Wednesday, 29 March 2017

My Own Multicultural Family-- New Chapter in Life

Living in the United States right now sometimes seems threatening and scary. If you are in a different political party from the leadership of our country, well, its difficult. I think I might understand how a country breaks into Civil War. My own family is strongly divided regarding political issues, and it is easy to lose hope for our country.  Then you pick your head up, look around, and see that many good things are still going on.  Grassroot movements from like-minded folks can provide hope for the future.  Recently I joined a “movement”  in a nonpolitical way, --a "movement" that brings people of different races together in a very personal way that changed my perspective for the better--I found some new family members, or they found me --and it opened all kinds of new doors and windows for my heart and soul.

I now have African American cousins, proved by DNA!  My DNA ethnicity report said I had no African genes, so how is this possible?  Shame producing for me, I discovered that my ancestors who were enslavers in the first two hundred years of our country, had also produced slaves themselves at times, therefore  giving me cousins who are African American  descendants of slaves! To be clear, I am not shamed or embarrassed, but proud of having African American cousins. I am shamed by the actions of some of my ancestors!  Amazingly, some of these folks and I match DNA with common ancestors from the 1700’s that we can identify!  A multicultural family--how wonderful-- I already had a multinational one as a melting pot American.

Previously, I had helped do research for some slave recognition projects, so I was somewhat aware of how difficult it is to do genealogical research if your ancestors were enslaved.  They lost their own names, and were not listed on censuses until 1870.  They were listed on property tax lists, but then often only in numbers, like “20 males under  age 30”. When names were listed, it was often only first names.  What I was not aware of, is what a national movement had grown and was growing, to identify slaves and their families!  The cousins who contacted me were lightyears ahead of me in their research, and in knowing how to go about researching their ancestors. It is interesting, because I knew other African American genealogists, and counted them among my friends. But suddenly, this was my family-- my family, and I wanted to know who they were and how we were related as well!  DNA and genealogical research to the rescue. My learning curve has been sharp and sudden, but interesting !  The wealthy, Southern plantation owners I’d always admired were suddenly tarnished.  Tarnished because not only did the people they “owned” become real to me, they were my own flesh and blood--and they were the flesh and blood of my ancestors who bred them for slaves! Disgusting. But it is true, and it is history, and now we are dealing with it.  How wonderful to have the opportunity to “deal with it” by meeting new family members whose skin might be a different color, but who are smart, kind, and interested in some of the same things I am, family!

Their African American research was far ahead of mine, but I had done my own ancestral work, so we were able to connect, at least by family pretty quickly.  Before I met this group, I did not even know the name Hairston for instance.  But they were one of the largest slave owning families of the Southern United States.  Several branches of my family married into theirs.  I quickly learned about the book titled The Hairstons, An American Family in Black and White.  By Henry Wiencek. The book discusses the national and regional reunions of the amazing descendants of the Hairstons, both black and white.


Henry Wiencek says in this book,

“For the Hairstons, family is serious business -- so serious, they're incorporated. The annual reunion of the national Hairston Clan, Inc. looks more like a convention than a typical family gathering. There are ministers and musicians, doctors and lawyers, big city bankers and small town barbers. And there are flag-waving patriots like World War II veteran Joe Henry Hairston.

Says Joe Henry: "When you meet all these Hairstons, you got nuts, you got saints, you got beautiful people, you got ugly people. But they're all family."

Not all of these Hairstons are connected by blood, but they are all connected by sweat and tears. They are named Hairston primarily because their ancestors worked on plantations owned by one of the biggest names in slavery.

When American history writer Henry Wiencek was researching a book on plantations, he was invited to a Hairston reunion.

"There were nearly 1,000 people," says Wiencek. "I was just amazed at the strength of family feeling that could bring so many people together from so many distant places, and I wondered where did that family strength come from, and where were the roots of that gathering. Did it go back all the way to slavery? And that's where it did go."

The Hairstons so intrigued him that he spent the next eight years delving into its history. The result is his book: The Hairstons: An American Family In Black and White."

In 1999, CBS Television did a feature regarding the Hairston family.  They told the stories of several descendants of slaves of the Hairstons and their white cousins.  You can see a video of this feature on youtube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIBdk6nSWhU

They said some things I have thought, like this:

“The black and white Hairstons are connected by the worst evil in America's history, but they have not turned their backs on each other. Because like it or not, they are family. They share a name, and a place, and a history.”

“In an amazing bit of detective work, Henry Wiencek traced Joe Henry's roots back to a slave named Sal, purchased in 1785 for a barrel of tobacco. From a family will, he figured out that the Peter Hairston, who died in 1832, had children by this slave named Sal, which means that the great great great grandfather of the judge is also the great great great grandfather of Joe Henry. "Well, we were property and so masters used their property," says Joe Henry.

The two men have not discussed this subject. "I consider Judge Peter a friend, a very good friend, and a very fine person," says Joe Henry. "But these are things you don't talk about in polite society in the South."

At first, the judge believed that there wasn't enough evidence to prove that he was related to Joe Henry Hairston. Joe Henry, who is also an attorney, was also skeptical.

