Friday, September 27, 2013


ast week I discovered my mother’s school autograph book from 1933.

Class Autographs 

First, I learned that she was the class secretary. (Ironically, she spent most of her life working as a secretary/office manager.) Since she was born in 1923, she would have been around 10 and probably in 4th or 5th grade.

Jane Cutler, Secretary

The autograph book contained brief messages and signatures by friends and family. Fortunately, many of the notes were dated.  On July 9, 1933, a number of relatives signed the book. Perhaps there was a family event, and my mother took the opportunity to gather signatures. I can almost visualize her walking around with her autograph book asking people for signatures.

That day the following people wrote a note to my mom:

Aunt Isabel – I believe that this would have been Isabel CUTLER Evans, my grand aunt.

Gramma Cutler – This was surely my great grandmother Nellie (Helen) Amelia MARSH Cutler.

Uncle Wayne – This person is a mystery. He signed the book on the same day as the other Cutler relatives, so I assume he is from that side of the family. However, I do not have a Wayne Cutler in my tree. I have a Wayne Hills, husband to my grand aunt, Dora Agnes TAYLOR Hills, who would have been living at that time. I have a Wayne SPAULDING, but he was a cousin. It is conceivable that someone who was a cousin would refer to himself as an uncle. Perhaps Wayne was a nickname or maybe this Wayne is a person as yet undiscovered.

On June 22, 1933, there was a signature by Aunt Belle. This was no doubt the signature of my grand aunt, Isabel WILLIAMS Hamlin. “Aunt Belle” was the way my mom used to refer to her.

There were also two signatures (in what appears to be the same handwriting) by my Welsh great grandparents, William WILLIAMS and Jane OWEN Williams.  They did not write messages, and I believe that might be because English was not their native language. I think William may have written Jane's signature, as I don't believe she ever abandoned her Welsh language. 

Although they were somewhat corny and traditional, I loved reading the messages written in this book. If my mother only knew that her autograph book would be a genealogical treasure almost 100 years later.


Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, 1200 Ornamental Letters, 2007.

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, Elegant Floral Designs, 2003. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Monday, September 23, 2013


I had the pleasure of attending the recent New York State Family History Conference ( in Liverpool, New York. Registrants had the option of choosing one of two preconference choices: a day of research at the Onondaga County Public Library ( or a guided tour of the Syracuse area. Since I am from the Syracuse area, I chose the library option.

The Onondaga County Public Library (“OCPL”) has a fabulous collection of history and genealogy material for not only New York but also for New England, the Mid-Atlantic states, the South and the Midwest.  Non resident OCPL cards may be obtained at the library service desk on the first floor.  I filled out a short form and was issued a library card that is good for three years.


I started my research with the New York Vital Records Index, which was available on microfiche. First, I looked in a Vital Index binder and found the microfiche number, and then I asked a librarian to supply me with the fiche. I was allowed three microfiche at a time and my library card was held as collateral.   My goal was to verify the death date and location for some of my Taylor and Scripture ancestors. With this information I can more easily order death certificates. I had a 50% success rate. Not all towns complied immediately with the state records laws, so the absence of some of the death records is not surprising.


My second project was to explore my Burdick line. I located a book entitled Routes to Roots: the Burdick Family Chronology by Frank P. Mueller. This book was very helpful, and I photographed key pages with my mini iPad. If you wanted photocopies, the library staff would copy them for you for a nominal fee. There were at least three other books on the genealogy of the Burdick family, but time was an issue so I made a note for future investigation of those sources.


I spent an enjoyable hour browsing the extensive collection of genealogical and historical periodicals, such as:
  • Everton’s Genealogical Helper
  • The Essex Genealogist
  • Rhode Island History
  • Madison County Historical Society Newsletter
  • Michigana
  • Mayflower Descendant
  • Connecticut Ancestry
  • Crossroads
  • The Genealogist
  • Tree Talks


I also spent time exploring various books on people who have served in various wars, such as:
  • Abstracts of Revolutionary War Pension Files, abstracted by Virgil D. White
  • The Index of Revolutionary War Pension Applications in the National Archives, Bicentennial Edition
  • New York Soldiers in the Civil War by Richard Wilt
  • New York Colonial Muster Rolls 1664-1775: Report of the State Historian of the State of New York
  • Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary War

The ancestors I was searching for were Aaron Cutler (Civil War), Sampson Spaulding (Revolutionary War) and Daniel Boyden (Revolutionary War).  


I then examined:
  • The Early Settlers of Maryland by Gust Skordas
  • Baltimore Families 1659-1759 by Robert Barnes
  • Founders of Anne Arundel and Howard Counties, Maryland by J.D. Warfield

In these books I found several references to my Beall, Brashear, Magruder and Bowie lines.


There was much, much more at the OCPL such as historical maps, telephone books, city directories, manuscript collections, historical newspapers, clipping files, census records (state and federal) and cemetery records.

Check out their online catalog ( and make a list of resources you would like to consult. (Some material might need to be ordered in advance so it can be retrieved in time for your arrival.) Then, if you are in Central New York, spend a day there and discover all that this wonderful library has to offer.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY: What's in the Basket?

I found the following photograph in an album I inherited from Winifred WILLIAMS Boyser, my grand aunt. To the left of the man in front of the car is a basket. This could be a picnic basket. However, the people in the photograph are dressed up--the men are wearing suits.  Perhaps people "dolled up" for picnics more than they do nowadays. The car looks like it is parked in the country. The location would have been in Oneida County, New York, and the time period was the first half of the 1900s.

I am pretty sure that the man on top of the car is Earl Hamlin, the husband of Isabel WILLIAMS Hamlin, my grand aunt.  Supposedly, Earl always parted his hair in the center. The man standing in front of the car is probably Frederick Boyser, the husband of Winifred WILLIAMS Boyser. The two women at the back of the car are most likely my two aunts, Winifred and Isabel.

In retrospect, I believe this was a staged photograph, and the car is a prop used by the photographer.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


I found the following photographs of ladies wearing hats in one of the scrapbooks I inherited from Winifred WILLIAMS Boyser, my grand aunt. I believe that the photographs were taken early in the 1900s. I am not positive about the identity of the women, but I can give you my guesses:

Winifred Williams Boyser?

Isabel Williams Hamlin?

Jane Owen Williams?

Saturday, September 7, 2013


IRAM SCRIPTURE, my third great grand uncle, was born in Oneida County, New York on 23 Jan 1807 (1), the son of Hiram Scripture and Elizabeth Parker.  He married Margaret Parker in Barre, Orleans, New York on 28 Apr 1835.(2)  There is a Certificate from the U.S. General Land Office Records, dated October 1835, showing that Hiram Scripture, Jr., of Oneida County, New York deposited money for land in Monroe, Michigan Territory. (3)

In the 1840 U.S. Census, Hiram was living in York, Washtenaw, Michigan. (4) In the 1850 U.S. Census, Hiram is shown with his wife, Margaret, and children Maria, Langdon and Mary, as well as his mother-in-law, Sophia Speer. His occupation is farmer.(5)

Hiram died on 27 Jul 1851 at the age of 44 and is buried in York Cemetery in Milan, Michigan.  (6) His son, Langdon Scripture, would fight in the Civil War for the 20th Michigan Infantry.(7)


Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, Victorian Decorative Letters, 1999.

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, Elegant Floral Designs, 2003.


      (1) Frank C. Scripter, Samuel Scripture Descendants: Scripture-Scipter Families, (Michigan: Scripter, 2005), No. 113.

      (2)  “Marriages and Deaths, 1827-1837” compiled in 1972 by Charles Gordon Pond, Jr. from marriage and death notices in bound volumes of newspapers on file at the Oneida Historical Society, Utica, New York,  entry for Scripture-Parker, handwritten page 111, names beginning with “S,” FHC Film 1435189, Item no. 1, Death & Marriage Notices from Utica, N.Y. Newspapers (

     (3) U.S. General Land Office Records, 1796-1907 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2008. Original data: United States. Bureau of Land Management, General Land Office Records. Automated Records Project; Federal Land Patents, State Volumes. Springfield, Virginia: Bureau of Land Management, Eastern States, 2007.

     (4)  Year: 1840; Census Place: York, Washtenaw, Michigan; Roll: 211; Page: 132; Image: 858; Family History Library Film: 0014797. 1840 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010.

     (5) Year: 1850; Census Place: York, Washtenaw, Michigan; Roll: M432_364; Page: 465A; Image: 575. 1850 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2009. 

     (6)  Find A Grave, Inc. Find A Grave, digital image ( accessed September 7, 2013), Hiram Scripture, York Cemetery, Washtenaw County, Michigan, Memorial No. 71379605, created by Leta Knauss.

