Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Looking Back on 2014

As I prepare to close out another calendar cycle, I thought it would be good to reflect back on a year that has been personally pretty great. Last December I had a recap post as well, so to continue the tradition, here is a look back on 2014 and a look ahead to a promising 2015.

I started 2014 with a trip to Los Angeles, then meetings in Montevideo, Uruguay and a much needed vacation in Montevideo & Buenos Aires. In February there was a short hop to London, the first of several I made throughout the year. In the month of March I completed a circuit around the globe, beginning with talks in Moscow and continuing to our big international meeting in Singapore. Along the way I celebrated a milestone birthday with good friends on several occasions. Those are memories I'll keep.

The month of April provided a visit to Culpeper for work, a discovery of cool street art, and UN meetings in New York. This trip also provided my first ever visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, one of the best in the world. The month of June included a big international meeting in London, followed by a family vacation to Montana to celebrate the wedding of a great friend.

July and August included meetings in LA, and a quick trip to London, while September included my first visit to Azerbaijan, with a stopover in Kyiv on the return flight. In October, our 3rd big international meeting was at the Century Plaza in LA. November took me to Cairo and Beirut, Lebanon on the same trip, followed by Thanksgiving in Columbia, South Carolina with family. December closed out my travels with a return trip to Azerbaijan for the 2nd Regional Internet Governance Forum.

From a family history standpoint, 2014 brought many discoveries. Other members of the family had their DNA tests done, and this has also helped share the interest in family history stories. We're awaiting results from my Mom's two sisters, and perhaps this will help break through the brick wall on the Cain family of my 2nd-great-grandmother Mary Alice Cain Read. My Christmas Project photo books turned out great for my parents, giving them something to hold showing their trees and DNA results.

I have an incredible amount to be thankful for this year. 2015 looks to continue the pace of 2014, and I welcome the things to come. I'll close this post with a photo from New Year's Eve 2013, wishing good health and good fortune for the year.
Photo by Patrick Jones. 31 Dec 2013.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

New Years Eve 1898

This is a snapshot from the front page of the Santa Monica Daily Outlook from 31 December 1898, 116 years ago (via the Santa Monica Public Library Digital Collection). There's a lot of similarities to how the day is celebrated today. "New Years is still a day of sports and pastimes, and its return is looked forward to with pleasure." Many Santa Monicans were also preparing to attend the Rose Parade, as they will in 2015.
Source: SMPL Digital Collection. 
Meanwhile in the present, research has been slow over the holidays as the kids have been home from school. The writing aspect of this blog has taken a hit as well. I'll try to rectify that tomorrow with a post looking back on 2014.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Cowboy Christmas

Source: Smithsonian American Art Museum
This "Christmas Greetings" dates from the 1930s by artist Walt Kuhn. It is part of the Smithsonian American Art Museum collection (see

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas 2014

Here's our Christmas card for 2014 (last year's card is here), with a photo taken at Yellowstone National Park back in June. Hope everyone has a fun, safe and festive Christmas tomorrow.

Marriage Record for James and Selina

The Crawfordsville District Public Library in Montgomery County, Indiana has been scanning local history documents, including marriage records. Among this set, I've found the marriage record for my 4th-great-grandparents, James Vail and Selina Hampton.

While James was at least 19 and perhaps 20 years old when he went to the Montgomery County Circuit Court on 27 March 1839 for a marriage license, the bride-to-be Selina Hampton had not yet reached her 15th birthday. She was born on 1 August 1824 in Sullivan County, Tennessee. The couple were married by the Justice of the Peace for Franklin Township, William Endicott, on 28 March 1839.
Source: CDPL, Marriage Record 28 Mar 1839.
Source: CDPL, Record of Marriage Certificate.
It is unclear if Selina was pregnant when they were married, but James and Selina had a daughter, Mary E. Vail, in 1839. My 3rd-great-grandmother Easter Vail was born a year later, on 30 December 1840. James and Selina had a huge family of at least 17 children. My best available information on their children is below:

1. Mary E. Vail, born 1839
2. Easter Vail, born 30 December 1840, died 19 January 1923
3. Eliza J. Vail, born May 1842, died 18 September 1842
4. Samuel Vail (28 May 1843-21 October 1899)
5. William M. Vail (20 June 1845 to December 1912)
6. Leander Vail (12 November 1848 to 31 October 1929, married Rebecca Ann Coltrain)
7. Jesse L. Vail
8. Joseph L. Vail (October 1851 to 24 February 1866)
9. John Daniel Vail (August 1852 to 16 December 1924)
10. Ellen Vail (8 July 1854-8 July 1854)
11. Sarah Vail (born 1855 or 1856)
12. George W. Vail (born 1857)
13. Phoebe A. Vail (born 1859)
14. Hannah J. Vail (born 1862)
15. Alice Vail (born 1864)
16. Thomas Vail
17. Elihu Vail (1866-1866)

For an earlier post on James and Selina, see Witnesses to a Widow's Pension. I'll have more on them in a subsequent post.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas from Santa Monica

Source: SMPL, Christmas Card from Cleo Walt & Martin Carlson
Source: SMPL, Pacific Palisades, 1960.

