Searching for Stephensons in Lincolnshire using the IGI Index

May 3, 2010

In the last few days, Sandra and I have added a significant number of people, dates, and events to my Stephenson family tree using IGI records.  We have also found some new tools that make these records much more accessible.  These records are compiled by the Latter Day Saints and can be found at www.familysearch.org.  Historically, English parishes were required to keep records on baptisms or christenings, marriages, and deaths.  These records were compiled annually, forwarded to the Bishop and formed the Bishops Index.  The International Genealogical Index (IGI) is compiled from the Bishops Index.  Thus, anything found in the IGI is supported by official records. 

Family Search also houses a huge amount of genealogical data submitted by individuals, but, like trees on www.Ancestry.com, these are not always supported by verifiable sources.  I had used the familysearch site in the past but found it cumbersome and not very user-friendly.  Records for an individual were not linked, so you could find a marriage record in one place, but christening records would be elsewhere and information on parents still somewhere else. 

In the past week we have found two new tools that make the index much easier to use and has helped us make many new discoveries.  The Latter Day Saints are offering a pilot of a new search engine they will offer at www.familysearch.org.  To access it, go to the home page, select Search Records and a drop down menu will appear.  Select the Record Search Pilot option.

The pilot search tool allows ease of data entry, filtering of data, and refining search criteria.  I found it very user friendly.  It will apparently allow views of the actual documents in the future.

A second tool that has been tremendously helpful is the England IGI Batch Numbers File.  The link for England is shown here http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~hughwallis/IGIBatchNumbers/CountryEngland.htm#PageTitle.  The home page for the full site is http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~hughwallis/IGIBatchNumbers.htm#PageTitle.

The Bishop’s Records forming the IGI were compiled in batches.  This tool lets you select the English county and then the local area to search.  Lincolnshire records of birth/christenings and marriages have been indexed and are readily available.  This search tool allowed us to see all IGI records for Hogsthorpe, Lincolnshire and search for Stephensons.    This provided lots of information and helped us find parents and siblings for family members living in the same locale. 

The batch records search works best for small areas, such as the towns in Lincolnshire, England.  Large cities, Liverpool being an example, require knowing the exact church parish. 

For some unknown (to me) reason, none of the three search methods — familysearch, the pilot search, and the batch search — seem to have all the records.  I find that I sometimes have to use all three methods, but usually end up identifying a new nugget of information.  It is quite exciting when that nugget is uncovered.

I experimented using the batch record search for the U.S. and Ireland.  Sandra’s family has roots in County Down, Northern Ireland and she did not find the these records helpful.  Searching the U.S. was particularly difficult, but more practice may improve my opinion.

Using the IGI files, we have expanded our family tree adding Stephensons, Richardsons, Woulds, and Swins.  I will share these findings in future blogs.  If you have a particular interest in these family lines, send me a comment on this blog and I will send you the information I have.  In the near future I will upload family files to Ancestry.com and, at your request, I can set you up as a guest on those files.


The George Wold Stephenson Bible

April 14, 2010

George Wold Stephenson

George Wold Stephenson was my great-great-grandfather.  He and his wife Agnes Catherine Hamilton immigrated from England to the United States in 1844, living first on Long Island, New York, before settling in St. Johns, Michigan.  One of my prize possessions is his family Bible where the family carefully recorded  marriages, births, and deaths.  This Bible was passed down to my great-grandfather Edward William Stephenson, then to my father, and finally to me.  Pictures of the Bible and the inscribed pages are shown here.

George Wold Stephenson's Bible.

Family names recorded in the Stephenson Bible.

Deaths recorded in the Stephenson Bible.

Agnes Stephenson

Shown below are pictures of two very old bookmarks which were found in the Bible.  The bookmarks are in needlepoint on perforated paper, one worked in silk, the other in wool.  The silk bookmark has the words “Faith Hope Charity.”  The wool bookmark says “Simply to Thy Cross I cling.”  We don’t know who made the bookmarks, but perforated paper embroidery being popular in Victorian times, it is easy to picture Agnes stitching the bookmarks for George’s Bible.

Bookmark: Faith Hope Charity

Bookmark: Simply to Thy Cross I Cling


Stephenson Update

April 9, 2010

George Wold Stephenson

During the past week, I have been in contact with two of my Stephenson 4th cousins.  My 3rd great-grandfather was George Stephenson (1774-1846), who lived in Lincolnshire, England.  He and his wife Elizabeth Wold (W0uld) had 12 children.  My ancestor was George Wold Stephenson (1813-1896), who immigrated to the US and settled in St. Johns, Michigan.  Most of my records follow this line.  Another son of George and Elizabeth was Absolam Wold Stephenson (1798-1854), whose son John Absalom Stephenson (1840-1921) immigrated to Australia.  His descendant Frazer Stephenson has established a family tree The Stephenson Family Tree- Australia on Ancestry.com.  Another son of George and Elizabeth was David (1802-1875), whose family remained in England.  His descendant Patrick Stephenson has set up The Stephenson Family Tree, also on Ancestry.com.  Much of the Stephenson information and pictures  from my blog are now also available on these two trees.  

