Browsed by
Month: July 2011

Google Images

Google Images

Randy Seaver, a prolific genealogy blogger, wrote about finding cemetery images on Google Images recently. Naturally I had to try it. I am not sure how it works but searching for “Robert Downing cemetery” brought up his stone, his relatives’ stones, my non Downing relatives’ stones, photos from my blogs of unrelated people, even pictures of me. I guess he is linked to me in their logic.


A search for “Samuel Downing cemetery” did not produce a photo of Samuel’s stone which I know is online in several places but it did produce much of the same results as the Robert Downing search.

I searched for my name and got pictures of me and people with the same name.

Needless to say there are many other photos produced in a search that appear to have no connection to what I searched for. It also produced some of the graphics on my blogs and web pages such as the Geneabloggers logo on this page.

If you are looking for that elusive stone, maybe a historical spot, a town, whatever, it is worth a look to see what is online.

Expand the View 2

Expand the View 2

This is my maternal grandfather’s mother’s line.


Eliza S. “Lida” Harding [1869-1942] m. William H. Downing [1863-1903] m. John Rupp [1878-1935]
do
Benjamin Harding [1836-1915] m. Mary Ellen Clark [1847-1914]
so 
Daniel Harding [1798-1869] m. Elizabeth Wilson [1801-1884]
so
John Bennett Hardin [?-1849] probable but not sufficiently proven – his ancestors are known should proof surface


My maternal grandfather’s maternal grandmother’s line.


Mary Ellen Clark [1847-1914] m. Benjamin Harding [1836-1915]
do
Rev. Richard Winans Clark [1808-1854] m. Margaret Ann Clark [1808-1867]
so
Rev. David Clark [1776-1847] m. Rachel Rutter [? – c 1803] m. Sarah Winans [1788-1843]
so
David Clark [1737-c 1802] m. Sarah Winans [1737-1807]


Margaret Ann Clark was the daughter of Rev. David Clark’s brother John Winans Clark [1779-1859] m. Ann “Nancy” Isgrig [1783-1867]. The Isgrig line can be traced back to William Isgrig, son of William and Ann. William Isgrig was transported from Old Bailey in London to Maryland in 1740 instead of being hanged for stealing after his boss testified on his behalf. This record is online.


The Winans go way back and include early New Englanders as well as early Dutch. The ancestry of David Clark is 100% unproven. It’s a very common name. A fantasy version can be found online. My theory is he came from Scotland and brought the passion for the Methodist religion his descendants carried west with him.


I know nothing about Elizabeth Wilson except she also came from Virginia but they were married in Ohio. They had at least 13 children, most of whom apparently did not reach adulthood. One, Wilson, appears to be buried at Laenna with his wife Christena. I have no clue.


My maternal grandfather’s paternal grandmother’s line.


Delilah J. Downing [1842-1909] m. William N. Downing [1839-1865] m. David Shellhammer [1830-1912]
do
Robert Downing [1793-1887] m. Jane Morrow [1802-1882]
so
John Downing [1762-1838] m. Hannah Frakes [1766-1842]
so
James Downing [?-?] m. Nancy Gardner [?-?]
so
brick wall


Several Morrow children married Downings and Shoups [sister of John Downing] in Ohio. The Morrows were from New York. 


Hannah Frakes was the daughter of Robert Frakes, born in England about 1746, who married Mary Dawson in Pennsylvania about 1766. 


Some Downing, Frakes, Shoup and other families traveled from Pennsylvania to Ohio to Illinois together or in tandem.

Expand the View

Expand the View

I recently had a lengthy email correspondence with another transplanted Logan County native. We have different backgrounds and no ancestors in common but when we started talking our ancestors, collaterals and their families brushed at so many spots that I learned new things.


This indicates to me it would be worthwhile to expand our somewhat limited view and see what turns up.


If you have any connection to these lines or think you might – or know anything that might be interesting – I want to hear from you.


This is my maternal grandfather’s direct male line [with spouses]. This is what is used for most DNA, which will come up later. 


Ellis Downing [1888-1978] m L. Ethel Ryan [1892-1975]
so
William H. Downing [1863-1903] m. Eliza S. Harding [1869-1942]
so
William N. Downing [1839-1865] m. Delilah J. Downing [1842-1909]
so
Samuel Downing [1794-1866] m. Margaret Matthews [1797-1836] m. Mary Matthews Day [1800-1847]
so
George Downing [1867-1848] m. Elizabeth Bennett [1772-1802] m. Winifred Downing [1778-1841]
so
Timothy Downing [c 1744-c 1800] m. unknown m. Mary Chenoweth [1749-after 1791]
so
brick wall


Samuel Downing came to Logan County with his second wife Mary Matthews. Samuel was born in Maryland, lived many years in Ohio and came to Illinois. Mary was born in Ohio. Samuel’s first wife Margaret was Mary’s sister. Samuel’s brother Thomas, members of his assorted families and various members of the Matthews family also came to Logan County. According to family history John Matthews, father of Margaret, Mary and others, was born in Ulster, Ireland. This is important.


Samuel’s father and grandfather were also born in Maryland.


Note that there are two Downing-Downing marriages. Delilah is the daughter of Robert, son of John, all of Logan County. John came from “Virginia” which, at the time, could be about anywhere. Before his father James he is a blank.


Winifred is the daughter of Joseph, another Downing line living in Pike County, Ohio, but Joseph came there from Maryland. Before that he is a blank.


To the best of anyone’s knowledge and all research to date, these three lines are not related.


Enter DNA. DNA testing indicates that all three [and one or two others tested] have a common ancestor back about the above Timothy’s grandfather. This totally ruins my theory that they came by UFO, a theory which conveniently explains some relatives. 


Further, testing indicates they came from Ulster. It appears likely, from research in yet another DNA matched line which my ancestors did not marry, that this common ancestor came in through District 96, South Carolina. This will come up again. Sarah Kirby and Humphrey Scroggin were married there. But that’s another line.


See, we already have circles.

Billion Graves

Billion Graves

Billion Graves is a relatively new web site which attempts to photograph tombstones and locate them on a cemetery map using GPS codes. This is a great idea. They also plan to transcribe the stones, either by the photographer transcribing or by a volunteer coming along later and transcribing stones from photos online.


Billion Graves support told me the GPS is so “other people can know the distance they are from the cemetery.” I tend to think it is more useful to locate the stone once you find the cemetery except in the case of a stone photographed in a hidden cemetery. What are the chances of that happening often?


To submit a photo you download an app to your iPhone or to your Android, snap the photo and upload it. It’s that simple. You could do a whole cemetery in an afternoon in many cases. The app is $1.99 and, obviously, uses your device’s camera. You can set it upload after each snap or later. You can chose to save the picture after upload or delete it. Why would would you delete it?


Don’t have an iPhone or Android? You will not be snapping pictures. End of story. But you can still transcribe those others have snapped and not transcribed. Note that according to the software, an iPad or a new generation iPod will not work because only an iPhone has GPS accurate enough for this program. Thus only a select group may participate. 


You can use an iPad connected to the internet to tell you of cemeteries nearby where you are at this moment. And maybe that is what they are getting at in paragraph two above. “It sure is a nice day here in this county we are driving through. Let’s see if there are any cemeteries nearby to photograph.” I’m guessing that feature won’t get a lot of use. 


It totally eliminates all stone photos taken before the program. This eliminates the ability of certain folks to collect photos from various places and post them as their own. But it also eliminates a lot of available photos. And it eliminates the photos I and others took years ago of stones which may no longer be readable or which may now be broken, seriously damaged or gone.


I think this is a good idea but it is not ready for prime time.

Joseph A. Bozarth Probate

Joseph A. Bozarth Probate

Joseph A. Bozarth wrote his will on February 28, 1896. He died April 18, 1897, in Illiopolis, Sangamon County. I got it through IRAD because it less expensive. Also, the interns at IRAD are more experienced at finding the entire file. It’s their job. It is not the primary job of the Circuit Court Clerk. Documents from IRAD are generally copied in the format in which they exist, ie, double sided pages are copied double sided.


Joseph Bozarth was born in Morgan County where he married Elizabeth Ann Henry and they moved to Sangamon County as did his brother William and his wife Lucinda Jones. William died on January 28, 1896, possibly prompting Joseph to write his will a month later. 


Elizabeth survived her husband as did two of their five children, Florence Bozarth and Eva Bozarth Wood. Eva was married to William Tobias Wood.


Bozarth left his wife a life estate in his property. At the death of his wife and after paying all debts he left the remainder in two parts, “one part to Florence Bozarth without qualification, the other part to be invested in real estate for the benefit of Eva Wood, her heirs and assigns forever.” He intended it to be entailed forever.


We also know from the probate that they were members of the Christian Church in Illiopolis which got $7.50 from the estate.


It would appear that Joseph Bozarth did not think Florence would marry. He wanted to make sure Eva’s inheritance went to her children and not her husband – a totally unnecessary precaution since Eva outlived her husband by nearly 30 years but not an uncommon one.


Elizabeth Henry Bozarth did not die for ten years, on February 7, 1907, in Kansas. Florence Bozarth did indeed marry, to a Nichols. She received notice of the final estate settlement by mail under that name. Unfortunately no address was given. There is no marriage in the Illinois State Archives database which may just mean she married after 1900.





The Bozarth monument in Riverside Cemetery, Illiopolis, cost $184.15. Elizabeth’s plaque is on the other side.


The final settlement of the estate did not occur until December 22, 1908.

William Henry Downing Probate

William Henry Downing Probate

William Henry Downing’s probate file came from the Logan County Circuit Clerk. Parts of it could be found at IRAD and the whole probate would be in the FamilySearch files.


On December 2, 1903, in the typhoid epidemic, William Henry Downing died. He was the only child of William Nelson Downing, who died in the Civil War, ironically of “typhoid pneumonia,” and Delilah Downing Downing. He was 40 years old, not expecting to die and had no will.





