Thankful Thursday – Look what I found!! New places to look for records

I don’t think we understand how thankful we should be for being able to do genealogical research in such a great time as today! Just when you think you can’t find anything new in research, a new website comes out or you find a new search engine that searches just genealogy sites. 

Allow me to back up a little….You might have read in a previous post about how I recently found enough documentation to allow me to make a solid connection to a Banta family through my paternal grandmother’s line. If not go ahead and read it now…’s ok, I’ll wait…………..oh you’re back great….

There is an 1893 published genealogy on the Banta family a lot of researchers use. Now, I have been researching long enough to know you don’t take ANY printed (or now online) genealogy as gospel. However, I also know an older genealogy CAN be used as a research guide to help you know where to look for sources, thus furthering your research and validating the older published work.

OK with THAT being said, this older genealogy has my Henry Banta (page 165) as being married to Charity Banta (a cousin of his) having 4 children (I’ll have to do a different post about this inaccuracy) and then….

“He removed from Mercer County, Kentucky to Hart County thence to Green County in the same state, and afterwards to Illinois, where he died in 1843.”1

Well that’s helpful…..I think….I mean he narrows it down to Illinois in 1843, but come on Illinois is a BIG state even in the early days. I would love to know who T.M. Banta spoke with when putting his book together that knew this information.

Oh yeah and beside the size of the state, the number of records and tax lists for that year is pretty slim…..But anyway I still kept looking for Ole Henry…..Oh yeah also did Charity (the wife) die in Kentucky before the move? If so, in which of the counties that he migrated through? or did she make it to yettobedeterminedplace in Illinois? All good questions.

So I was using a wonderful new genealogy search engine called Genealogy Gophers where you can search through 80,000 digital genealogy books…..Wow! 80 thousand and not one Facebook find on a recent person when you are looking for a person from the 1840’s…..but I digress.

I thought I would test out the new site by entering this long shot on Henry Banta and Illinois. When I do the search with his name and that location, it comes back with the same books that I have found before – none of which help with narrowing down where Henry went in Illinois.

So then I start putting in his children’s names with Illinois as a place (you know using the FAN club method)
Albert – nothing helpful, 
        Lambert – nothing helpful, 
               Abraham – nothing help……wait a minute what is this?

As you can see the fourth one down is titled “Nauvoo Journal” well that one caught my eye because of the names in the clipping. My Henry’s wife – Charity; daughter – Charity; son – Abraham. It was definitely worth clicking on to check out…..I mean after all I am on page 11 in the search results.

I find out that the Nauvoo Journal Vol 1 from 1989 has published an Nov 28, 1843 petition to the United State Congress from the Mormon residents of Hancock County, Illinois. This petition is officially titled, “Memorial of inhabitants of Nauvoo in Illinois, praying redress for injuries to their persons and properties by lawless proceedings of citizens of Missouri.”

Wait What! Nauvoo Illinois……but they were just in Hart County Kentucky tax records the year before….what a minute let me look how far away that is maybe it’s not that far…..HOLY COW….according to Google maps it is 444 miles (or 145 hours of walking) from Hart County to Nauvoo…

WOW that’s a lot of walking!

From this little break through I was able to find a couple more little tidbits that I didn’t have before. But all of that is food for another posting.

But to bring this posting full circle….the reason I am writing this is to show even after 122 years (2015-1893) modern technology has allowed us to know where in Illinois Henry and Charity Banta ended up.

But as always it only opens up more questions. Why did they go there? Did they stay there? Did they become Mormons?

Hope you enjoyed, glad you stopped by and please come back again 😉

1. “A Frisian Family, the Banta Genealogy : descendants of Epke Jacobse, who came from Friesland, Netherlands, to New Amsterdam, February, 1659” by Banta, Theodore Melvin,

from The Sum Of All My Research


Treasure Chest Thursday – Slemmons Album page 24 & 25 revisited


Back in 2010 I was posting from a photo album my aunt had in her possession of family pictures. One of the postings titled Treasure Chest Thursday – Slemmons Album page 24 & 25 showed a picture of the Dripping Springs School my maternal grandfather (Richard S Munday) and his siblings attended in about 1904. It was a good group picture but I had always noticed how light parts of it were and it didn’t allow you to see all of the children’s faces.

