Monday, September 5, 2011

Finding your ancestors in the U.S. Census

The census can be one of the best places to find your ancestors. In the 1790 - 1840 the census only included the heads of household. But, from 1850 - 1930 the census included all members of the household and a variety of other useful information.

Most of the 1890 census was destroyed by fire, so most people will not be able to locate ancestors. The 1940 census will be available in mid April 2012, but will not include an index at first.

Always look for the latest census available for your ancestor, then work backwards. Looking in the census will provide you with a location for your ancestor so you can then search for other records in that location.

Be aware that census enumerators did not always get the information correct. Sometimes they were told wrong information and sometimes they wrote down the information incorrectly or how they thought a name should be spelled. So when you look in the indexes and don't find your ancestors don't give up. Try different surname spellings and keep an open mind about how your ancestor may be listed. Also, try different indexes from different companies.

Here is an example, my Great-Great-Grandfather Curtis Alexander Galttana is found in the 1870 census indexed with the name Goltahne. But, another company indexed it as Goltatine, which is the way I read it.
I was able to find Curtis Galttana because he was listed directly below his brother-in-law on the census. Which is another tip you should always do, when you find an ancestor on the census always look at the whole page and a few pages before and after to see if other family was living nearby. Many times families lived near each other.

This census also shows his occupation, which was a salt maker. He was working for his brother-in-law who owned the salt mine.

Searching the census is a great way to learn about your ancestors. Such as, name, age, spouse, children, occupation, home value, immigration dates, other marriages and much more. has recently announced the addition "of the complete U.S. Census to its already billion-record-strong database." Remember the census started in 1790 and currently  runs through 1930.

Thanks to geneabloggers for having a contest to win a year membership with

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Black Sheep Sunday - John Galttana arrested for "Intoxicating Liquors"

Imagine my surprise when I found this article on my Great Grandfather John Galttana from Texas in1922.

Apparently, my grandfather and Mr. Miller were arrested for "possessing intoxication liquor for the purpose of sale"

I can just imagine my ggrandfather John Galltana and Mr. Miller sitting in the front of the wagon with their "load" tucked under blankets in the back, while driving their horses down Weatherford Road in Fort Worth.

My cousin (once removed from my Hardee side) Mary Galttana told me that her husband, "Bill" Galttana (also my first cousin once removed from the Galttana side) had told her about when the police came to the house and searched for the still. Bill was about eight years old and was scared to death with all the commotion. He said the police found the still and took it apart and hauled it away.

When I was in Fort Worth I went to the courthouse and asked how to get information on this and the lady took my name and number and said she would call me, but never did. I need to follow up on this because I would love to find out what happened. Did he serve time?

I had been told by family that John Galttana liked to party. The family would take the wagon to town and then the kids would be tucked into bed under blankets in the back of the wagon and then John would go off to party. I do not know if his wife, Mary Jane went with him or stayed with the kids. Then the next day they would pick up their supplies from town and head back home.

Here is the article transcribed:
Fort Wort Star Telegram Dated Jan 22, 1922, page 5

Thirty Gallons of Liquor and Still Captured
Thirty gallons of corn whisky loaded on a wagon which S.E. Miller and J.C. Galttana admitted was enroute to Fort Worth, were it was to have been sold, were confiscated on the Fort Worth-Weatherford road Saturday afternoon by Constable A. B. Carter of Azle and Constable  J. C. Payne of Newark.
Charges of possessing intoxicating liquor for the purpose of sale were filed in the Justice Court against Galttana and Miller. In statements they made to Assistant District Attorney Will R. Parker they admitted that it was "two run" corn and that they had intended it for the Fort Worth market.
A fifty-gallon still was taken by the officers. It was in Parker County near the county line and is believed to have been used in making the thirty gallons of confiscated liquor. It was still warm indicating that the thirty gallons had just been made.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Sports Center Saturday - Lee Hefley Football Player

Lee Hefley
This is a photo of my grandfather Lee Hefley from 1935. He played football for Downs High School in Downs Kansas. He also played basketball and ran track. From looking at the background of this photo I would guess this photo was taken on the farm owned by his parents John and Grace Hefley.

Seems Lee started a life long love of sports as his son played football, basketball and ran track too.
Lee's son, ready for football

The love of sports has continued in my son too. He has played baseball, basketball, football, soccer and ran track. He currently plays his favorites sports of ice hockey and lacrosse.

Lee's grandson, ready for hockey.  Photo from 2003.           

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Getting Organized helped me find another generation back

My goal lately has been to get organized. I have tons of papers floating everywhere and digital files that need renamed and organized. I decided to use my bookmarks and make a Resource Toolbox as suggested by Thomas MacEntee from GeneaBloggers. If (when) my computer dies I will still have my favorite genealogy sites listed on my blog.

My bookmarks are not organized so I started there. I made folders for States, Surnames, and other titles. I then went through my bookmarks and put them in the right folders.

Then I created a page on my blog titled Research Toolbox. I then listed out the sites I like to access under headings. (Go ahead, you know you want to look at them.)

Focused? What's That?
Of course in the process of this I got distracted and started looking at  the site Genealogy Book Links. I had saved this long ago, but never really looked at it. It lists all the States that have digital books and I clicked on Kansas. At the bottom was a link for Wilson County Marriages, Kansas. I clicked on the link and searched for the name Parsons.

I knew my 2nd Great Grandmother Mary M. Scates had married William Parsons but I knew nothing else about him. They had five children between 1893 and 1898, but he did not show up on any census. 

I did find Mary listed in the 1900 census in Wilson Co., Kansas as a widow with her five children, but I wanted to find out more about William Parson.

Success with searching
Searching the book for Parsons came up with 8 hits. I was ecstatic to find William Parsons marriage record to Mary Scates. (I did the happy dance a little too loud as my husband walked into the room to see what was the matter.)

