Friday, November 30, 2012

Tennessee Progress Check

Earlier in the month I wrote about using Asana for tracking family history research as I prepare my First Families of Tennessee documentation. This month I'm going to try to put the pieces together, but in all likelihood with travel and primary duties in December that's going to be a challenge. So here's an update.

At the top of my wish list is to finally connect my Jones line to the territory of present day Tennessee before 31 December 1796. If I cannot find the required documents, I do have other lines to try, but I really want to get this done on the Jones side. The challenge is that while I have documents from me to each male Jones up the line to my 5th-great-grandfather Thomas Jones, that information still doesn't get me earlier than December 1796. While Thomas' birth state was recorded as North Carolina in the 1850 US Census, and approximate birth year of 1778, I don't know if that means he was born within the boundaries of present-day North Carolina, or born in the part of East Tennessee that North Carolina controlled at the time. For background, see the description of the pre-1796 settlements in Tennessee from TNGenWeb.

My suspicion is that his family was in East Tennessee at the time and was an integral part of the formation of the new state. Suspicion doesn't qualify for membership, so I need to look at the documents.

There are two Jones men who signed the Watauga Petition in 1776 and other Jones men who signed the follow-up petition to North Carolina in 1787 as the State of Franklin (including a Thomas Jones).
Map Source: FamilySearch, FranklinCounties.png
I do have some leads, and well as a set of deed records from Cocke County and the territory that was Jefferson County for Thomas Jones.

There's also a curious Ann or Anna Jones who married Benjamin Goins (Goan) in Jefferson County, Tennessee on 15 December 1799. This Anna appears as a widow in the 1830 US Census in Jefferson County, in the 1840 Census and in the 1850 Census. Her birth year is approximately 1775 in the 1850 Census, with birth state as Virginia. It is possible that she is the older sister of the Thomas Jones I have been tracking, but I don't have proof to link the two.
Source: 1850 US Census, Jefferson County, Dist 13, Image 3
My next post will dive into the deed records.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Quest to Know

Over the past week and the long Thanksgiving break I have taken a detour from my initial writing reminders for the month to do a deep dive into the Mexican records available on FamilySearch. This has resulted in several huge finds, and connected me with several extremely helpful and knowledgeable researchers of these lines. In mapping out the grand puzzle that our families leave us, having exchanges with others who have been down the same path is important, and I greatly appreciate it.

For me, this research is driven by the quest to know - where the families came from, what they experienced, how they lived, and more. I do hope others in my family become as interested in these stories as I am, so I try to take the time to present the nuggets of information or threads of a story in a way that might spark some thought, or provide context. That takes time, which I never have enough of due to the life in the present, whether that be my own family or my primary field. This research is done at late hours and very early mornings, but I don't mind trading that time when the results are so often rewarding like the past week has been.

The next couple of weeks will be pretty full in the present, with some distant travel, projects due and talks to give. The writing reminders that I highlighted for November remain the same for December, with a few additions based on the new finds from Mexico. My goal to submit documentation to the First Families of Tennessee program is still there, but I need to spend some time at the Library of Congress and National Archives before that can happen. Those visits will have to wait until vacation time at the end of December.

As months go, November has been big, with an overwhelming amount of new information on various lines of the family. It is worth the time to slow down and digest this before marching down different paths at once. The quest doesn't stop, there's more to learn. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Travel Tuesday - A Chilean Connection

A wonderful researcher sent me a report showing the marriage of Gabriel Vasquez and Maria Jesus Suastegui in Altar at Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe on 17 December 1863. The marriage record revealed a surprise, that Gabriel Vasquez was not born in Mexico, but instead Valparaiso, Chile. The record shows the names of his parents as Jose Vasquez and Agustina Rojas, and that he had only been living in Altar for the past five years (since 1858). Now I know the names of my 4th-great-grandparents.

Source:, Mexico, Catholic Church Records, Sonora, Altar, Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, Informacion matrimonial, 1863-1868, Image 91-92 of 507,

The marriage record states that Gabriel was 25 years old, which puts his birth year approximately 1838. Below is a lithograph from the Wikipedia entry for Valparaiso, Chile, showing the Bay of Valparaiso in 1830 (original source, Museo Histórico Nacional de Chile).
Source: Wikipedia, Valparaiso lithograph from 1830
Gabriel and his parents would have arrived in Sonora sometime in the late 1850s at the Port of Guaymas, on the Gulf of California, directly south from Hermosillo.
More from the Marriage Record
The marriage record shows the parents of Maria Jesus Suastegui as Pedro Suastegui and Anna Maria Orosco. Pedro and Father Bartolome Suastegui were cousins, descended from the same grandfather, Jose Antonio Suastegui (born approximately 1775). 
There are three testimonials included in the marriage record that I need to translate, and will not post for now.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Marriage of Vicente and Maria Jesus

