Feb 15

52 Weeks To Better Genealogy – Challenge 6

I just had to get in on this week’s “Better Genealogy” challenge: Play with Google Maps. This is a helpful tool for determining the locations of addresses in your family history. This post is also written to fulfill Item 4A  and item 5F in the GeneaBlogger’s Winter Games.

After her father, David H. Herrington died in 1931, my Mom lived with a variety of adult caretakers. One was Mable Dickenson, and Mom told me a few stories of life in Brooklyn, New York in the late 1930’s and early 1940’s. Mom was very clear on the address: 256 Decatur. Brooklyn. Kings County. Here is one of only two photos I have of my mother as a child, it shows her with a young man I know nothing about, but who also lived with Miss Dickenson.

Marge Herrington

I took the challenge and did a search on Google Maps for 256 Decatur, Brooklyn, NY. Lucky me, I got a result.
View Larger Map

There is not a lot about that map that helps me, so I switched to Satellite view, and moved way in close. Hmm. Those houses do look like the brownstones Mom described, stuck together in a row.

sat view

I noticed that there was a street view of this particular area, so I switched to that. To use the street view, you grab the little orange man from the directional and distance tool on the left side of the screen. Pick him up by holding your mouse down and drag him to the location you wish to see and drop him down.

street view

After I dropped him, I saw this (click to enlarge any of  my thumbnails):


The box in the upper left says, “256 Decatur Street, New York, NY, United States,” and “address is approximate”.  Interesting information, approximate. The directional arrows allowed me to scroll the street view, so I “walked up and down the street a few houses each way.

Two houses to the left of the large light colored one, I saw something of interest on the whit house.  You can see it in the far left of the photo above, and more clearly below, a house with the right trim.

next door

The darker colored house between the two light colored  houses may be 256, and the white one at the left is the house with the trim which matches my photo the house next door.


In the photo above, you see the brown colored house has a wall similar to that which my subjects are standing near. It is four courses of blocks and a cap. I could not make out the trim on the cap no matter how much manipulation I did. I also saw no number painted or marked on the glass like that on my picture.  Also, the trees and cars are in the way, and the angles are not quite the same.  In spite of that, I believe this is the house that my Mother’s photo was taken in front of ca 1935-40.  I wish I had found this before Mom passed away, I know she could have identified the house.


I have used Google Maps to look at aerial views of rural property, and even of my own house, but in those cases, I know what I am looking for, and can identify the property myself.

This experiment in looking for a house pictured in an old photo was very interesting, showing the power of scrolling up and down the street, searching for a certain feature.

Feb 14

Winter 2010 GeneaBloggers Games

Although Monday, February 15 is Granny’s Genealogy’s 3rd blogoversary, I have not been an active participant in memes, carnivals or past games. For the 2010 Winter Games, all that changes!

I have created my Heritage Flag, which it huge, over the top, not too creative. The flag represents a migration map for some of my ancestors, who started in Scotland (part of the UK), and Germany, immigrating to Canada. They continued to the United States, where much of my family now resides.


The GeneaBloggers Games are a large challenge, which I hope to reach gold in at least two categories. To read the exact details, check out the competition guidelines on the GeneaBloggers website.

The categories for the competition are:

  1. Go Back and Cite Your Sources
    I have done a pretty good job of citing sources over the past two years, but many need to be reformatted according to newer recommendations. I should be able to be gold in this one, perhaps even higher.
  2. Back Up Your Data
    I will do well on the electronic portion of this, not sure about the hard copy portion, will require hard work. Prediction: Silver.
  3. Organize Your Research
    I view myself as highly organized, but some of these tasks are quite challenging. I’m rolling up my sleeves! Prediction: Gold
  4. Expand Your Knowledge
    Useful interesting tasks, I might go platinum here.
  5. Write, Write, Write!
    Of the six tasks listed here, several would be a stretch for me, and several are routine. Prediction: Gold.
  6. Reach Out and Perform Genealogical Acts of Kindness
    This may be the most important category for all of us. Prediction: Platinum.

