Posts Tagged genealogy blog

#52Ancestors: Week 21 – Revolutionary War Private, Michael Roll

This is week 21 of the 2015 #52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge where a group of u52ancestors-2015 Images blog about a different ancestor for each week of the year.  To learn more about the 52 Ancestor Challenge visit Amy Johnson’s site at Amy’s website.

Yes, I am two posts behind. This post is in remembrance of those who have served in military service. My fourth great grandfather, Michael Roll, served in the Revolutionary War,  from 1776 to 1778. He started service at the age of 14 as a substitute for  another person.  He also served as a substitute for his father, John Roll at one time. Michael served a total of four times in a two year period.

Born in Pennsylvania, he served for Maryland Company’s.  He marched to various forts, including Fort Pitt (Pittsburgh) Fredericktown, Missouri. He served in the Pack Service in his first term.  He also served as an Indian Scout during the later of 1778.  His

In his thirties, he married Christina Vaught.  Together, they and their families moved to Hardin, KY.  Eventually settling in Muhlenberg County.

The image below is Pension Statement certifying Michael’s service.  His military records being lost by 1834, a sworn statement from friends and family had to be submitted.  There are about 20 pages in his pension file describing his service and witness statements. He was eventually award $175.00 as his pension.


Source: S38340 Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files (NARA microfilm publication M804, 2,670 rolls). Records of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15. National Archives, Washington, D.C.

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#52Ancestors: Week 16 – Pittman Family Longevity – Medical History Clues

This is week 16 of the 2015 #52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge where a group of u52ancestors-2015 Images blog about a different ancestor for each week of the year.  To learn more about the 52 Ancestor Challenge visit Amy Johnson’s site at Amy’s website.

This week’s theme inspiration from the 52 Ancestor Challenge is “Live Long” applies to ancestors who lived to 100.   The only centenarian in the tree that I know of, is the mother-in-law of a great half uncle.  Mildred Doty McGrath (1899-2006) lived to be 106 years old and sharp as tack.  I do have several ancestors who did “live long“.  In the 2014 Edition of the challenge, I wrote about my 2nd great grandfather, John Thomas Pittman, who lived to age 93.

Currently, there are two living family members who are in their early 90’s.  One is a grandson of John Thomas Pittman.  The other is on my Polish side.  Each of these individuals knew my great grandparents. I have spoken to both to glean some stories from the past.

Pittman Longevity

John’s daughter, my great grandmother Mable Pittman, lived to the age of 83.  My grandmother Olive, lived to be 86. Where there any other Pittman’s who lived into their late 80’s or 90’s?

Yes, two of John’s younger brothers. Brother, William S. Pittman (1878-1963) was octogenarian, passing away at age 85.  Also a nonagenarian, was his brother James Alexander Pittman, lived to be 90.  James was the only brother who never married.

John was married twice.  Of the four children from the second marriage, his daughter Tena, lived to 84.  Mable’s sister, Kit (Mary Katherine Pittman Jackson) lived to be 77.  Two of her children lived into their early 80’s.

Pittman Family Longevity and Medical History

Am I going to get Alzheimer’s, some other health condition? Maybe, maybe not!  Depends on all of the genetic DNA mix that created me, along with environmental agents and health lifestyles.  I am acutely aware of the medical conditions in my maternal line.  There is a pattern that occurs in John, Mable, Olive and her siblings, and my mother’s siblings. My health report from the DNA test I took at 23andMe, states there is a probability that I may get this or that.  Nothing is conclusive.

I am anticipating that I will make to 85 years of age.  That is the age I am using to make sure there is enough money the retirement nest egg.  Spend less, save more is my motto.  I buy life experiences that some of my family members don’t understand as they pile useless junk in the garage.  Saving a little more now to use later is actually prudent for me. Plus, if/when the time comes for me to move into a nursing home, I hoped the savings will cover a great facility.

Now I just need to pick the right niece or nephew who will put me in a great place and not use the money to buy things.

After all, only time will tell.

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#52Ancestors: Week 12 – Arthur A. Anderson – Cold Case

This is week 12 of the 2015 #52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge where a group of u52ancestors-2015 Images blog about a different ancestor for each week of the year.  To learn more about the 52 Ancestor Challenge visit Amy Johnson’s site at Amy’s website.

