Sunday, April 7, 2019

#50- Schooling and Quakers - Scholarships and College

Higher education (a BA or BS degree and above) for most of the history of the United States has been reachable to only a few: the determined, qualified and monied (or, more recently, those who qualify for student loans).

US colleges initially begun for training ministers in denominations set up the seminary for this purpose, and then they became more broadly defined.

My earliest ancestors were either Quakers or of a denomination which did not have a seminary. The Quakers taught their children (of their community) the basics: reading, writing and ciphering (basic arithmetic). Their incentive was to keep careful records of their "Meetings" (worship centers as they called their churches) as well as committee meetings and monthly and yearly meetings for business (which included aspects of approval and disapproval).

For this reason as well as their belief that men and women are equal, they instructed both girls and boys in the basics.

Generational generosity is so valuable. That's one reason I'm motivated to write personal history: it's generational (me) generosity.

My mother's father Charles B Tilton went to Penn State (State College, PA) on an academic scholarship. He wanted to do horticulture but the scholarship was for dairy farm management. He took it.

He met his wife (my grandmother) there. Her father had close connections with the college through his efforts in setting up all sorts of special programs dealing with fruit growing and transportation.

My grandmother Elizabeth C Tyson was attending college because Quakers believed in schooling for women (this was in the early 1920s) and her father got a break, or a scholarship, I cannot figure out which.

Their daughter, my mother, went to Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, Rhode Island on a scholarship. She loved the fine arts, but was offered a scholarship in textile design. She took it.

My mother met my father in Providence on a blind date. His parents had gone only through grammar school (about 8th grade, but probably more like a 6th grade education because the schools were poor inner city schools).

My father was able to go to college because he qualified for a US Navy scholarship. When they provided the list of colleges he could chose from, he selected the one at the top of the list, not thinking they were alphabetized. So, he chose Brown in Providence. He had a full scholarship.

My husband's parents were not college-educated. His father had a learning disability and never finished high school.

My husband visited a friend who went to college (he was in his final year in high school). He stopped by the admissions office and talked to the people there. When the interviewer asked if he was going to apply my husband told him his parents didn't have enough money for him to go to school. The interviewer told him about the World of Scholarships.

He applied and got a 99% ride, enough money for him to attend college where I met him.

Our two children both applied for scholarships--one had a small loan because he went to a college with a small endowment, the other son had  75% of his college costs covered.

My grandfather worked in WW2 Intelligence and then in the Reconstruction of Europe,
my father got his PhD in Economics, my mother got a masters in Fine Arts and works in fine arts,
my husband got two masters and a PhD in political science. One son has a Masters in Latin American Studies and the other did a double major in college and does stand up and IT.

If you have a dime--give it to a good college's endowment fund--the generational generosity might make a huge difference!

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

#49- DNA, DNA, DNA and more DNA

DNA - the Craze that is Sweeping the Genealogical World
If you're just browsing genealogy, it's hard not to notice the DNA craze.
What you shouldn't expect from DNA is _too_ much. DNA is like buying a lottery ticket with greater chance of a pay out: sometimes  you get nothing for your money, and sometimes you get a lot more than expected.

In my case I took the DNA test and asked my father to do so for a very specific reason. I could only go so far with genealogical records: his paternal grandfather was missing from his father's birth record. 
I thought I might find a collateral descendant (if this fellow had other children).

My father who most of the DNA hullabaloo was nonsense (except for medical research) but consented to do his DNA for this particular reason. He had received not his paternal name, but his father's mother's name (Higgins) DNA could help us crack the case.

Five months rolled by and I received a message from AncestryDNA. "You might be my cousin." It turns out that the woman who contacted me had had her own father do his DNA. 

She was able to fill in the stories and give me some leads which I can pursue in research:

She told me three of her father's great uncles immigrated from Ireland to New York City at the turn of the century. They lost contact with the family in the old country. 

According to family stories, one moved to California and died in San Francisco, and the other two brothers remained in the greater New York area.

The brothers owned a liquor store in lower Manhattan, not far from where my great grandmother worked. 

In our case the DNA test confirmed that my father and her father had the same grandparents in County Cavan,Ireland. I now know my great grandfather's name, and his parents, and so on.

We also found out that my father's last name, had they wed, would have been Cassidy and not Higgins.

My husband's sisters wanted to find out their ethnicity from their brother's (my husband's) DNA. 

