Friday, January 24, 2014

52 Ancestors: #4 - George Clark (1857-1923)

This week I’d like to introduce you to another one of my 2nd great grandfathers, George Clark.

When I first started this blog post, I realized that I had very limited materials for the Clark family, and even less in the way of source citations.  A research notation in my software for George Clark, leads me to assume that most of my current information came from pedigree charts submitted to the LDS church Pedigree Resource File (but I have no idea who was the original submitter), and apparently I had not yet gathered the usual copies of any research documents or photographs (birth/death/marriage records, censuses, obituaries, headstones, etc.).

In fact the only electronic images I have currently for George Clark or his kin, were downloaded from the Find-A-Grave memorial pages created in 2008 by a volunteer named Betty Joan Cogan.  I am not sure if or how Betty and I are related (yet), but I am very thankful for her sharing the historical images she had access to.  The following image of George Clark and his wife Elizabeth (Dove) Clark, was cropped from the 1900s photograph of the whole Clark family found on Elizabeth Dove Clark’s Find-A-Grave Memorial.

George Clark [Jr.]  was born on January 29, 1857 in Worth Township, Sanilac County, Michigan.  His parents, George Clark [Sr.] (1825-1896) and Elizabeth Blaine (1827-1895) were Irish Immigrants, and George was the fifth child of thirteen (ten boys and three girls) born to this couple.  I have not found any references that either George used the designation of Jr. or Sr. during their lifetime, so I will not use this designation for the remainder of this post, except references made to George’s father will contain the [Sr.] designation only to reduce confusion.

George Clark married a Elizabeth Dove, on October 27, 1885 in Croswell, Sanilac County, Michigan and to this union two children were born: Moses Dave Clark and Jennie Violet Clark (my great grandmother).  George Clark died July 3, 1923 in Croswell, Michigan, at the age of 66 and is buried at the Croswell cemetery along with his wife.

This week, I have spent time tracking down additional research materials that I could find online for George Clark, his wife and/or their children.  I visited, and and below is a list of information and/or materials I was able to compile over a couple hours ... and best of all it was FREE.


I was able to gather vital statistic information on several family members as well as download images of various cemetery signs, headstones and several individual and family portraits as contributed by Betty Joan Cogan, Gordon Golchert, Shirley Hoard and other Find-A-Grave volunteers.  Even though the majority of information on Find-A-Grave is not cited, it is a wonderful starting place to gather “clues” that will lead you to primary source records that validate the information.  And occasionally you will find a copy of an obituary or funeral program added to memorial page.

The Find-A-Grave memorial for Charles Clark can be found at:  The data provided for George Clark indicates that he was one of twelve children (but I have 13 listed in my database). As my current data comes from compiled records done by other researchers, I still need to validate information for the 13 children I have listed for George Clark [Sr].


Death Record - FamilySearch does not have an actual copy of the certificate, but they do have an index entry in their collection of "Michigan, Death Certificates, 1921-1952”.  The entry for Geo[rge] Clark can be found at

Marriage Record – FamilySearch does have copies of the actual marriage records from 1868-1925, and I was able to obtain a copy of the marriage record for George Clark and Elizabeth Dove.  Please note that the index incorrectly identifies Elizabeth’s surname as “DAVE” instead of Dove.

I love the way FamilySearch records provide you with a source citation on the bottom of each record page, and all you need to do is copy and paste the information into your program or research log.

"Michigan, Marriages, 1868-1925," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 20 Jan 2014), George Clark and Elizabeth Dave, 27 Oct 1885.
Birth Record – I was not able to find a birth record on FamilySearch (yet).  There was no listing found using the search parameters for a “Geo Clark” or “George Clark” born “1856-1857” in “Sanilac County, Michigan” in the "Michigan, Births and Christenings, 1775-1995," index, FamilySearch collection, and he would not be listed in the Michigan, Births, 1867-1902 collection.  This doesn't mean it doesn't exist, it just means that either the record is present but index in a way I have not searched yet (like by initials), or perhaps this record is in a collection that has not been digitized yet.  I may need to contact the courthouse directly to get a copy.