I am planning my attack right now, and wishing all the competitors well.

Feb 12

Fellows Family Land Records, Wexford County, Michigan Liber 54 Page 359

I am posting information gleaned from land records in the areas where our family’s ancestors resided. You can read more about this project in the overview. You may also check my deed record listing, which I will update frequently, but probably not every day. This group pertain to Papa’s Fellows ancestors who resided in Wexford County, Michigan.


Date: 29 October 1903
Liber: 54
Page: 359
Location: Wexford County, MI
Grantor: Henry Fellows and Belle Fellows his wife, of Colfax, Wexford, MI
Grantee: Elizabeth McCain of the same place
Witnesses: Wm Jones, Isaac C. Wheeler
Type of deed: Warranty
Rec’d and recording: 30 October 1903
Clerk/registrar: Henry Hanson
Location of land: Antioch Twp., Wexford Co., MI
Consideration: $256
Notes: have no record of this purchase, need to research
Description: W 1/2 of NE1/4 Sec 15 T23N R11W

It is too bad that I didn’t go through these records sooner after I abstracted them. The first record I have in Wexford County for Henry and Belle Fellows is a sale, not a purchase. I am going to have a long list of goals when I can visit the Wexford Court house again.

What I noticed when I located this land in the old 1889 Atlas1 is that Merritt Winfield “Scott” Lamunion lived nearby; Scott was Belle Lamunion Fellows’ brother. You can see his name outlined in blue just below The red-outlined location of the purchase. Also, a Sylvester Gilbert owned 40 acres in the NW1/4 of the section; I also outlined that 40 acres in blue. One of the Fellows daughters married Charles Gilbert, who may have been connected with Sylvester. More investigation is required.



  1. E.L. Hayes & Co., Atlas of Wexford County, Michigan / compiled by Eli L. Hayes from government surveys, county and township records, and personal investigations and observations , Eli L. Hayes, (Chicago, Ill.: E.L. Hayes & Co., 1889), page 37; digital images, The University of Michigan. Michigan County Histories and Atlases. http://name.umdl.umich.edu/3928170.0001.001 : accessed 2 November 2009.

Feb 10

What is Happening in the Genealogy Department

I am lucky enough to have collected a group of internet cousins along the research path. One of them is an especially meticulous researcher, who uses (heaven forbid) older methods and new technology to produce amazing results. Let me say that again, she uses all the avenues available to her to facilitate her research. I like that, since I also combine the newer internet sources with my tried-and-true, library, archives, cemetery and courthouse investigation, letter writing techniques.

I found her on a message board, when she was looking for Mary E. Ackert. Mary was the first wife of James Askey/Askie/Ascha. Their oldest child was William Henry, who was adopted by Platt and Angeline Palmer as Orlando William Palmer. Orlando was my great-grandfather, and the super researcher is a cousin of mine through Mary Ackert, who married again and had another family. The exact description of our relationship is half first cousin, twice removed. I really can not even say it, never mind calculate it.

My cousin and I have crossed paths in amazing ways over the years we have been in touch. I found her message board post about Mary Ackert when I was traveling for my job, and that evening, I was at a hotel very close to Cousins home. (I found that out later). Recently, Cousin ran across my blog, and sent me an e-mail. She had new information on our common relative, Mary Ackert, and a new spelling for James. Even more recently, she sent me a letter containing information on burials for some Aschas, descendents of Mary and James.

Wow, I had almost forgotten I had ancestors to research, as I worked through the information I have amassed for Papa’s family. My nose is to the grindstone again. I have a lot to learn, since I rarely do research in the east. These families lived in Columbia and Rensselaer counties, New York, Rutland and Bennington Counties, Vermont, and Berkshire County, Massachusetts. All my mother’s family is from that area, but I have researched there only in spurts.

Onward and upward, with a big boost from a kind, caring researcher!

Feb 06

Spreadsheet Update

I have updated my land index to include all the transactions which I have outlined here on the blog.

I have finished with the land records for the Fenton family. I do have more, but for one of two reasons, I am not publishing them. Reason number one is that some of my “abstract” forms were incomplete. I will catch up on those when I can get to the Wexford County courthouse again.

Reason number two is that some of the records are the result of transactions by living people. Although land records are public, most of these older people like a little privacy. I know my mother-in-law would not appreciate it if I put a record showing how much she paid for her land here on the old blog. So, if you need to know about more recent records, head on over the the courthouse, maybe you will see me there!

Next, on to some land records from the Fellows family!

Feb 05

Fenton Family Land Records, Wexford County, Michigan Liber 134 page 347

I am posting information gleaned from land records in the areas where our family’s ancestors resided. You can read more about this project in the overview. You may also check my deed record listing, which I will update frequently, but probably not every day. This group pertain to Papa’s Fenton ancestors who resided in Wexford County, Michigan.

Date: 2 April 1940
Liber: 134
Page: 347
Location: Wexford County
Grantor: Fred V. Jewell & wife Mamie Jewell of Wexford Township, Wexford County, MI
Grantee: Frank & Lila Fellows of Mesick, MI
Witnesses: John Sparling, Lloyd Spencer
Type of deed: Warranty
Rec’d and recording: 2 April 1940
Clerk/registrar: Johnson
Location of land: Springville Township
Consideration: $1 and other valuable consideration
Description: Lots 3,4,5,6,7,8,9 and 10, block 6, Crippens addition to the village of Sherman, MI

I located this land using the Michigan Subdivision map for Crippen Addition, Sherman, Michigan. Frank and Lila did not purchase the entire block, but the largest part of it.


Sherman is a very small town, after losing the battle to remain the county seat in Wexford County, it became smaller, not larger. The booming town described by the 1889 Atlas of Wexford County, and shown below, can hardly be imagined by looking at the current Satellite view from Google.

From the 1889 Atlas1:

134-347 - 2

Today from Google:
View Larger Map

  1. E.L. Hayes & Co., Atlas of Wexford County, Michigan / compiled by Eli L. Hayes from government surveys, county and township records, and personal investigations and observations , Eli L. Hayes, (Chicago, Ill.: E.L. Hayes & Co., 1889), 29; digital images, The University of Michigan. Michigan County Histories and Atlases. http://name.umdl.umich.edu/3928170.0001.001 : accessed 2 November 2009.

Feb 04

Treasure Chest Thursday – The Cat

The Mosaic Cat arrived here at Granny’s at the end of the summer. D3 took a European cruise, and toured several places, including Italy.


Whenever I see a many-colored cat I think of my Mom, often repeated:

The gingham dog and the calico cat
Side by side on the table sat;
T’was half past twelve, and (what do you think!)
Nor one nor t’other had slept a wink!
The old Dutch clock and the Chinese plate
Appeared to know as sure as fate
There was going to be a terrible spat
(I wasn’t there; I simply state
What was told to me by the Chinese plate!)

The gingham dog went “Bow-wow-wow!”
And the calico cat replied “Mee-ow!”
The air was littered, an hour or so,
With bits of gingham and calico,
While the old Dutch clock in the chimney-place
Up with its hands before its face,
For it always dreaded a family row!

(Now mind: I’m only telling you
What the old Dutch clock declares is true!)
The Chinese plate looked very blue,
And wailed, “Oh, dear! what shall we do!”
But the gingham dog and the calico cat
Wallowed this way and tumbled that,
Employing every tooth and claw
In the awfulest way you ever saw–
And oh! How the gingham and calico flew!
(Don’t fancy I exaggerate–I got my news from the Chinese plate!)

Next morning, where the two had sat
They found no trace of dog or cat;
And some folks think unto this day
That burglars stole that pair away!
But the truth about that cat and pup
Is this: they ate each other up!
Now what do you really think of that!
(The old Dutch clock it told me so,
And that is how I came to know.)

This ditty is called, “The Duel”, and was written by Eugene Field.

This lovely gift is not a heirloom right now, but I hope she will be someday. I have not given her a name yet, any ideas?

Feb 03

Blog Presentation at My Society Meeting

I was happy to offer some assistance to some of the Oakland County Genealogical Society members who were interested in the wealth of material that can be found by reading genealogy blogs. The weather did not help our attendance, and it took many of our members much longer than usual to arrive at the meeting.

I want to thank super GeneaBlogger, Thomas MacEntee, for allowing me to show his slide show to interested members. You can access a wealth of information about Genealogy blogging and bloggers on the GeneaBlogger site .

I supplemented the help I gave the members with a handout I created.

I have uploaded my handout, you can download it in a PDF version .

Jan 31

Oakland County Genealogical Society Meeting Tuesday!

The Tuesday OCGS meeting is right around the corner!

I was in awe of the talent and knowledge of the membership of the Society when I first joined over ten years ago, and that continues today. Among our membership are numerous volunteers at the Family History Center, several members of the Genealogical Speakers Guild, librarians, and other genealogical research professionals. Add to that the many years research experience logged by our members, and it is an impressive array of talent. There are members, new and old, who often answer questions with regard to research problems, and give ideas and hints to help other members.

To put all that knowledge to work to help you, we have scheduled a special meeting, and on behalf of the Society, I want to invite you to the OCGS Open House / Help Night. There will be help available for various areas, like Ontario, and for various ethnic groups, like England, France, Germany and more. There will be a beginner’s table, too, so this is the perfect time to begin your research, or brush up on basics.

I am very excited about the meeting, because I will be doing something other than just giving the treasurer’s report. I am glad to say that I will be at the blogging table, ready to introduce you to the world of genealogy blogs. I will tell you about blogs, help you figure out how to find blogs to read, and answer your questions. There will be a chance to see how to write your own blog, too.

  • Learn how to meet cousins you never knew about!
  • Learn how to meet even more cousins by writing something and receiving an answer!
  • Meet an actual descendent of a writer of one of the cards in my my Belle’s Box series of posts, and see me present the card to her!

It is pretty cold outside right now, what better way to spend an evening that among the warmth of like-minded family history researchers?

You can read more about OCGS on our website. Please introduce your self to me when you arrive, even if you have not interest in blogging, I love to meet family history enthusiasts!

Jan 31

Wexford County Land Records, Liber 101 page 601 –The Estate of Susie Melissa (Burdick) Fenton Longstreet

The Estate of Susie Melissa (Burdick) Fenton Longstreet

Susie Melissa (Burdick) Fenton Longstreet died intestate on 20 December 1931. Her second husband, Harmon H. Longstreet predeceased her on 28 June 1931. The inventory of her estate was limited to undivided ½ interest in three pieces of property in Wexford Co., MI. Alfred Fenton, Susie’s son, had previously been granted a license to sell two of the pieces of land, the third was already sold by land contract. The Determination of Heirs for Susie lists the children we know to be hers and living at her death, Emma Barnes, Lila Fellows, Alfred Fenton, Ross Fenton and Mary Houghtalin.

The documents in the file were nearly impossible to read, they were reverse images of a microfilm sent to my by the probate court. They present no significant facts beyond the real estate deeds I have previously transcribed.

Those deeds are as follows:

  1. Liber 101-180, Alfred Fenton granted a license to sell real estate.
  2. Liber 101-433, two twenty acre pieces of land sold by Alfred on behalf of the estate.
  3. Liber 119-530, a deed confirming the land contract sale of a 40 acre piece of land.
  4. Liber 12-469, a deed granting the interests of Susie’s heirs to the estate of Harmon.