They married on 14 May 1891 in Benedict, Wilson Co., Kansas by H. White. In parenthesis there is more information added by the author. It states that his father was James Parsons and his mother was Mary J. Fincher and that William was born in Missouri. She also correctly states that Mary Scates father was Samuel Scates and her mother was Eliza Bearden and Mary was born in Tennessee.

Great Clues for me to work on
I then transcribe the information for William and Mary. I also transcribed all the other Parsons so if they end up related I will have the info, or if they are not related I can know who lived in town and who belongs to who. (Or is that whom belongs to whom?)

I also transcribed all the hits for Fincher and Scates. I spent most of the day searching and transcribing and entering info into my database. Lots to follow up on now.

I haven't finished my Research Toolbox yet but I did get another generation back and lots of good info. I know I have to organize, but the searching and finding is just the best part of genealogy.

Wouldn't you agree?

Here is my Parson Line:

1.) James Parsons m. Mary M. Fincher

2.) William Parsons b. abt 1859 in Missouri married Mary M. Scates b. Dec 1867 in Tennessee
m. 14 May 1891 in Benedict, Wilson Co., Kansas

A. Ruth Parsons b. Jan. 1893 Kansas
B. Cress Parsons b. 25 July 1894 Kansas m. Flossie F.
C. Ora Parsons b. 16 Dec. 1896 Kansas m. Adam Stegman  (My line)
D. Opal Parsons b. Oct. 1897 Kansas
E. Osie Parsons b. Dec. 1898 Kansas m. Marion Walker

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wedding Wednesday - Hefley and Stegman

Here is the wedding announcement of my grandparents, Lee Hefley and Irene Stegman

Marriage Announcement in The Downs Times September 5, 1940

Stegman - Hefley
Two of Downs' most popular young people, Miss Irene Thressa Stegman, eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Adam Stegman, and Lee Earl Hefley, youngest son of Mr. and Mrs. John Hefley, of rural Downs, were united in marriage on August 31 at the Saint Peter and Paul church in Cawker City, Father Wahlmeir using the single ring service at low mass, Saturday morning at 7:00 o'clock.
Miss Irene was lovely in a street length dress of sailor blue. She wore a matching picture hat with black accessories. She carried her rosary.
The groom wore a suit of dark green. They were accompanied by Mr. and Mrs. Loyd Ahrenes, young friends of the couple. Close relatives were also in attendance.
Irene and Lee are both Downs high school graduates. She, of the class of '36, and he, of the class of '35. She has been employed as clerk for the past three years. He has been employed by the Metz Packing Company for the past two years.
Immediately after the ceremony they started for a brief wedding trip, which took them to various points in Nebraska. They returned home Sunday evening. The happy couple have rented an apartment at the Hotel Lipton. They are receiving congratulations from a large circle of friends.

The funny story behind my grandfather wearing a dark green suit is that he was colorblind and the salesman told him it was black. My grandmother was not happy when she saw him in his green suit. But, when he explained what happened she calmed down.

They were happily married for 53 years.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Military Monday - Civil War Ancestor - Whitson Hefley

Whitson Hefley is my Union ancestor. He was born about 1830 in Montgomery County, North Carolina but moved to Montgomery County, Illinois sometime before 1837.

He married Elizabeth H. Eckler on August 3, 1849 and they had one child, Frances Luella Hefley born May 5, 1853. Elizabeth died September 20, 1854 and Whitson remarried Louisa Catherine Lipe on Christmas day December 25, 1856. They had one child William Arthur Hefley born February 18, 1858 in Hillsboro, Montgomery County, Illinois.

Whitson Hefley enrolled in the Civil War on August 15, 1862 in Irving, Montgomery Co., Illinois, by L. R. Slaughter for three years. He was mustered into service as a Sergeant on September 4, 1862 at Alton, Illinois in Company D, 126th Regiment of the Illinois Volunteers by Lt. Curtiss.

The126th Regiment was initially in charge of guarding Confederate prisoners being held in the State Penitentiary at Alton, but when the prisoner were moved on November 20 the Regiment moved down the Mississippi River by the steamer B. M. Runyan  to Columbus, Kentucky. From there they marched to LaGrange, Tennessee and had duty there till January, 1863. From there  4 Companies were on duty at Jackson, Tenn., and 6 Companies at Humboldt, Tenn., from January to March 25; then at Jackson till May 25, 1863.The companies then moved to Vicksburg, Miss., May 25-28, and fought in the Siege of Vicksburg May 28-July 4. They then moved to Helena, Ark., July 24. Expedition against Little Rock, Ark., August 1-September 10. Bayou Fourche and capture of Little Rock September 10.

Whitson was in the Civil War for 14 months. But, according to his discharge papers he was "unfit for duty sixty days" and "Has done no duty for four months." So it looks like he became sick around June of 1863. In June of 1863 according to records Whitson and his unit were at the Siege of Vicksburg  from May 28 to July 4, 1863.

According to the book: The Big Book of Civil War Sites, Morris Book Publishing, 2010, Ulsses S. Grant began his siege operation on May 25 and had all lines of supply, reinforcements and communications successfully cut from Vicksburg. Grant intended to blast his way through by using mines and tunnels and by late June he was ready. I wonder if Whitson helped dig the tunnels? Is that when his sickness started? Working in dark, damp conditions with other soldiers? On June 25, 1863 the powder was fired. The entire top of the hill was blown off and a crater 50 feet wide and 12 feet deep was created. The Confederates had already moved back and immediately started shooting. Hand to hand combat followed but the "Illinois infantrymen attempted to stay in the crater, throwing up a hasty wall in front of them and forming in a double line of battle to keep up a continuous volley fire of their own." If Whitson was still well he would have participated in this fight. On July 4, 1863 the Confederates surrendered Vicksburg.

