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Sunday, November 7, 2010

My Shelby County Families

Are We Researching the Same Lines? 

My Shelby County ancestors came from many areas before settling in the Shelby County area. Most of them were from Virginia, North Carolina, and New England. They were all moving to Indiana for more land and more opportunities for a better life. Indiana was the ideal spot for both.

The families I’m connected to in Shelby County are numerous. Since they were nearly all very early settlers, they married within their communities -- generally neighbors and church friends. In those early days (1820s and 1830s) there weren’t too many of the opposite sex to pick from who lived in the “neighborhood". Amazingly, those marriages were strong and lasted a life time. Divorce was very rare. Usually, when someone remarried, it was due to the death of a spouse.

So, here are my Shelby families -- somehow a list seems so impersonal. But to add all of the interesting facts and stories would fill a book! So, a list will have to do for now. I hope that this list will inspire you to contact me if you are also researching any of these Shelby County families. I am eager to hear from you -- we might be cousins!

Alphabetically, here are my direct Shelby County family lines -- I am also including wives’ maiden names as I feel they are also direct lines. (I know many researchers who do not research the female lines which is excluding half your family.)

Henricks / Hendricks -- David - b. 5 Sep 1788 KY d. 16 Mar 1859 Shelby Co.
Wife: Elizabeth McCormick - b. 12 May 1808 KY d. 13 Oct 1858 Shelby Co. IN

Imel -- Peter - b. 30 Mar. 1764 (sd. to be Germany, no proof yet) d. 3 Jan 1849
Shelby Co. IN.
Wife: Susannah Kirkwood - b. 1766 VA d. bet. 1820-1830 Wayne Co. IN

James -- Nicholas - b. abt 1785 VA - d. 1839 Shelby Co. IN
Wife: Martha (possibly Phillips) - b. abt 1790 VA - d. aft. 1860 in Saunders Co. NE

Lisher -- Lewis - b. 25 Sep 1805 NY or OH - d. 9 Aug 1871 Shelby Co. IN
Wife: Martha Jane Baker - b. 22 Oct. 1814 OH - d. 5 Jan 1855 Shelby Co. IN (After Martha died, Lewis married Cynthia Arnold Plummer) (The name "Lisher" was originially spelled "Larcher" in New England. When the family moved to Ohio, it became Lisher.)

Padrick -- Daniel - b. 1798 Currituck Co. NC - d. 27 May 1887 Shelby Co. IN
Wife: Margaret Casey - b. 5 Dec. 1898 Currituck Co. NC - d. 30 Sep 1843 Shelby Co. IN.
(Daniel married three more times, divorcing twice. His last wife was Rachel Henricks from Rush Co. Between his first wife, Margaret and 4th wife Rachel, Daniel had 20 children!)

Rush -- James - b. abt. 1781 Madison Co. VA - d. 4 Jul 1877 Shelby Co. IN (I believe the death date on James’ stone to be an error. Comparing his ages listed in the census, it seems likely he was born about 1781)
Wife: Barbara Barngrover - b. abt 1785 VA - d. bef. 1837 Shelby Co. IN (After Barbara died, James married 2) Hannah Lloyd in 1837; 3) Mary Drogan In 1851; and 4) Nancy Pollard in 1859

Steward / Stewart -- John - b. abt 1794 PA - d. 19 Dec 1867 Shelby Co. IN
Wife Christena Pate - b. abt 1799 VA - d. 6 Mar 1873 Shelby Co. IN (The photo above is William Frederick Steward, his son James Matthew Steward, James' daughter, Ofa Steward Williams, her son Charles N. Williams - cica 1918-1919 in Shelby Co. IN)

Terhune - William R. - b. 24 Dec. 1871 Rush Co. IN - d. 12 Jun 1958 Shelby Co. IN
Wife - Grace Sanders - b. 13 Dec 1884 Shelby Co. IN - d. 3 Aug 1957 Shelby Co. IN. (William’s father was Wm. B. Terhune - b. 1829 Clermont Co. OH, he married Elizabeth Kerr - b. 1836 Dearborn Co. IN. The Kerr family came from Guilford Co. NC -- just 30 minutes from where I now live.)

