Cousin Dawn & the Appleton Ancestors

In the presentation I am giving next Wednesday evening at the Scarborough Museum on “Social Networking for Genealogy,” I emphasize the importance of connections. Connections with people and connecting with cousins are among the best. A cousin, who is into genealogy, cares about the accuracy of your family tree, particularly at your shared ancestor and beyond. They may also have researched areas that you haven’t and can provide great insight into potential sources and facts. I tentatively accept a lot of information from cousins; however, I flag the source and know that I need to try to find original documents to replace my tentative source as having come through someone else’s research.
An example of this is my cousin Dawn M. Through Ancestry.Com’s DNA test I had a match with a 4th to 6th cousin, Dawn M. (Not to be confused with my 1st cousin, Dawn M.) First, through Ancestry’s “Send Message,” then through direct emails, we quickly learned that our first common ancestors are Henry and Marion (Sanford) Brown. They are 2nd great-grandparents to both of us, thus making us 3rd cousins. According to Ancestry.Com, Dawn M. and I share 29.9 centimorgans across 4 DNA segments. It is really interesting to note that my half-sister, Glennis, and Dawn M. share more than double the DNA, 77 centimorgans across 5 DNA segments and is predicted by Ancestry to be 3rd cousins. Seeing that difference in shared DNA between Dawn M. and Glennis compared to between Dawn M. and me reinforces the importance of testing siblings as well to better identify DNA connections and improve the odds of finding the best possible matches. In this case, I almost didn’t pursue contacting with Dawn M because the suggested match was so distant (4th to 6th cousins).
I shared my tree on Ancestry.Com with Dawn and she shared a genealogy file she works with. It was 276 pages of information. Nearly overwhelming – No it was overwhelming. I decided to analyze her material based upon surnames. The first surname we matched alphabetically was “Appleton.” Samuel Appleton, Esq. and his wife Hannah are our 10th great-grandparents.
I had a lot of information she didn’t have, much of it from Chandler Wolcott’s book, The Family of HENRY WOLCOTT published in 1912. What is really good about that source is that it is available through the Internet Archive (a key genealogical research tool). Anyway, I sent her a link to the book and sent her an extract of the appropriate pages. Her information included the names and relationships for four 11th, four 12th, and two 13th great-grandparents. Just learning the names and potential sources for the information is huge and is a great beginning. Learning the probable names of 10 new ancestors is always a good day.
8 new ancestors thanks to 3rd cousin Dawn.
Altogether, just the Appleton section (15 of 276 pages) provided details, which I didn’t have before, on 25 individuals. As slow as I am, (I like to think of myself as thorough instead of slow) this is several days of verification and validation research, thirteen of which are direct ancestors.
2 new ancestor names
thanks to 3rd cousin Dawn
In all the Appleton material, there were only two minor items that were in conflict with what I have. Both these conflicts give me additional research areas so I can double or triple verify my interpretations of other sources. If I still disagree with Dawn M.’s assessment, then I’ll let her know my thoughts and why.
Thanks to DNA Testing, I found a third cousin, Dawn M. Thanks to communications with her I was able to assess that her unpublished tree. Thanks to that assessment, I have tentatively added twenty-five new ancestors. Yes, social networking can provide amazing results.  Five percent done, only 95% to go.

2015: Year in Review

2015: My Genealogical Year-in-Review

This year has been amazing for my genealogical research, my genealogical connections, and my telling my family history. My most popular blog post from this year, in terms of pageviews, was “My Response to Ancestry’s Business Decisions,” which is my rant regarding Ancestry’s decision to drop Family Tree Maker. It is also, by far, the blog posting that have received the most comments regarding. My most popular post of all time remains my 2013 review of Family Tree Maker Mac 3. In light of Ancestry’s decision to drop Family Tree Maker from its product line, it is also my most embarrassing post.