I do not know when Whitson was sent to Jefferson Hospital in St. Louis Missouri. On July 24 his unit went to Helena, Arkansas which is also on the Missouri River, so he may still have been with them there. Most likely he did not participate in the Expedition against Little Rock, Arkansas. He probably continued sailing up the Mississippi to Jefferson General Hospital in St. Louis. But, this is a guess on my part.

Whitson's Certificate of Disability for Discharge states that he was "born in Montgomery County, North Carolina, is 33 years of age, five feet ten inches high, Light complexion, Blue eyes, Light hair, and by occupation when enlisted a Blacksmith. During the last two months said soldier has been unfit for duty sixty days."    "...and find him incapable of performing the duties of a soldier because of Chronic Diarrhea and great emancipation, -Has done no duty for four months. Is not a fit Subject for Invalid Corps."
U.S. General Hospital Jeff Barracks Mo. Oct 15, 1863
Discharged this 16th day of October 1863 at St. Louis Mo.

It then shows that he would go to Irving, Montgomery Co., Illinois.

I had never heard of "Invalid Corps" before so I looked it up here. It says in April of 1863 the U.S. War Department created a Invalid Corps of men who were or had been in the Army. These were men who had been disabled in some way, by either by weapons, disease or accident. They would serve in a non-combat capacity, such as a cook or in a hospital. Whitson was so bad he could not even do this.

I also looked up chronic diarrhea in the Civil War and I learned that bowel disorders killed more men on both sides of the war than battle. It is sad that they had no idea what caused it or how to treat it.

Whitson was at the U.S. General Hospital Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis Missouri while he was ill. When I looked this up I learned that this was the largest Federal hospital in the country with over 3,000 beds. It was strategically located near a major city on a vital river and railroad transportation system. I could not find any information about the conditions of this hospital, but if it was like other hospitals during the war, the surgeons and nurses did what they could for the soldiers with limited supplies and education.

In his pension papers are an affidavit from his family physician William P. Marshall of Hillsboro, Illinois. He stated on the day Whitson came home from the army on October 18, 1863 he was "suffering from a very severe and unusually protracted attack of chronic diarrhea a disease which said Hefley must have contracted in the Army as he had there but-just returned home and the chronic character of the disease indicated that it was of long standing." He stated that Hefley died early the next day "on or about the 19th day of October 1863 at 4 OClock A.M."

He left a widow and two children ages 10 and 5.

One year later Whitsons brother Levi Liberty Hefley(I love his name) was drafted into Company H, 8th Infantry Regiment Illinois on 27 Oct 1864. Levi was 27 years old. He served one year and was mustered out on October 26, 1865. He was married at this time and I'm sure this was hard on the family, especially knowing that Whitson, his brother had died in the Civil War.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Thriller Thursday - Christ Stegman

I have to say I was very surprised when I found the following article on my Great Great Grandfather Christ Stegman. I know that Christ Stegman left Pfeifer, Russia in 1875 and settled in Pfeifer, Kansas. He married Apollonia Basgall in 1881 and they had 10 children.

This was printed in the newspaper, Kansas Semi-Weekly Capital, on October 26, 1900 in Kansas.

Stegman Winds Himself Up. The case of a man who does everything himself.

The case against Christ Stegman, convicted in Ellis County of forging a bond has been appealed to the Supreme court. Stegman brought suit against a man, but failed to prove the charges and had to pay the costs, which amounted to $66. He gave bond for the sum with him as the principal and the name George Konrad attached as security. Konrad declaired he had never signed the bond and pronounced it a forgery. Stegman was convicted of forgery in the third degree and sentenced to three years and six months in the penitentiary. He then appealed the case.

I wonder if this is one of the reasons my Great Grandfather, Adam Stegman was said to have nothing to do with his father?
I would love to learn more about this case. I was unable to find any other articles about this.
Did he spend time in jail? What was the suit for that he brought against a man? Why did he forge a document? Did the Kansas Supreme court take the case and what happened?

I'm not quite sure how to find these answers. Should I contact the Ellis Co. Courthouse and ask if they have the records? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Also, since I am asking for help, I found this article using GenealogyBank and saved it. I cannot figure out how to make it a JPG so I can upload it to my blog. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Sarah Killins Flanagan

Photo taken by my husband's cousin Bruce.
This is my husband's Great-Grandmother, Sarah Catherine Killins who married James M. Flanagan in 1865.

Sarah was born in Canboro Twp., Ontario, Canada in 1837. She died in 1892 in Pennsylvania and is buried in a remote cemetery.

She is buried with her father and step-mother, John Street Killins Sr. and Catherine Stringer Killins.
Photo taken by my Husband's cousin, Bruce.

Her husband is buried in a Catholic cemetery with the name spelled Flanegan.

Oral history says since he married a Protestant he was buried in the outer part of the Church grounds.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Shopping Saturday - The Telesca Bowling Alley

My husband's grandfather, John Telesca along with his two older brothers Joseph and Connie Telesca, owned and operated a bowling alley at 535 East Drinker Street, Dunmore, Pennsylvania.

It was called “The Telesca Bowling Alleys.”  The bowling alley had four lanes, a card room, billiard tables, upstairs apartments, two stores in the front, and possibly a dance section.  A son of Joseph Telesca worked there as a child. I spoke with him over the phone and he told me about the bowling alleys and his memories there. He set pens, took reservations for billiards and was sent home around 6 p.m.  Brunetta (Joseph’s wife) ran the shoe store up front and Donato would help her look after it, but he was not allowed to ring up any purchases. Jack (he called John Telesca by his nickname) and his wife Elsie lived in the apartment closest to the street so when a customer wanted to buy something Donato would run outside and holler for Aunt Elsie to come down to ring up the customer. 

