52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge Week #1

Introduction to the Challenge:

I decided to participate in Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge. You can find more information on the challenge at 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

What particularly piqued my interest was her opening paragraph:

“You’ve worked hard on your genealogy. You’ve made some fantastic discoveries. But what do you actually do with it? Those discoveries don’t do much good just sitting in your file cabinet or on your computer. That’s where 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks comes in.”

I don’t know about you, but I can only talk so much genealogy with family members, before their eyes gloss over and they are thinking about something else while I drone on and on, even though I do so very enthusiastically. This is a great way to share your family members with anyone who might be interested, without the droning on and on!

So here we go with week 1 of the challenge:

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Week #1

Phebe Jane Wheeler:

Phebe Jane Wheeler

When I first began working on my family tree, my paternal first cousin had already done a lot of work on the paternal side of the family, however she had not gone all the way back on the Wheeler line, so I started with my 2nd Great Grandmother Phebe Jane (Wheeler) Curtis. I used what my cousin had and worked my way back from there. Interestingly, she and her siblings are the last entries in History of the Town of Stonington, County of New London, Connecticut, from its first settlement in 1649 to 1900, by Richard W. Wheeler (PG 67), which was something my cousin had not found. With her as my START I was able to track that branch of the tree back to Thomas Wheeler, the first of my ancestors in the Colonies.

From Phebe Jane (Wheeler) Curtis’s WikiTree Profile:



Phebe Jane Wheeler was born 24 May 1829 to Dudley Denison Wheeler, Sr. and Nancy Wheeler, (Note she was a Wheeler at birth and a distant relative), in Stonington, Connecticut. She was one of their twelve children.[1]


30 May 1849 Phebe married Thomas Chandler Curtis, who was living in Norwich, Connecticut at the time, in North Stonington. The officiant was M.N. Morris. Together they lived in Norwich though some point up to 1850 when they moved to Stonington, Connecticut. By 1870 they had moved to Windham, Connecticut. By 1880 they moved to Ashford, Connecticut, and at that time they had eleven children:[2][3][4][5][6][7]


Charles T. Curtis; b. 30 Mar 1850
Isabella (Curtis) Shippey; b. 4 Apr 1853
Ida Jennie Curtis, b. 3 Jun 1855
Daniel Henry Curtis, b. 20 May 1857
Frank Curtis, b. 20 May 1857
Elizabeth Curtis, b. 20 Nov 1861
Francis Fanny Curtis, b. 16 Sep 1863
Samuel Curtis; b. 1865-6
Arthur Fredric Curtis, b. 29 Jun 1869
George Dudley Curtis; b. 7 Jun 1871
Nelson Lawrence Curtis; b. 8 Sep 1874

Life , Death & Probate

Phebe and Thomas continued to live in Ashford until Phebe’s death on 15 Sep 1908 . After her death and the appropriate Probate period the house that they lived in and the 155 acres was sold for $2000.00 less inventory loss and expenses leaving $1300 that was divided by her living children and her husband. She is buried in Westford Hill Cemetery, in Ashford, Connecticut[8][9][10][11]


  1.  [Albert Gallatin Wheeler, American College of Genealogy (1914). The Genealogical and Encyclopedic History of the Wheeler Family in America; PG 335; https://archive.org/stream/genealogicaland00genegoog#page/n12/mode/2up]
  2.  [Ancestry.com. Connecticut, Town Marriage Records, pre-1870 (Barbour Collection) [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006. Connecticut, Town Marriage Records, pre-1870 (Barbour Collection) for Phebe J Wheeler, North Stonington Vital Records 1807-1852; PG 371; Original data: White, Lorraine Cook, ed. The Barbour Collection of Connecticut Town Vital Records. Vol. 1-55. Baltimore, MD, USA: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1994-2002.]
  3.  [United States Census, 1850, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M68R-8BN : 9 November 2014), Phebe Jane Curtis in household of Thomas Curtis, Norwich, New London, Connecticut, United States; citing family 2170, NARA microfilm publication M432 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.)]
  4.  [United States Census, 1860″, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MHRW-NBH : 30 December 2015), Phebe J Curtis in entry for Thos C Curtis, 1860.]
  5.  [United States Census, 1870, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MN7R-4MX : 17 October 2014), Phebe Curtis, Connecticut, United States; citing p. 21, family 209, NARA microfilm publication M593 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 545,616.]
  6.  [United States Census, 1880, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MFZQ-V59 : 24 December 2015), Phebe Curtis in household of Thomas Curtis, Ashford, Windham, Connecticut, United States; citing enumeration district ED 134, sheet 503A, NARA microfilm publication T9 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 0110; FHL microfilm 1,254,110.]
  7.  [United States Census, 1900, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:M97J-W6Z : 25 January 2015), Phoebe I Curtis in household of Thomas C Curtis, Ashford township, Windham, Connecticut, United States; citing sheet 2A, family 39, NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,240,151.]
  8.  [Connecticut Deaths and Burials, 1772-1934, database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:F7N7-GJ5 : 3 December 2014), Phebe J. Curtis, 1908; citing , reference 78; FHL microfilm 3,319.]
  9.  [Connecticut Deaths and Burials, 1772-1934, database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:F7Z7-8PR : 3 December 2014), Phebe J. Curtis, 1908; citing , reference ; FHL microfilm 3,112.]
  10.  [Find A Grave Index, database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVKY-QH93 : 13 December 2015), Phebe J Curtis, ; Burial, Ashford, Windham, Connecticut, United States of America, Westford Hill Cemetery; citing record ID 52894664, Find a Grave, http://www.findagrave.com]
  11.  [if you have a paid subscription you can find the probate record here: Ancestry.com. Connecticut, Wills and Probate Records, 1609-1999 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015. Original data: Connecticut County, District and Probate Courts. (http://goo.gl/HquDfI)

