Saturday, July 28, 2012

Summer Update

I just realized it has been two months since I last posted. That is probably the longest I have ever gone without posting a single thing. The summer has been busy. I've been getting used to working full time again. We've taken short weekend trips to Gulf Shores and to southwest Louisiana to see our parents. We've also had my parents come to visit us with my niece in tow and took her to the Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans (note to self: do not go there again on a hot weekend in the summer).

Some of the genealogy highlights of the summer:

1. I recently discovered that my great-great-great-grandfather's younger brother, Stephen Pemberton, has a Civil War pension record. I didn't think he would have one because according to my 3g grandfather's deposition in his own pension file, Stephen died during the War from disease and left no wife or children. However, I was searching on either Fold3 or recently and found that there was a pension record for him applied for by his mother, Susanna. I paid the ridiculous fee of $75 and received the pension file this week (I can understand the fee for a file like my 3g grandfather's file, which had over 100 pages, but Stephen's file only had 14 pages). I now know Stephen's date of death (11 Dec 1863 in Limaville, Stark, Ohio), and the birth dates of several of his siblings who were under 18 years of age at the time of his death. According to my 3g grandfather, Susanna was actually present at Stephen's death. His story was that he and Stephen were serving in the same unit, and he was fed up with the doctors not treating Stephen properly. So he stole Stephen out of camp and started heading toward home in Michigan. They made it to Limaville before he had to leave Stephen there and go by himself to get their mother. He then brought Susanna to Limaville, where she made it just in time to see Stephen before he died. My 3g grandfather then turned himself in at Detroit and was sent back to his unit after spending a week or so in jail.

2. I have found many of my Pemberton relatives in the 1940 census, now that Michigan and Ohio have been indexed by I find that I prefer the images over the official 1940 census images at I have found all of my great-grandfather's siblings, and all of my great-great-grandfather's siblings. I've also found quite a few nieces and nephews of my 3g grandfather.

3. This is more of a spring highlight, but back in March, my mom found a bunch of files at my grandparents' house when she was cleaning out the shed. They turned out to be a genealogical gold mine. The papers included my grandfather's first marriage and divorce records and all the land deed/land contracts on all the properties my grandparents lived in over the years in Michigan and Louisiana. His marriage record surprised me because it was from Georgia. I knew he was stationed in Florida while in the military, but I would not have thought to look in Georgia for a marriage record. I still need to process them all and enter them in my database.

4. I am trucking along in my genealogy database cleanup of sources and events. I am now cleaning up the children and grandchildren of my 3g grandfather's sister, Eliza Jane (Pemberton) Finkle. I should be finished by the end of the year (maybe earlier). Eliza had seven children, but only one grandchild, so the cleanup is going by pretty quickly on her family. I am also adding a few new sources here and there, such as new city directories added at and at the St. Clair County Library website. 

5. A recent discovery is that Eliza's son, Hayes Wheeler Finkle, was a duck decoy carver and avid hunter in the Saginaw Bay area. His decoys are still around today. They are pretty pricey ($200 and up) because they are one of a kind and handmade. However, I did find that a collector of duck decoys wrote a book that includes a biography of Hayes and his brother, William (aka Bill - also a carver and hunter in the Lake St. Clair area). The book was much more affordable. I'm eagerly awaiting the delivery of the book. If you google Hayes' name, you will find pictures of his decoys on eBay and several collector and auction websites.

6. I finished two more classes at the National Institute for Genealogical Studies. I was slightly annoyed with both of them. The first was an intro to electronic resources. It hadn't been updated since at least 2008, based upon the course material and website links provided. None of the databases added at FamilySearch were mentioned. The description of FamilySearch only mentioned the older databases (IGI, 1880 US Census, 1881 Canadian Census, SSDI,  Ancestral File, etc.) The second course was an intro to vital records in the U.S. This one was mostly fine, but my only problem was an error that was made in the lesson on birth records. It stated that delayed birth certificates will always be found in the state/county where the person lived at the time of applying and not in the state/county of birth. This appears to have been based on a particular example used by the author, which was a decree of birth registration filed for in the 1950s in Oregon. This was filed through the court system and not through the department of vital records in Oregon. A decree of birth registration is not the same as a delayed birth certificate. A delayed birth certificate is issued by a vital records office (not by the courts). I am also annoyed by the format of the reading materials for both courses. The lessons are in .pdf files, but the images of examples and such are not embedded in the .pdf document. One has to go to a separate section and open up each image file. VERY ANNOYING!!!! I think this may be because many of their students still buy the printed reading materials and just have to flip a page instead of clicking around and switching screens.

Anyhow, those are my summer updates. I hope to start posting more regularly soon.