 To make it easier to collaborate, I have now up-loaded my Stephenson data and have a family tree George Wold Stephenson Descendants on Ancestry.  We are working to combine data on these three trees to form more complete records on the Stephensons.  If you are not a subscriber to Ancestry.com, please respond in a comment to this post.  I can add you as a guest on Ancestry.com and you can view what information is available. 

St. Mary's Church, Horncastle, Lincolnshire, England

This summer Sandra and I will spend time in Europe, including a brief visit to Horncastle and Hogsthorpe.  I will share our findings when we return.  Since we are traveling using airline miles, our itinerary is determined  by available flights, rather than the time we would like to spend.  Three days would be more appropriate.  The good thing is that Horncastle and Hogsthorpe, where our Stephenson ancestors lived, are very small and have few cemeteries and churches.  Hopefully, we can cover a lot in the short period.  I have communicated with Pat Stephenson, my 4th cousin mentioned above, and we will try to make contact during our brief stop in England.

A few months ago I wrote a blog, comparing genealogy in my father’s time and in mine.  Thanks to resources such as Ancestry.com, three distant cousins on three continents can now easily collaborate on virtually a real time basis to build an extensive genealogical data base.  How times have changed!


Children of Edwin Ashbel and Myrtie Winegar: Group Pictures

September 17, 2009

In the last several posts I have included individual pictures of the children of  E.A. and Myrtie Winegar.  Today, I finish this section with pictures of two or more of the children and their parents.  I can identify most of the people in the group pictures if anyone wants the information. 

Nina, Esther, and Donald Winegar

Nina, Esther, and Donald Winegar

One of the few pictures of the entire Edd Winegar family: left to right, Edd, Bill, Myrtie, Paul, Nina, Esther, and Donald.

One of the few pictures of the entire Edd Winegar family: left to right, Edd, Bill, Myrtie, Paul, Nina, Esther, and Donald.

From left to right, Uncle Henry, Paul, Edd, Myrtie, Bill, and Esther Winegar.

From left to right, Uncle Henry, Paul, Edd, Myrtie, Bill, and Esther Winegar.

Left to right, Paul, Esther, Myrtie, Bill, Don, and Edd Winegar.

Left to right, Paul, Esther, Myrtie, Bill, Don, and Edd Winegar.

Thanksgiving 1937 at the Winegar's.

Thanksgiving 1937 at the Winegar's.

A Winegar-Stephenson picnic, ca 1915

A Winegar-Stephenson picnic, ca 1915

The Winegar family, 1952

The Winegar family, 1952


It’s Not Your Father’s Genealogy

August 26, 2009

 

The Carolina Cousins visit with Michigan family.

The Carolina Cousins visit with Michigan family.

In one of my first posts I described how I had benefited by the genealogical research of my father Donald Winegar and my aunt Betty Daniells.  Both spent years in their retirement gathering data on our family history.  My father left written acounts of his memories of his parents and grandparents. 

Carolina Cousins Carrie Stephenson with children Lola, Daisy, and Jim on the horse.

Carolina Cousins Carrie Stephenson with children Lola, Daisy, and Jim on the horse.

I recently came across his account of his search for his “Carolina Cousins.”  In his mother’s photos he found pictures taken in 1910 or 1911 in Michigan.  On the back of one was written, “Stephenson cousins from Carolina” and the names of three children Lola, Jim and Daisy.  One of the pictures  included my father as a baby in a stroller.   George S. Stephenson, the children’s father, did not visit Michigan with his family, but his name was known.  The only other thing that my father knew about the family was that the boy, Jim, had been accidentally electrocuted at the age of 21.

Carrie Stephenson and son Jim, some of the Carolina Cousins.

Carrie Stephenson and son Jim, two of the Carolina Cousins.

Sixty years after the pictures were taken and after the death of his parents, Donald began work on the genealogy of the Stephenson family.  He was fortunate to have the family Bible of his great-grandfather, George Wold Stephenson (now in my possession), which contains a great deal of family data, but it offered no help in identifying George S.  On two different trips through the Carolinas he made inquiries but without success.  Marriage records were kept by county, and he didn’t even know whether the family was from North or South Carolina.  The only son of the Carolina cousins had died young, and the sisters had married and had different last names.  Some time later, Donald found in his mother’s old address book an entry that said, “Carrie Stephenson, Rawley N.C.”   On the assumption that George had died in Raleigh, Wake County, N.C., he wrote for a death certificate and received it.  The name of the person who informed the undertaker of the death was J.R. Hayes.  Through directory assistance, he found a listing for Mrs. J. R. Hayes.  The person who answered was a grandchild of Mrs. Hayes who referred him to another number where, to his amazement, the phone was answered by the son of George S. Stephenson.  Donald learned that George S. was the son of a brother of Donald’s grandfather.  He was able to establish contact with his cousins and fill in a great deal of the family history. 

This long search illustrates the excitement and frustrations of genealogical research.  It also shows how research had to be conducted in the past.  Donald wrote hundreds of letters searching for information.  He traveled to state capitals and searched phone books when he traveled.  Aunt Betty’s research was similar.  She corresponded with researchers all over the country and paid many to study Census data and other documents on site.  She traveled to England and viewed original documents there.

The internet has made a huge impact on the study of genealogy.  Census data up through 1930 is now online.  Social Security death records since 1939 are on line.  I keep my data in Family Tree Maker which is connected to Ancestry.com.  No sooner then I enter a name into the file then a ” leaf” pops up indicating information is available for that person.

Carrie Stephenson and son Jim.  Jim was accidentally electrocuted at age 21.

Carrie Stephenson and son Jim. Jim was accidentally electrocuted at age 21.

Genealogical research is still just as exciting and rewarding as in the past.  It’s just much faster.  Some of the research that took years for my dad and aunt can be done almost instantaneously.  Data that was unknown in the past is now available.  In spite of that, the thrill of the search and excitement of making new connections is still there.  In the last couple of months since I began my blog, Sandra and I have made many exciting discoveries.  Not every question is quickly answered.  We keep raising new questions and beginning new searches.  We just returned from a vacation in Michigan where we visited five  different cemeteries where my ancestors are burried.  We learned that the old methods of collecting information still have great value.  We learned things in this visit that we couldn’t find online yet.  One thing that is for sure is that our greatest source of information is still our parents and older family members.  Donald regretted starting his Carolina Cousins search after his parents were gone.  It might have saved him years of frustration.  Contacts that we have made during our travels still open new avenues for searching and bring us in contact with interesting people with similar interests.


The Agnes Stephenson Window

August 21, 2009
Agnes Stephenson Window in St. John's Episcopal Church

Agnes Stephenson Window in St. John's Episcopal Church

 

Sandra and I just returned from spending two and one half weeks at our cottage in Michigan.  We were able to do quite a bit of genealogical research while there, as well as relaxing.  We visited a number of cemeteries and will report our findings in later blogs.

Today, I want share our findings in St. Johns, Michigan.  My  father, Donald Stephenson Winegar, visited the St. Johns Episcopal Church in 1936 and reported that his great-grandfather, George Wold Stephenson,  had been one of the founders of the church.  He further reported that his great-grandfather had dedicated a stained glass window to his wife and that the window was there at that time in 1936.

Jim reads inscription on the Agnes Stephenson window.

Jim reads inscription on the Agnes Stephenson window.

We had no idea whether the old church was still there or, if so, whether the window was there.  I had tried unsuccessfully to reach anyone in the church from Florida.  After some research in Michigan, the Episcopal Dioscese put me in contact with Wendy Ward, a member of the church, who was extremely helpful.  She went by the church and called to tell me that the window was in fact still there.  On our way back to Florida, we swung by St. Johns and Wendy gave us a tour.  The window is really quite exciting. 

St. Johns Episcopal Church, St. Johns, Michigan.

St. Johns Episcopal Church, St. Johns, Michigan.

It was installed in 1894 and is one of the oldest windows in the church.  My wife Sandra took a number of pictures, several of which are shown here.  Wendy is very interested in the history of St. Johns and the church and she reports that old diaries of members have been preserved and that she will provide me with copies.    Hopefully we will learn more about the Stephensons from these records.  The church was recently featured in the St. Johns Sesquicentennial (150 years).  One thing she remembers from old documents was that the church, located just a few blocks from downtown St. Johns, was originally a school, but it was considered unsafe for students because of the presence of bears.  We didn’t see any bears in St. Johns:-)

Inscription on left window.

Inscription on left window.

Inscription on right window.

Inscription on right window.