Additional References

Posted in Ancestry, Blog, Connections, Family, Family Roots, Family Tree Searches, Genealogy, Hobbies, Interests, Life's Adventures, Uncategorized, WikiTree | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Family Trees-How Is Yours Growing?/ WikiTree.com vs. Ancestry.com

Wiki Tree Family Tree Image

My family tree on WikiTree (@WikiTreeOfficial)

Part 1: Family Trees-How Is Yours Growing?

Note: This was originally posted on by me on my Review Blog, known as From The Adventures of T Counce, before I decided to change this dedication of this blog to my Family Research and that blog to just reviews. This has been slightly edited for this Blog site.

If you are interested in learning more please visit WikiTree: Where Genealogists Collaborate

Part 2: WikiTree.com vs. Ancestry.com

Note: This was originally posted on  by me on my Review Blog, known as From The Adventures of T Counce, before I decided to change this dedication of this blog to my Family Research and that blog to just reviews.

As I mentioned in my last blog, I’ve become obsessed with my family tree. I jokingly refer to it as spending time with dead family members who can’t complain about the way I speak, do or don’t do things, etc. I have been spending more time writing biographies for family members, and in as much as I never met them, I’m having to tell their stories through documentation that I find along the way. Some are easy to find through FamilySeach.org, or free books available through Archive.org and Google’s books.google.com. Then there are those that you either have to pay for the site or you have to pay for vital records to the State involved (and you may or may not get what you want and lose your money if you don’t get what you want…this is particularly true with the State of Nebraska.)

In my last blog, I failed to mention the free site you can work on your family tree for free. It’s Wiki Tree at http://www.wikitree.com/. My intent was to put their widget into that blog, however, there have been some changes to how Word Press let’s us do things and I just haven’t taken the time to figure them all out. I’m a write and move on to the next thing kind of person. The widget ended up way down at the bottom of my Word Press Page, which made me realize, I need to change my background to something more user friendly, but that is a project for a day when I don’t have other things pressing (it’ll happen, eventually).

Which brings me to my point (the title of this blog). I started my genealogical adventure through Ancestry.com with the basic membership, then found I had to upgrade to the medium level membership, and I still need to upgrade to the maximum level, but this can really get expensive and being on a VERY SMALL budget, going the least expensive way I can is a benefit. I stumbled upon WikiTree.com completely by accident, while searching for documentation for a family member on Ancestry. The premise of WikiTree is this (copied and pasted from my Navigational Home Page on the site):

WikiTree is for genealogy collaboration. This happens at two levels.

At the modern level, the collaboration can be private and tightly-controlled. Use WikiTree to collect and organize your personal family history and privately collaborate with family members. If you invite non-genealogist family members they might not move beyond this level.

At a deeper level, we are connecting our personal family histories with a growing worldwide family tree. As we go back in time our collaborations become wider and more public. To keep order, we trust each other to abide by a Wiki Genealogy Honor Code.

It’s possible for all this to happen on one single, shared family tree because every profile has its own Trusted List and privacy setting.

On Wiki Tree, as I entered family members and was working my way back I found some family members were already there and all I had to do was connect them. Then my whole genealogical adventure exploded in a way I never thought possible while working through the same adventure on Ancestry.com!

