Maryland State Archives Website – How Frustrating

Maryland State Archives Website – How Frustrating
Some websites can be confusing and difficult to use, but I don’t expect state archive sites to be that way.  Maryland is the exception to that rule.  It was the most frustrating state archive site I’ve used, so far.  
My task was simple, find out death information on an ancestor of my wife.  The Social Security Death Index indicated that he died in December 1964. No specific date and no location other than Maryland.  Looking up the specifics should be easy, peasy. 
In my list of websites for Maryland I had first, http://www.aomol.net/html/index.html,  I thought when I went there, “how odd, a dot net address.”  Nothing about death records in their menu. Maybe under other records….  No such luck.
In my list of websites for Maryland I had another URL, http://msa.maryland.gov/ — much better. A bit more modern looking site. “How to order copies” provided a link to a pdf order form. The form wanted month, day and year.  Humm.  I didn’t have the day. I figured, maybe they have an index. A look at “What We Have” brought me to page that included a link to “Maryland Vital Records.” Again, I thought it odd that the writeup for “Vital Records” only spoke of death records. I was only interested in death records so I was good with that, for now.  That link which brought me to “Vital Records Indexing Project”  The writeup talked about the indexing project but nowhere in the text of the page was a link to the index.  Then I saw it in the menu on the left, “Search MD Vital Records”  The page that it brought me to was only death records also.  Select County Deaths in two indexes to 1944 and Select Baltimore City deaths 1875 to 1972 in two indexes also.  I’m always scared when someone says, “Select” because I always figure that that means it is just some data we put out there, we know it isn’t complete, but it is what we can provide easily.  Well, maybe he died in Baltimore and all will be well. A click on “MSA CE 42” brought me to a long death record index. Down the list to 1963-1964. A look at the naming pattern at the three files associated with ’63-64 led me to the second file, G000-M663. Then select a letter – I picked “H”.
OMG – The records are PDFs, each page is an individual file, and it is by soundex.  Aarrgh.  
I don’t use soundex and I am often frustrated by it.  However, some time ago I found Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter. On his website he has a soundex converter. http://www.eogn.com/soundex/  Totally awesome.  Just enter the Surname and it provides the Soundex. Entered the name and received back, H-400. Thank you Dick Eastman for the utility!
Back to the website, I’m on page 1 of who knows how many, I click on Page 10, only H200 – sigh, click on page 19, the 28.  Almost there, pages 29 & 30 were the right pages for my search.  Nope, the ancestor wasn’t there. He must not have died in Baltimore – although I really didn’t know.  I hate the word “select.”
Not looking good for the home team.  I found the Special Collections site, http://speccol.mdarchives.state.md.us/ – another totally different URL scheme.  It indicates photos, newspapers, maps, biographies, and church records.  Oh cool, maybe a search for “Archives Building” will yield a photo of the archives for this blog.  No such luck.  The search yielded 90 photos of people in and around the building, but none of the building itself. Anyway, despite my  inability to find a good photo of the building on the site, there was a fuzzy image in the banner of the Photos search page that is usable. 

