Saturday, July 13, 2013

More Rennie's

The more I look at the Rennie's, the more I think they were quite possibly originally Irish in origin.  I've had my father's y-DNA tested, and he's M222+, otherwise known as the Niall of the Nine Hostages haplotype which is very common in northern Ireland and southwest Scotland.

Peter Rennie (1818-1870) was the son of Peter Rennie and Mary Martin.

I've checked ScotlandsPeople, and in the Statutory Records, there is a Mary Martin Rennie who died in 1860, at the age of 76.  Her husband's name is not listed (only that she was the widow of a laborer).  However, her age is roughly correct for the three baptism records I've found, and there is no other Mary Martin Rennie in the Old Parish records or in the Catholic records other than Mary Martin, wife of Peter.

It's still circumstantial, after all it's always possible this is another Mary Martin Rennie who perhaps never had children, but for me this is enough confirmation that I have the correct Mary.

Proceeding along, Mary Martin Rennie's parents are listed as Peter Martin (a stonemason) and Mary Timmoney.

Martin of course is a very common surname and can be of either Scottish or Irish origin.  Timmoney (and various other spellings) however is most certainly of Irish origin.  But what we don't know is when her family came to Scotland from Ireland.

To my knowledge, this line has always been Catholic.  I haven't found anything to contradict that (yet), but also the records pre-1855 in Scotland are rather patchy.  It's possible they converted from Church of Scotland/Ireland, most likely through marriage.

So there I am.  Still searching, still with no certainty whether my Rennie's were Scottish or Irish.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Rennie Family in Scotland

Researching my Rennie family, my direct paternal lineage, is honestly the one lineage that intimidates me.  This is because many others before me, including my grandfather and two of his brothers, have looked into our history.  They even took a trip to Scotland in the early 1990s to see the homeland their grandparents had left in 1882 for the coal country of Pennsylvania and to further their research.  Several of their cousins had also researched the family prior to this and after.  It left me feeling like there were big shoes to fill on this branch.

William Rennie (1853-1909) and his wife Isabella McMuldren (1857-1907) immigrated to the US in 1882 with their three small children, Daniel, Jane, and James.  Isabella's mother, Jane O'Hara McMuldren Downey and her second (and much younger) husband, and several of Isabella's siblings also immigrated to the US and settled in Cambria County, Pennsylvania, alongside William and Isabella.  William's older brother Thomas was living in Ohio at this time, while at least two of his other brothers, Edward and Andrew had decided to test their luck in Australia.

William and Isabella would go on to have 10 children, with my great-grandfather John Anthony Rennie being number 7, born in 1888.

In addition to being poor, they were also Catholic in a majority Protestant country.  It is unknown whether this played any part in their immigration, however it is worth noting that they settled their family in a very Catholic county thanks to the founder and priest, Prince Augustus Gallitzin.  

Delving deeper, we see both William and Isabella had Scottish fathers and Irish mothers.  However, unlike Isabella's father who was born Protestant, William's father it seems was likely baptized into the Catholic faith at birth.

William's parents were Peter Rennie (abt 1818 - 1870) and Margaret McIntyre (abt 1819 - 1895).  From their death records we see that Peter's parents were Peter Rennie and Mary Martin.

Checking ScotlandsPeople, we see that a Peter Rennie and Mary Martin had three children baptized in the Catholic church in 1820, 1822, and 1827.  First, a son "Barnaby Renny" as he's recorded, was baptized on March 19, 1820 at 8 St. James Place in St. Mary's Cathedral in Edinburgh.  His sponsors were Isaias Dunbar and Sarah McRoy.

Next, a daughter, "Catherine Rainey" was baptized on January 13, 1822 also at 8 St. James Place in St. Mary's Cathedral in Edinburgh.  Her sponsors were Francis Burns and what appears to be Nancy Havling.

Finally, another daughter "Bridget Renny" was baptized on February 11, 1827 at St. Mary's in Greenock.  Her sponsors were John Griffin and Bridget Gallagher.

It is unknown what became of Barnaby, Catherine, and Bridget.  It's also unknown whether they and Peter had any other siblings.  It's likely though they did.

Peter Sr. it seems died before 1855 when death records became mandatory for everyone.  It's unknown whether Mary also died before 1855.  And given Barnaby's unusual name, it also seems likely he died prior to 1855 as well, or perhaps immigrated though I have no data backing up that possibility.

This is still a work in progress.  Whether there is anymore information out there or not though is uncertain.  I hope there is.

The last thing I will say for now is that I have had my father's y-dna tested and he tests as R1b-M222+.  This is otherwise known as the "Niall of the Nine Hostages Haplotype".  It is most common in northern Ireland and southern Scotland.  At this point he does not have any close matches.  Additionally none of the currently tested Rainey's are related.  My current presumption is that the dearth of Rennie's tested is the reason behind this lack of matches.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Adam Koontz's father

This is just a short post of my wonderings.

Adam Koontz (1768 - 1848) was born in Loudoun County, VA and died in West Providence Twp, Bedford, PA, husband of Edna/Mary Diehl.

It's been theorized that his father was an Adam Counts/Coons/Koonts (1733 - 1799).

First, I'll list what I believe are the reasons people believe Adam was his father.

(1.) The name

(2.) Adam Sr. was from Loudoun County, VA and died in Bedford County, PA

(3.) Adam Sr. had been in Bedford early on, moved back to Loudoun, and then moved back to Bedford (presumably anyway), and a historical account says Adam Jr.'s father was in Bedford early on before "being driven back by Indians".

(4.) Age-wise, Adam Jr. fits into the Adam Sr.'s known children.

However, the more I look at this, the more questions pop-up in my mind.

(1.) People overlook the fact that Adam Jr. was not listed in Adam Sr.'s will.  Is it possible he had already given him something or just didn't want to give him anything?

(2.) Adam Sr. was not the only Koontz/Counts to move from Loudoun, VA to Bedford, PA.  His brother Henry *also* moved from Loudoun to Bedford, and is found early on in Bedford as well.

(3.) Adam and Henry also had at least one other brother, Philip, and are believed to have another brother, Frederick.

Now, it is almost certain that one of these four men is indeed the father of Adam Koontz (1768 - 1848), I am just not as willing as most to lay claim to Adam Counts (1733 - 1799) as his father.

You may ask, "what did he name his sons?"  Well, he only had three living children, Mary, Catherine, and John.  John is unfortunately not one of the choices for his father.

From Loudoun County, VA land records, this leaves us with, Adam & Mary, Philip & Margaret, or Henry & Katherine as his likely parents (unless of course Frederick is correct).

I can't say why exactly, but I am leaning towards Henry as Adam's father.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Bedford County, PA Quarter Sessions Docket 6

Docket 6 is finally complete!  This transcription covers the years from 1838 - 1850.  It gives an interesting look into some of the daily lives of those living in Bedford county during this time period.  Some of the most useful pieces include the Bastardy cases, genealogically speaking.  I researched some of them myself and a number it seems married soon after.  Others did not.  And in some cases the man in question was already married!

I myself found several court records involving my ancestor Philip Clingerman.  He was part of a mob (one of the ring leaders I suspect) who helped tar and feather a man in the middle of the night because he was a Mormon preacher and had converted several families in the area.  Possibly including his wife's sister and her family.

This book is now available for sale here, and will be up on Amazon, hopefully by the end of the week.  Any recommendations or notes are welcome as I am hoping to start Docket 5 soon :)

EDIT:  Now available on Amazon!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Philip Clingerman

The more I learn about my ancestor Philip Clingerman, the more I don't know what to make of him.  Originally, the only thing I had to go on regarding his life was a small mention in a history book of Bedford County, PA, his will, and his father's will.

