Monday, October 22, 2012

The Tragic Death of Susan Sanders

Last month I took a trip to Cincinnati to visit my family, do some shopping and go to the Ohio Renaissance Festival. I also was able to convince my husband to take a detour to Rising Sun so that I could do a little bit of research.

We spent some time copying family files at the Ohio County Museum. I was able to find a few obituaries that I didn't have before. We also stopped at the Ohio County Public Library so that I could search for the obituary of my brick wall ancestor, Joseph Hillis. Unfortunately, there was only a death notice and I still have no clue who his parents were or where he was born.

One of the obituaries I found at the museum was for my second great grandmother, Susan "Susie" Sanders. My grandma had told me the story of how her grandmother had died after her apron caught on fire when they were living in Hamilton, Ohio. I had found her death certificate that stated her cause of death as "shock following extensive burns over body and head from gas stove."

What I never realized was how horrifying the story actually was. Below is a transcription of the newspaper clipping found in the Bascom family file at the Ohio County Museum:

Susie Sanders Bascom Meets Tragic Death at Hamilton, O. 

Death Caused by Burns Sustained In Her Home - Funeral at Mt. Carmel.

Mrs. Susie Sanders Bascom, wife of W. T. ("Dora") Bascom, died in Mercy hospital at Hamilton, O., Sunday morning from the effects of burns sustained at her home in that city on Saturday afternoon. The Bascoms formerly lived in this county.

Mrs. Bascom was alone when the accident took place. She was burning some light fruit containers in a coal stove in her living room, and her apron caught fire from the stove's open door. Her son George occupied an apartment on the second floor and Mrs. Bascom ran up the stairway, screaming for help. Her daughter-in-law (Mary Starkey) and the latter's two-year-old daughter were alone in the apartment.

The daughter-in-law states that the flames were surging about Mrs. Bascom's head when she reached the second floor. The younger woman had all she could do to keep her babe from danger, as it made every effort to go to its grandmother.

The women made their way to the first floor and a man who heard their screams rushed into the house. He seized a rug and wrapped it around Mrs. Bascom, whose clothing was then almost entirely burned from her body.

Patrolmen who rushed to the scene called an ambulance and Mrs. Bascom was wrapped in a blanket and taken to the hospital, her daughter-in-law remaining at her side.

Mr. Bascom was at his grocery store a few blocks from his home at the time. Word came to him that his home was on fire. Upon his arrival home he was well nigh crazed from the shock when he learned the facts.
When she arrived at the hospital Mrs. Bascom was able to explain just how her clothing caught fire. With her charactistic [sic] thoughtfulness for others, she explained to attendants where her husband would find what she had prepared for the evening meal. Soon she sank into a stupor and was not conscious again.

A funeral service was held at the home on Monday and in Mt. Carmel church on Tuesday, the Rev. John Dennis being in charge of both. The body was brought from Hamilton to Mt. Carmel on Tuesday. Burial was made in the Bovard cemetery.

Mrs. Bascom was a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Sanders, deceased, who lived near Aberdeen. She leaves her husband and two sons, all of Hamilton, and two sisters, Mrs. Harry M. Stow and Mrs. Elmer Ford, of near Enterprise and also a brother, Walter Sanders, of near Aberdeen. Mrs. Bascom was fifty-six years old.

Mrs. Bascom was well known throughout this section. Her girlhood years were spend near Aberdeen. It was in the school in that village that she received her eduction under the guidance of Eugene LaSeur, deceased, and other capable instructors.

Since her marriage she had lived in this county, at Dillsboro and at Aurora, later removing to Ohio. Some few years since Mr. and Mrs. Bascom lived on the Sparks farm, just north of this city, on the Aurora road.
Wherever she lived, Mrs. Bascom was highly esteemed by her neighbors because of her many good qualities.

Her record as a wife, a mother and a friend was one which is well worthy of emulation.