I continued searching for sites and finally found another site. http://guide.mdsa.net/. Maryland State Archives Guide to Government Records. Choose your Display type by Series gave me a very confusing search box. Clearly designed for someone who has intimate knowledge of the agency names and other particulars of Maryland’s government. 
Then I clicked on a Reference and Research tab. There was a section on “How to Find Specific Records” and a section of “Indices Found at MSA.”  The link for Death Record Indices had the link showing that I had visited it before, however, there was a link for Death Records. That page had a section on “County Death Records 1898-1972.”  Maybe…. Most of the records listed had paper or microfilm listings but there were a couple that indicated “Electronic”.  There was an Index Series and a Record Series.  I tried the Index series SE8. Getting closer.  Fairly well organized. In the date range I was looking for and the name letter, I clicked on “Detail” and found nothing that wasn’t on the preceding page. Click “back” and then on “Link.”  A PDF file that consisted of thousands of names, one name on a card and a photo copy of it. A search of the document found nothing, it wasn’t a text enable PDF. Scrolling down I finally found the ancestor on page 11,000 something and it had the information I was looking for.  The date of his death. 
The Maryland State Archives sites were exasperating and inconsistent. Sites don’t link to each other in a simple meaningful way.  It is like several different departments put their materials wherever (dot net, dot gov, dot us) they wanted without coordinating with other departments.  They also don’t appear to have single style or single content management points.
The bottom line for genealogists is that I believe I have found two pages that I found useful.
REFERENCE & RESEARCH AT THE MARYLAND STATE ARCHIVES  http://guide.mdsa.net/viewer.cfm?page=topviewed
and 
Maryland State Archives Guide to Special Collections  
I recommend putting them in your browser’s bookmarks for the Maryland State Archives.  I’d skip the other ones.
By the way, they have a feedback page at: http://census.mdarchives.state.md.us/msa/homepage/feedback/cfm/dsp_feedback.cfm. I spent quite a while providing feedback that I thought would be meaningful.  A click of “submit” yielded an error.  
Again, I found the Maryland State Archives site to be the most frustrating State Archive site I’ve ever encountered. 
          Begins with          Equals          Contains          Ends with    Sounds like     

Searching for a Living Individual

Searching for a living individual.  

A really close friend recently asked me recently if I have any special tricks to finding living people. He had tried to find a cousin of his wife, but kept running into sites that cost and didn’t guarantee that the person they were providing data on was the right person.  He indicated that he was getting really frustrated.
Now my friend knows that, as a genealogist, I would want all of the information on the individual that he had. So he provided lots of basic information (names and dates changed for privacy reasons).
Particulars:

John Doe
Born in October 1948
Parents were Curtis Doe and Lorraine Olson
He married Nancy Smith in 1967
They had three children, Jane, Mitchel, and Todd
He and Nancy divorced in about 1991
He sometimes went by the nickname of Jack.
My friend also proved the last known addresses for John.  He had several addresses, mostly in Minnesota, and one in New Jersey.

If I couldn’t find John’s location today with that much information, he didn’t want to be found.
– – – – – – – – – – – 
I find that Facebook and Linked in are the best sources for finding people living today. In the case of John Doe, neither search yielded anyone that appeared to be him. (I guess John is probably a Luddite,) Next a search for one of his kids. 
A girl born in the 60s or 70s is probably married, so I figured I’d begin with one of the boys. I looked for Todd and a very likely candidate popped right up.  I also looked at his “friends;” he had one named Mitch Doe.  He lived in Minnesota only a few miles from where John Doe lived in the ‘90s. Another Doe was listed; it was a women.  Photos that were shared indicated that it must be the wife of Mitch and not the sister. 
Another approach that sometimes works for me is zabasearch.com. It isn’t that Zabasearch always works but they also provide “sponsored results.”  In this case the sponsored results yielded five results and one of them was associated with Hyacinth, Nancy, Mitch, and Todd. The sponsored result also indicated three locations in New Jersey (one the same town my friend provided) and several in Minnesota.  It also provided John’s current city.  I could have paid a couple bucks for the information provided there.   I knew my friend didn’t want to spend anything so I continued on.

Oh, before I go on, besides Zabasearch, I highly recommend intelius.com.  They provide reports for a fee. You get a pretty good report for only a couple dollars ($1.95). 
Then, I looked him up on both White Pages and 411 (www.whitepages.com/ and www.411.com and got the same New Jersey phony number, 732-555-1234. Just to be certain, I did a quick area code look-up, on Google, a search for  “area code 732”  brought up a Wikipedia article which indicated the area code was in New Jersey – Perfect.
I copied and pasted the name, age, phone number, and addresses into an email to my friend.