Don’t get me wrong, Ancestry.com is great. The LDS Church has developed a humongous repository and the fact that we get to use it for whichever membership level we are on, is worth the price. The DIFFERENCE is: on Ancestry I’ve observed some members of the same family have different information, and no sources to back up anyone (in some cases, not all), and each member has their own tree, so there could reasonably be hundreds of profiles for this one person…only only a few of them actually be correct. These files can be uploaded to WikiTree and merged and fixed, etc. so that there is only one profile with accurate information and sources.

On Ancestry we all work separately, on our own, (or with some help from other family members…but if you’ve never talked to or met them, it can feel daunting to ask them for help. On WikiTree there are a lot of people that I’ve never met, that help each other, in ways I’ve not seen on Ancestry at all. While the family working together on Ancestry is an implied thing, on WikiTree it’s the only thing. The leaders are awesome.

And another thing I like about WikiTree…you can run into family members you never knew you had that are currently alive, and working in the same place. I’ve found two 9th Cousins that way in the last couple of months (well one I found because I made a mistake), but the other we were working on a common profile together. If it’s happened on Ancestry…I don’t know anything about it.

More information about Wiki Tree can be found at About Wiki Tree

Posted in Ancestry, Blog, Connections, Family, Family Roots, Family Tree Searches, Free Stuff, Genealogy, Hobbies, Interests, Life's Adventures, Overcoming Obstacles, Uncategorized, WikiTree | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

There Are Times I Wish I Could Talk To The Family Historians…

Is Elizabeth or Hannah married to Hinckley

Now would definitely be one of those times…

According to the Wheeler Family Historians Richard and Albert Elizabeth Wheeler, daughter of Charles Wheeler and Martha (Williams) Wheeler, married Abel Hinckley. Unfortunately Richard failed to include who Abel married in “The History of Stonington“, which would have helped, though only a little to give some clarity to the situation.

Then comes along the Avery Family Historian that says “Betsey” married Russel Avery. Which makes one look at where Russel Avery appears in the lists above. Hmmm…the Wheeler Family Historians say Russel Avery married Hannah Wheeler, daughter of Charles and Martha, Elizabeth’s sister.

So then you pull out the nickname thing…”Betsey” is the nickname of Elizabeth, not Hannah. But is it? Hence my reason for desperately wanting to sit down with Family Historians and discuss this.

Yes, all marriage records have Betsey married to Russell…the joys of Genealogy!

Posted in Blog, Connections, Family Tree Searches, Genealogy, Life's Adventures, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Going From Having No Family To All Kinds of Family Is…

My mother kept me isolated. I don’t know if it was a good thing or a bad thing. To hear her tell it, I can’t even explain. I’ve always been longing for a family, and being an only child didn’t help any. I spent a lot of time alone. I dreamed of having cousins to play with, talk to. I desperately wanted to hang out with family.

I remember when friends would invite me to family gatherings, I always had so much fun. (Yes, they all have those family members that make you roll your eyes when they start acting out, but for the most part they were fun.) To experience the love of family, the camaraderie, the ties…all missing in my the major portion of my fifty-eight years of life. It is great to share in someone’s family gatherings. But it’s not the same as one’s own family. I didn’t have that in my own family.

When I started working on my tree and got involved with WikiTree, I found (or she found me) a 9th cousin. I remember that day vividly. I remember thinking “OH MY GOODNESS! THANK YOU GOD!!! I HAVE FAMILY!!!!” Until she reads this, she really has no idea of just how important to me that she is and always has been. That was over a year ago.

A few months ago I connected with a maternal first cousin that I hadn’t seen but once, almost 50 years ago. It’s a bit of an awkward situation due, I believe, in part because of my mother and her relationship with, or lack there of, with her family. Also in part is my mother’s knack for telling tales no where near the truth. I grew up with it, and I didn’t recognize it for what it was until I was in my mid twenties. I can imagine how difficult it could be for this one first cousin to reconcile that I’m not the ogre, whatever, my mother and my eldest son may have made me out to be. She never got the chance to interact with me until now. But, through all of this I have just been me and will continue to just be me. Did I mention I HAVE FAMILY!!!!!!!?

Also, through WikiTree my maternal second cousin once removed contacted me and gave me 10 generations of family information. Literally in the blink of an eye I went to having virtually no blood family (not talking about my children, my father and one paternal cousin here…I’m talking childhood stuff that has stuck with me as a painful memory and an awful vacuum in my life), to OMGoodness! I HAVE FAMILY ON THE MATERNAL SIDE! I didn’t even know my maternal grandmother’s first name until just over a year ago!

Then I found a Facebook Group (this last week)…I’ve connected with another maternal relative! Probably more than one, but one confirmed, so far. I HAVE FAMILY!!!!!

On one hand, I’m grateful that in my final years on this beautifully made planet, I finally have the ONE THING I ALWAYS wanted, but on the other hand, it’s a bit overwhelming, but in a good way! Just needed to share!

How is your family adventure going?

Posted in Blog, Connections, Family Tree Searches, Genealogy, Life's Adventures, Uncategorized, WikiTree | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mid 1800s Records: There Are Too Many That Are Unfindable

It amazes me how I can find birth, marriage, death information from about the late 1600s (America’s infancy) and I can find many of the records for the 1900s (minus US Census records that have not yet been released), but for whatever reason records from the mid 1800s are far and few between.

Take for example one Philetus Bates. I cannot find his parents, I can’t find definite birth information, I can’t find death information. This has been a very and all too common obstacle for me during my Genealogical Adventure. Philetus is just one example.

Following is what my research notes look like and as you can see, I have more questions than I have answers:

Research Notes:

Philetus was born about 1822 or 1824 according to two different census records.

First Accounting:

According to the 1850 US Census record Philetus Bates was born about 1822, in Ohio, and living in Plainsville, Lake, Ohio. Profession: Farmer. Also according to this Census record he was married to Sarah Isabell, daughter of Yeno (or Zeno) Isabell and Mabel Hubbard (Talcott) Isabell. They married 17 Oct 1849, in Lake County, Ohio.[1][2]

No record of the death of Sarah or a divorce from Sarah has been found as of 22 Sep 2017

No 1860 US Census has been located.

Second Accounting:

According to the 1870 US Census record, Philetus Bates was born in 1824, in Ohio and living in Sac, Sac, Iowa. Profession: Farming. Also according to the Census Record he was married to Lovina (nee Taylor, Flanders). The marriage took place Monroe County Iowa on 02 Jan 1865.[3][4]

Additionally, T Counce questions the paternity of son, George Franklin Bates, as the marriage of Philetus and Lovina took place 18 days before George’s birth. In as much as a date of death for Lyman Flanders (father of the other children listed on the 1870 Census) has been located as of 22 Sep 2017, it is impossible to tell.


Conclusion #1: These are not the same Philetus Bates

Conclusion #2: These are the same Philetus Bates and there are records that just haven’t been found.


Date of death has not yet been located, as of 22 Sep 2017. At this point in the research it is too early to even try to estimate a date of death. If anyone does try, please include a note in this section (even if it’s just the code for estimated date of death) and why you chose that particular date.


  1.  United States Census, 1850, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MXQJ-V22 : 12 April 2016), Philetas Bates, Painesville, Lake, Ohio, United States; citing family 434, NARA microfilm publication M432 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
  2.  Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XDPN-WXF : 8 December 2014), Philetus Bates and Sarah M. Isbell, 17 Oct 1849; citing Lake, Ohio, United States, reference p 289; county courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 974,915.
  3.  United States Census, 1870, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MDVT-C2R : 12 April 2016), Philetus Bates, Iowa, United States; citing p. 2, family 10, NARA microfilm publication M593 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 545,916.
  4.  Iowa Marriages, 1809-1992, database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XJGD-K28 : 3 December 2014), Philitus Bates and Lovina Flanders, 02 Jan 1865; citing Monroe Co., Iowa, reference 2:3DPS46B; FHL microfilm 980,485.
Posted in Blog, Family Tree Searches, Genealogy, Life's Adventures, Uncategorized, WikiTree | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Finding Records For Spouses Irony

Family Tree for Blog

Same Fork of The Family Tree, Different Types of Records

This Side of The Pond

Most of my research for my family tree has been in the United States. Initially I found that finding the parents of the wives marrying into the family were difficult to locate, if not impossible. Why? Because everything in the male lineage is valued and the female lineage, not so much. Most of the books that cover the lineage of a family, for example,  The Genealogical and Encyclopedic History of the Wheeler Family in America by Albert Gallatin Wheeler¹, the majority of the entries are of the male line. There are mentions of who the daughters married, but in order to find out who their children were, you have to find their husbands, then the husbands parents, and so on, working your way backwards. This has always been a source of frustration from genealogists, from the very new to the seasoned professional.

