Mary Ann Dinwiddie’s Ring

In this throw-away world, is refreshing—no, exciting—to discover something that has been passed down through succeeding generations for 200 years.

Over the years, I have had occasional communications with cousins of various degrees while researching our family tree. Quite a few years ago, I exchanged letters with cousin Anna Bagley, and recently emails with her son Floyd. Anna and Floyd are descended from James H Wilson by his son Leonard Ray Wilson. Leonard was Thomas Jay Wilson’s (my great grandfather) brother. Lost yet? Floyd and I are third cousins.

In a recent exchange, Floyd mentioned that “Mom [Anna Bagley] passed away 2 years ago at age 94. Among her things was the wedding ring of Mary Ann (Wilson) Dinwiddie, our 3g Grandmother who was married to Thomas Dinwiddie in 1808. Leonard Wilson gave the ring to Mom before her wedding. I have passed it on to my cousin’s daughter who in getting married this month.”

This ring, pictured above, has been in the family for over 200 years…and it has been passed on to another generation. Floyd gave the ring to his first cousin’s daughter who is getting married this month. Kimberly Anne Duncan, daughter of Bradley Duncan, will be wearing the ring her 4th great grandmother wore on her wedding day. “Something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue” ; you’ve got “something old” covered, Kimi. I wish you great joy in your marriage.

Here is how we are related. Your results may vary.

Thomas Dinwiddie – Mary Ann Wilson
—–James H Wilson – Mary Dinwiddie
———-Leonard Ray Wilson – Anna Cox
—————Charles C Duncan – Vera May Wilson
——————–Charles William Duncan – Effie May Botti
————————-Bradley Robert Duncan – Dina Bianca Buti
——————————Kimberly Anne Duncan

Thomas Dinwiddie – Mary Ann Wilson
—–James H Wilson – Mary Dinwiddie
———-Leonard Ray Wilson – Anna Cox
—————Charles C Duncan – Vera May Wilson
——————–William Lyle Bagley – Anna Marie Duncan
————————-Floyd Dean Bagley

Thomas Dinwiddie – Mary Ann Wilson
—–James H Wilson – Mary Dinwiddie
———-Thomas Jay Wilson – Harriet Anna Richards
—————Charles Ebert Spring – Nellie Hazel Wilson
——————-Arden Ray Olsen – Ethel Maxine Spring
————————-Dan Ray Stoe

Thanks to Floyd, Brad, and Kimberly for letting me share their story, and thanks for for visiting my site.

Dan Stoe
Discover With Dan

A Christmas Letter

The following is a transcript of a letter my mother, Mickey Spring, wrote to her brother, Jimmy Spring Burleigh just after Christmas in 1942. Their mother, Nellie Wilson Spring, died just a year earlier. Jimmy was sent to live with their Aunt Ethel Wilson Burleigh and Uncle Blaine while Mickey was sent to live with her Aunt and Uncle, Peggy and Clarence Spring, in Seattle, Washington. I did not try to correct spelling or punctuation nor show how smart I am by inserting [sic] everywhere there is an error.

Dan

——

Dec 29, 1942
6705 W Holly St
Seattle Washington

Dear Aunty, Jimmy, and Uncle Blaine

Thought I would write and tell you what I got for christmas. From Daddy a swell shenille house coat, and from Winnie I got a real nice watch. Those are the most usefull things I got although the other things are nice to. Boy I sure liked that book you sent me Im more than half through already, and thanks a lot for the bath salts and crayons Jimmy Honey. Winnie and I take turns reading my book, when she lays it down I pick it up and start reading it And its the same way with her when I get through reading it. Well weve got the radio working now and I had It on all morning. Say Jimmy honey please write and tell me what you got for christmas I’d sure like to no. Im sorry I couldn’t send you a present Honey but Ill see what I can do. Well I have some more letters I should write I’m to sleepy will write more some other time.

Loads and Loads of love

Mickey.