I recommended the following course of action:  

Call his cousin via the number provided.
Contact/email his kids on Facebook and see if they will facilitate contact.  (Note: All the kids are adults.)
US Mail his cousin. 
If the above don’t work, spend the $2 at Intelius for a report.

Deserter, Traitor, Malingerer?

Deserter, Traitor, Malingerer? You Decide.

Sometimes there is a reason why a family doesn’t speak much about an ancestor.  A very good friend of mine had virtually no oral history regarding an ancestor, a second great grandfather. He and his family have been in Georgia for many generations and he was sure that if his second great-grandfather was able bodied he must have fought in the “War of Northern Aggression” (the Civil War to us Yankees.) I told him I’d take a look and see what I could figure out. 

Bio – Hiram Frank Glazier (1838-1916)

Meriwether County, Georgia
(Courtesy Wikipedia)
Hiram was born on May 25th, 1838, the fourth of six children, in Meriwether County, Georgia. His parents were Franklin H. and Ruth Glazier. He had one older brother, John, and two older sisters, Mary and an unknown sister. By 1850, when Hiram was only 12, his father was gone either through death or abandonment. He was loving with his mother, one sister and three brothers.
Probably in 1857, when he was about 19 years old, he appears to have begun heading west. In Mississippi, he married Jane Donnald on 12 November.  In January, 1860 their first child, Thomas, was born in Texas.  In July, 1860, the Census finds the three of them living near Quitman, in Wood County, Texas. Living with them in 1860 was Thomas Darnell; Thomas was 19 years old and also came from Georgia. Of course there is a wonder if their child was named after Thomas Darnell.

The Civil War

in 1861, Texas seceded from the union, joined the Confederacy, in March, and Hiram had his second child, Joseph. The Civil War broke out on the 12th of April, 1861.  In a pension application, Hiram claimed to have enlisted in Co. C., 1st Texas Reg. Partisan Rangers Cav. However, there was no record of him in the Regiment rolls at the time of his pension application. Sadly, the Units of the Confederate States Army by Joseph H. Crute, Jr. contains no history for this unit.  Not much seems to be recorded about this unit. 
Record of Oath of Allegiance
(Courtesy Fold 3)
According to union records, Hiram deserted on 11 July, 1864, entering the Union lines. Again, according to union records, on the 18th of July, 1864, Hiram took and oath of allegiance to the Union. This activity is not mentioned in his pension application. As a matter of fact, he states that he was never captured during the war. According to Hiram, in March of 1865 he was given furlough for 30 days due to a “disabled right hand.”  At the end of the 30 days he didn’t return to duty because the hand was not healed. He considered himself still on furlough at that time. Later, in May of 1865, his unit finally surrendered; Hiram still hadn’t rejoined his regiment because his hand was still disabled.

Post War

In 1866, Hiram’s third child, Charles was born and in 1868 Hiram returns to Georgia. 
In 1869, Hiram married Martha B. Fuller.  I am not sure what happened to Jane Donnald. 
In 1870, Hiram is living with his with Martha, who is 8 years his junior. Thomas and Joseph are living with them as is a still, apparently unnamed child, “Babe” who is two month old in July. Not sure what happened to the “Babe” but the child doesn’t show up in the 1880 Census.
By 1878, Hiram had moved over to Pike County, (the next county east) near Hollonville. His is paying taxes there and renting land. The 1880 census indicates him living with his wife Martha and six sons living with them. Thomas, Joseph, Charles, John, Whitfield, and Howard. 
Martha died between 1886 and 1900, leaving Hiram a widower living with six sons , John, Whitfield, Howard, Lyman, Benjamin, and Hiram, and a daughter, Lizzie.  His oldest son. Thomas, is living next door with his wife and five children.
On 7 May 1901, Hiram married his third wife. Dora Frances Argroves. Dora was much younger than him, 22 years younger. 