I have been busy spying on my ancestors. The Michigan Archives has released marriage, divorce, and death records up to 1952. Week 11 of 52 Ancestors I wrote about the three divorces of my Great Uncle Eddy (Budny). Curious as a cat, I pried in to the lives of two generations of my aunts and uncles.

I remember the story of my grandmother sisters trying to find two sisters given up for adoption. To bring them back to the fold. My great grandmother Minnie White lost her husband, Ernest Anderson in 1925. She remarried to a William O’Neil in 1926. There were five children still at home when Ernest died. The oldest daughter, Vietta, was married already. The six and youngest Betty Jane, was born just after her father’s death.

William and Minnie’s marriage did not last long. I have a feeling the relationship was not harmonious. As a laborer at Consumers Power, William may not have had the income to support the family. Some of the older girls get married. My grandmother, Edith, who was 13 in 1930, was sent to live with one of Minnie’s sisters in Detroit. As of the 1930 Census, Lucille, Betty Jane, and William and Minnie’s daughter, Rosetta O’Neil reside at 609 North Jefferson Street in Bay City, Michigan.

The family story goes on to say that Arthur left for California and the family never heard from him again. So what did happen to Arthur? A person of the same name does end up in California. The 1931 city directory for Bay City, MI; shows an Arthur Anderson at 509 Ketchum St. Arthur is not listed at that address on the 1930 Census. A few blocks away at 1615 N. Sheridan Street lists Ruth Pettit as a clerk at Woolworth’s.

Michigan marriage records for Bay County provide the next clue in Arthur’s life. The license application states Arthur A. Anderson, 22, single, never been married before, and is a bus driver. His parents are Ernest and Minnie White. Ruth Pettit, 18, born in New Jersey, the daughter of Martin Pettit and Elizabeth Madden, is the bride to be. This license is dated the 10th of January 1931. The marriage takes place on the 19th of January (1931). Incorrectly typed on the certificate is the year 1932.

Not sure if the young couple got caught up in desire and romance when they met as Ruth may have been pregnant at the time of their marriage or given birth just before their wedding date. A short three years later, a divorce decree ends the marriage. Dated October 4, 1933; the absolute decree, lists two children, three year old Ernest Anderson and 1 year old Bonnie Lee Anderson.

The petition was filed by Ruth on January 15, 1933 for non-support. The marriage date is listed at January 19, 1930. A year off the marriage license. Could be an error? Could be someone provided an earlier date to show all the children were born within the marriage. Sometimes the first baby comes before the wedding date.

There is no further listing of Arthur Anderson in the Bay City Directories that I have found. He could be residing elsewhere. A California death record for a similar name, listing the mother’s birth name of “White” could be a clue.

Other than that, the story grows cold for Arthur.  And, heats up for Ruth Pettit.

Arthur Arlington Anderson Death record
Event Date:        05 Jun 1986
Event Place:       Los Angeles, California, United States
Birth Date:         14 Feb 1909
Birthplace:         Michigan
Gender:              Male
Father’s Name:
Mother’s Name:              White

Source Citation: “California Death Index, 1940-1997,” index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 29 March 2015), Arthur Arlington Anderson, 05 Jun 1986; Department of Public Health Services, Sacramento.

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#52Ancestors: Week 10 – Grafting the Adcock Branch to the Howes Family Tree

This is week 10 of the 2015 #52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge where a group of u52ancestors-2015 Images blog about a different ancestor for each week of the year.  To learn more about the 52 Ancestor Challenge visit Amy Johnson’s site at Amy’s website.

Yes, I know I am late with this post.  I have outlined it several times in my head and finally have the words down to the blog.  Week 10 theme was Stormy Weather.  Whether personal crisis or weather related events that affected our ancestor’s lives.  My take was grief.  Our ancestors were flooded with grief at various stages in their lives.  Especially those who crossed an ocean or trekked overland from the east to west of the continent.  They endured countless hardships along the way.  The following story is about a family that continued to lose a parent early in their lives.

Grafting – taking a branch of one tree and inserting onto another so that the two branches may join together.

The Adcock branch was grafted to the family tree through marriage by my Aunt Pat. She married Noah Adcock in the 1950’s. Noah’s family hailed from De Kalb County, Tennessee. The Adcock’s served in many of the early wars, including the Revolutionary War and Mexican War of 1812. Two generations served on the confederate side of the Civil War.