It has been in my attempts to find out who his wife Susanna's family was, that I've begun to uncover a multitude of new things about Philip.  More specifically, his criminal record.

Philip was born in 1800 in Providence Township, Bedford County, PA.  To my knowledge, he had no run-ins with the law prior to 1838-1839.  Quite a feat considering his record after!

Let's start with the first record I have.  His arrest in January 1839 for taking part in (and probably leading) a riot that grabbed a man out of his bed in the middle of the night in December 1838, before they tarred and feathered him.  The logical question is, why would someone do this?  The answer, as it has been throughout most of human history came down to one thing it appears.  Religion.  The man they tarred and feathered, a mister Albert Brown, was a Mormon missionary it would seem.  A number of people had been converted in the area, and this was most likely the spark behind this incident.  I only qualify it as "most likely" because the records themselves do not indicate a reason.  He was ordered to pay the costs of prosecution, but otherwise appears to have gotten off scot-free.

I do wonder, given Philip's views on the subject of religion by this arrest, what he thought about my line.  Philip was Lutheran.  His daughter, Elizabeth, married Adam Shuss, who was part of the Church of the Brethren.  Adam and Elizabeth's son Nelson, married Clara Gill, who was Catholic, and our family has been Catholic ever since.

Philip then shows up again in November 1843.  This time for Larceny charges "on oath of Styles Hill".  A Mary and Peter Koontz testified against him, and a Daniel McDaniel paid Philip's bail.  It is worth noting that Philip's mother was a woman named Mary Koontz, so this Peter Koontz was a relative.  Mary could also be a relative, or Peter's wife more likely.  Another thing worth noting, Philip's daughter Mary Clingerman would eventually marry a John Nelson McDaniel, a likely relative of Daniel.  This one is however, a bit unusual, because in the initial arrest record, he is listed as "Philip Clingerman" but then at the proceedings, they instead say "Peter Clingerman".  Philip did have a brother Peter, so it appears that for some reason one of them was mistaken for the other.  Whether Philip or Peter was the true one up on charges is unknown to me at the moment.  Whoever it was, he was found not guilty.

Lest we get complacent, Philip *again* shows up in September 1851.  This time, he was one of four people arrested for "Forcible Entry and Detainer" against a Rebecca Baughman.  They were reported to have taken her and her belongings and thrown them out of her home and into the street.  My only presumption is that one of these people owned the home, and she had not paid the rent.  Keep in mind, this is only my assumption in the matter.  They were found not guilty.

First, I admit, my father liked this one.  In September 1870, Philip this time brings his son Lewis in on the crimes.  They are arrested for "unlawfully selling liquors on Sundays to minors and others without license to the great annoyance of the community".  This time, the case was settled, and it appears they paid a fine.  What's interesting about this is that the woman at the historical library in Bedford even told me (before I told her) that the Clingerman's were "moonshiners" but she was unaware of this particular arrest record.  So, whether there are still Clingerman's in the area 130 years later, still making alcohol, or whether this story was simply passed down, I'm not sure.  It is interesting nonetheless!

And thus ends Philip's illustrious life of crime.  He lived out his life, dying in 1881.  His wife, Susanna, preceded him in death in 1861.  Admittedly, between the two of them, she's really the one I'd like to talk to, and know her feelings on the subject of Philip!

Bedford County Quarter Session Dockets

So, I decided to undertake a new project: my first transcriptions.  I'm currently working through 1843.  It's an interesting insight into the daily issues in Bedford county, PA.

Along with the Assault and Battery cases, and Cutting Timber Illegally, a number of the cases are for Bastardy and Fornication, which of course could prove quite valuable to many people who have hit a brick wall for one reason or another.