I played around with it a little today and wanted to share the new touched-up version.

While it is really just darkened, darkening it allows the children’s faces on the right to be seen better.

As an aside I would be interested if anyone knows any of the other children in this picture. While my great-grandmother listed 11 children as you can see there are way more than that in the picture.

Please let me know if you are related to anyone of the children in the picture.

Hope you enjoyed, glad you stopped by and please come back again 😉

from The Sum Of All My Research

Matrilineal Monday – How I messed up my GPS


Why am I writing about a Global Positioning System on my genealogy blog? And how did you mess it up, Deb?

OK first things first – I’m not talking about the Global Positioning Systems that some people have in their vehicles.

I’m talking about the Genealogical Proof Standard that the Board for Certification of Genealogists has had in place for several years. More information about it can be found here.

Many times when researching a particular parent to child connection we begin creating a GPS without knowing it. You know the ones where you have a hunch, theory, funny feeling or sneaking suspicion that person A is the child of person B. But you can’t find a document proving it. So what do you do?  NO – give up is not the answer I was going for! If you’re like me you start pulling all of the documents you can get your hands on for those two people.

This is what I had done for Charity, wife of Jesse Lile, the grandfather of my great-grandmother (Annie Elizabeth Lile Shofner). I had found Jesse Lile connected to my great-grandmother Annie Elizabeth Lile in several documents. So I had been able to piece together that she was illegitimate and his granddaughter.

So with this new branch of the family I started getting information about Jesse, his wife and their children. I find them in the 1870 Green County, Kentucky listed as:

Lile, Jesse H – 38 year old White Male Works on Farm born in Kentucky
Charity          – 39 year old White Female Keeping House born in Kentucky
Henriahreta  -14 year old White Female no occupation born in Indiana
Euphama     – 11 year old White Female no occupation born in Indiana
Mary H.       – 7 year old White Female no occupation born in Indiana

Wow what a bunch of unusual names. Of the three girls, which I suspect are daughters, two of them have very unusual names for girls of this time frame.

So I follow them backward to the 1860 census where I find them living in Switzerland County, Indiana. This makes sense because the daughters are all listed as being born in Indiana. So I find them as:

Jesse H Lile – 27 year old White Male Farmer born in Kentucky
Charity J      – 29 year old White Female no occupation born in Kentucky
Henrietta     – 5 year old White Female no occupation born in Indiana
Eupamy      – 1 year old White Female no occupation born in Indiana

Here we have them 10 years younger with the same girls as listed in 1870, minus Mary H who has not been born yet.

At this point I was starting to try and find a marriage date and place for them. Well nothing…so I kept looking.

1850 finds Jesse in his parents household living in Hart County, Kentucky. Well maybe they got married there…….oh crap did I say Hart County Kentucky! I did….well that pretty much spells doom on finding a marriage for them. Most of Hart County records were destroyed in a 1927 courthouse fire. Now I know not all of Hart County’s records were destroyed, but enough of them were to make finding a marriage record for them very difficult.

So, I start going back over the information I do have to see if I overlooked something that might help. You know the whole Friends, Associates and Neighbors.

Oh, here’s something. In the 1860 and 1870 censuses Jesse and Charity are living next door to a Banta family. Pretty cool in itself but what makes this even MORE important is that they are two different Banta families. Hmm, interesting.

In the 1870 Green County Kentucky census I find a William L Banta age 42 and what appears to be his wife and children living next door. Oh look he was born in Kentucky and his wife and children were born in Indiana.

While in the 1860 Switzerland County Indiana census living next door to Jesse and Charity is a Samuel H Banta age 33 and what appears to be his wife, Susan H age 28 both born in Kentucky with Mary E age 8 and Susan J age 5 both born in Indiana.

Well this picture is getting really interesting know. Oh wait what’s this: on the other side of Jessie and Charity in 1860 is a Alexander Harper age 68 born in Scotland with a wife named Euphema age 52 born in Kentucky. This CAN’T be a coincidence, can it?

Ok so I go back to the 1850 Hart County Kentucky Census (playing the odds that Charity is living there) and do a search for any person with the name of Charity living in the county. Hmm, I find 5 and 2 of them have the Banta last name, while only one of these two are the age of Jesse’s wife.

Well let’s look at this Charity Banta’s family structure:

Banta, Albert  – 47 year old White Male farmer born in Kentucky
           Mary    – 51 year old White Female no occupation born in Kentucky
           Samuel H – 24 year old White Male farmer born in Kentucky
           Susan       – 19 year old White Female no occupation born in Kentucky
           William L – 22 year old White Male no occupation born in Kentucky
           Charaty    – 19 year old White Female no occupation born in Kentucky
           Hanah R.  – 11 year old White Female no occupation born in Kentucky
Jackson, Euphama – 39 year old White Female no occupation born in Kentucky

Holy Cow, what a nice little package I have here. Several things jump out at me at once. First both Samuel H and Susan listed here are not children of Albert and Mary. Samuel H is their child, Susan is his wife and they are the next door neighbors of Jesse and Charity in the 1860 Switzerland County Indiana census. Second the William L listed here is the 1870 Green County Kentucky neighbors of Jesse and Charity. Third Euphama…..that’s really all that needs to be said about that! I mean how can you not tie this family to my Charity…..I have the Euphama link.

So now I think I have Charity’s family……her maiden name is Banta. I was able to prove it (to my satisfaction) using a pretty descent Genealogical Proof Standard. I will get a couple more records that Jesse and Charity generated over their lives…..

his second marriage record, their children’s marriage record (hoping it lists their mother’s maiden name), Charity’s 1898 obituary from the newspaper (big help there – she’s listed as Mrs Jesse Lile – no maiden name), his Civil War Pension file (yeah that would be nice to get – it has his second wife listed – maybe it will have his first wife’s maiden name…..nope none that I see), his obituary, his will……

yawn yawn, nothing that PROVES Charity’s maiden name. Well it’s good that I have the proof standard to go by.

Fast forward 5 years (or so) I am now explaining my theory to a distant cousin on the Lile family.

The cousin’s email to me (paraphrased) oh, yeah that’s good Deb….yeah I see where you’re going with this….oh could this be them? I did a google search for Charity Banta and found a marriage record in Ripley County Indiana.

I then look at the link she provided me and wow oh wow it’s them getting married in 1855…..I do a little happy dance and then a little more digging and find Euphama Jackson marrying Alexander Harper in Ripley County in 1855. Then I follow Charity’s father forward in the census and find him living in… guessed it Ripley County Indiana in 1860.

Good times. So all is well with proving Charity’s maiden name….I put a descent argument together that she was a Banta…then it was proven by the marriage record. Yeah…..Wait what is this in Jesse’s Civil War Pension file (that I’ve had in my possession for several years)….

“That the soldier was previously married to Charity J Banta January 14, 1855, who died…..”

Seriously….are you kidding me? I had it in my records for the last 2 years…..So two documents that messed up my beautiful GPS!

Of course I am writing this as a joke. Me “messing up my GPS” is just another way of saying I should have analyzed the documents I already had in my possession. But I am also excited to know I had a theory and was able to get the documents together to prove it.

Hope you enjoyed, glad you stopped by and please come back again 😉

from The Sum Of All My Research

Mystery Monday – Beware of those bible pages!


As genealogists, we are often overjoyed to find a bible record, because now all of our questions will be answered on a particular family. SO overjoyed we read things that aren’t there or worse take the information that is there at face value. Sometimes simple math should tell us something is a miss.

“What did I find?” you ask, well it’s a child who wasn’t really a child! WHAT????

Okay here goes.

Years ago, I found the bible record of my great-great grandparents, William Easton Shofner and Margret Belle Wright. Among the water stained pages of this bible is a listing titled “children of W E & Marget B Shofner below”. Down the left side of the list are the numbers 1 through 10. Starting with number 8 the children are:

Edy E Shofner born october ? 1886

loyd E Shofner born may 27 1888
Charly W Shofner born January 10 1887

    The first time I looked at this page, I remember thinking the water damage sure had taken its toll on the dates, but I tried reading them to the best of my ability. So in my genealogy program I put the above 1886, 1888 and 1887 dates. Now I know you’re thinking, “but Deb they are out of order!” Yeah, I “see” that….now! Hindsight being 20/20, that should have been my 1st red-flag.