Recently, though, the Judge changed his mind. "I have learned from my brother that he had had a conversation with an ancient cousin of ours that indeed it was probably true." So now the Judge has a new cousin. "I'm prouder to be kin to Joe Henry than to anybody else I know," he says.

And Joe Henry has no hard feelings. "I am the product of my ancestors, whoever they were," he says. "My basic philosophy is not to hate. Hate is destructive." http://www.cbsnews.com/news/a-family-in-black-and-white/



One of my new cousins ended up  being a superb genealogical researcher, who also writes for this very blog--Yvette Porter Moore. Isn’t that amazing!  Along with others, she encouraged me to research the Hairstons, and other families we had in common, the Tates, Callaways, Stovalls, Kimbrough, Turner, and Graves to name just a few! Except for the Hiarstons, I had the others already in my family tree.



I learned that Ruth Stovall, 1730-1808, my 5th Great Aunt, daughter of my 5th great grandfather, George Stovall, Sr. 1695 Henrico, Virginia - 1786, Campbell County, Virginia. USA; married Robert Hairston, b. In Ireland, d in Virginia, 1719-1791.  Their son, my first cousin George Hairston, 1750-1827, built a mansion plantation house  in Henry County, Virginia.  More accurately, slaves built this beautiful house, slaves whose descendants I now know as cousins!  Incredible!  Wikipedia says this about George Hairston and his plantation “Beaver Creek”.  




“Beaver Creek Plantation, under the ownership of George Hairston, was a large slave-holding tobacco plantation and the center of an empire in tobacco-growing and slave-trading built by the Hairston family, Scottish emigrants to Pennsylvania in the early 18th century. Located just outside today’s Martinsville, Virginia, the plantation thrived in tobacco production and textile manufacturing, as well as producing household goods and raising livestock. At one point the enslaved blacks of Beaver Creek were tending a thousand yam plants; in one day they made 660 candles.

Beaver Creek was built in 1776 by George Hairston, son of Robert Hairston and Ruth Stovall Hairston, on a 30,000-plus acre royal land grant initially purchased from Col. Abram Penn. The original house was destroyed by fire in 1837 and was rebuilt by George Hairston's son Marshall.

Builders of Beaver Creek, the Hairston family eventually came to control tens of thousands of acres of land in Virginia, North Carolina and elsewhere across the South. Initially planters of tobacco, the family eventually became the largest slaveholders in the South: the engine of their extraordinary wealth (they were said to be one of the wealthiest families in America) was the propagation of slaves for export to the Deep South. The family married into other prominent local families, including several intermarriages with the descendants of General Joseph Martin, for whom Martinsville is named. George Hairston, who married his cousin Matilda Martin, daughter of Col. William Martin and Susan (Hairston) Martin, represented the district in Congress .

The Hairston family descends from Peter Hairston, who left Scotland for America, initially locating in Pennsylvania and eventually moving south to Virginia in the 1740s." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beaver_Creek_Plantation





Hordsville, built 1836 by George Hairston, Henry County, Virginia


Ultimately, the fallout from the Civil War, chiefly the emancipation of slaves, put an end to the Hairston's booming business and the family's fortunes dwindled. At the center of the Plantation is the Hairston’s classical revival mansion. Although the plantation was founded in 1776, the present house was not built until 1837, to replace the original home destroyed in a fire. Today, the house is owned by Bank Services of Virginia, and the home and gardens are usually open to the public during the Historic Garden Week in Virginia.”

Some of the living descendants of Hairston slaves are Jester and Jerry Hairston. “Jester Hairston was the first African-American to conduct the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. For most of this century he has been teaching white folks and black folks to sing spirituals the way his grandmother sang them as a slave on a Hairston plantation in North Carolina.”

“When Jerry Hairston stepped up to the plate last season, the Hairstons stepped into the history books as the first black family to play major league baseball for three generations. His father and grandfather also played in the majors.”


Among the many other things I’ve learned in my most recent new journey, I’ve learned about an organization I’d like to join. It is called “Coming to the Table” . I learned about this group from a blog titled Bitter Sweet, Linked Through Slavery. I want to tell you a bit about it, and about the blog which you can find at this link: https://linkedthroughslavery.com


“Coming to the Table (CTTT) was founded by descendants of enslavers and enslaved people, in partnership with the Center for Justice & Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. CTTT was inspired by the vision of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in his “I Have a Dream” speech made during the 1963 March on Washington, that one day “the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.” CTTT values the sharing of personal, family and community stories as a powerful vehicle for uncovering history, building relationships, healing and inspiring action.

CTTT provides leadership, resources and a supportive environment for all who wish to acknowledge and heal wounds from a racism that is rooted in the United States’ history of slavery.

The organization was launched in January 2006 at Eastern Mennonite University. The idea for the inaugural gathering came from Will Hairston and Susan Hutchison, both European American descendants of historic American enslaving families. CTTT was nurtured by Amy Potter Czajkowski, on the staff of The Center for Justice & Peacebuilding, who obtained the initial grant funding. Amy and David Anderson Hooker, a faculty member in the Summer Peace Building Institute, took the lead in developing the Coming to the Table approach and model for addressing historically-based racism. Free copies of the manual can be downloaded from CTTT Resources.

