Tombstone Tuesday – Moses McSpadden

In June of this year my Dad and I embarked on a cross county adventure.  The purpose of the trip was to deliver a large yellow truck full of items for my Mother to my parent’s house in Virginia.  About halfway across country, I was looking at the route we planned to travel and realized we would be passing through Washington County, Virginia.  As you pass from Tennessee into Virginia on Interstate 81, you enter Washington County.

About ten miles north of the state line sits Abindgon, Virginia.  I have identified several direct line families who settled just outside of town along the Holstein River.  These early settler families contain my 6th great grandparents.  Specifically, the family of Moses McSpadden lived across the river from the family of Hugh Berry.  One of Hugh’s sons would marry one of Moses’ daughters and the rest was history…

me to moses mcspadden

I have previously located the gravestone for Moses McSpadden on FindAGrave.com.  Knowing he was buried in the graveyard of the Green Spring Presbyterian Church, I convinced my Dad to take a detour off the interstate to pay our respects.

I am so thankful for AliceP, James Archer, and Belle who all the way back in 2003 posted information of Moses McSpadden’s stone.  If I did not have the photo to use as a reference to locate Moses’ gravestone, we probably would have missed it.  I also would not have been able to read as much of the engraving as Belle did.

Moses’ gravestone is no longer standing.  It appears a tree used to stand nearby and the stone now lies on the soft ground of the decomposing roots.  The stone is now barely legible.  Here are a couple of photos of the gravestone as it is today.

Moses McSpadden stone is in the middle on the ground.
Moses McSpadden stone is in the middle on the ground.
Moses McsSpadden Gravestone 2015
Moses McsSpadden Gravestone 2015

It was a wonderful afternoon to reach out and touch some history.  My Dad, who was skeptical when we arrived, was just as excited as I was when we left the cemetery.

The next day, after a visit to the Historical Society of Washington County Virginia, I learned there was a reason why Moses was buried in the cemetery where we found him.  Stay tuned for my next blog post to get the story.

A Day at the DAR Library

During Spring Break this year my family traveled back East to visit with my family.  One day my family hopped on the Metro into Washington,DC.  We split up as we came into the city.  My husband and kids played tourist for the day enjoying the beautiful cherry blossom festival.  I walked a couple of blocks off of Constitution Avenue to spend the day researching at the Daughters of the American Revolution Library.

I had spent a good deal of time before my visit combing the Genealogical Research System (GRS) database.  Most of my direct ancestors were either too young or too old for service in the Revolutionary War. I was not looking at the GRS for direct ancestors but rather any men who could be brothers, cousins, or uncles of my known ancestors.  My hope was to find information in the supporting documents that would connect my ancestor to the family.

In the Seimes Technology Center, researchers can access the applications and supporting documents for the people found in the GRS.  I tackled my to-do list and began checking each candidate.  A few of the possible contenders were quickly crossed off the list since none of the information matched location or known dates.

I hit my first Jackpot with Lt. John Berry.  As soon as I saw his applications and supporting documents I started hitting the ‘print’ button.  The digitized documents tied right into the information I had found in the DAR Library in a book called A Berry History: an Account of John and Jane Campbell Berry of Washington County, Virginia compiled by John Berry Nolan.  I have evidence that Jane Berry is my 4th great-grandmother.  The book and DAR supporting documents show that she is the granddaughter of Lt. John Berry.  This makes John Berry my 6th great-grandfather.

I then hit a triple Jackpot for my ancestor Mary Frances Coffey.  I have documentation proving her parents are Willis Coffey and Violetta “Lotty” Haynes.  First up is the find on Mary’s maternal line.  My first jackpot hit was to connect Lotty as the daughter of James Haynes who served in the Revolutionary War.

Mary Frances Coffey’s paternal line had two additional surprises.  The first surprise was to tie Willis Coffey into the family of Eli and Mary Coffey by looking at the application for Nathan Coffey. The probate records attached to the application show Willis as the executor of his father’s estate.  It also names his mother as Mary ‘Polly’ Coffey, and the names of some of his siblings in the guardianship paperwork.  It was also exciting to see John Haynes (father in-law of Willis) named in one of the documents.

The third surprise was how Nathan Coffey tied into the family.  When I looked at the application, I was hoping he was an uncle.  Turns out he was Willis’ great uncle and grandfather.  Bible records were attached to the application which showed Eli Coffey married his first cousin, Mary Coffey on 22 March 1801.  Nathan is the uncle of Eli and the father of Mary.  Nathan Coffey (1760-1823) is supposedly the great-great grandson of John Coffey.  John Coffey is alleged to have come to the United States about 1637 from Ireland.  Once again a discovery has added many to-do items to my list to now prove prior research.