Census Records - I was able to locate George Clark in the census listings on Family Search; though copies of the actual images were not available on FamilySearch.or except for the 1900 and 1870 census.   However, a quick visit to my local LDS Family History Center or my public library would provide me with FREE access to to download the additional images of the census records that I couldn’t access from my home computer.

  • 1920 US Census– Census listing as found on FamilySearch; image not available on FamilySearch but available on
  • 1910 US Census – Census listing as found on FamilySearch; image not available on FamilySearch but available on
  • 1900 US Census – Census listing as found on; copy of the census image was also downloaded
  • 1880 US Census – Census listing as found on FamilySearch; image not available on FamilySearch but available on
  • 1870 US Census – Census listing as found on FamilySearch; copy of the census image was also downloaded
  • 1860 US Census – Census listing as found on FamilySearch; image not available on FamilySearch but available on

Normally, I find a lot of good information in the “Death Records, 1897-1920” collection on the website, so I usually start with this webpage when researching my Michigan branches; however in this case there were no records specific to George Clark and Elizabeth Dove Clark (or their children) as they all died after the online collection stops (1920) … and George [Sr.] and Elizabeth Blaine Clark died before the online collection starts (1897).  I did find copies of death certificates for other extended Clark and Dove family members, and I plan to download those and add any additional information to my software program as I work on these branches more.

I'm sorry that this was rather a dry post, in that I didn't share any stories or images.  It was more focused on doing online research and the types of information you can gather.  It is my hope that you at least learned some new information that you didn't already know, and feel more confident in your own research capabilities.

Join me next week as my 52 Ancestor Challenge post turns back to my old nemisis and brickwall ancestor, James Parker.  If you want a get a feeling for my pain and suffering thus far, be sure to read these 2012 posts about this frustrating ancestor:

As always, if you have any questions or need some personal assistance, please feel free to leave a comment below. I wish you success in your own family history research projects this coming week.

Thanks for stopping by. See ya next time.

Love & Aloha,

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Genealogy 101 – Using Family Group Sheets

Family Group Sheets, also known as Family Group Records, are the next form that you will want to become familiar with.

Once you have put together your four or five generation Pedigree Chart, the next step is to complete a Family Group Sheet for each couple on your chart.  You will need to complete eight Family Group Sheet forms, for a 4 generation pedigree chart.

1 – Person 1 (and spouse)
2 – Person 2 and 3 – your parents and your siblings
3 – Person 4 and 5 – your father’s parents and his siblings
4 – Person 6 and 7 – your mother’s parents and her siblings
5 – Person 8 and 9 – your paternal grandfather’s parents and his siblings
6 – Person 10 and 11 – your paternal grandmother’s parents and her siblings
7 – Person 12 and 13 – your maternal grandfather’s parents and his siblings
8 – Person 14 and 15 – your maternal grandmother’s parents and her siblings

Most family group sheets will record the names of the husband, wife and children in a family unit.  They also record the birth, marriage and death information, as well as additional spouses (if any) of the parents and in some cases the spouses for each of the children.  A well-documented family group sheet will also cite the sources of the information, usually in the footnotes area at the bottom or on the last page.  Some have additional blanks for information such as: cause of death, cemetery information, religious affiliations, military service, occupations, etc.

Online Forms

There are several good resources online to find FREE Family Group Forms.  I prefer to use the forms that are printed in Landscape, because they usually can get several children on one page but the spaces can be small for writing if you write big.  Some of the portrait style forms have larger blanks, but usually only get 3 children on the first page and you need to print continuation pages for the rest of family.

