Saturday, October 11, 2014

Archaeological Treasure

I've liked to read about archaeological digs ever since I could read.  My favorite magazines National Geographic and Smithsonian are famous for them.  I also enjoy archaeological documentaries such as Time Team and its American copycat program Time Team America.  

It's not uncommon for archaeologists in Europe to come across a cache of valuable items.  Sometimes these items have been broken in some way to make them unusable.  The experts always speculate why they're in such a condition.  One reason I don't remember them expressing, burying the family valuables so they aren't stolen by the enemy.   Or are they trying to avoid the stereotypical but valid assumption of "buried treasure?" 

Europe and the British Isles was invaded time and time again, and had their own revolutions and civil wars.  Why don't the experts express the idea that someone may have buried the valuables so that some invading enemy doesn't find them?  How would people in 400 A.D. safeguard their valuables?  If the objects are destroyed in some way to make them unusable, the enemy soldiers are less likely to steal them.  Coming back the owners could either repair or recycle them.  

Icenaen torques discovered in Northeastern Britain.  The Icenae were a British tribe.

These caches may still exist because the owner was never able to recover them.  He or she probably did not tell many people, if at all.  The owner and other people s/he have told may have been killed during the enemy's invasion.  S/he may have been enslaved and never able to return. S/he may have died some other way, illness maybe.  S/he may never had the resources to come back again.  It may never have been safe enough to return.  Then the owner's wealth would have been left unknown in the ground to be disturbed ages later for others to ponder over.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Family Atlas

I recently purchased Family Atlas from RootsMagic.  I love maps and I've wanted this software for a long time.  Unfortunately, I can't use it right away.  I have to clean up my place names in RootsMagic first.  That was a disappointment.  I wanted to play with it the first night.  

Here's a sample image the company offers:

Now I know why someone on the list said he was cleaning up his place names.  When I first began using RootsMagic I didn't use the person fields correctly, putting the place details in the place field.  I've discovered the hard way why that's not a good thing!  I also made it difficult to use the automatic population of the place detail field.  RootsMagic is designed so that when you begin entering a place detail, it comes up automatically if it's already been entered.  Chances are you won't want to use the entry "Noble Township, Auglaize Co., OH, USA with cousin Emma Sunderland and husband Albert Bowsher" again.

I decided to begin correcting the entries with the earliest reference numbers, thinking I would find the most number of corrections there.  Some have been made already.  However, the list doesn't seem to stay sorted in RootsMagic V4 and that's annoying, but workable.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do about European place names from the 17th century. 

I wonder why a place name has to read "Albany, Albany, NY."  Why not "Albany, Albany Co., NY?"  There must be some company somewhere that determined it was dropping the "Co." and all other companies followed suit.  For nitpickers this is not a good thing.  Many times I've come across a designation such as Baltimore, MD, when it meant the county, not the city.  Back in the 1700s there was a big difference between the city of Baltimore and the county.  It also makes a difference now when you need to know if you're looking for city or county records.  I wonder if this place name convention will lead to future confusion in my RootsMagic reports.  

So when am I going to clean up the place names?  Good question.  Working on this would probably be good for those times when I'm too hungry to think while I'm waiting for supper to cook, or when I'm too tired and fidgety to concentrate on television or when I have  trouble sleeping. 

I know how I can play with Family Atlas now!  I've done research for other people and the place names should be correct.  

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Planning a Cemetery Tour

I haven't gone anywhere out of my home area all summer.  And how did it get to be almost September already? My psyche can't stand it anymore.  I'm planning a cemetery tour of family graves in Berkshire County, Massachusetts. I will be looking for Winchell family members, as well as those with different surnames from the spouses they married:  Baily, Boyes, Brazee, Church, Elsden, Lee, Oaks, Schwab, Snyder, Strong, Suriner, Thatcher, Warner, and Wylie. Happily my cousin Susan plans to come with me.  I hoped it would appeal to the family archaeologist.  

I thought it would be good to have a list of who was buried where.  I discovered that I could download comma-delimited data from to create a spreadsheet.  It would be fairly complete since most of the information I had came from there originally.  As I started formatting the spreadsheet, I realized I kept missing family.  Every time I thought I had everyone, I found more, four times!  I think possibly I have all family members on Findagrave now included.

Grouping the information in an understandable manner is a challenge.  I have several generations and different branches of the family involved, too many to use color coding.  I decided to group people and use different types of lines and boxes.  

There are still relatives whose resting places are still unknown.  They may be missing from the transcriptions or, and I suspect it's more likely, they have no tombstones.  At some point I'll have to go to the two towns to ask about the cemetery records.  I know Henrietta Winchell Suriner has to be there somewhere!  

It is possible that I may find new information by consulting the records, a happy thought.  A couple relatives are listed in two different cemeteries as well.  I hope I'll be able to find out which are the correct ones.

I plan to take equipment along in case some of the stones need cleaning.  It looks like this one for my great-great-grandfather may need cleaning.

Photo by Brenda L. Struthers

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Revised Van Gilder Relationship Chart

Below is the newly revised edition of my John Van Gilder relationship chart.  It shows his relationship with the Catskill, Schodack, Copake, Salisbury and Stockbridge bands of Mohicans, as well as the Wappingers.  At one point in my research I was finding various bits of information and it helped tremendously to string them together to see the bigger picture.  I don't believe it was included in the paper that the New York State Museum published.  

