Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year, New Beginnings in Google Earth

This past year 2013 has been a great year for genealogy research, which has lead me to starting a new blog called Genealogy Through Google Earth.  I am creating this new blog to help my Google Earth audiance have a clear place to go for ideas and support, while this blog can stay more show & tell, story based.  I am still working on posting at both blogs biweekly.

Genealogy Through Google Earth, starting out I am explaining how I use Google Earth to find and share my family research.  Then I will go more indepth with how you can create these interactive projects with your family.

I really hope you have enjoyed my blog this year and will continue reading it as well as Genealogy Through Google Earth.  My first post will be Jan 1, 2014.

Thanks for a great year

Eric Stitt

Sunday, December 22, 2013

DNA in My Family Genealogy... The Ethnicity Update

Ancestry has finally done it, they have updated the Ethnicity Estimate within the DNA results. If you are just now tuning into this post and haven't read my other two segments called DNA in My Family Genealogy you can check them both out here... MY DNA  and  THE GRANDPARENTS

If you remember I wasn't really impressed with the ethnicity results from my first test, especally after I got results back from my maternal grandparents. My results showed me with 78% Central European and 18% Scandinavian. Between my two grandparents they had well over 100% British Isle, so where did mine go.

That's where ancestry changed things up. The first added more regions this broke some places up like Great Britain and Ireland up so for some people it may have increased the accuracy of their region results. The other thing they did was the calculated range. The randomly selected 40 positions of the DNA. From there they average the results out and with some comparisons figure out your probability to each region.

All in all I think its more accurate but below are pictures of my results, my grandfathers, and grandmothers. I will let you check it out for yourself.  I think its pretty interesting that I went from no British Isle to 53% Great Britain and 4% Irish.

Let me know what you think.

My Ethnicity Estimate
Grandpa's Ethnicity Estimate
Grandma's Ethnicity Estimate

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Roberts Cemetery Restoration Project... Chapter 2

I posted a question to a group of genealogist I am apart of on Facebook, and desided it is a good time to post an update to this topic, the Roberts Cemetery Restoration Project. It seems to short of a time from when I started this project this last spring to have spring be the next season around the corner. While it was a short summer it was still a active and busy one.

After talking with other people in my neighborhood and genealogy community about cemetery restoring, we put off cleaning during the summer in order to get more of our ducks in a row. I talked to multiple scout troops to find someone who would like to take the on as an Eagle Project, all met with no luck. I still have plans to talk to someone at the councle level and hopefully they will find someone before we finish it all.

After many emails to different title companys I finaly talked to the right person at KC Title. They were more then willing to help out with this community project. A week went by before I heard anything back, when I did it was brought to my attention that its was a taller order then they originally thought. I dont know what technology they use but it wasnt going to be as simple as putting in an address. They told me it would be a couple of weeks as they would have to go dig into the old deed books to find something that old. I kinda figured as much since its coming up on 150 yrs since the original deed. Shortly after that I got a messege that I should check with the Clay County Historical Society as they should know everything about that cemetery. I let them know that I have been talking with the society for a few years now and that was not going to get me what I am looking for. A couple of weeks when by and I recieved my final email and I got this "Sorry to tell you we couldn’t find anything on the ownership of the cemetery. It’s going to be more of a Genealogy search. We couldn’t find anything where the cemetery ever got deeded to anyone else so it looks like all the heirs of the original owners (from that deed dated in the 1800’s) would be the owners now. So as far as we can tell, it is still owned by the Roberts family."

So now I am back to square one, trying to find ownership and bounderies. I have found some Missouri Laws that state if the cemetery is inactive after 75 year that it could be considered an Abandoned Cemetery. There is some other legal hoops to jump through to make that all offical and I have letters out to the three Clay County Commissioners to hopefilly identify a way forward without costing an arm and a leg.

I also spend some time writing a Project Proposal which you can see here... Restoration Proposal

With all that going on over the summer while the cemetery was green and almost impenitrable we didnt let it discourage us. The Saturday after our November meeting 8 neighbors showed up to the cemetery. We recieved a free rental of a industrial sized wood chipper from Home Depot, that with our helpers and 3 chain saws we started cutting away the honeysickle and whatever else that was growing there that wasnt a tree. We worked on the SE coner of the lot for 5 hours. I think there was just as much dead fall if not more from the decades of neglect. After we finally called it quits we cleared about a 1/6th of the cemetery, but I think everone will agree it wasn't going to happen overnight.

My plan forward is to continue to clean the cemetery. I am going to try to start a tradition in the neighborhood that we work the cemetery the Saturday after our meetings ie cleaning until its cleared, then mowing and upkeep after that. I have found numbers to call the BSA and get headquarters involved with finding someone. The County Commissioners I am sure will be a waiting game but I will still keep my fingers crossed that something will come of it soon.

I appreicate all those who have helped with this project, I am sorry there is just to many of you to name. I will post again next big move forward. Check out below some pictues from the clean up we did.


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Preserving Family Memories... Making Stones Last Forever

Well if you have read my blog for any period of time you may have realized I have a passion for cemeteries. I don't know what it is, maybe it's knowing that they are right there, or that their descendants where standing at that very same spot when their loved one was laid to rest. Earlier this spring I got to attend a class about Preserving Cemeteries taught by Mandi Brown of Northwest Missouri. She introduced me to this chemical called D/2 Biological Solution I eventually bought one before making my rounds to the family cemeteries on Memorial Day. One stop in particular was to a cemetery called Sugar Creek in Rushville, Mo. there is the final resting place of many branches of the Moore family, and the oldest Robert Moore my 3rd Great Grandfather.

I am not going to go into great detail on his back story but after crossing the pond to America, he joined in the Civil War. He eventually married and moved west to Rushville where he settled down and lived a long life.

His tombstone is over 100 yrs old and has been covered with black mold/lichen for as long as I can remember. After getting my gallon bottle of D/2 I ventured out with my Great Aunts on the Friday before Memorial Day. I poured the solution into a pump bottle so that I could spray it on the stones. Without any scrubbing or touching of the stone, other then pulling dead grass of the base, I proceeded to spray the stone with the D/2 solution. I was a little sceptical at first, as I soaked the stone and the solution ran down the face of the stone, it started turning brown. I left it at that hoping it would do its magic and clean the stone without damaging it.

The summer passed, and I would say it was a pretty normal summer, hot and windy with the occasional rain shower. We have a family reunion at this cemetery the first Saturday of October every odd year. I visited the cemetery every month this summer but hadn't shared the results with anyone before the reunion. I was looking to see if any one noticed. Hopes went to high since I don't think anyone else is as crazy about the cemetery as I am. The reunion was great its fun to see how the family is growing. Like I had guessed no one really noticed the difference in the stone, potentially because they couldn't see it side by side, but when I pulled up pictures on my computer they where amazed.

I have been very pleased with the results of this D/2. I haven't been back to most of the cemeteries I visited Memorial day. I cant wait to see how the other stones turned out. I plan to purchase more this next spring and start cleaning more stones, and hopefully help preserve these memorials for future generations to come.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Connecting the Dots... Deerfield MA

Second in this series, Connecting the Dots, this time of Sutlief's in Deerfield Massachisetts, it was an interesting hunt. The history of Deerfield is very interesting to read about. This piece of land must have been something else, so many issues with the Indians, and yet they still came back worked thier land and persevered. Especally if you look at it from Hannah "Plympton" Sutlief's point of view, she lost her dad, brother, and husband in three different insidents around the Deerfield area, all told to have been burnt at the stake by Indians.

Making connections from past to present in Deerfield wasn't without its obsticals. The lots where not laid out uniformally, but by cow commons of the Dedham proprietors, however George Sheldon did his do dilligance in tracking down each deed, in his book A History of Deerfield, Massachisetts. It took a little time while switching back and forth from my google earth, the 1877 map, and his book, and going all the way around the homesteads of the old street, but I believe I figured them out. The lots where numbered from the NW side of the street, south, and then back up to the NE side again.

While not going into detail, although it is a nicely documented history, after Nathaniel Sutlcliffe died in the Falls Fight with Capt Turner, Hannah remarried and moved away. Eventually sometime down the road Nathaniel's son, Nathaniel Sutcliffe JR came back to Deerfield to collect what was left of his fathers estate before moving on himself.

Below is the the KMZ (Google Earth File) of my interpretation of Sutlief Land in Deerfield. For those who don't like or use google earth there is also a PDF. While you can save this PDF for your own tree I would prefer you to link it from my tree on ancestry.com so people can find the original source if they have questions.