The fourth document was the most significant in the probate file of Susie M. Longstreet is a letter transcribed here:

letter to heirs

Transcribed 16 March 2003 by GrannyPam

August 25, 1932

Mr. Frank Longstreet

Bagot, Manatoba, (sic) Canada

Dear Sir:

I enclose, herewith, Agreement in the matter of the estate of your late father, Harmon H. Longstreet, interest of your father’s estate in certain real estate will amount to approximately $125. The heirs-at-law are desirous of purchasing a suitable marker for the graves of Mr. and Mrs. Longstreet with the balance of the estate after expenses have been paid. The real estate is of very little value. The administrator has an opportunity to sell one piece, forty acres, for $150. This is more than any of the heirs living in the County would be willing to pay for it. The other forty acres belonging to the estate was sold on a land contract, previous to Mr. Longstreet’s death for $150.00. There is a balance due on this contract of $100. Mrs. Longstreet in her life time held a deed for an undivided one-half interest in both pieces of real estate, which of course would become a part of her estate. Therefore you can readily understand that the entire estate of Mr. Longstreet would only amount to $125. The heirs of Mrs. Longstreet, as you will understand from this agreement are also willing to contribute the entire proceeds of their Mother’s estate to the purchase of a suitable marker for the graves of both Mr. and Mrs. Longstreet.

If this is all satisfactory with you will you kindly sign the enclosed agreement and forward same to Mrs. Adams at Georgestown , Ontario, Canada and also request her to sign the agreement and forward same to Mrs. Retta Adams and Williams, Michigan. I would suggest that you forward this letter to each so that they too will clearly understand the situation. Mr. Alfred Fenton, the administrator, Wishes you to understand that all of the heirs who reside here will get together and will decide on the purchase of the marker. He does not wish to assume this responsibility himself. If the residue of each estate was to be divided among the heirs after the expenses of administration and indebtedness were paid the amount would be very small to each.

Very truly yours,

Judge of Probate.

Notes to the transcription: No name or signature on the file copy. No evidence of a copy of the agreement, signed or unsigned was found. Whether or not the agreement was signed, markers were placed at the cemetery.

It is not clear if Mrs. Retta Adams was of Williams Michigan, but it seems so from the letter. There is a Williamsburg in Grand Traverse County , MI, a Williams Crossing and Williams Landing in Alger Co., MI, a Williamston in Ingham Co., MI and a Williamsville in Cass Co., MI. There is no Williams, MI.

The Related Deed

In Wexford County, Deed book 101, page 601 a document related to the estate of Susie M. Longstreet was filed. It described the land, and listed the heirs: Emma Barnes, petitioner and daughter; Lila Fellows, daughter; Alfred Fenton, son; Ross Fenton, son; and Mary Houghtalin, daughter. This deed is not included on my spreadsheet, but is linked above.

The many lives of Harmon H. Longstreet

I do have some information on Harmon’s previous marriages and offspring. “Retta” was probably Alfaretta Longstreet, born 26 January 1871 in Canada to Harmon and his first wife Ann Martin. Alfaretta married Frank Ames [not Adams, my emphasis] in 1888, in Kalamazoo County, Michigan. I have found Alfaretta, Frank and their family on the census in 1900, 1910, and 1920; in Alamo Township, Kalamazoo County, Michigan.

In 1880, Harmon, age 32, his wife Harriet [my emphasis] age 24, daughter Alfaretta, age 8, and brother Alford, resided in Charleston, Kalamazoo, Michigan.1

In 1881 Ann Longstreet resided in Caldeon, Cardwell, Ontario with two children, John, 12; and Francis [m], 8. Her mother Ann Martin also lived in the household.2

I have not found a marriage record for “Harriet”, or a divorce record for Harriet and Harmon, or a death record for Harriet. Who the Mrs. Adams referred to in the letter might be is beyond me.

The end of the Story

I am unlikely to further research Harmon H. Longstreet and his family, since our family descends from Susie, not her second husband. I will be happy to share my findings with descendents of Harmon.

  1. 1880 US census, Brady, Kalamazoo, Michigan, population schedule, District 127, page 6 (penned) dwelling 59, family 59, Harmon Longstreet; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com) : accessed 26 January 2010; from National Archives microfilm publication T9, roll 586.
  2. 1881 Canadian census, Caldeon, Cardwell, Ontario, population schedule, page 33 (penned) dwelling 154, family 169, Ann Longstreet; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com) : accessed 26 January 2010; from Library and Archives Canada, Census of Canada 1881, Statistics Canada Fonds. Series RG31-C-1, Microfilm Roll: C_13253.

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