207 Years Ago Today (or Thereabouts)

It is claimed that on September 8, 1806, two-hundred and seven years ago today, Brooks Worthington (1806-1894), my 5th great grandfather, was born in North Carolina, most likely in Greensboro in Guilford County, the son of Joab Worthington (1779-1851) and Martha Jane Matthews (1785-1860). Despite this claim, I have not yet been able to find any proof that he was in fact born on this date. It does appear that he was born in 1806, but I have not found a record showing his specific birth date as of yet.

Worthington Crest

The following is an excerpt about Brooks Worthington’s life from the biography of Brooks’s son-in-law, Alson G. Bodenhamer, published in the Portrait and Biographical Record of Johnson and Pettis Counties, Missouri (1895):

He [Alson G. Bodenhamer] was married, November 15 1857, to Esther Worthington, who was born September 12 1836 in Davidson County, NC. She was the daughter of Brooks and Hannah (Green) Worthington, also natives of that state where they were farmers. Brooks Worthington was also an expert shoemaker, and after his removal to Indianapolis, Ind. worked at this business for one year. In 1840, however, he came to Missouri choosing Lafayette County as his future home. There the wife and mother died in 1855. Mr. Worthington was again married, the lady on this occasion being Lucy Lanear. He continued to make his home on that farm until the decease of his second companion, when he moved to California, where his daughter was living. On his return from the Golden State, he spent a few years on the old place, and then went to Carroll County, Ark. where he died December 24, 1894, at the age of eighty eight years.

By his first marriage Mr. Worthington became the father of nine children. Charles married Margaret Meadows, and is now living in California. Joab married Eliza Alkire, and is now deceased but his wife makes her home in Indian Territory. John never married, and died during the late war. Elizabeth is now Mrs. Johnson Mulky, and lives in California. Mrs Bodenhamer was the next born. Jacob chose for his wife Elmira Couch, and they make their home on a farm in Boone County, Ark. David is single, and is a resident of the Golden State. Ellen married James Fulkerson, and both are deceased; and Catherine died when six years old.

Source for Brooks Worthington’s reported birth date: “Worthington Family of England, Maryland, Virginia and Randolph Co NC Notes” (2011) by Donald Gradeless; and The Worthington Family History Society.

80 Years Ago Today

On July 18, 1933, eighty years ago today, Harry Carl Hamilton (1891-1960) and Goldia “Goldie” Mae Worthington (1912-2006), my maternal great grandparents, were married in Boone Co., Arkansas.

Marriage Record of Harry C. Hamilton and Goldie M. Worthington

Marriage Record of Harry C. Hamilton and Goldie M. Worthington

An interesting item found on the record for their marriage (shown above) is the fact that Harry claimed he was 38 years old, which would have made his birth year 1895, when he was actually 42 years old, being born in 1891. Although the difference in his real and reported ages is not that significant, perhaps a 38 year old marrying a 21 year old sounded a little better to them (or just Harry) than a 42 year old marrying a 21 year old. It is also possible that Harry made the change in order to prevent people from his past tracking him down, something he wanted to avoid by all oral accounts.

Following their marriage Harry and Goldie lived in Harrison, Boone Co., Arkansas, where they had the first two of their seven children. In about 1941, Harry relocated his family to Oklahoma, where they had their remaining children.

74 Years Ago Today

On June 12, 1939, seventy-four years ago today, Ernest Jacob “Jersey” Worthington (1885-1939), my 2nd great grandfather, died in Harrison, Boone Co., Arkansas. Following his death, he was buried in Grubb Springs Cemetery in Harrison, Boone Co., Arkansas.