Google Earth KMZ Link

PDF Link
To read the note in the PDF download it from google drive.

Ancestry.com Link

Hope you enjoyed, look out for more Connecting the Dots in the future.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

DNA in My Family Genealogy... The Grandparents

So here is a update from my previous post DNA in My Family Genealogy I love the fact that I get the opportunity to talk with other members of the NWMGS about discoveries, concerns, and questions about genealogy. While talking about DNA a member commented about thier results just confirmed many, many years of research, and so I thought I would share my maternal grandparents results as it completely changed mine. So the Story begins...

Few months back, without going into details, in fear of losing my only set of living grandparents, I was able to talk to them and get thier test submitted. Excited it only took three weeks to get the results back and then things really started to get interesting.

If you remember back with my Genetic Ethnicity results came back with 78% Centeral Europe, 18% Scandinavian, and 4% uncertian. This all seemed wierd to me as I have been able to document, with traditional research, a large amount of branches tracing back to the British Isles. Then the grandparents enter the picture. My Grandfather showed up with 70% Central European, 27% British Isles, and 3% uncertain. OK well I would stay thats pretty close to what I have researched without crunching the numbers. Grandma's was a shocker when compaired to mine. She had 74% British Isles, 16% Eastern European, 7% Central European, and 3% uncertain. Well especally with results like that, where did my British Isles go??? I can only guess, not being a genetisist, that my father must have some strong Scandinavian blood that dominated my British roots while still being born a red head.

Well let me mention a few things that I havn't liked about AncestryDNA or hope to see explained in furture updates. First off I have my grandparents linked to the same tree I am using, and while I can somewhat understand why I dont have some of the same genetic hintsto cousins my grandparents have. Why do they not show up as a hint when we are 99% confinent you're related, but can't identify how, within thier hint feature? Yes I know how we are related but seem it likes a hickup in thier system. The second is I am sure they are trying to keep it broken down to the lowest common dinominator but there is no advanced features to AncestryDNA like a Chromosome Browser. Especally in my grandfathers results there are quite a few hints that come from the same branch within a few generations of each other. This all being said they are supposed to come out with a new Ethnicity breakdown any day now. While there seems to be a few bugs in thier system, looking at all three results niether my mom or I where adopted.

It has been a great experience even though I don't understand it all. I have meet many more, lets call them genetic cousins, and many more I have yet to contact. Some are beating me to the chase and contacting me way before I have compiled my thoughts to contact them. Especally through my grandfathers side I am even starting to get connection hint, where the common ancestor is Revolutionary War time period, which is very exciting. And while the hints make it easy to make a connection. Having both maternal grandparents tested helps out too because if I can't see another user on thier results then that kinda narrows it down that you must come from my fathers side of the family.

I am going to sign off now, as just a few hours ago they released the new ethnicity results. It may take a few to get an updated blog post. I have already checked and the rest of the AncestryDNA community must be equally excited because the site is bogged down.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Connecting the Dots... Scituate MA

I really like collaborating my genealogy.  You never know what you will find, maybe someone has a photo that’s been passed down their side of a tree, or just a different interpretation of the facts.  Well with my Uncle Tim Sutlief recently going to Massachusetts, I dove into my files to check for any notes to answers I might have while he was in the area.   One of those questions was were did the Sutlief's live in Scituate, MA which by most researches is the first American home of the Sutlief's, Abraham Sutcliffe to be exact around 1623.

One resource I had that I hadn’t looked into very deep was "History of Scituate, Massachusetts from Its First Settlement to 1831" By Samuel Deane.  It talks about early selling of land owned by Abraham Sutcliffe and then with a map from the Scituate Historical Society call the "Map of Settlement of Men of Kent Scituate 1633," I was able to start connecting the dots.

The book references a John Stockbridge, " He had also a considerable tract of land, by purchase of Abraham Sutliffe, near Stockbridge's mill pond on the north and east."  It also talks about a Thomas Ingham, "He bought lands on the south side of Stockbridge's mill pond, of Abraham Sutliffe, 1640.   It also says that Abraham had a house north of Stockbridge's.

While I don’t know if anyone has ever made this connection or if it's just the digital age where things can be more accessible, but if you look at the bottom right of the map you will see mention of John Stockbridge.  I think with some certainty that this is the area that Abraham lived during that time.  

A little more history from that book also have a sketch of Abraham Sutliffe saying that "He was living in 1659 when "Abraham Sutliffe and Sarah his wife were ordered to make retraction for defaming John Sutton, in saying he was basely born." from Colony Records. 

If you see something different please contact me or leave a comment below.  I would love to discuss and collaborate more.

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Missions of Merl Stitt WWII

The Missions of Merl Stitt during WWII

This is the complied recreation of the missions my Great Grandfather flew during WWII as the Ball Turret Gunner on the B-17 Flying Fortress. Let me start out with this, this is my interpretation of research I have done over the last two plus years of his records, his squadron, and the targets he was assigned. While I have done my best it is by no way 100% accurate and things can always be changed or added as new discoveries surface.

To view the this project you have to have Google Earth, you can download it at www.earth.google.com To help you with Google Earth in case this is your first time, below is a short YouTube video to help you navigate around the globe. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0_K0Wp1rSU I also have some instruction in the project that should pop up as soon as you open the Merl WWII.KMZ file.

I am sorry I couldn’t make it a little more user friendly but with the amount of information and the limits of my Google Earth knowledge this was the best way for you to experience it. I really hope you enjoy this insight of his time over Europe as much as I did creating it.

In Your Memory Great Grandfather,

Eric Stitt

PS I would really appreciate all feedback on what you thought and how it worked for you.  If there is any problems please contact me and I will try to walk you through it.

This is just an image from Google Earth.  File is at the end of the second paragraph.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Roberts Cemetery Restoration Project

Well, the Roberts Cemetery that I talked about in my first post "Cousin Bait" has come full circle.  My Aunt Becky who works for NNI (Northland Neighborhoods, Inc) was talking with members of my neighborhood association about community projects and the cemetery came up in the subject.  Since I had talked to her about it and that I had interest in family history, she passed along information and before long I was nominated to be the Cemetery Project Manager for the Roberts Cemetery Restoration, and now the adventure begins.

Its actually very exciting to do some new research, not family related.  I first started out calling around to the Clay County Historical Society, KC Parks and Rec, KC's Historic Preservation Director, and even the 311 number.  All came back with the same response, "Anything you do would be appreciated, but we have no money to help."  I did however get a name from the Historical Society, a Jay Thorn. 

I got a hold of Jay Thorn and we have spent a few afternoons up in the cemetery.  His first visit we tracked up the hill and without any visible indication of where to look, he pushed his ground probe into the soil and hit pay dirt!  With a few more hits he said, "Next time you're up here bring a shovel".  That didn't make any sense to me as I only live a few houses away, so I ran home and grabbed a shovel from the shed.  Upon my return he pointed out where to dig and way I went, about 12-15 inches later what to our surprise we found a horseshoe.  We continued to probe around without much luck, "even with the lucky horseshoe".  We did find a small handful of stones about a foot underground with flat surfaces but was a jigsaw of pieces that I haven't been able to put together yet. 

Jay has also educated me on a few historical features around the neighborhood, to include visiting Prather Hill, which is where Nancy Robert Prather lived.  She is one of the permanent residence of the cemetery.  After talking with some of the neighbors there on the Hill, I finally got up the courage to knock on the door of Mrs Ann Hodge, and she answered.  She is a living descendant of the Prather/Roberts and was very excited to talk.  It was late, so I didn't stay long but look forward to talking with her more and learning about the family history associated to the residence of the cemetery. 

The last few weeks have been wet and warm and the cemetery has now grown into its natural state of overgrown and almost impenetrable.  The project must move forward and what would really make the cemetery come alive is if we can find a buried tombstone.  So my next move was to contact Mandi Brown from Maryville, MO.  I had attended a class of hers "Reading Cemetery Stones" at the Genealogy KC Conference.  She told us about being able to locate unmarked grave by "Cemetery Witching".  I emailed her and on the Saturday before Memorial Day, she came to KC and taught me a new trick.  We spent hours walking around marking possible site for the burials, we even found a likely base to a memorial back in the woods.  After a wonderful lunch with her, we concluded that this will definitely take some time and after we clear out a lot of the undergrowth we will have to re investigate our findings and do more exploring. 