     (7) Entry for Langdon W. Scripture, Widow: Louisa E. Scripture, National Archives and Records Administration. U.S., Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2000. Original data: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. T288, 546 rolls.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


I found these photographs in an album that was formerly in the home of my grand aunt, Winifred WILLIAMS Boyser (1898-1971), who lived in Utica, New York.  I think the dog may have belonged to Winifred's sister, Isabel WILLIAMS Hamlin (1894-1966), also my grand aunt. This gives new meaning to the phrase "hood ornament."

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


Geneameme was the brainstorm of Jill Ball at Geniaus ( in honor of Family History Month in Australia.  Here is my response:

1.            What are the titles and URLs of your genealogy blog/s?

The Art of Genealogy (

2.            Do you have a wonderful "Cousin Bait" blog story? A link to a previous blog post might answer this question. 

I received an e-mail from a Jim Bowie descendant in response to my post entitled “The Search for Jim Bowie” (www. He had a fascinating website ( where I learned more about Bowie and his family.

3.            Why did you start blogging? Is there someone who inspired you to start blogging?

I started blogging as a way of preserving and communicating my research with family and friends. Lisa Louise Cooke inspired me to blog with her podcasts about blogging.

4.            How did you decide on your blog/s title/s?

It was a process of trial and error. I wanted a domain name that was available on I also wanted it general enough so that I wouldn’t be limited to just one surname.

5.            Do you ever blog from mobile devices? What are they?

Usually I blog from my desktop. However, I have released pre-written blog posts from my phone or iPad.

6.            How do you let others know when you have published a new post?

I send them a link. I also notify my Google + group. Eventually, I will learn Twitter.

7.            How long have you been blogging?

One year

8.            What widgets or elements do you consider essential on a genealogy blog? 

Subscribe to
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Search this Blog
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9.            What is the purpose of your blog/s? Who is your intended audience?

My blog has many purposes: as a backup for my pictures and research, to inspire my family to be interested in their history, to find others interested in the same surnames, and to educate others about genealogy. My intended audience would be family, friends and anyone interested in genealogy.

10.         Which of your posts are you particularly proud of?

I am most proud of my Wordless Wednesday posts—in particular, the ones that contain my mother’s artwork. I wanted to share her talent so the world could enjoy it too.

11.         How do you keep up with your blog reading?

I subscribe to the ones I like and read them whenever I have a chance, even on my phone.

12.         What platform do you use for publishing your blog/s?


13.         What new features would you like to see in your blogging sosftware?

More ways to jazz up the page—fonts, etc.

14.         Which of your posts has been the most popular with readers?

“Death by Smallpox” ( leads the pack followed by “Don’t Get Bowled Over by Name Variations” ( Next in popularity was “Finding Clergy in the Your Family Tree” ( and then “Pictures will Light Up their World” (

15.         Are you a sole blogger or do you contribute to a shared blog?

I am a sole blogger.

16.         How do you compose your blog posts?

I compose them in Word and then drop them into Blogger. 

17.         Do you have any blogs that are not genealogy related? If you wish please share their titles and URLs.

I also have a travel blog called Touring the Beautiful USA (

18.         Have you listed your blog/s at Geneabloggers?


19.         Which resources have helped you with your blogging?

I have found Susan Gunelius’ Blogging Guide at to be very helpful.

20.         What advice would you give to a new Geneablogger?

Try to release at least two posts a week, and don’t get discouraged if it takes some time to build up your readership.  Also, speak from the heart. Don’t just recite names and dates.

Sunday, September 1, 2013


ost of us usually don’t have the luxury of frequenting courthouses or archives to do research.  We are busy working or raising children. That is why online research is so useful.  After a long day at work, we can hop on the Internet to research our family tree. I am not underestimating the importance of on-site research, but for our day-in, day-out world, online research fits our schedule.

I have compiled a list of some of the websites I visit on a frequent basis. First is a list of free websites and that is followed by some of my subscription sites. There are many more, of course, but perhaps you will find one on my list you haven’t explored. 



Have a wonderful Labor Day and remember, in the year ahead, that just because you have to work it does not mean you can’t squeeze in a little time for genealogy.


Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, Victorian Decorative Letters, 1999.

Dover Publications, Inc., Mineola, New York, Electronic Clip Art, Elegant Floral Designs, 2003.