The 1927 Scranton City Directory lists John and Connie (Camnio) Telesca living at 535 Drinker Street.
1927 Scranton City Directory, Pennsylvania

We visited Dunmore in 2000 and visited the building on 535 Drinker Street. It was a plumbing store. We went into the store to look around. We told the owners that my husband's family had owned the building and it had been a bowling alley. I showed them the 1927 Scranton Directory and they were surprised, they knew nothing of the history of the building. The front of the building where the store(s) were, was their showroom and was crammed with plumbing supplies. They let us go upstairs where the apartments had been and look around. It was now one unfinished room where they stored extra supplies.
535 Drinker Street, Dunmore, Pennsylvania

The “Telesca Brothers” contracting business was also run out of the same building. According to Joseph's son their motto was: “from foundations to decorations.” 

It was exciting to see and be in the building of my husband's ancestors. To know that they lived and worked there helped us feel connected to them.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Amanuensis Monday - Donato Telesca - Atto di Nascita

Amanuensis Monday is a daily blogging theme which encourages the family historian to transcribe family letters, journals, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts.

Tracing my husbands line of Telesca's required me to spend many hours at the FHC looking over Atto di Nascita (Birth Records), Atti di Matrimonio (Marriage Records), and Atto di Morte (Death Records).

The fact that I do not speak or read any foreign language was quite a handicap. I purchased the book, "A Genealogist's Guide to Discovering Your Italian Ancestors" by Lynn Nelson. I would not have been able to do any of the Telesca research without this book.

This is a copy of my husband's Great Grandfather, Donato Telesca's Atto di Nascita or Birth record from Avigliano, Italy.
1868 Birth Record for Donato Telesca
Here is my transcription to the best of my ability. Blank lines are what I could not decipher.

In the year one thousand eight hundred sixty-eight of the 23rd of the month of September at the hour of thirteen in the room ___________    ________  Angelo Telesca, Mayor and officer of the vital records of the town of Avigliano Region of Basilicata appeared Giuseppe Telesca son of the late Donato age twenty six bricklayer (mason) citizen residing in Avigliano the same has presented us a male ____  ____ ____ in the masculine, declared of _____ born _____ twenty-three of current month of September at the hour of ten _____ wife Angela Maria Loruso ____living in his house ________________________________ ________________________________________ name of Donato
These declarations ___________________________ of Domenica[a] age twenty-four, and of Leonardo Santafioro son of the late Domenico age fourty six, farmer, resident living in Avigliano ____________
A Telesca

From this record I learned that Donato Telesca was born on 23 September 1868 in Avigliano, Italy. His parents were Giuseppe Telesca and Angela Maria Laruso Telesca. Donato's grandfather was Donato Telesca and he had passed away.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

How did I miss that?

Last night I was organizing my digital records (a slow process - but I'm trying) and I got distracted (like I usually do) and started looking at my husband's Great-Great Grandfather's 1910 census record.

1910 US Census, Barr Township, Cambria Co., Pennsylvania
What I realized after looking at this, was that this was showing his second marriage. I did not realized he had been married twice. I wanted to bang my head against a wall because this is a classic example of me not analyzing information that I have. At some point and time I saved this but did not really look at it. Which really does me no good. I love finding new information, but I know I have documents that still need analyzing and I'm sure I have new information sitting in my files just waiting for me to look at them again. Oh, if I could only get organized!

So after realizing James Mikel Flanigan was married twice I headed over to USGenWeb and went to Cambria County, Pennsylvania. Lynne Canterbury and Diann Olsen have done a great job of keeping the site updated with valuable information. I was able to find a marriage record for James M. Flanegan and Catharine Hefele. They were married in 1895. His first wife Sarah Catherine Killins Flanigan died in 1892. James Flanegan is buried at St. Nickolas Cemetery in Barr Township, Cambria County, Pennsylvania. Neither of his wives are buried with him. His first wife is buried in a remote cemetery and I do not know where his second wife is buried.

I contacted my husband's cousin and he had not realized either that James had been married twice and he too had seen the 1910 census. (Okay, that made me feel better.) He said he will get the marriage record next time he goes into town.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The day I almost got locked in jail.

Back in early 2000 our family took a vacation to a small town in Cambria County, Pennsylvania. We stayed in a small family cabin, and when I say cabin I'm not talking about a modern cabin, I'm talking about an all wood cabin with an outhouse. But, it is a beloved cabin situated on acres of wooded land and a stream that flows through it. It has been passed down through the generations and many happy memories for generations have been made at the cabin.
The Cabin in Pennsylvania

During this vacation, I of course drove to the cemeteries, churches, and courthouses to do research on my husbands side of the family. The family went with me to the cemeteries and churches but stayed at the cabin when I went to the courthouse.

So one morning I drove the 30 miles into town to do research at the courthouse. It was a very productive day and I found many land, marriage, and court records. Later in the day I asked about tax records and was told those records were stored in the old jail house. It was late in the day and so I quickly drove to the jailhouse to get some research done before they closed.

The old jail house is in the middle of town. It has been called a "Welsh Castle." It is a large stone building built in 1872. Inside the stone building is a three story "bird cage", the black metal cage that housed the inmates. It has now been turned into a museum. I was in awe of the building; for a jail it was beautiful.

I only had about 45 minutes till closing time so I had to hurry. (I came back another day with the family and we got a tour of the "dungeon" that was below the prison.) The lady in charged showed me some records in file cabinets but I did not find any thing of interest. She then showed me where the tax records I wanted were located. They were stored inside the birdcage. The records I wanted were on the third level of the birdcage towards the back of the jail. It was really neat to walk up the birdcage stairs and think about all the people who had walked there before me and how many hands must have touched all these bars. Each cell  had shelves with large books on them. She took me to my cell and I pulled down the large books I needed and started transcribing them. I found a lot of tax records for my husband's family so I was quite busy for a while. I lost track of time and when I looked at my watch I noticed it was five past closing time. I put the book back and gathered up my stuff and started walking down the catwalk to the stairs.

