (penned), dwelling 57, family 65, Ruth McFadden; digital image, ( : accessed 5 February 2013); citing National Archives microfilm publication T625, roll 1523.

Monday, August 19, 2013


No, not with my genealogy, that should be at least another year or so.

I've competed the NGS Home Study Course and the ProGen Study Group. Both courses were enjoyable and informative, although, I probably could have done better if I had not overlapped the courses and focused on each one separately.

Next, I am planning on taking the "Gen Proof" study group using the Mastering Genealogical Proof by Thomas W. Jones beginning in September.

After that I plan to tackle the certification process through the Board for Certification of Genealogists.

I am a member of the National Genealogical Society and am thinking of joining the Association of Professional Genealogists at the subscriber level. I definitely need to work on my networking and joining more associations and local groups should become a top priority.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Wednesday's Child-Gretchen Dorn

While researching peripheral family members to find more information on my great grandfather, I found this distant relative, Gretchen Dorn. She was my grandmother's cousin's husband's niece. She died in the Collinwood School fire on March 4, 1908 in Collinwood, Cuyahoga County,Ohio. A total of 172 children, 2 teachers and 1 rescuer died in the fire. Here is a headline and partial list of deaths from The Fort Wayne News, Fort Wayne, Indiana, March 4, 1908.
Here is photograph of Gretchen from Find a Grave. Unfortunately I cannot find a source for the picture.
Here is more information about the fire, though it hasn't been updated since 2004.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Friday's Unknown Photograph

I have been bad about keeping up with this blog, so here is another mystery photo.

I believe this may have been taken around the time of the Civil War. Since children were dressed the same back then for the first few years of life it is difficult to determine whether the child was male or female.

The back of the picture is stamped C. C.Griers National Portrait Gallery in Nashville Tennessee.

Also on the back of the picture written in pencil is what looks like, Manny.  So far in my research I have not found a 'Manny' on either side of the family. 

The most likely line would be the my grandfather Webb's side.  His grandfather, Zephaniah T. Webb was born in Giles County, Tennessee.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Goals for April

1.  Finish my biography of my great grandfather Dennis McFadden for the final NGS-HSC assignment.      I have most of the information I need, however including only relevant information and leaving out extraneous filler is proving to be difficult.

2.  Devote sufficient time to this months ProGen assignment-A proof argument for my great grandmother Sealy (Celia) AUTREY Sample.  Unfortunately on some of the assignments I didn't spend as much time as I should have and felt that I rushed the assignment.  I still learned a lot but don't think I did as well as I could have.

3.  Continue organizing my files and notes and entering my information into the Reunion software.

4.  I'm not able to attend any of the national conferences this year so I need to look for more local events.  First I'll sign up for the Angelina College Genealogy Conference in Lufkin, Texas.

5.  Be more consistent on posting here and start citing any sources used according to Evidence Explained.

6.  Start planning for genealogy research trips.  My first one will most likely be to Robertson County, Texas to look for Sealy's mother Dianacy "Dicy" Autrey who may have lived there and operated a store with her husband John Mabe.

7.  Decide on whether to get an iPad or iPad mini.  The Reunion app would be helpful especially at conferences and short genealogy trips.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Mystery Photo-unknown woman and disappeared man

This picture was found among my grandfather's (Clyde Lee Webb 1898-1985) collection of family photo's.  This picture appears, to me, to date from the early 1900's to the mid 19-teens.  My grandfathers family lived in and around Russellville Arkansas during this period, but nothing else ties the picture to that area.
Some questions this picture raises:
I have no idea who she might be, but her eyes and chin do resemble the Webb's.  Could she be one of my grandfathers sisters?
Why was the man cut out of the picture?  It looks like he is wearing a wedding ring while she appears not to be. 
She looks quite young, so could the man be her father?  If that is the case, then cutting him out makes it even more mysterious.
Finally, why is his hand just hanging there?  Most pictures, I believe, the hand would be on her waist or arm.  The way the hand  is makes me think this could be a post mortem photo and someone later removed the "disturbing" image.
Clyde's, and possibly her, father Charles J. Webb (1874-1937) died in Pope County, Arkansas in 1937.  Charles's father, Zephaniah T. Webb (1826-1906) died in Pope County, Arkansas in 1906.  Both are buried in Old Baptist Cemetery in Center Valley, Pope County, Arkansas.  If one of these men was the other person in the picture, I do hope the missing piece or another copy of the picture eventually turns up.  As far as I know, no picture of these men exists.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Mystery Monday-unknown photograph

Here is another photograph that was in my grandmothers box of letters and pictures.  I don't know if this person was on my grandmother McFadden's or grandfather Webb's side.  On the back is written "Grandad". 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wedding Wednesday-Dennis McFadden and Elizabeth (Lizzie) Neuland

Application and Statement for Marriage License

Dennis McFadden resident of Coal Center, Washington County Pennsylvania

Names and residence of his parents are:residents of the state of Ohio

He is twenty seven years of age

Elizabeth (Lizzie) Neuland

Names and residence of her parents are:Luis Neuland and Hanna Neuland residence Coal Center

She is twenty years of age

Sworn on 15th of February 1886

A couple of interesting things from this document. 

Most other records indicate that Dennis was about 19 years older than Lizzie.  Family stories suggests that he lied about his age in order to emigrate from Ireland, then lied again to serve in the Civil War.  He is said to have been about 13 when he signed up in Ohio and gave his age as 18.

The second is the reference to his parents being residents of the State of Ohio.  Again according to family stories, his father died in Ireland during the potato famine while Dennis was a child.  When  his mother remarried, the step father refused to support the McFadden children forcing Dennis and possibly his brother John to immigrate to the US between 1848-1850.

It seems with Dennis, the more information I find about him, the cloudier his life becomes.