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Importance of DNA Testing

Several months ago my Dad and sister took the AncestryDNA autosomal test. Now that we have the results, it has been interesting to compare theirs with the earlier tests done by myself and my Mom. This has already underscored the benefits of testing as many in the family as possible.

I had more trace percentages, but my sister had higher amounts for Europe West, Italy/Greece and Native American than me. I was higher in Middle East and Asia South but she had 4% Caucasus. In Ancestry's improved DNA match results, I had 37 shared ancestor hints and 90 4th cousins or closer, but my sister had 162 4th cousin or closer matches. My sister matched to some cousins who did not show up in the results for me and my Mom. For example, she matched to a cousin for our 6th-great-grandparents Jose Antonio Suastegui and Maria Ignacia Canete.

My Mom's sisters are now awaiting their DNA results, so I'm hoping this will shed more light on the Mexican side of the tree as well as help breakdown the brick wall for the unknown parents of my 2nd-great-grandmother Mary Alice Cain Read.

Christmas 1914

Posing cats as people never gets old. Below is a Christmas card from December 1914, via the New York Public Library Digital Gallery.
Photo from NYPL Digital Gallery, Dec 1914

Friday, December 19, 2014

Friday Photo - Best of My Street Art Pics for 2014

I consider myself very lucky to see the world from travels in my primary field. 2014 has been another great year. I thought it might be good to look back by sharing some of my favorite street art finds from this year's travels.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Faith47's Lion at the Truman Brewery.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Martin Ron's tamarins in Shoreditch.
Street art in Shoreditch, London (see Part 1, Part 2, Part 3). Additional street art in London here.

Photo by Patrick Jones. Inti Castro in Beirut, Lebanon.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Beirut, Lebanon.
Street art in Beirut, Lebanon (see Part 1 & Part 2).

Photo by Patrick Jones. Main Street, Santa Monica.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Lincoln Blvd, Santa Monica.
Street art in Santa Monica, California (see Beautify Lincoln Part 1, Part 2, Marco Polo mural, Main Street).

Photo by Patrick Jones. Eduardo Kobra's Ballet Dancer.
 Ballet dancer mural in Moscow, Russian Federation.

Photo by Patrick Jones. Mural in Montevideo, Uruguay.
Street art in Montevideo Part 1, Part 2.

Photo by Patrick Jones. Culpeper, Virginia.

Monday, December 15, 2014

A Fantastic Find

I have been researching my 4th-great-grandfather Robert Thomas Jones Sr going back to the beginning of the blog. I previously posted the widow's pension file of his wife Elizabeth Thornhill Jones in 2012 (see Part 1 and Part 2). Bounty land application files are currently in the process of being indexed at the National Archives, and since I recently found a bounty land application for my 5th-great-grandfather Thomas Jones, I thought I might find applications for some of Thomas' siblings in Tennessee. Today was a fantastic find - the bounty land application for Robert's widow Elizabeth.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Discharge papers, US National Archives.
The file contained the original discharge paper for Robert, something that was not included in Elizabeth's pension application. It's an amazing document to hold.

Photo by Patrick Jones.
From a review of the small file, Elizabeth applied on the 16th of September 1848. Looks like the application was approved 24 July 1849, for 160 acres. This really made my day to see this, after reading her widow's pension file and the rejected mother's pension file for her son, Robert Thomas Jones Jr.

The application states that Robert T. Jones was Fourth Corporal in Captain John Reese's Company of the Fifth Regiment Tennessee Volunteers. Her statement recounts the story of Robert falling overboard on the Mississippi River north of Memphis sometime between 21-25 July 1848. It also lists his surviving children: Eliza Jane, Catherine, Caroline, Emaline, Adaline, Joseph, Martin, Francis Marion, Mary and Sarah Melissa. All of these names match up except for one - Eliza Jane, a previously unknown daughter.

The application was supported by the affidavits of Josiah Rankin, James Newman, Ewen J. Newman, Benjamin Zirkle and William Coulson. Ewen Jefferson Newman served in the 5th Tennessee with Robert, and later married his daughter Margaret Caroline Jones in February 1849. Rankin and Zirkle's affidavit listed Eliza Jane Jones as Eliza Jane Barbee.

Elizabeth's application was witnessed by her brother Richard Thornhill.

I'm thrilled to find to this.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Christmas at the White House

Yesterday our office was treated to a tour of the East Wing of the White House. This was a special visit to see the Christmas decorations and lights. I think my last visit to the White House was in the summer of 1974, so it was cool to see it as an adult.
Photo from the Blue Room of the White House. 12 Dec 2014.
Photo by Patrick Jones. White House, 12 Dec 2014.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Library, White House.

Photo by Patrick Jones. State Dinner Room.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Inside the East Wing.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Ornate details on the White House.