Headstone of Ernest Jacob Worthington

Headstone of Ernest Jacob Worthington

Ernest was born in 1885 in Boone Co., Arkansas the son of Hannah Happy “Hattie” Worthington (1866-?). Throughout much his childhood he was raised by his maternal grandparents, Jacob Worthington (1839-1920) and Elmina Couch (1846-1921). In 1906, Ernest married Mae Josie Gifford (1885-?), with whom he had three children of which only one survived, Goldia “Goldie” Mae Worthington (1912-2006). At some point between 1912 and 1920, Ernest and Mae’s marriage ended. In 1921, he married Mattie Blankenship (1903-1944), with whom he had six more children. Throughout his adult life, Ernest was a laborer, working as a painter, a dray truck driver, and a mill worker. It was from his employment at the Jersey Mill that his friends called him “Jersey.”

53 Years Ago Today

On May 29, 1960, fifty-three years ago today, Harry Carl Hamilton (1891-1960), my maternal great grandfather, died in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Co., Oklahoma. Following his death, he was buried in Highland Cemetery in Okemah, Okfuskee Co., Oklahoma.

Headstone of Harry C. Hamilton

Headstone of Harry C. Hamilton

Harry was born Carl H. Heldman in 1891 the son of Rufus Bert Heldman (1870-1944) and Jennie M. Lightcap (1872-1905) in Robinson, Crawford Co., Ohio. Harry changed his name at the outbreak of World War I, a war in which he served. Harry was married twice, first to Lillie May Johnson (1894-1988), with whom he had two children; and second to Golda “Goldie” Mae Worthington (1912-2006), with whom he had seven children, one of which is my maternal grandfather, Harry “Lee” Hamilton (LIVING).

140 Years Ago Today

On May 29, 1873, one hundred and forty years ago today, Lucretia “Lucy” (Catlin) Heldman (ca. 1829-1873), my 3rd great grandmother, died in Mansfield, Richland Co., Ohio. Following her death at the age of about forty-three, she was buried in Mansfield Cemetery in the Heldman family plot.

Headstone of Lucretia (Catlin) Heldman

Headstone of Lucretia (Catlin) Heldman

Lucretia was the second wife of Johann “John” Adam Heldman (1870-1883), with whom she had seven children, one of which was Rufus Bert Heldman (1870-1944), the grandfather of my maternal grandfather, Harry “Lee” Hamilton (LIVING). Lucretia’s ancestry remains a mystery. Most accounts and some records put her birth location as Connecticut, but it also appears as New York and Massachusetts on others. Connecticut, however, does have a large number of Catlins, some of which did relocate to Ohio. She may be connected in some way to Isaac Catlin, who was born in 1780 in Connecticut and lived in New York before moving to Medina Co., Ohio, where he died in 1856. Medina County is in close proximity to Richland County, being separated by one county, that of Ashland County which has a large number of Heldmans living in it.

130 Years Ago Today

On May 11, 1883, one hundred and thirty years ago today, Johann “John” Adam Heldman (1809-1883), my 3rd great grandfather, died in Mansfield, Richland Co., Ohio. On May 13, 1883, John was buried in Mansfield Cemetery in Madison, Richland Co., Ohio, next to his first wife, Mary Jane (Carson) Heldman (ca. 1820-1850), and his second wife, Lucretia (Catlin) Heldman (ca. 1829-1873), who both preceded him in death.

Headstone of John A. Heldman (Note: John’s headstone incorrectly states he died on May 18.)

Headstone of John A. Heldman (Note: John’s headstone incorrectly states he died on May 18.)

The following is a transcription of John’s obituary, which was published in The Mansfield Herald, 17 May 1883, Vol. 33, No. 26:

“The death of Mr. J.A. Heldman at the age of 74 occurred at his late residence on West Market Street on Friday last. Mr. Heldman was a native of Germany and came to Mansfield about the year 1836, and has resided here ever since, most of the time being engaged in the furniture business. He was married four times, his last wife surviving him. His estate is estimated to be worth about $35,000. The funeral of the deceased took place on Sunday at 2 P.M.”