This is the one I use when I am helping someone get started with their research: – Family Group Record

But this is also a good form - portrait style with online fill in the blanks in PDF form from the Ancestors tv series on KBYU:

And if you are LDS, then you may want to use the LDS version located on FamilySearch:

Staying Organized

In order to stay organized at this point, I suggest getting a 2 inch binder, and putting the Pedigree Chart in the front and then each Family Group Sheet behind it by generation.  So you, then your parents, then your father’s parents, your mother’s parents, etc.  As you gather documents and photos in your research, you can put them into archival sleeves and store the materials behind each respective family group sheet.

What Next

Similar to how a Pedigree Chart gives you an overview of your direct ancestors, a family group sheet helps you get a more detailed overview of the lives of your ancestors and their immediate family.  I use completed Family Group Sheets when I’m creating a “timeline” for an ancestor I am researching, by seeing the important dates in their family along with historical events. Such as the date parents died, and children were married, and census locations and occupations at various times along with dates of wars, or presidential elections, etc.  I get a better picture of the life my ancestor had.

Family Group Sheets provide spaces for you to record information about the parents and children in one family.  They have spaces for names, dates and locations and help you get a more detailed image about the lives of your ancestors in relationship to the various events (births, marriages and deaths) of each family member.

Use the details on your completed family group sheet to get additional ideas about where to search next for more information on the family.  For example: analyzing when a couple’s first child was born (perhaps based off an age and birth place location on a census record) may give you a clue where and when to focus your search for their marriage record. Or analyze when and where they moved from and to based on the dates and locations of the births of each child, and maybe be able to narrow in on a time the family may have immigrated.

Let me know if you have any questions, otherwise I'll see you back here next week for a look at reviewing types of documents you may want to use in your research.

Love & Aloha,
~Cuzn Amy 

Friday, January 17, 2014

52 Ancestors: #3 - Alfred Wilson Long (1864-1937)

This week I thought I should expand my 52 Ancestors Challenge pool to include ancestors of my children ... but on their father's side.  This ancestor has been both frustrating and fun to work on, and I hope you enjoy some of my findings.  So without further adieu ... Let me introduce you to ...


Circa 1931-32
Running for County Commissioner in Wisconsin

Unfortunately this is a scanned copy of a photocopy of an original photo
that was in the possession of Robert Charles Long prior to his death.
This photocopy is in my possession, I am not sure what happened to the original.

Alfred Wilson Long, is my first husband's maternal great grandfather. The majority of my initial information on Alfred came from interviews I had over time with his son Robert Charles Long in the early 1990s. Robert told me that his father was born in England and died in Arizona, that Alfred's first wife had died leaving him with several small children, so he married Robert's mother Adelaide Harcourt (who also had children from a previous marriage) and they had nine additional children together.  Robert was the youngest of eighteen total and that being the youngest, he never had much (if any) interaction with his older half siblings, but he sure had several childhood stories to share about his siblings closer in age to him. :o)

Decidedly there wasn't a lot to go on, and after a few years of unsuccessfully searching for a birth record for Alfred, Robert let me in on a little family secret.  Alfred's last name at birth was actually Longbottom, but sometime during the 1910s or 1920s, Alfred shortened the family name to Long.  With this new information in hand, I was finally able to track down a birth record in February 1997.

Now as most genealogists learn after they've been doing research for a while, it is important to validate all facts and cite all sources as you go along.  But unfortunately when I first started this process I wasn't very good about either.  And since then I have discovered problems in my data, and lots of information that I am not sure where I found the information originally.  So before I go much further, I want to remind my readers that the following information reflects how this person is currently input into my Family Tree Maker software, but that as go through the process of cleaning up my data and going back to cite my resources on this branch, data will likely change.  So please don't take any of this information as set in stone. :)

Alfred Wilson Longbottom, was the son of William Longbottom and Elizabeth Ackroyd Longbottom. He was born on January 21, 1864 in Bradford, England.  I believe his parents were about 28 years old when he was born, and I have information on nine siblings (three brothers and six sisters).  Alfred married Elizabeth Evans on July 25, 1884, in England and to this marriage at least 4 children where born (two boys and two girls).  Robert heard that she died in a fire, perhaps with a child and that Alfred moved to the United States soon after.  Sometime between 1902 and 1906, Alfred met Adelaide Harcourt (widow of John McKean Watson ... though it is possible they were divorced or separated).  Adelaide and John Watson had approximately six children together, and after she married Alfred they had nine children together between 1906 and 1918. Alfred died on February 3, 1937, in Williams, Arizona, at the age of 73.