My curiosity has led me to research several of these incidents.  In one case, I found that the couple in question later got married, had more children, and now their descendants have a marriage date listed in their family trees a good two years before they actually were, simply because they don't know the whole story and just presumed their first child was born following marriage.  In another cases, the man in question was already married, and within a maximum of 5 years from the verdict, he and his family moved to another state.  I have to wonder if it was at his wife's insistence?  In this case, the man's descendants from his marriage don't seem to know about this other child.  And I haven't been able to prove one way or another that the child lived (at this point).  Although I do believe there's a good chance he/she did, and was simply listed under a step-father's surname.

Here's an example of one,

The Commonwealth
Hugh Moore
Fornication and Bastardy – on oath of Mary Stiffler.  November 28, 1842, Anthony Stiffler tent in $100 conditioned on the appearance of Mary Stiffler at next sessions to prosecute and give evidence.  November 29, 1842 defendant tent in $600 and Joseph Mortimore surety tent in $600 conditioned for the appearance of said defendant at next sessions to answer to a Bill of Indictment to be preferred against him for fornication and bastardy and not depart the court without license.  Taken and acknowledged in open court.  Joseph B. Noble Clerk.

In this particular case, and from online sources, it appears Mary Stiffler and Hugh Moore eventually reconciled, married, and had many more children following their first here.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Funeral Customs?

I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine about funerals.  Random, I know, but we got to talking about it after she saw a photo of my family dressed up and asked where it had been taken.  When I responded it was taken at a restaurant after my grandmother's funeral she seemed more than a bit shaken. 

I replied that in my family, while it's obviously okay to cry at the funeral itself, you are supposed to use the wake to celebrate the person's life, and it is not supposed to be a time for tears.  Instead, you're supposed to eat, drink, and reminisce about the good times with the person.  When I told her this, she was rather shocked by this and thought it was very strange, and honestly I think she thought it was in poor taste.

I'm curious what everyone elses' experiences are in the matter?  Is this just a tradition passed down by family country of origin, or is it family specific?  If it matters, my family is primarly German, Irish, and Scottish and if religion matters, Catholic.

I've truly never given any thought to it because it was just the way it was done in my family.  But now I am curious.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

New Blog

Well, I've started yet another blog, lol.  This one *hopefully* will be helpful to others :)

Essentially this will be a place to find easy answers as to where, how, and when you should do onsite research in Pennsylvania.  It will be broken down by county, and will eventually have quite a few details.

Please note this is a brand new startup, and is of course a work in progress.  It will take a while to get the site up to speed, but I do plan to make updates regularly.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Searching for the Diehls and Koontz' in Loudoun County, Virginia

In attempting to trace my ancestors out of Bedford County, PA, one line traces back into Loudoun County, Virginia.  I will update with the records found later.  This is just an overview of the facts and my theories to this point.

Mary Koontz (1789 - 1864), wife of Jacob Shuss, is from this lineage.  It is her parents that started in Loudoun Co, VA.  And Mary herself was born in Virginia.

Mary's father was Adam Koontz who lived from about 1770 - 1848.  His surname has been recorded as everything from Koontz, Koons, Coons, Count, Counts, Coonts, and everything in-between.  His parentage is officially uncertain.  Many people have claimed that his parents are "Adam Counts" and his wife Mary of Loudoun County, VA.  They did after all move to Bedford county, PA, and they are the right age.  However, since Adam "Jr" is not listed in Adam "Sr"'s will, I personally doubt this account.  Adam Sr specifically mentions his children, "David, Elizabeth Smouse, Henry, Nicholas, Peter, and Abraham".  While it is conceivable he simply did not mention a child, perhaps due to a falling out, or perhaps he had already received his share, I find this highly unlikely.

My personal belief is that this "Adam Sr", as I will refer to him, was Adam's uncle.  In 1762, both Adam Counts and a Henry Counts received a "lease of lives" from Charles the Earl of Tankerville.  Adam's states that he was 20, his wife Mary was also 20, and their son David was 1.  Henry's puts himself at 27, his wife Katherine 20, and their daughter Salomay as 3 years old.  It is worth noting, they both seem to live very near one another for many years.

