Thursday, May 31, 2012

Those Darn Knapps

I'm tired of them.  They're all over the place and mixed up in everyone else's genes, marrying right and left, confusing me with all their various offspring.  I liked genealogy much better when I only had DEACON ISAAC KNAPP (as I always call him in my head) and his family to worry about.  Even though the mystery of who his parents were drove (and still drives) me crazy, I could follow that line down with my eyes closed: ISAAC to Isaac Palmer to Orlando James to James Harrison to Hazen Harold to Jack Hazen to Bruce Eugene.  Anyone should be happy with 7 generations of wildly-mating Knapps...

Anyone but me.  The puzzle has my head ringing, my spidey-senses tingling.  I have long thought the reason Orlando James Knapp came up to Montcalm County was because he had relatives here.  I had a gut feeling that he was related to the Ferris' somehow.  Well, I've just spent the last hour reading a deadly boring "and their children were" document of the Ferris' and they did marry into Knapp families quite often.  No names that I'm familiar with, but still.  They're probably shirt-tail cousins, whatever that means. 

So I'm done with them for the night.  May they all rest in peace wherever their mortal remains are lying.

At least until tomorrow when I start digging at them again.


Lucius Knapp

I've often wondered why Orlando Knapp went to Indiana.  The family of his wife, Armina Edmunds, were living in St. Lawrence County, where his own Knapp clan had settled, so why Indiana? 

There are people who say that the progenitor of Isaac Knapp (or DEACON ISAAC KNAPP, as I call him.) was a Lucius Knapp.  Not much is really known of him, except that he was in New York, (and, as an extra-special mysterious coincidence, lived in the same county as my Wilder family), left a will naming most of the people in the copy of the genealogy I first cut my teeth on in the 80's, and had a namesake whose wife went and became something of a big wig in Yipsilanti, Michigan after he died.

Doing Census work just now, I found a Lucius Knapp in Kendaville, Indiana.  There is something so odd about all the coincidences in my family.  My brother, James Lemon, has lived in Kendaville for at least two decades now.  But it would explain Orlando being there, wouldn't it?  One of the first genealogy self-help books I read made a statement that left a powerful impression on me:  "Our families did not move in a vaccum."  They moved where other family members were.  This would explain it.

And then I wonder why Orlando came here to Michigan.  I get the sense from all the research on his family that his parents were well off, or at least comfortable.  And Orlando was able to start a store here in Howard City, and left a great deal of land and property after his death. 

Sometimes I can't wait to get to Heaven and ask all these people to answer my questions.  

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Another Lemmon Tree

Started another Lemon Tree.  The spelling is different; Lemmon.  I did this because there was another family of Lemons in Macomb County, Michigan in the same time period as mine.  They are not the same.  I cannot rule out the possibility of a relationship between them though.  It's very odd that another family of Lemons, albeit their name is spelled differently, should appear close to mine and not be related.  As you know, some of my Lemons moved from their home in the Northcumberland County area of Pennsylvania (where they moved after leaving New Jersey) to Ontario, Canada, so it is possible these "new" Lemmons are related somehow, but the Isaac Lemmon I'm tracing now was born in New York.  I've found a copy of his death certificate online (I LOVE YOU, Michigan), and he's an Isaac Lemmon Jr. 

There is also an Isaac Lemon family in Kent County, Michigan.  I haven't started to trace them, but I just might because, well, because I can.

This Isaac Lemmon in Macomb County was born in 1808, so his Isaac Sr could have been born as early as 1750.  His 2nd wife, his first having died before he left New York, has the interesting name of "Melvina".  Melvina Green.  It does look as though there is some genealogy action ongoing in that line, but not a huge amount. 

I did discover a Ruby married into this Lemmon family.  Charles Ruby married Isaac Lemmon Jr's daughter Orra Lemmon.  The information I found states this Charles Ruby was also from Macomb County.  Charles and Orra settled in the Evart, Michigan area where they are buried.  Isn't life funny?
Strange that two separate Lemon families married into Rubys. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Further Ramblings Down A Twisted Path

Been working on the Knapp lines.  I have them ALL messed up.  Stick with what you know.  It's what you're supposed to do when you write fiction, and it should be the rule for genealogy as well.  I can absolutely go back to Isaac Knapp b. 1767.  Born where?  Unsure.  Married twice: 1st: Abigail Champlin.  She died in 1814.  Isaac married again, Rhoda Herriman Palmer.  She was the widow of a man with the surname of Palmer.  Ironically, Abilgail Champlin's mother was also a Palmer, to whit, Abigail Palmer, wife of Joseph Champlin, Jr.  The whole thing makes me long for a time machine so I can go back and find out who was married to whom, who was born where, and who were siblings.  But I can't.  I can only fumble around on the dark highways of the internet and try to find connections.  

