Posts Tagged Kentucky Genealogy

#52Ancestors: Week 24 – Olga Cartwright – Planted a Family Tree

This is week 24 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.

On a far off branch of the Pittman section of my tree lies the Cartwright family. And wouldn’t you know it…the Cartwright family included a son named Ben Cartwright. Cue! Bonanza.  “On this land we put our brand, Cartwright is the name, fortune smiled, the day we filed the Ponderosa claim.” Yes, there were lyrics to the opening tune. Humming the theme song now, aren’t’ you?

Olga Cartwright married John Barnett in 1912. This couple starts the twig in the line that descends down to lost cousins I have yet to connect. They are the grandparents to Kenneth Ralph Barnett, written in the 2014 series of #52Ancestors – No. 33.

Olga is the daughter of Mathew Thompson Cartwright (1857-1935) and Susan J. Melton (1859-1930). She had nine siblings including her brother Ben. The family lived in Cleaton, Muhlenberg Co., Kentucky. The unincorporated town south of Central City, KY, still has a rural appeal.

Olga and her husband John had a total of 12 children. John earned his living a miner in the coal mines. Olga lived from 1893 to 1974. Her relationship to me is labeled as mother-in-law of first cousin twice removed.

Bonanza Lyrics written by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans.


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#52Ancestors: Week 22 – Will the right Elizabeth Vaught stand up!

This is week 22 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.

Post 21 of 2015 #52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge was about Michael Roll’s revoluntionary pension application.  One of the deposed witnesses to his service was a woman named Elizabeth Vaught.  I wanted to know the relationship of this person to Michael Roll.

I created a research plan which I listed below.  FYI…This is future project for me. Writing the plan now allows me to capture the information that I analyzed for future reference.

Name of subject:  Elizabeth Vaught
Born in Cumberland County of Pennsylvania
About 1768
Spouse:  Unknown

Location:  Muhlenberg County, Kentucky

Elizabeth Vaught provided a deposition confirming that Michael Roll served in the Revolutionary War in his application for pension.  Her creditability to offer evidence was affirmed by Moses Wickliffe, Esq.; acting Justice of the Peace. He states that Ms/Mrs Vaught is a lady of much respectability as of any in the county and to whom credit is due.

  • Who is this much respectable lady?
  • How did she know Michael Roll?
  • Is Elizabeth Vaught her married name? The handwriting abbreviation for Ms/Mrs is not clear and legible on the pension application.
  • There are several generations of women named Elizabeth Vaught within the collateral Vaught family lines.

Michael Roll’s May 1834 pension application provides some clues about Elizabeth Vaught.  She knew Michael Roll when she was a child.  That her father’s house was in sight of John Roll house, Michael’s father.  Her age is listed as 66 years old.

Michael Roll was married to Christina E. Vaught, daughter of Christian Vaught and Hannah Crum.
Is the middle initial “E” for Elizabeth?  Her estimated birth year is 1765. There is a headstone for C.R. 1834 at Sears Cemetery located in Muhlenberg Co, Kentucky.

The application also lists names and descriptions people giving evidence. Simeon Vaught provided testimony to verify Michael’s story of serving in the war.  Simeon is describe as a clergyman and is about 71 years of age. How is Simeon related to Elizabeth and Christina Vaught?

In addition to Moses Wickliffe, Solomon Rhoades, Justice of the Peace provides a statement attesting he is acquainted with Ms/Mrs. Vaught. The Vaughts, Rolls, and Rhoades are related through marriage.

There is a will for an Elizabeth Vaught dated 1844, that leaves an estate to her grandchildren.  Does this mean her own children are deceased?  Is this the Elizabeth in the pension application?

Find out if Christina and Elizabeth are either the same person or two separate people. If two separate individuals how are they related?

Research Plan and Notes
Cumberland County Pennsylvania birth records from 1760 to 1772, and marriage records from 1780 to 1805.
Kentucky marriage records from 1795 to 1830, focusing on Hardin and Muhlenberg counties, then fan out to surrounding areas.
Review historical information about forts in Cumberland County for family information.
Locate and review SAR and DAR applications for family lineage.  Research that the information contained can be verified through other sources.  SAR/DAR are abbreviations for the Sons or Daughters of the American Revolution lineage societies.
Kentucky Land Records
Kentucky Death Records
Hardin and Muhlenberg Tax Records
Hardin and Muhlenberg Clerk County Records, for wills and probate records
Muhlenberg County Church and cemetery records

Sources and Repositories
“Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, ca.1775-ca. 1900,” database, Ancestry, (, assessed June 12, 2015), entry for Michael Roll, Kentucky, imaged from the Revolutionary War Pension and Bounty-Land Warrant Application Files, M804 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives, 1974, roll 2078.