I was blessed by guest blogger Jenne M., whose incredibly interesting articles I began posting. I thank Jenne for her work and for sharing her family’s history with us.
I also continued my research into the life of my grandmother Madonna Montran and her vaudeville days. In particular, I followed her “Chin Chin” experiences through several articles.
Jacob & Bertha (Trümpi) Huber
Regarding my Howell/Darling research, I posted several biographies and documented my brick wall regarding Jacob Huber.


In February, I wrote an unpopular post regarding my great-grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Manning Brown. It was “unpopular” because I laid out why I believe she was born in 1878 and not 1876, thus her family jumped the gun when they celebrated her 100th birthday in 1976.


My social networking activities resulted in a treasure trove of photos from a newly found cousin. The photos included definitive proof that my grandfather was in Panama about the time my grandmother was also in Panama, thus confirming family oral history. There were also hundreds of scanned imaged included in a disk from my cousin as well as some original poems written by my grandfather. The photo images I received included dozens of my direct ancestors that I had never seen before. It was an amazing sharing of information. Thank you so much to my cousin Beverly.
Arthur & Mary (Manning) Brown


Again, thanks to social networking I was able to share memories of a cousin, this time from my late cousin, Sharon Huffman. Sharon wrote about her grandparents, my great-grandparents, Arthur and Mary Brown. Much of what she wrote I have verified in independent research, such as great-grandfather Arthur dying of cancer. But more importantly, her shared memories provide texture to the lives of Arthur and Mary and insights into their personalities. Thanks again to Tim and Julia for sharing the stories with me.


Besides expanding upon my grandmother Donna’s time in Panama as a “Cabaret Girl,” I wrote an extensive post regarding searching newspapers and the process I use for using them in my research.


I was able to take the time to volunteer for Find-a-Grave by going to an old cemetery in nearby Gorham, Maine, and take photos of several markers that weren’t on the site already. It can provide a great way to help the genealogy community and get outside.


I put the final changes on a presentation, Social Networking for Genealogy. It was the first genealogical presentation I’ve given since moving to Maine. I gave the presentation at the August 1st meeting of the Greater Portland Chapter of the Maine Genealogical Society. I will be giving the presentation again to the Scarborough Historical Society on January 6th, 2016.
My research also uncovered what I believe to be a new cousin on the Montran line. I am pretty certain that her ancestor, John F Montran, and my great-grandfather, John F Montran, are the same person. I exchanged several emails with her but seem to have lost contact since an original flurry of correspondences. I hope she is okay.


I continued my research regarding the Montran line with articles about John Montran and Ruth Grace Montran.


I attended the Maine Genealogical Society’s annual conference in Brewer, Maine. It was an excellent experience
Another guest blogger, Melody Pettus, wrote about her second great-grandfather, Shadrick. I give my thanks to Melody for sharing her research and some of her family’s story.
I attended the Scarborough Historical Society’s September presentation about yearbooks. It revolutionized my thinking about yearbooks and some of the not so obvious things you can learn from them, so I posted about both the presentation and what I learned.


Ancestry.Com added “Wills and Probate Records” to their multitude of databases. Using the database, I was able to learn much more about my wife’s great-grandmother, Annie D (Long) Hobbs. It is one of the most significant databases that Ancestry has provided access to in quite a while.  
I was also able to discover new details about my grandmother’s biplane flights. She was an incredible woman.


Randy Seaver’s blog, Genea-Musings, often suggests topics for consideration. He often inspires me to think about my research and some of the fun facts you can learn. One such topic included my most recent immigrant ancestor. I hadn’t thought about whom it might be until after I read his blog.