But DNA doesn't work that way, as some children will have a greater % of one ethnicity than the other. 
And, current DNA ethnicities are built around living data profiles of DNA, so the DNA of  a long distant ancestor is likely very different from your grandparents' of the same area. 

My all four of my husband's sisters contributed their DNA. With the DNA of 4 children (1 is deceased) of the same parents, we got about an 80% degree level of accuracy with regard to their ethnic makeup.

But, it was somewhat redundant. None of their ethnic background surprised us because we had a family tree that was filled out fairly accurately.

What's the use of DNA? 
1 Linking a family tree to a DNA test is probably the best thing you can do (unless you are looking for a missing parent).

2 Tie up "loose ends" - Take care of loose ends and brick walls. 

My grandfather's paternity was a loose end. DNA helped us find his family. 

But, my husband has a similar situation:
there is a family story that attributes a gr grandfather who died suddenly. 

He left no other children, no mark, no wedding license with his Canadian wife, and to make things worse for a researcher, his name was John Johnson of Boston. 
 That doesn't narrow the field at all. 

My husband has done a DNA test, linked his tree to it, and he has also done a Y-DNA test. 

We're still waiting for a "tug" on the line.
And many days I wonder if his gr grandfather was John Johnson of Sweden in Boston, after all.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

#48-That was a large family! Gilpin/ Glover

Gilpin-Glover: Big Family
My maternal grandmother's grandparents--Cyrus Griest (Sr) and his wife Mary Ann Cook had 8 children. But Mary Ann Cook Griest was descended from the Gilpin family.

Here's a brief re-cap of the Gilpins: Joseph  Gilpin and his wife Hannah Glover (of England) had 15 children.

Their children and where they were born.
Children born in England:
1Hannah Gilpin  1693 -1746 – born in England
2 Samuel Gilpin  1694-1767 – born in England
Born in the cave (in what was then Pennsylvania, now Delaware) before they built a structure:
3 Rachel Gilpin   1696- 1776 – born in the cave
4 Ruth Gilpin    1697- 1758- born in the cave
5 Lydia Gilpin  1699- 1750
6 Thomas Gilpin  1700-1766
7 Ann Gilpin  1702-1759
8 Joseph Gilpin, Jr.  1704-1792
9 * Sarah Gilpin  1706-1783 –my ancestor
10 George Gilpin 1708-1773
11 Isaac Gilpin  1710-1745
12 Moses Gilpin  1711- ?
13 Alice Gilpin   1714-?
14 Mary Gilpin  1716-1806
15 Esther Gilpin 1717-1795

Here is the family line from the Gilpin/Glovers to my grandmother (Elizabeth Tyson)

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

#47 - Genealogist Uncle Edwin Tyson, son of Charles and Maria

UNCLE- #2/52 - 2019
Which one?  My grandmother (Elizabeth Tyson)'s uncle, one of her father's two brothers.
Uncle Edwin C (Ned) Tyson, husband of Mary (Hawxhurst) and father of two girls. 
He was born Edwin Comly Tyson in 1864 and died in 1945 in Adams County PA, four years after his wife died. He was the eldest child of Charles J Tyson & Maria (Griest). He had one sister Mary Anna Tyson, and two brothers Chester Julian and William Cyrus.
One of the many things Uncle Ned did was to keep the books for the Tyson family's orchard business when his brother Chester was alive (he died in the 1930s). While Ned kept all the affairs on the home front neat, brother Chester moved about juggling projects (the soon-to-be USDA, PA Fruit Growers Association, and at Penn State) and conducting business requiring travel.
Edwin C Tyson
I did not know him for he died before my parents were wed.
But here's why I know about him: he was a family genealogist.
Moreover he was a Quaker genealogist. I chose him because when I conduct my own research, I'm always reminded of the old saw "We stand on the shoulders of giants." For that is certainly true in genealogy. We owe a debt of gratitude to the many preservationists, recorders and researchers who went before us. Ironically most of those people are unknown, lost to the ages.  And so I'm paying tribute to one of those people in this post: Uncle Ned Tyson was a genealogist.

I've access to some of the letters he received, and I'm amazed by the requests. He lived close to the Quaker Meeting House, and  Clerk of the Meeting. But more than that, it's clear that he was careful and deliberate in his responses to questions.
He received requests from all over for records from that area of Pennsylvania. Apparently the York County  (PA) Genealogical Society relied heavily on him for births, deaths and marriages from the Quaker meeting records he had access to.
His research was restricted to Quaker records in Southeast Pennsylvania. It seems that the rate of requests snowballed both in quantity and in complexity.

In the Margaret B Walmer Collection* I discovered some interesting correspondence.
In the field of US Quaker genealogy William Wade Hinshaw is the "granddaddy" of Quaker Records. In the 1940s Hinshaw was in the process of completing his multi-volume collection of Quaker records. In 1944 Hinshaw sent great great Uncle Ned a series of letters.  The first one I found began with a congratulations (From the Margaret B (Tilton) Walmer Collection)
WilliamW Hinshaw to Edwin Tyson (MBW Coll)

This was not the last letter he received from William Wade Hinshaw.

Hinshaw subsequently suggested that they have overlapping fields of research. He further suggested that he, Hinshaw, be the center of the endeavor.

I cannot read the scanned copies of the carbons which Uncle Ned used when he responded to letters.

But judging from Hinshaw's followup letter, I gather that Uncle Ned played coy: claiming that he wasn't at all sure that he had all the facts and that they were exact. (Boy, does that sound familiar!)

To his credit Hinshaw coaxed and cajoled Uncle Ned. As you can see their correspondence started in 1944, and Uncle Ned died in 1945.

William Wade Hinshaw worked hard at to get Uncle Ned involved in his massive Quaker records project. In one letter Hinshaw mentioned collaborating with Albert Cook Myers. I wonder he mentioned Myers just to stir up Uncle Ned’s interest because Myers was someone familiar to Uncle Ned: he was a distant relative & fellow birthright Friend. (See here:Albert Cook Myers  )

In the end, I can't tell if Uncle Ned sent Hinshaw data.

Uncle Ned died November 1945, and Hinshaw's letter dated the end of February wasn't answered by Uncle Ned until August. However, I wouldn't be surprised if Uncle Ned took his time gathering, checking and rechecking his data. He seemed to be that kind of man.

Here is page 1 and 2 from Hinshaw's final letter to Uncle Ned, dated Feb 1945:

William Wade Hinshaw to Edwin Tyson page 1 (MBW Coll)

And here is page 2
William Wade Hinshaw to Edwin Tyson, page 2 (MBW Coll)

~Margaret B Walmer Collection and Uncle Ned's Legacy~

Uncle Ned's great niece (Chester's granddaughter) Margaret B (Tilton) Walmer inherited his papers (sorted them, labeled them and scanned them). She also inherited his interest in genealogy. She continued his research, as she lived conveniently close to the locations being researched.

Before she passed away Margaret Walmer published two books completing much of the information that was Hinshaw was searching for.

The two books she published are still available: 

Menallen [Pennsylvania] Minutes, Marriages and Miscellany: Quaker Records, 1780-1890, Margaret B. Walmer (Heritage Books) ISBN: 1556136560
100 Years at Warrington: York County, Pennsylvania, Quaker Marriages, Removals, Births and Deaths, Margaret B Walmer (Heritage Books, 1989, 2007)  ISBN: 978-1-55613-269-8
*Margaret B Walmer Collection - papers and photographs of the Tyson, Hawxhurst, Tilton and affiliated families.  Scanned copies made available to family members.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

#46 - Occupations/ Occupational Patterns

 OCCUPATIONS -  #1/52 - 2019
Many women and men find their jobs/careers through networks / family.
I focus most of my research on North American ancestors. DNA has not revealed any DNA links to the Western Hemisphere, so I conclude (for now) all ancestors for both myself and my husband immigrated.
Of course, most of the early immigrants to the new world, (on both sides of the family) farmers. The 1910 photo here is a family farm in SE PA, north of Gettysburg.

There were school teachers, artists, some military (usually of short duration). No doctors or lawyers, but there was a long string of people who attended university before it was common (for another blogpost).

There were plenty of drivers, or "livery" men.
There were servants and cleaners/ "supers" - in New York City parlance.

Most of  the women worked sporadically, as the household duties (especially on a farm) was far more time-consuming than we could imagine.

