Thursday, May 25, 2017

Will of James A. Ferrel 1794-1864

I transcribed the will of James A. Ferrel (my 3rd great grandfather) born in 1795. His will was written in Vigo County, Indiana on the 7th day of January in 1864.  He died three days later on the 10th of January.  I found several things interesting in his will and perhaps they were the norm back then, but I have never come across this before.  Instead of the first item being to leave his bequest to his wife, the will started with his bequest to his youngest daughter, Lourena. The next bequest was to his youngest son William.  And the third to his granddaughter Ellen. Then he finally got to his wife.  Why would this be?

Will of James A. Ferrel
(Transcription done 5/24/2017 by Sue Adamson Fritz)

In the name of the Benevolent Father of all:
The last will and Testament of James Ferrel of Vigo County Indiana.
I, James Ferrel considering the uncertainty of this mortal life and being of sound mind and memory, do make and publish this my last Will and Testament in manner and form following.

Item 1st   I give and bequeath to my daughter Lourena of my personal property, one horse, one cow, also bed and bedding to make her equal to my other daughters who have already received these Bequests.

Item 2nd   I give and bequeath to my son William H. one horse, one cow and fifty acres of Real Estate, to make him equal to my other sons who have already received a like bequest.  The said Real Estate subject to the designations and regulations hereafter provided.

Item 3rd   I give and bequeath to my grand daughter, Ellen Sanders, one horse, one cow, bed and bedding provided she continues to live with my family until she is eighteen years old; that is if any should not be dissolved by providential dispensation before she arrives at that age.

Item 4th   I give and bequeath to my beloved wife in lieu of her dower, the farm on which we now reside containing about ninety six acres, to have and to hold the same for sole use and benefit during her natural life subject to all the provisions of this my last Will. I also give and bequeath to her all my personal property of every description excepting only so much as are included in the bequests above and what may be necessary to pay my just debts.

At the death of my said Wife the Real Estate aforesaid and such part of my said personal property as may remain unconsumed I give and bequeath as follows.

I give and bequeath to my daughter Lourina five acres off the South West  corner of said Real Estate.  The same to include the [unreadable word] and to be so sit off as not to include the buildings where I am now living.

The real estate above bequeathed to my son William H. is to be set off as follows. Forty acres off of the South end of my farm and ten acres adjoining on the north of the said forty.  The said ten acres to extend to the north side of my said Real Estate, and to be taken out of the East side of the said farm and north of the said forty acres above dis__________[unreadable]. 

I give and bequest the remainder of my said farm equally to my sons, James and Walter D.  The said to be divided or dispersed of as they may determine.  The said bequest is on consideration [unreadable] my sons James and Walter [unreadable] my daughters [unreadable] Sarah Ann and Rosanna [the rest unreadable]

...year after they come in possession of the said property.  Each of my said sons to pay fifty dollars apiece to each of the said daughters.

In witness whereof I hereunto set my hand and seal this 7th day of January 1861.

[signed] James Ferrel

{Signed in presence of Moody Chamberlain, Jr., Jno. L. Dickerson, John W. Wilson}

Friday, May 5, 2017

April Genealogy Pursuits

This has been a good month, although a very busy month.  We were gone for about 10 days, so my genealogy searches slowed down somewhat.  However, by keeping up with my hints, I came across a whole new line to pursue!

Here's what I had known: my great-great-great grandmother, Elizabeth Swain, had been born in 1838 in Ohio to parents John Louman Swain and Nancy Waters.

I had never researched Elizabeth's mother, Nancy Waters, so when I saw a hint for her, I was thrilled. That hint led me to her parents, James Waters and Mary Lanier. I learned that they had married in Pendleton County, Kentucky in 1810.  I then found James Waters listed in the 1850 census of Preble County, Ohio where he was listed as age 73 living with his son James Waters.

However, this is where my research veered off.  I found that Mary Lanier's parents were Isham Lanier and Catherine "Caty" Underwood.  Isham was born in 1765 in Virginia.  His parents were James Henry Lanier and Mary Cooke.  James was born in 1724 in Virginia. And James' parents were Thomas Sampson Lanier and Elizabeth Washington (Thomas born in 1682 in Virginia).  And lastly, Thomas's parents were John Lanier and Sarah Edmonds (John born in 1656 in England).

So to sum up, this has taken me from my 3rd grandparent to my 9th grandparents! All of this information will now lead to further research to successfully verify for myself that it is all accurate.  It is so thrilling to find new information! As for now, I'm off to do more research!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Review of March Genealogical Pursuits

Well, it's been an interesting month for my genealogy pursuits.

I have kept up with the hints for the past month, which have led me to some further research on family.  One hint was about the Bergan family.  As I researched, I learned that Paul Misner (his mother was a Bergan) had become a priest, then a bishop.  Apparently he had become lost in our family stories as his first cousin had become a quite well-known bishop, then archbishop (Gerald Thomas Bergan). Anyway, it ended up being quite an interesting story that I never knew. So that story was told on my blog.

I have also kept up with the 52 Questions that I committed myself to doing at the first of the year. March's theme was Goals and Achievements.

But the best thing of all for the month of March was being found and then contacted by a long-lost cousin who found me on  We have not had contact with her or her siblings for about 35 years! It has been such a blessing to share information and pictures.  We are hoping for a reunion in person soon!