I also have spent some time at the Clay County Courthouse trying to do some research on who owns the cemetery and how the neighborhood could adopt it.  From what I gathered if the county owns it then they would most likely hand it over pretty freely, however that's where the problem lies.  After finally ending up in the Records of Deeds, which knew nothing about the cemetery, I was able to find the original deed of the cemetery.  There is still some research to be done on the title of the land but it looks like the original purchase was about a $100 for a group of locals back in 1865.  I am still trying to decipher the old handwriting to identify the buyers but it looks like twenty people were in the original donation of land, costing them about $5 each. 

I also had the pleasure of meeting up with Frank Hatton, a descendant of the Craighead family buried at the cemetery and also the first name on the deed.  He was able to share a wealth of knowledge as well as some old photos of the cemetery.  You can view those photos on the Find A Grave web page for Roberts Cemetery.  These were such a gold find, as they are the only photos of the stone while they were still standing. 

Presently I am working on finding a Boy Scout to get involved so that we can turn it into a Eagle Project.  I have been keeping notes all along so that I can write articles about the cemetery and in case I find someone it will be an easy hand off.  I was originally thinking of tackling it this summer but I think with the help of Doug Green the neighborhood Vice President we are going to try a little more campaigning to get everyone aware and interested. 

I will keep you all apprised of the restoration as we move along.  A heartfelt THANK YOU to all those who are helping and mentoring me through this project.  It has been a great experience so far and can't wait to pay it back to those who paved the way forward some many years ago.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Memorial Day... Who will you go visit and remember?

I have been spending almost all my free time working on the Roberts cemetery that I talked about in my first post this year "Cousin Bait (In The Beginning, Why I'm Even Doing This?)".   My neighborhood association has appointed me the Project Manager for this restoration.  I have learned lots of wonderful history and met some very interesting people.  Look for a future blog about the Roberts Cemetery Project in the near future.
Ok so to the title of this post.  I meant to put this out last week and now I am running out of time.   Any family members if you are interested in visiting any cemeteries this weekend, please let me know.  I can print you out a map and a lineage chart so you know who you are visiting of about any cemetery in our tree.  I also will be visiting them myself over the long weekend.  If you would like to go let me know and I would be more than willing to take you. 
I did recently buy a chemical called D2, it's the same cleaning solution that the national cemeteries use.  It's the most nondestructive cleaning method for tombstones, it's a bio chemical that kills off all moss, lichen, and algae that grows on the stones.  I am re taking pictures so I have a before and after but if you go please take your own photos and email them to me.

Again let me know if anyone wants to tag along or would like a map.


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

DNA in My Family Genealogy

So I have always been told there is two types of genealogy/family history research.  There is the common type where you have proof, ie census records, death certificate, marriage licence.  Then there is the type that you have no source documents and they call that mythology.  Just recently there is a new type of research that has finally become cost efficient for the genealogy community to partake in, genetic research.  This is the real scientific proof of your ancestors and we all carry it around with us in our DNA.  While this new type of research can tell you the where, its still up to you to know the who and when.

My first attempt with this was with Family Tree DNA.  I paid some money and got the mid-level 37 marker Y-chromosome DNA test.  I'm not going to get into the science behind the test, but the Y-DNA test is used to figure out your male ancestry.  It was a simple cheek swab and off in the mail it went, almost 6 months later I started getting results.  First my 12 markers then 25 and 37 a few weeks later.  While the results didn't conclude that I have an exact match with the Stitt ancestral line, and I didn't get any matches to my 25 or 37 markers, I did get 37 matches with my 12 marker.  What that means: If you find that you are an exact (12 for 12) match to another individual. This tells you that there is about a 50% chance that the two of you share a common ancestor within 7 generations, and a 95% chance that the common ancestor is within 23 generations.  .
This test also tells me my Haplogroup which is where your family is from based on your dna's molecular evolution.  My results came back as  R1b1a2 (R-M269) which is Western Europe

My second test was actually an offer from AncestryDNA to participate in their Beta test when they first acquired the DNA labs.  This totally come out of the blue but who would pass up a DNA test for the price of shipping.  The test in this kit was a vile of saliva  several months later, I am sure the long wait was the huge number of people they asked to start this program and that its all still beta testing as they figure out how they want to run this new branch of the company.  So to explain this test, where the Family Tree DNA was just 37 markers and only did the direct paternal lineage, this AncestryDNA test is more of a Family Finder test where they look at 700,000+ markers on all branches of your tree.  Spring of last year AncestryDNA started posting the beginning results of my test.
The first results they posted was my Genetic Ethnicity, this was at first quite a shock, I have alway researched the family coming from the British Isles   So with results of Central European, Scandinavian, and Uncertain was not what I expected.