Besides its website, CTTT hosts a Facebook page, a Twitter account [@] and has a presence on YouTube. There are several local gathering groups where members of Coming to the Table meet in person; in the Mid-Atlantic region, the Northeast, San Francisco/Bay Area, Seattle and Washington, DC.”


“BitterSweet: Linked Through Slavery is a working group of bloggers who are members of the non-profit group Coming to the Table (CTTT). We call ourselves “linked descendants,” people who have a joint history in slavery–a pairing of a descendant of an enslaved person with a descendant of his or her slaveholder, who have found each other and who are in communication.

We bring a passionate commitment to looking deeply at the truth of the history of enslavement at the heart of the founding of the United States, facing the pains and schisms embedded in that history and its present day legacy, seeking reconciliation, if possible, and supporting action to open eyes and hearts and to dismantle institutionalized racism.

While the BitterSweet group consists of people who know about their personal and family historical connections to enslavement, as descendants of enslaved people and of slaveholders, we welcome those who are looking for their connection to slavery, those who are curious about the legacy of slavery whether they feel a personal connection or not, and those who have stories to share.”



“Crawford Plantation, Lowndes County, Mississippi, home of George W. Hairston, c. 1909. Part of the empire of Hairston homes and plantations scattered about the South.”

In our own little group of multicultural cousins on facebook, we have amazing people ! We have several authors and genealogists, teachers, a Chief Warrant Officer, a Chief Marketing Advisor and Design Strategist from Harvard, and many more talented people, keeping up the tradition of amazing descendants regardless of race. How blessed I feel to be counted in their family, our family.

Have a great week,
Helen Y. Holshouser, writing at heart2heartstories.com and on facebook.


























Sunday, 19 March 2017

Ireland Research Hopes Revisited

My turn to blog is a wee bit after St Patrick's Day but the thought of researching the Irish ancestors is not bound by time.

My Irish quest has been begging to start for years. Recently due to a DNA find, I have been sent on a new Irish quest when an O'Toole turned up as an ancient DNA match for our Langley DNA project.
I have felt intimidated by the challenge of delving into the films on FamilySearch or Ireland, and just trying to sort out all the Michaels, Williams, and Margrets that I see when I go to FindMyPast or other Irish sites...words escape me. One thing I do know and follow is...the obvious search for our ancestors begins with a name, and, if you have it, a place. On the Hero's and my mom's side of the family there are many Irish names to look for.
There are some blogs and websites that specialize in Ireland research
Smallest Leaf is one of those. She has so much Irish information and many books listed on her blog. It is wonderful to stop by and browse. Click here to see her blog.
Another site I really like it Irish Genealogy Tool Kit.
I like these because I need someone to give me direction. I am so ingrained in United States research it will take some shift in my paradigms to hopefully finds some success in venturing into Ireland research.
What I have done so far...
I started making a note of all the names I was looking for, variants of the names, and places the names were found.  An example for the is : A Rootsweb site for Researching Irish Names. I searched for Magill from my mom's ancestors. They were adamant in the 1830's per a letter written by John Magill that their family was the only ones who spelled it that way.
"...I have been particular so that you may know if you meet with any person of the name of Magill you can tell whether they are your relation. I have seen several from Ireland that are no kin of mine. They spell their name McGill. They are generally native Irish and Roman Catholic. I recollect to have seen my grandfather's certificate from Ireland dated 1725. It was spelled Magill and all his descendants spell their names the same way. Any who do not are not of our kindred..."  Click here to read the rest of the transcribed letter.
My finding:
MacGiolla ancient of Magill,
Gill,
McGill
Turning to my Hero's Irish ancestors, I was able to glean the following for his known surnames.
Death certificates helped with clues as to where the places were correct.

O'Shaughnessy      
Sandys
FURLONG              Wexford
FURLONG              Wicklow
O'AHERN,               Cork
O'Echtighearn  
Ahern
O'DWYER              Tipperary
Dwyer                      Lemerick
Dyer                         Sligo
O'Breen  
O'Brien

I have toyed with learning Gaelic, but I haven't gotten that far yet.
Besides knowing the surname, I discovered that the old Irish had a naming pattern. Most but not all used it. The Irish Tool Kit website points out that in the 1700s and 1800s those that immigrated to America did use this...making it hard to sort out the descendants when 5 brother, in the same area named their sons in the same pattern (true experience). I have posted on the naming patterns before click here to read the post then click back to return.

I have ascribed to the method of looking to others who have already done research reading how to find records in Ireland, talking to people who have UK experience in searching, and utilizing the free course on FamilySearch.org. I take the time to watch videos by those who have done the walk such as David Rencher's videos Tips for Researching your Irish Ancestors. I HAVE to mention the FamilySearch.org's Irish Collection which includes images... Ireland Historical Records.

There is something so exciting in searching for families that have been apart for years and reuniting them. I love genealogy research and have been excited to share how to research and source with the upcoming generation to get them involved in their history to know their ancestors. So Far, it has been a positive experience for both generations. πŸ˜‰

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Rootstech 2017 from across the pond

This year I am writing my review from the perspective of a UK family historian watching from afar and wishing she had made the journey across the pond.