And I have been helping my son-in-law with some of his genealogy, which has been interesting.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Bishop Paul Bergan Misner 1891-1938

While going through some of the hints on, I came upon some for the Misner family.  Katie Bergan, daughter of Nicholas Bergan, had married Frank Misner in 1888.  One of their children was Paul B. Misner, born in 1891 in Peoria, Illinois.  As I looked at hints for Paul, I began to wonder if he had married.  It appeared that he had traveled a great deal, so I decided to look into him more.

I found Paul Misner in the 1930 Census living in Los Angeles.  He was listed as a priest teaching at a college there.  Well, that answered my question about a wife or children.  I looked more and found that he had attended St. Mary’s Seminary in Perryville, Missouri In 1917.  As I continued searching, I learned that he had studied in Rome, Italy from November 1920 until June 1922.  He arrived in Shanghai, China for missionary work in February of 1923.

The Rev. Paul Bergan Misner of the Vincentian Fathers was appointed bishop of the province of Kiangsi, China in 1934.  He had served in China since 1923.

Bishop Misner died at the age of 47 on the 1st of November in 1938 in a small village Chin-Kao-i near Yushan, Kiangsi, China. The cause of death was listed as “Probably apoplexy”.  He was buried within the mission compound at Yushan.

The reason why I found this story so fascinating is that Paul Misner was a first cousin to Gerald Thomas Bergan.  Gerald was born in Peoria in 1892.  He and Paul attended and graduated from Spalding Institute in Peoria.  Gerald was ordained in Rome in 1915, and became a bishop in 1934 in Des Moines, Iowa, the same year that his cousin Paul became a bishop in China!

Bishop Gerald Bergan was one of my great-grandfather’s best friends, so I grew up hearing about him frequently.  I never heard of his first cousin, Bishop Paul Misner.  My family has a very, very distant relationship (going way back in Ireland)  to Nicholas Bergan, grandfather to both Gerald and Paul.

Genealogy in February

I don't feel like I have done well with my research this past month.  We were away from home for 2 1/2 weeks, and the pool and beach and company and just enjoying the warm weather drew me away!

I did get more research done for friends before we left on our trip.  There is more to be done, so I hope to get to that soon.

I also kept up with the Hints, which can be a bit of a chore.
However, I usually find something of interest and this month was no exception.  I   often find that I miss the days of when I was just beginning this journey and each new find was SO exciting!  And I still miss not having anyone to share my finds with that would also be excited with me!

And, finally, I have kept up with the 52 Question Challenge.  The February topic was "Love and Friendship".  One of the questions was "Do you know the story of how your grandparents met and fell in love?". I was sad to realize that I don't know the story of my maternal grandparents.  But I do know that my paternal grandparents met and fell in love with each other at Westfield College in about 1905.  They graduated and then married.  I always think it so impressive that they both went to and completed college way back then!

So now March has arrived and I hope to step up my game with my research! Unless the beach should call again!

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January review of my genealogical work this month

It's been a busy month here genealogically-speaking!

This month I have been working on purging my paper files, which I have been using/keeping since I began my genealogy in about 1994.  I have periodically purged them, but when I was unable to close the file cabinet, I knew it was time to go at it again.   I finished up the work today and am proud to say that the file cabinet door is closing easily once again! It's an important thing to do for a couple or reasons: 1) in almost all cases, it is no longer necessary to have paper copies of census readings, or multiple copies of obituaries, etc., as long as they have been incorporated into your database, and 2) each time I go through paperwork, I find some new clues or things to check out.  It's a good feeling to have it completed! I also have gone through the few records that were not in my database and have updated the database with those records. I have two letters to be written for additional information found in the records.

This past month I did some research for two other people.  I always find that very rewarding...I love helping others learn about their history! And, hopefully, they find it helpful and interesting.

I have done some more research on the Kennison/Kinnison family and have put my notes in Evernote.  I find Evernote a great place for my working notes.  Now if I could just find the connections I am looking for!

And I have done well keeping up with the hints for my tree this month.  Today, the end of the month, I was going through what hints were there and while looking at the husband (John Reece) of my great-great grandfather's sister, Nancy Ferrel, I found that she had two sons born to her before she died in 1851. She and John had married in 1845, and I have not found the family in the 1850 census.  But while looking at the 1860 census for John and his new wife Elizabeth, I realized that there were two sons there who were born before Nancy died.  This was exciting for me, and, hopefully, I will be able to find out more about the sons!

I am also doing the FamilySearch #52 Stories Project where a question a week is asked and you write about it.  I'm using a journal and I have gotten through the first five weeks, so that's a start. The questions for January were about Goals and Achievements.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

52 Question Project from FamilySearch

I came across a project for this year that I thought I would share if others had not seen it.  It is the FamilySearch 52 Questions Project to assist in writing your story for others.

The Project is broken down into one question for each week of each month.  They are seemingly simple questions to answer, but I am pondering the individual question through-out the week before I answer it.  I am already stumped on a specific question for next week: how did my grandparents meet?  Ugh...I don't know!  I do know that they eloped, but meet?  I have one chance in finding out, but it's probably not going to pan out.  My mother's closest cousin who spent a great deal of time living with my grandparents may know.  She's 85 years old, so she's my only hope!

Each month is broken down into a specific topic.  January was Goals and Achievements.

So if you are interested, here's the link for the information: