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.

210 Years Ago Today

On June 7, 1803, two hundred and ten years ago today, Lyman Stearns (1803-1879), my 4th great grandfather, was born in Claremont, Cheshire Co., New Hampshire the son of Samuel Stearns (1754-1840) and Thankful Raymond (1756-1817).

Source: Van Wagenen, Avis Stearns. Stearns Genealogy and Memoirs of Charles and Nathaniel Stearns, and Their Descendants (1901)
Source: Van Wagenen, Avis Stearns. Stearns Genealogy and Memoirs of Charles and Nathaniel Stearns, and Their Descendants (1901)

By 1838, Lyman had left New Hampshire and relocated to Howard Co., Missouri where he married Rebecca B. Hines (1816-1875) in that year. Together, Lyman and Rebecca had six children, one of which was Theodore Frelinghuysen Stearns (1844-1930), my 3rd great grandfather. By 1842, Lyman moved his family to Linn Co., Missouri where he ran a boarding house. By the 1850’s, the California Gold Rush was well under way; and by 1852, Lyman, his wife Rebecca, and their six children had left Linn Co., Missouri for Placer Co., California. It is unclear if Lyman made any attempt to become a gold miner. However, he did own and operate a Quartz Mine in Tuolumne Co., California, which he sold in 1860. By all accounts, it appears that Lyman may have suffered the familiar fate of most miners during the Gold Rush. After selling his mine, he became a farmer in Sonoma Co., California and then a Peddler (or merchant) in Oakland, Alameda Co., California. He died in Oakland in 1879 and was buried next to his wife in an unmarked grave.

171 Years Ago Today

On April 14, 1842, one hundred and seventy-one years ago today, Lars Magnus Nilsson Stålberg (1842-?), my 4th great grandfather, was born the son of Nils Larsson Stålberg (1810-1889) and Maria Andersdotter (1821-?) in Annetorp, Sunne Parish, Värmland Co., Värmland Province, Kingdom of Sweden.

Birth Record of Lars Stålberg
Birth Record of Lars Stålberg

In 1863, Lars married Kerstin Nilsdotter (1841-1870), with whom he had five children, one of which was Anna Elizabeth Stålberg (1869-1918). Anna was the mother of Wilhelm Percy Wellin (1895-1977), who married Lois Beatrice Agee (1897-1983), with whom he had four children, one of which was Alice Lucretia Wellin (1916-1985), my paternal great grandmother. Alice was first married to Theodore “Ted” Alexander Lapham (1910-1955), with whom she had three children, one of which was Margaret Ann Lapham (1936-2004), my paternal grandmother.

324 Years Ago Today

On April 1, 1689, three hundred and twenty-four years ago today, Nicholas Lapham (1689-1758), my 7th great grandfather, was born in Dartmouth, Bristol Co., Massachusetts the son of John Lapham (ca. 1635-1710) and Mary Mann (ca. 1640-1712).

Birth Record of Nicholas Lapham (1689-1758).
Birth Record of Nicholas Lapham (1689-1758). (Nicholas’s birth record is mentioned following that of his sister’s.)

Nicholas was the first in my line of my Lapham ancestors to have been born in America, his father having immigrated to the Massachusetts Bay Colony from Devonshire, England in 1660 aboard the Hercules.

(Source: “Massachusetts, Town Clerk, Vital and Towns Records, 1579-2001.” Images. FamilySearch. https://familysearch.org)

100 Years Ago Today

On March 28, 1913, one hundred years ago today, Pauline Katherine (Rains-Rowlands) Kernan (1913-1997), my step-great grandmother, was born in Trenton, Grundy Co., Missouri, along with her twin brother Paul Robert Rains (1913-1978). She was born the daughter of Rex Aden Rains (1885-1973) and Vesta Ferrell Keith (1884-1931).

Pauline (Rains-Rowlands) Kernan
Pauline (Rains-Rowlands) Kernan

Pauline was first married to Donald Robert Rowlands (1907-1948), with whom she had one son, Donald. After her husband’s death in 1948, she married Delmar Clair Kernan (1908-1979) in Portland, Multnomah Co., Oregon in 1950.

123 Years Ago Today

On March 20, 1890, one hundred and twenty-three years ago today, George Benton Beeney (1890-1970), my 2nd great grandfather, was born in Utica, Licking Co., Ohio the son of Samuel L. Beeney (1857-1929) and Eva Flora McLaughlin (1863-1899).

Record of Birth for George Benton Beeney (First Page)
Record of Birth for George Benton Beeney (First Page)
Record of Birth for George Benton Beeney (Second Page)
Record of Birth for George Benton Beeney (Second Page)

The above record of George’s birth shows his name as just “Beeney.” A corrected record was made on the registry of births, which shows his full name. (A free online index of this record can be found by clicking here.)

George Benton Beeney was the biological father of my paternal great grandmother, Maxine Elizabeth (Davis-Kernan) Smith (1912-1992), who was first married to Delmar Clair Kernan (1908-1979). George and his wife, Gladys M. Cook (1894-1957), separated and later divorced soon after Maxine’s birth. Following this, George eventually returned to Ohio.

193 Years Ago Today

On March 18, 1820, one hundred and ninety-three years ago today, Martha Ragsdale (Walker) Thornton (1820-1899), my 5th great grandmother, was born in Smith Co., Tennessee the daughter of Edward Walker (1776-1848) and Mary Griffin (1781-1853).

Martha (Walker) Thornton
Martha (Walker) Thornton

Martha was the wife of Jeptha Thornton (1821-1889), whom she married in 1840 in Missouri; and with whom she had ten children, one of which was Mary Elizabeth Thornton (1847-1920), who married John Agee (1839-1912). Mary and John were the paternal grandparents of Lois Beatrice Agee (1897-1983), who married Wilhelm Percy Wellin (1895-1977). Lois and Wilhelm were the parents of Alice Lucretia Wellin (1916-1985), who married Theodore Alexander Lapham (1910-1955). Alice and Theodore were the parents of my paternal grandmother, Margaret Ann (Lapham) Kernan (1936-2004).

185 Years Ago Today

On March 15, 1828, one hundred and eighty-five years ago today, Ann (Forsyth) Leishman (1828-1896), my 4th great grandmother, was born in Shotts, Shotts, Lanarkshire, Scotland the daughter of William Forsyth (1785-1856) and Margaret Marshall (1794-1866).

Family of William Leishman and Ann Forsyth. Ann is pictured front row far right holding a baby
Family of William Leishman and Ann Forsyth. Ann is pictured front row far right holding a baby

Ann was the wife of William Leishman (1825-1901), whom she married in 1846 and with whom she had fourteen children. Ann, William, and their children immigrated to the United States in 1870. Ann is the grandmother of Anna Margaret Leishman (1875-1951), who married Horace Iriving Lapham (1869-1927), the father of Theodore Alexander Lapham (1910-1955), who was the father of my paternal grandmother, Margaret Ann (Lapham) Kernan (1936-2004).

Source: “Scotland, Births and Baptisms, 1564-1950,” Family Search.

100 Years Ago Today

On March 2, 1913, one hundred years ago today, Irene Vera (Balla) Sebok (1913-2006), my maternal great grandmother, was born in Le Roy, Genesee Co., New York the daughter and fifth child of Hungarian émigrés, Alexander Balla (1886-1950) and Julia Molnar (1885-1962).

The Balla Family Bible shows a birth entry for Irene, with her name shown in its Hungarin form as “Balla Irenke.” This record also shows her godparents, the names of which appear to be “Rimar, Istvan” and “Balog, Juliska.”

Balla Family Bible: Birth Record for Irene (Balla) Sebok
Balla Family Bible: Birth Record for Irene Balla

Interestingly, “Bufolo, Ny” is written in blue ink presumably as the birth location. This note was incorrectly added many years later (after 1962) by Irene’s older sister, Ima Helen (Balla) Creech (1911-1998). The family did briefly live in Buffalo, New York, but not at the time of Irene’s birth. The family also lived in Brooklyn and Rochester before relocating to Texas by February 1915. Irene grew up in Texas before relocating to California, where she married Albert Sebok (1903-1968).

Irene (Balla) Sebok at 80 years old
Irene (Balla) Sebok at 80 years old

110 Years Ago Today

On February 26, 1903, one hundred and ten years ago today, Albert Sebok (1903-1968), my maternal great grandfather, was born in Székelyzsombor, Udvarhely, Kingdom of Hungary, Austro-Hungarian Empire (now Jimbor, Romania), the son of Frank Sebok (1875-1951) and Roza Peto (1871-1937).

In 1905, when Albert was two years old, he and his mother joined his father in America, settling first in the East Chicago and Gary areas of Indiana, where Albert grew up. The family relocated to California in the 1920s.

Frank Sebok with his son Albert
Frank Sebok with his son Albert

It is interesting to note that the earliest record I have showing the birth of Albert Sebok is his 1919 baptismal certificate at the Hungarian Reformed Church in East Chicago, Lake Co., Indiana. This hand written certificate states that he was born in Székelyzsombor, Hungary, but on February 27, 1903 instead of February 26 like all other records for Albert. Having no official birth record, due to the general inaccessibility of records in Hungary, it is unclear which birthdate is correct.

Albert Sebok's Baptismal Certificate
Albert Sebok’s Baptismal Certificate