His heirs were his widow Eliza Harding Downing, sons Clarence, Charles Ellis, Ennis and Floyd. Clarence was 17 and Floyd was 7. [Floyd isn’t in the picture.]


The widow was named Administrix on December 8, 1903. David Shellhammer, husband of Delilah Downing Downing, and James Shellhammer, Delilah’s first son by her second marriage, stood as sureties. Appointed as appraisers were Lewis Upp, Charles Brooker and William Beckers, all three very close neighbors. Brooker would become the father in law of the eldest son Clarence. Upp was married to a Lincoln, descendant of the same immigrant ancestor as the more famous Lincoln.


They finished up their work promptly and reported on December 28, 1903, valuing the property of the estate at $4,700.25. The list is four pages long and is quite specific at times – “6 rocking chairs, 1 bay mare named Brownie, 1 red steer, 1 gray mare, 66 hogs” – and less specific at others – “1 lot of chickens” [which I first read as “a lot of chickens”]. 


The value of the widow’s property as prescribed by law, which included school books, a sewing machine, beds, one fourth of a cow for every family member [fortunately for the cow there were four members], two sheep for every family member, one horse, etc., was $1,281.50. 


The Administrix reported on March 23, 1907. There was $4,700.25 in receipts which included $599.37 for “property not sold but kept…to make up amount shown on appraisement bill.” In the long list of bills totalling $3,704.76 we learn that funeral expense was $263.75 and the stone cost $1,140. The balance after all bills was $995.49, less than the widows’ amount.





The land apparently passed separately. It is not mentioned. Each son received 80 acres which was farmed by son Ellis until the early 1970s. Most of it is now farmed by his grandson, Roy Downing.

Delilah Downing Downing Shellhammer Will

Delilah Downing Downing Shellhammer Will

Delilah Downing Downing Shellhammer was the youngest child of Robert Downing whose probate was previously discussed. I had never considered that she had a will or probate but I found it in the probate records posted online at FamilySearch. These probate files are more work to collect, not being word searchable, but they are also free. Help with the records





Delilah died June 22, 1909. She first married William Nelson Downing who died in the Civil War. She then married David Shellhammer. She had a son, William Henry Downing, by her first husband. William Henry died in 1903 leaving four sons. She had two sons, James and Albert, and two daughters, Sarah Jane Shellhammer West and Augusta Shellhammer Park, by her second husband. 


On June 1, 1909, Delilah executed a will. Delilah couldn’t write and had to sign it with her mark. Whether Delilah couldn’t write or was too ill to write at the time is unknown.


Delilah very carefully and specifically divided her property into fifths giving one fifth to each child and the remaining fifth to be equally among the heirs of her deceased son William. Her estate consisted of her personal effects and furniture and land in Section 1, Mt. Pulaski Township. She directed that one heir buy out all the others and that the others cooperate to do that.


Finally she named T. A. Scroggin executor of her will. There were no claims against the estate. Everyone cooperated and probate closed November 1, 1909. 


Some of Delilah’s descendants should have taken a lesson from her will.

Gadgets and Gear for Genealogy

Gadgets and Gear for Genealogy

If all goes as planned I will be taking a trip and there will be research. Since my last trip my toys have changed.


My new phone is an old smartphone. It’s a Nokia E71, their version of a Blackberry. It has a camera and internet, some apps but it is an older phone. It has built in free GPS. It has built in tethering [which I have not tried]. The best part: unlimited talk, text, internet – everything – is $45 a month, no contract. So I can stand in a cemetery, take pictures and send them on by text message or email as a backup. It has a micro SD card which means I could fill one and swap it out too. 


I have an iPod Touch, before the camera was added, which has copies of my genealogy database and some files. See FamViewer and GEDViewer for a discussion of the database programs. I have since added Families which works with Legacy genealogy software only. I switched to Legacy last winter but that’s a story for later.


In the spring I added an iPad2. An iPad is an iPod Touch with a much larger screen. [I am told Apple hates that remark.] I love my iPod Touch so a larger would make it perfect, right? Well, yes and no. I find my iPad2 to be just a bit too big to be comfortable. That is my only complaint though. It has a front facing camera and a rear facing camera. Certainly the database is easier to read on the larger screen. The digital genealogy books I carry are also easier to read. I did not buy the version with the built in cell internet service. It was more expensive and I didn’t want to commit to a contract. It soon became clear I’d love the iPad2 and even the iPod Touch better if they had internet service.


Thus the latest addition to my genealogy toolbox is a Virgin Mobile hotspot. It is a small device, easily fits into a pocket, and up to five devices can connect wirelessly to the internet through it. If you buy your device at a certain very very large retailer [and only then] you can also buy from them 1GB of service for $19.99. It’s good for 30 days. You can renew or not, as needed, or you can sign up to automatically add a new GB every 30 days. 


Finally, in addition to standard backups to a separate removal drive and backups to the cloud I started backing up to an additional removal drive. About once a month I take the drive to the safety deposit box, which is built to withstand a category 4 hurricane, deposit it and bring the old home to fill.