Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Reasons To Revisit Old Websites And Searches


     The past two nights my husband and I have been re-watching Ken Burn's Civil War documentary.  It aired on PBS for the first time so long ago that we hadn't even met yet, but we enjoy it and every once in awhile we watch it again.  A few days ago we noticed it was available on Netflix, so here we are.  I'm a confirmed history geek, whatcha gonna do?

     As I watched, my thoughts naturally turned to the ancestors who had served and died in the Civil War.  It was only five or so years ago I discovered these soldiers, three McGarrs and one William H. Lead.  Of the four none came home, all done in not by enemy bullets but disease, the number one killer in that conflict.  After my husband went to bed, I sat down at my desk and typed in "Lead William H" 16th Artillery New York.  Sometimes backwards works when forwards doesn't.  This brought up a pdf that listed members of the 16th with some regimental notes along with enlistment dates and places.  It confirmed William died of disease at the post hospital at Fort Magruder, Virginia a mere eight months after enlisting.  Then I ran a search of the document using "Fort Magruder" for the search terms and discovered quite a few other deaths from disease there in the same time frame.  Next, I tried a search using "Manchester" where William lived and enlisted at the tender age of 18.  This one brought up, among others, George Hackett also 18 at enlistment.

     I knew I was related to the Hacketts of Manchester.  I found George in my files which jogged my memory, he was the son of Rhoda Wheat Hackett who was the sister of Cornelia Wheat Lead, William's mother. Both were sisters of my great-great-great grandmother Louisa Wheat Worden. That meant William and George were cousins who enlisted together on January 4th in 1864, a fifth soldier in the family!  They probably felt very adult and excited  to join the army, their mothers were probably horrified.  Cornelia had been widowed and remarried about the time Will was 14, it makes me wonder if he didn't hit it off with his step-father? This may have semed like a good way out of the house, 18 year olds always and ever believing themselves invincible.  Discovering this cousin connection between Will and George, (who made it home), doesn't really get me any further back in my genealogy, but it paints a clearer picture of what was happening in my family which is important to me.

     This set me off on a tangent of researching other members of this family line, (at midnight -- no wonder I'm always tired) and I found a detailed obit for my great-great-great-aunt Flora Worden Post, daughter of Louisa Wheat Worden.  She would have been 11 when her cousins left for the war.  I knew Flora had picked up and gone to Kansas for a few years in 1884.  I didn't know why she went to Kansas of all places or what she did there.  I always figured she had gone to teach on the frontier since she was a teacher, and that her widowed father's marriage to a woman his youngest daughter's age might have been the reason she left town. That may well have been the reason she left, but from this obituary I discovered what she did in Kansas.  I had found a short obituary earlier, but the one I found last night was from her hometown paper that hadn't been online until recently.  This obituary spelled it out:

      She learned the millinery trade at the Lawrence store in Canandaigua and later went with them to Kansas where she was employed for two years. She returned to Manchester in 1886 and was married the same year to William H. Post of that village. He passed away in 1916.
    I never knew where Flora learned the millinery trade til now, perhaps a book?  How To Make Hats For Fun And Profit?   No, the obituary cleared that up too.  I looked around the net for a reference to the "Lawrence store", and found an old trade card, don't you love the net? 
     After her marriage, Flora opened her own shop in her home which is also the home my father grew up in years later. My Grandmother's front parlor used to be a millinery shop--amazing!

     It's easy to forget websites, especially if you believe you've mined all the information they contain, and tedious to keep doing the same Google searches over and over.  But what I need to keep in mind is that data is being added to the net constantly and to keep checking back.  Which you can probably tell is no problem for me, I love this stuff.

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