Thursday, September 17, 2020

Connemara connections

 My Irish ancestry is 100% from the Connemara region of County Galway.  It is a beautiful, remote area of Ireland.  Genealogy research in this area has been challenging, but over time more records, resources and collaboration has improved things greatly.   Now there are several Facebook groups dedicated to specific areas, villages and families;  webpages dedicated to village's heritage, and of course lots of DNA research!

I am challenged by common names, inter-marriage, and the small gene pool in my research.  Oral history is important since records rarely exist before the Famine, with some exceptions.  We've collected family stories, hand written family trees, etc over time -- and have been able to cross reference to some records over time.

This week I was sent a hand written family tree done in Boston many years ago, by someone I hadn't corresponded with in 4 years!  This led me to the original source and more pages of the tree.  It is truly an amazing find, as it shows linkages and recent descendants that have emigrated to Chicago, Boston, Pittsburgh, etc.

These are the kinds of genealogy gold that make all your hard work worthwhile!  And they always just seem to drop out of the sky!  And usually they come in bunches -- I call it Genealogy Karma.  And as a matter of fact,  I did get some other leads on one of my families last week that needs further research.

So it's either feast or famine, lots of new info to work through and research, or nothing new for ages! In the era of COVID, I have a bit of extra time to work through these bits of genealogy karma!  Can't wait to put my head together with some cousins and sort through it all!

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Toulson UK-USA connection at long last!

There is a branch of TOULSON's in Georgia, USA.  I dismissed them as not related to my branch from Lincolnshire, England a long time ago.  I wrongly assumed they were related to the Colonial Era Toulson's from Maryland/Virginia, that were related to a London branch of the TOULSON's.

About 2 years ago I had a very small DNA match to one of these Georgia TOULSON's, and upon investigation found that he also matched a few others on my direct line.  The only clue was his date of birth on some Civil War records, where he stated he was born in 1827 in England.  Because of the DNA match, I knew he was from Lincolnshire, but couldn't locate a baptism for him.

Today, I stumbled across a William Toulson baptised in Grantham, Lincolnshire in Dec 1831 to Elizabeth Toulson.  He was illegitemate, and her residence was listed as Little Gonerby.  This all aligns nicely with the DNA and my Family Tree.  This Elizabeth is a sister of my GG Grandfather Michael Toulson.  She was born in 1807 In Barkston, Lincolnshire, and my Michael was the next born in 1809.

It would make sense that in 1831 she would be working in Grantham probably as a 21 year old Servant.  Little Gonerby is a village near Grantham, very close to her birthplace of Barkston. Perhaps she didn't want to go home and have her illegitemate child baptized there.  In 1834 she married James Newton and went on to have 5 children.  There is a William Newton living with her family in 1841, which is clearly William Toulson. He's gone by 1851

UPDATE:  I found a William Toulson b England, a waiter, age 21 listed on a ship from Bremen to New York in 1854.   Not sure if he was working as a waiter or just travelling, but most passengers were Prussians.  The timing makes sense....

I can't believe that I've finally found all this documentation to tease this connection out! Very exciting!

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Genealogical ADD - I can't focus!

Well, with lots of time on my hands, I have been working on the Family Tree during the COVID19 lockdown.  I don't know about you, but I find it very difficult to focus!  My attention jumps between social media, news updates, and email.  Committing to just working on the Family Tree and blocking everything else out, is really difficult.

I find myself jumping from family lines to family line.  I have a zillion tabs open, with several different Ancestry trees open -- so I won't forget who I was working on.  When I go back to a tab, I often can't  recall who I was searching or why I have someone's family tree open!  It's like Genealogical ADD.

I find myself either working on 8th cousins or looking at a direct line that I never fleshed out. I've also gone down the DNA rabbit hole, researching a new match's tree and then getting lost in a family that's not mine!

I'm not very good at doing a research plan, as I've been at this for so many years -- I'm generally adding to my tree, when new records or DNA hints point me in a new direction.  New record sets are generally easier to establish a research plan for, going chronologically or searching specific surnames.

Maybe keeping a better log of the lines I'm working on, and a to-do list will help!

Thursday, March 26, 2020

A Good Genealogy Puzzle Solved

So with all the bad news of the world, I needed to try and distract myself. 

It all started when I saw a relatives name mentioned in a post on Facebook from Ireland.  This cousin has an unusual nickname "Mixie" -- which I assumed was Michael.   A cousin had mentioned him years ago and said he was related to us, but I could never make the connection -- as he was probably still living, and so wouldn't be in 1901 or 1911 Irish censuses, and his birth would likely be after 1920, so the records are restricted.

I'd tried some other posts to a local heritage site, but nothing. So when I saw the Facebook post, I added a comment saying I thought he was related and did anyone have any information on him. BINGO!  A local said, yes message me.