As I rounded the corner everything went black. Completely black, I could not see a thing. I was too surprised to do anything so I just stood there in the dark. Then I see a light, it's the door opening and the light was coming from outside and the lady who worked there was leaving! I yelled "Wait!" and startled her. She looked up in surprise and said, "OH, I had forgotten you were here. I almost locked you in." I said, "Oh please don't do that." I quickly but carefully walked down the dark stairs and she let me out the door.

The cabin does not have a phone and we did not have a cell phone then. Had I been locked in I would have had to use the phone on the desk to call 911, and how do you tell a 911 operator that you are locked in the jail and need to be let out?

I had wanted to post a photo of the jail but apparently I did not take any while I was there. To see old photos of the jail click on Cambria Co., Pennsylvania.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Civil War Ancestor - Galttana

I have already posted on Curtis Alexander Galttana and his Civil War Record.

See this post to read about him. Curtis Alexander Galttana in the Civil War

Friday, April 15, 2011

Civil War Ancestor - Hardee

Another Civil War Ancestor of mine is William Thomas Hardee. He was born in 1836 in Coosa County Alabama. Two of his brothers Samuel and Thomas Hardee may have died during the Civil War. I need to do more research on them as well as two of his other brothers who would have been the right age to fight, James Edward and Bryant Stidwell Hardee.

This is the only photo I have of William T. Hardee.
In 1860 William was living in Coosa County Alabama with his wife, Frances and four children. Frances' sister Jane Lee was also living with them.

William T. Hardee Enlists
William T. Hardee (sometimes indexed as Hardel) enlisted on April 1, 1862 at Coosa Alabama., by Capt. Walden for 3 years. He served with Company B 2nd Battalion Hilliard's Legion, Alabama Volunteers, (Confederate). That company  later consolidated to Company K, 59th Alabama Infantry.

Sites about the battles
Look at these sites to read more about Hilliard's Alabama Legion and Hilliard's Legion and the battles that were fought.

Served in Hospital

William served for 24 days as a nurse in a Hospital at Catoosa Springs, Georgia by order of Surgeon R. C. Foster. He served from March 1 to March 24, 1863.

See information on Catoosa Springs Hospitals at The Historical Marker Database.
To read more about male nurses during the Civil War read Hospitals, Surgeons, and Nurses.

William is Captured
He was captured near Petersburg on March 25, 1865 and became a prisoner of war on March 27, 1865 and sent to Point Lookout, Maryland. I had never heard of this prison so after researching it I found out that it is on  the southern tip of Maryland in St. Mary's County on the coast surrounded on three sides by water. It was the largest Union prison camp for Confederates. Like most POW camps it had deplorable conditions.

For a History of Point Lookout Prison read Descendants of Point Lookout POW Organization.

The Oath of Allegiance to the United States
He took the Oath of Allegiance to the United States and was released June 13, 1865.

According to Wikipedia: "During the American Civil War, political prisoners and prisoners of war were often released upon taking an "oath of allegiance". Lincoln's Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction featured an oath to "faithfully support, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, and the union of the States thereunder" as a condition for a Presidential pardon."

William's Release Record
Williams record on his release states:
"Place of Residence: Coosa Co., Alabama,
Complexion: Light,
Hair: Black
Eyes: Hazed
Height: 5 ft., 8 1/2 inches
Note: Released at Point Lookout, June 13, 1865, by G. O. No. 109 A.G.O.
Number of roll, 23, sheet 6"

The Trip Back Home
I checked the map and it is over 800 miles to Coosa County, Alabama. I wonder if they were helped back or if each person was left to his own to return home. I would assume William was not in good condition after almost three months in prison. An 800 mile trip would have been hard for anyone but especially hard for a person in bad condition.

Served Three Years
He served his full three years in the civil war. The longest of all my Civil War Ancestors so far. Which proves to me that the Hardee's really do come from a Hardy Stock!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Civil War Ancestors - Alverson

In recognition of April 12, 2011 which marks the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War at Fort Sumter in South Carolina I will be posting about my Civil War Ancestors.

Henderson B. Alverson
My first ancestor to join was Henderson B. Alverson also know as H. B. Alverson.

In 1861 at the age of 44, H. B.Alverson decided to join the civil war. I don’t know why he decided to travel from Texas to Mississippi to join, but he enlisted in Corinth, Mississippi on May 28, 1861. He joined Capt. O. R. Singleton's Company, Company C, 18th Regiment Mississippi Volunteers as a private for a period of 12 months. The unit was ordered to Virginia, and fought at First Manassas under D.R. Jones, then was engaged at Leesburg. On September  21, 1861 H.B. was discharged.

His Certificate of  Disability for Discharge states:

“…H. B. Alverson, Private of Captain O. R .Singleton’s Company (C) of the 18th Regiment of
Confederate States Misp Vols, was enlisted by Capt. Walker at Corinth, Misp on the 28th day of
May, 1861, so serve one year; he was born in Surry Co., in the State of N. Carolina, is forty-five
years of age, 5 feet, 7-1/2 inches high, ruddy complexion, blue eyes, sandy hair, and by
occupation when enlisted a farmer. During the last two months said soldier has been unfit for
duty 10 or 12 days. He ought to be discharged on account of his family. He has a wife and eleven
children (nearly all small) upon the frontiers of Texas, poor, sick, and defenseless since the war
broke out in the west. Common humanity requires his presence at home.”

This document was signed near Leesburg, Virginia on September 21, 1861. He was allowed travel expenses for 1000 miles from Manassas, Virginia to Corinth, Mississippi. He was paid $29.70 for two months and 21 days service and 50 rations at .22 ½ for $11.25 for a total of $40.95. It would be interesting to learn H.B.’s method of transportation back to Corinth, Virginia. Did he travel the 1000 miles on foot, by horse or by railroad? We may never know, but whatever the method I'm sure it was a long and arduous trip. When he did finally make it back to Corinth, he still needed to travel 700 miles back to Texas. During this time there were no railroads to Texas so he would have to travel by foot or by horse or wagon. Let’s hope he had a horse.

Interesting to note he served four month before being discharged. I would love to see his pension record but don't have $75 to order it. So if anyone has H. B. Alverson's pension record I would love to see it.
He Served Three Times
This was H. B. Alverson's third time as a soldier. He served in the 1836 Creek War for about three months and he served almost five months as a Texas Ranger in 1860.

Monday, April 11, 2011

My Good Deed for the Day

I went to an estate sale this weekend and while looking through old books found an old paper folder. When I opened it, it had about 50 original documents in it from the 1960's. Typed letters, original photos and a fold out paper with about 50 original signatures on it.

It was about a post office opening and dedication dated 1960 in a town  named Williston, Florida. I asked what would happen to the folder and they said they would throw it away at the end of the day.

I asked if I could have it and get it to a historical society and they said yes. They told me they throw tons of stuff like that away and old photos too. Makes me so sad.

So I looked up the town and there is no historical society so I called their city hall and told them what I have. They were very excited and said they would love to have it.

So I am going to mail it to them. So happy to get it back to where it should be and not in a trash pile.

What about other stuff getting thrown away?

My husband and I were talking about how sad it is that so much historical stuff could be thrown away at estate sales. We wished we had talked to the person about going through any items after the sale to see if we could get it to the right place where it would be appreciated.

So next week my husband is going to go to some estate sales listed for next week and talk to them and I will be calling a friend who use to do estate sales to see if she can help us.

Would love to hear if this has happened to anyone else and what they did.

Friday, April 8, 2011

A Texas Ranger in the Family?

According to Henderson B. Alverson's Obituary it stated: "Mr. Alverson saw service as a Texas Ranger in the frontier days, and also served in the Confederate army from the beginning to the close of hostilities between the states."

I had found his record for the civil war and knew he only served from May 1861 to September 1861. Only a few months, not quite till "the close of hostilities between the states."

So I wondered if the Texas Ranger story was true. I searched online but found no information. I then wrote to the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame Research Center in Waco, Texas. I paid my fee and waited. I few weeks later I got my proof.

Information printed in a book called: Texas Ranger Service Records 1847 - 1900, "A" "B" "C", Volume I
By Frances T. Ingmire showed that:
H. B. Alverson joined as a private on May 15, 1860 in Belknap (Texas) under Captain T.J. Johnson as a Mounted Ranger. He was discharged October 10, 1860 after serving 4 months, 26 days at $25 for a total of $121.66. He owed $30 for a pistol and was paid $91.66 for his service.

 So I now have the honor of saying that I had a Texas Ranger in my family, even if only for a few months.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

New Records for Curtis Alexander Galttana Part 3

Read Part 1 of Curtis Alexander Galttana
Read Part 2 of Curtis Alexander Galttana

My next great discovery
I had visited the Fort Worth Archives and a lady there pulled up my ggg grandfather's H.B. Alverson's civil war record from When I got home I decided to subscribe to Footnote and started searching. Bingo, I found civil war records for Curtis A. Golttana. I was on a roll now and felt pretty confident that this was my Curtis Galttana.

Curtis A. Galttana Enlists in the Civil War
He enlisted April 13, 1862 at Granada, Mississippi. He served as a private in Company I, 30 Mississipi Volunteer Regiment.  If this is the same man as Alexander Goltana in the 1850 census then I wonder what brought him to Mississippi? Did he float down the Ohio River to the Mississippi River to get to Mississippi?

As the above record shows he was "Detailed as Teamster Jany 12, 1863 By order Col. G. F. Neill."

What is a Teamster and a Drayman
A Teamster in the Civil War was someone who drove a wagon with a team of horses, oxen or mules. This is interesting because the Alexander in the 1850 census was a Drayman. A Drayman is someone who drives a dray, which is a low, flat bead wagon with no sides usually pulled by horses or mules. Interesting.

Curtis A. Galttana Goes Missing
But, then on the night of August 22, 1863 Curtis Deserted. He "Left his command ... at Chattahorsckee Bridge, Ga."  He then "Joined from desertion December 29, 1863." Where did he go for four months? I know many men would desert for a few months to check on family and get their farm/house in order. This was common. Did Curtis have family in the area? What was he doing?

Also interesting to note, is if Curtis Alexander was born in Ohio or Indiana then why would he fight on the Confederate side and not the Union side?

I wish I knew the answer to this.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Who was Curtis Alexander Galttana? Part 2

Part 1 of Curtis Alexander Galttana

I have two birth states for Curtis Alexander Galttana that I wanted to follow. Ohio and Indiana. I started with the Galttana Family Bible lead and searched the 1850 census of the state of Indiana. I did not find any Galttana but found many families with the variations of the name Gwaltney. But, none of them had the first name of Curtis or Alexander.

I did find that some of the Gwaltney's in Indiana had been born in Ohio. This was an interest because in 1870 Curtis Alexander stated in the census that he was born in Ohio. So it could be a possibility that he was born in Ohio but grew up in Indiana as Indiana is shown on the Galttana Family Bible. Just a guess so far.

At this point I can not search the 1840 census because only the head of households are listed. Curtis Alexander would have been around 14 so without his father's name it does me no good.

When I did a search on Ancestry I found an Alexander Goltana living in Louisville, Kentucky. When I looked at the record it showed he was 24 (1826, the right age) and born in Ohio. I was getting excited at this point. Had I found him? I still wasn't sure. Looking at a map I remembered Kentucky was south of Indiana with the Ohio River in-between. The Ohio River being a major transportation route.