But I tell ya, it's kind of fun, this untangling of tangled, messy lives.  I found a raging case of incest which was confirmed by a descendant, ("We don't talk about it, but it's true.  We all know it.  But who wants to spread that stuff around?" said the granddaughter of the offspring of the union between a brother and his sister.) and an illegitimate child born to the daughter of a "respectable" family in 1860. There was a war starting, ya know.  Only one of these secrets happened in the Knapp family, and that was in an allied family anyway.  I feel like a detective on a very hot case.  Maybe.  If what I feel IS what a real detective on a very hot case feels like.  It's like a tingle of the nerves, and I lose track of time.

But enough about me, on to the Knapps.

So Isaac (in my head I call him DEACON ISAAC KNAPP, for that's how he was listed when I first discovered him back in the '80's.) was born in 1767, as evidenced by the date of death and the age he was when he died that is written on his tombstone, married, had his wife die, then found him another.  Which, by the by, has happened a few times in this family.  I've found him in census records living close by the mysterious Lucious Knapp, who in some trees is said to be his brother.  Is he?  I'd like to ask them.  One of Isaac's sons is named Isaac Palmer Knapp, and that can be documented (by death certificates) as the ancestor to my own Knapper, Bruce Eugene Knapp.  I'd like to have him do DNA testing and put this matter to rest once and for all, but DNA is a tricky thing.  The more I learn of the nefarious uses its information can be used for, the less I'm inclined to pursue that course.  Though I truly believe that Knapper and I will be long-dead before it can come back to haunt us.

I have accumulated an impressive amount of documentation on this family, which is a big "Yay, me!" because I'm doing it all online.  Census records, death certificates, cemetery documents, it's all out there, kids, just waiting to be discovered.  

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

New Software and a Thank You


My copy of Family Tree Maker 2012 came in the mail today.  Very exciting, and very happy am I.  I can sync my trees on my computer and online, which saves me no small amount of time.  Can you imagine having to enter almost four thousand individuals into a data base by hand?  Yeah, not fun.  So FTM 12 has done that for me. 

Someone messaged me on and thanked me for putting Hulda Elizabeth Lemon's death certificate online.  Wow!  That was really nice!  I'd love to go to the cemetery and get a picture of her tombstone and add it too.  Maybe I can.  I'll ask Bruce if I can use the Blazer while he's at work. 

Did some tedious searching through Census records today and struck gold.  Found Lavina Hicks Lemon's family in Riley Center, St. Clair County.  Also found a whole slew of McNutts, which was her mother's maiden name, all in the same area.  Wish I could figure out who was related how.  Doesn't appear to be anyone researching the Hicks/McNutt families.  Too bad.  Have been trying to find more info on Jean M. Lemon, the child Lavina's daughter-in-law was carrying when she certified the information on Lavina's death certificate.  That would be Ella Bowman Lemon.  She died 6 months later, Ella did, leaving John Clayton Lemon, Jr, and his sister, Jean M. without a mother.  Very sad stories surrounding childbirth back then.  Mothers dying in labor, babies dying.  We almost take for granted that mothers and babies will be okay during the birthing process now.  Tragedies still happen, but not *nearly* as often as they did when mothers were mostly having their babies at home.

I have backed quietly away from Abner Lemon.  I'll ponder him another time.  

The Real Secret Of Abner Lemon


Will stay a secret.  I can't figure out the mess of his life.  A wife living with his daughter Jemima, him living with another wife in Coral and having, not one but two daughters with her, according to Census records and other peoples' family trees.  Abner, Abner, Abner.  What did you do??  And the one daughter I can track and trace, well, she married at least three times, maybe even four. 

There's a copy of his will down in Macomb County.  I'd love to see that.  I'd also like to know why his daughter's son, Benjamin Proctor Ball, is named Proctor, because he and members of his immediate family are buried in the Proctor Cemetery in Romeo, Macomb County, Michigan.  Who are the Proctors and how deeply will I become emeshed in their (probably messy) lives? 

If only the 1890 Census hadn't burned.  

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Secret of Abner Lemon


I work on different families at different times.  Last week it was all about the Merediths.  The week before that every little thing had to do with the Knapps.  This past weekend I've been studying the Lemons again, my favorite subject.  Today I found some things that almost literally left me gasping.

So Abner Lemon, my records say, was born in Canada.  Probably not.  His older siblings were born in Pennsylvania, and the sister born 2 years after him was born there, too.  But my records say he was born in Canada, so that's what we're going with.  And for some reason, he comes down to Michigan and settles in Macomb County.  There is another Isaac Lemon there, much older than Abner, living in Macomb County in 1850.  He states he was born in New York.  His age is 42.  He was born about 1808.  He has a wife, Melvina, a 12 year-old daughter named Eliza, and a 2 year old son named John. This would be John B. Lemon. 

Many Lemons stayed behind in Pennsylvania when the other Lemons went to Canada.  And there were other Lemon families unrelated to ours in the United States.  I think this Isaac Lemon was related to Abner and was the reason Abner brought his family down to Michigan.

So Abner is found living in Lennox Township, Macomb County as early as 1863.  I found his Civil War Draft Registration listing.  He's living with his wife, Lucy Ann Harmon Lemon, whom he married in Canada, and his children; Jemima, his oldest, born in Canada in 1852, William B. (it's always a "B" or an "M" with these families, if they're not named outright for Mary Mendenhall's parents and grandparents.), who was born in Michigan in 1855.  And everything goes along as it goes along.  The children of his own brother Isaac come down from Canada and work and marry and start families of their own.

Then Abner disappears.  I find him in 1880 with his family in Macomb County, but when next I find him, he's in Coral, just down the road from where I sit typing this now.  And he has a new wife.  And another daughter who was born in 1886.  But Lucy Harmon Lemon, his wife, is not dead.  She's not found in the 1900 Census that I can find, but she's with Jemima and her family in Armada, Macomb County in 1910, listed as Jemima's widowed mother.  And Abner died in Montcalm County in August of 1900.  The Census that year was taken before August because Abner is in it with Nellie and Victor Bentch, who are listed as his grandchildren, which they are.  They are the children of his daughter Charlotte Louisa Lemon, or "Lottie". 


New Clue about John B. Lemon?


When Abner Lemon died in 1900 in Coral, Michigan, the information for his death certificate was given by a John B. Lemon.  I couldn't figure out who that was.  I don't find any John B. with Abner's family in Macomb County, Michigan.  But I did find an Isaac Lemon there.  And Isaac Lemon and his wife Melvina had a son named John B. Lemon.  I know that John Lemon, Baltis' father, who remained in Pennsylvania, had a son named Isaac.  It was a popular name in the Lemon family, though I can't find an "original."  I have a hard time believing that the older Isaac Lemon in Macomb County is not in some way related to my Lemons.  And I believe, though I have no evidence to prove it, that the John B. Lemon who certified that Abner was the son of Baltis and Mary Lemon, is the same John B. from Macomb County.  

I'm going to keep looking.  These mysteries are fun as well as frustrating.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Mystery of John Lemon Continues


John Lemon was the oldest brother of my great-grandpa, Isaac B. Lemon.  I believe I found him in Pontiac, living with his wife and child at 74 Parkhurst.  In the 1900 Census he states his father was born in Pennsylvania and his mother in England.  This fits Isaac and Ann Elizabeth Tiffin Lemon.  John and his wife, Lavina Hicks Lemon were married in Macomb County, Michigan, which also fits, as that is where the Lemon siblings landed when they came to Michigan from Canada after the death of their parents.  Their father's brother, Abner Lemon, had a farm in Macomb County. 

I had written here before about being unable to find John Clayton Lemon.  The whole family disappears after the 1920 Census.  One of the reasons was the death of Lavina.  I found her death certificate online and she died in 1919 at the age of 63.  It states she was married, her spouse was John Lemon, her address was 74 Parkhurst, Pontiac, Oakland County, Michigan.  It also told me where she was born, Riley Center in Macomb County, the names of her parents, where they were born, and her actual date of birth.  The information was given by "Mrs. Clayton Lemon."  Ella! 

Then I discovered Ella's death certificate online.  She died 6 months after Lavina.  Her cause of death is listed as "Influenza and childbirth."  She must have been pregnant when Lavina died.  I did not find a death certificate for the child she was carrying.  I did find two Lemon children: John C, and Jean M. living with a John Bowman, who is widowed and living with his unmarried daughter, Hessie, spelled "Hescia" in the 1930 Census.  Of John Clayton, the children's father and Ella's widower, I can find no trace in Michigan. 

I found a Clayton Lemon, born abt. 1884 in Michigan, living in Glendale, California with a Martha Lemon, listed as his wife, and two others, Frank Tomkins, age 22, born in Canada, and Mable Tomkins, age 15, also born in Canada.  Their mother is listed as Martha Lemon, and they are identified as Clayton Lemon's stepchildren.  I believe this is John Clayton Lemon.  His father, John M. Lemon, is nowhere to be found in any Census record after 1920, and I can't find a death certificate in Michigan online.  I believe he died between 1921 and 1930.  1920 is the last year for which Michigan death certificates can be found online.  In 1900 he and Lavina lived alone.  They rented their home in Pontiac.  By 1910 they owned their home.  John M. is still listed as owning his home at 74 Parkhurst in the 1920 census. 

So, a mystery.  

Hulda Elizabeth Lemon


I have tried 4 times to write her story, but it keeps getting erased.  Someone comes in and needs the computer while I'm working on it, someone accidently closes out the page, I wait until very late and then don't finish, thinking I'll be able to do it in the morning.  Yeah.  Doesn't happen....except for today.

"Hulda" Elizabeth Lemon was the sister of Abner and Isaac, the aunt of Isaac B, my great-grandfather.  Fortunately, she married a man named Benjamin Hoshal, whose family is very well documented.  But I found Elizabeth before I got much into Lemon genealogy.  I found her in a cemetery outside of White Cloud, Michigan. 

Almost 20 years ago, I had my own business doing pre-insurance exams on people for insurance companies.  I went to potential customers houses and drew their blood, took urine samples, asked them personal questions.  It was a good job, and I drove a LOT.  I sometimes would drive 200 miles in a day.  I tried to schedule clients in clusters; "I'm doing another person in your area on Tuesday, would that work for you?" sort of thing.  Many times I'd have "down time" after the end of one appointment and the start of another, so I'd find the local cemetery and walk through it, looking at gravestones.  Yeah.  I'm that person.  I love cemeteries.  Don't know why, just do.

Walking through the one outside of White Cloud, I found a stone that read "Elizabeth Lemon."  Lemon is a rather unique name.  I never went to school anywhere with anyone else named Lemon except for my siblings.  And I live very far away from where my Lemon ancestors settled when they moved down here to Michigan from Canada.  Finding Abner and Elizabeth Lemon's grave sites was an epiphany for me.  Lemons!  But who were they?  Were we related?  The question haunted me.

Imagine my surprise and delight when my Uncle Dick and I discovered Baltis and Mary Mendenhall Lemon and learned of their relationship to us.  Abner was my relative!  And there was an Elizabeth Lemon who had died in White Cloud!  It had to be her, but how did she get there?  Because of the documention on the Hoshal family, I knew the Elizabeth Lemon in the White Cloud cemetery was mine, though I had no proof. 

It was while doing research on Elizabeth and Benjamin's children that I learned their son,  Walter James Hoshal, born in 1852, died in Newaygo County, Michigan in 1885.  Elizabeth died in 1898, which is the first year Michigan began requiring deaths be documented for the state.  Yah!  Then I found her death certificate online.  Oh, happy day!

Because Isaac, Abner, and Elizabeth's mother was Mary Mendenhall, I can now say with certainty that the Elizabeth Lemon I found in a White Cloud cemetery is my 2nd great-grand aunt.  Her husband had died in Canada,  and she was in Newaygo County with her son's family.  Walter James is found in the 1880 census in Newaygo County with his family, including his brother, Theodore.  I found family trees with Theodore's information, including his wife, who was born in Morley, not 5 miles away from where I am right now. 