I told my grandma about this find and for the first time she was interested in a part of my genealogy research. She was  under 3 years old when her grandmother died and doesn't remember the details. (It was her aunt and uncle that lived with her grandparents.) I look forward to sharing this find with her. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Midwest Geneabloggers - Fall 2012 Meetup

Last weekend I had the pleasure of hosting 8 genealogy bloggers for a day of research at the Allen County Public Library and a party at my house in the evening. This was the second event for the Midwest Geneabloggers and it was even more fun.

Some bloggers spent an extra day in Fort Wayne on Friday. So after some research we headed to J K O'Donnell's.

Photo courtesy of Linda McCauley

Saturday was spent at ACPL searching for ancestors within their books, microfilm and periodicals.

Then it was time for my husband to defend our house with his new dagger.

And of course, party time!

 We missed Diana Ritchie at this meetup. But she still sent her dad's yummy cookies. Thanks, Diana!

Bloggers from left to right:
Susan Clark - Nolichucky Roots
Harold Henderson - Midwestern Microhistory
Linda Swisher - Round Tuit Genealogy
Linda McCauley - Documenting the Details
Jen Alford - Jenealogy
Laura Cosgrove Lorenzana - The Last Leaf on This Branch
me :)
Becky Wiseman - Kinexxions

Thanks to everyone who came. We hope to have another event in the spring. Stay tuned to our Facebook page for details.

And if anyone comes to visit again. Linda McCauley set the bar pretty high for bribing my husband. (Buffalo Trace Moonshine)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

November 14 - Twitter for #Genealogy at ACPL

Want to know more about Twitter?
Trying to decipher symbols like # and @ appear on your television?
Wondering how to become part of the Twitter genealogy community?
Curious how to share your family history in 140 characters?

Come to the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana on November 14 at 2PM. As the first in this year's "WinterTech Series" from the Genealogy Center,  I'll be presenting "Twitter for #Genealogy."

We'll be exploring Twitter terms, like tweets, usernames, hashtags, replys, and more. You'll learn how to participate in genealogy conferences using Twitter in person and from home. Plus, you'll be amazed at what the genealogy community able to do 140 characters at a time.

Spend the day at ACPL to take advantage of the 2nd largest genealogical collection in the United States and hear Steve Myers' present "International Research" at the Allen County Genealogical Society of Indiana's meeting at 7PM.

WinterTech brochure (PDF)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Midwest Geneabloggers Meetup - October 13

Last March was the first Midwest Geneabloggers Meetup in Fort Wayne. It was such a huge success we've decided to do it again.

Save the date for Saturday, October 13, 2013. The day will start with research at the Allen County Public Library's Genealogy Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The library opens at 9:00 AM. If you've never been to ACPL before, you might want to take a look at my 10 Tips for Researching at ACPL list from last spring.

That evening, I'm inviting everyone over to my house for a pizza party. I'll also have pop, water and salad. Please feel free to bring your own side dishes, desserts and drinks. There will be a $5 charge at the door to cover the costs of the pizza. And don't think about not paying because my husband likes to scare people with his sword (or at least act scary while guests take his photo).

For those in town Friday night (October 12), head to ACPL to get a jump start on your research. When the library closes at 6 PM, we'll probably head out to dinner at J K O'Donnell's, the Irish pub a block from the library. It was a big hit with the geneabloggers in March.

A block of rooms has been created at the Courtyard by Marriott downtown for Friday and Saturday, October 12 and 13. The room rate is $89 plus $7 parking. You can reserve your room by calling (866) 704-6163 and using the group code "MGB". You can also make online reservations at The discounted rate is available until October 5.

October is also Family History Month. ACPL features a different class each day of the month. So check their events page to see if they are offering anything interesting when you are in town.

I hope to see many genealogy bloggers back in Fort Wayne this October. You don't have to be from the Midwest to spend the day research and the night with your closest friends you only know online. More details can be found one the Midwest Geneabloggers Facebook page.

