James Doty Book At the Printers

I didn’t make the Christmas deadline I had set for myself, but did make it to the printers December 28th. The book will be available through my website in the new year. With the index of more than 3000 names, the book will be at least 120 pages, in hardback, with a few pictures. I’m so excited that it is finally done, but I know there was so much more to add. I think I’ll continue to collect obituaries, death certificates, grave photos, and family histories to add to a supplement of this book. So if you have any Shoemaker, Packard, Duart, Brown, More, Morse, etc., information please consider sharing that with me.

The Harrisburg Chapter, NSDAR book “Revolutionary War Patriots’ Historic Houses of Dauphin County, Pennsylvania” has been a hit. I continue to collect patriot homes throughout Pennsylvania for a possible follow-up book. The Historic Preservation Committee of Harrisburg has at least 60-80 more homes that could make up a second book. The research that is necessary for such a book will slow down our next publication date, but standby for more.

I have been invited to a number of local NSDAR chapters and historical societies to talk about the Revolutionary War homes in PA and always get a lead on yet another home. It amazes me that so many of these homes remain and occupied. By bringing these homes to public attention, it is our intent to keep them for many generations to come, to enjoy.

Hershey’s Gather in Paradise

Sunday was another Hershey Reunion and was held at Paradise Park in Paradise, PA. Every one of Frank and Lydia (Buckwalter) Hershey’s children, who had children (Esther, Torrey, Ruth, Frank, Elmer, Ada Mae, Ephraim, Vera), had representation. Lots of grand and great-grandchildren were there to meet their cousins and have fun. Granddaughters Linda Lee Hershey, Lisa Wilson, and Laura Denlinger, led the smaller ones with peanut scrambles and other games. Many of the kids brought their bicycles and enjoyed riding around the park.

The adults caught up on new additions to their families, shared stories of their parents and reacquainted themselves with cousins they hadn’t seen in a long time. Raymond Denlinger retold some stories of his aunts and uncles that he remembers hearing and others chimed in with some of their own.

We meet every year on the last Sunday of August. I’ve been attending for 28 years and I’m only an in-law, so you can imagine how many years this has been going on. We still enjoy the time together. Aunt Arlene Hershey (wife of Ephraim) is the only one left of her generation, but don’t think for a minute that bothers her. This lady is an inspiration to everyone. She still maintains a Bed and Breakfast in New Oxford, PA, and does it all by herself. She doesn’t stay at home when there is no one to take her, she goes by herself and enjoys every minute.

We have found another Hershey along the way, who is a descendant of Tobias K. Hershey and Mae Hertzler. She is related in two ways to this group of Hershey’s. Tobias’ sister Hettie married Ira J. Barge, whose son is Melvin K. Barge. Melvin married Ada Mae Hershey. So our new-found cousin, Julie Hershey is related to the Hershey’s and Barge’s who are directly related to Frank B. Hershey, patriarch of this family reunion. The common ancestor is Jacob and Anna (Newcomer) Hershey (Gen 3/4 in the Henry Hershey 1929 book) whose sons are John and Joseph. John Hershey, Julie’s ancestor as well as my mother-in-law, Edna Phenneger Hershey and Joseph who is the ancestor for Frank Hershey’s family. Are we having fun yet? Maybe just buy the book – “Hershey Family History” by Henry Hershey, 1929. You can find it at the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society on Rt. 30 in Lancaster, PA. I did an index for the book, that can be purchased on this website.

Frank and Lydia (Buckwalter) Hershey Reunion 2012

Frank and Lydia (Buckwalter) Hershey Reunion

          August 26, 2012  1:00 pm

Paradise Community Park

          Londonvale Road off Rt. 30 in Paradise, PA

Pavilion #2

Bring a large dish to pass, table service, lawn chairs and drink.  Share family pictures and information.  Please share this reunion information with your immediate family
Playground, athletic fields available

Smart Talk on WITF Public Radio 89.3

I had a new experience in May, I was a guest along with PA State Archivist, Aaron McWilliams, on WITF Smart Talk.  We talked about the 1940 Census release as well as the release of the 1906 PA birth records and 1096-1961 PA death records.  Listeners were able to call or email their questions for us to answer.  We got a lot of good questions about a variety of topics.

I was pleasantly surprised by the number of people who listen to Smart Talk.  Even after the show was over people continued to email questions that Aaron and I could answer.

I had just receive an issue of the National Genealogical Society’s journal (Vol. 38 No. 2, April-June, 2012)that has a wonderful article on the 1940 census.  If you want to know what is included and the significance of the questions asked on the census, it is a great issue to look for at your local library.

Benjamin Stone is Official

I’ve been notified that another one of my NSDAR supplements has been approved.  Benjamin Stone was born in 1732 in Dudley, Worcester Co., MA and married Susannah Buckman.  These are the parents of Perris Stone who was married to Jesse Morse.  I also have Obadiah Morse as an approved ancestor.  His is the father of Jesse.  Many of my newer ancestors hailed from the New England states of Massachusetts and Connecticut.  My next ancestor to verify will be Samuel Clason.  He is the father of Lydia Clason Avery who is buried in the Alba, Bradford Co., PA cemetery with her husband, Ebenezer Avery and daughter, Esther Avery Packard.  Ebenezer, Lydia and Esther all died in 1842 within a short time of each other.  I’ve not taken the time to figure out what from, but can only assume it was some flu or other illness.

According to a letter that James Doty wrote to his cousin, Clell Shoemaker (I have documented most of this letter and will be publishing it shortly), there is probably a Revolutionary War ancestor in the Avery and Packard families, to locate.  My problem is finding the parents of Joel Packard and Ebenezer Avery.  In Connecticut Ebenezer Avery is as common as John Doe, so it has been a challenge teasing out the correct Ebenezer.

I have another ancestor waiting to be completed at NSDAR and that is Susannah Shafer Shoemaker Ayres father, Adam Shafer from Luzerne Co., PA.  This may never be resolved unless someone knows about a document that shows the parents of Susannah.  I only need to document that Adam and Elizabeth Swartwout Shafer are her parents.  Easier said than done and my time is running out to do this.


Charles I. Landis passed away

Charles I. “Chuck” Landis, age 61, of Quarryville, PA, passed away on Thursday, January 5, 2012 t the Lancaster General Hospital.  He was born in Lancaster, son of the late John L. & Vera G. Hershey Landis.  He worked on the family farm, and for the last 10 years, he was working as a truck driver for Pine View Enterprises, Inc. of Nottingham.  Charlie was a 1968 graduate of Solanco High School.  He was a member of the Sugar Run Hunting Camp of Tioga County.  He enjoyed the outdoors, hunting, playing pool and drag racing.

Surviving are 5 siblings:  Robert H. Landis, J. Leslie husband of Carol Landis, Dale H. husband of Judy A. Groff, all of Quarryville, Marlene H. wife of Roy E. Buch of Ephrata, Evelyn H. wife of Robert E. Nafziger of Washington Boro, Nieces and nephews also survive.

Funeral service will take place from the Calvary Monument Bible Church, 1660 Mine Rd, Paradise, PA on Monday, Jan. 9th at 11 am with Pastor James Davis and Pastor Ray Deiter officiating.  Interment will be in the Strasburg Mennonite Cemetery.

Lancaster Intelligencer, 6 Jan. 2012

Death and Birth Records Now available for PA

The house bill has been passed to allow access to death records prior to 1961 and birth records prior to 1906.  This is wonderful, but we have yet to hear how, when or where they will be available.  The records are to go to the Pennsylvania Archives, but what does this mean?  Will they be on microfilm? On computer?  Will Ancestry.com or FamilySearch.org make them available on their websites?  How many birth records will be available since Pennsylvania only began officially recording them in 1906?

This is a lovely start, but we still have a long way to go to make me jump for joy.  We will still have to wait 5 months to receive a death certificate.

GSP & Ancestry.com PA Family History Day

Yesterday was Family History Day sponsored by The Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania and Ancestry.com.  I always come home ready to break down those brick walls and to take on new challenges.  They had wonderful speakers from across the US.  I heard renown speaker, Curt B. Witcher, Manager of the Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, IN speak on “The Changing Face of Genealogy”.  He is so entertaining and really hit the head on the nail about genealogy.  Since I began so many years ago, we have gone from trips to the library to search microfilms (and pray you would stumble across your ancestor) to type their names into Ancestry.com and viola –more information than you can possibly absorb in one sitting.