That wasn't the end of it, some time later they started posting results of cousin matches, people who you are related two based on the science.  These were all broken down to by generations ie 1st-3rd cousins 4th-6th cousins and so on with this note: 'Distant cousin' matches (5th cousins or greater) have a lower degree of certainty compared to 3rd and 4th cousins. Even though there is a 50% (or less) chance that you are related, these matches are still good leads. Each of these cousins you can click on and if the cousin has posted their tree with public permissions you would see their tree and a list of matching surnames between you and their tree.  As the months have gone by I have tried to find matches with these trees but it is a tough job.  While they give you a list of matching surnames, like they noted earlier is just a lead, and some of the time these surnames are from both sides of my family tree and as far as I have been able to research my paternal and maternal sides did not cross until me.  Months and months go by and I get more of these cousins, and I should mention I don't have any that are closer than 4th-6th cousins, which means they are cousins with a common ancestor going to about the civil war or later, but more results are always coming in and I sit with 3500 matches now.  Again I want to mention that they are still Beta testing, how to run this new program.  One of the new features that came out is Hints "the shaky leaf".  These are matches where they have looked at your tree and the cousin's tree and found the common ancestor.  When you click on these you get to see a relationship chart showing how you too are related, this takes all the guesswork out of the list of matching surnames.  Out of a total 3500 genetic cousins 9 have the shaky leaf hint of how we are related. Below is how those are hints are related to me.  The superscript is the number of generation for that surname, the subscript is the birth year of that common ancestor. 

I haven't started contacting these cousins as I am trying to clean up and making sure my mythology has some source documents behind it.  I have been contacted by some of those 3500 other matches but I haven't had any success making new discoveries within those 3500.  

I will leave you with that for now.  I am sure I will blog in the future as I make new connections and discoveries.  Hope you all enjoyed and if you decide to adventure into the DNA side of genealogy feel free to ask me questions and check with me I may know of some current discounts. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Learning New Tricks

First before I get to the title, let me apologize for not posting the last two weeks.  Sorry!  Now to the title "Learning New Tricks" I have spent the last two weekends going to genealogy conferences.

The first was one put on by the Midwest Genealogy Library and Ancestry.com called Ancestry Day.  While the conference was a few days long I was only able to attend Saturday.   I was very glad I attended this conference.  The main focus of the gathering as I saw it was two things; one how to use Ancestry.com, and two how to use the Midwest Genealogy Center.  This was great, while I consider myself a Digital Genealogist, genealogy didn't evolve as fast a technology has and I often have to go "old school" and visit the library.  Truthfully this is usually very intimidating as there is huge amount of information at the MGC.  That's is where the conference really started making my light go off.  Their wonderful staff and volunteers gave presentations that helped create new idea's and guidance of where to look and find new discoveries that I hope to share with you all down the road.

The second conference was a wonderful idea by the new LDS church where they simulcast the Roots Tech Conference in Salt Lake City, UT with their own spin on things call Genealogy KC.  It was amazing, first and foremost I got to share my time at this conference with my Mom.  The second thing I loved was this conference was simulcast they also had classes going on at the same time with a wide variety of subjects.  The classes I attended where; Reading Cemetery Stones, the BSA Genealogy Merit Badge, Burial Customs, Analyzing Land Records, Revolutionary War Research, Cemetery Art, Blogging Family History, and the Future of Genealogy.  Each class was very intimate as most classes only had a dozen attendees.  This gave each of the speakers time to brief but also to get Q&A from the audience.

After the Genealogy KC conference I was able to talk with a Program Director and hopefully next year I will be able to participate as a Instructor at this conference.  I think with what I do with Google Earth and Genealogy,  I can help those with brick wall look from a different angle and help to inspire younger genealogist get involved in family history with this visual tool.

I can't wait to put everything I learned into action.  Thank you to all the staff and volunteers that helped put these conferences together and thanks for the opportunity to meet new friends and learn new tricks.  I look forward to see what you guys are able to put on next year.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Quaker's and I'm not talking Oats

I wanted to talk about what I learned this week. This is a starter blog on the topic of Quaker's and Religion in my Family Tree.  After getting a new Hint in my Ancestry DNA I got to looking at an older branch of the Stitt line.  The line was the Mills which joined the Stitt line back in the late 1800's. Something I had not really looked at in my family research before was their religious beliefs.  