If you plan to attend, please RSVP to See you there!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Cleaning Up The Alphabet - Lessons Learned

In December, I started a project to clean up my genealogy database. I chose to look at each person in my database alphabetically and search for missing citations as well as missing records. I made the goal to look at 5 ancestors each day, analyzing what I had and find new information. I was amazed at how many new documents I was able to find, how many photos of tombstones I found and how many missing surnames were within my database.

As the project comes to a close, I'd like to share a few things that I learned:
  • Organizing alphabetically was the right approach for me. I found that I really wanted to get through my main surnames quickly and didn't spend enough time analyzing everything I had on each person. On the other hand, I spent more time tracking down the missing information about people who had married into my family. Something about the disconnect for everyone else let me focus on the individual and not rush.
  • Sorting through every person gets very confused. I would find people with one of my surnames in books about counties far, far away from where they lived. Looking at everyone made me forget who I was actually seeking. Next time (maybe in a few years) I think I will separate the project into my grandparents or great-grandparents. Then I will be able to focus on the places more than the names.
  • It was a great way to start the day. I knew that every day I needed to look at 5 ancestors. Many days I did more depending on the time frame and how much information I could reasonably expect to find on people. Of course some days I struggled to get it done when I was fortunate enough to hit a gold mine of information. And I didn't stress when I didn't have time for my 5 ancestors every so often. But it got me into the habit of doing something small with my genealogy each day (AKA more projects coming).
So what's next? I was going to take a break, but I found that I like doing something each day. So here are my future projects.
  • Cleaning up place names in my database. I'm really bad about making sure that I have the right county on a certain date in history before I enter it into my database. This is especially true of my colonial New England lines. Probably because I'm not as invested in the research on those families and have used family histories to fill in those lines. So I ran County Check in Roots Magic 5 and am fixing a page of errors a day (about a dozen). 
  • 1940 Census. I'm going to wait for the 1940 census to be completely indexed and then go back through my tree alphabetically and (hopefully) find everyone.
  • Husband's tree. When I started this project, I planned to start organizing my husband's tree when I finished mine. But I'm going to wait until the 1940 census is indexed before I start his tree. That way I don't have to go back through it later.
What are you doing to clean up your genealogy database?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Cleaning Up The Letter Z

I've started a project cleaning up my database. Whenever I finish a letter of the alphabet, I'll write a blog post to report about what I learned about the surnames that start with that letter.

The letter Z left me without any new discoveries. Which is fine since I am still working on all the discoveries when I went through the W surnames.

The alphabet organization is done! So glad that I did this and I plan to do at least one wrap up next week.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Cleaning Up The Letter Y

I've started a project cleaning up my database. Whenever I finish a letter of the alphabet, I'll write a blog post to report about what I learned about the surnames that start with that letter.

The letter Y gave me no problems. It helps to have only 4 people with a Y surname in your database. I did delete one of them though. I had added a father to Mary Margaret Young based on a cousin's research. But since it didn't have any sources, I deleted him.

One more letter to go!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Cleaning Up The Letter W

I've started a project cleaning up my database. Whenever I finish a letter of the alphabet, I'll write a blog post to report about what I learned about the surnames that start with that letter.

So I thought that the W surnames in my database would be a breeze. For the most part, these people married someone earlier in the alphabet and I had already looked for additional information about them. I couldn't have been more wrong.

It started off by finding a few deaths and marriages for the Warren women in my tree since I had neglected to search for them under their married names in the Massachusetts and Connecticut published vital records.

Then I got to Eleazer Washburn, son of my fifth great grandparents Eleazer Washburn and Rachel Paulk. One of those shaky leaves appeared and I found images of the Springfield, Massachusetts vital records on This led to finding the birth records of Eleazer and his brother Roswell along with the marriage of their parents, Eleazer and Rachel. Now that I had a new record set, I searched for more Washburns (didn't find any), but I found what I presumed to be the Paulk family. Some internet searches on the Paulk family led me to two journal articles detailing the family of Rachel's mother back to Massachusetts in 1666. I still need to analyze the article and add it to my database.

Then started reviewing the information I had for Harriet Washburn. A family history had told me that she was the daughter of Eleazer and Rachel, born after the migrated to Ohio. Another shaky leaf lead me to census records after her marriage to William Flick/Fleak. Analyzing the tally marks on the 1820 and 1830 census for Eleazer, I realized that she didn't fit into the family. Some research into the older woman living with her in 1850 showed that she was actually Eleazer's niece and the daughter of James Washburn. A few searches later and I had found another article detailing the family back 2 generations and leading to another article about the Mayflower. I still need to deal with all of that information.

I finally make it through the Washburn family, finding the marriage of Flora Washburn to James Russell on 21 October 1891 in Ross County, Ohio and following them to Lewis County, Washington where she died in 1930.

The next find came when I started reviewing the Weiss family in Heimbach, Germany. I realized that I had only found my direct line in the German indexes on FamilySearch. And even those I hadn't tried very hard to get back another generation. So I found the Weiss family and its collateral lines in the indexes and will at some point order the microfilm and get the original records. Then I realized that I had probably never done the same thing on the Bank family in Bleichheim, Germany. No wonder I could never find them. They were actually the Von Bank family. So there were some more branches added to the tree.

I had also neglected the Westrich family in Bruecken, Germany. They got the same treatment with the same results. But then I got shaky leaves telling me that Jacob Westrich and Anna Margaretha Huber immigrated to Ohio. I still need to do the research on this information, but if it's true, it means that my immigrant ancestor had both sets of grandparents in America when he crossed the Atlantic.

Again, I thought I could sail through the rest of the Ws. But I was wrong again. I found the 1810 and 1820 censuses for Andrew Works. Not sure why I never looked for these before. I also found the probate for his probable father, Joseph, in Owen County, Kentucky. Andrew reportedly died in 1824, but I didn't find any probate for him. It looks like I'll be having some more fun in deed records to make sure I have the right guy.

And finally I was done with the W surnames. I can't believe how much I found and it will take me all summer to finished analyzing everything I found. No X names, so just 2 letters left.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Cleaning Up The Letter V

I've started a project cleaning up my database. Whenever I finish a letter of the alphabet, I'll write a blog post to report about what I learned about the surnames that start with that letter.

5 names that have a V surname makes for quick work and unfortunately no finds. But I do have an idea about one of them. We'll see what the books at ACPL can do for me.

Next up is the letter W. It will take a 2-3 weeks to get through.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Cleaning Up The Letter U

I've started a project cleaning up my database. Whenever I finish a letter of the alphabet, I'll write a blog post to report about what I learned about the surnames that start with that letter.

I love quick letters. The only thing I found with the U surnames in my database (all 8 names) was that I had never recorded the place of birth and place of marriage for Louis Ulsamer. I had the records that told me where he was born and married, but I never filled in that field in my database. 

Look for the letter V cleanup tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Cleaning Up The Letter T

I've started a project cleaning up my database. Whenever I finish a letter of the alphabet, I'll write a blog post to report about what I learned about the surnames that start with that letter.

After a great week at the NGS conference, I was able to finish up the T surnames in my database. Not many names, but I did find one new thing. I found Mary Elizabeth Thompson, widow of Melancthon Eleazar Washburn, living with her married daughter in 1910 in Indianapolis. 

Look for the letter U and V cleanups coming very quickly.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Highlights from NGS 2012

I think I have finally recovered enough from a fun filled week to recap my favorite things about the National Genealogical Society's 2012 Conference in Cincinnati.

The 1848 Cincinnati Panorama
Patricia Van Skaik gave an excellent opening presentation that detailed the panorama and what they are doing with it in a digital world. If you missed the opening presentation, check out her TEDxCincy talk that covers most of it. Also take some time to explore the 1848 Cincinnati Panorama website and see what details they have attached to the image. It's amazing how much you can see on such a small image and how much we can add to it with our research.