He was married to Clematine Goltana age 33. Three children were listed, Theresa A. age 12, Thomas age 8 and Harriet age 3, all with the last name Goltana. However, I felt Alexander at age 24 was too young to have the first two children and guessed they were from another marriage. The last child Harriet may or may not have been his, depending when they married. I wrote for the marriage record and hoped I could find some new information. When I received it, it showed they married on February 23, 1850. So none of the children were his. Clematine was widowed from Jewel Allen.

I searched the 1860 census but found no Alexander Galttana. But, I did find Harriet Galtana age 12 living with Jonas and Clematine Trobaugh in Harrison Co.  Indiana. (Directly across the Ohio River from Louisville, Kentucky.) Clematine had remarried, but where was Curtis Alexander Galttana? Wrote for her marriage record and found they married on August 21, 1856. No other information was given. I tried to follow them but they too disappeared from the further census.

So I wondered if this was a different Alexander Galttana from mine and maybe he had died. If he didn't die, why did they divorce? She was about 9 years older than him. Did that make a difference? Hmmm. This made me realize I need to look for a divorce record for Alexander and Clematine. I'll have to order that.

But I soon made a new discovery. Stay tuned!

Curtis Alexander Galttana Part 3

Friday, March 11, 2011

Just who was Curtis Alexander Galttana?

Curtis Alexander Galttana seemed to appear from nowhere and then disappear eight years later. The name is so unique. Pretty much anyone with this name today is related to me.

The name is pronounced Galt-ney so I have often wondered if he is related to the Gwaltney/Gaultney families. But, unfortunally there are no all male Galttana's to test for DNA. The Galttana name continued through an unmarried Galttana daughter.

I first learned of him when I found him in the 1870 Shackelford County, Texas census with his wife Cynthia. As always the name is spelled incorrectly. I viewed it as Goltatine, others have it listed as Goltahne.

He is listed as Curtis Goltatine, age 42 (1828). He was a saltmaker born in Ohio. His wife Cynthia Goltatine (Alverson) was 23 and born in Mississippi. They lived next to Cynthia's sister and brother-in-law William and Margaret Ledbetter who owned and ran the salt mine.

Over the next eight years they had seven children with one set of twins. Then they are both gone. Only four of their children lived to adulthood. In the 1880 census two kids, John and Louisa (Lou) Gattwney are living with their grandfather Henderson B. Alverson. Margaret and Louis are listed as adopted children of Harvey and Margaret Ledbetter. Harvey is their first cousin.

No gravesites have been found for Curtis and Cynthia Galttana.

My next clue for what happened to them came from Henderson B. Alverson's Estate papers filed in 1910. Pg. 4 states:

"Cyntha Ann Galttana, who intermarried with one Alaxander Galttanta, and that said Cyntha die May 15th, A.D. 1878; both having died previous to the death of the said  H.B. Alverson; and that the said Cyntha Ann Galttana and Alexander Galttana left surviving them as their heirs and only heirs at law, the following named persons, to-wit:
(a) John Galttana, who now lives near Newark, Texas
(b) Louis Galttana, who now resides in Carter County, Okla.
(c) Lou Galttana Duke, who has since intermarried with George Duke and lives near Newark, in Tarrant County, Texas
(d) Maggie Galttana Campbell, who intermarried with one_____Campbell, and who now lives at Erick, Okla."

According to this, Cynthia died in 1878 (her last child was born Feb. 1878). Did she die in childbirth? Did Alexander die also or did he leave the children with family after Cynthia died and leave, which was common then? Alverson's estate paper's state that both died previous to H.B. death in 1910 so Alexander could have been alive until that time. However, I did not find him in any census searches. I tend to believe he died. Just wish I could find a record for him.

But the question is: Where was Curtis Alexander Galttana before 1870?
He was 42 in 1870 so where was he before that?

There is a lot of conflicting information on Curtis Alexander Galttana. In the 1870 census he states he was born in Ohio. In the next five census his children list him as born in five different states. Since the children did not grow up with their father they probably did not know much about him. 

Galttana Family Bible Page
A page that is said to be from the Galttana Family Bible shows the Galttana family and all seven children. It is very light and hard to read and some of the information is torn off. I have no way of knowing who or when the information was written. It shows C.A. Galttana as born in Indiana. His birth is in May but the year is unreadable to me.

For a very long time this was all I had on him. Until recently, when I found new information that may or may not be him. I will post that information next time. Stay tuned!

Curtis Alexander Galttana part 2 

Friday, March 4, 2011

August Ahlendorf Part II

Part 1 of August Ahlendorf

Did August Ahlendorf Die?
Because August Ahlendorf did not show up in the 1910 census with his family and later census' showed his wife as widowed and using her maiden name, I figured August had died.

But then I found an August Ahlendorf in the 1910 Luzern Co., Pa. census listed as August Allendorf age 45 born in Germany and a stonemason. The married column is marked with both a M for married and a bold S for single. He is listed as a boarder with Agusta Miller/Millir as the owner aged 61.

Then I found an Aug Ahlendorf age 68 in the 1920 Luzerne Co., Pa. census married to Agusta Ahlendorf age 71. I have no way of knowing if this is my August Ahlendorf from either census yet. I will be ordering divorce records (If he did divorce Martha), marriage records, and death records. But, if it is then it seems he was living in a different county trying to find work as a stonemason. He then married his landlady and added years to his age again.

Newspaper Articles
What's interesting about this August Ahlendorf in Luzern County is the newspaper articles I have found about him.
In 1916 in the Wilkes-Barre Times there is an article titled, "What's Good Enough For Her Is Good Enough For Me" August Ahlendorf, tells story of his conversion-now follow's wife's example.
The article is a testimony from August about him getting a bottle of Tanlac for his sick wife and it helped he so much that he now takes it for himself even though he is not ill. It then tells where to buy Tanlac. I would guess this was a paid testimonial. The ad ran again a week later in 1917.

In 1918 he was indited for Aggravated Assault and Battery against George W. Freeman. Then in 1919 he was tried for Aggravated Assault and Battery and Shooting, against Otto Haus. He did not deny the shooting but said he did it in self defense. I do not know the outcome of these trials. I need to find out how to get court records from Luzern County.

August Ahlendorf's Obituary
The most interesting article comes from a newspaper in Luzern Co., Pa.
Sunday-Independent, Wilkes-Barre, Pa. Sunday, March 11, 1923

Taken from Jail Dies in Hospital within Six Hours
West Side Man Twice Held For Mistreating Wife Is the Victim

Stricken while a prisoner in the Luzerne Co. jail, August Ahlendorf, 62 years old, of Slocum Street, Swoyerville, died last night in City Hospital. He had been removed to the hospital six hours prior to his death. Heart trouble was given as the cause by physicians.
Ahlendorf was commited to jail on March 3 because of domestic troubles. He had previously appeared in court but when told to properly treat his aged wife, it is said he added further abuse upon his return home. His advanced age had induced the court to be lenient but the repeated offense led to a capias being issued for his arrest the next day.
Since being in jail, Ahlendorf complained of being ill. He was visited on Friday by Rev. Edward Schwenk. Heart trouble developed yesterday morning and at noon he was take to the hospital. His death occurred at 6 o'clock.
He is survived by his wife, 73 years of age. The couple had been married since 1910.

By this I know he married his landlady in 1910 and need to write for a marriage record.

It seems August had a few run-ins with the law and was not always a nice person. I wonder what kind of person he was towards his first wife Martha? If he was not, then was she happy that he left? Did they ever get divorced? Questions I will never know the answers to.

According to a descendant of August's he was told by his mother: "August was tall, blond, and heavyset. He was a stonemason and helped build the Hotel Casey in Scranton, Pa. He worked for a man named H.P. Spoul, and Spoul could only remember one time when August ever became angry."

I wonder if this is true?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

August Ahlendorf

August Ahlendorf has been my brick wall for many years. But, I recently found him and his family in New York.
I found August and Martha Ahlendorf in the 1900 census under the name of Ellendorf. They lived at 60 Lake Avenue in Middletown, Orange Co., New York. August was born in November 1857 in Germany and both his parents were born in Germany. He immigrated in 1894 and had been living in the U.S. for six years. He was a naturalized citizen. He was a mason but had been out of work for four months. He could speak English and read and write. He had been married for 6 years and was 13 years older than his wife Martha. They had two children, Charles, age 3 and Martha, age 1, both born in New York. So they could have married overseas or in New York, I have not found a marriage record yet.

In the 1905 New York State Census I find an August Allendorf in Manhattan, New York County, New York. He is listed as a lodger in a hotel and works as a bricklayer. However, he lists his age as 38 and in the U.S. for 15 years. 
Could this be the same August Ahlendorf? Maybe. He was listed as out of work in the 1900 census and may have left the family to find work. But, if this is the same August he shaved off some years of his age and added years to the length he had been in the U.S., which is not unusual.

I then find him in the 1906 and 1907 Pennsylvania, Lackawanna Co., Scranton Directory listed with his son Charles living at 815 Cherry Street. (Only males were listed in the directory.)

After that he seemed to disappear. 

I found his wife and family in the 1910  census, Lackawanna Co., Scranton, Pennsylvania, Living at 613 Locust St. Scranton, Pennsylvania.

1.) Martha H. Ahlendorf, age 36, married 14 years, 5 children, 4 living, can read & write, washer women at home, Immigrated in 1895, born in Germany, both parents born in Germany
2.) Martha Ahlendorf,  age 11    born in New York (born 1898)
3.) Emma Ahlendorf,   age 8     born in Pennsylvania (born 1901)
4.) Elsie Ahlendorf,     age 5     born in Pennsylvania (born 1904)
5.) Allelheit Ahlendorf,  age 3     born in Pennsylvania (born 1906)

Charles had died in 1907. Charles death certificate shows his father's name as Albert Ahlendorf from Germany.  Records at Forest Hill Cemetery show the gravesite was purchased by August Ahlendorf.
Martha is still listed as married in the 1910 census, but in the 1920 and 1930 census she is listed as a widow.
His daughter Martha Fisk stated in her Application for Marriage License on 26 Dec 1917 that her father resided in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. and his occupation was a mason. In 1925 Elsie's marriage certificate shows her father as Dead. 

From talking to descendants about 11 years ago, I found that the oral history states August worked and died in Wilkes-Barre. 

I had no idea what happened to August Ahlendorf...until recently. I have now made some interesting discoveries that I will share with you next post. 

Part 2 August Ahlendorf

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Beginning my Journey

I will be posting information on both mine and my husband's side of the family. Some of the major surnames I am researching are TELESCA, HEFLEY, HARDEE, GALTTANA, STEGMAN, AHLENDORF, WILLIAMS, and STUBY. Please email me at if you are researching any of the above names.

Summary of surnames:
The TELESCA family came from Avigliano, Italy in 1905. They settled in Dunmore, Pennsylvania.
The HEFLEY line goes back to Adam Hefley born in 1774. They migrated through North Carolina, Montgomery Co., Illinois and Kansas.
The HARDEE family is traced back to John Ziba Hardee of North Carolina. My line migrated through many states and ended up in Texas.
The GALTTANA line has been my brick wall. I have back to Curtis Alexander Galttana born 1827.
My STEGMAN line is my Volga-German line. From Germany to Russia to America. A fun line to follow.
AHLENDORF line is another brick wall, but I have recently found new information and will be posting about it soon.
Because WILLIAMS is such a common name I only have back to Pennsylvania.
The STUBY line starts in Germany and they settled in Pennsylvania.

I will be posting more information on each of these lines and other related families. Stay Tuned!