Crumbling Brick Wall” by John Schneider
(CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
The biggest genealogical breakthrough I had this year was figuring out who my biological father probably is. Through a combination of both Y-DNA and atDNA tests and analysis, I feel about 75% certain that I have the name of my biological father. It isn’t a “slam-dunk,” but it is the best lead I have ever had. I really opened a completely new area of research for me.
The above is only a sampling of the 103 blog articles (including this one) I wrote this year – nearly two a week. I have written about my three major research areas, Brown-Montran (my maternal line), Darling-Huber (my wife’s maternal line), and Howell-Hobbs (my wife’s paternal line). I have had a “Roberts Notional” project for several years; however, now I’m almost ready to change it to a new, Roberts-Barnes, research area. I also have two secondary research areas, Donna Montran – her show-business life is fascinating, and DNA Research, which augments all my research areas and several of my projects.
For other projects, I have several. They include Adair, Angley, Burlison, Middleton, Mowbray, Rode, Schlotterbeck, and Whitten. In addition, I am encouraging others in their research that has resulted in guest blogger postings. I also review books and software and write general genealogical interest articles. So, I am keeping busy.

My Goals for 2016

Brown-Montran – Prove the connection between my grandmother and a potential a half-sister.
     Determine the biological father of my half-sister, Glennis.
Darling-Huber – Determine the connections and family unit for the Bernhead Trümpi household.
Howell-Hobbs – Determine who “M,” George Hobbs’ wife was.
     Determine who Peter M. Howell’s father is.
Roberts-Barnes – Prove the connection to a paternal ancestor.
Donna Montran – Continue research and detail at least 12 of her vaudeville shows.
DNA Research – Continue using DNA in my research for all my research area and my Adair and Angley projects.
Continue supporting the Scarborough Historical Society and the Scarborough Museum.
Continue supporting the Greater Portland Chapter of the Maine Genealogical Society.
Take at least 104 hours of genealogical training (2 hours every week). I could do even more.
Finally, I want to post at least 121 blog articles (one every three days) in 2016. I expect 2016 to be a busy and fruitful year.

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Remembering Great Uncle Clarence Edward Huber

Happy Birthday Great Uncle Clarence

One hundred and six years ago, John and Bertha Barbara (Trümpi) Huber had the Christmas Eve present of their second child. Clarence Edward Huber was born on 24 December 1909 in Elberta and Josephine, Baldwin County, Alabama. Clarence didn’t grow up in Alabama as his family bought a farm in James Township, Saginaw County, Michigan about 1918 and moved there then.
Clarence went to school in Saginaw County and graduated from the eighth grade.
In 1942, Clarence enlisted in the army and served until his release in September 1945, when he returned to James Township and worked on his father’s farm until his father’s death in 1948.
For the next twenty years, he helped support his mother on the family farm until her death in 1968. He continued farming on the family farm until his death on 25 June 1994.

1910 Census (A),, Year:1910;Census Place:Elberta and Josephine, Baldwin, Alabama; Roll: T624_1; Page: 5A; Enumeration District: 0013; FHL microfilm: 1374014.
1920 Census (A),, Year:1920;Census Place:James, Saginaw, Michigan; Roll: T625_793; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 164; Image: 475.
1930 Census,, Year: 1930; Census Place: James, Saginaw, Michigan; Roll: 1021; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 0018; Image: 767.0; FHL microfilm: 2340756.
1940 Census,, 1940 Census – Place: James, Saginaw, Michigan; Roll: T627_1811; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 73-18.
BIRLS Death File 1850-2010 (Name: US Dept of Veterans Affairs; Location: Washington DC; Date: 1911;),, Clarence Huber.
Lutheran (Alabama), Baptism Certificate, Clarence Eduard Huber.
Michigan, Deaths, 1971-1996,, Michigan Department of Vital and Health Records. Michigan, Deaths, 1971-1996[database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 1998.  Original data: Michigan Department of Vital and Health Records. Michigan Death Index. Lansing, MI, USA.
Michigan, Dept of Public Health, Death Certificate, Seeking Michigan, Clarence Edward Huber.
Saginaw News, Public Libraries of Saginaw, 1948-10-05, Page 19, Huber, John.


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My Paternal Brick Wall

Is my biggest brick wall is shattered?

Destroyed Brick Wall by Trebor Scholz (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Thanks to genetic genealogy, I believe my biggest brick wall has finally been knocked down, shattered, destroyed. I now have a huge lead as to who my biological father is.

Searching for who my biological father might have always been a major purpose behind my genealogical passion. I have been trying to figure it out for decades without real success, until now.

In 2012, Y-DNA tests I took indicated that I was a “Roberts.” Family Tree DNA’s results indicated that my four closest relatives were all surnamed Roberts.

My Closest Y-DNA Matches on Family Tree DNA
% Common Ancestor is
likely in 4 generations
W. A. Roberts
Has a great tree available on-line.
D. R. Roberts
Unable to Contact. Possibly deceased.
G. Roberts
N. Roberts
C. E. Lathem
50% likelihood in 11 generations
From this and similar results on the now defunct Ancestry Y-DNA, I surmised that my ancestor was probably a Roberts. W. A. Roberts was kind enough to share his tree with me, so I began looking closely at his ancestors’ descendants, looking for potential individuals that might have been in the right place at the right time. No success. Nothing seems to fit.
The DNA is matching!
When Ancestry began its autosomal DNA testing, I was an early adopter. When Family Tree DNA began accepting transfers of results from Ancestry DNA, I did a DNA Transfer with them. I also imported my results into GED Match. I figured that the more places you have your DNA out there, the greater the likelihood you will have a match. Maybe even a close match. No such luck. There were a few, four to 8 generations away. Some had nicely developed trees; some only had a couple generations documented. I helped some of the latter improve their trees, but nothing I found seemed to connect with the Roberts “notional tree” I was working on – Until now.

This week, I rechecked my results on Ancestry DNA and couldn’t believe the results. There was a new person, T.C.[i] who was identified as a 1st or 2nd cousin. Wow! She and I shared 313 centimorgans across 20 segments. And she has a tree that included a grandmother and great grandparents with the surname of Roberts. Could this be the breakthrough I’ve been looking for?

I added the names and the general relationships to my “Roberts Notional Tree” and took note of some of her sources. Then I began researching this potential line. If we really are 1st or 2nd cousins, then we must share a grandparent or great grandparent. I was almost giddy in my excitement. The initial problem was I didn’t see anything that fit the dates and places that my biological father needed to come from. I knew it wasn’t going to be quick, but if I researched, I might find the link I was looking for.
I found that TC’s great grandparents had five children – two girls and three boys. Any of the three boys would be the correct age to be my biological father. So, the search was on.
Crumbling Brick Wall by John Schneider - Seen at the Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires. - Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Crumbling Brick Wall” by John Schneider
(CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
The first son I investigated was Bert Allen Roberts, Jr. He was born in Terre Haute, IN. He grew up there and relocated to Cleveland, OH as an adult. As I looked more and more closely at his life, I determined that he wasn’t likely.
The second son I investigated was Hugh Eugene Roberts. He was born in Detroit, MI, (like my mother) but moved to Terre Haute, IN, as a child. I found evidence that in May 1950, he was back in Detroit. From that, it is easy to surmise that he could have been in Detroit in October of 1949, when I was conceived.
The third son was J. H. Roberts[ii]. He was also born in Terre Haute. He married in 1947 in Detroit, MI. It appears that their marriage continued beyond 1950. I haven’t found much more about his life yet, but I don’t believe he is the “baby daddy” at this time.
Bert doesn’t appear to have located to Detroit.
J. H. although in Detroit at the right time was married and is a less likely candidate.
Hugh was in Detroit at about the right time and is a highly likely candidate.
I see two major directions for my research to take from here.

Research the ancestors of Bert Allen Roberts, Sr. and see if there is a connection into my known Y-DNA cousins. That would prove that the Roberts line in TC’s tree is the correct connection in her


Research the children of Hugh Eugene Roberts, contact them, and see if any of them would be willing to take a DNA test. If they are my half-siblings, as I suspect, we should share about 25% of our DNA. So, if they show up in that 787-2134 centimorgan range, I will have proven a very close relationship, probably half-siblings.


Oh, yes, also I will continue my research of this Roberts line.
Finally, am I certain that Hugh Eugene Roberts is my biological father? No, but I am certain that this finding is the biggest, best lead I’ve ever had in determining who my biological father is.


Talk about a Christmas present…  Wow.


[i] In order to maintain privacy, I am only including initials of potentially living individuals.
[ii] I have been unable to find death information regarding J. H. Roberts, so I am only

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Memories – My First Pet

Memories – My First Pet – Ginger?
Me playing with Ginger
Christmas Morning c. 1958
I was recently asked about my first pet. I thought immediately about “Ginger,” a ginger colored cat we had back in the late 1950s. Not only did Ginger love to play, but she liked to “hang out.” She was a great cat. I knew that I had a couple photos of her so I decided to find them. When I found photos of Ginger I realized a previous blog I wrote was wrong. When I wrote about my first television a couple weeks ago I completely forgot about having a television while we lived in Fridley. There, in the background of me playing with Ginger, was a television. Oh my. 
Ginger “hanging out” in my
tent. c. 1960
I then thought about memories and how we often need triggers to recall them. Because of that photo with Ginger, I knew that we had a television years earlier than I had recalled before. I don’t recall watching it, but now I know we had one. That makes me wonder about what was my first pet. I know about and remember Ginger because I have photos of her and me together. I remember that Christmas and her being totally freaked out by the electric train set I received that year. However, I believe that I remember Ginger, that Christmas, and the train set because I have reinforced that memory through seeing these photos over the years. So, was Ginger really my first pet, or did I have pets before her that I don’t remember because we don’t have any photos? Certainly, it is possible.
Donna with “Wolf” & a cat, c. 1951
I have a photo of my grandmother with a dog, Wolf, and a cat. It is from about 1951. My grandmother lived with us then so we must have had pets then. I just don’t recall either of them. The photo makes me wonder just how long we had Wolf and that cat. Were they replaced when I was a child and I just don’t recall them because we don’t have any photos of them? Maybe, maybe not, I just don’t know because I don’t have the photos to trigger those memories.
I guess the take away from this is that there is a need to take photos of family members, particularly young ones, with their pets. Those photos may be the basis for warm memories for their entire lives. Memories like my playing with Ginger on Christmas morning or memories of Ginger hanging out in my tent.

Pets of my Family

Aunt Barbara says: I grew up in the Chicago Julia Lathrop housing project and pets weren’t allowed…ha..ha..ha..I had a pet it was a little turtle I called him Turtle. He would get loose every so often and be gone for days

My niece Kerresa: Oh so many pets I guess the first pet of mine would be Dee Dee the extra furry pony when I was around five. I don’t remember how it got named Dee Dee maybe because she/he walked soooo slow. But my mom and aunt have always been into horses so naturally I loved it.

My sister-in-law Libby: Growing up we had a family cat named Meow Pinkel Purr. [The name] came from a book of poems [which included “Pinkle Purr” by A. A. Milne.] The first line was, “Tattoo was the mother of Pinkel Purr.”

My sister-in-law Liz: The family has always had either a couple of cats or a dog. Sunbug and George were the cats I grew up with and Tesha was our dog, My own cat wasn’t until I got Casey for Christmas when I was living in the Brookside building in the 90s. That cat went everywhere around the old Down East building with me.

My great niece Maggie: The first pet that I remember was a cockatiel named Amadeus. I was 6 or 7, I think (maybe [Libby] can confirm that), living in Indiana. I chose that name because I had recently seen the movie.

Future Actions 
Take lots of photos of family members interacting with their pets and print those photos for permanent use.

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