Thursday, May 14, 2009

Revisiting my Grandfather

Grandpa Ellsworth died more than 40 years ago, but I am re-living his early years by re-typing his autobiography (published in 1982) so it can be published on the Internet. He wrote down many details and episodes. I have so far followed him from his birth in 1884 in Show Low, Arizona through his family's move to Mesa, Arizona in 1885, and then through his upbringing in Mesa, his education in Utah, a summer in Alberta, Canada, and now to his mission in the South and Central States (Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky).

It has been most enlightening. The strongest impression is that he was fun-loving in an era that often provided more opportunities to sweat and worry than chances for fun. Another impression gained in the re-typing is that the many relatives he names and whom he knew intimately are completely unknown to me. His aunts, uncles, and cousin's are just names that I can't keep straight. That's sad. He knew them well. Another impression is that life before cars was lived much more by nature than by the clock. The saying, "We'll get there when we get there," must have been uttered first by someone driving a team of horses before a wagon. It's clear that Grandpa Frank considered himself and his peers boys until he was well into his twenties. I'm not talking about the sense of "me and the boys", which could be uttered of men at any age, but about snowball fighting mischief makers. There seemed to be no hurry to grow up, no matter how real and threatening and difficult life may have been daily.

I can't wait to see what comes next.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Resources at Our Fingertips

Won't it be nice when the Internet makes all sources available to us instantaneously and at no cost? Of course this is only a dream. There will never be a time when all genealogical resources are available online, and many databases still require a fee. But many, many resources are coming online constantly. For this reason, web searches should be conducted regularly, like every six months, for the same terms and keywords that you have searched exhaustively in the past.

And you can help hasten the day when more resources are available by participating in the indexing of the LDS Genealogical Collection. Go to and sign up. Your efforts will be combined with the efforts of hundreds of thousands of other indexers (really!) who are working to make a master index of all the names on all the microfilms (fast becoming digital images) in the LDS collection. Hundreds of millions of records have already been indexed. More are more foreign sources are being indexed. When it is all done, you will be able to search for an ancestor, discover that information is available from a birth record, a marriage record, a death record, a census record--or all of these--and click on the link to see the image of the record. It's already in the beta testing. Take a sneak peak at what's in the works at the experimental site and do a record search there.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

One-Name Study: GOHEEN

Our search begins with Norman Ray GOHEEN of Mesa, Arizona. He was born 20 Nov 1922 and died 7 Feb 2002 in Mesa. He married Phillis Loraine PEARSON.

We see little Norman in the 1930 census:

1930 federal census
Ridgeway, Orleans County, New York
Enumeration District 28, sheet 2A
GOHEEN, Ray head, 38, born in Michigan, father from Michigan, mother from Michigan, farmer
GOHEEN, Eva A. wife, 36, Michigan Michigan Michigan
GOHEEN, Ellen M. dau, 12, MI
GOHEEN, Norman R. son, 7, NY

Now that we know his father’s name, we check the 1920 census and find:

1920 federal census
Clinton, Lenawee Co., MI (Norcross Road)
ED 65, sheet 14B
GOHEEN, Raymond head, 28, MI MI MI, farmer
GOHEEN, Eva A. wife, 25, MI Ireland MI
GOHEEN, Margaret E. dau, 2y1m (as of 26 Jan), MI
GOHEEN, Fred M. father, 60, widowed, MI NY NY, farm laborer

Now we know the name of Raymond’s father, so we look back to 1910.