The Indiana Genealogical Society Booth
I spent a lot of time at the IGS booth signing up new members and answering Indiana research questions. I had a great team helping me and allowing me to attend my carefully attended sessions. It was great to meet so many people from across the US with an interest in their Indiana ancestors. We also signed up a bunch of people to our free e-newsletter. You can sign up too by inputting your email into the box on the top right of the IGS homepage.

Genealogy Buddies
I was thankful to have lunch covered by other IGS board members so that I could spend some time with my genealogy buddies. My lunch crew seemed to consist of Linda McCauley, Laura Cosgrove Lorenzana, Susan Clark and Becky Wiseman, plus or minus a few others.

I also was able to meet lots of new friends and spend some time with people I have met at other conferences. Hanging out with my genealogy buddies is my favorite part of genealogy conferences.

The Potholder
FamilySearch hosted a blogger's dinner on Tuesday night. Amy Johnson Crow and I both thought that they had given us potholders for gifts.

But flipping it over, revealed a Techtrap. It should come in handy with future genealogy travels.

Genealogy Education
Even though I spent a lot of time at the IGS booth, I also made sure that I could attend some great sessions over the conference's 4 days. I highly recommend all the lectures that I attended:
  • Focusing on Pathways 'cross the Ohio River with J. Mark Lowe
  • Using Kentucky Equity and Criminal Court Cases to Complete Your Research with Gail Jackson Miller
  • Orphans No More: Records of the Indianapolis Orphan Asylum 1851-1941 with Harold Henderson
  • Documentation: The What, Why and Where with Thomas W. Jones
  • Ohio Cousins May Have Migrated: Did Family Records Go Along? with Paula Stuart-Warren
  • Research Reports for Ourselves: More than a Research Log with Paula Stuart-Warren
  • Information Overload? Effective Project Planning, Research, Data Management & Analysis with Elizabeth Shown Mills
  • The Nuts and Bolts of Publishing Your Family History with M. Theresa Baer and Rachel M. Popma

The Meeting of The Moms
A conference in Cincinnati meant free room and board with my parents. It also meant bringing my mom downtown on Saturday to meet my friends, experience the genealogy scene and have lots of people tell her how wonderful I am. My mom was also able to meet my genealogy mom, Linda McCauley. J. Mark Lowe, Who Do You Think You Are? genealogy celebrity, was even kind enough to meet my mom and take a picture with both of my moms.

These are just a few highlights from an excellent week. Thanks NGS for a great conference! My next conference is Midwestern Roots in Indianapolis on July 20 and 21.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Cleaning Up The Letter S

I've started a project cleaning up my database. Whenever I finish a letter of the alphabet, I'll write a blog post to report about what I learned about the surnames that start with that letter.

I didn't think I would finish the letter S before heading to NGS this week, but somehow I did. The list of S surnames in my database was the longest and it held a few hidden gems.
  • Found Johann Diabold Schilling and wife Maria Kym in the 1850 US census. The census lists Susquehanna Township, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania as their residence, but I think there was a boundary problem with the census. I have found many of my Limestone Township relatives in the 1850 Susquehanna Township pages.
  • Found a photo of Leslie Merritt Stull on his naturalization papers...that I entered into my genealogy database 2 years ago. Not sure how I missed that one.
  • Found William Stull living in Halton County, Ontario where his wife had received a land patent. Crazy.
  • Found Peter Lampman Stull in California in 1870 and Denver, Colorado in 1880. He's another one of my Canadians that immigrated.
  • Found John Franklin Swoyer and wife Sarah Ann Eck in records for the Kelchner Funeral Home in Jersey Shore, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania. Now I just need to find a transcription of that cemetery to see if Franklin's brother was also buried there.
I'm taking a break from cleaning up my genealogy database to spend time learning and hanging out with my friends at the NGS conference. I don't have many surnames that begin with T, U or V, so I'll be starting the Ws by then end of the month. Hopefully this cleanup will be done by the end of June.