When I first started to write this post I started to discuss what was happening in Salt Lake City. But I am not in Salt Lake City this year I am at home in Wales.
How can I write about a conference when I am not one of the attendees.
The Rootstech conference did not get underway until the Thursday but for me the excitement builds from the Monday.
In keeping with the tradition at 10am MST (SLC time) 5pm GMT the Rootstech week starts with Mondays with Myrt from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. The usual panel (including me) has little to say as Pat Richley-Erickson aka DearMYRTLE interviews a variety of folks from across the globe who have made the journey to Utah arriving early enough to get some research time in the Family History Library. 
Later on Monday early attendees from the Commonwealth countries enjoyed another tradition the Commonwealth dinner. This year they went to the Blue Lemon and afterwards photographs appeared on the Geniaus blog. I must say that when I went in 2015 this was a great way to meet others prior to the conference.

Going to an event like a genealogy conference is a great way to network with other genealogists/family historians. I know that for many attending classes is low priority. We all love to find connections with others (especially someone who may have photographs) and with such a large group many do find a link. This year a cousin of someone I met in 2015 made a connection with Judy G Russell The Legal Genealogist after watching her talk on the live stream. I knew about this via facebook before she wrote her post but she illustrates my point so well (better than I could).

I managed to catch all the RootsTech General Sessions on the live streaming and some of the classes that were streamed. Now that the recordings are up, those I missed I can catch up with later, there are more than those that livestreamed. Some are US centric but may hold useful suggestions most are general and the keynotes, in particular, inspirational and passionate.

If watching or attending RootsTech does nothing more than provide inspiration to feed your passion for your family then it has done its job. But we need innovators to provide us with the means to record, communicate and preserve. 
Some of the technology advances have brought about the success of this conference in getting to folks across the world. In the early years you could lose the video if anyone else was online. This year those at home could vote using the RootsTech app on their phone. 

We need new ideas rather than more of the same. I wonder what the innovators in the industry will bring us next year.

Before I go here courtesy of Lilian Magill (in the lilac sweater) is a photograph of many of the Geneabloggers at RootsTech 2017, noticeably absent were Russ Worthington (aka Cousin Russ) and Thomas MacEntee (Geneabloggers).



The final event for many of those in the photograph was an evening to wind down with friends courtesy of DearMyrtle who has some of her friends visit her house for an after party.

I love seeing the photographs from the other get togethers which are not part of the main RootsTech event. These are as much about why we should attend as the conference and you cannot get what I call "the buzz" unless you are actually there. 
There will be lots of tired, enthusiastic people headed home today or in the coming week (some stay on to do research) but for many it is so good you want to come back again.
Maybe next year I can write a first hand report. (fingers crossed)

Monday, 6 February 2017

Why Should You Participate in a Blog Carnival?




You've seen them. People writing a blog post dealing with a specific subject and asking for input in the form of a post or comment. These can either stay on one blog or move from blog to blog.

In the case of one blog hosting the carnival or party, the comments and posts are aggregated and put in a follow-up post. Some don't have a follow-up but request links in the comments section so that others can view posts.
With the moving carnival, a reader goes from blog to blog reading the posts on the given subject.

Some examples are Randy Seaver's Saturday Night Fun on GenaMusings, Elizabeth O'Neils's monthly Blog Party on her Little Bytes of Life Blog, the yearly Blog Caroling event from FootnoteMaven, and my monthly GeneaChat posts for the In-Depth Genealogist Blog.  Please post the links to others that you know of in the comments section below!

So, why should you participate?
 First, it's fun! Joining with other genealogists to blog or comment about a topic can be a fun way to associate with others.

 Second, it gives you a topic to write about. I don't know about you, but sometimes, it's hard to get that idea formed so that you can get a new post out. The topics provided by these events will help.

Third, it's a win/win situation! If you are the host of the party, it brings people to your blog as they read about your topic.
As a participant, it brings attention to your post and using the link you provide brings traffic to your blog.
When the Blog Carnival provides a follow up with all the comments and links contributed for the theme, your post will be highlighted and linked back.  Again, bringing readers to your blog.

So what are you waiting for? Join the fun and network with other bloggers by hosting or participating in a Blog Carnival. Party on Genealogy Bloggers!

Cheri










Friday, 27 January 2017

Italian Cousins through DNA and Genealogical Research


San Colombano Certenoli GE, Italy 
By Davide Papalini (mio lavoro) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commonshttps://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Val_Fontanabuona-IMG_0568.JPG


I suspect I am not alone in being surprised, when we have researched for years already, that breakthroughs in our genealogical research bring us exciting new family information, and if we are really lucky, new cousins! Especially, when it is not really due to our own work, but a gift of someone else’s hard work! That happened to me in just the last three weeks when a woman named Karen Migliori got in touch with me on ancestry to tell me that my DNA matched her husband’s Italian line of ancestors whose DNA and family tree she administered. I was so excited, because I knew very little about the Italian line of my mother’s family except for those who had lived in Richmond, Virginia, USA where I was born and raised. My DNA results said I was 5% Italian, and I was so happy to learn that. My mother often talked of her Italian grandmother, Mary Catherine Botto, who married her grandfather James Henry Kearse, who was Irish. Even though I am 15% Irish, I have always felt an affinity and affection for the Italian passions I inherited.