1910 federal census
Clinton, Lenawee Co., MI
ED 58, sheet 15B
GOHEEN, Fred M. head, 50, md 22 yrs, MI NY NY, farmer
GOHEEN, Mary wife, 46, md 22 yrs, mother of 3 with 2 living, MI Ire MI
GOHEEN, Dale E. son, 21, single, MI
GOHEEN, Ray son, 18, single, MI
(next family)
GOHEEN, John V. head, 50, md 27 yrs, NY PA PA, farmer
GOHEEN, Esther wife, 51, md 27 yrs, Ire Ire Ire, to US in 1880

Barbara Cissone has contributed a database to that shows that Fred GOHEEN was born in July 1859 and was the son of Edward W. GOHEEN (1822-1903) and Charlotte T. NIBLACK (1826-1894). C. NIBLACK was the daughter of John NIBLACK and Hannah HARRISON. See more information at

That database also tells that Edward W. GOHEEN was born 16 Nov 1822 in Groveland, Livingston Co., NY and died 16 Nov 1903 in Macon, Lenawee, MI.

An entry in GenForum ( by Thomas Lannon Cobb says the following:

“Charles Edward Goheen (1833-1865) m. Mary Cullum. They had a son, "Vance", more than likely "John Vance" named after his uncle of same name. "Little Vance" was lost touch with. Charles died in the Civil War having served with the 13th Michigan Infantry. He was the son of John Goheen (1796-1866) and Elizabeth Headly (1797-1882) who are buried in Brookside Cemetery, Tecumpseh. He was also the brother of my great, great grandfather Edward Wells Goheen (1822-1903) who m. Charlotte T. Niblack (1826-1894). My mother, Mary Evelyn Goheen Cobb was also born on the family homestead in Tecumpseh.”

This explains the relationship between Fred and John in the 1910 census record, above, and how they could live side-by-side, be of the same age, and have parents from different states. It also tells us the name of Edward’s father: John GOHEEN (1796-1866).

The biography of John V. GOHEEN appears in full via GoogleBooks (,M1) as an image from the book “Memoirs of Lenawee County, Michigan” by Richard Illenden Bonner, printed in 1909. Among other items, it tells that his father bought 160 acres in Clinton Township, Lenawee County, several years before Michigan joined the union in 1837. According to the article, John Vance GOHEEN was the son of John GOHEEN, born 13 Jan 1796 in Pennsylvania, and Elizabeth HEADLEY, born also in Pennsylvania, on 14 Sep 1797. They moved to Michigan in 1831. The article is a definite must-see. Search for GOHEEN and LENAWEE and follow the results to the GoogleBooks images.

A message recorded at Rootsweb ( tells the following:

From: "Cindy Brown"
Subject: Re: [NIBLACK] The PA connection for Niblack!
Date: Wed, 2 Aug 2006 06:31:37 -0400
References: <009f01c6b5ff$8e741ce0$2de90740@bates02>

I sure wish I can tie in my Niblacks with your Niblacks. They seemed to
follow from PA to OH to MI, but mine went to Hillsdale County not Lenawee
County. I know they have to be related, why else would they follow the same
route? Unfortunately I haven't nor taken the time to work on my research.

Cindy Brown

----- Original Message -----
From: "Sue & Bobby Bates"
Sent: Wednesday, August 02, 2006 2:47 AM
Subject: [NIBLACK] The PA connection for Niblack!

From "Portrait and Biographical Album of Lenawee County Michigan",
published 1888: "E. W. Goheen is of Welsh descent, and is the eldest son
of John Goheen, whose father, Edward Goheen, was a native of Wales, but
came with his parents to America when he was a young child, about the time
of the American Revolution. They located in Pennsylvania or New York,
where Edward grew to manhood, and married Christiana Roup, who was of
German descent, and some of whose ancestors were early settlers in New
York State. They spent the first few years of their married life in
Northumberland County, PA, where Mr. Goheen followed the trade of hand
weaver. They afterward removed to Groveland Township, Livingston Co., NY
where he continued his occupation of a weaver until his death at the age
of thirty-six. His widow survived him many years, and lived to come to
Michigan with her son, and died here in 1845."
"E. W. Goheen, of this sketch, was born in Groveland, Livingston Co.,
NY, Nov. 16, 1822. He was reared in his native State, and being an
intelligent lad, eagerly took advantage of his chances for attending
school. When we was nineteen years old, he spent one winter in school,
where he made rapid progress in his studies and was fitted for teaching,
which vocation he pursued for awhile before his marriage. That important
event in his life occurred in Saline, Washtenaw County, on the 13th of
March 1859, whe ne was united to Miss Charlotte, daughter of John and
Hannah (Harrison) Niblack, natives of Pennsylvania.

John and Hannah had both been in NJ and NY prior to PA but this verifies
that they came from PA to MI.

This gives us the next generation, Edward GOHEEN, born in Wales and moved as a child to America with his parents, and his wife Christian ROUP.

So far we have Norman Ray GOHEEN, son of
Raymond (abt 1892), son of
Fred M. (1859, MI), son of
Edward W. (1822, NY), son of
John (1796, PA)
Edward (abt 1760, Wales or PA)

Let’s see if we can learn the names of the Welsh parents. An entry in’s One World Tree says Edward was born in 1776 and that he was from Bucks County, PA, but it doesn’t name his parents. Other entries in the Public Member Trees of that site says that Edward was Edward Francis GOHEEN. They suggest that he was indeed born in Pennsylvania, and that his parents were Richard GOHEEN and Catherine BESSONET. There are four entries with this identical information, so it may be that they are copied from each other. None provide sources. Another entry in the Ancestry World Tree provides sources that show that Richard GOHEEN was born in 1723 in PA or Wales and married Catherine de BESSONET in the Old Swedes Church in Philadelphia on 29 May 1755. His father, according to that record, was John GOHEEN, born about 1690 in Wales. His mother was Anna, last name unknown. From this couple came 6 children, including four married sons who spread the GOHEEN name throughout America.

The source was Joshua Blotzer, and it was contributed on 13 JUL 2007..

So, adding to the table above, we have:

Richard (1723)
John (1690, Wales)

That’s seven generations back from Norman and takes us across the ocean. That’ll do!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

One-Name Study: FEIFAREK

This is a study born from a name on a mailbox and too fascinating to forget.


First Generation
Our search begins with Robert Otto FEIFAREK, born in Ramsey County, MN to Otto FEIFAREK of St. Paul and his wife Agnes Martina BAKLUND.

Second Generation
From public records we learn that Otto FEIFAREK was born 29 Mar 1896 and died 24 Aug 1985 in Ramsey County, MN. His parents were Joseph FEIFAREK and Mary FINGER. He was buried in the Acacia Park Cemetery, Mendota Heights, Dakota County, MN. Otto registered for the draft in World War I from Kandiyohi County, MN. He said he was born 29 Mar 1896 in Roseland Township, Kandiyohi, MN. He was described as medium build, medium height, light blue eyes, and light brown hair.

In the 1920 census, he was recorded as Otto FIEFAREK, as follows:

1920 Census
Roseland Township, Kandiyohi County, Minnesota
Enumeration District 78
Sheet 5B
FIEFAREK, Edward head, 34, Wisconsin, father from Bohemia, mother from Germany, Farmer
FIEFAREK, Ella wife, 31, South Dakota, Bohemia, Bohemia
FIEFAREK, Elizabeth dau, 11, MN WI SD
FIEFAREK, Sylvester son, 9, MN WI SD
FIEFAREK, Ernest son, 8, MN WI SD
FIEFAREK, Gladys dau, 11m (as of Feb 4), MN WI SD
(next family)
FIEFAREK, Ludwig head, 27, WI Boh Ger, farmer
FIEFAREK, Anna wife, 24, SD Boh Boh
FIEFAREK, Ervin son, 1y11m (as of Feb 4), MN WI SD
FIEFAREK, Mary mother, 56, widow, to US in 1881, Ger Ger Ger
FIEFAREK, Otto brother, 23, single, MN Boh Ger, farm laborer
FIEFAREK, Ernest brother, 11, single, MN Boh Ger

Third Generation
Joseph FEIFAREK was born in Sep 1859 in Bohemia (southeastern Poland). He came to the U.S. with his family in about 1872. This tidbit was found at in a file of marriage record found in old Wisconsin newspapers:

“Oconto County Reporter
Jan. 24, 1885


Feifarek – Finger – By Frank Deimer, justice of the peace, at his office in this city Thursday, Jan. 15th, 1885, Mr. Joseph Feifarek, of the town of Peshtigo and Miss Mary Finger, of Oconto.”