Dorann O’Neal Lam. “Will” Elizabeth Vaught February 1844, Muhlenberg Will Book 3 Page 59, (, accessed June 14, 2015)

This is a future research project
Research not started

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#52Ancestors: Week 20 – Rolling with the Bright Shiny Objects – Kathyrn M. Roll

This is week 20 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.

My plan was to write about the wife of a great uncle. However, I cannot verify her maiden name. I starting searching for more information. Of course, I squirreled. Also known as being distracted by BSO’s (Bright Shiny Objects). Since I couldn’t find anything on Frances Roll. Let me write about my BSO. It is still somewhat related.

Frances husband was David Roll, the brother of my great grandfather, Ollie Roll. Well the Roll brothers had five sisters. One was (is?), Kathryn M. Roll, daughter of David Wayne Roll, Senior, and Catherine Traylor Guy. Kathryn was born in 1890 and passed away in 1958. She lived in Muhlenberg and Henderson Counties in Kentucky.

Kathryn married Bluford C. Ellison, marriage date unknown. The couple had five children. Unfortunately, Bluford was killed in an explosion from a coal woodstove. Bluford’s occupation was that of a farmer. The explosion most likely occurred at home on December 19, 1923. Bluford died of his injuries on Christmas morning, December 25, 1923. Bluford was 35 years old. Two year later, Kathryn loses her youngest son, Earl, to dysentery.

Children of Bluford and Kathryn Roll.

Margaret Ellison  (1912 – ?)   married Robert H. Porter
Agnes Laura Ellison (1914 – 1988)     married Harold Bangs
Foster Carlin Ellison (1917 – 1992)     married Evelyn Pearl Irwin
Stella Mae Ellison (1920 – 1986)         married Charles David Wright
Earl David Ellison (August 1923- May1925)

To support her family, including her widow mother, Katie Roll, Kathryn works as a machine operator in a radio tubes factory. Her son, Foster, is listed as an inmate in the Daviess County Jail on the 1940 census. There is some type of distinction between inmates and prisoners at the jail as both terms are used. Foster heads to Texas shortly thereafter and marries. His name is carried down to Junior and his grandson.

I was not able to locate an image for Kathryn’s death record. Her death record is recorded as Katherine Roll Ellison. It includes her parents’ name. Burial location is not provided. I didn’t have any luck find a memorial on

Death source:
“Kentucky Death Records, 1911-1961,” index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 17 May 2015), Katherine Roll Ellison, 16 Oct 1958; citing Rural, Daviess, Kentucky, United States, , Office of Vital Statistics, Frankfort; FHL microfilm 1,709,630.

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#52Ancestors: Week 8 – Elizabeth Thomas – Free Woman of Color

This is week eight 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.

Black History Month

February is Black History Month.  African Americans have a difficult time tracing their ancestors. I believe genealogists have a fiduciary responsibility to pass along any information that can be gleaned to help others find their roots.  I knew that some of my ancestors owned slaves. Could I find anything information about them to pass along.

Searching Google eBooks, I found a court case involving a known ancestral cousin.

Elizabeth Thomas, F.W.C v Generis & Al

Elizabeth Thomas’s emancipation case was heard in the Louisiana Supreme Court in 1840. She was suing for her right to be a free woman of color. She won her freedom by Ipso facto.

Thomas had lived in Illinois, a state that prohibited slavery, prior to being taken to Louisiana. While in Louisiana, she was sold to another slave owner for $1,000. Thomas’s story starts in Virginia. In her suit, she states that she was born free in the state of Virginia. Around 1814, as a child, she was somehow acquired by Oliver C. Vanlandingham, Senior. Vanlandingham is my fourth great grand uncle. From there, Thomas was taken to Kentucky.


Elizabeth remained at the Vanlandingham farm in Muhlenberg County, KY until 1832. She had been ill for some time and wanted to go to the doctor in Shawneetown, IL. Vanlandingham’s overseer brought Thomas to the Illinois doctor for treatment. Vanlandingham had a merchant store in Shawneetown at the time. He also owned a plantation in Baton Rouge, LA. It is because she lived in Illinois, that Thomas asserted that she was emancipated due to Illinois law.


Thomas lived at the Vanlandingham home for about five years. While living there, she was under the care of Dr. Posey. In 1837, she was transported down to the Louisiana plantation. Shortly after that, she was sold.  Thomas then files a lawsuit stating she is a free woman of color (F. W. C) and cannot be made a slave again simply by being conveyed to Louisiana.


Illinois law stated that slavery could not be introduced into the state. Judge Scates opinion of Illinois law is that a slave states that a slave held in involuntary servitude becomes immediately free by the constitution (Illinois). Thomas resided in Illinois with the consent of her master. Being free previously, Ipso facto, by that very fact; she could not be made a slave again.

Vanlandingham’s counsel tried to say that Thomas was taken to Illinois without his knowledge. That she was allowed to see a doctor for humanitarian reasons. That he owned a business there, but not a home. However, Thomas had to live somewhere for five years. And, it was the Shawneetown home belonging to Vanlandingham. The warrantor to the purchase of Thomas contradicted the counsel testimony. The Judges sided with Thomas.


I don’t know what Elizabeth Thomas did after gaining her freedom. Vanlandingham passed away in 1856. He owned over a hundred slaves at one point in his life.


Ownership of those slaves passed to his son, O. C. Vanlandingham, Junior. Junior joined the Confederate Army during the Civil War. When he return home to his plantation after the war, he found his home, and crops destroyed. The slaves had run off.


With the Louisiana property gone, O.C. junior, returned to Paradise, Kentucky to the other family property. On the 1870 Census, he is enumerated among several black families in the area.


Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the Supreme Court of the State of Louisiana …, Volume 16 Louisiana. Supreme Court, Branch Walthus Miller, Thomas Curry, A. T. Penniman & Company, 1841 (Google eBook)
Alternate source:


A History of Muhlenberg County, Otto Arthur Rothert, J.P. Morton, 1913 – Muhlenberg County (Ky.) (Google eBook)

1870 U.S. census, population schedules. NARA microfilm publication M593, 1,761 rolls. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d. Paradise, Muhlenberg, Kentucky; Roll: M593_490


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#52Ancestors: Week 5 – Plowing Through Snow or Cornfields

This is week five 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 is Plowing Through.  Whether it is plowing through snow, not likely here in the Pacific Northwest.  The last snow I saw was two inches back around Thanksgiving.  Or, plowing through online databases trying to find records about your ancestors.  I chose to post a couple of family photos of shoveling snow and those turning up the earth.

Plowing through Snow

My grandfather Hugh A. Howes (1902-1961) is shoveling snow in front of the family home on Bennett street in Dearborn, MI.  The date listed on the back in on the back says.  This is most likely the first winter back in Michigan.   The family owned the house in the mid-1940’s.  My great Uncle Borden (Bob) Baumgartel and his wife Doris lived in the house for a period when my grandparents moved to Florida around 1945.

My grandparents along with my mother only stayed a couple of years in Florida and returned to Michigan.  By this time, Hugh’s oldest sons were either married or serving in the military and would not have been home to shovel the snow.

Hugh A. Howes shoveling snow in 1949

Hugh A. Howes shoveling snow in 1949

The photograph shows that  there are not many houses on the street.  These tracts were once farmland and the west side of Dearborn was growing quickly. The photo graph below is a screen capture of Google Maps (2011),  showing a view of Bennett street.  The house was sold about 1957.  With all their children out of the house, they moved into a apartment.

Bennett Street

Google Map view of Bennett street

Turn up the earth of with a plow

Below are photos of two great uncles on the Pittman side of the family.  Hugh Pittman (right photo) is using a hand plow to turn over the dirt in the cornfields. The photos were taken in the early 1940’s.  The Pittman family was living on Park street in Central City, Kentucky, per the 1940 Census.

Pittman Bros Plowing Field

Left photo – Clarence Pittman ||| Right – Hugh Pittman and Hugh O. Howes (young boy)

Clarence and Hugh Pittman, though in there mid-30’s, were still living with their father, John T. Pittman, subject of the 2014 series of 52 Ancestors – No. 9.  Their brother, Finis, and their sister Tena and her husband were also living on the farm. The family suffered economic hardship during the 1930’s Great Depression.

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