When I started my family genealogical research, I was thrilled to get my Italian line together, even if only through my second great grandparents who immigrated from Italy to America, settling in Virginia. Lewis Botto, 1831- bef. 1866, of San Colombano Certenoli (GE), Italy, married Catharina Revaro, 1825-1903 of Genoa, Genova, Italy. They married in Richmond, Virginia in 1853. Notice that from this marriage record, I learned the names of Lewis’s parents, my third great grandparents, Lawrence and Mary Botto (Lorenzo and Maria Rosa Costa Botto).


Louis Botte (Lewis Botto)
In the Virginia, Select Marriages, 1785-1940

Name: Louis Botte (Botto)
Gender: Male
Age: 21
Birth Date: 1832
Birth Place: Italy

Marriage Date: 3 Sep 1853
Marriage Place: Richmond, Virginia

Father: Lawrence Botte (Lorenzo Botto)
Mother: Mary (Maria Rosa Costa)

Spouse: Catharine Rivers (Revaro)


FHL Film Number: 31855
Reference ID: P1 #39


Together, Lewis and Catharina Botto had two children, James Lewis Botto, 1857-1923, and Mary Catherine Botto, 1858-1906. Mary Catherine as I said before, married James H. Kearse and they were my great grandparents, making Lewis and Catherine Revaro Botto my second great grandparents.. On the 1860 census, Lewis appears as a confectioner in Richmond, VA. and is living with his wife and two children.

1860 United States Federal Census
Name: Lewis Batto (Botto)
Age: 28
Birth Year: abt 1832
Gender: Male

Birth Place: Italy
Home in 1860: Richmond Ward 1,Virginia, USA
Post Office: Richmond

Family Number 207

Household Members:
Name                    Age
Lewis Batto           28
Catharine Batto     20
James Lewis Batto  4
Mary Catherine       3

However, I have not yet been able to discover for sure what happened to Lewis Botto. I do not know if he died in the Civil War, if he and Catharine got divorced, or just why he disappeared, but I do know that in 1866, Catharine married her second husband, Nicholas Raffo, 1837-1873, also born in Italy. Together they had one son, John Francis Raffo, 1867-1951. On the marriage record of Catharine Revaro Botto to Nicholas Raffo, I finally learned that Catharine’s father’s name was Anton Revaro, sometimes seen as Andrew Rivers. At last, I knew the names of my third great grandfathers.

Catharine Botto

Name:Catharine Botto
[Catharine Revaro] 
Gender:Female
Age:43
Birth Date:1823
Marriage Date:7 May 1866
Marriage Place:Richmond, Virginia, USA
Father:Anton Revaro
Spouse:Nicholas Raffo
FHL Film Number:33620
Reference ID:p 90

Catharine Revaro Botto Raffo had three children altogether, two sons and one daughter. James Lewis Botto married Margaret Slattery and had six children. Catharine’s daughter Mary Catherine Botto married James Kearse and had four children, including a set of twin girls and two boys. Catherine Botto Raffo’s son John Francis Raffo , 1867-1951, married Mary Margaret “Minnie” Finnegan and had eight children! Blessed to have three children, Catharine had 18 grandchildren! Lewis Botto had ten grandchildren. What a legacy!

James Lewis Botto owned and operated a nightclub in Richmond called the St. Helena. Mary Catherine B. Kearse was a business woman like her mother, collecting rents from rental property they owned, and she was also a jeweler, the co-owner of a well known jewelry store in Richmond. John Francis Raffo was a firefighter who became the Chief of the City of Richmond Fire Department with a career that spanned fifty years! Teachers, Police Officers, Firefighters, and a Catholic Priest. the caretakers of Richmond, Virginia, USA were some of my own family!

Previously, I had met, through ancestry, some of my living Raffo cousins, in California, Virginia, and right here in North Carolina, only about an hour away!

That was about all I knew until two weeks ago. Even though I had met and become friends with another Botto cousin through our own DNA match- Eric Dimiceli from New York, he only knew that he had a second great grandmother named Catarina Botto, 1837-1913, who was born in San Colombano, Certenoli, GE, Italy also! She had married a Carlo Molinari. We knew they were related, but could not determine how for lack of records.

Then two weeks ago, I got a note on Ancestry from Karen about her husband Tom Migliori and his cousin Raymond Malispina. She and Ray are the genealogists of the family. Raymond had been to Italy at least five times, and had a cousin who did original research there. Ray sent me this lovely note for my records just a few days after we met:

“Good morning cousin
Amen to that!

One piece of new news you might want for the records is the church containing the data on Botto, Cuneo, et. al. is S. Maria Assunta in the town of S. Colombano Certenoli. It is just about a mile or so southeast of the wonderful city of Chiavari, on the sea some 40 miles south of Genoa and just below Portofino (the Cinque Terra is just a short train ride south of Chiavari). We've used Chiavari as our base city on five visits to Italy. Ray”


Raymond shared his own genealogical research and family tree with us, which gave us more ancestors! It also let us know that the four of us descended from siblings! Lorenzo (Lawrence) Botto, 1801-1860, married Maria (Mary) Rosa Costa, 1806-1883. I checked my DNA for matches to the surname Costa, and there they were, I matched Eric, Ray and Thomas--Karen’s husband. In fact, Ancestry has now put the four of us in an ancestry DNA circle! Lorenzo and Maria Rosa had six children, and now we know descendants from three of them! Ray sent this information to Eric Dimiceli and me:

“Botto Family Records S. Colombano Certenoli

As promised here is the information found in the records of the church in S. Colombano Certenoli.