The only reference I can find to Adam's father is one in a history of Bedford county.  In it, it is noted that "Adam Koontz's father settled at Clevian Springs at a very early day, but was driven away by Indians".

Next, we see Mary's mother was an Edna/Mary Diehl (1767 - ?).  Just like her husband, her last name has many variations.  Among them are Deal, Deel, Teel, Teal, etc.  She was alive at the time of her husband's death in 1848.  Her ancestry is also uncertain.  It is, however, fairly certain that her grandfather is a Joseph Teel/Diehl (1760 - ?).  He and his family lived very near the Koontz/Counts family above, and actually in some cases had land adjoining one another.  In 1762, Joseph has sons, Joseph age 28, Peter 15, Henry 13, and George 5.  Joseph also had a son Samuel who would have been about 22 at this time (though not recorded in the lease of lives).  It is possible he had other sons, but I have not seen any hard evidence to them yet.

Samuel Diehl as is well known, moved from Loudoun County, VA to Bedford, PA.  He, like Adam Koontz Sr, has a will in the records.  Once again, there is no trace of Edna/Mary Diehl Koontz.  It is therefore unlikely she was his daughter.  Given the ages of his brothers, it seems most likely, Joseph or Peter is Edna/Mary's father.  Henry Diehl is also a possibility.  George is obviously too young.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Newly Found Photos!

I briefly wanted to post about this find!  So, the other weekend my dad was putting in a new faucet for my grandmother.  He ended up needing a tool, so he went into the basement, to his dad's old workbench area.  After looking around for a bit, he saw a bag and decided to check what was in it.  What he found shocked him (and the rest of us)!  He ended up pulling out two old framed photos, wrapped in newspaper from the 1970s.  (She has so many things packed away, I have to admit, sometimes I think we'll find the ark of the covenant in my grandmother's house....)

They are absolutely gorgeous!  The woman's, unfortunately is cracked.  The duo pictured are one set of my dad's great-grandparents, probably taken in the 1880s.  They were poor (they were immigrants, he was a coal miner, she a housewife) but obviously paid a lot of money for these portraits.  I have not yet seen the photos in person, as I live out of state, but I'm told that the picture is on the glass, thus seemingly preventing the replacement of it.  So, if anyone out there knows who to go to, to fix a photo like this I'd greatly appreciate it!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Part 2: Susanna Clingerman's parentage?

Okay, Part 2 :)

At this point I have been through every article of data I can think of that might state Susanna's parentage.  I decided to focus on seeing whether or not I could rule out David Buck as her father.  The truth is, I cannot.  Currently, I am awaiting the results of an MTDNA test from a direct maternal line descendant of Elizabeth Buck (definitely the daughter of David & Catherine Cashman Buck) and a direct maternal line descendant of Susanna Clingerman.

David Buck (1745 - 1816) married Catherine Cashman, and had at least 5 children together.  Thomas, Elizabeth, Susanna, Mary, and David.

This is my list of "comparables":

1. My Susanna was born 20 Feb 1798 (from tombstone).  It appears Susanna Buck was also born abt this time since from David's will she was born after Elizabeth in 1795 and before Mary in 1800.

2. Both my Susanna & Susanna Buck were born in Pennsylvania.

3. My Susanna married Philip Clingerman who was the son of Frederick Clingerman.  Frederick Clingerman and family were living in the same town as David Buck in every census record in Providence, Bedford county.

4. Susanna, daughter of David Buck, was not married in 1816 at the time of his death, mine wouldn't have been married at this point either.

5. Neither my Susanna nor Susanna Buck were married in the 1820 census either.

6. My Susanna named her first daughter, Elizabeth.  Susanna Buck's sister Elizabeth named one of her daughters Susanna, possibly they were very close?