Heldman Family Plot in Mansfield Cemetery in Madison, Richland Co., Ohio

Heldman Family Plot in Mansfield Cemetery in Madison, Richland Co., Ohio

Fearless Females Challenge: March 25 – Women and Children

The following post continues the month long Fearless Females Challenge by Lisa Alzo, author of The Accidental Genealogist blog, which is focused on “celebrating and honoring ‘fearless females’ in our family trees” to mark National Women’s History Month, which is the month of March, with a post responding to unique prompts for each day of the month. (Note: Because I started this challenge late, I will be continuing it beyond March 31.)

Prompt for March 25 — Tell how a female ancestor interacted with her children. Was she loving or supportive? A disciplinarian? A bit of both?

In general, my female ancestors for whom I know how they interacted with their children did so in more of a loving or supportive way, than as disciplinarians–a role that was usually held by my male ancestors. However, my female ancestors could certainly fill the role of disciplinarian if they had to.

My paternal grandmother, Margaret Ann (Lapham) Kernan (1936-2004), was not usually the disciplinarian, but certainly did not look the other way when her children (or grandchildren) did or said something she did not approve of. She was more subtle in her disapproval, however. More often than not, she turned to her husband to handle disciplining anyone who required it. From what I understand about her grandmother (my 2nd great grandmother), Anna Margaret (Leishman) Lapham (1875-1951), she was both loving and supportive, but as a deeply religious person whose husband was frequently away working, did not spoil her children by sparing the rod.

Horace & Anna Margaret Lapham Family: (Front Row) Nellie, holding her son James, Anna Margaret, Theodore, and Peggy. (Back Row) Wilbur, Charles, and Orville.

Horace & Anna Margaret Lapham Family: (Front Row) Nellie, holding her son James, Anna Margaret, Theodore, and Peggy. (Back Row) Wilbur, Charles, and Orville.

My maternal great grandmother, Irene Vera (Balla) Sebok (1913-2006) would discipline her children, grandchildren, and even great grandchildren if they did something she did not approve of, but she was also loving and supportive as well. I am told that her mother, Julia (Molnar) Balla (1885-1962), could be the typical sweet, loving and supportive mother and grandmother, but could also be a disciplinarian, so much so that her children and grandchildren knew not to act up around her.

Julia (Molnar) Balla with Grandson, Paul.

Julia (Molnar) Balla with Grandson, Paul.

From what I understand about my other maternal great grandmother, Goldia “Goldie” Mae (Worthington) Hamilton (1912-2006), she was almost always loving and supportive, as her husband always filled the role of disciplinarian. The image of Goldie that I have always been left with regarding her relationship with her children (with respect to discipline) was that she was a lot like Jane Darwell‘s role as Ma Joad in the film adaptation of The Grapes of Wrath, loving and supportive even (perhaps) to a fault.

Harry (far left) & Goldie (far right) Hamilton with Relatives. Goldie is holding a young girl, possibly a niece.

Harry (far left) & Goldie (far right) Hamilton with Relatives. Goldie is holding a young girl, possibly a niece.

Fearless Females Challenge: March 20 – Elusive or Brick Wall Ancestor

The following post continues the month long Fearless Females Challenge by Lisa Alzo, author of The Accidental Genealogist blog, which is focused on “celebrating and honoring ‘fearless females’ in our family trees” to mark National Women’s History Month, which is the month of March, with a post responding to unique prompts for each day of the month. (Note: Because I started this challenge late, I will be continuing it beyond March 31.)

Prompt for March 20 — Is there a female ancestor who is your brick wall? Why? List possible sources for finding more information.

Anyone who undertakes to research their family history will inevitably run into brick walls. My research is no exceptions. I have several brick walls with immigrant ancestors, including female immigrant ancestors such as Martha Rose (Sheridan) Kiernan (ca. 1797-?), my 4th great grandmother, and Roza Mari (Peto) Sebok (1871-1937), my 2nd great grandmother. With these female ancestors the brick wall comes from difficulties tracing their line in other countries, which seems it will only change with an increase in access to records in these countries. In addition to these brick walls, I have two female ancestors that are brick walls in my ancestry. These brick walls, however, come from difficulties in tracing their line in the United States.

The first of these female ancestors is Cemantha (Broadway) Lapham (ca. 1813-1846), my 4th great grandmother. I know few facts with certainty about Cemantha. According to available accounts, Cemantha was born in about 1813 in New York and died in about 1846 in Springfield, Wayne Co., Michigan. These facts, however, have not been confirmed by records. The only confirmed record I have uncovered so far is Cemantha’s marriage to Benjamin Lapham (1807-1860) on May 17, 1834 in Cuyhoga Co., Ohio. Two records for this marriage shows Cemantha’s maiden name as either “Broadway” or “Bradway.” Research into these variations, and variations in spelling of her first name, have not revealed any clear matches. Presently, my only lead is a Broadway family that also ended up in Wayne Co., Michigan at the same time, which originated in Somerset, England. However, I have not been able to link Cemantha to them.

Benjamin Lapham and Cemantha Broadway Marriage Record

Benjamin Lapham and Cemantha Broadway Marriage Record

The second female ancestor I have that has become a brick wall is Lucretia “Lucy” (Catlin) Heldman (ca. 1829-1873), my 3rd great grandmother. As with Cemantha, I knew few facts about Lucretia, particularly prior to her marriage to Johann “John” Adam Heldman (ca. 1809-1883) on July 11, 1851 in Richland Co., Ohio. According to available records, Lucretia was born in about 1829 in either New York (according to the 1860 U.S. Census record), or Connecticut (according to the 1870 U.S. Census record), or  Massachusetts (according to the “Ohio Deaths and Burials, 1854-1997” Index). It is unclear why these three records differ regarding her birth location. The lack of clarity on this fact has made tracking her parents difficult. If she was born in New York, there is a Lucretia Catlin/Cotalin living in Chesterville, Morrow Co., Ohio in 1850 in the household of Dr. Moses De Camp. The De Camp family were living in Mansfield, Richland Co., Ohio in 1860 and 1870. It is, however, unclear if this my Lucretia or the Lucretia Catlin who married James F. Millard in 1862 and died in 1907 in Cuyahoga Co., Ohio. If she was born in Connecticut, there is a large number of Catlins in that state (particularly in Litchfield County), all of which seem to descend from Thomas Catlin (c1612-1690) who was from Kent, England, came to Hartford, Connecticut prior to 1646 and died there in 1690.

J.A. Heldman and Lucretia Catlin Marriage Record

J.A. Heldman and Lucretia Catlin Marriage Record

With both of these brick wall ancestors, I have a lot of research still to do; and hopefully I will uncover a lead that will turn out to be a breakthrough.

Fearless Females Challenge: March 17 – Social Butterfly?

The following post continues the month long Fearless Females Challenge by Lisa Alzo, author of The Accidental Genealogist blog, which is focused on “celebrating and honoring ‘fearless females’ in our family trees” to mark National Women’s History Month, which is the month of March, with a post responding to unique prompts for each day of the month.

Prompt for March 17 — Social Butterfly? What social organizations or groups did your mother or grandmother belong to? Sewing circle, church group, fraternal benefit society or lodge? Describe her role in the group.

While researching my family history, I have uncovered male ancestors involved in various social organizations, such as the Masons, the Elks, the Odd Fellows, etc. I have, however, found few female ancestors with records of involvement. I have had some that were involved in the Daughters of the American Revolution, though I am uncertain if they participated in any meetings. Apart from this, I do have some that were heavily involved in their churches. Apart from these. the closest I have found for my female ancestors include my paternal great grandmother, Alice Lucretia (Wellin-Lapham) Graber (1916-1985), and my maternal grandmother, Alberta (Sebok) Hamilton (LIVING).