Lorenzo Botto (son of Bernardo) was born in the town of Rapallo in 1801 on July 19 1826 he married Maria Rosa Costa (daughter of Luigi) at the church in S. Colombano. Lorenzo died November 14,1860.They had six children:

-Angela Maria born October 16, 1827, She married Bartolomeo Daveggio on February 5 1845 This is my second great grandmother!!!!

-Giacomo Luigi was born July 23, 1831. No record of marriage in S. Colombano.

-Maria Teresa was born October 13. 1834. She married Antonio Raggio May 2, 1859.

-Caterina was born April 17, 1837. She married a Carlo Molinari (no date). She died July 25, 1913.

-Rosa was born October 19, 1841. She died October 9, 1842.

-Bartolomeo born October 9, 1845. Married Angela Cademartori December 31, 1865. Died February 18, 1906."



How exciting to discover that our second great grandparents were siblings! Eric descends from Catherina Botto;  Ray and Tom descend from her sister Angela Maria Botto; and I descend from their brother Giacomo Luigi! Giacomo Luigi, I was so happy I could hardly stop saying that name. I had only known him as Lewis who married Caterina Revaro, and had a son named James Lewis Botto and daughter Mary Catherine Botto! Giacomo Luigi translates to James Lewis also, the name of his son! Live and learn! It was so much fun! I immediately sent out an email to all of my Kearse/Botto first and second cousins to introduce Ray and Eric, and give them the information! I also learned the names of two of my fourth great grandparents! Lorenzo’s father was Bernardo Botto, and Maria Rosa Costa’s father was Luigi Costa! There it was, Luigi, a family name.

Since Ray, Eric, Tom, and I are fourth cousins, we should share a third great grandparent, and indeed we are all descendants of our third great grandparents, Lorenzo and Maria Rosa Costa Botto! Ray and I share 13.1 centimorgans of DNA across one DNA segment! Eric and I share 12.0 cM’s of DNA over one DNA segment and Tom and I share 22.5 cM’s over 2 DNA segments.  Below are our relationship charts, detailing our kinship.

What a blessing from DNA and genealogical research to find three new cousins from California, to New York to North Carolina, USA--from Italy with love!




Sono cosi felice! (I am so happy!)

Fino a quando ci incontriamo di nuovo, benedizioni,

Helen Y. Holshouser, blogging at heart2heartstories.com


Raymond (Ray) Malispina (1935 - )
father of Raymond (Ray) Malispina

Louisa Cuneo (1888 - 1953)
mother of Elvin George Malispina

Jennie Deveggio (1867 - 1932)
mother of Louisa Cuneo

mother of Jennie Deveggio

father of Angela Maria Botto

Giacomo Luigi (James Lewis) Botto (1831 - )
son of Lorenzo (Lawrence) Botto

Mary Catherine Botto (1858 - 1906)
daughter of Giacomo Luigi (James Lewis) Botto

son of Mary Catherine Botto

Margaret Steptoe Kearse (1918 - 1980)
daughter of Thomas Philip Kearse

Helen Spear Youngblood Holshouser
You are the daughter of Margaret Steptoe Kearse



Eric Dimiceli
4th cousin

Private Silvinsky 
mother of Eric Dimiceli
mother of Private Silvinsky

Francesco Molinari 
father of Catherine C Molinari

Caterina Botto (1837 - 1913)
mother of Francesco Molinari

Lorenzo (Lawrence) Botto (1801 - 1860)
father of Caterina Botto

daughter of Giacomo Luigi (James Lewis) Botto
son of Mary Catherine Botto

Margaret Steptoe Kearse (1918 - 1980)
daughter of Thomas Philip Kearse
daughter of Margaret Steptoe Kearse Youngblood



Thomas Migliori
4th cousin

Dora Pedrucci (1916 - 2012)
mother of Thomas Migliori

Della Catherine Cuneo (1891 - 1944)
mother of Dora Pedrucci

Jennie Deveggio (1867 - 1932)
mother of Della Catherine Cuneo

Angela Maria Botto (1827 - )
mother of Jennie Deveggio

Lorenzo (Lawrence) Botto (1801 - 1860)
father of Angela Maria Botto

Giacomo Luigi (James Lewis) Botto (1831 - )
son of Lorenzo (Lawrence) Botto

Mary Catherine Botto (1858 - 1906)
daughter of Giacomo Luigi (James Lewis) Botto

Thomas Philip Kearse (1883 - 1939)
son of Mary Catherine Botto

Margaret Steptoe Kearse (1918 - 1980)
daughter of Thomas Philip Kearse

Helen Spear Youngblood Holshouser
You are the daughter of Margaret Steptoe Kearse







































































Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Secret Wife of John Wilkes Booth, Presidential Assassin?