After searching for so long to find information on my Granny's side of family, it's a bit stunning to see the records were there all along, in Mexico, just waiting to be made available online. On 5 February 1890, my 2nd-great-grandparents Vicente Campuzano and Maria Jesus Vasquez were married (*correction - they filed an Informacion Matrimonial as their intent to marry) at Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe in Altar.
Source: FamilySearch, Mexico Catholic Church records
This document comes from the Mexico, Catholic Church Records on FamilySearch, from Altar, Sonora, Marriages 1889-1893, Image 102 of 576. This record confirms the parents of Vicente Campuzano as Vicente Campuzano and Concepcion Amado, who I mentioned in a post from May 2012 titled From the Land of the Fire Ants. The next page, Image 103, confirms the parents of Maria Jesus were Gabriel Vasquez and Maria Jesus Suastegui. I have also included the witness pages, as it shows other connections.
The marriage was certified by Father Bartolome Suastegui (2 Nov 1834-25 Jan 1902), the priest of Altar. Maria Jesus Vasquez and Father Suastegui were related (I'll have more on this as well).
In 1889, Vicente Campuzano witnessed a marriage in Altar and his signature appears on the page with Father Suastegui (I'll save this for a future post).

This is a fantastic record. I'm thankful that the records were preserved and scanned, and made freely available by FamilySearch. I wasn't sure I would ever find this, and now I know the family goes much further back into Mexican history. 

Correction - 10 August 2015: The actual marriage of Vicente Campuzano and Maria Jesus Vasquez occurred on 2 May 1890. See the marriage record below. Thanks to Raclare for pointing me to this document.
Source: FamilySearch, Matrimonios, Sonora, Mexico.

Breakthrough on the Vasquez Line

On my Granny's Mexican side of the family, a big brick wall has been my 2nd-great-grandmother and first wife of Vicente Campuzano, Maria Jesus Vasquez (also spelled Vazquez). Over the weekend I posted an entry showing the birth records for Vicente Jr and Plutarco Campuzano. After further digging in the records for Pitiquito, I've finally been able to open up this branch of the family.

I first found an entry from 24 November 1906, showing of the death record for Jesus Vasquez, wife of Vicente Campuzano. My Spanish is fairly poor, but it shows that she was approximately 35 years old, and her death was recorded at about 4am. I'm having difficultly with the translation on her cause of death.
Source:, Sonora, Civil Registration, 1861-1995, Pitiquito, Defunciones 1900-1994, Images 195-196 of 1997.

This record places her year of birth about 1871. Fortunately the birth records for Pitiquito exist for 1871, and thanks to Mexican naming conventions, I have names for my 3rd-great-grandparents on her birth record. The record shows that Maria [?] Vasquez was born the daughter of Gabriel Vasquez and Maria Jesus Suastegui in Pitiquito on 20 May 1871. *Correction 6 Sept 2013 - Helpful Suastegui researcher Raclare has corrected me, the birth record was for a younger sister of Maria Jesus Vasquez. An earlier record confirms Maria Jesus Vasquez was born on 1 October 1866 in Pitiquito and baptized on 21 November 1866.
Source: FamilySearch, Sonora Civil Registration, Pitiquito
Source: Sonora, Civil Registration, 1861-1995, Pitiquito, Nacimientos.

In the Pitiquito death record for 1906 there were three persons named Vasquez. On the entry for Pedro Vasquez, dated 28 May 1906, it listed his age as 40 years old. In checking the birth records for Pitiquito, I found a Jose Pedro Vasquez born on 1 July 1868, to Gabriel Vasquez and Maria Jesus Suastegui. Thankfully this entry is easier to read.
Source: FamilySearch, Sonora, Civil Registration, Pitiquito
The Vasquez family was clearly in Pitiquito for a long time. There is a Francisco Vasquez and a Jesus Vasquez who appear as judges in the early Pitiquito records. I'm looking for more entries on Gabriel Vasquez and family. It is great to finally see further back on this line.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Witness to Marriages, 1892

As I look through the Sonora Civil Registration files, I continue to find many examples of my 2nd-great-grandfather Vicente Campuzano as a town leader. This entry from the record of marriages in Pitiquito from 1892 stands out for his signature on the page, marking the end of another year.
Source: FamilySearch, Sonora, Civil Registration

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Birth Records for Vicente Jr & Plutarco Campuzano

After diving into the Sonora, Civil Registration files to find a death record for Vicente Campuzano, I searched page by page through the Villa de Altar record of births for my great-grandfather Plutarco Campuzano and his brother, Vicente Campuzano Jr. Unfortunately I did not find them in Altar, but did locate them entered together in the files for the neighboring Pueblo de Pitiquito. These are great records, hand written with a Spanish flourish but clear enough to read a wealth of detail.