The interesting thing wasn't the two families coming together it was how they eventually ran into each other.   From what I have researched so far was that the Stitt's came from PA to KY to OH and eventually to IA.  The Mills side came from PA to NC to TN to IA over the same approximate time frame.  Both of the families often traveled in groups when they made their big moves.  The Mills were Quakers and had a prominent impact in TN Quaker history.  Before I continue on and in case you are new to what Quakers are here was a useful piece for me.

Quakers are often confused with the Amish or with Shakers, two independent groups with whom there is no direct historical or theological connection. Despite a shared concern for peace and a historic emphasis on simplicity, Quakers are a unique body of Christians, formally called the Society of Friends.
Friends do not withdraw from the world into private celibate communities, as did the Shakers to the point of extinction. Nor do Quakers isolate themselves from the modern world, indicating their uniqueness by the wearing of unusual clothing and by rejecting technology as do the Amish. Instead, Quakers are a diverse group of Christian believers who seek to maintain a personal relationship with God while remaining active participants in the world around them.

Like I said earlier it looks like most of the family moves where with religiously like minded friends "no pun intended."  And after about a century of moving around they all showed up in IA.

I am going to leave you with that for now, however another thing I learned about the Quakers is they took good notes at their meetings keeping things like vital statistics (births, deaths, marriages, changes in membership.)  There are multiple volumes of meeting minutes from all the states involved  that I plan on checking out.  So look for future blogs with Quakers in the title and I will share new discoveries as I find them.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Ok, let me get a few things out before I get you my main post.   Sorry for not writing last week, I was out of town and before I knew it I had forgot.  Last thing is this blog is Genealogy by Eric.  It's just my opinion of what I have seen, heard, and found.  If you see something I have misinterpreted please feel free to comment below or you can email me personally at stitt.eric@gmail.com

Now that I've got that out of the way lets get to my post.  My blog today is about accidentally finding something good or useful while not specifically searching for it, Serendipity.  My most recent serendipity moment was with my wife Kathy.  I don't do much research on Kathy's side, not that I don't want to, I just want her involved with it.  I asked her a few weeks ago to help me with some of my tree organization.  Its always easiest to talk to someone about people they know so we were in the Thompson tree.  For those who don't know, Kathy's mother, Mary is a Thompson.

So now that you know which branch I am going down let me throw this one at you.  The Thompson's weren't always Thompson's, they use to be Lennox and that's where I am going to take you.   The Thompson name in this family is only about 5 generations old and starts with John David Thompson/Lennox, Kathy's Great Great Grandfather.

Here is the story as I know it.  Sometime between 1862-1870 John's parents William and Martha Lennox died. It is thought that a Dr Thompson was the last care giver of William and Martha and by the 1870 census a Bridget Thompson was the head of house for both John and Eliza Lennox.  Ten years later John had taken the last name of Thompson as his own.  Then sometime after 1900 John dies and from what I know was lost.  From what was left of family memory he died some where north of St Joseph, MO.

Serendipity you might ask.  Well while I was talking with Kathy about my tree organization I was checking one of my favorite sites. www.findagrave.com it's one of the thing I'm trying to get a hold of is collecting and linking each family member with their find a grave memorial.  Well on that day I got a hit for John David Thompson my serendipity moment.  Thanks to a Russ C who had built a memorial for John not only did I get a death date but a location of where John's last resting pace is.  However John David Thompson are all pretty common names so I wanted to did a little deeper to verify that I found the right guy.

So after one day of Serendipity on find a grave I was able to continue my luck with "The Holt County Sentinel" on the Library of Congress website.  I knew the approximate death date and location from the headstone and with help that the Library of Congress had each of the pages of the sentinel in PDF format.  This allowed me to name search each page, an hour later I found what I was looking for "A Sad Accident"  I'm not going to transcribe the accident, I want you to discover it like I did.  I will say its in the bottom right side of the paper.

Hope you enjoy my serendipity moment and I will talk to you all next week.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A Picture is worth 1000 words.

They say a Picture is worth a thousand words so I thought I would wrap up this introduction of how I got into researching my family history with photos of the tombstones have found.  I have tried to add photos of oldest tombstones found out of the main lines I have researched.  There are a few others that I've included just because I like how they look.  

Robert Moore
oldest tombstone
 of the Moore Family
Frank Short
Woodmen of the World

Thomas Stitt
oldest tombstone
of the Stitt Family 

John Bailey
oldest tombstone
of the Bailey Family

David Hott
oldest tombstone
of the Hott Family
John Thompson
oldest tombstone of the
Thompson/Lennox Family

Sarg Nathaniel Sutlief
Oldest tombstone I have found period.
I haven't seen this one personally get but its on my list.

You can click on any of the photos to see a bigger copy of the images.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

In The Beginning, Why I'm Even Doing This? Part II

So last time I was telling you how I got started into genealogy because of a forgotten cemetery in my neighborhood.  Over the last 4 years I am made an attempt to find and document where the last resting place is for all my family.

Below is just a small shot of what I have mapped out so far.  Each place marker is a GPS marker of where the tombstone is, with some margin of error.  I couldn't get my Google Earth Embeder to work but I will keep working on it and maybe in a future post you can see an interactive map to explore.  If anyone would like a copy of my Google Earth file, post here or email me and I will send it to you.  I have links to each FindAGrave memorial in the placemarkers.  The cool thing about that is while you might not be up for a road trip to a cemetery, you can still visit the memorial via the web.

These are just the people and cemeteries I have personally visited.  There are about 40 other cemeteries that I haven't visited that are outside of a day's drive.  Its neat seeing all of the cemeteries that I need to visit as most of them start on the east coast and end in MO.  When you look at the whole thing you can see the migration path that the family took to get here. 

I will put something out closer to Memorial Day but if there are any family members who would like a map or if you see someone who I have missed, let me know.  Please feel free to send me your pictures, it lets me see how the stones are aging.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Cousin Bait (In The Beginning, Why I'm Even Doing This?)

Guess if I am going to start blogging and especially about Genealogy I should start of with explaining my beginnings into the genealogy world.  Its all started about 4 years ago while out for a walk in the neighborhood, my wife Kathy got stopped and asked about a cemetery in the area from some random stranger.  Neither of us knew about it but just a couple of doors down there was a cemetery, the Roberts Cemetery.  We immediately went to find it.  On our way back we stopped by our neighbor who had been in the neighborhood since the houses were build back in the 1960's.  After talking with her and a few other neighbors we found out that what we had found was only about half of the original cemetery.  The builder of our neighborhood tried to buy the property but was unsuccessful because of the cemetery.  However just a few short years later a new builder came into the area who was going to build apartments for section 8 housing, the North Brighton Townhomes.  For what ever reason they where either able to skip past the red tape of buying the cemetery or just completely neglect that there was one there all together.  This lead to the cemetery being bull dowsed over, before the cemetery was completely wiped from the face of the earth the neighbors stopped the construction.  To mend their mistakes the construction company picked up and laid all the tombstones in concrete, face up.  Now after already surviving some 100 years the cemetery faced its next big struggle.  Normal tombstones are standing upright which protects a lot of the stones from the weather.  After 50 years of being in concrete the elements are greatly taking their toll.  Snow, ice, dirt and wind are slowly erasing the names, dates and last loving words.  Even if you look at the photos of the Roberts Cemetery which where taken in 2008 and then look at the stones now you can see a big difference.

This all lead me to my big question.  Where is my family?  Where are they buried?  Is anyone taking care of them or have they been bull dowsed over and forgotten?  My father's parents have already passed, but both of my mother's parents are still alive.  What do they know and what may be lost if something where to happen to them?  

Our home owners association just got reactivated and is starting to have regular meeting.  I have plans to bring up the Roberts Cemetery and hopefully get the neighborhood or a local boy scout troop to adopt the cemetery to help clean and preserve this little piece of history.  

I am going to leave you with this for now.  Next time I will try to share with you how I solved these questions and where I am going from here.  If you are ever in Kansas City ask me about the cemetery and I can take you to see it. 

Roberts Cemetery  http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=cr&GScid=2251323&GRid=27524449&CRid=2251323&

Sunday, January 20, 2013

New Year, New Topics

Ok I am going to try to do a new resolution this year and keep this blog going.  So to do this and keep it going I am going to use this thread to keep Idea's of topics.  If you think of something feel free to let me know and we can add it to the list.

First that is coming to mind.

  • Clyde Short and the USS Savo Island.