    But I still put Charly in my database as a child of William and Margret because I believed the bible.

    So then as we always do, I went looking for more information. I sent off for his Civil War pension file to see what goodies IT would show me.

    William E Shofner Civil War pension file page dated 1898

    Among other goodies in his pension was this page dated May 4 1898 and “signed by William E Shofner him Self”

    As it clearly shows William and Margret have 8 living children. #8 being Charley W Shofner…..same as the above bible page……cool

    William E Shofner Civil War pension file page dated 1915

    Then another page from the same pension file dated 1915:

    When I first received the pension file I just went blowing through the pages and took this as another listing of their children.

    But NOW of course if we count the children we find….Mariah 1…William H 2…..John H 3….Mary E 4…..Robert W 5…..Crisey B 6…..Miney W 7……Edy E 8……Louyed? E 9…..

    Wait…what? ONLY 9 children…… What about good ole Charley W where did he go? Aw how sad OBVIOUSLY his father forgot to list him….Hey you know with sooo many children surely one or two will get lost in the woodwork a time or two.

    Now once I actually NOTICED the difference I went relooking at all of the other documents I have on him…..

    Most of them did not help with this questions, but this is the one that made the light bulb go off – the 1900 Campbellsville, Taylor County Kentucky census:

    William and Margret Shofner in 1900 Taylor County Kentucky

    OH YEAH NOW I see Margret has 9 children born to her with 7 of them living!

    Of course this is the census record that also sent me off on the search to find out something about the Charles W Greenwell listed as a grandchild which resulted in this posting.

    Well, I will not admit how many YEARS it took me to see that the birth date of Charly W Shofner (from the bible record) and the birth date of Charles W Greenwell (as listed on WWI Draft registration card and his tombstone) were the same….Jan 10 1887….thus making me realize that the Charly W listed in the bible record is not in actuality a child.


    Ok so the questions have to be asked…..Why put Charles/Charly in the bible record as a child in the first place if he is a grandchild? Why then tell the pension bureau in 1898 that he is a child but in 1900 tell the census taker that he is a grandchild? Then in 1915 tell the pension bureau the true list of children?

    I know all of these questions will probably never get answered but one can always hope.

    Lastly, beware of the bible pages. Sometimes they are too good to be true!

    Hope you enjoyed, glad you stopped by and please come back again 😉

    from The Sum Of All My Research

    Who Tells the family? Follow-up


    Two years ago I blogged the question, “Who tells the family?” where I asked the question of who tells the family “back home” when a distant family member dies. In that posting I asked, “Did they (the settlers of his estate, his local friends or someone else) put an inquiry into a Kentucky paper to locate the family of Garland Slemmons long ago resident? I don’t know, but I would really like to find out.”

    Well guess what I found!

    You guessed it…..I found out how they contacted the family.

    Through my local library I have access to ProQuest which has a local newspaper (the Courier-Journal) in it’s Historical newspapers collection. These historical newspapers date from 1830 to 1922. When searching in this collection I found my answer to the above question.

    In the wanted section of the May 8 1898 issue of the Courier Journal this advertisement ran:

    “WANTED — INFORMATION — There died in this place a few days since an old gentleman named Garland Slemmons, a native of Kentucky. (I think Hardin County.) He left a very nice little ranch at the edge of town and some money. If his relatives will write me I can give them information regarding the estate. C.M. TAYLOR, Deputy Sheriff Genoa, Nevada.”

    While my ancestor lived in Metcalfe County Kentucky (in the southern part of the state) this newspaper is from the northern part of the state. So evidently my ancestor (or someone he knew) saw the ad and contacted the Deputy Sheriff.

    Now I have that question answered, I should be finished with this guy right? Well no. Because now I want to find the probate and find out more about what did they do with the lot and other “stuff.”

    So as before one question answered at least two more to answer.

    Hope you enjoyed, glad you stopped by and please come back again 😉

    from The Sum Of All My Research