Most of my research is in Pennsylvania, so I never miss John Humphrey speaking about those PA Ancestors.  If you are researching in PA you really must purchase his book “Pennsylvania Research:  County and Township Records”.  I am constantly pulling it off the shell to see what records can be found in a new county where I’m working.  He has oodles of books that every serious genealogist needs on their reference shelf.

The next speaker I heard was Susan Koelble on “Formation of the Pennsylvania Counties”.  She has published a companion book that goes with her talk.  For the price, I couldn’t resist purchasing one.  I have a software program, called Animap, that is also very helpful for other US County Boundaries and is also an historical atlas.  If you are having difficulty find a record in a county courthouse, you just might want to see if that town/township fell in another county at the time of the event.  Pennsylvania counties did not necessarily share their records when the county lines changed.  From the 3 original counties of PA, we now have 67.  You can imagine how many times those county lines changed in the 110 years it took to finalize the present boundaries.

Our lunch time speaker was DearMyrtle (Pat Richley), who is from Salt Lake City.  “Let Them Eat Jam” she says and went on to describe the many flavors of jam.  If you think this is a talk on food, you would be mistaken.  Jam in this case is whatever “floats your boat” or that you get excited about.  If you like genealogy you know not EVERYONE else does.  Have you ever been to a genealogical society meeting and been bored to death by that guy who just has to tell you all about the research he has done so perfectly over the past umpteen years.  Take note –boriiiinnnng.  Don’t you fall in this same trap.  Families are a potpourri of jams – photographers, teachers, travelers, etc. and everyone likes to share their stories.

Ancestry.com provided some excellent speakers.  I attended Juliana Smith’s talk on “Finding Your US Military Heroes on Ancestry.com”.  I have been a member of Ancestry from inception and still learn lots of things about the website with every meeting.  A word of advice — open up those little areas under the boxes.  Try looking at the default settings under First Name or Last Name.  You have many more options and will make your searches more defined.

The final speakers I heard were Aaron McWilliams from the Pennsylvania Archives and Kathleen Hale from the Pennsylvania State Library.  Both are excellent and always willing to help you find that hidden gem at the Archives or Library that will advance your search.  Aaron worked with “Who Do You Think You Are?” produces to help actor Steve Buscemi find his PA connections.  We were told there will be a season 3 of this show, so keep an look out for the advertisements.

Can you tell I had a great time?  I never miss a chance to visit the vendors either.  I have a Nook, but still love holding those old books and adding some meat to my barebones research.  And always looking for a new piece of software to help with my research.  I’ll get back to you on the program I purchased “Gen Detective”.  It is supposed to tell you what you don’t know and what you need to find.  I also heard the count is 149 days until 1940 Census is released.  And finally, please write to your Representatives about voting in favor of putting birth and death certificates on the web.  If you need gr. grandma’s death certificate from 1910, it just may take an act of congress to get a copy.  It is presently taking about 4 months.

Bill Jackson on Emma Jane Foster, RN with the Flying Tigers

Today, Derry Seniors in Hershey, heard Bill Jackson, former owner of The Sun of Hershey and Hummelstown, speak on Emma Jane Foster.  Emma Jane was a nurse who supported the Flying Tigers while they were in China fighting the Japanese.  Emma is one of our own “Notable Women of Pennsylvania” being born in Bellefonte, PA.  It is a fascinating story that will make any woman proud.

Emma was a woman ahead of her time, but very humble about her accomplishments.  If you want to hear a captivating speaker, get in touch with William S. Jackson of Hummelstown.

Nothing Like Good Ole Legwork

Today I’m on a mission to locate a living relative for a client.  The person was born in 1930 after the 1930  U.S. Federal Census was taken.  So where do I go next.  I tried the county websites for the  last known address, which was in 1980.  Nothing popped up on the website, but I called the local historical society and they told me about a county website that has government records on line.  They had nothing on the family at their society.

When I went on line for the government records, I located a marriage record, but they did not put the complete information on line, such as dates of birth.  I called the courthouse and located a person who was willing to look on microfilm at the original record.  This gave me dates of birth for the bride, my target person and her new husband.  He was born 1919, she was born 1930. They were in western PA when married in 1980, so next I started looking on Switchboard.com for any people with the same last name, living in that same general area.

I located a number of families with that same last name and started calling them.  On the second call I found a nephew of the husband of my target person.  Through this person I found that the husband died some years ago, but the wife maybe still living or her children.  Now it is just a matter of following up further with her to connect my client with her cousin.