Noah Adcock unexpectedly passed away at the age of 45. This early death, unfortunately, is pattern in the Adcock family history. The Adcock line is flooded with much grief in the past. Noah lost his own parents when he was quite young.

His mother, Ada L. Duncan, died a few weeks after his birth in December 1928. She was 28 years old and left five small children under her husband’s care. At 12 years of age, Noah loses his father, William M. Adcock. William Adcock (1884-1940) was 55 years old at the time of his death of myocarditis. Noah died of a heart attack.

Noah’s grandfather, Perry Green Adcock (1853-1927), died of mitral regurgitation at age of 73. Perry Adcock lost his father at the age of 11. William Adcock (1823-1864) died in the Civil War. Most likely of sickness.

William remarries circa 1939 to Alice Todd Willis. A widow herself with young children. Alice finds herself a widow again, when William dies in 1940. Noah has now lost both his parents and finds himself back at his grandmother’s home.

In 1928, William’s mother, Mary Jane Love, steps in to take care of Noah and his siblings. She does the same after William dies. Alice Todd Willis with small children of her own does not take custody. Mary Jane Love was nearly 70 when she takes over the care of William’s children. In 1940 she is nearly 80.

The flood of grief does not stop. Mary Love Adcock passes away in 1941. Leaving Noah without close times to his parents. Who provides the nurturing care after her death is not known to me. His oldest sister, Mary Lou Adcock, just recently married to James E. Judkins, is only 19 years old.

Noah joins the military in 1947 and serves until 1952. He does not return to Tennessee and settles in Michigan, where he marries my aunt.


1930 Census, Mary Jane Love is most likely misidentified as “Sarah” in household of William.

A daughter, Grace, is listed in William’s household on the 1930 Census. If this is William’s daughter, she may be from a prior marriage. No record has been found of this marriage, as of yet. Some online trees list Ada Duncan, as her mother. Ada would have been 12 when Grace was born in 1912, and could be dismissed as her mother. Ada and William were married in 1919. Grace could have also been a niece or cousin who lived with William.

The 1920 census, for William and Ada, lists a son named Robert. He does not appear on the 1930 census. I not located a death record for him. I did find one for his brother, Willie T. Adcock (1924) who died at birth.

Final Resting Place

William Adcock shares a headstone with Ada Duncan at the Faulkner Cemetery in Warren County, TN. His mother Mary Lou Adcock lies there too. A sweet grave epithet is engraved on her headstone. It reads, “Having finished life’s duty she now sweetly rests.”

 MaryJane Love_Adcock William_Ada_Adcock Headstone

Photograph Citations

James Hill, “Find-A-Grave” database. ( for Mary Jane Love Adcock (1861-1941), Faulkner Cemetery (Pike Hill), McMinnville, Warren Co, Tennessee; Memorial# 34255261; accessed 15 Mar 2015.

James Hill, “Find-A-Grave” database. ( for William Adcock and Ada Duncan Adcock, Faulkner Cemetery (Pike Hill), McMinnville, Warren Co, Tennessee; Memorial# 34255153 and 34255195; accessed 15 Mar 2015.

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The Odds That You Share a Birthday with an Ancestor?

Photo courtesy of Ali Inay at

Photo courtesy of Ali Inay at

The theme of #52 Ancestors this week is selecting an ancestor that shares or is close to your birthday (month/day). Could that be possible? Yes. Would you need a large family tree to find a relative to find just one person? No.

I ran a birthday report in my Family Tree Maker (FTM) database in preparation of this Sunday’s post. No birthdays came up on the calendar on my birthday. Which after a quick analysis I knew something was not right because I wasn’t listed either. I remembered from a college math class that in just a small group people the probability was a significant number. I have over 3000 people in my tree, something was wrong with the report.

That meant the FTM parameters must not be right. Garbage in, garbage out. So I looked at the report factors, deselected a couple of checked boxes, and reran the report. Viola! There were four people in my family tree that shared my birthday.

In a group of 23 randomly selected people, the odds that you would share a birthday with someone is 50%. The chart below shows the increases of probability by just adding a few more people.

Chart by Stan Brown, Oakroad Systems

Chart by Stan Brown, Oakroad Systems

Don’t trust my math? Just Google it, or go to


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