Vicente Jr's record of birth was recorded on the same day as Plutarco's, 18 April 1900, in Pitiquito, although his had occurred 6 years earlier on 20 April 1894. The records were entered by Santiago C. Martinez, Juez del Estado Civil (equivalent to the magistrate judge, this translates to judge of civil status of Pitiquito) (see Image 39, Sonora Civil Registration file for Pitiquito). The records confirm their mother as [Maria] Jesus Vazquez.
Source: FamilySearch, Sonora, Civil Registration for Pitiquito

Friday, November 23, 2012

Death Record for Vicente Campuzano

I've written previously about the life of my 2nd-great-grandfather, Vicente Campuzano, who appeared in various records as a carriage maker, a butcher, a merchant, and a carpenter and traveled often between Sonora and Arizona. Vicente served as a sergeant at arms in Liga Protectora Latina during a brief residency between 1913-1917 in Arizona. Based on the Sonora Civil Registration files digitized at FamilySearch, I now know that Vicente returned to Altar, Sonora, was a town elder and frequent witness on civil records. Vicente passed away on 31 October 1940 in Altar.

The image below is from the Sonora, Civil Registration, 1861-1995 files (Image 745).
Source: FamilySearch, Sonora Civil Registration files
This document shows that he was found by his son, Manuel Campuzano. Vicente was 78 years old, and was living at Calle Zaragoza No. 84 in Altar.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

From the Desk of the President, 1866 has a great collection of Civil War material, one part of that collection is titled Letters Received by the Office of the Adjutant General, Main Series 1861-1870. I have been trying to learn more about the killing of Captain John Thornhill, nephew of Elizabeth Thornhill Jones and cousin of my 3rd-great-grandfather Joseph Thomas Jones. The fallout from Thornhill's case rose to the attention of President Andrew Johnson in January 1866.
Johnson enclosed a news clipping from the Cincinnati Commercial titled "Conflict of Authority in East Tennessee" and asked for a report on the situation. I've made a larger copy of the news clipping below. It is interesting to see Thornhill characterized as a "guerilla" since he previously had commanded Company B in the US 9th Cavalry.
As noted previously, this case eventually went to the US Supreme Court, but was sent back down to the courts in Tennessee. I don't have the history on the case after it was sent back in 1870. Next step for this is to write to the Tennessee State Archives to see what they have.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - John, Matilda, Roy O'Brien

In January during the early days of the blog I wrote about Matilda Jane Lambert and her husband John J. O'Brien. Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, there is a Findagrave entry for both and a photo of their headstone. They are buried in Glenwood Cemetery in Shelbyville, Shelby County, Illinois.
Photo Credit: Eileen Bridges, Findagrave

Findagrave entry for John J. O'Brien.
Findagrave entry for Matilda Jane Lambert O'Brien.

In looking back at these entries, I also noticed something I had not checked previously. There is a photo of the tombstone for my great-grandfather's brother, Roy O'Brien. It shows that he was a Band Corporal in the 327 Field Artillery in World War I. I'm interested to know more about his service in the war.
Photo credit: Eileen Bridges, Findagrave
There is a scanned version of Shelby County in the World War (1919) on At the bottom of page 161 is a short bio and photo of Roy O'Brien.
Source: Shelby County in the World War,
This shows that Roy was "specially inducted in May 1918 at Camp Taylor and assigned to 327 F. A. Regimental Band. Dis. in February 1919."

Who was Pleasant Morgan?

Back in February I posted a copy of the marriage bond between Charlie Read and Mary Alice Cain. My 2nd-great-grandparents were married on Valentines Day, 14 February 1895 in Barren County, Kentucky. Mary Alice is one of my biggest brick walls, and I have no idea who her parents were. Recently when looking again at this marriage bond, I noticed that I had overlooked a possible major detail. The surety on the marriage bond was Pleasant Morgan. Who was this person? Could Morgan be a connection to Mary Alice's parents?

According to information on Ancestry, Pleasant Morgan was born on 6 July 1846 in Jackson County, Tennessee, and he died on 31 March 1928 in Metcalfe County, Kentucky. In the 1880 US Census, Morgan and family were living in the Eastern 1/2 of Barren County, Kentucky. I've looked through that enumeration district and there is no one with a last name spelled like Cain. I'm stumped on this one.

If there are any researchers descended from Pleasant Morgan that stumble on this page and have ideas on his connection to Charlie Read or Mary Alice Cain, please let me know.

Update - 24 May 2013
A kind researcher cleared up my question on the identity of Pleasant Morgan and his connection to the Read family. Charlie Read had an older brother, Albert Shirley Read. Albert married Lucy Jane Morgan on 23 August 1893. Lucy's father was Pleasant Morgan.

Writing Progress Check

At the beginning of November I had an ambitious set of stories that I was hoping to cover. I've spent quite a bit of time covering the Civil War pension file of Joseph Jones and new finds from Tennessee. I returned from last week's meetings in Los Angeles to another set of deed records from the Jefferson County Archives, although I'm no closer to pinning down a confirmation of the Joneses in East Tennessee prior to the magic date of 31 December 1796, I feel like I'm getting closer.

Before I cover more information from the pension file, I need to review some other documents. This is going to require a trip to the Library of Congress and National Archives. I'm not sure when I'll have time to do that in the next couple of weeks. I'd like to know more about the case of Captain John Thornhill, and the legal action that went to the Supreme Court and back.