Williams -- Daniel - b. abt 1790 VA or KY - d. 12 Aug 1877 Shelby Co. IN
Wife Mary Kimberlin - b. 15 May 1797 KY - d. bet. 1860 & 1877 not known where (Daniel’s father was Reece WILLIAMS who died in 1827 in Clark Co. IN. His mother was Lavina Jolly.)

Williams -- Jesse M. - b. 25 Nov 1840 Madison Co. IN - d. 6 Jul 1913 Marion Co. IN. (Lived in Fairland after the Civil War, raising his family there.)
Wife Margaret Cottrell - b. 19 May 1841 Madison Co. IN - d. 5 Jan 1907 Marion Co. IN
(Jesse’s father was Absalom Williams who moved into Indiana from Preble Co. OH in the early 1830s. His family was originally from Brunswick Co. VA)

Other related families (through marriage) include Poland, Parker, Stallard, Rohm, Fox, Harrell, Rigdon, Oldham, Young, Riser, Colclazier, Bishop, Jonas, Skillman, Means, Maze, Hardin, Boren, Haymond, Macon, Norvell, Tigart, Pickett, Muir, Clark, Wells, Nugent, Nail, Huffman, Howery, Alexander, Hankins, Armstrong, Moore, Drake, Cobler, Arnold, Paramore, Tolen, Mallory, Tillison, Wharton, Cayton, House, Kidd, Crum, Covy, Flanagan, Gillespy, Mather, Teeple, Miller, Bass, Lapham, Breedlove, Boring, Boren, Wilson, Parson, Reed, Hungate, Ridlen, Patterson, Cole, Melvin Williams, Owen, West, Parkhurst, Cossairt, Graves, House, Miley, and many, many more.

I have information on my direct family lines that extends much further back (especially the Terhunes, Lishers and Padricks). The Jesse M. Williams line is linked by DNA to a Charles Williams who died in 1692 in Charles City County, Virginia. My cousin and I continue to do research to find the links that tie Jesse to Charles. It seems that records in Virginia in the early days are very hard to find….!

If you find that you have a link to any of my ancestors, please send me an email. I am happy to share information in exchange for MORE information! My email address for genealogy correspondence is: jw62002@yahoo.com.

One last note about DNA testing: If you have a male family member who would take the DNA test for you, DO IT! The Williams DNA project is currently at 800 members and growing. We have over 100 matched groups. Please consider this if you have a common surname or are stuck with a "brick wall". I currently have a blog for my Williams DNA Group 8. It is "A Williams Family from Virginia to California" on Google's blogspot. I feel DNA is a big key in getting your research RIGHT!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Williams Research In Shelby County

I am a Williams.

I am a Williams who is connected to three different Williams lines that all converged in Shelby County.

By the time these families moved to Shelby County, the different lines are easily identified. My Dad’s family lived in Fairland and had moved there after 1880 (fairly late in Shelby County history). This is my primary Williams line. This is the line that is important to me because it meant so much to my Dad. He even took a DNA test when he was nearly 80 years old, hoping it would help us locate his Williams ancestors who came from Virginia. Because of his DNA contribution, I feel that he continues to live on. And that is not only important but is a real comfort to me.

My Dad’s Williams line came to Fairland from Madison County, Indiana. Jesse M. Williams, a Civil War veteran, sold his family’s land to move to Fairland where he and son, Newton E. Williams started a brick-building business. Newton stayed in Fairland, sold the brick business and had a nice business , owning grain elevators, until the Depression -- he lost everything.

The second Williams line is from my Grandma’s family. Her name was Ofa Steward and her parents were William Frederick Steward and Margaret Anne Williams.

Yes, another Williams!

Margaret Anne was descended from one of Shelby County’s early pioneers, Daniel Williams, who came from Clark and Scott Counties in southern Indiana. We know his parents were Reece Williams and Lavina Jolly - from Virginia. We want to know more. (When saying “we” - I am including my cousins who are also working on this Williams line.)