1 I found that in the NW Territory (PA/Ohio) one notable, a Abraham Brinker, 1776-1850, ran the local inn.
"Brinker was a prominent citizen of early Butler, [PA] where he erected on the Diamond an inn called The Mansion House."After 1809, he moved to the Bonny Brook settlement just east of Butler at Brinker's Mills,where he established several mills and a distillery in 1813/14; he was an officer in the War of 1812." ("History of Butler County Pennsylvania", 1883; Chapter 17, "The Borough of Butler", page 172)

2 Many of my Long Island ancestors were surveyors (specifically, the Hawxhurst family).

WE Hawxhurst, Surveyor, Long Island, NY

-Generational- Johnson

A - It appears, though it is not confirmed, that John Johnson of Sweden worked the early city railroad in Boston. If this is the ancestor we're looking for he died when he was crushed between cars in the yard in Cambridge Mass.

B - John McGee Johnson (son of #1) worked on the Boston & Maine Railroad. He had a variety of jobs: conductor, station agent, station master mostly. He worked in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and in Eastern New York State (the B & M entered eastern NY).

C - John Kendall Johnson Sr (son of #2) worked on the Boston & Maine Railroad. After he served as a Marine in WW2 in the South Pacific, he returned to New England and hunted for work. Not finding it he wandered to Florida at least twice with his family looking for opportunity. He eventually worked on the Boston & Maine, likely a job helped along by family associations and local friends. He finished his RR career in New York State. In 1976 he was an engineer on the B & M Freedom Train, commemorating the Bicentennial.

B & Ms Freedom Train

D - His son (still alive) worked for a short time (summer) fixing railroad tracks when the B & M was still running, and had a yard at Mechanicville NY.

Prison Guards -Higgins

A - Victor Higgins got a full-time job in upstate New York in the 1930s when New York began building large state prisons.  He spent the most time at the prison in Woodbourne, New York, finishing his prison guard 'career' working in the recreational yard.

B -Several members of his family, all three sons, worked with the NYS Department of Corrections. Two were prison guards (or at a higher level), and one worked in teaching / vocational ed  (John and Joseph were the guards and Richard, who had no marriage and no children, taught).

C- John Higgins Sr had three sons. One of the sons (still living) works in the power plant at the same prison or Correctional Facility that Victor Higgins worked in.

5 - Multiple Jobs: Photographer-Horticulturalist-Manager =  My ancestor Charles J Tyson set up shop as an early photographer along with his brother Edwin (Tyson Brothers), in Gettysburg, PA. Coincidentally, right before the Battle of Gettysburg. They evacuated town, but returned, and along with their trusted young assistant (Tipton) took many photos of the town. They also did portraits, apparently. They were happy to find their photography studio was largely undamaged. Here are two photos the Tyson Bros took, one during the Union army's stay, the other during the Gettysburg Address (in November of the same year), Lincoln was under the "Witness Tree."

Camp Letterman (Tyson Bros)

Nov 11 1863 Gettysburg, PA

But, things changed and Charles J Tyson sold the business to his assistant Tipton, moved to the countryside with his bride and got into the orchard business. In the meantime his brother wed and moved back to a large city (but kept up his photography).
Later, for some reason, Charles Tyson went back to partner with Tipton (perhaps due to finances?). After a while Charles resold his portion of the photography studio back to Tipton.
Tyson's orchard/farm was growing with the help of his wife's family. But farming is an uncertain source of income. Late in his life he & his wife moved to Baltimore to manage with a fertilizer business. As a farmer, he'd learned that farmers need manure--and that there is money to be made in that business. He made a good deal of money operating the Susquehanna Fertilizer Company.
Eventually he and his wife Maria (Griest) eventually sold their share and moved back to Adams County, PA in their old age.

Orchard country, Adams County, PA

6 - Storekeeper - My husband's great grandfather John Levi Cook fought in the Civil War, and was wounded in the knee at Fredericksburg VA. He escaped north (apparently there were a lot of POWs in that battle), so I imagine it was easy to escape. He did not return to Massachusetts, but went to Winnegance, Maine (near Bath) and ran a general store there.

7 - Nurserymen - Hicks of Long Island, NY - For over a hundred years the Hicks family on Long Island has dealt with trees and shrubs. At some point the sons took over the Nursery Business. In 2016 I stopped by and met the owner, who is named Hicks, of the current nursery. According to another cousin, the nursery is always inherited by a Hicks son. This ad from 1938 is the back of a Christmas postcard. It was in possession of my Great grandmother (Bertha Hawxhurst) whose mother was Marianna Hicks.