7. The Clingerman's were not Catholic and I don't believe the Bucks were either.  This is only important b/c within a few generations my family did become Catholic, but was definitely not at this point.

8. Elizabeth Buck wrote that by 1872 her sister Susanna was already dead, my Susanna Clingerman died in 1861.

9. In the 1830 census, Philip & Susanna Clingerman were listed with just 6 people in between them and David & Elizabeth Garlick.  Two were other Garlick's, two were Felton's, (father & son), and the son was married to a sister of Philip Clingerman.

10. I have not found any other Susanna in Bedford county in 1850 who could be Susanna Buck.  Of course, it's always a possibility she was dead/moved by then.

Some final remarks, I recently found some other extremely interesting information.  Elizabeth's descendants have a tradition that she and her family were run out of town by their friends and family after they converted to Mormonism.  I decided to go through the minutes from Bedford county, page by page to see if I could find any truth in this.  What I found astonished me.

In the January 1839 sessions, I found that my ancestor, Philip Clingerman (Susanna's husband) had been arrested for inciting a riot and assault and battery for dragging a man named Albert Brown out of his bed in the middle of the night and tarring and feathering him.  The main witnesses for the victim?  That's right, Elizabeth Buck and her husband, David Garlick.  Now, they obviously knew one another, but was he Elizabeth's brother-in-law?  Still unknown.  All in all there were over 10 people arrested in this incident.

Soon after this incident, Elizabeth Buck and David Garlick would move with their family to Utah.  Susanna and Philip Clingerman stayed in Bedford county, PA.  As it turned out, the incident in 1839 would not be the last time Philip ended up in court.  In 1851 he, along with several others, were arrested for "forcible entry".  What it came down to was one of his friends was renting out a property to a woman who was a Garlick by birth (cousin of David's above).  They took her and her belongings and through them into the street.

One would think this would be the end of his time in front of a judge, but no.  Once again he (and his son Lewis) shows up in 1870, but this time for making "wine and other intoxicating drinks and selling them to minors and others and also sold on Sundays without a license and with great annoyance to the community".

So there it stands.  Lots of circumstantial "evidence" and nothing concrete to prove that Susanna definitely is or definitely is not the sister of Elizabeth Buck Garlick.  The DNA is my last lifeline.

Who are Susanna Clingerman's parents? Part 1

This is a post about one of my brick walls in my father's family.  Susanna ___ Clingerman was born the 20th of February 1798 in Pennsylvania, and died the 13th of April 1861 in Bedford County, PA.  She is my 4th great-grandmother.  Unfortunately her parentage is uncertain.

Susanna married Philip Clingerman (1800 - 1881) in about 1829.  They had four children together,
   (1) Elizabeth Ann Clingerman (1830 - 1897)
   (2) Lewis Clingerman (1832 - 1884)
   (3) Mary Clingerman (1834 - ?)
   (4) Philip Clingerman (1846 - 1861)

Philip's parentage is well established in the history books as John Frederick Clingerman and his wife Catherine (although her parentage is also unknown).  They were Palatine Germans.  Knowing Philip's, I decided to move ahead and try to find Susanna's.  I checked both of their obituaries, I checked to see if there were any existing church records (hint, there weren't, apparently the Brethren didn't think it necessary), and I checked numerous will records from surrounding households.  One (David Buck) had a daughter named Susanna, however he died in 1816 so she was unmarried at the time.  It seemed like a possibility, but I still needed proof.

In the intervening time, I also checked death records.  In PA, the state has death records from 1906 to the present day, and prior to that, each individual county has death records from roughly 1893 to 1905.  Because parents are generally listed on the state records, I went ahead and ordered Elizabeth Clingerman Shuss's death record from 1897 (my 3rd great-grandmother).  The results: "no parents listed".  Needless to say I was bummed to say the least.