1910 census
Roseland Township, Kandiyohi County, Minnesota
Enumeration District 45
Sheet 10A
FEIFAREK, Edward head, 24, md 2 years, WI Boh Ger, farmer
FEIFAREK, Ella wife, 22, md 2 years, mother of 2, both living, SD Boh Boh
FEIFAREK, Elizabeth dau, 17m, MN
FEIFAREK, Silvester son, 4m, MN
(next family)
FEIFAREK, Joseph head, 50, md 26 yrs, Boh Boh Boh, to US in 1872, farmer
FEIFAREK, Maria wife, 46, md 26 yrs, Ger Ger Ger, mother of 12, all living
FEIFAREK, Emelia dau, 23, single, WI
FEIFAREK, Agnes dau, 21, single, WI
FEIFAREK, Harry son, 20, single, WI
FEIFAREK, Ludwik son, 18, WI
FEIFAREK, Rosie dau, 16, MN
FEIFAREK, Otto son, 14, MN
FEIFAREK, Edwin son, 12, MN
FEIFAREK, Viola dau, 10, MN
FEIFAREK, Helen dau, 8, MN
FEIFAREK, Laura dau, 6, MN
FEIFAREK, Ernest son, 2, MN

1900 census
Roseland Township, Kandiyohi County, Minnesota
Enumeration District 74
Sheet 2B
FEIFAREK, Wen?? head, Feb 1865, md 3 yrs, Austria Aus Aus, to US in 1872, farmer
FEIFAREK, Mary wife, Feb 1879, md 3 yrs, mother of 1, living, WI Aus Aus
FEIFAREK, Charley son, Apr 1898, MN

(3 doors down)
FEIFAREK, Joseph head, Sep 1859, md 15 yrs, Aus Aus Aus, to US in 1873, farmer
FEIFAREK, Mary wife, May 1863, md 15 yrs, mother of 9, all living, Aus Aus Aus, to US in 1881
FEIFAREK, Edward son, Apr 1885, WI
FEIFAREK, Emelia dau, Feb 1887, WI
FEIFAREK, Agnis dau, Jul 1888, WI
FEIFAREK, Jerolav son, Apr 1890, WI
FEIFAREK, Ludwig son, Mar 1892, WI
FEIFAREK, Rosy dau, Mar 1894, MN
FEIFAREK, Otto son, Mar 1896, MN
FEIFAREK, Edwin son, Mar 1898, MN
FEIFAREK, Wailie dau, Mar 1900, MN

Fourth Generation
Christopher FEIFAREK was born about 1820 in Bohemia and died in Wisconsin in 1892.

1880 census
Peshtigo, Marinette County, Wisconsin
E.D. 100, page 26
FEIFAREK, Lorance 32, farmer, Boh Boh Boh
FEIFAREK, Anney wife, 25, Boh Boh Boh
FEIFAREK, Frank son, 3, WI
FEIFAREK, Joseph son, 2, WI
FEIFAREK, Mary dau, 6m (Oct 1879), WI
FEIFAREK, Christ father, 60, Boh Boh Boh
FEIFAREK, Dorety mother, 54, Boh Boh Boh
FEIFAREK, John brother, 23, Boh
FEIFAREK, Joseph brother, 20, Boh
FEIFAREK, Vensler brother, 15, Boh

(3 doors down)

FINGER, Frank head, 36, farmer, Aus Aus Aus
FINGER, Barbery wife, 25, WI Aus Aus
FINGER, Aney dau, 9, WI
FINGER, Millia dau, 6, WI
FINGER, Lorance son, 3, WI
FINGER, Mary dau, 2, WI
FINGER, Tracey dau, 1m (Apr 1880), WI

Barry HRANACH contributed information to FamilyTreeMaker ( that shows that he is descended from a daughter of Lorance (Lawrence) FEIFAREK, son of Christ(opher).FEIFAREK and Dorothea JISCHA or ZISCHA. Dorothea was born in 1826 and died in1906. She was the daughter of Tasha JISCHA or ZISCHA and Anna _____.

Enough for now. Every line leads to another, and there simply isn't enough time!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

eBooks from the Archives

I have begun to convert my old GEDCOM files (from PAF) into ebooks and posting them on So far I have books on the Wooldridge and Detillion families there. More to come.

Monday, January 23, 2006


As often happens in genealogical research, one line gets all the attention while others are left to wither. One such case was presented to me this past week in the form of a pedigree traced back to/through Col. Phillip PIPKIN, born 1770 in Pitt County, North Carolina. Much is known about the Colonel, his children, and their marriages, but the line of descent--while thorough and complete on the line that eventually leads to the researcher--neglects the descendants on other lines.

Three of the Colonel's daughters married SAPPINGTONs in the St. Louis, Missouri area. In the database I was given, these lines were not the line of descent for the researcher and were not expanded at all. I did some poking around on the first line and would like to add some details to the story of the eldest daughter, Martha PIPKIN, born about 1813 in Davidson County, Tennessee, and her husband Jonah SAPPINGTON.

Their marriage is mentioned on the history web page of the town of Sunset Hills, Missouri, in western St. Louis County. According to's database of Missouri marriages, it took place in St. Louis county on 26 April 1832. It was suspicious that Jonah didn't appear in the 1840 census index, so I looked further.

On her private site at AOL (, Dana Kiehl says, "Jonah Sappington, born 11 Dec 1805; died 18 Jun 1835." He is the son of Zephaniah Sappington and Margaret Parke. This information is supported by several other researchers. Most important to us, between the marriage and 1832 and Jonah's death in 1835, the couple produced little Jonah Phillip Zephaniah Sappington. There was apparently also another child; it died shortly after birth. Was there another that survived?

The St. Louis marriage index also shows the marriage of Martha Ann SAPPINGTON to Richard WELLS on 18 Oct 1843. The 1850 census shows our Jonah P. SAPPINGTON, born about 1835, as a student in a religious school in the South Half of Bonhomme Township, St. Louis County, Missouri (page 712). Wonderfully (in its mystery), there is a 15-year old Thomas SAPPINGTON there with him. It also shows Daniel and Martha WELLS and a 15-year old Jemima WELLS in the house. She could be Daniel's by a previous marriage, or a relative, or (?) the daughter of Jonah SAPPINGTON.

In the 1850 census, Jonah is in Canton, Lewis County, Missouri (page 68). He's a prospering farmer, married to Ellen, age 21, of Missouri, and they have little Martha H., 2, and Ellen, 1/2. Also in the house is 15-year old Isabelle LYONS of Missouri.

Several researchers have contributed data to Ancestry's pedigree database showing Jonah and Ellen. She was Ellen C. BROWN, and Martha and Ellen were just the start of their 12 children.

That's enough for now. We'll follow up on those 12 children, and on Jonah and Ellen, at another time.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Maxwell KEELING of Tennessee

A friend of mine is a KEELING. His grandfather left Tennessee for Arizona long ago. The family has information taking him back to Maxwell KEELING, born about 1820 in Tennessee, and there it stops. I've seen many researchers' data on the family. Each considers only their line of descent from Maxwell and his wife Permelia ALTUM (most common spelling). Now I'm trying to gather into one place all I can on all the descendants.

Drop me a line if you have something to add.