PS. Im getting older now I was 12 years old yesterday.

Tools of the Trade

As I may have mentioned before, genealogy research is a big hobby of mine.

This week, I discovered a couple tools to help in my research.  Both of these tools are on AncestryDNA, and they’ve been there for a while, but I hadn’t paid any attention to them.

I was recently contacted by new-to-me cousin Hollie.  Using Matches Map Beta, she discovered that we live only 30 miles apart.  Matches Map takes the actual location from your DNA matches’ profiles and plots them on a world map.  When you zoom in and click on one of the markers, you see the user name and their actual location and a link to the DNA Match.   This can be a bit unnerving for some as it very easily gives users access to where you live.   If that is a concern, you can change your profile location to something more generic, such as United States.   The upside is that you can find cousins close to home that might be able to help with your research.  In this case, it was relatively easy to connect the pieces of the puzzle and connect Hollie’s tree with mine, but it might have taken a while before I worked my way down my list of  DNA matches to get to her DNA results if she had not used Matches Map and contacted me.

World Map
Zoomed In Map

The second tool I learned to use while using the Matches Map and I find it much more useful.  This was the Shared Matches tab in AncestryDNA.  There are a lot of people that don’t have any trees connected to their DNA, or have limited family information within their tree.  There are several reasons for this: privacy concerns, lack of information, maybe lack of interest(although if you pop $60-$100 for a test, you would think there would be some motivation to get the most out of it).  I see these probable cousin matches and wonder who they are and how they are connected.

Shared Matches helps narrow down the possibilities.  There are two ways to use this tool.  In my list of 4th-6th cousin matches, I find C.P. who has two unlinked trees listed.  Both of these trees have limited information and no surnames to work with.  Clicking on the Shared Matches tab, I see my daughter at the top of the Shared Matches list.  Curiously, my son does not show up, but that is the nature of DNA.  Scrolling down the list of Shared Matches, I find a couple paternal first cousins, which halves the potential connections by eliminating my maternal cousins, and a 2nd cousin twice removed on my paternal grandmother’s side, cutting likely connections in half yet again.  Now, if I want to pursue to connection to C.P. in more detail, I have a much smaller list to work through to see what, if any, family connection there is between us.

Another way to use Shared Matches is to select a close cousin from your matches list, 1st or 2nd cousins work best, then click on the Shared Matches tab.  This will bring up a list of possible cousins to whom you are both related, again reducing the search parameters to the same side of the family as the cousin you used to see Shared Matches.

Note that you, your DNA Match, and your Shared Matches, won’t necessarily all share the same Most Recent Common Ancestor (MRCA). That will take more research, but now you have cut your work in half or better.  Also, the Shared Match only shows 4th cousins or closer.  This is both good and not so good.  The reliability of DNA matches further back than 4th cousins isn’t as high as closer cousins, but it would be nice to have the option of reaching further back.

Check out this site for more information on Matches Map, and here for more information on Shared Matches, although just clicking on the gray  ? following the “Shared Matches with…” line gets pretty good information on this tool.

Dan Stoe

Junction City, Oregon

Camp Fire

Camp Fire – It conjures up images of sitting around a reasonably tame fire, cooking hot dogs, s’mores, whatever.

Tragically, Camp Fire has come to represent loss, heartache, pain, death.

Thousands have been impacted by the Camp Fire in Butte County, California.  More than 80 have died and a couple hundred still have not been accounted for.

Nothing can replace lost loved ones.  Homes can be replaced, rebuilt, but the scars will remain long after.

Most of us want to do something.  Sending food, clothing, stuff just creates a logistical nightmare.  These well meant items usually pile up in a warehouse and rarely get where needed.

Gifts of money are usually the best help, but many are reluctant to, or don’t know where to give.

I have a suggestion.

Sierra Nevada Brewing has enlisted the help of 1,400 breweries to produce Resilience Butte County Proud IPA.

All the brewers, distributors, and retailers have agreed to donate all proceeds to help those impacted by the Camp Fire.

Get your thirsty self to one (or more) of these breweries, sample this very tasty brew, and support a good cause, one pint at a time.

I can personally attest to the fine brew at McMenamins High Street Cafe.

Dan Stoe

Junction City, Oregon

Making Memories

[Originally posted 3 September 2018]

My wife, Laura, and I just finished up a two-week vacation with our four grandkids—3 boys and a girl.  We are very fortunate in that they all get along very well and are a joy to travel with.  Hopefully, we left them with something they will remember for a long time.

My preferred method of travel is to wing it, making minimal reservations, and trusting to luck to discover a place to stay. That mostly works out fine for just the two of us. With four teenagers in the motor home with us, we thought it prudent to do more planning and less freewheeling.

There are several programs available to help plan trips. I use a web-based program called RVTrip Wizard.  This program lets me enter my stops and waypoints, including fuel stops; calculates fuel consumption; shows a fairly comprehensive park listing across the country; and provides running total of expenses.  It’s not free but at $39 per year, it is a pretty good deal.

For navigation, Google Maps on a cell phone is good…if you have service. You can download the maps, which helps. I also took along a GPS device; OK, but the maps were pretty dated for some of the areas we were in. Best was paper maps.  Laura’s a pretty good navigator once see gets us located on the maps.

Even with RV Trip Wizard’s travel time estimates, we were always checking in late to the campgrounds.  Fortunately, both private and public campgrounds made late check-ins very easy. 

I didn’t think to plan laundry days.  As you can imagine, six people can accumulate a fair amount of dirty clothes, even if some of the boys thought wearing the same t-shirt and pants for four days was their contribution to not having to do laundry.  I had purchased and took with us a small (so it seemed in the picture on Amazon) portablewashing machine.  The washer worked fine; the weather didn’t cooperate to give us nice warm drying weather, but we managed (with an assist from sister Susie in Iowa).

With so much to see and do, this truly is an amazing country.

While at Yellowstone we came across a herd of about 100 or so bison wandering back and forth across the road.  We parked and watched these amazing animals for an hour or so.  All together there are about 5,000 bison within Yellowstone.  It is hard to imagine the 40,000 to 60,000 bison roaming the plains in 1800.

I was prepared to be underwhelmed at Mt.Rushmore, but as I read more and took the time to learn about it, I came to appreciate its artistry and meaning.  After Mt. Rushmore, we toured the CrazyHorse Memorial.  Work is not complete on Crazy Horse, but it is a very impressive tribute to one of the Native American heroes (yes,every culture needs their own heroes).

We missed the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD.  Just didn’t have time.  We did see a lot of corn.  While on the way to Mitchell, we stopped at the Dignity Statue, a tribute to the Native Americans of the plains of South Dakota.  It is located at a rest stop overlooking the Missouri River—and it’s free.

We were expecting the Badlands of South Dakota to be unbearably hot, but it was windy and rainy.  Not too surprising, really, since wind and water erosion is what formed the Badlands over the last 500,000 years.

Our eastward trek ended in Iowa with a stay at Viking Lake and a visit with sister Susie and brother-in-law Jeff.  If you want a peek at what life might have been like in the early (Caucasian) settlement of the plains, you only have to visit my sister.  She and Jeff have a nice garden from which they harvest and preserve vegetables; Susie spins yarn, from which she weaves, knits,and crochets beautiful items; Susie and Jeff also tend a small flock of chickens.  Sure, it’s a new house and there is a truck and car in the driveway instead of a team of mules, but you can imagine…

From Iowa, we headed back home, with a stop to cool off at Roaring Springs Water Park in Meridian, Idaho.  Cool off were the operative words.  It was just a bit chilly for most of us.  It was fun, however.  I particularly liked the Cliffhanger and Corkscrew Cavern.  Rattlesnake Rapids was pretty good; maybe they should have suggested a deep breath before launching down the tube.

