Monday, June 29, 2009

A Few Of My Family's Faces

This is a photo of my grandparent's cabin when they homesteaded in Douglas County, Wyoming. Judging from the age of the youngest child, it was taken 1917 or 1918. The woman in back is my grandmother Mary Myrtle Vandivier who married Frederick Everett Wilson. The children are from left to right Harvey George Wilson, Mildred Ruth Wilson, Florence Annette Wilson and Sidney Jesse Wilson.

Here's an image of the land claim:

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Frederick Buckalew in New Jersey

My marathon reading of Henry Louis Gates’ book In Search Of Our Ancestors has completely turned my body clock around, right after I had some success reorienting myself to daylight hours. It is rare for the local library to have something other than genealogy how-to books, so to have this collection of fifteen family histories to read was a joy. I’ll write more about the book later.

It did not help that then while still under the influence of Dr. Gates’ book I stayed up too late looking online for more information on my latest mystery, the Buckalew family of early New Jersey. I think some of the mystery is I live in upstate New York. It’s very helpful, though, that I can find a lot of information on early New Jersey using Google Books ( Granted the information is not primary, but it gives me a direction I can follow later. New Jersey doesn’t seem to be a large state until you suddenly have to start researching family there and then it can seem very big indeed.

I found a 17 Feb1750 marriage record for Frederick Buckalew to Mary Rose. They both lived in Perth Amboy. Was the marriage record for Frederick Buckalew (1676-1754) or his son Frederick (1711-1776)? Or was there a cousin named Frederick Buckalew? I know my early families liked to name children after other relatives and it certainly makes me extra careful.

I turned to one of my favorite tricks for trolling for information. I went to Rootsweb ( and searched for Frederick Buckalew on their web site. I was very surprised to find that eight Frederick Buckalews lived sometime during the 18th century.

1. Frederick Buckalew, son of William Buckalew born ca 1696 in Perth Amboy and Elizabeth Everson born 1700 Perth Amboy.

2. Frederick Buckalew, son of Richard Buckalew b. 1721 and Mary

3. Frederick Buckalew born 1746; son of Richard Buckalew born 30 Aug 1716 Cheesequakes Creek, NJ, and Mary Garret born 1729 Mecklenburg, Loudon Co., Va.

4. Frederick Buckalew born 14 Feb 1756 South Amboy, NJ; died 4 Mar 1836; son of John Buckalew and Isabelle Dove born 14 Feb 1794/5 Scotland; spouse Margaret Dove.

5. Frederick Buckalew, born 15 Sep 1764, North Brunswick, NJ; died 15 Feb 1825 North Brunswick; son of John Buckalew born 1717 North Brunswick and Mary Ann Allen born 1727.

6. Frederick Buckalew born 1681; from Cheesequakes; wife Mary.

7. Frederick Buckalew born 1765; son of Richard Buckalew of NJ and Mary born 1741.

8. Frederick P. Buckalew born 1692 Perth Amboy, died 1777; son of Frederick Buckalew, mother Mary; first spouse unknown, second Mercy, third wife Mary Rose.

Fortunately there’s enough other information to tell me that the eighth Frederick Buckalew listed is my ancestor. The multiple names tell me I have to be careful in interpreting records. Already the birth and death dates are inconsistent with my information and need to be researched.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Genealogy Software Tip

So far I've used three different genealogy programs. They all had one thing in common: the backup files were all stored within the Program Files directory of the computer. If you do that, if a PC tech tries to restore your PC and has to reimage it, you will lose your work as I did. The PC tech only saved My Documents. I highly recommend you create a file under My Documents to save the backup file. I also suggest that you regularly save your email address book and My Favorites under My Documents, just in case.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Family History Matters

I think of family history, aka genealogy, as putting a face on history. Enough history is written so generally that it can be difficult to see how it matters to you, especially if you don't know what people made up your family. If you start to find out what family members were involved in important events, then the events start to matter to you. I fail to see why some people aren't more interested in their family history. Doesn't everyone ponder "Who am I?" How can you answer that question without knowing about your family and its place in history?

Some family lines are easier to research than others, especially famous ones. I almost fell off my chair in the computer lab when I discovered that I was a direct descendant of John Alden and Priscilla Mullins. I guess I should be glad that Priscilla fell for John instead of Miles Standish. OK, that's only a legend, but it proves the point. I'm now a little more interested in what happened at Plimouth Colony.