After my strikeout with Elizabeth, I decided to go through the rest of her siblings.  Unfortunately, as I soon learned, they all died relatively young.  Lewis died in 1884, and Philip died in 1861.  I was left with Mary.  But, in tracing her I got caught in a case of mistaken online identity.  This happens more than people realize (a very good lesson in why you can use others' research as a starting point, but always find your own supporting documents).  At first I was excited to learn that Mary Clingerman Morse had died in 1916 in Pennsylvania.  This gave me hope I would be able to solve the mystery of Susanna's parentage.  So I ordered Mary's death certificate, and impatiently patiently waited for it to come in the mail.  When I received it however, I was thrown back when it stated that her parents were "Peter Clingerman" and "Mary Smith".  I soon realized my Mary had been mistakenly identified by numerous online researchers as her cousin Mary Morse.  The hunt continued.

After striking out with the death certificate, I pushed forward and found Philip Clingerman's will in 1881.  In it he mentions his three children: Elizabeth Shuss, Lewis Clingerman, and (wait for it) Mary McDaniel, wife of J.N. McDaniel.  The hunt was back on!  J.N. I soon found out was a preacher, and he and Mary had had two children.  The first, Susan Margaret, was born in 1861 and died in 1895 soon after her first child was born.  The second was Linnie.  Then, as quickly as I found them, they disappeared on me.  Soon after Philip's death in 1881, as it turned out, the family picked up and moved first to Nebraska, and then to Oregon where J.N. would later die in 1890.  The hunt was still on for Mary.  What had happened to her?  Did she outlive J.N.?  Unfortunately, the answer was no, I don't believe she did.  There was no mention of her in his obituary.  I was at a dead end.

Part 2 will be coming soon!

About My Family

To start off the blog, I thought I'd post a little background on my own ancestry.  My parents families have by and large been in the US since they immigrated.  They are also mainly Catholic on both sides.  And they each are roughly 2/3's German/French (from the Rhine River area mainly), 1/3 British Isles.  But that's where the similarities generally end.

My mother's family is comprised of 100% post-1845 (and pre-1895) immigrants to the US.  My father on the other hand is descended from Colonial immigrants up to immigrants who came in 1882.  My mother's family is centered in Erie County, PA, while my father's was in Cambria County, PA.  My mother's were mainly train conductors and laborers, while my father's ancestors were coal miners and farmers.

As I said, both of my parents have by-and-large mainly Catholic ancestors.  However, my mother has a pair of Lutheran great-great grandparents from Germany who converted upon immigration, and my father has some Presbyterians, Lutherans, Quakers, and a number of the Church of the Brethren.

I'll delve more into some of their more "colorful" ancestors in this blog in later posts.  But for now, I'd love to hear a bit about your families.  I've learned many things through genealogy, one being that there is no such thing as a "boring ancestry".  And if you think you have one, well you just haven't dug deep enough yet ;)



Hello :)  I have about 6 different blogs (yes 6) that I started several months ago, each on a different genealogy topic.  I quickly found that to be far too cumbersome to keep going, so I decided to start a catch-all blog.

First, a little information about me, I am 26 and have been researching since I was about 13.  It started out as a way for my mother to keep her mother interacting after a stroke, but it soon became a passion of mine.  If I could, I would quit my dayjob and become a professional genealogist full-time.  If you've been researching for a while, I'm sure many of you know how addicting it can become! :)

Most of my research has been in Pennsylvania, but I've also had experience researching in New York, Ohio, Maryland, Virginia, DC, West Virginia, and (through the magic of the internet and microfilm) Germany, Scotland, and many other places.

In 2008, after I graduated college and before I found my current job (2009-present!), I also researched for others.  Mostly for free, sometimes for small payments (I was a broke college student after all, lol).

I'll update this blog on stubborn ancestors, interesting newspaper articles I find, photographs, genealogy with DNA, and anything else that may come up.  Please enjoy, and thanks for checking out my site!

-Katie Rennie