Home at last.  Grandkids are back with their parents who were glad to have some time by themselves but were even more glad to have their younguns back home.

Us?  We’re busy cleaning up and fixing the motor home (Yellowstone was a bit brutal on the MH), trying to decide where we are off to next.

I’m sure we will discover something.   Maybe go back and try some of those brewpubs we passed along the way.  Honey, you’re driving.

Dan Stoe

Junction City


I wish I had a recorder running when…

[Originally posted 9 August 2018]

Who hasn’t lamented “I wish I had a tape recorder running when…”?

I have an amazingly short memory for many things, people’s stories being one of them.  It’s not that I don’t care about what people share.  I do, a lot, but if I don’t write it down immediately, details start to fade and I conflate one story with another.

That is why I am so glad that I have one audio tape of my Mom and Dad, Mickie and Fred Stoe, speaking with Howard Richards about where different members of our extended families lived in the Culver and Opal City areas in the early part of the 1900s.  It is so wonderful to hear their voices again.

Howard, Mickie, and Fred talking about family in the Culver area.

It runs about half an hour and the quality is about what you would expect from an inexpensive cassette recorder with the mic on the counter.  They are obviously looking at a map of the Culver/Opal City area while speaking.  I don’t know which map Howard Richards was using to show where the different families lived.  Pickatrail.com has free topographic maps of the area that can be downloaded as PDF files.

Most of the topographic maps that I have date from the middle 1950s to the early 1960s.  It would be better to use earlier land maps to find homesteads as several dams and reservoirs have been built that changed the flow of local rivers and creeks: Haystack Dam, creating Haystack Reservoir was built about 1956; Arthur R. Bowman Dam which created Prineville Reservoir in 1961; the Round Butte Dam that created Lake Billy Chinook in 1964.

A trip to one of the local historical societies should be able to produce some land maps from 1900-1950. That would make following the conversation much easier.  If I find any, I will post them here.

There are several reference to aunts and uncles and cousins, but, of course, these relationships are to William or Mickie. Some of the names mentioned in this half hour tape include: Ethel and Blaine Burleigh, Sylvia Richards, Kenney, Jay Wilson, Art Richards, Aunt Hattie, Cyrus, Carl King Sr, Perry Reed and his son Jim Reed, Nellie, and Bill McCormack.  I’m still trying to sort out who each person is.

So, there you have it. Enjoy!

Does anyone else have audio (or video) recordings to share? I would love to hear more stories.

Dan Stoe

Junction City, Oregon


Lesson Learned

[Originally posted 27 February 2018]

I let my subscription to Ancestry.com expire…other things I wanted to spend my money on right now and they are very expensive…so I had to find other ways of continuing my genealogy research.

FamilyHistory 50 Free Genealogy Resources was a good place to start.  I had bookmarked this site but hadn’t actually checked it out.

I have been looking for 1910 Census records for Deschutes County, Oregon. They should have been available on Ancestry.com but I never found them. No matter how many ways I looked, those records just weren’t there.  You all probably see where this is heading.  Deschutes County wasn’t organized until 1916.  Before that it was part of Crook County.  I knew that many Oregon counties were reorganized over the years but I had stopped thinking and letting Ancestry.com do the work.  I wasn’t asking the right question and it wasn’t giving any hints why I wasn’t getting the results I expected.

Now that I know I should be looking in Crook County, I can’t browse through Ancestry’s collection.  Not a problem.  Archive.org came to the rescue.  I did a search and found this page: Archive.orgOregon 1910 Federal Census.  This gave me images of the Oregon 1910 Census in PDF format. Good news/bad news.  The files are microfilm images; no index.  All of a sudden I am back in the 70s searching census records image by image, but that is OK.

I will find the information I am looking for and in the process I was reminded to ask the right questions and to not stop thinking for myself just because a program makes the work easier.

Dan Stoe

Junction City, Oregon