 One of George’s and Agnes’s daughters, Angeline, married Russel B. Emmons in 1873.  The Emmons were leaders, both in the community and in the church.  Part of the town is called Emmonsville.  We were able to take a picture of the Emmons mansion, which is impressive, even by today’s standards.

The Emmons House in St. Johns, Michigan.

The Emmons House in St. Johns, Michigan.


Winegars in the 1900s

July 21, 2009

 

Edwin Ashbel Winegar, 1873-1946

Edd and Myrtie Winegar on their wedding day.

Edd and Myrtie Winegar on their wedding day.

Edwin Ashbel was born in Vergennes Township, near Lowell, Michigan.  In 1879, his father, Ashbel, died leaving his mother, Mary Rease Roberts, with four young sons and no one to help raise them.  In 1883, she moved back to New York to live with her sister.  She died in 1889.

The next record we have of is of Edwin aged 16 and his younger brother Ira age 14, living in Clinton County, Michigan with a Howe family.  According to Howe records, the boys were orphaned and found shelter in an unused shack.  Fred Howe felt this was not a proper place for the young boys and took Edd in.  Ira went to live with Fred’s brother Rozelle.  Edd worked for room, board and school and became a member of the family.  A young son of the Howe’s reports on how he cried when he learned that Edd was not his brother.  Edd stayed with the Howe family until he was ready to attend Michigan Agricultural College and learn the dairy business.

The Howe home was not far from the Edward W. Stephenson farm and he became acquainted with the Stephenson sisters, Bertha and Myrtie.  At first, he courted Bertha until Myrtie was old enough to date.  He and Myrtie were married in 1900 at the bride’s home.

Edd worked for a short time in a creamery then worked on a farm until he could afford to buy his own.  He purchased a small farm in Wacousta, a small town of 150 inhabitants.  Across the street was a creamery, and he ran that as well as farming.  The house they lived in had been built by Nathaniel Irish Daniells, the great, great, grandfather of Mary Winegar whom Donald Winegar would later marry.  N.I. Daniells had his office as Justice of the Peace in the house.  Demand for the creamery fell off, and Edd turned to farming full time.

Edd’s son Donald Winegar writes:

Dad had a very good mind and was a great reader, always trying to improve his knowledge.  He worked hard and faithfully.  He was honest as the day was long.  I never heard my father swear or say anything that could not be used in mixed company.  His favorite expression when perplexed or exasperated was ‘Oh, Shaw.’‘

But for all his goodness, he had one failing.  He was not a good manager, nor was he of mechanical mind, both qualities that a farmer should possess.  He ‘toggled up’ machinery, harnesses, buildings and the like.  Many people who knew him best, said he was out of his element as a farmer.  He should have been a teacher, for he was a good one.  But this I can say for him, in spite of his inadequacies, he kept on keeping on.  He didn’t give his children property nor money; he gave them the legacy of a good name.

Dad was a Christian.  From earliest memory, he was faithful in things of his faith.  He was a good churchman.  He was faithful in attendance and in giving.  He lived his faith seven days a week.

For several years, Dad was postmaster of the little community of Wacousta.  Progress dictated, however, that the post office be eliminated and the people of Wacousta put on rural routes.  I can still remember people coming to the office, which was in a small room in the southeast corner of the house.

Dad wanted his children to have a high school education.  Because Wacousta had only a ten grade school, this meant that the other two years had to be gotten elsewhere.  This took money, in fact more money than dad and mother could afford.  But they managed by paying for their children’s education rather than paying off the mortgage on the farm.

After my grandfather, E. W. Stephenson, died in 1931, his farm was divided between his two daughters, and as one part of the farm had a tenant house, my folks fixed up the old house and moved in.  The old farm in Wacousta was allowed to go for its mortgage.  The man who took over the mortgage discovered he had gravel on the property. Dad had made tests before but not at the right locations.  The first year the pit was in operation, the owner realized $6000 in profit.  But such is life!

Edd continued to farm until age 72 when he had to retire because of illness.  He died of cancer of the stomach in 1946.

 

Myrtie Louisa Stephenson, 1880-1954

Edd and Myrtie Winegar in later years.

Edd and Myrtie Winegar in later years.

Myrtie was born in Wacousta in 1880.  She and her sister Bertha were very close and remained so for all of their lives.  According to Donald Winegar, she and her husband rarely spoke of their early life, and he knew very little of their past.  Myrtie had rheumatic fever as a child and was left with a bad heart.  She could do a lot of work but occasionally had to rest her heart.  During those times, the children had to help with all the heavy work.  Donald remembers that his work included churning butter and pumping the washing machine in the back room.