I've wanted to shift focus to introduce the story of the Halter family on my wife's side arriving in the US from Alsace in New Orleans, but this is going to need to wait until December. Her 4th-great-grandfather, Francois Antoine Halter, came to New Orleans in 1832. In 1861, he appears in the New Orleans City Directory as a gardener living at 77 Bartholomew Street. This is located around the corner from the Musician's Village built by Ellis Marsalis and Harry Connick Jr following Hurricane Katrina. Francois was living in New Orleans at a fascinating time in its growth.

In that same City Directory, another Halter, Joseph, was living at 258 Frenchmen Street. That's very close to the present day Frenchmen Hotel. I haven't confirmed if this Joseph was her 3rd-great-grandfather. In August 1861 he married Laura Williams in Vanderburgh County, Indiana.

There's more to the story of Azariah Davis to tell. Azariah's wife (my 6th-great-grandmother), Alice Elsie Van Meter has an interesting story of her own. She is descended from the Van Meter family, which leads to quite extensive research covered by others, describing their journey to America in 1662 and long history before arriving in the New World. Given the amount of information, I'll take my time working up to this.

There are a few more generations of Allmans to highlight, now that the parents of William Allman have been identified. I'm not at a loss for stories to share, either from the past or photos from recent or upcoming meetings.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Pension File of Joseph Jones - Pt 3

I pick up the story of the shooting of Joseph Jones with the deposition of Madison Line, husband of Eliza Line. Previous entries on Joseph's pension file are available at Part 1 and Part 2. In March 1878, Mr. Line sold property in Hamblen County to Joseph. In 1886, Line provided a deposition in Joseph's pension file describing the circumstances of the shooting that he had witnessed in December 1864 during the Civil War.

Deposition of Madison Line, 25 January 1886
Panther Springs, Hamblen County, Tennessee

"I knew Jones before the war and have known him ever since he was a little bit of a boy. I could not say when we came home "while a soldier" but it was just after the siege of Knoxville in 1864. At that time his home was about 1/4 of a mile from me it was right on my place. He said he was home on a furlough but I did not see it and don't know whether he had one or not but he told me Brownlow gave him a furlough. I don't remember of hearing it said that he was home because they had trouble with or in the Company. There was some men "home" of the 9th that had trouble.

Jones was wounded just before or after Christmas 1864. It was cold weather at the time and it was after the Battle of Mossy Creek. I think he [next page] was wounded in December. The way I know he was wounded was from the fact that he had borrowed my saddle. I wanted to use it so I went to his house in the morning to get it. It was a very cold morning and I went up to the pine was leaning over holding my cane. I heard a noise at the door and looked and saw a pistol in at the open door.

The door was to my left.

Jones sat to the right of me.

A bed to my left.

Jones jumped up run around me to the bed to get his pistol that was lying there. He reached for it and they shot him in the right shoulder, the ball passing through and hitting me in the left arm. They fired only once in the house but they shot after outside but I don't know what at.

Jones, myself and Phillip McClanahan (dead) were the only persons there except Jones wife and children. James Sheperd was not there that morning but he was there that afternoon. I went back after it Sheperd was there then but he was not there that morning. There was several of the "rebel" soldiers at the time but only me shot in the house. If James Shepherd was there at the time Jones was shot I have no recollection of it.

After Jones was shot the soldiers took him a 1/4 or a 1/2 mile from home and they then thought he was wounded so bad they let him go. He was weak from the loss of blood and could not get along as fast as they wanted to so he got back home.

He said he had a furlough but I do not know for how long but he said that after that expired he was to do attached duty scouting. Whether this was so I do not know. He did not say who put him on the ditched duty but Thornhill could not do it. He and Thornhill were home together and I understand that Thornhill was on ditched duty too. Thornhill did not have the trouble until the Spring of 1865. That is with his Company. I am not related to Jones, I have no interest in the case and I am not [?] either for or against him."

Signed Madison Line
25 January 1886
The next deposition was presented by James Sheperd, age 74, of Valley Home, Hamblen County. This was also taken on 25 January 1886.

"I knew [Jones] when a boy. I don't know when he went into the service. He was home more than once while a soldier. Once when home he was shot.

One morning pretty soon the month or year I cannot remember, he was at home. I was 150 yards from his house when about 16 rebels rode up and one of them rode up to the door and shot in and shot Jones. I saw the rebel shoot but did not see Jones shot as he was inside the house. They captured him and brought him out, I then saw he was shot. The rebels ordered me to follow them which I did for a short distance and then left them. They released Jones that same day and he came back. This I was told for I left right away but the neighbor said he got back that day. I think he was wounded in the left side, Madison Line was wounded at the same time by the same bullet. This I know as I went right after Line to his house and he took his coat off and the bullet fell out of his sleeve on the floor. I saw the bullet.

Line, Jones and Phillip McClanahan were the only men in the house at the time Jones and Line were shot. I understand that Jones was home by a furlough at the time he was shot, but I don't know that this was so positively for I did not see the furlough if he had it but I understand from his family that he was furloughed. They did not come and say they had a verbal furlough. Oh! No, they all said they had written furloughs but I never saw any of their furloughs. I can't remember when it was that Jones was shot but it was pretty cool weather. I can't remember when it was. I have no way to tell the year that Jones was shot. I did make an affidavit in the case and it was executed before Esquire Henderson Skeen. I am not related to [Jones]. I have no interest in the case.

