Friday, January 30, 2015's New Record View's done it again. They fixed something that wasn't broken.  They updated their record view page to make it look .... well different.  Although no one has asked for it, here's my review of the changes.

Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF):  There was not enough improvement to warrant a change.  

A few details:

1. Content: The new record page is not a lot different in content. This is a good thing. 

2.  Font: I think was trying to create a cleaner look.  This cleaner look resulted in less contrast and no background shading. I find the text more difficult to read.  For example, on the old version, the name of the individual is bolded and the header information has a grey background making it easier to focus on the data that's unique to this record.

3.  Headers: On the old version, the header column (e.g. Name, Gender, Spouse's Name) was wide. For many labels, this meant they were on a single line. During beta testing, these fields were very narrow and the labels end up on more lines. Here you can see, for example, Spouse's Name is on two lines in the new version on the left and one line in the old version on the right.  (Click on image to enlarge.)
I'm sure I wasn't the only user who wrote to about this issue. It seems they agreed and changed it. Now the header column is wider. Thanks! That was one of my biggest issues with the new version.

4. Source Credit: The NARA logo is now at the top of the Census page. This is not a particularly helpful field to take up valuable "above the scroll" real estate.

5. Thumbnail image: It's larger. Not a big deal either way.

Bottom line: There was not enough improvement to warrant a change. Overall I find the new font and removal of the shading make it more difficult to find the information I'm looking for.  

Till next time, keep the blue side up ... Lynn

Friday, February 7, 2014

For years I've been researching my Lithuanian ancestors.  I didn't have much information other than that my paternal grandfather's parents came to the America from Lithuania.

My initial search began with my great grandfather Julius Dawson.  I quickly found he had an older brother Peter.  They spelled their names many ways until eventually they all used Dawson.  The most common Lithuanian spelling is Dausinas (for the men) and Dausinaite (for the unmarried women).

So, I've found 2 Dawson brothers:
- Peter Dausinas
- Julius Dausinas

MEMORY BOOK: Julius' eldest son, my Uncle Lawrence, wrote about his family in a Memory Book.  He said, "Aunt Sofia (father's sister) knew all about mushrooms. She had a mean son named Walter."  One of Lawrence's daughters said that Walter used to terrorize Lawrence and his brothers with snakes.

Now I have 3 Dawson siblings:
- Peter Dausinas
- Julius Dausinas
- Sophie Dausinaite

Uncle Lawrence also wrote, "Sofia's husband, Uncle Joe was a quiet man.  He was found dead in a fishing boat of a heart attack."

CHURCH RECORDS: Using Catholic Church Records from Providence of God Church, I searched for Sophie and found Julius had not one, but two sisters, Anna and Josephine (who I assume to be Aunt Sophie). They married two Raczkowski brothers (Frank and John respectively). 

Oh - I'm up to 4 Dawson siblings:
- Peter Dausinas
- Julius Dausinas
- Sophie Dausinaite
- Anna Dausinaite

I found a number of records for Anna Dawson and husband Frank Raczkowski but have never located Josephine and husband John Raczkowski in the Census records.  I did, however, find baptism records for 3 children:
- Joseph b. 1901
- John b. 1902
- Walter b. 1904

Keep in mind that Uncle Lawrence said Sophie's husband was Joe, not John.  For years I've searched Census and other records for Aunt Sophie, Uncle Joe or John, and their mean son Walter without success.

ADDRESS BOOK:  In 2011, Uncle Lawrence's daughters, Doris and Christine, provided me with names of possible cousins listed in their mother's address book. They felt that Walter's last name started with a J, perhaps Janchusky or Janczewski. They said they may have had children: Lottie and Mickey. Although this didn't match the Church records, I searched with this name as well as with children Lottie and Mickey.  No luck.  I searched using first names only. No luck.  Something just wasn't right.

JACKPOT: Earlier this week I came across a 1905 marriage record for Stanislawa Dansinaite and Josef Janconski in's Cook County Marriage Record.  I think I missed this record in the past because this is yet another spelling of Dausinaite.  Although I've done searches using Soundex and wild cards, requires a minimum of 3 letters. I've searched for Dau*, Daw*, Doo*, Dou*, etc.  I must not have searched on Dan*.  Or I did and got too many results.

Now I have 5 Dawson siblings:
- Peter Dausinas
- Julius Dausinas
- Sophie Dausinaite
- Anna Dausinaite
- Stanislawa Dausinaite

BACK TO THE CHURCH RECORDS: I took the information from the Cook County record and headed to to use the browsable Chicago Catholic Church Records.  Bingo.  Here's their marriage record, including parents names. Love these records!!
CENSUS: From there I headed to the Census records.  1910 - no luck.  However in 1920, I found a record for:

Joseph Janczewski
- Stella (Stanislawa, I assume)
- Madeline (Mickey?)
- Loretta (Lottie)
- Walter
- Stella

I think this is the correct family but it's not perfect. Then I found the same family in the 1930 Census and all doubt was removed when I saw Stella's brother, Peter Dawson living with them.

Joseph Janczewski
- Stella
- Madeline (Mickey)
- Charlotte (Lottie)
- Stella
- Peter Dawson - listed as Uncle

Peter Dawson is actually Stella's brother, not her uncle. I'm confident of this because her parents names are listed on her Providence of God Church marriage records. Peter is, however, uncle to the children.  This minor incongruity doesn't bother me as my brothers-in-law call me Aunt Lynn out of habit because they call me that for their children's sake.   

Enough for now.  This is a very exciting find for me and was only possible because my cousins, Doris and Christine, shared what they knew.  

Till next time, keep the blue side up ... Lynn

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Free Books & Old Web Sites

Like all genealogists, I love free books.
  • Google Books is tops but  PDFs are not necessarily searchable. If you download a book that isn't, try to find it on
  • also has tons of free downloadable books and their PDFs are fully searchable. It's a snap to find a book if you know the title or author.  Note the website is: - NOT .com.
  • has been popping up as a result when searching with Google for a specific book. The site tells me to insert my name and email and I'll receive a downloadable link.   Furthermore it says that "By submitting, I certify that I agree to the terms and conditions and privacy policy."  However there isn't a link for said terms, conditions, and policy.  Seems a bit fishy to me - how about you?
    I searched for reviews of this site to determine it's safety. It took awhile, but I found one review on Scam Adviser:  From João Sousa.
"The site tried to get my credit card number. Downloader tried to install lots of unwanted crap in a subreptitious [sic] manner. Promised book was not delivered."

If anyone has successfully downloaded from, I'd appreciate your feedback and will post another review. For now, I recommend skipping this site.  [Note: I am willing to pay for an e-copy of the Loudoun County Tithables book I was searching for but haven't found one.]

By the way, has more than just books.  It's home to the Wayback Machine.  This site is a lifesaver when you get a dreaded 404 Not Found error, especially for old Rootsweb, GeoCities and AOL Hometown hosted sites.  Just go to and put the old URL into the Wayback Machine. 

Want to try it?  Use the following link listed on's Loudoun County VA Taxation Wiki.

If you put the URL in your browser, you would expect it to take you to the Fairfax County DAR's web site which hosted a transcription of  the1749 List of Fairfax County, Virginia Tithables. This DAR site has moved to another domain and as far as I can tell, they no longer host this information.

Instead, put it into The Wayback Machine and it will take you to a snapshot of the old site: here. This snapshot from 2011 is the last one they captured. Earlier snapshots are available and although they may not be necessary in this case, it may be helpful in instances when you want an earlier version of the site.

Till next time, keep the blue side up ... Lynn

Friday, July 26, 2013

Civil War Soldiers - My Father's Family

As I said in my last blog, I have 8 second or third great grandfathers that were the right age and generation to have fought in the Civil War.  Five on my mother's side and three on my father's.

1. Thomas McHugh. GG-Grandfather - b. 1834. Lived near Greenville, SC.  During the Civil War he served in the Confederate Army as a carpenter. In in civilian life he was a wood worker: 1850 Census -  Cabinet Maker. (age 16), 1860 Census - Mechanic.  He was furloughed on sick leave from Jun 1862 to Feb 1863 and when he returned he was detailed as a carpenter.  During the war his occupation was listed variously as 1.) Carpenter duty (Repairing Wagons), 2.) mechanic, 3.) carpenter.  After the war, he returned to being a cabinet maker (1870). In 1880 he is listed as a farmer.

2. Mumford Stokes McKenzie Sloop. GGG-Grandfather. -b. 1832 (28 when the war started).  I haven't found any evidence that he served in the war. During a Sloop family reunion, one family historian said the Sloops never owned slaves.  Mumford's 1st cousin  Caleb Sloop fled to Illinois to avoid service. I don't have any evidence that Mumford did anything similar.  There are other Sloops who served in the Confederate Army.

3. William "W.D." Tevepaugh. GGG-Grandfather - b. 1833. The National Archives have a record for a W.D. Tevepaugh who was a Confederate soldier, Pvt. in 29th Reg. N.C. Infantry [company not recorded].  (Record downloaded from His date and place of enlistment are not recorded. He was paroled at Charlotte, N.C. on 24 May 1865. I am hoping to find additional information to collaborate this record.

 W. D. died in 1868. His tombstone reads:

W. D. Tevepaugh
Died January 18, 1868
from a wound in the hand
caused by the accidental discharge of a gun in his own hands
Aged 34 yrs. 8 mos. 11 days

Till next time, keep the blue side up ... Lynn

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Civil War Soldiers - My Mother's Family

Most people my age have about 8 second or third great grandfathers that were the right age and generation to have fought in the Civil War. In the south the number is higher because Confederate soldiers' ages had a wider range than Union soldiers. Most Confederate soldiers were between 18 and 39. Although according to some historians it wasn't uncommon to see men in their 50s, 60s, and a few in their 70s.

[Note:  In this blog, I refer to WV as a geography before it was a state because it's helpful to distinguish it from Virginia.]

Below is a brief description of my maternal 2nd/3rd great grandfathers and whether they participated in the war. If I say they "did not serve," it means I have searched for records but there isn't any indication they were in either army.

1. Thomas "T.R." Houghton. GG-Grandfather - b. 1846, WV: Preacher. ; Did not serve. He was a little young and would have only been 15 in 1861. His older brother Jesse served (Confederate) as did his future father-in-law James F. Cochran (Union).

2. James F. Cochran. GGG-Grandfather- b. 1819, WV. 3rd West Virginia Cavalry. Union Soldier. Enrolled: 10 Mar 1864; Died 19 Sep 1864 - probably from infection of a small pox vac. He entered as a private and was at some point promoted to Corporal during his 6 months of service. His daughter Sarah Jane married TR Houghton 11 years after her father died.  The guardian of his children applied for his pension and thus his file contains a significant amount of information about the family.

3. Shelton Rodney Boise Henderson. GG-Grandfather - b. 1843 VA. 36th Regiment Virginia Infantry, Confederate Army. On June 5, 1864 during the Battle of New Hope or Piedmont, VA - near Staunton, VA, he was wounded in the right foot and his leg had to be amputated just below the knee.  His records include an order for his prosthetic leg. Ten years after the war, he married my gg-grandmother, Elizabeth Alice Hanna and had 9 children. (see photo)

3. Adolph Meminger. GG-Grandfather - b. 1844 Baden Germany. Records indicate he arrived around1865 and missed the war. I have been unable to find any immigration records.

4. William Clark Babcock. b. 1843 Michigan. I have not found any indication that he served but according to my cousin Dan Meminger, other Babcock cousins did.

Till next time, keep the blue side up ... Lynn

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Name Game

All genealogists play the name game.  Multiple spellings of our surnames is fairly common.  My great grandfather came from Lithuania with a relatively easy last name. Dausin.  Well, perhaps not that easy.

I have seen so many spellings that I started a spreadsheet to keep track of the various spellings.  Lithuanians add a suffix to the root of their last name which identifies whether the individual is a man,  a married woman, or an unmarried daughter. (See a great explanation here by John Peters, a genealogist who helped many Lithuanian Americans over their brick walls.)

I added the date and source to my spreadsheet; when looking for a new record I usually start my search with the spellings closest to the date of the new source.

Naturalization paper
Sister Beth's papers
Marriage register (Church)

Marriage license & certificate
Daughter Bronislava Haimi (?) baptism record
Son Boleslav's birth certificate
Son Bolieslaum's baptism record
Joseph's birth certificate

Boleslav baptism record
WWI Draft Registration
Anthony's birth certificate
Edward's birth certificate
Death certificate

Paulina's death certificate

Turns out, that wasn't enough. Several databases, like Cook County's genealogy site,  let you put in the soundex code. Since most of the spellings had the same sound, I felt they would all have the same soundex code.  Generally speaking, the table below bears that out.  250 without the suffix and 252 with it.  Again, I used a spreadsheet but there are several good soundex converters that will do the work for you.










That just one of the many name games I've played to find information about my great grandfather.  He didn't leave a lot of information behind.  I'm still searching to find his entry to the US (around 1892) and any information regarding his origins in Lithuania. 

Till next time, keep the blue side up ... Lynn

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Mahala Bennett Cochran's life during the Civil War

In March 1864, Mahala's husband James F. Cochran voluntarily enrolled in the Union Army at the age of 35.  She had five children at  home ranging in age from 18 months to 8 years old.  Among them was my gg-grandmother, Sarah Jane Cochran.

I assume James volunteered in order to receive the bounty offered to Volunteers.  Upon enlistment he received $60 and became part of the West Virginia, 3rd Regiment Cavalry. However, by September 1864, James was dead; he died of disease in Clarysville Hospital. According to the Civil War Archive ( the unit lost a total of 182 men.  136 of those (or 75%) died of disease.  On the Army's record of his death, her post office is listed as Anderson's Store West Virginia. 

What was life like in Anderson's Store at the time?  Perhaps J. Bouse letter asking for protection from raiders provides some insight. The letter is included in: "The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies" (Scott, Robert N. et. al., Editor - found here) .

One more interesting fact.  When the widowed Mahala Bennette Cochran married Adam Wilfong in 1867,  "J. Bouse" married them. 

January 29, 1864.
To Brigadier General B. F. KELLEY, greeting:
We, your humble petitioners, being all loyal citizens, pray to be heard in behalf of our present perilous situation.

First. We represent that we live immediately on the border. That we are daily, or, more properly speaking, nightly, exposed to rebel hordes of guerrillas, who infest the mountains and pounce upon us when and while we are unable to protect ourselves in any degree. There are several roads leading from the settlements into the mountains, any and all of which are used by them in making their raids among us.

Second. The manner of making their raids: The come in quietly and are received by the rebel sympathizers, and then from 10 to 20 armed rebels dash upon the citizens in the dead hours of the night, robbing them of whatever valuables may be found, consisting of money, bedclothes, wearing apparel, even down to ladies' dresses and children's shoes and stockings. Some families have been reduced to want in this way. They have even taken the last knife and fork in some instances. They begin the work of robbing as they go out of the neighborhood, and before we can possibly get help they are gone. They have already got nearly every Union horse for several miles round where yu petitioners live.

Third. We anticipate worse now soon. We expect the next thing that our cattle will be driven off, as it has been done in the adjoining county (Braxton).

Fourth. The remedy; The only remedy we can conceive of is to have a company or two of men stationed at two points along the line. One company stationed on the head of the West Fork, where they could watch and guard the roads and passes infested by these guerrillas. In like manner let a company be stationed at Centreville, Upshur County, there being a way from that point to the mountains. That is the point of attack where the Upshur County militia were captured.

Fifth. Now let Company A of Tenth Virginia Volunteer Infantry be placed on the head of the West Fork, in Lewis County. That company was mostly raised in that locality, and are well acquainted with the roads leading to the mountains, and can therefore be much more efficient than strangers can be. The same as it regards Company B, same regiment, who were raised in the locality of Centreville. They are well acquainted with the roads and guerrilla haunts.

Lastly, our young and able- bodied men have nearly all gone into the Government service. There are but a very few men, except grey- heads and invalids, left.
Now, we do humbly ask (if it can be done without prejudice to the General Government) you to send the aforesaid Companies A and B to the aforesaid points, and we will continue to show our loyalty, as we have hitherto done, by doing all we can in support of the Government and the suppression of the rebellion.

J. BOUSE, [And 31 others].

Till next time, keep the blue side up ... Lynn

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

It's Time to Play ... Tombstone Mysteries

The bottom of this tombstone says:
Text Luke C. 10. V. 42.
I've sent several people queries about this tombstone. I couldn't quite tell what it meant.

Initially, I  thought it said:  Luke 6. 10. V. 42.  After I wrote the first draft of this posting (having looked at the picture at least 100 times), I finally saw the "6" as a "C."  Clearly Chapter and Verse (duh!).  I was so convinced it was a 6 that I couldn't come up with any other option.

It's still rather odd - I expect the person ordering the tombstone wanted the actual text from Luke on the tombstone or just
Luke C. 10. V. 42., not the word text engraved on the tombstone. I could be wrong, but it seems funny!

From the New International Version of The Bible  -
Luke 10:42  ... but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” 

This seems an odd selection for a tombstone.  For some time, I've considered the possibility that I misread the numbers. Could it be 10:12? What about 20:12 or 20:42?

I searched for other possibilities and described them in my second draft of this blog.  Then it hit me -- the woman buried here is Mary.  Now it makes sense.  Here's the verse in context.  Rest in Peace, Mary.

Luke 10:38-42
At the Home of Martha and Mary

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

The tombstone is in Bunker Hill Cemetery, Weissport, Carbon County, Pennsylvania.

Memory of
Wife of 
Josiah Ruch
Born Feb. 9, 1833
Died Aug. 21, 1892
Age 59 Yrs,  6 Mos. & 12 Days

 Till next time, keep the blue side up ... Lynn
P.S.  I'm not related to Mary or Josiah! 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

A Rare Photo - Thomas Richard "TR" Houghton

My beloved Grandpa Houghton (Minter Jackson Houghton) would have been 106 years old on 12 June 2013.

Coincidentally, I recently found a photo of his grandfather, Thomas Richard "TR" Houghton 1846-1923, on Holy Cow! He looks just like my grandfather. See photo - TR, left and Minter right. In this photo, Grandpa Houghton is in his 80s.  I don't know how old TR Houghton is in the photo but he died around the age of 77.

TR Houghton's first wife, my gg-grandmother, Sarah Jane Cochran Houghton, 1858-1905, died at the age of 47. She was 12 years younger than TR.

After Sarah died, TR moved to Oklahoma (in 1907, age 60) and married Rinda Horton. She was 26 years younger than he; they had one daughter, Lillie Lee Houghton. This photo is from one of her descendents. I've contacted the person who posted it in hopes of getting more information.

When TR died in 1923, his body was sent to West Virginia for burial with his first wife, Sarah, and family. They are in Walnut Grove cemetery, Strange Creek, WV.

Belated Happy Birthday to Grandpa Houghton!

 Till next time, keep the blue side up ... Lynn

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Follow the Records

At times I can be very focused on a task.  On occasion I have searched for a single record for several hours.  However, at other times, I'm all over the map.

This morning, for example, I was finishing some research regarding the burial location of my 3rd great grandfather, James F. Cochran, who died while enlisted in the Union Army. I found a record of James Cochran buried in 1864 in Grafton National Cemetery, WV and a J. F. Cochran, Cprl, buried in Antietam (photo right). I believe the latter is correct. 

While looking for more information on, I noticed in the member connect section that someone downloaded some info from my tree on Thomas Richard Houghton who married James F. Cochran's daughter Sarah. Thomas and Sarah are my 3rd great grandparents. I looked at the tree and found it had Cochran information I've never seen.  It provided info on James F. Cochran's father (also James) and his grandfather (Thomas).  On Thomas Cochran's page, there was an image of a transcription for the 1st Census of Greenbriar County, Virginia.

 I knew the 1790 US Census for had been destroyed so I googled " 1790 Virginia census" and an interesting result came back:

1790 / 1800 Virginia Tax List Censuses - Binns Genealogy

This free site provides an index and original images to the 1790 and 1800 Tithable lists.  When I think "Tithable," I think of Elijah Houghton.  Elijah, born about 1746, is my 6th great grandfather. He's a major brick wall.  I've used transcripts of British Tithable lists for clues to his origin.  These were helpful because they show an Elijah Houghton living with a Joseph Houghton in Loudoun County, Virginia, in the 1700s. I believe Joseph is Elijah's father. However, I had only seen transcripts, not original documents or images. There's something very exciting about seeing the actual doc or an image of it -- and Binns Genealogy delivered.

Anyway, Elijah later moved to Culpeper County, Virginia - but I don't know when. I had it narrowed down to somewhere between 1789 and 1810. The new Binn Tithable records show him in Loudoun in 1789 and in Culpeper by 1801.
1789 Loudoun County Tithable List
After saving the images and documenting this new information in my Roots Magic database, I uploaded the docs (with source information) to my tree.  Then I emailed the info to a cousin I met on-line.  Sharing is everything.

Wait, what was my point? I'm meandering. Just like my research.  I wonder if other genealogists do this? Let me pause to write a blog about it called Follow the Documents (done!).  James F. Cochran's burial research will sit on the back burner until another day.  Speaking of back-burner, that reminds me ......

 Till next time, keep the blue side up ... Lynn