Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Marteeny Graves

I did have some great success at the Williamson County Historical Society in Marion, Illinois, last week. I last posted that I was going there to see what I could find out about the siblings of my 2x-great-grandfather, John Henry Marteeny (1884-1956). I had found photos of their graves online at Find A Grave, which stated they were buried at the Masonic-Lithuanian Cemetery in Shakerag, Williamson, Illinois. My goal was to see if I could find any more info on their deaths and to fulfill a long-time family wish to visit their graves.

I was greeted by very friendly people at the Williamson County Historical Society Museum in Marion. They immediately led me to their research library and to a copy of the book Masonic and Lithuanian Cemeteries, Shakerag, IL by Helen Sutt Lind. I browsed through the book and found out that my 4x step-great-grandfather, John Brown, owned the last-standing grocery store in Shakerag before all the settlers moved one mile away to Lake Creek in the mid-1890s. The best little nugget of info in Helen's book was that the three Marteeny siblings died of diptheria and croup. It even said that the oldest son, Nesbeth Marteeny, had been very close with his father and the father had been terribly heartbroken when he died. The family story was that they died from an epidemic, but no one knew the exact cause. The source is cited as Obits and Tidbits, 1850-1884, Franklin County, Illinois by Carla Pulliam. Guess that is another book I will have to go after.

They were even able to call Helen and she was kind enough to bring me a copy of the book to purchase. She drew me a map to the cemetery, which is at the end of 9th St. in Johnston City.  I am glad that the inscriptions were placed on Find A Grave because the stones were not in that great of a condition. Below are some pics I took while there. I also placed flowers on some of the graves.

Nesbeth F.
Son of J.H. and C.C. Merteney
Born Aug. 8, 1877
Died Jan. 4, 1883

Daisy C.
Dau. of J.H. and C.C. Merteney
Born Oct. 2, 1879
Died Feb. 17, 1882

Marvie J.
Son of J.H. and C.C. Merteney
Born Feb. 6, 1882
Died Dec. 31, 1882

I still have a lot of research to do on my Marteeny ancestors, including finding the grave of my 3x-great-grandfather, John Henry Marteeny (c. 1854-1884). But I am very happy knowing that we have laid to rest a long-time family wish to visit the graves of the three siblings who left this earth too soon.



Tuesday, August 30, 2016

In The Land Of My Ancestors

Some of you may have been wondering where I have been the last year or so. Well, I've been a lot of places, including going through a company sale and then starting a new job last fall. I have not been very good at blogging during that trying time. Probably my lowest point since I started this blog 7 years ago. I think I did at least a couple of posts in 2014, but only one n 2015, and none in 2016 so far.

I am finally back to "normal." I have stability at the new job. Love the people I work with. I now actually have time to take a vacation. And where have I chosen to go? Well, to the land of my ancestors, of course....Williamson County, Illinois. I am on my way to the 2016 FGS Conference in Springfield, which is about 2-3 hours northwest of Williamson County. The first official day of the conference is Thursday, so I thought I would spend today and tomorrow exploring Williamson County, the home of my Marteeny/Mertena, Orth, Baiar, and Millhouse ancestors.

I am here with my parents, and we are going to the Williamson County Historical Society Museum in the morning. I am hoping to talk to the people there about the location of the Lithuanian-Masonic Cemetery in Shakerag. This is where my 2x great-grandfather's, John Henry Marteeny (1884-1956), siblings are buried. He had one sister and two brothers who died in childhood within 11 months of each other in 1882-1883. His father also died in 1884, supposedly the day after John Henry was born, but I have not found his father's burial location yet. John Henry always told my grandmother (his favorite and beloved grandchild) that he wanted to visit the graves of his siblings, but he did not know where they were buried. When he was about 2 years old, his mother remarried, and shortly after they moved to Oklahoma. As far as I know, they never returned to Illinois and he died not knowing their burial location.

I had no idea where they were buried either until 6-8 months ago when I was looking for all Marteeny's buried in Illinois. I was playing with different spelling combinations, and I happened upon them under the name Merteney. From what I can tell from census and marriage records, John Henry's mother, Carolina Cristina Orth, was from Williamson County. Her stepfather, John Brown, is also buried in the Lithuanian-Masonic Cemetery, and has Masonic symbolism on his tombstone. I believe he was likely a Mason, and this is why several family members are buried in the cemetery.

I wish I had more time here to do research here before the conference, but I am happy just being able to fulfill this long-time family wish to visit the graves of the long-lost siblings. I hope to be able to return one day. I found out from the waiter at the restaurant we visited tonight and the visitors guide at the hotel that Williamson County is mostly known for it's outdoor activities and nature, particularly the Shawnee National Forest. I look forward to coming here again for the 3 R's: rest, relaxation, and research.

Stay tuned for more blogging about the conference and more details about the cemetery visit...

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Yes, I Am Alive

I was hoping not to do another post reassuring readers I am alive, but another year has gotten away from me. I miss the days when I used to blog all the time. My blogoversary is coming up in a few days (Jan. 26). This blog will be six years old, but it seems that I have not written much in the past two years. Maybe I should just start setting aside one day per week to blog. Maybe Thursday will be my new blogging day.

I see that many of my fellow geneabloggers are following Thomas MacEntee's Genealogy Do-Over. I don't intend to participate myself, but I do enjoy watching what others are doing. I just can't commit to that big of a project right now, though I did a do-over myself a few years ago. I got so tired of all my crap information in my database that I had copied from online trees that I decided to start over again. So far, I have gotten all the facts for my great-grandparents sourced. Now I am working on my great-great-grandparents.

One thing I have learned is that it really pays off to take time with research and get to know my ancestors. I often find myself rushing through research and quickly moving on to the next line without really analyzing the research I have done and finding the holes that I still need to fill. I feel like I have been researching my Proffitt great-great-grandparents forever, but I also feel like I know them, and that is priceless. This time I even went so far as to hire a professional researcher in Oklahoma to gather some records for me, and I have been very pleased with the results. She can do it a lot more efficiently than I could. Now when I do go to Oklahoma, I can spend my time experiencing the places my ancestors lived rather than having to do research the whole time. Of course, I will do some research, but hiring a professional frees up my time to do other things as well.

My next major project is to clean and organize my genealogy office. We bought a nice 4 bedroom house back in March of last year, and I now have my own genealogy office that I don't have to share with my guests when they come to stay. The only problem is that I need to put this office in order so I can use it. I have several boxes that I got from my grandmother's house with items belonging to my great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents. I need to go through them and probably get archival boxes to store the items. I also need to organize a lot of my paper files. I started doing this before the move, but it is still a work in progress. I go back and forth between wanting to go paperless but yet wanting to have something tangible to refer back to.

Well, that sums up what I've been up to these past few months. I really am going to try to make time to blog on Thursdays. Stay tuned!