...[Jones] was wounded in the right shoulder and that it was about the first of December 1864. In your earlier statement you said it was the left shoulder and that you cannot remember the year or month. Please explain.

I don't remember of that affidavit being read to me, but I do remember it was cool weather when Jones was shot he was a soldier at that time.

Signed James [X his mark] Sheperd
I have a copy of the deed between Jones and Madison Line on the way from the Hamblen County Archives. I also need to go back and look at the pension file of Thomas W. Thornhill to see what he says in his file.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Civil War Pension File of Joseph Jones - Pt 2

Monday's Part 1 on the Civil War pension file of my 3rd-great-grandfather, Joseph Thomas Jones, prompted some excellent pointers from fellow Jones-Thornhill researchers and distant cousin Lynne. She has previously reminded me about the Diary of Kate Livingston, which was written between 1859 and 1868 by a girl living in Panther Springs (present-day Hamblen County). Catherine (Kate) Livingston (born in 1841) was the daughter of preacher Samuel Livingston, and would have been a neighbor of the Jones and Thornhill families. This diary references the shooting of Joseph Jones and Captain John Thornhill.

The diary has been scanned by the Jefferson County Genealogy & History website and I am very thankful that this diary is available for researchers to use today.

Below is an extract from page 83 of the diary, showing an entry from 3 September 1863 where "the Yankee cavalry passed through Panther Springs en route for Morristown...saw Thornhill Jones &c."
An entry from January 1865 references Jake Ryons (Jacob Ryan, husband of Sarah Jane Thornhill, sister of Elizabeth Thornhill Jones) and "wounded Joe Jones". The diary also mentions "Thornhill's scout."
Livingston describes the killing of Captain Thornhill on her entries for 24-25 June 1865:
I'll have more on the Thornhill case in the future post, but the fallout from his death went to the US Supreme Court and back to the Tennessee Supreme Court. Rankin v State, 78 US 380 (1870) references the killing of Captain Thornhill by men of the 9th Cavalry.

In Joseph's pension file, the deposition of Eliza Line of Panther Springs (taken in 1886) describes Jones returning to help his cousin Captain Thornhill, and the shooting of Joseph in December 1864. She states:

"I knew Joseph Jones from boyhood. I knew him in Jefferson County and also in this C[ounty]. We moved up here in October 1862. He was gone in the service or for that purpose.

Sometime near the close of the war, I can't say when, Jones returned home. At the time his home was about a 1/2 mile from here. I understand that Parsons & Thornhill had some trouble about who should hold a certain rank in the command [of the 9th Cavalry] & Thornhill got mad & came home. Jones was a cousin of the Thornhills and came home about the same time, so did other of the boys who sympathized with Thornhill. They came home on that account. I think it was 1864 that Jones was shot."

One day Jones borrowed my husband's saddle and fearing Jones might get off again, he went down to his house and the next morning he came to see about it. While at Jones' house, 14 rebels rode up before they knew about it. One of them injured his horse, pulled his pistol down. Jones jumped up to get his pistol that was on the bed and the rebel shot him in the right arm. My husband was shot through the muscle in the left arm. Jones said they fired but once but my husband said they fired twice. I was not there at the time but my husband told me this when he came home that morning. When he got home he took his coat off and the bullet dropped on the floor, it had lodged in his coat sleeve.

The rebels started off with Jones but they thought he was hurt so badly that he would be an expense on their hands so they let him go. They did not take my husband because he was not a soldier. I aint certain just when this was but it was cold weather. It was either the last of 1864 or in the first of 1865 I am not certain.

Did you understand Jones had a furlough at the time he came home?

No I don't know either way but the general understanding was he came home because they had trouble in the County. I did not see Jones at the time he was shot but I saw him after he got well. My husband knows all about the shooting. I don't remember hearing a word about Jones or the others being deserters."

There's more to the story, and its connection with Captain Thornhill.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tech Tuesday - Using Asana for Family History

Asana is a task management tool created by a co-founder of Facebook and one of its early engineers. I've been using Asana since it launched out of beta last year, and have found it to be a very powerful web application and organizer in my primary field. Recently I have been finding uses for Asana in tracking family history queries and progress toward my First Families of Tennessee application.

Asana released an update to their iPhone application a few months ago, which has made it much easier to use on the phone. The application works great through mobile Safari on the iPad, but I like the speed of the iPhone app and use it for quick checking of tasks and storing information. It supports pdf documents as attachments within tasks, and it is an alternative to services such as Basecamp.

Below is a sample page showing my First Families of Tennessee prep work.
I have the page separated into headings, which are customizable in real time and can be dragged and re-ordered. For this project I have listed the requirements at the top, and the candidate families that I am tracking shown as priority headings.

