Here are the five biggest arenas of discovery and ensuing analysis resulting from my second trip to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. I make note of them to form a (very public!) post-ProGen-proof-argument-assignment-work plan. That’s due at the end of February and I have to keep my eye on the prize for now. But I can’t wait to dive into…
1) The Wilkins-Walling Journal. This family history was written by the husband of Mary Ella Walling (circled below), sister of our Cora,standing at far right, and published by his granddaughter in 2003. It includes many references to the parents of Cora and Mary Ella — George Washington Walling and Louisa Wright Walling.
That photograph is in the book along with others I’ve never seen – even some from the New Jersey Walling line. There’s also a wonderful 1902 Walling Family reunion picture with our four year old grandmother in the front row that oldest sister remembered seeing a long time ago.I ordered the The Wilkins-Walling Journal before I left Salt Lake City and have since made contact with Mary Stringer Browne, the compiler. She may have been raised in Texas, but she’s been right here in Maryland for the last forty years. We are second-cousins once removed and both plenty excited about this dramatic turn of events. We’ll be lunching soon!
2) Historical information about Cobb County, Georgia, birthplace of Ocie Ola Manning Willliams, and Anderson County, South Carolina, birthplace of her parents. The first locale is a new geographical area for me; Anderson County is a second effort. Last year at the FHL, I had discovered a 1925 published history of the county on microfilm but was overwhelmed by the 350+ page unindexed volume. But between last January and this January, I discovered a link from the FHL catalog to a digitized version of a subsequently produced index. Much, much better.
3) The Flushing Crowd. My mother-in-law’s maternal line is from Queens County, New York. The most recent surname, Pinkham, arrived in the early 1800s. The rest of ’em, Fowler, Field, Lowerre, Weeks, Farrington, and Van Nostrand (to name just a few) , have been there several hundred years longer. I’m only playing a supporting role in this research but I dove into church, probate, and land records, both originals and originals, with high hopes and research plans for two (previously posted) questions.
I stirred up a lot of silt at the bottom of the pond in the process of not answering either question. It will take a while to sort it out and figure out what questions I did answer. Sort of genealogical “Jeopardy!” I have some answers, or at least a lot of citations. Now I just need to come up with questions!
4) Fellow Mauldin Family researchers. We have a fifth great grandmother named Fannie Mauldin, born in the late 1700s in South Carolina, whose parentage had escaped me so far. Not that I’ve really worked on it but I’m expanding the many-hands-make-light-work strategy. I’ve contacted seven people listed as researching that family in a 2009 issue of a South Carolina genealogical society’s newsletter. I’ve heard back from two so far, one of whom had a publication that mentioned Fannie. Since the closest library with that out-of-print book (according to Worldcat.org) is 365 miles away, I’m taking her up on her offer to copy and send me, with the author’s permission, thirty relevant pages. Very generous!
5) Ruffner Surname File from the Indiana County (PA) Historical Society, 18 reels of microfilm filmed in 1966. This was found in the FHL catalog under the title “Genealogical Collection of Indiana County, Pennsylvania.” A better title would be “Gold Mine.” Scattered among the files I saw Civil War discharge documents, Bible pages, and marriage licenses – items that made me gasp. Nothing quite that dramatic was in my file but I did pick up about thirty newspaper clippings – mostly obituaries — that will definitely help me distinguish the descendants of brothers Christian, George, and Simon Ruffner. Those three came west from Berks County, Pennsylvania (with their nephew Henry, our ancestor), and helped establish the first permanent Catholic settlement in Pennsylvania west of the Allegheny Mountains. (1)
I read somewhere on the internet — so it must be true — that there was once a monument to the Ruffner Brothers at St. Vincent College. One of these days I am going to drop by the Indiana County Historical and Genealogical Society, see if anything has been added to the surname files, and then head over to the college to inquire about the rumored monument. Actually, I’ll call first — but I’m definitely thinking July during Steelers training camp.
I expanded the types of records I explored, and that is due, in no small part, to the course of choice this year – American Records and Research: Focusing on Localities, coordinated by Paula Stuart-Warren. I left the classroom each day eager to put new ideas to work.
Many thanks to Paula, and all the instructors, Cath Madden Trindle, Josh Taylor, Michael LeClerc, Korey Meyerink, and Karen Mauer Green for sharing their time, expertise, and, most of all, their passion.
(1) Andrew Arnold Lambing, A History of the Catholic Church in the Dioceses of Pittsburg and Allegheny (1880), 159-164 (originally published in New York by Benziger Brothers); digital images, Google Books (http://books.google.com : accessed 19 January 2011).