With the recent inauguration of a new United States president, I was reminded of some of the odd bits of presidential history. I found once such story in my sister-in-law's family tree. Martha Lizola Mills; her daughter, Ogarita Elizabeth Bellows; and her granddaughter, Izola Louis Hills, all believed Martha was the secret wife of John Wilkes Booth, the person many witnessed assassinated then president Abraham Lincolon. They also believed Booth escaped and lived several more years and that he fathered a son with Martha Lizola after Lincoln's assassination.

Documentation and the recollections of Martha Lizola's granddaughter, which she included in a book, This One Mad Act, agree. Her parents were Abraham Standish and Izola Maria (Mendosa) Mills. Abraham was the owner and captain of a trading schooner in the China Trade. He met his wife in Spain. According to Martha's granddaughter, Izola Maria died giving birth to her only daughter on board ship off the coast of Martha's Vineyard, during a storm. Martha Lizola was primarily raised by her aunt, Abraham's sister, Fanny (Mills) D'Arcy.

Martha Lizola (Mills) Bellows Stevenson
Photograph from This One Mad Act

Charles Bellows is never mentioned in This One Mad Act but Massachusetts marriage records indicated he and Martha Lizola were married 30 Jul 1855 in Boston. Rhode Island birth records listed Charles and Martha as the parents of Ogarita Elizabeth, who believed she was actually John Wilkes Booth's daughter. Navy muster rolls seem to prove that Charles could not have been the father as he was stationed on a ship off Montevideo, Uruguay, during the critical period.

The 1860 census indicated Martha Lizola was living in Boston with Ogarita and a son, Harry, aged  five. Little Harry disappeared from the records after that; so I assume he died as a child. Martha's story was that she was a young actress and met John Wilkes Booth in Richmond in 1858 or 1859. It was love at first sight. She said she and Booth lived on a small farm in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley and that Booth would return to their home between acting engagements.

After the Civil War, Martha Lizola married John Stevenson on 23 Mar 1871 in Boston. This is supported by Massachusetts marriage records. She claimed it was a marriage of convenience and that the son born to them a month earlier, Harry Jerome Dresback Stevenson, was actually the son of John Wilkes Booth. She claimed she married Stevenson, a friend of Booth's so she could travel to California and meet Booth while he was in hiding before leaving the country. It was during that meeting that Harry Jerome was conceived.

Harry Stevenson; photograph from This One Mad Act

Martha Lizola died in 1887 and is buried in Plains Cemetery at Canterbury, Connecticut.

Her daughter, Ogarita, was also a stage actress, and began using Booth as her stage name in 1884, six years before her death at the age of 32. Ogarita's daughter, Lizola Louise (Hills) was adopted by George Forrester, a Chicago newspaper man, after her mother's death. Her second husband, Mann Page, was my sister-in-law's 8th cousin once removed.

Ogarita Elizabeth (Bellows) Wilson Henderson
Photograph from This One Mad Act

So do you believe Martha Lizola (Mills) Bellows Stevenson married John Wilkes Booth and that he fathered two of her children?

_______________
Related posts: Izola Forrester: American Author and She Seemed Rather Fantastic and Extravagant.

Martha Lizola Mills was born at Stamford, Fairfield, Connecticut, in 1837 to Abraham Standish and Izola Maria (Mendosa) Mills. Her father was a sea captain. She married first Charles Still Bellows on 30 Jul 1855 at Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts; second John H Stevenon on 23 Mar 1871; and third, according to her granddaughter, but no documentation has yet been found, Edwin S Bates two or three years before her death. She died in Nov 1887 in Canterbury, Windham, Connecticut and is buried in Plains Cemetery at Windham. She went to her death believing she had been married to John Wilkes Booth, that both her children were his, and he escaped capture at the Garrett farm and died in 1879.

According to Wikipedia, muster rolls indicate Charles Still Bellows was aboard a ship near Montevideo, Uruguay, for the critical time period, making it impossible for him to be the father of Ogarita (Bellows) Henderson, Izola Forrester's mother.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Stimulating Memory Sharing

Gathering memories was a frequent topic of several friends at the Family History Center I work at. There was much discussion trying to come up with the right formula for family responsiveness.
It is easy to say ask questions at reunions, family gatherings, visits 
with the older members of the family, but the results are not always what you had hoped for.
I have written several memories on my personal blog most in regards to holidays and many with recipes. It was all my memories. I had asked my husband’s twin to share memories and he would always say, “I don’t remember anything about growing up.” πŸ˜‰ 
Both you and I know that was true, he just wasn’t focused. To experiment, since I was one of the advisers on getting stories over the holidays, I decided to utilize my Facebook page to try and pull in cousins and siblings of my husband’s family to share some of their stories. It didn’t quite turn out the way I had thought, but it did turn out that I filled a need of the Hero’s cousins.