When I click on the Resident in Tennessee before 31 Dec 1796 task, it opens a view on the right (see below):
Using Lamon as an example, when I click this family I have listed my direct ancestors in order (these are subtasks in Asana). I can click on these further to make comments and attach files or link to my information on the blog or Ancestry as pointers to references and other evidence.
I can also use this as a collaboration tool if working with other researchers. This would make a great tool for historical societies. Two or more collaborators can send notes and track progress on research tasks, assign due dates and use it to share files. It keeps a log as you update, so you can go back and see progress. Asana can also send you daily reminders to your email.

Below is an example of how I'm using Asana to track queries and future items to research. At any given time I have many queries on various lines that I'm researching, and it's easy to forget what has been sent out or what needs a follow-up if one doesn't keep track.
I'm only beginning to scratch the surface of how useful this tool is for research and family history. I hope you find it to be a good addition to your online genealogy kit.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Military Monday - Civil War Pension of Joseph Jones, Pt 1

[Updated] Although yesterday was the legal public holiday for Veterans Day, the Monday after is treated as a Federal holiday. This means our little guy's school is closed. I also take this opportunity to begin a review of the Civil War pension of his 4th-great-grandfather, my third-great-grandfather, Joseph Thomas Jones.

On Friday I wrote about the wives of Joseph Jones, based from the information contained in his Civil War pension file. This post takes a closer look at that file. This is the start of a careful review of not only Joseph's military service during the Civil War but the impact of the war on Jefferson and Hamblen Counties in Tennessee, and the service of Joseph's relatives during those turbulent years.

For the moment, we're going to put to the side the Thomas Jones who was in the 61st Mounted Tennessee Infantry of the Confederate Army and captured at the Battle of Big Black River in May 1863. I have some theories on this, and will save them for a separate post.

The Pension File
As a record, the file at the National Archives is nearly two inches thick. There's a ton of information there, and I need to go back and make better copies. Joseph's Civil War pension file has been combined with the file of Harvey Bales, a private in Company M of the 1st Tennessee Cavalry in the Union Army. Based on the file and other records, Bales was born on 27 May 1844 in Greene County, Tennessee, and died on 8 June 1924 in White Pine, Jefferson County, Tennessee. He married young Pearl Cox Jones on 12 April 1911, over a year after Joseph passed away in 1910.

Joseph submitted a pension application for service in Companies C and L of the 1st Tennessee Cavalry in the Union Army. Joseph's cousins, Joseph Marion Thornhill and Thomas W. Thornhill, also served in Company C. 

Personal Appearance
In the service record for Joseph Jones (source, he is described as 5 foot 7 & 1/2 inches, with fair complexion, blue eyes and dark hair.

This record shows that he was a farmer, born in Jefferson County, Tennessee, and that he enlisted on 25 January 1863 in Grainger County, Tennessee. His pension file states he enlisted on 1 February 1863, was at Chickamauga in September 1863, where he contracted malaria and was discharged on 27 May 1865 after receiving treatment for malaria and diarrhea. There's also a question of a gap in service in 1864-1865.

Disputed Claim
A claim was filed on 28 June 1880 from Maryville, Blount County, Tennessee. In March 1885, a reviewer named Mr. Camp wrote to Mr. Van Mater, Chief Board of Review in the Pension Office, noting several inconsistencies in Joseph's file. Camp wrote, " my opinion [?] his silence on material points as evidence that he courts concealment. But for the fact that he is so ignorant he cannot write, claim is forwarded for rejection. Shall that action be taken? Shall it be further marked rejected or admitted as it stands?"

Van Mater's reply two days later was very brief. "Mr Camp, In my opinion, line of duty should be accepted and claim allowed." This did not end the review, and in April 1885, Joseph's case was referred to a Special Examination by the Department of the Interior, US Pension Bureau.
This claim was rejected on 5 April 1886, on the ground that the wound he claimed to have received did not occur in the line of duty. Joseph refiled his claim on 18 February 1890. This claim was rejected on 10 October 1902 on the ground of inability to produce satisfactory testimony. His application was later approved, and he was granted a pension of $15 per month.

Joseph's claim later made it to the attention of Congressman R. W. Austin in Washington, DC, who wrote to the Commissioner of the Bureau of Pensions in 1909 and 1910 on this case and the widow's claim later filed by Pearl Cox Jones.

A Shot in the Arm, and Confusing Testimony
The bulk of the file includes detailed medical reports and testimony from a variety of witnesses living in Jefferson and Hamblen Counties. It appears that Jones and his Thornhill cousins came back to Panther Springs in December 1864 after hearing something troubling about the command of Captain John Thornhill (he was a Captain in the 9th Tennessee Cavalry). The record notes there was a dispute over whether Joseph and the Thornhills deserted or were granted a furlough by their commander James P. Brownlow. There's also an earlier claim that Joseph deserted at Graysville, Georgia in June 1864.

Some of the testimony covers the discharge claims from May 1865 where he states he was suffering from rheumatism, malaria and diarrhea. In one document he states that he had trouble doing manual labor for several years and took a light job as a section boss with the railroad in Hawkins County. Then he got "considerably better and could make about half a hand on the farm."