In the spring of 2011, on a family vacation in Arizona I dragged my poor family about 50 miles out of our way to visit the Williams cemetery where Alfred was buried.  With nothing other than the name of the cemetery, a Google map with directions from Mesa and an scanned black and white image of a 1971 photgraph of the headstone sent to me by another researcher (Regina Gualco) I figured how hard could it be to find.  ??? Boy was I wrong.

First the cemetery was a lot larger than I expected it to be, and secondly there wasn't an office on site to just pop in to and ask.  So we parked in the middle of an area that appeared to have older stones in it, my husband and my children spread out and wander around a couple rows in each direction in hopes of stumbling across the headstone. But after several fruitless minutes of searching it was beginning to look like we would be leaving without finding it and I was trying not to cry.  Then my future son-in-law Tyler suggested that we look for the huge monument in the background of the scanned photo I brought ...

Photo Courtesy of Regina Gualco, obtained 2011
Talk about Duh! why didn't I think of that ... and within seconds I was standing at the stone.  It was an amazing feeling that still brings up the emotions.

I have learned several things during my research of the Longbottom/Watson family.

First off, families come in all different forms and it takes a lot of work on everyone's part to keep things together.  Unfortunately sometimes they don't work out like we expected and relationships fall apart ... BUT they don't have to stay that way.

Secondly, have patience with yourself and others as you go through the research process.  Everyone sees the same story from different perspectives.  Family history reminds me a lot of the story about the blind men describing an elephant, each from the perspective of where they were standing in relationship to the elephant.  your job is to gather and compile all stories from all participants to put together the best possible WHOLE picture you can.

And last, be sure to involve your children whenever possible in your research processes.  It is so very important to help them feel connected to their heritage.  Life can be messy and complicated at times, and knowing that their ancestors survived and even succeeded sometimes under difficult circumstances may help them someday when they need that extra confidence boost to push on through their own trials and keep their shoulder to the wheel.

Four and Five Generations Later ... Here we are. :0)

Thanks for stopping by.  See ya next time.

Love & Aloha,

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

52 Ancestors: #2 - Caroline Elizabeth Sterling Wood (1868-1942)

Caroline Elizabeth Sterling Wood (1868-1942)

Caroline Elizabeth Sterling Wood is my 2nd great grandmother.  She was born 12 January 1868 in New Scotland, Harwich Township, Kent County, Ontario, Canada to James S and Sarah (Bassett) Sterling.  She was the fifth child of eight children (five daughters, and three sons).  New Scotland is located in county of Chatham-Kent, Ontario a little over two miles away from the Rondeau Provincial Park on Lake Erie.
On July 24, 1889, at the age of 21, Caroline was united in marriage to a young man from Morpeth named Nathan Wood (1870-1907) at the Presbyterian Church in Blenheim, Ontario, Canada.  Blenheim is about ten miles west of New Scotland; and Morpeth is almost 5 miles north of New Scotland.

It is important to understand how geography affected the lives of your ancestors when doing research.  That way when it looks like someone traveled hundreds of miles to get married, you may want to double check that there is not another community closer that used that same name at one point in history.  For example: New Scotland is also the historical name for New Brunswick ... but it would be unlikely that Caroline would have met Nathan if they didn't live within ten or 20 miles of each other.  
Nathan, Caroline and their son Nelson immigrated to Michigan about 1892, likely over the Ambassador Bridge in Detroit, Michigan (which was built after the civil war and is about 73 miles west of New Scotland.  The Blue Water Bridge, located at Port Huron, was closer for them (64 miles away) but was not open to traffic until 1938.