Friday, December 12, 2014

80 Acres of Bounty Land

In addition to a War of 1812 service record for my 5th-great-grandfather Thomas Jones, the National Archives had a separate bounty land application file submitted by Thomas. He received 80 acres of land.
Bounty Land application by Thomas Jones.
The bounty land application was submitted on 12 November 1850. Thomas notes that he turned 72 years old on 15 September 1850 - this is the first document I have seen a date of birth for him. Thomas was a corporal in Captain Gregory's company, and was drafted into service on 8 January 1814 in Dandridge, Jefferson County, Tennessee. He notes that he fought in the war against the Creek Indians, and that he was honorably discharged in May 1814 at Knoxville.

As with the pension file, 2nd Lieutenant James Tillet provided a statement on behalf of Thomas for his service in the company. Tillet notes that Jones accompanied him from Four Springs Camp, Lookout Mountain in March 1814 to press for guns and supplies for the company. Tillet left him at either Fort Strother or Fort Williams in the middle of April 1814, while Tillet continued to the camp of General Jackson.

On 4 April 1855, Thomas Jones applied for additional bounty land. On this document he again notes that he will turn 77 on 15 September 1855.

I was also able to check the service record for Sergeant Thomas Jones in Colonel Bunch's regiment, but this person was from Washington County, Tennessee.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Christmas Picture

I think the photo below is from around 1951 or 1952, showing my Granny with my Mom, her sister Patty and their cousin Bobby Jean. This is part of the photo set from my Aunt Patty.
Photo Source: Patty Marple. Christmas in Indy.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Service Record for Thomas Jones

In October, Fold3 posted the War of 1812 pension files for the J series of names in Tennessee. I was able to see the pension file for my 5th-great-grandfather Thomas Jones. Unfortunately, there was not a lot of information in the file that allowed me to track Thomas backward in time. I stopped by the US National Archives in DC over lunch and was able to have his service record pulled.
Service Record, US National Archives, DC.
Thomas received $42.44 for his service in Captain George Gregory's Company of the East Tennessee Militia. There was also a service record for a Sergeant Thomas Jones in Bunch's Regiment of the East Tennessee Militia. I will have more on that file tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

An Update on Gregorio

Earlier in November I wrote about Gregorio Diaz, a brother of my 2nd-great-grandmother Teresa Diaz. I requested a copy of Gregorio's death certificate from Los Angeles County. The death certificate listed his parents as Dolores Quijada and Jesus Diaz, and his occupation was taxi driver. Gregorio had been in Los Angeles County since the early part of 1955, living at 1172 1/2 Esperanza Street in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of LA. The informant on the certificate was Refugio Trujillo.

After a search of the US City Directory for Los Angeles from 1954, showing Mrs. Refugio Trujillo living with Pedro Trujillo in Los Angeles, I ran a search of the California, County Marriage records 1850-1952 on FamilySearch. Maria del Refugio A. Diaz married Pedro Trujillo on 13 June 1936 in Los Angeles. The parents on the marriage record were listed as Gregorio A. Diaz and Tomasa Arballo. Other searches found Tomasa de Diaz (with her maiden name spelled as Arvayo, Arvallo and Arballo) in the US Border Crossing records, with daughter Refugio Diaz in 1910 and 1911.

One crossing triggered another connection with the Diaz family - Tomasa's brother Jesus Arvayo. In May 1910, Manuel Diaz crossed the border at Naco, Arizona on his way to visit Jesus Arvayo. In the 1910 US Census, Jesus was hosting Jesus Diaz, son of Gregorio and Tomasa, at his home in Douglas, Arizona.

This gives a bit more insight into the family of Gregorio Diaz, and the overall connections between the Diaz family and the Arvayo family.

On Your Marks

Photo by Patrick Jones. Columbia, SC. 28 Nov 2014.
Additional street art photos from Columbia, South Carolina during Thanksgiving are below:
Photo by Patrick Jones. Columbia, SC.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Columbia, SC.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Palace of the Shirvanshahs

This week I made a quick trip back to Azerbaijan for the 2nd Regional Internet Governance Forum in Baku. When I landed on Monday I had a few spare hours to walk through Old Baku. I stopped at the Palace of the Shirvanshahs, and was fortunate to be able to have a guided walking tour through the palace grounds for the last hour of the museum.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Graffiti in many languages, near the Palace entrance.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Stained Glass in the museum.
The stained glass above has over 10,000 pieces, not held together by any adhesive. Incredible detail in this window.
Photo by Patrick Jones. 1 Dec 2014.
Photo by Patrick Jones. Shirvanshah Palace.
I was the last visitor to the museum that day. It is an impressive place. I did not take too many pictures, but for better pictures, see this blog post (not mine, just one I found online) of a similar visitor to the palace.

A Visit with Santa, 1949

The photo below is of my Mom, her brother Wayne, and my grandfather Leo Reid, having a chat with Santa Claus. The date in the corner is 1949.
Photo source: Patty Marple. Dec 1949, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Flight Training 1944

This photo shows my grandfather, Leo Reid, during his pilot training at Merced, California in September or October 1944. I previously posted a photo of Leo with his fellow Air Force pilots back in April 2012.
Photo source: Patty Marple. Leo Reid, 1944.
The photo is part of a set that my Aunt has sent me to include in the Christmas Project I'm making for my parents. I will share a selection of photos here.