Witness Eliza Line claimed that Joseph was shot in the arm by Rebel guerrillas who came to his home. The medical reports confirm he was shot.

Witness Madison Line stated that Joseph told her Brownlow had granted him a furlough and that he had not deserted.

There's a letter in the file dated 24 March 1888 from the Adjutant General's Office removing the charge of desertion dated 26 June 1864 from Joseph's record, stating "He was absent without proper authority from June 26, 1864 to April 28, 1865."

It appears that there is confusion over whether Joseph was acting as a scout for his cousin Captain Thornhill or had deserted (or if there was something else going on). Many of the witnesses were related by marriage or birth.

There's also an affidavit in the file signed by Joseph's brother-in-law, Anderson Walker, from Thorntown, Boone County, Indiana, where we states Joseph received the gunshot wound while on "special detailed duty...under the order of Capt John A Thornhill." Walker, who was also a member of Company L, married Joseph's sister Margaret Caroline Jones on 25 July 1865. The family moved to Indiana before continuing on to Kansas.

Another note signed by Joseph states that "I was detailed under Capt. Thornhill during the time above mentioned [June 26, 1864 to February 28, 1865] I was in the United States service all the time, never was absent a day till wounded."
I have lots of questions. Was Joseph really detailed as a scout for Captain Thornhill in 1864-1865? What was going on in this part of the county at the time? I'm interested in reading further about the Civil War history of Jefferson County, and have a few books on my wish list to look up at the Library of Congress during the upcoming holidays. I am hoping that other researchers have devoted some time describing what was happening with the 9th Cavalry in the Dandridge and Morristown area, as I think this may shed some light on what happened. I also need to pull the pension files related to John A., Joseph Marion and Thomas W. Thornhill.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Comparing my AncestryDNA Results with my Mom's

Earlier in the year I took the autosomal DNA test through AncestryDNA. For my Mom's birthday I got her an AncestryDNA test, and the results have now come back to us. This post compares her results with mine.

Mom's Results
Compared against my Results
We had expected to see Native North American, based on my 2008 mtDNA test, and we were right. My Mom's test showed 6% Native North American. Her results also showed 10% Uncertain. The big surprise was 7% Middle Eastern. Perhaps that shouldn't be such a big surprise, with Jewish influence in Spain and Spanish conquest in Mexico, this may be where the 7% comes from. There's a lot of research to be done on this branch of my Mom's family.

This makes me wonder if there's Eastern European in the 10% Uncertain percentage on my Mom's results, or if I get the Eastern European from my Dad's side. This also makes me wonder how much of my 7% Uncertain figure is Middle Eastern, or what else might be in that figure.

The British Isles result wasn't much of a surprise, with my Grandpa Leo's family consisting of Read, Whitley/Wheatley, Matthews, Grinstead lines. I am a bit surprised that her percentages weren't higher from my Granny's Mexican side. But maybe if my Aunts took the test their percentages may be different from inheriting longer DNA sections from my Granny's side of the family.

It's worth mentioning that her results came back really fast - less than three weeks from sending off the sample to receiving the results. I wasn't expecting these back until Thanksgiving.

I'm really glad she was open to doing this test, and I hope this leads us to unlocking new chapters in the family's journey.

Veterans Day Note

This is a short note of thanks, to those who have served in the armed forces, for your contributions to the country and for a greater good. In the US we use this day to honor not only the veterans of World War I, but all veterans of our armed services. I especially want to thank my Dad, for his service during Vietnam, and others in the family (or connected to the family) whose stories I've come to know more about over the course of the past year.

It is my hope that I'm able to identify other veterans connected to the family whose stories may have been forgotten, and to try pass along those stories to others through this blog.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

UIndy and Ancestry Collaboration

The University of Indianapolis and announced a joint effort that will provide the first of its kind collaboration by the family history giant with a university, "encouraging students to explore and reflect on how their family history impacts their identity". This is really great to see, and that it applies to the whole university (students, faculty and staff). Hat tip to Ron Darrah's IndyGenealogy and Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter for reporting the announcement.

I have a personal connection to the University of Indianapolis as I trained at the campus pool during several summers in the 1990s while home from college, and had many swim meets over the college years at U of I. Several cousins graduated from there as well. It's a nice campus on the southside of Indianapolis.

The U of I and Ancestry project is the type of thing I wish had been available when I was in college.  I've written about this before, but I had no idea during my 4 years of college in Crawfordsville, Indiana that I had deep roots just a few miles from campus. If I had known about this information back then, I could have spent more time researching and exploring this heritage that was right at my doorstep (and it really was, the Montgomery County Library is a block from my old fraternity house).

The speaker series also ties in the family history theme. This should be very enlightening for the U of I community. I hope this is a sign of future partnerships between Ancestry (and other similar providers), universities, colleges and even secondary schools. This is a great way to encourage the younger generation to look at their family history, and also provides an opportunity for those who take advantage of the tools to reflect on their past and learn in ways that they may never have expected. Kudos to U of I for pulling this together.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Azariah Davis, Patriot

Last month I covered Azariah Davis (1808-1857) and his father Henry Davis (1781-1855) in Vermilion County, Illinois. Henry's father was Azariah Davis, and he was born on 12 February 1756 in Chester, Pennsylvania. He died on 22 September 1838 (or 1839) in Utica, Knox County, Ohio. Azariah is buried in the Old 6th Street Cemetery in Newark, Licking County, Ohio.

It appears that Azariah fought in both the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, according to the markers bearing his name in Veteran's Park in Newark and his Findagrave entry.
Photo source: (see link above)
Photo source:
According to information, Azariah was married twice. First, to Alice Elsie Van Meter on 1 December 1780 in Washington County, Pennsylvania. He later married Mary Harrington Smith. I will write about these spouses, and children, in an upcoming post.

In the Revolutionary War, Azariah served as an ensign in the Pennsylvania Militia. By 1784, he was a Lieutenant in the Third Company of the Washington County, Pennsylvania Militia (source: Pennsylvania Archives, Series 1, Volume X, Page 287 on, see below).
Source: PA Archives, Fold3
In 1781, Azariah paid a supply tax in Washington County, Pennsylvania. There are two other Davis names on this tax record, William and Stephen Davis. Stephen should be Azariah's brother, based on other information I've seen. William was Azariah's father.
Source: PA Archives, Fold3
I'll have more on Azariah in advance of Veterans Day. There are probably hundreds, if not thousands, of descendants of Azariah Davis, and I'm not alone in researching him. As I write this, 94,000 hits show up on Google for "Azariah Davis 1756". I'm going to take some time to sort through this information, and welcome input from other descendants of this Azariah. There are a number of Sons of the American Revolution and Daughters of the American Revolution applications referencing Azariah Davis, but before I repeat that information I want to try to validate some of this with records and documents.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Those Places Thursday - Bays Mountain

South of Strawberry Plains in Jefferson County, Tennessee is a ridge called Bays Mountain. In this location it has an elevation of nearly 1300 feet, but it is part of a longer range that runs up to Kingsport, Tennessee (part of Hawkins and Sullivan County). In Jefferson County, the range runs between the Holston River to the north and the French Broad River, which forms the southern border of the county today. This area was settled beginning in the 1780s, and I believe my Jones ancestors were in this area between the 1780s and 1790s. Nearby Finley's Gap, is noted as the place where Davy Crockett married Mary Polly Finley in 1806. This would have made Crockett a contemporary of my ancestor Thomas Jones.

In 1810, Thomas Jones executed a warranty deed with John Johnson for 50 acres at Bays Mountain in Jefferson County. I have ordered a copy of that deed from the Jefferson County Archives. The deed index also shows Thomas Jones executing a warranty deed for 135 acres with Margaret Barnes in 1807.

In 1855, William U. Sturman (1833-1911) deeded 66 acres to Elizabeth Thornhill Jones. The land was located on the south side of Bays Mountain. I received a copy of the deed yesterday from the Jefferson County Archives, and the text reads as follows:

Wm. U. Sturman deed to Elizabeth Jones for 66 acres of land
Registered 12 December 1855

William U. Sturman have this day the 20 day of September One thousand eight hundred and fifty five bargained and sold and do hereby transfer and convey to Betsy Jones her heirs and assigns forever for the consideration of two hundred to me paid a tract of land in the State of Tennessee County of Jefferson and district no. 10 containing by estimation sixty six acres the same more or less and bounded as follows

Beginning on a Spanish Oak on the south side of Bays Mountain, then north 87 west 40 poles to a stake near a large chestnut oak. Then south 14 poles to a stake then south 50 west 18 poles to a stake near 2 pines then south 62 poles to a white oak near a deep sinkhole south 50 east 54 poles to a stake near a black oak stump then north 35 east 8 poles to [Chinquissine?] oak then south 36 east 49 poles to a stake then north 35 east 69 poles to a stake in Carters line then with said line north 49 west 81 poles to a white oak, then direct to the beginning.

To have and to hold the same to the paid Betsy Jones I am lawfully seized of said land have a good right to convey it and that the same is unencumbered. I do further covenant and bind myself my heirs and representations to warrant and forever defend the title to the said land and every part thereof to the said Betsey Jones her heirs and assigns against the lawful claims of all persons whatever.

William U. [x his mark] Sturman

Executed and delivered in our presence day and date above
Written O.R. Watkins
Charles C. Cline
State of Tennessee
Jefferson County

Signed 12 December 1855 in Dandridge, Jefferson County, presented James M. Nicholson, Clerk of County Court of Jefferson County on 10 December 1855.
I don't know yet if Elizabeth was acquiring land that previously belonged to the father of her husband, Robert Thomas Jones Sr. Her purchase occurred 7 years after Robert's death returning from the Mexican War.

It's also worth noting that the Charles C. Cline who witnessed this deed had married Rachel Jane Green, sister of Mary Catherine Green Jones, in 1854.

More deeds to follow. Bays Mountain is another part of the county that plays a role in the story of the Jones family in Tennessee.