My paternal great grandmother, Alice Lucretia (Wellin-Lapham) Graber (1916-1985), was employed during WWII as a welder for the Oregon Shipbuilding Corporation in Portland, Multnomah Co., Oregon. In addition to this, she was a member of the International Brotherhood of Boiler Makers, Iron Ship Builders and Helpers of America, which is a trade-union. Alice was initiated on October 1, 1943, and regularly payed her dues. While going through some items that belonged to her following the death of her daughter Marla, her membership and dues book was discovered. Presently, I do not know how actively involved Alice was apart from paying her dues, which was likely a required part of her employment as a welder.

Alice (Wellin-Lapham) Graber's International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers of America Membership and Dues Book

Alice (Wellin-Lapham) Graber’s International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers of America Membership and Dues Book

As for my maternal grandmother, Alberta (Sebok) Hamilton (LIVING), she was involved for many years with the Order of the White Shrine of Jerusalem, a Masonic social organization that was founded in 1893 and comprises both men and women. She joined this organization around the time her husband, Lee Hamilton, became a member of the Masons. Throughout her involvement with the organization, she served in the offices of Worthy Guide and Worthy Shepherdess in her local chapter.

Logo of The Order of the White Shrine of Jerusalem

Logo of The Order of the White Shrine of Jerusalem

 

Fearless Females Challenge: March 16 – Let’s Do Lunch!

The following post continues the month long Fearless Females Challenge by Lisa Alzo, author of The Accidental Genealogist blog, which is focused on “celebrating and honoring ‘fearless females’ in our family trees” to mark National Women’s History Month, which is the month of March, with a post responding to unique prompts for each day of the month.

Prompt for March 16 — If you could have lunch with any female family member (living or dead) or any famous female who would it be and why? Where would you go? What would you eat?

For me, this challenge is a difficult one because I think that I would not mind having lunch with each of my female ancestors, if I could. I can only imagine the information and stories that they could share. However, I suppose I could answer this prompt in one of two ways.

First of all, I think I would like to have lunch with my female ancestors that passed away in my lifetime. This would particularly include my paternal grandmother, Margaret Ann (Lapham) Kernan (1936-), and my great grandmothers, Maxine Elizabeth (Davis-Kernan) Smith (1912-1992), Pauline Katherine (Rains-Rowlands) Kernan (1913-1997), Alice Lucretia (Wellin-Lapham) Graber (1916-1985), Goldia “Goldie” Mae (Worthington) Hamilton (1912-2006), Irene Vera (Balla) Sebok (1913-2006). This luncheon would also include my only 2nd great grandmother that passed away in my lifetime, Lois Beatrice (Agee) Wellin (1897-1983).

An alternative luncheon would involve my immigrant female ancestors from my Kernan, Lapham, Hamilton, and Sebok lines, or the earliest known female I have in those lines if the immigrant ancestor is unknown. This would include Martha Rose (Sheridan) Kiernan (1797-?), Mary (Mann) Lapham (1640-1712), Jennie M. (Lightcap) Heldman (1872-1905), and Roza Mari (Peto) Sebok (1871-1937). It might also include other female immigrant/earliest ancestors, such as Anna Eliza (Backer-Stearns) Tice (1854-1919), Rebecca (Gibson) Stearns (1635-1698), Sarah (Spinney) Davis (1746-?), Mary Ann (Wys) Beeney (ca. 1784-1857), Ann (Forsyth) Leishman (1828-1896), Anna Elizabeth (Stålberg) Lowenburg (1869-1918), Anna Elizabeth (UNKNOWN) Lightcap (?-?), Alice (Taylor) Worthington (1662-1729), Elizabeth (Grant) Gifford (1615-1683), Eszter (Szabó) Balla (1857-1925), and Julia (Molnar) Balla (1885-1962).

In either set up, I don’t think we would go anywhere in particular. I think it would be at my parent’s home. I would want each of them to prepare their signature dish (the women in my family all love to cook); and we would have a party-type luncheon similar to the Christmas parties my grandmother had when I was a kid. Lots of food and lots of talking. I think that would be the ideal luncheon for me with any of my female ancestors.