To this union, three children were born:
  1. Nelson James Wood (1889-1945)
  2. Robert Harold Wood (1893-1961) – my great grandfather
  3. Mary Jane Lydia Wood (1903-1985)
In October 1907, Caroline was left a widow with two teenage sons (18 and 14) and a four year old daughter after the unexpected death of her husband Nathan in a boat explosion in Grindstone City, Huron, Michigan.  She never remarried.

My initial records showed that Caroline died December 9, 1942, at the age of 74 IN Grindstone City (which now I believe was based on assumption or best guess) and is buried at the New River Cemetery along with her husband.  However I recently came across this obituary, along with two other articles the in the newspaper the week before her death that indicate that Caroline Wood was spending the winter at the home of her son, Robert Wood when she took ill with pneumonia and was taken to the Harbor Beach Hospital, where she was at the time of her death.  So it is always important to double check your assumed "facts" with other facts to make sure you have the whole picture.

The Harbor Beach Times - 12/04/1942

The Harbor Beach Times - 12/04/1942

The Harbor Beach Times - 12/11/1942 Pg 1

Thanks for stopping by.  Hope to see ya again real soon.

Love & Aloha,

Friday, January 10, 2014

52 Ancestors: #1 - Frederick Christian Volz (1851-1932)

Amy Johnson Crow of the blog No Story Too Small recently issued a challenge to the family history community to concentrate on one ancestor a week over the next 52 weeks, and if possible share a blog post. And call me crazy, but I've decided to try my hand at the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge this year.  I already know I won't get 52 posts done, but I do know that I will attempt to work on at least one of my ancestors each week.  If I have something interesting to share, or have a new discovery ... you can bet I'll find time to write a blog post.  Otherwise, I'll plan on cleaning up my data each week for that particular ancestor and make sure that I cite as many of my sources as possible.

This week I've decided to start with Frederick Christian Volz.  If he were still alive, he would have been 163 years old on the 14th of this month.  I can only image some of the trials, triumphs and historical events he witnessed in his lifetime.  My grandma Ruth (his grand-daughter) taught me a lot about kindness and compassion, and I have no doubt that she learned those traits from her parents who learned them from their parents.

So without any further adieu ... I'd like to introduce you to ...

Frederick Christian Volz (1851-1932)

Photo Courtesy of Melanie Wood O'Brien, 2009.
Frederick Christian Volz [i]  is my 2nd great grandfather.  He was born on January 14, 1851 in Wilhelmsdorf, Germany [ii] , to Gotlob Volz and Fredericka Wolff Volz.
The family came to the United States about 1854, and eventually settled in Sanilac County, Michigan.  I hope to be able to find immigration documents and cross over into German records someday, but so far all I have is some family lore and bits and pieces of the family tree that my cousins and I have been able to compile over the years from US record sources.

Frederick appears to have been the oldest child.  I have been able to find information on two brothers (Charles and Jacob) as well as some information on two half siblings (Gotlob and Martha).   Fredrick married Elizabeth Binder (daughter of John Christian Binder Sr. and Magdolena Schweyer Binder) on November 3, 1874, in Sanilac, Michigan. Soon after their marriage, Fredrick’s mother passed away (05 June 1875) and his father re-married a year later to Bertha Elston (with whom he had at least two more children).  Frederick’s father passed away in 1891 when Frederick was 40 years old.

Frederick and Elizabeth Volz had seven children, four girls and three boys:
1.       Lena Volz (1875-1961)
2.       Martha Volz (1876-1965)
3.       Emma Hulda Volz (1878-1938)
4.       Jacob J Volz (1879-1975)
5.       William Charles Volz (1881-1966) – My great grandfather.
6.       Elizabeth Volz (1882-1944)
7.       Herbert Volz (1892-1988)

Frederick died on November 8, 1932 in Minden City, Michigan, at the age of 81 after living over 51 years in the same small community of Minden on the same family farm which is still held by the Volz family today.  Frederick and Elizabeth are both buried at the Minden City Cemetery. (Find-A-Grave Memorial for Frederick)

I am fortunate enough to have several news clippings in a scrapbook about Frederick C. Volz that were in the newspaper soon after he died.  You can find all five of them here in previous posts to this blog: 
I wish I could remember the stories that my Grandma Ruth would tell me about her parents and grandparents and the family dairy farm.  She would have been 18 when her grandfather died.  Frederick was married with small children during the fires in 1871 and 1881, not to mention the harsh winter storms like the one November 1913.  And Frederick would have seen the world around him changing as he grew up.  He was about 10 years old when President Abraham Lincoln was shot, and he lived through the hardships caused by the First World War.  If anyone has some of these stories tucked away, I sure would like to have them written down and saved in my records somewhere.
Thanks for stopping by.

Love & Aloha,

[i] I have input his name in my database as Christian Fredrick Volz, though it appears that he used the name Frederick C. Volz the majority of his life.  I need to validate
[ii] I am still unclear which Wilhelmsdorf, Germany that Frederick’s family came from as I have found at least three Wilhelmsdorfs on a German map.  One is a Village in the district of Neustadt-Bad Windsheim in Bavaria, one is a Town in the district of Ravensburg in Baden-Wurttemburg, and one is a municipality in the district of Saale-Orla-Kreis in Thuringia.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Genealogy 101- Starting with A Pedigree Chart

A cousin asked me the other day, "How do I start doing my own genealogy?"

Well, before you go out and buy a genealogy software program, or hire a professional researcher ... you need to figure out what you already know and therefore discover what you don't know about your family.  The best way to do that is to start by filling out a standard blank paper PEDIGREE CHART.

A pedigree chart is not the only chart you will use during your research, but by completing this form first you can better focus your research because you have a master outline showing where there are gaps.

Pedigree charts help you organize the names, dates and places related to your direct biological ancestors (parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc.) on both your paternal and maternal lines.  Pedigree charts don't contain information about siblings or additional marriages.  Family Group Sheets, which I will cover in a later post, are where you will compile information related to the families of each pair shown on your pedigree chart, including siblings and other marriages.

The most commonly used pedigree charts shows four or five generations on a single page.  I recommend using a four generation chart when starting your research, because it fits best on a single page and will give you enough room to write out details.  Once you are able to move past your fourth generation, it might be time to invest in a genealogy software program.  There are several programs available on the market now, including free versions that can be download, and I will cover these options in a later post.

FREE 4 Generation Pedigree Chart Forms:

Pedigree Chart from website (portrait)

Pedigree Chart from (landscape)

Pedigree Form from KBYU Ancestors tv series (portrait)

You can also find lots of interesting and creative pedigree charts for FREE online with just a simple Google search for "pedigree charts", such as this site: or even a Tigger Family Tree.

Instructions for filling out a pedigree chart:

Start with completing information about yourself on line 1.  Your father’s full name should then be written on line 2, and your mother's full name (.Your mother’s full name before marriage should appear on line 3.
(Male names will always be recorded on even numbers, except for line 1, and female names will always be on odd numbers).

Use maiden names for females.

Write dates using the day, month, year (27 MAY 1955).

Write place names as completely as possible (city, county, state) (Harbor Beach, Huron, Michigan, USA)


Given name: A person’s first name(s).
Surname: A person’s last name or family name.
Maiden name: A female’s surname at birth.
Pedigree: An ancestral line or line or descent.
Pedigree Chart: A chart that indicates a person’s descent
Paternal Line: The line of descent on a father’s side.
Maternal Line: The line of descent on a mother’s side

Let me know if you have any questions, otherwise I'll see you back here next week for a look at using Family Group Sheets.

Love & Aloha,
~Cuzn Amy
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