For the third Williams line, I suggest you sit down before further reading…….

Margaret Anne Williams (above) had a sister named Anna Laura (“Laura”). It was destined that Laura marry a WILLIAMS. Yes, a Williams married a Williams….. (BIG SIGH). Laura married Melvin Williams.

But wait! There‘s more! My grandma Ofa Steward's sister was Ivy Steward. And after Ofa married Jesse Carl Williams in Fairland in 1916, her sister Ivy married Carl E. Williams in 1923 in Shelbyville. The two sisters married men who were called “Carl Williams”. To make matters more interesting, Carl E. Williams was a descendant of Melvin (see above).

If you think this is confusing, YOU ARE RIGHT!! But each Williams family has a different history and none have yet to be linked except by their marriages in Shelby County.

It would be of great interest to find descendants of Melvin and Reece to take a DNA test and make sure that these are indeed three separate lines. If anyone is interested in doing this, please let me know. I will help you get signed up. ASAP. I need all the help I can get with all of these Williams lines.

Before I end this entry, I would like to encourage anyone doing family research in Shelby County to check out the excellent web site: Findagrave. Many volunteers have entered data about their ancestors on this site. The Shelby County cemeteries are nearly all displayed on the site. I recently began to work as a volunteer, posting obituaries and photos of my family - many are buried in Brandywine and Fairland Cemeteries. I hope you will consider adding your family information on Findagrave. It's a wonderful site.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Welcome to "The Genie House"

Researching at the Shelbyville Genealogy House

(Photo: Barb, me, Charlene and Judy at the Genie House)

The address is 58 West Hendricks St., just behind the Shelbyville Library. The house looks like a normal, residential home in one of Shelbyville’s charming downtown neighborhoods. However, once you open the door, everything is different, in fact, everything is wonderful!

Have you ever done genealogy research in a library where the shelves are nearly bare, where there is (if you’re lucky) one staff member who’s a volunteer, and after you leave there, you still have no answers? You feel like you just wasted your day and found nothing. It’s totally frustrating.

When walking into the Shelbyville Genealogy House (The Genie House), you are surrounded by books (thousands of books); microfilmed newspapers; filing cabinets full of family histories submitted by patrons; cemetery records, funeral home records; maps and atlases; and so many notebooks filled with printed obituaries that it is simply overwhelming. If this sounds like the perfect place to find your ancestors, IT IS.

Besides the abundance of research materials, the staff is the best! Each staff member is knowledgeable, friendly and happy to help with any research questions or problems. If I could draw a picture of the perfect genealogy research facility -- it would be the Shelbyville “Genie House”. To me, it is Genealogy Heaven.

I was there in April for nearly two weeks and brought home enough material to fill a filing cabinet drawer. I copied obituaries, found death dates from funeral home record books (thanks to Barb!), got some great Civil War veteran information from P.K. and learned that Charlene and I share more than one connection. Last year, I read an issue of Fore Bear Pa’s magazine (published by the Genealogical Society - another treasure in Shelby County) and learned that one of my ancestors was a criminal (he was a forger and a horse thief!). On another visit, found in a book of will records, I connected my Sarah Hendricks to her father, Hamilton Lapham. (He left her some land in another county.)

Another problem solved this year was determining the identification of “Eddie Belle” Stewart. Listed in the 1880 Census as the daughter of Edmond and Paulina Stewart, my cousin and I had never been about to track Eddie Belle. She seemed to disappear after 1880. However, listed in the Frazier Funeral Home Book I found the death of Anna C. Dunn in 1960. Anna’s mother was named Eddiebelle Stewart, the wife of William Clark (all listed in the funeral home records). From the Shelby County marriage records I was able to find the marriage of “Corinda E. Stewart” to William Clark on 14 Oct. 1884. How could we have ever guessed that Eddie Belle was really named Corinda E.? Mystery solved! (And a new family to research.)

Other special benefits of the Genie House are the friendships made there. Through Judy, Barb, PK, Charlene, Janet, Marge, and cousin Barb -- I have found a wonderful group of friends who have never failed to welcome me and make me feel like I’m still a “Shelber” (even though I moved from Indiana in 1967). They are all very special people and I’m so grateful for their friendship and for all the enjoyable times we have spent together sharing our research in the Genie House.

If you have ancestors in Shelby Co. Indiana don’t pass up the Genie House! It contains a goldmine of information with the friendliest and most knowledgeable staff I’ve ever encountered in my 30 years of researching.

Thanks to all at the Genie House -- I’ll be back!

Monday, June 28, 2010

What's In A Name?

What’s In A Name?

Researching a surname with multiple ways of spelling is always difficult. Some surnames are completely changed for many reasons. I’ve heard stories of names that have been changed at Ellis Island because the immigration clerk had no idea who to spell a last name (for example Duke basketball coach, Mike Kryzewski’s ancestors could have easily been renamed "Smith or Jones" or whatever the clerk felt like writing).

I have several Shelby County ancestors who have last names that were spelled multiple ways, which makes researching them very challenging. I’m sure everyone does.

One of my ancestral names that was completely changed is LISHER. The Lishers lived in Van Buren Township and owned large tracts of land in the early history of Shelby County. They migrated to Indiana from Ohio in the late 1820s to early 1830s. However, when they came to Ohio, the name was LARCHER. Why the name was changed while they lived in Ohio is a mystery (probably a county clerk wrote down the name in the manner that it was pronounced…..who knows?).

My cousin, Kitty, has done extensive research on this line. Many years ago, she went to Ohio and discovered that the LISHERS were originally LARCHERS. She was able to do this through court, deed and marriage records. She did this before records were available online and I doubt that she could have accomplished this without going to Ohio. (Finding those original documents is the BEST and only real proof of lineage.)

Why do I think this is important? Why put this in my Shelby County blog? Because the Larchers were an important link from Shelby County to New England. They were sea captains and lived on Martha’s Vineyard, then Providence, Rhode Island. Our ancestor, John Larcher, piloted the French fleet into the Newport harbor when they arrived to help the Americans during the Revolutionary War. He also supplied housing for French officers during the war. The family has an extraordinary history -- dating back to the founding of Providence.

I have wondered if the Lishers who lived and farmed in Shelby County knew about their ancestors who helped to shape America's freedom of religion, beginning at Providence Plantation which was established by Roger Williams. They were brave and hardy American pioneers. The Larcher / Lisher pioneer spirit prevailed as they moved westward from Rhode Island to Ohio to Indiana.

It is so important to investigate every possible way a surname can be spelled. Think of the different ways a name SOUNDS and keep digging. You might just find a genealogy gem!

I could not write this without telling you about the Lisher Cemetery, near Fountaintown. It is a wonderful memorial to these hardy pioneers. Once in ruin, the cemetery is now restored to its former beauty. Sitting on a hill, overlooking endless green fields, it is surrounded by a lovely antique black iron fence. The grave stones have lovingly been repaired. It is a small piece of heaven in Shelby County and a fitting monument to those brave pioneers who played an important part in the religious freedom of this great country and the growth of Shelby County.

THANK YOU to Jon and Julie for your hard work and for caring! It is GREATLY appreciated. The beauty and serenity of the Lisher cemetery could never have been re-created without you.

As an addition to this story, Julie told me that the deer in the photo of the Lisher cemetery were her wildlife rehab patients from last year. She felt the deer who were at the cemetery conveyed the feeling of the serene resting place that is truly is.

If you have family buried in the Lisher cemetery and want information on how to find and visit it, please email me and I will pass your email on to Julie. She is very interested in meeting the descendants of the Lishers.

Photo courtesty of Julie Bielefeld -- many thanks!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Family Legend - Is It True?

A family legend in our family is the story of David Henricks (also spelled Hendricks, which can add to the confusion of finding the right relatives!). David was the family “black sheep” who is said to have stolen a neighbor’s horse and wagon and headed West to Colorado. My great-grandmother, Edith Henricks (she was David’s daughter) is said to have received a post card telling her “Yer Pa is daid”, circa 1886. My Grandma said this story was true and I NEVER knew her to tell me anything but the truth.

After receiving David Henrick’s Civil War pension file, I learned he had “hearing loss” and “lung trouble” (which usually meant tuberculosis). I began to wonder if the story of the stolen wagon was really true. I speculated that maybe he had gone to Colorado for treatment of his “lung trouble”. I knew that he died in Denver, but wondered if MAYBE he had taken a train since he was sick, maybe traveling by horse and wagon would have been hard for him.

I WAS SO WRONG! I should never have doubted my Grandma!

Last summer, while researching the Henricks family at the Shelbyville Genealogy House, I found the terrible truth about this ancestor that I had felt sorry for.

Printed in the September 6, 1886 issue of the Shelbyville Republican was the story of David Henricks. He had died in Denver two years after he “fled the county (in 1884) being guilty of forgery and other crooked business transactions”.

OH NO! I was shocked! Now I knew that the story of the theft of the horse and wagon must have been true as well. How very tragic for David’s two young daughters which he had left behind in Shelby County after their mother had passed away. What a sad story.

When I told my cousin in Shelbyville about this newspaper article, he wasn’t surprised. He said that not only did David steal the neighbor’s horse and wagon, but the wagon was “loaded with wheat”.

Our “black sheep” story was true. Now I could put that legend to rest. Sadly……..

If you have a family legend, good or bad, remember one thing: it’s only a legend until you check it out and find the true story. And, if you have ancestors from Shelby County, the Shelbyville Genealogy House is the place to make your discoveries!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Circle is Complete

When I moved to North Carolina 'way back in 1967 I wasn't interested in finding my ancestors. I was interested in being a cool teenager, listening to rock music, and trying to make friends in a new town, in a new school.

In the 1980s I began to explore my family tree. My Grandma told me lots of stories about her life and what she knew about her family. I was hooked! Many years later, after working on her family (the Stewards, Lishers, Hendricks, and another Williams line -- more on these folks next post), I started researching my Mom's family.

Mom didn't know a lot about her ancestors, but the little bit she shared with me was all I needed to get started. Although all of my ancestors lived in Shelby County, Indiana, many came from other parts of the country. In my Mom's family, two lines came from North Carolina - the Kerrs who lived in Guilford County (about 30 miles from where I now live) and the Sanders who lived in Wayne County - about 5 miles from where my brother now lives in Goldsboro.

Learning that these direct family lines had once lived where I currently live took a lot of research and filling in many blanks. (I still have blanks!) Using Revoluntionary War pension records, the U.S. Census, and online sites (the US Genweb site for Guilford County was especially helpful), I slowly put the pieces of Mom's tree together. I travelled to assorted libraries in the area and found land, church, marriage and cemetery records. I learned that Mom's ancestor, David Kerr, was buried not far from an interstate highway near Greensboro (a road I travel frequently). Of course I went to the old cemetery at Alamance Presbyterian Church and found his grave. His grave was one of the oldest in the cemetery - David died in 1804. There were many other members of his family who were also buried there. It was a special experience for me to find David Kerr -- and then recently to find his son, William Kerr's grave, in Dearborn County, Indiana. (William was in the Revolutionary War and has a DAR marker on his grave stone.)

I'm sure this is not a unique experience, as many Americans move often. But, in my experience, finding the roots of my Indiana ancestors so close to home in North Carolina was completing a circle. It was very fulfilling to locate the graves of these two pioneers - one in North Carolina, one in Indiana.

Another interesting story of Shelby County roots in North Carolina must also be shared. My wonderful cousin, Kitty, has traced her Shelby County Plummer family to Davidson County, North Carolina. This is the county where I now live. Kitty lives in Henry County, but her family was from Shelby County. When she asked me to do some research for her, I used our library here, the courthouse, and another great library in Rowan County. We were able to discover a maiden name for her Briles ancestor and a copy of a will for her Plummer family. How rewarding it was to help her. Kitty is in her 90s and is still excited about her family history! I hope she will always be -- it is the experience of a lifetime.

I would like to add a note with this post -- I'm now available for research projects here in North Carolina. I know that MANY Shelby County families have roots here in North Carolina. If you are interested in contacting me, please use this email address: jw62002@yahoo.com. I have over 30 years of research experience and am very familier with many research facilities here in North Carolina.

Happy hunting!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Newspapers and research

I'm in the process of cleaning out my parents' family home. We moved here from Shelbyville in 1967 and this has been home to my family until last fall when my Dad passed away. Mom had passed away in 2000. We are still dealing with their loss. If you have lost your parents, the feeling of being an orphan -- no matter how old you are -- is overwhelming.

While sorting through an old cedar chest (my Mom's "Hope Chest"), my sister and I found an edition of the The Shelbyville News dated November 1, 1963. The headline read "LOCAL PERSONS AMONG VICTIMS AS COLISEUM DISASTER KILLS 63". The front page told the sad details of the explosion at the Indianapolis Coliseum.

My aunt and uncle, Charles and Jenny Williams, were there that night. They had tickets for Holiday On Ice. It was Halloween night, a night my sister and I usually went by their house to "trick or treat" and show them our costumes. They just lived around the corner from our house. That night, we went to see them but found the house was dark. When we went home, Mom reminded us that Uncle Charlie and Aunt Jenny had gone to the show in Indianapolis.

My Aunt Jenny was killed in that explosion.

I still remember that my Dad and his other brother, Bud, went to Indianapolis to try to find Aunt Jenny. A survivor of the accident had found my aunt's purse and had given it to the police, so Dad knew that wherever Aunt Jenny was, she did not have any identification. He went with his brother and sister-in-law to every hospital but was unable to find Aunt Jenny. Their last stop was the temporary morgue at the Coliseum. It was here that they found her.

Uncle Charlie was in Methodist Hospital with a broken leg and other injuries. He was transferred to Major Hospital after a week or so. I would often stop in to visit him on my walk home after school. I remember watching the funeral of President Kennedy with him while he was in that hospital room. It was such a sad time.

Until I found this newspaper, all I had was an obituary about my Aunt's death. I didn't remember that 63 people had been killed in the explosion or that more than 300 were injured. The Shelbyville News reported that the cause of the blast was probably caused by a broken valve on a butane gas tank. Another Shelbyville resident, Mrs. Bernice Tillison, was also killed. An eyewitness stated "I saw people blown from their seats."

Reading all of this brought back many sad memories for my sister and me. It seemed as if this had just happened.

Old newspapers are a great source of history and family information. If you don't use them in your genealogical research you may miss some vital information. Most libraries have back issues of local papers on microfilm and believe me, it is well worth the time to investigate them. While you may learn something sad in reading newspapers, you might also come across a funny description of a party or family gathering, an engagement, or a wedding announcement.

Give newspapers a try. You might be surprised at what you find.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Do It Yourself, If Possible
If you have ancestors in Shelby County, you have probably experienced the same thing that happens to me whenever I go back home. You mention your ancestor's name and the next thing you hear is "I'm related to him / her, too!" And before you know it, you have a new cousin and a whole new chapter is added to your family tree.

This happens to me every time I return to the Shelbyville "Genie House". Last summer, I met new cousins from the Steward family and the Sanders family. Going back to Shelby County to do my research is the best way to find new information AND new family members. We swap information, photos, and family stories. We go to lunch or dinner, then continue our relationship long after we return to our far-away homes using email and telephone. The experience is life- altering.

If you watch any of the genealogy shows on tv, you know how important "on site" research is. There is nothing like standing on the land that your ancestors owned in the 1800s (or earlier, depending on where they lived). Or finding that long-lost grave stone with the dates still readable -- David Hendricks born 5 Sept. 1788 died 16 March 1859. The experience of walking through the old Brandywine (Pinhook) Cemetery near Fairland is especially memorable for me. The first time I went (over 25 years ago), my Grandma Ofa Steward Williams was with me. She told me stories about many of the people in the old cemetery (many were her family members) -- it will always stay in my heart.

As you can tell, I am an advocate of the "do it yourself" type of research. There is nothing like it. Especially if your ancestors lived in Shelby County, Indiana!