Donald writes:

In many ways, it was a hard life for my mother.  Money was always scarce and she rarely spent money for clothes for herself.  Things for the home to make her work easier had to pushed aside until another time.  She, too, was determined that her children should have a high school education, something she did not have.  For years, she dreamed that things would be better someday.

Through it all, she was sustained by her Christian faith.  She tried to be a good mother.  She wanted her children to have the best possible life.”

When mother and Dad decided to move to the new location, give up the mortgage on the Wacousta farm, and start again free and clear of debt, they fell to with a will, making the house liveable and the barn ready for horses, cows and chickens. I  don’t know when I ever saw her as happy and carefree.  At last, they had a place which belonged to them.  She took delight in making plans for the days to come.  She sang at her work and seemed to take a whole new lease on life.

When Edd died in 1946, Myrtie lived with her children for a number of years.  Ill health and the fact that she could not bear the confusion of her grandchildren any more led her to enter Clark Home in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1953.  She died the following year of hardening of the arteries of the brain.

Myrtie had a hard life.  Donald Winegar ends his biography of his mother with the following:

 They are born; they live,

They struggle; they die.

But this in no way fills in the chinks of life — its dreams, its hopes, its failings, its joys and its sorrows.  What mortal can know what it means to live, to struggle, and to die?  But we believe that God knows and remembers.  Praise be to God!  Amen.

Edd and Myrtie Winegar had six children.  Nina Irene died of tuberculosis shortly before she would have graduated from Michigan State.  Mary Louise died in infancy.  Other children were Esther Alta, Donald Stephenson (my father), William Edwin Ashbel, and Paul Ray.  Below is one of the few pictures ever made of the entire family.

The Edd Winegar Family, from left to right: Edd, Bill, Myrtie, Paul, Nina, Esther, and Donald.

The Edd Winegar Family, from left to right: Edd, Bill, Myrtie, Paul, Nina, Esther, and Donald.


Family Weddings in the 1900s

July 19, 2009

 

In the post “Coming to Wacousta,” I set out to trace the path of the families of my grandparents from Europe to Wacousta, Michigan.  By the time of the Civil War, all four families — the Blisses, the Daniells, the Stephensons, and the Winegars — were situated in Clinton County, Michigan.  In the 1900s, the families merge.  Following are pictures from the weddings.

Edd Ashbel Winegar marries Myrtie Stephenson in 1900 at the Stephenson home.

Edd Ashbel Winegar marries Myrtie Stephenson in 1900 at the Stephenson home.

W.C. Daniells and Iva Bliss marry in 1907 at the Bliss house, the Pivot.

W.C. Daniells and Iva Bliss marry in 1907 at the Bliss house, the Pivot.

Donald Stephenson Winegar marries Mary Deone Daniells in 1937 at the Pivot.

Donald Stephenson Winegar marries Mary Deone Daniells in 1937 at the Pivot.

Other Daniells Weddings

Iva Georgene "Jean" Daniells marries Don Lowell in 1942 at the Pivot.

Iva Georgene "Jean" Daniells marries Don Lowell in 1942 at the Pivot.

Dora Katherine Daniells marries John Panchik in 1950 at the Pivot.

Dora Katherine Daniells marries John Panchik in 1950 at the Pivot.

Other Winegar Weddings

Esther Alta Winegar marries Clarence Kirkpatrick in 1941

Esther Alta Winegar marries Clarence Kirkpatrick in 1941 in Eagle Twp, Michigan.

Paul Ray Winegar marries Mary Margaret Biergans in 1947.

Paul Ray Winegar marries Mary Margaret Biergans in 1947 in Grand Ledge, Michigan.

 

Bill and Ruth Winegar married 1942.

Bill and Ruth Winegar married in 1942.

A fire destroyed the original Pivot in 1911 after W.C. Daniells and Iva Bliss married.  Subsequent Pivot weddings were at the home that was rebuilt by Herman Sidney Bliss.  A description of the fire, written by Bel Gensterblum, will be in the next post. The rebuilt Pivot is currently owned by Tom Lowell, a Bliss-Daniells descendant.


Ancestors of Donald Stephenson Winegar and Mary Daniells Winegar

June 20, 2009
Ancestors of Donald Stephenson Winegar

Ancestors of Donald Stephenson Winegar

 

Ancestors of Mary Daniells Winegar

Ancestors of Mary Daniells Winegar

These charts are included so that viewers can see who my ancestors are and have an understanding of what family lines I have information and pictures on.  The first pictures I posted on flicker.com are from a family photo album of Carey Reed Daniells and Catherine Stowell Daniells the grandparents of Mary.

As I add more pictures, I will provide information here as to what has been added.


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