Thus started 2 days of messaging back and forth with her, and also another cousin. I was going down one or two lines, assuming that was the connection, but my cousin reminded me that she thought he came from the other side of the family!  When I checked my notes, I did have that "note", but I think I had discounted it because it didn't make sense to me.

Finally, through some use of unusual detective work, I found a headstone which helped me confirm the Mother of Mixie, and led me to his Grandmother (who is my GG Aunt).  She married twice, which caused some of the confusion, as her children were from the first husband, and her second husband had the same surname as her maiden name (they were probably cousins).

I feel like this was a pretty easy puzzle to solve, if only I'd paid attention to hints and not made an assumption that I stuck with. I needed to be open to looking at all sides of the family, and broadening my search.

I also went old school and sketched things out on paper to "see" what I was missing.

All my findings were confirmed when the local I contacted via Facebook checked with Mixie's daughter and she confirmed the names of her Grandparents. She didn't know any further up the line, but that part I already had in the tree.

It feels good to finally make the connection to "Mixie", as he's my 2nd cousin once removed.  And now I've added his children and grandchildren to my tree.

In these crazy times, this feels like a positive achievement!

Sunday, February 9, 2020

When your lines inttersect.....unexpectedly!

Well, it was bound to happen........two lines of my ancestry intersected in a most unexpected way! 

I was searching the descendants of a JELLARD line from the South Hams of Devon.  The descendants went to Victoria, Australia..  While searching Agnes Paige Jellard (my 4th cousin 4x removed), I found that she married John Richard Tozer Potton.  Their son Earnest Walter Potton married Henrietta (Hetta) Elizabeth Trudgeon in the early 1900's in Victoria, Australia.

Well the name Trudgeon was familiar to I went searching and found her Father Richard Trudgeon was born in Sancreed Cornwall....and his parents were Gregory Trudgeon and Jane Trezise.

When I checked my Family Tree I found Jane Trezise -- she is my 3rd cousin 4x removed.  (Actually doubly related through both Rodda and Shetford lines)

So now I have my Devon and Cornwall lines connecting with:

Earnest William Potton (5th cousin 3x removed)   marrying
Henrietta "Hetta" Elizabeth Trudgeon (my 5th cousin 2x removed)

Of course, this has led me down the rabbit hole of tracing the Trudgeon, Bottrell and Shetford families of Cornwall --- when I was originally working on a Devon and Australia connection! Such is the life of a genealogist!

Saturday, January 25, 2020

TOULSON DNA breakthrough!!!!


For years I've been brick walled at about 1650 in Lincolnshire/Nottingham with my TOULSON family.  We've long suspected that possibly a TOULSON from the North (possibly Yorkshire) migrated down during the Civil War.   There are clusters of TOULSON's in Yorkshire, Durham, Cumbria, London, and Kent.  We suspect there is some connections, but have never been able to prove it.

Recently the new Ancestry DNA results from the Christmas sales have begun appearing, and I found a new match that goes back to Bridekirk, Cumbria  - where there is a well documented TOULSON/TOLSON family.  This got me to thinking that maybe I should check the alternative spelling in my DNA matches -- so I put in TOLSON in the search engine.  Why had I NEVER thought of this before????

What an amazing result, suddenly across all 4 kits that I manage for my immediate family, I had matches on the surname TOLSON, TOLESON and TOLLESON that all go back to Dewsbury in Yorkshire (as well as a few to Bridekirk, Cumbria).  There seems to be a definite connection from Dewsbury into South Carolina in the USA during Colonial times.

There are also multiple matches to TOLSON's in Northumberland County, Virginia.

This is hugely exciting, and I will be working with one of my cousins to continue sorting all of this new information out!

Friday, November 29, 2019

RootsTech 2020 4 Day Pass Giveaway

It's the 10th anniversary of RootsTech!!!  When people ask me what RootsTech is, I tell them it's the Super Bowl for genealogists!

 I cannot wait for February......wouldn't you like to attend also?

Well, as an Ambassador for RootsTech, I have the opportunity to give away a free pass to a lucky reader!  This is a 4 day pass, which is worth $299!  The pass gives you access to:

  • over 300 classes
  • Great Keynote speakers and General Sessions
  • A massive Expo Hall packed with vendors, family history societies, and experts
  • Evening entertainment events

RootsTech takes place Feb 26-29 at the Salt Palace in downtown Salt Lake City, just a block from the Family History Library.  So maybe you can come in early or stay afterwards for a little research at the Family History Library!

RootsTech is full of learning opportunities for genealogists, no matter what your level (hobbyist to espert!).  Between the classes, the vendors, the keynote speakers and entertainment it is an incredible experience!  And who knows, you could meet a cousin (I have!).

So if you'd love to attend, leave a comment here on my blog! I'll be choosing a winner on Dec. 16th!