In 1904, his son Benjamin died and in 1910 his son, Layman, died also. 
The 1910 census shows neither Hiram nor Dora working, however, Hiram’s son, John, lives with them and is working as a merchant in a general store.
Hiram Glazier’s Marker
(Thanks to Find-a-Grave)
Sometime between 1910 and 1915 Hiram moved to Coweta County which is immediately north of Meriwether county. 
in 1915, Hiram applied for Soldier’s Pension under the act of 1910.  In the application he indicates that he had sold his mule and only had household goods valued at about $300.  He was disapproved for the pension because giving his oath to the Union back on July 18th, 1864 disqualified him from a pension.
Hiram died on June 9th, 1916, in Coweta County. He is buried at at Williamson UMC Cemetery, Williamson, Pike County, Georgia, USA.  He was survived by his wife Dora, and sons, Thomas, Joseph, John, Whitfield, Howard, Hiram/Hebe, and a daughter Lizzie (Ruth) Glazier Camp.

Afterlog  

In 1937, Hiram’s widow Dora applied for a widow’s pension. Her application was likewise disapproved because “Hiram F. Glazier enlisted as private in Co. C, 1st Regt, Texas Calvary July 1862. Deserted to enemy in Louisiana July 11, 1864. Took oath of allegiance to the U. S. Govt., New Orleans, LA, July 18, 1864.”
My working theory is that Hiram did participate with the 1st Regt, Texas Calvary from his enlistment in July 1862 until July 1864.  I would like to think that he became separated from his unit and ended up walking into the union lines where he surrendered.  Both sides had horrific prisoner of war camps.  When given a choice of going to a prisoner of war camp or taking an Oath of Allegiance to the Union Government and promising to never take up arms against them, he picked the latter.  
I suspect he went against his oath to the Union and rejoined his confederate unit.  Had he been caught at that point it would have been treason to the Union and certain execution.  As such, when his hand was “disabled” he did whatever he could to stay away from his unit and a 30 day furlough was a great start.  He had little reason to return to duty with a trigger pulling hand “disabled” so he stayed away a little too long. 
Sources:
Ancestry.Com – 1850 Census
Ancestry.Com – 1860 Census
Ancestry.Com – 1870 Census
Ancestry.Com – 1880 Census
Ancestry.Com – 1900 Census
Ancestry.Com – 1810 Census
ancestry.Com – Georgia, Confederate Pension Applications, 1879-1960 
Ancestry.com –  Georgia Marriages, 1851-1900 
ancestry.com – Georgia, Property Tax Digests, 1793-1892
Family Search – Hunting for Bears – Mississippi Marriages, 1776-1935
Find A Grave – Memorial 25638222 – Hiram Frank Glazier
Fold 3 – Hiram F. Glazier – Civil War Records

Rev. James Dallas Howell in Ansonville, NC – 1828-1931

Rev. James Dallas Howell in Ansonville, NC – 1928-1931

Rev. J. D. Howell was voted to be pastor of Ansonville Baptist Church on March 25, 1928 at a regular conference the church. They voted to pay him on a monthly basis. Apparently, the church was unable to live up to its agreement because, sometime later, Mr. Kimbrough talked and asked for voluntary contributions. $54 was raised to be used for past due pastors’ salary. 
During a called conference, there were 4 churches participating in their “field.” On October 21, 1928, J.T. Curlee wrote in the minutes, “The matter of calling a pastor for another year having been discussed by the deacons of all 4 of our churches on the field; we deacons decided to have a called conference to vote whether we wanted to call Bro. Howell for another year.”  The church voted by ballot. There were 49 votes for Rev. J.D. Howell and 5 votes against him. They then voted to make the affirmative vote unanimous.
From the Associational minutes comes the following information: Ordained ministers holding  membership in Ansonville: J.A. Summey, member; J.D. Howell, pastor.
During Rev. Howell’s time at Ansonville, the church grew slowly in terms of members, Sunday School, the Baptist Young Peoples Union (BYPU), and the Women’s Missionary Union (WMU) went up each year. 
                ch. members      S.S members      BYPU           WMU
1928:      96              108      first mentioned      X
1929:      98              114             X            13
1930:     101              141            25            17
Rev. Howell left Ansonville Baptist on June 7, 1931.
The current Ansonville Baptist Church was built in 1951 
(Thanks to Google Maps)
Sources: 
email-Jeff Glenn to Don Taylor – 7 Sep 2013.pdf *
email-Jeff Glenn to Don Taylor – 10 Sep 2013.pdf *
Google Maps: Google Maps

* (Jeff Glenn is the pastor of Ansonville Baptist Church in Sept 2013.)

Tip/ReminderDo not be afraid to contact key individuals or organizations from your ancestor’s life.  Thanks to the generous response of the current pastor of Ansonville Baptist Church, I was able to add new information and add texture to the life of James Dallas Howell.

John Alexander Middleton of New York

John Alexander Middleton of New York.

Someone very dear to me asked me a question regarding a possibility to her genealogy.  Her great-grandfather was a Middleton and she wondered if it were possible that her great-grandfather could be related to Arthur Middleton, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.  My initial thought was, “No — Arthur Middleton was from South Carolina and her great-grandfather was from New Jersey.  Some time ago I had established that her great-grandfather’s father was William Middleton, born in New York in Nov 1872 and married to Lillian Bailey.

Snip of 1875 New York Census (via Family Search)
I poked around here and there and finally found Family Search had an 1875 New York State Census which showed William Middleton as two years old with a brother and sister, Farris & Cora R.  Was was surprised at just how many Middletons there were in the records.  And of course, William, and his father John were really common so it was really had to determine which of many was the correct one.  Luckily, his brother Ferris Middleton had an uncommon name which was easily traceable. A search, again on Family Search, resulted in a Death Certificate. Right age, right mother’s name. 
Snip of Salt Lake County Death Certificate
for Farris Middleton – Family Search
Oddly enough the death certificate had the name of the Father, “Don’t Know” stricken through and replaced with “John Alexander Middleton” and the birthplace as Scotland.  The information regarding his parents seemed to be in a different pen and different hand than the rest of the Certificate.  The informant was E. M. Qualthrough, a name I had never heard.  Also the certificate notes that he had been in the hospital only one day and that his time in the state was unknown.  I was somewhat confused. The 1875 census indicated that John Alexander Middleton was born in New York City. 
Snip of Utah State Death Certificate for Farris John Middleton
– Family Search
Utah, being the awesome genealogical resource that it is, had another death certificate.  The one I had been looking at was apparently a county version.  A State of Utah certificate also existed.  In the State version, the informant was Cora R Holmes from New York City.  That certificate also indicated that John Alexander Middleton was born in Scotland.  I am fairly certain that she would know where her parents were born, father in Scotland and mother in New York City.
Because the Middleton line I’m looking at hit what appears to be a Scottish immigrant I’m fairly certain that it is extremely unlikely to be a relationship with Arthur Middleton, the Declaration of Independence signatory.  
I have more research to do in this line.  I’d like to find his entry into the United States.  I believe John Alexander Middleton and his wife, Lillian Bailey Middleton died between 1875 and 1880.  Neither show in the 1880 Census and the children appeared to be scattered.

Sources: 

1875 New York Census, Kings County, Brooklyn; Online Images,  John A. Middleton. https://familysearch.org/pal:/mm9.1.1/vnjn-wqp.; Family Search,
Utah, Salt Lake County, Death Records, 1908-1949, Ferris J Middleton – 1912 . https://familysearch.org/pal:/mm9.1.1/nqhz-qjd.; Family Search.
Utah, Board of Health, Death Certificate, Ferris John Middleton, 14 Apr 1912

Many thanks to Family Search.  They are an awesome & free resource.