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           October, 2006

      Carol Sanderson, Editor
      Charles Hansen, Advisor

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  A Family Reunion
— by Carol Sanderson

        October is and has been named Family History month by Congress for several years now. In keeping with that, I would like to tell you about a reunion that I went to in August.

        Sometime earlier this year I had received a note in the form of a flyer from a Grant clan member I knew. This was an announcement of the 106th Annual Grant Family Reunion. Actually, it is a reunion of descendants of Peter Grant who was the immigrant ancestor.

        Peter, did not emigrate as most of our ancestors did. He was shipped over with about 150 other Scots who were captured my Oliver Cromwell's men in September of 1700. Most of these men were indentured to Saugus Ironworks in what was then part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

        I have been to several of these and find them most interesting. This is always held in Maine and since the state is so large, there are actually two reunions. One is for those living in the northern part of the state and one for those living in the southern part. I have never asked but I assume that if one wants to attend the "northern one" they may and likewise for the "southern one." Since I have only been to the "southern one that is where I have gathered my information.

        I have been searching many years for documentation or a way to find my way to Scotland. I feel that this descendents group has been doing the same thing for all the years that they have been meeting as well as keeping the old family plots clean and the stones repaired or new ones marking the old graves.

        We gather between 10:00 and 11:00 the morning of the appointed day. We all bring a dish to share and there is always sweet corn provided as it is pretty much harvest time for that delicious food.

        I have found several who grew up in an area that I am searching. One of these people told me to send him my information and he would see what he could find. My roadblock is not my line to Peter. That is solid. I have been trying to find the parents a Grant who was my husband's great great grandmother. I have a feeling that we have another line of relationship through her. The time I am talking about is before the census listed family members other than heads of households.

        Then comes lunch! What a variety of dishes! Everything looks so good and is. I am tempted to over-eat. There is still much talk during lunch. After lunch, though there is a brief business meeting and then introductions. We go around the room with people introducing themselves. This year I met in person someone I had met via e-mails and who I had tried to see all of eight or nine years ago. This contact had been about our research on Peter.

        TThis group has a DNA project going so that at some future date we may be able to go across the "pond" and find our family over there. It is a Y chromosome search so that leaves me out but my documentation down to Peter is certain while others have marriages that they cannot prove. If I were not sure of my documentation, I would try to get my brother or his son to give the DNA sample.

        About three o'clock people start saying goodbyes and, "yes I'll be back next year." I had ridden part way with a distant "cousin" whom I have known for sometime. On our way there, I had been talking of this great great grandmother, as there was another person from that area in the car. On the way back, we came to a traffic light and had to stop for the light to change. Instead of turning left, as he normally would, the driver turned right with the announcement that we were going to make a short detour. He and the other cousin had been talking about a cemetery up on a hill and she was going to go there with another of the people from the meeting. Lysle wanted to show her where the access of this was located. After showing her that, we went a little further and stopped. There was a cart track leading up the hill and they said there was a Grant cemetery up there. We were also parked in front of one...the people on the top of the hill were descendants of those in this little plot. I recognized some of the names as those I had seen elsewhere.

        However, there was something else there for me to see. We had been talking about a certain neighborhood and the one-room schoolhouse that had been there. Here where we had parked was a huge boulder with a bronze plaque on it. It was marking the site (about 100 feet away) of the Joy schoolhouse that had been built in 1837 and was in existence until 1906 when it burned and the children from there went to other schools.

        Family reunions are fun even if they are made up of mainly distant relatives. I think my grandmother had been to one of these Grant reunions years ago...perhaps as they were just getting started. As a child, I never asked the tight questions so missed out on much information. If you have a chance to go to one for your family, I urge you to go. So many people have a great amount of knowledge that I am sure you will learn something there as well as make new friendships.





  Finding Your Female Ancestor
— by Charles Hansen

        This is the last part of the June seminar by Leland Meitzler. He had several great examples of each record. However, he did not spend much time on this section as it was getting close to the end of his presentation time.

        Finding your female ancestors has always been harder than your male ancestors, as few females owned land, so she did not appear in the land records (at least when their husband was alive). Men were the soldiers, so few females had military records. Men kept their surnames after marriage, females changed every time they got married. Even if a female was listed in a record, she was probably listed as Mrs. John Doe. So if her name was Martha Doe you still could miss her in the records. Before 1850, in the census they only listed the head of the household, and few women were heads of households then, so few were listed. The census did list ages of all in the family, but a check mark under the column females age 30-35 in those before 1850 does not help much in tracing your ancestors.

        Most researchers already know the reasons I listed above as to why their female ancestors may not be in a lot of records. That does not mean you will never be able to find your female ancestors. Leland listed many sources to check for your female ancestors in his outline. I combined a few and picked those I thought were the best to find your female ancestor with some comments of my own. These are:

  1. The various marriage records. Applications, licenses, returns, certificates, bonds or permissions are records started which very early in most county records for two reasons. First, women usually survived their husbands, and the wife néeded to prove she was the spouse of the husband so she could pay the land taxes. The second reason is to be able to pay taxes on the land. The hardest part of this is usually knowing in which county the marriage took place.

  2. The Family Bible. My grandparents had a bible, which had records of events that went back several generations. While it has most of the family, only two of my great grandfather's wives were listed in the bible, as the family did not approve of wife number two. She is not listed, just wives one and three. Wife two is listed in the cemetery records and is buried right next to wife one and three.

  3. Death certificates. A death certificate is only reliable, if the person giving the information knew the maiden names. Obituaries and death notices may list the parents or brothers and sisters.

  4. Census records. Watch for brothers, sisters, in-laws, parents, nephews and nieces either living in the family or living near by. Do not forget the state census records also.

  5. Cemeteries. Is there a family plot? Who is buried next to whom?

  6. Birth indexes. Washington state birth indexes are indexed by the name of the father, but they also list the maiden name of the mother.

  7. D.A.R. Lineage papers and books. The D.A.R. publishes their member's research and is a source for many maiden names in their records.

  8. Funeral Home Records. Who paid the bills? Who were the pallbearers, and who supplied information for the obits or death certificates?

  9. Church records. These would be membership, marriage and births. If the civil records are not available for whatever reason,(burned courthouse, etc.), then check out the church records.

  10. Pension and Bounty Land Files. My great-great grandfather farmed on land in Illinois, which he bought from a War of 1812 soldier. Pension records can be a gold mine of information. Perhaps your female ancestor's maiden name will be included.

  11. Social Security Index Lastly, if your ancestor was alive in the 1940s or later, you can search for them in the Social Security Index. If you find them, you can send for their Social Security Application (SS-5).





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