My last discovery was to confirm that Johannes Klinger is the father of Maria Clinger.  Maria married into my Lawbaugh line.

The day was super successful.  I know can prove a connection to five Revolutionary War ancestors. A great day ended on an even higher note.  After leaving the DAR Library, I met my family at the Lincoln Memorial where we each enjoyed a lemonade popsicle before commuting home together.

My Maternal Line

Happy Mother’s Day!  There are many mothers in my family tree and I would like to thank each one for making my being here possible!  I want to dedicate today’s post to my direct line of mother’s who helped to make up my mtDNA.

I believe I will be able to go back another couple of generations but need to get the research completed before I will claim my ancestors.  This is the line I have proven so far:

Sierra Excel File

 

Me
Me
Mom at her High School Graduation
Mom at her High School Graduation
Grandma at her High School Graduation
Grandma at her High School Graduation
Opal Strickler 1891-1970
Opal Strickler 1891-1970
Effie Flock 1866-1939
Effie Flock 1866-1939
Amner Caroline Ramsey 1840-1933
Amner Caroline Ramsey 1840-1933

 

Unfortunately (but not surprisingly), I have not been able to locate a photo for Jane Berry.  Her death in Appanoose, Iowa in March 1870 makes the likelihood of any photo taken pretty small.

DNA Away

My Christmas present to myself this year was a DNA test.  Not sexy to the average person but thrilling for a genealogist.  I did my research and decided to get a mtDNA test done with Family Tree DNA.  The test arrived this week and my DNA sample should reach Texas on Monday.  My results should be ready in approximately six weeks.

My DNA test kit
My DNA test kit

A mtDNA test looks at the women in your direct maternal line.  I am not expecting anything too mind-blowing.  I have researched my maternal line back to my g-g-g-g-grandmother, Jane Berry.  I am expecting to see the British Isles as the major DNA line.  I am keeping an open mind because anything is possible!

Sierra Excel File

The biggest reason I am doing this test is to see what exactly you get when you have a DNA test done.  It works out great for me that the Marin County Genealogical Society is hosting Katherine Hope Borges at the March meeting.  She will be presenting “I Have DNA Tested – Now What?”

If my DNA test goes well, I will be testing the DNA of my Mom’s cousin.  There is a family story of an illegitimate child forced onto a new bride in 1867.  The story continues that the mother of the illegitimate child was Jewish.  My mom’s cousin is a direct female descendant.  I am hoping that a mtDNA test for her will either prove or disprove the family story.

DNA away, just waiting to play!

Treasure Chest Thursday – Jane (Berry) Ramsey

I am back again for another set of documents from my Ancestry.com shoebox.  This week I will be focusing on Jane Ramsey.  She is one of the few 4th great grandmothers I have identified on my family tree.

Ramsey line

 

I had two documents that had been saved to my shoebox.  This was a first round of searches after identifying Jane Berry as the mother of Amner Caroline Ramsey.  I made the connection from A. Caroline’s death certificate.  The first saved item was the Ramsey family in the Iowa State Census in 1856.  They were enumerated in Washington Township, Appanoose County, Iowa with the last name Ramsay.  (A common name variation)  Jane is listed second on the list just under her husband Joseph.  She is 52 at the time.  Also listed are most of her children: Robert, Sarah, Caroline, Joseph, and William.

The 1856 Iowa State census is fascinating because it has many questions about the land the families were working.  The Ramsey family was living on 140 acres.  Sixty of these acres were improved land for farming.  They harvested 100 bushels of spring wheat, 300 bushels of oats, and 1000 bushels of corn the prior year.  They also sold 24 hogs for $75 and 7 cattle for $45.

Ramsey Family 1856

 

The second item in my Ancestry shoebox was the 1870 US Federal Census Mortality Schedule.  Jane died the same year as the census so she was listed in the mortality schedule with more information.

Ramsey Jane Mortality schedule

 

Jane Ramsey passed away 18 march 1870 in Washington Township, Appanoose County, Iowa.  Her husband is found in the 1870 census living with his son Robert a few short months after Jane’s death.

A bonus of saving these records to my computer is that I noticed in the right hand column of the image reader a list of suggested records on Ancestry.com.  One of the suggestions was an entry at www.FindAGrave.com.  I checked it out and it seems to be my Jane.  I have saved the information to my computer.  I have also contacted the person who maintains the memorial because I think we may be distantly related.

I checked my digital files and found that I already had the 1850 and 1860 federal census enumerations for the Ramsey family.  I need to make a research plan for this family.  There is a lot of information that I do not know about them.