On the Paternal side of my tree, the lineage looks like this, in relation to this part of this blog:

Family Tree for Blog This Side of The Pond

To Illustrate my point, from the above mentioned book we find:

(#4140, PG 335) Dudley Denison Wheeler is the son of Eleazer Wheeler and Cynthia (Ingraham) Wheeler. There is no mention of who his mother’s parents are in this entry. However, fortunately there is mention of who his wife Nancy Wheeler’s parents are, however this isn’t always the case, but it makes finding her parentage easier. But, back to Cynthia (Ingraham) Wheeler: going back to her husbands entry (#4007, PG 320) her parents are not listed. So, prior to her marriage to my 4th Great Grandfather, Eleazer, I know nothing (no parents, no birth location, no date of birth) about this woman who is my 4th Great Grandmother. As you can see from the picture above, there is a plus inside of a circle indicating that there is more information on Eleazer’s parentage, but nothing after Martha Ingraham (aka Cynthia, because she is referenced both ways in a couple of different books, and this dynamic tree from WikiTree doesn’t show aka names), indicating no further information on her. (The year of birth in her box is a guess).

The Other Side of The Pond

Then there is the other side of the same fork, on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, specifically in Scotland. I don’t know if it’s because they were Edinburgh Pringles, or just not famous enough, I haven’t been able to find that line in a book. I’ve only been able to find census records and marriage information (mind you, this is with using free FamilySearch.org, my subscription to Ancestry.com and a few credits that I purchased from Scotland’s People web site). What isn’t showing below is that I was able, just this last weekend, to verify that May Morrison’s Father was Michael Morrison, because it’s included in the Proclamation for her marriage to David Pringle (through Scotland’s People), and the same day I found her baptism record that included her date of birth and her mother’s name. I haven’t entered this information into WikiTree, yet.

David Pringle? Nothing. This is the total reverse of what I have been working with for the last two or three years. I cannot find his birth record, baptism record, no census records before 1841, by which time he was already 37 years old and had children of his own. And no, his parent’s were not living with him either. Nor can I find his date of death. It’s like he popped in from no where, stayed for a time, then just disappeared.

Family Tree for Blog The Other Side of The Pond

Have you discovered any kind of ironies while researching your family tree? I’d love to hear about them.

¹Wheeler, Albert Gallatin : American College of Genealogy (1914). ”The Genealogical and Encyclopedic History of the Wheeler Family in America”; PG 320, 325; Retrieved from: https://archive.org/stream/genealogicaland00genegoog#page/n12/mode/2up

Posted in Blog, Connections, Family Tree Searches, Genealogy, Hobbies, Life's Adventures, Uncategorized, WikiTree | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Genealogical Burnout! Moderation is Key!


There comes a point in time where each person who is involved in Genealogy, whether it be for fun, personal interest, curiosity, or professionally, hit a point of burn out. A few in a Facebook Group I belong to have hit it, and in doing a little research in looking for a photo to use/borrow, it is apparently a real thing. I thought it was just me, but I’m glad it isn’t.

I came across an article that goes with the photo above that gives some great tips on how to avoid it. See the article at GENEALOGY GANGSTER. (I did not get permission to use the photo are the article here, however, I’m not stealing it, I’m referring you to it, as I believe it could help some people that want to get over the burn out). As those of you may know, I’m very much into collaboration and if sharing another bloggers tips is going to help you on your own adventure, I will do that.

Something else that I’ve noticed, it’s a good idea to have something else you are passionate about (i.e. a hobby that you love), to work on along with researching your ancestors and their many descendants. I know one Genealogist who is into adult coloring books, some are into video games (though I find for me, even though I do play a few, I need something away from the computer). Some read books (I do this too, and also do book reviews see The Adventures of T Counce). Some crochet, cross stitch, embroidery.

I have a lot of hobbies, but I also get burned out with them. I felt a burn out coming on everything I’m doing (all mentioned above), so I added a new thing to my daily itinerary…gardening. Not just any gardening, but specifically vegetables and herbs. So far the only herb I’m having any real luck with is basil.


The tomato plants, bean plants, and other miscellaneous are doing ok. This year has been an experiment that will be an on going thing.

With my disabilities I am forced to do physical things in extreme moderation. I’m finding that with the things I do to keep my hands and my mind busy, I’m also having to do things in extreme moderation or I get burnt out on EVERYTHING.

Moderation is Key

Posted in Blog, Connections, Family Tree Searches, Genealogy, Hobbies, Life's Adventures, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments