Favorite Name ~ Week 6

This week’s prompt is Favorite name. “Favorite name could be a name of an ancestor that makes you smile. Perhaps it’s an unusual name. ”

This is another tough one. There are so many possibilities.

I love that there is a Thankful Bigelow (supposedly sister of third great grandfather Jared Bigelow but I can’t find any actual sources [yet]). What would a nickname have been? Or would she always formally be called Thankful?

Then there is my fourth great grandmother Hopeful Finch whose mother was Mindwell Moore. Lovely names. Hopeful is sometimes listed as Hope.

My French-Canadian great grandmother was named “Felicite.” In the 1870 census she was listed as “Fillis.” After that, her name was Americanized to “Melissa.”  My grandfather told us her name was Felicite. He pronounced it “fill a seat.” Knowing that led me to look further and I found a church record where she was listed as Felicite.

Felicite Jodwin Barcomb

But I think favorite names has to go to  a whole family.  My great grandmother Frankie Davis married Watson P Merrill (Wat) and they had twelve children.

Several of my grandmother’s siblings went by their middle names. Grace May was called May. Darius Wayne was always known as Wayne. Francis Clare was Uncle Clare and Frances E was Aunt Frances. Florence Gail was always Aunt Gail. So Great Grandma Frankie who, as far as I can tell, never had a document listing her as anything but Frankie named two of her children Francis/Frances.

Frankie (Davis) & Wat Merrill






In the Census ~ Week 5

I am truly struggling with this prompt:

The Week 5 prompt is “In the Census.” What intriguing find have you made in a census? What has a series of census records shown you? Do you have an ancestor who constantly ages only 7 years between censuses?”

I have over 1200 United States Federal Census records saved to my tree from 1790 to 1940, 250 New York State Census records from 1875, 1892, 1905, 1915, and 1925 and 35 state census records from Iowa, Kansas, and Rhode Island. None of these stick out as having been incredible finds.

I went to my facebook page to see what kind of census stuff I posted there. Here are my findings:

March 19, 2012
I spent the evening researching my grandfather’s oldest sister. She was about 35 years older then he was. I followed her through all available census records 1860-1930. (1890 not available and 1940 census records will start to be available first week in April!) She was married and widowed three times. in 1910 & 1930 I found her living with married daughters. Her last marriage was in 1919 at about age 63 and she died in 1942. Her name was Octavia Barcomb Boyer Corron Hamelin. In the 1900 census, she said she had had 10 children, 7 of whom were still living.

August 8, 2013
Mind-Bogling genealogy:
Cy’s second great grand uncle, Louis was 12 in the 1850 census (possibly misreading a “15”, handwriting is so difficult to decipher). By 1860 he was married and 25 years old, his wife was 23.
In 1870, he has aged to 48 years old, adding 23 years while his wife has only aged 6 years in those 10.
In 1880, Louis is back to being 45, and his wife is now 33.
Similar numbers out of thin air in 1900, 1910, & 1915.
How am I supposed to figure out what year he was actually born???

March 11, 2017
Here’s Levi in 1820 in Peru NY. It looks to me like columns 4 and 5 were each marked with a “1” then it was changed to “0” and “2.” Same with column 13. it was originally a “1” and changed to a “0.”
What do you think?

Adding to my guess that the numbers were changed is the fact that there are no zeros otherwise on the page, just a dot if there was no number.

March 13, 2017
And these people are the reason genealogy research is so difficult! The family at the bottom of the page has a 6-year old named Harold and a 4 1/2-year old named Harry.


June 25, 2017
1860 census: Can anyone interpret the name on the top line? It was a male born about 1857. His brother Jean Baptiste Barcom(b) is listed on the next line.


Believe it or not…from the next census, it looks like his name is Oliver.

July 17, 2017
I looked through all the 1892 Ellenburg census records for my great-grandparents Isadore and Nancy Lastraw. Then I remembered that my grandmother was born in Chateaugay. So I started the search for Franklin County records. After several different tries with (hundreds) different search terms and going “there HAD to be someone named Nancy in 1892 Franklin County, This is ridiculous!,” I found a notation that said that not all counties kept the originals of these records and there are NO known records for Franklin County for 1892.
So I learned something and it was not a total waste of three hours of my time…

The end result of my struggle to write something about “In the Census” is that I am forever thankful of the availability of these records through several internet sources. I am also thankful for the community of FaceBook where I can share my joys and disappointments of the efforts to piece together the puzzle of where I came from.

Invite to Dinner ~ Week 4

This week is “Invite to Dinner.” Which ancestor would you most want to invite to dinner?

I believe I would like to sit down with Margaret Moorhead. At one point my mother asked her father to help label the old pics we have and she was listed as “Aunt” Margaret Moorhead. I have searched for years to figure out exactly how she can be an aunt or was that a sign of respect to an older lady and she really had no connection? There was a story about her being very young and her only memory of the trip to America was a younger sister dying and the burial at sea. She was from Ireland according to all records so somehow connected to the Smiths.

Margaret Moorhead2.jpg

In my tree she is the mother-in-law of sister-in-law of 1st cousin 3x removed, her son having married a descendant of my great-great grandmother, Adaline Kent’s sister, Alvira Kent Hobbs.

I kept adding a bit to my knowledge by finding her or her son mentioned in old newspapers. For a while they moved to Connecticut but eventually moved back to Ellenburg. Her husband had been a soldier during the Civil War and died in 1867. She is listed as the manager of the farm with a value of $1500 in the 1870 census.  I eventually found her in probate records showing she was living with her daughter in Chazy at the time of her death in 1894.

  • Why did they move?
  • Why did they return?
  • How did it feel to be a businesswoman during that era?
  • What do you remember about life in Ireland?
  • What is your relationship to these other people?

This week’s prompt has led me to quite a revelation! In going back to Ancestry.com to see what relationship there was in my tree from Margaret to me, I found that she had a couple hints. Following them, I discovered a marriage record for her son James Moorhead’s second marriage to Maud Peryea. His mother is listed as Margaret SMITH.

I am overwhelmed by this discovery. Where will it lead me from here?

Longevity ~ Week 3

The prompt for this week is “longevity.” “You might write something about the oldest person in your family tree. You could explore the person that took you the longest to find. Maybe it’s longevity in a job or career.

I wasn’t sure which person in my tree lived the longest. There are about 3000 people listed. Using “Family Tree Maker,” I was able to print a list. It could have been 64 pages, but I filtered it to include only “immediate” and “extended” family. That means the second cousin of the husband of the great-grandmother’s niece is not on this list but there are siblings of direct ancestors.

I went through the 11-page list checking for names that I have researched and noted their lifespan:

  • Josephine Ayer 87
  • Damase Barcomb 93
  • Nelson Barcomb 86
  • Salley Beaman 90
  • Nathan Beaman 91
  • Caroline Daignault 80
  • Ira S Davis 80
  • Hopeful Finch 94
  • Felicite Jodoin 87
  • Eva Lastraw 91
  • Isadore Lastraw 80
  • Naomi Lewis 94
  • Mary Jane Smith 80
  • Minnie Smith 81
  • William Smith 87
  • Peter Tourville 87

Originally, Ira A Davis was on this list having lived for 96 years. I went to his profile page on Ancestry.com and looked through the facts. I saw that I had found him in census records through 1880 but I had his date of death listed as 1911. Where was he between those years? It turns out that a different Ira Davis lived in western NY and actually did live until 1911. MY Ira stayed in Clinton County and died in 1888, aged 71 years. I confirmed this through Clyde Rabideau’s cemetery book and nyhistoricnewspapers.com .


Lesson learned: check the facts, check the facts again and find sources to establish the correctness of those facts.



52 Ancestors ~ Week 2


The prompt is “Favorite Photo.” Tell the story of the people, place, and event in a favorite photo.

I decided this was my favorite photo because it took all those ancestors I have been investigating to get to this point.

This was taken at the “Barcomb Bash” family reunion in July 2017. It was a wonderful celebration of family complete with a huge feast, games, a bounce house, and photo albums, then more food. My nephew hired a photographer to get candid shots and family groups. There are three generations here. The oldest is behind the rail. In some cases, it is hard to tell the middle and younger apart because some of these kids are nearly as tall as their parents.


Start ~ Week 1

My goal is to share some of the research I have been doing into family history. I signed up for 52 ancestors in 52 weeks https://www.amyjohnsoncrow.com/52-ancestors-in-52-weeks/. The premise: write about one ancestor each week this year. It could be a story, a photograph, a document, a pesky research problem — anything, as long as it involves one ancestor.

The challenge for week one is to start. So I created this blog to share my fantastic discoveries.

In the coming weeks. I will share photos, documents, and stories about my family.