It's a small, small world.  

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Smithville and the story of Jessie Meredith and Rebecca Smith

Jessie Meredith, the son of Charles Meredith and Miriam Griffin, was born in South Grimbsy, Lincoln, Ontario, Canada.  His father had been born in Pennsylvania and his mother in New York before the Revolutionary War.  During the war, some people in America (before it BECAME America) sided with the British and some with the American rebels.  When America was won from the British, the people who sided with the British decided they didn't want to be Americans anymore, so they headed to Canada where loyal "Tories", as they were called, were given grants of land by the British goverment.  Or something.  I'm not going to research all that because I'm not writing a book, just a blog entry. 

The Merediths were given land in Lincoln county, Ontario, Canada.  Rebecca Smith, the daughter of Abraham and Mary Knapp Smith (yeah, yeah.  Knapper and I are related by more than marriage.) left Pennsylvania and helped settle Smithville, Lincoln, Ontario after the Revolutionarry war.  That's how Jessie Meredith and Rebecca Smith met, by living in the same area. 

Or something.

Sometime before 1865, Jessie and his family came down from Canada and bought land in Michigan.  The Meredith's were a HUGE family.  Jessie himself had at least 9 siblings, and many of them moved to Michigan also.  One of Jessie's brother's also had a son he named Cyrus, and that family settled around Traverse City, which was confusing for a while.  Our Meredith's settled in the Austin Township, Sanilac County portion of Michigan.  A little town called Frieburger, Michigan was where Jessie and Rebecca built their cabin when they first got here.  Strangly enough, I worked at Keebler Company as an occupational health nurse in Grand Rapids with a man named Frieburger.  I mentioned my genealogy research to him and commented on his name being the same as the small town the Meredith's lived and he said it was his FAMILY'S town. 

Now *that's* a small world.

Mary Leah Wilder

Yesterday, May 1st, I was on a roll.  I found death certificates online for many of my family who died in Michigan.  The site is called,  Very cool.  There is a collection called Death Records 1897-1920.  I found many death certificates for Lemons and Merediths there.  I was finally able to discover what Mary Leah Wilder, niece of my great-grandmother, Eva Bell Wilder Lemon, died of.  Lobar Pneumonia brought on by scarlet fever. 


Seeking Michigan

Found a wonderful site for people researching in Michigan:  I found many death certificates for Lemons, Merediths, Herrs.  May 1st was like a genealogy gift day for me.  I was able to get much accomplished, and found answers to mysteries, such as what became of Glen Bostwick Meredith, the only surviving child of my Grandma Lemon's uncle, Orville Meredith.  Orville married Clara Ball (which is interesting in itself, as Abner Lemon's daughter, Jemmima, married a man named Ball, Abner being the brother and sponser of Isaac B, John, and Mary Ann Lemon when they came down from Canada.) sometime after the census in 1900, as Clara was still Clara Ball, living with in a household filled with various Ball and Bostwick family members.  Bostwick was her mother's maiden name. 

So Orville and Clara got married and proceeded to start a family in Sanilac County, Michigan.  They had Glen Bostwick, then a baby girl they named Nellie, who died when she was 2 months old.  I found the death certificate online at the Seek Michigan site.  It cleared up a mystery for me.  The record states she was born in 1903, which was the same year of birth I had for Glen, so something was off because Nellie's was a single birth.  And I couldn't find Glen Bostwick after the 1910 census, where I found him living with Walter Bostwick, his grandma Ball's brother, Clara Cole, his grandma's sister, and Agusta Dunham, another sister of Frances Bostwick, his grandma Ball.  He's listed as a "ward", his father no where around, his mother dead a week after giving birth to a male child who lived only 6 hours in 1904.  But I couldn't find him after that.

Realizing I had the year of birth wrong, I changed it and found a virtual glut of new information about Glen.  I found him every census after that living in Ohio.  I found he had married a woman named Myrtle Evora Dalton, and they'd had 2 sons by 1930, one of whom was named Glen Bostwick, after himself.  Orville, Glen's father, had moved to California, being found there in the 1910 census.  Was the plan to make a new life for himself, then send for his only surviving child?  If so, the plan never came to fruition.  Orville died in Los Angeles in 1950.  Glen Bostwick, his son, died in Ohio in 1965.