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Van Gilder Relationship Chart

I'm in the midst of revising the Van Gilder social relationship chart I created over ten years ago.  I had to figure out how to use Open Office Drawing.  I've been able to modify it the way I wanted to and I have additional information to add.  I'm pondering whether I should add references to more deeds and the letters of chief Mohican sachem Benjamin Kokhekewenaunaunt to British Superintendent of Indian Affairs Sir William Johnson.  The trickiest part however will be putting certain lines and arrows exactly where I want them.  

The summer weather is giving me fidgety feet and it might be possible I'll be taking a trip to view family graves in Berkshire County.  A few I found by accident.  Some I've never seen.

Below is a video of the jazz classic "Fidgety Feet."

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Van Gilder and Winchell Family Line

In viewing this blog, I realized that readers have no reference point for the people I write about.  Below is my Van Gilder and Winchell family line.  

1.      Awansous, husband with unknown Mohican woman.  Awansous was a Wappinger chief recorded in documents from 1680 to 1707.  He originally lived in the area of Putnam County, N.Y.

2.     John Van Gelder born about 1698, died 1758.  He married Anna Maria Karner.  The banns registered June 28, 1719, NY.  Anna (also known as Mary Karner)  was born 1700 Germany, the daughter of daughter of Jan Nicholas Koerner and Anna Magdalena.  She died before after April 1782.  They resided in the Town of Egremont, Berkshire County, Mass.

John was a farmer and sawyer at a mill located in South Egremont that he operated with his brother-in-law Andrew Karner.

3.      Catharine Van Gelder was the wife of Hezekiah Winchell Sr., born 19 Oct 1731 Sheffield, Berkshire Co., Mass., and died before April 1778 (son of Samuel Winchell Sr. and Hannah Parsons).
Hezekiah fought in the Seven Years’ War and in the American Revolution at Mount Independence.  Nineteen other male native relatives fought in the American Revolution, including three in the Green Mountain Boys and nine others in the Continental Army.

4.      Eliakim Winchell born about 1744, died before Apr 1818 Mt. Washington, Berkshire Co., Mass., and married Sarah and an unknown second wife.

      Eliakim was a wheelwright and farmer and a veteran of the American Revolution at Saratoga, along with six other family members.  He was the last known Van Gilder grandchild to retain family land in Berkshire County.  It was auctioned off in 1818 after he died in debt.

5.      George Winchell (son of Eliakim and Unknown) was born after 1805, most likely in the Town of Mount Washington, Berkshire Co., Mass., and  married Sarah Livingston (daughter of Unknown Livingston and Rachel Boyes).

George was a farmer.  Sarah may be a descendant of James Livingston, who was unrelated to the patroon.

6.      John Winchell born 1829 Salisbury, Litchfield Co., Conn. married Winifred O. Ashley born 17 Jan 1830 Chatham, Columbia Co., N.Y., died 25 July 1800 Great Barrington, Berkshire Co., Mass, (daughter of Abraham Ashley, who was Quaker, and Delilah Beman).

      John was a carpenter.  During the Civil War he was a private in Company D, 49th Massachusetts Volunteers.  Winifred may be the descendant of a native man from Connecticut named Zephaniah Wix.  He was imprisoned in Robert Livingston's sugar house by the British during the American Revolution, released that December because he was one of the sickest and died on his way home.

7.      Henry Franklin Winchell born 11 Aug 1857 Berkshire Co., MA married (1) Cora Leona Thatcher born 30 Sep 1858, daughter of Alexander M. Thatcher and Huldah Bishop, died 18 Jul 1892;  married (2) Esther Haskell (daughter of Nathan Haskell and Susan Seavor);  married (3) Alice Belle Snyder 1895 Great Barrington, Berkshire Co, Mass., born 16 April 1876, daughter of John Martin Snyder and Jane Frances Hoyt died 24 Feb 1912.

Henry F. Winchell and son Earl 

Cora Leona Thatcher

Alice Belle Snyder

Henry worked as a carpenter, a clerk and in the local factories.  He is pictured in a photo of the construction crew working on Searles Castle in Great Barrington.  Alice’s great-grandmother was a native woman from Hudson, Columbia Co., N.Y.

8.     Earl John Winchell born 27 May 1892 Great Barrington, Berkshire Co., MA, died 5 Jul 1966 at Salt Point, Dutchess Co., NY.  His first wife was a native woman named Myrtle, most likely from Dutchess County.  I'd really like to find out who she was.  His second wife was Gertrude Baker, born 10 Aug 1890 Blue Creek, Paulding Co., Ohio, daughter of Andrew Baker and Margaret Gatton, died 14 Sep 1960 Amenia, Dutchess Co., NY.  Her family was also of native descent.

Earl Winchell with first wife Myrtle

Gertrude Baker, Earl's second wife and my grandmother

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Good News and Bad News

I have just discovered Iowa Old Press on the web, which seems to be a counterpart to Old Fulton NY Post Cards,  an online archive of old newspapers, mainly from New York State.  I am still trying to find out where Mary Lucinda Winchell, the wife of Rev. Ira N. Pardee, died.  It would be nice if I could document her life further, as well as her sister Georgiana Winchell, who moved west with her sister and her family.  Georgiana was known as Georgie and she married Robert Steele 11 December 1878 in Webster County, Iowa.  The bad news is there was a couple with about the same names living in the same area of Plymouth County, Iowa, Robert and Anna Steele.  Maybe that's why Georgiana changed her name.  I imagine as I puruse the files at Iowa Old Press I'll be able to sort out the news stories on the two different families.