I first shared this…short post and a scrapbook page from the book… 

"Merry Christmas from the Ellsworth Domestic Goddesses.  Many years ago my oldest daughter put together a cook book of recipes from all the Older Ellsworth ladies back in 2001, the great grandmother, great aunt, grandmother, and aunts for Christmas. Kathleen and Ginny, I loved this picture of Mary with Mom. Two lovely Ellsworth ladies. Megan were there recipes from you and Laura in there? Love all ya'all. "


This was some of the responses:
Derrell Hankins: What a lovely idea! Wish I'd have thought of that... about 50 years ago! (not related on this side)

Kathleen Ellsworth Chelette: Thanks Fran πŸ’•(The Hero's cousin, sister of Tom)

Fran Langley Ellsworth: You are welcome Kathleen Love ya

Barbara Thole Taylor: What a treasure! (not related on this side, but they are thinking of doing it for their family now.)

Ginny Ellsworth: Love it! Thanks, Fran! (daughter of Tom, a cousin. She has never seen these.)

Laura Wheatley-Hughes: Wonderful. Thanks for keeping memories alive (daughter of the Hero's sister)

Alta Turner: So cute!

Tom Ellsworth: Love to see the other recipes too! (the Hero's cousin)

Fran Langley Ellsworth” I am making a copy for Laura, will make one for you too.

Tom Ellsworth: Fran Langley Ellsworth Thank you!

Kathleen Ellsworth: Chelette Fran if you're making copies could I put my name in the bunch? Thanks

Fran Langley Ellsworth: Of course. You were in my thoughts. Didn't know if you had gotten one.  <3

Kathleen Ellsworth Chelette: Fran Langley Ellsworth thanks Fran you're an  πŸ˜‡.

This family has not been sharing for some time and now they had something they wanted to keep for a memory. I having 4 books made from mine and a barrier went down for sharing. Also, later my brother-in-law brought it up at a dinner with his sister and we discovered, she had found an original recipe that she had copied wrong for the book. This will be fixed now. 😊
This was the scrapbook page…very simple.


The second event was a “Blog Caroling” prompt from FooteNoteMaven.
I chose to do a cute song my husband had sang to our kids every Christmas. He loved it and after I posted the scrapbook page with the short post, I found my brother-in-law loved it too. When we had our dinner he began remembering all the fun songs they had sung at Christmas as kids and looked them up on YouTube. His sister added what she had remembered. 
This is the Scrapbook Page and the short post:
"When the Hero and I would talk about Christmas plays and our children were in the Church party Manger scenes, he would always break out in song about "The Angel in the Christmas Play". This Christmas song was written in 1949 by Spike Lee.  The Hero would have been about 3 when it first came out. 
Wonder if our children remember the song... Good question."

There were several other posts I made including old group photos of the family that stimulated conversations about when, where they were at the time of the photo and who was doing what at that time.  It was fun seeing the cousins come together across the miles, who have not been together for years, and engage each other with their thoughts as memories. That would not have happened if I had not reached out to them and had given them a visual stimulus.
This was my personal success story this year of extracting fun and personal stories from family. I hope you had a great experience too. 😊


Thursday, 12 January 2017

New Year, New Approach

Getting Organised with a bullet journal could help me Build a Family Tree Book 


So another year has flown by and it is that time of the year again when we resolve to get things straight and write that Family History book we have been promising. So here is what I plan to do this year and a bit about how I am changing the way I tackle the organisation challenge.

At the end of last year I discovered Bullet Journaling and decided that this year I was going to give it a try. I hope that it will help me to become more organised and allow me to look back at what I can achieve. Several others are also starting this so you may see posts from them on genealogy blogs.

I have gathered some useful links in a collection on Google+ if you think you might be interested.

As part of this I had to decide how I would approach this and what tools I would use. I started with a cheap notebook but soon realised that the pages were too thin. 
I then ordered a relatively expensive notebook known as a LEUCHTURM 1917 which has numbered pages. The order could not be fulfilled so I had to find an alternative. 
The idea of having a book I could add to and customise appealled to me but the Levenger system that some in the US were using was not available here in the UK. Staples do a similar system known as ARC and I was looking at this as an alternative. 
Before, I purchased what I would need, I was discussing what I wanted to do with others. It was at this point that it came to me that, what I needed I already had, sitting in a drawer at home, waiting for me to use it, a springback binder. These are sold to family historians to help them create their own books. The same company also sell archival quality paper and other items to help us preserve our history.

Now I have spent time creating pages for my journal and using it to help me with my organisation schedule. It is a project which will evolve. When I originally bought my binders I also obtained a set of preprinted Family Tree Book Pages included with these was a discount code to order a pdf copy of the pages to use for additional pages. I bought a copy yesterday and had thought I could just print the pages for me to fill in by hand. However on further investigation today I find the sheets are fillable pdf and I can cut and paste information from my family history software program.
Since the older family members may prefer to see my research in book format I hope to use these forms as a starting point. The one thing I do like with these forms is the emphasis on adding the sources.

I am hoping to produce hand written pages for people I am currently working on so I can see where there are gaps. 
I started doing something similar in this book.
If I can easily translate the information into a page which I can printout, and replace if I need to, it will be more flexible especially if I later find I have missed something. I can easily correct without having to rewrite a whole section.
Working with paper rather than just in the digital can help with thought processes and creativity.

Next month I will report on how the bullet journal has progressed and if I have found it useful for my genealogy organisation.

If you are using a bullet journal have you found it helpful particularly for genealogy projects. 
Please share any thoughts you may have on this topic in the comments.