Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Treasure Finds Tuesday!

I started this post at the beginning of COVID shutdown 2 years ago, but never posted it. Since I'm trying to post every thing so it doesn't ever get lost,  and post more regularly I've added to it and am posting it today. 

I'm taking classes with the National Institutes of Genealogical Studies in Toronto. The online courses are the first courses I've done on-line as opposed to seminars and/or conferences... It's a little different, but even for someone who's been doing genealogy as long as I have (over forty years!),  I'm still learning things! Many of my friends are wondering why I'm taking the Certificate degree-- after all, they think I'm magic at doing research and family history... but I'm largely self taught  and attended many conferences and classes and it would be nice to have the letters after my name (OK ,OK, my ego's showing!). I hope that I can finish the whole course soon! 

The first  "Treasure Find" that is so great is a letter written by my fifth great grandfather  and his wife  (Squire/Esquire  and Mary Bowen Ide) to his widowed sister Esther Ide Bowen in 1806.  from this there are 2 important lessons:
Lesson 1:  It really pays to  blog and keep queries and posts on many sites!
Through one of them I was contacted by a distant collateral relative who possessed the letter and was willing to sell it to me!  I have added a page with the scan of the letter to the blog (see tabs above)  as well as a transcription of the letter.  Not only does it tell a little of the life of this family, it mentions the death of the son (named Squire after his father), adding years to the estimated death of Esquire Sr. by making the 1810 and 1820 censuses refer to him rather than the son!  Wow--- my ancestors are really looking for me! I loved the spelling and lack of punctuation!   Now if I could only find a letter or Bible to help with my Burton or Fairchild lines...

Lesson 2: Never believe that you have looked for all the documents available, or that no records exist.... I wonder how many people have letters or diaries in their attics and don't even know it?!

An extra bonus is that I'm now a footnote in a book, as the  details of the letter will be used in an upcoming book  of the descendants of Richard Bowen,  who was Mary Bowen Ide's ancestor!

The second treasure happened as I was unpacking the first (!) of thirty or so packing boxes that contain family memorabilia that I inherited form my parents that haven't been opened in about 15 years. They contain stuff from my paternal grandparents as well, and until we moved to Texas, I had nowhere and no time to even start sorting through them. But with COVID enforced shutdown, I had no excuse to ignore them any longer! I shudder to think of how long this will take! Here's the before picture to keep me honest on how long it takes to finish!

In that first box, I found photos and a scrapbook and souvenirs that my Dad saved from when he attended the Boy Scout Jamboree in Washington DC in 1937 when he was 14 years old.   It was so much fun to look at, that I didn't get much else done today, so this task may take a very long time!!!!

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Josuha Rhodes letter

 Well, I think I am finally down to the last few letters in the Rhodes - Sparks family.  Without these letters I'm not sure we could make any sense of the family.!   As always spelling and punctuation are or are not  as in the letters and my comments or unreadable words are in [ ]   I will post them separately as they are getting rather long!!!!

     Letter from Josuah  Rhodes to Sarah Rhodes Sparks. Photocopy received from Patsy Davies in 1990s. Transcribed by Susan Fairchild Barry July 24 2022.

                        7 Mulbery St

                        Otley Rd


              Dec 7 /72

              Dear Sister

              Your of the 7th of

September is to hand and  [this places Sarah's death after Sep 7 1872!]

am glad to say finds us all

in good health and are glad

to hear of you being well

As regards the property you

mention I looked after it ---

twenty Years since and could

make nothing out. I wrote to

Mr Hargreave [s?] of Leeds but

could get no answer to no of

my letters and for ^any Informa=

tion I can give you none

If you think you think

           [ page 2]

you can make anything 

out I shall be glad as

for myself I have very faint

hops - William & Ruth  [ I believe is Ruth Rhodes and William Chadwick?]

address I can not give

the last time I heard of

them as they were in 

      William Ruth America

New ^ Zealand that is 3

years since  since then we

have heard nothing ----

Business hear upon the

whole is very fair but every-

thing is getting dear workmen

are working shorters hours

and getting more money wich

makes every thing very dear

when you were at Bradford

coal was 6/- per ton now

they are 24/ - per ton

Beef 11/ per pound

    [page 3]

one thing we have that

is reasonable is Flour

wich is 3/ - per stone 16 lbs

Rents are very dear

houses that used to be 9 L

are now               20L

and every thing in propotion

but the worst of it is wages

are not in propertionate

Brother Frank is well

but intends writing to you

Brother Mathew dose not

enjoy good heath

Brother John and Family

are very well

Brother Charles is better than

he has been some time

sister Jane is not well

she has seen the letter you

sent but gave no answer

    [ page 4]

as to weather she would

write or no

My son John an d family

are quit well and expect an ^Enrease

My daughter Sarah &[C?]

are well but as yet

no family

  James up to the mark

and I think they are all

on the encrease except

Sarah   I have a grand

son to keep he he is 8 years

of age

I have 5 at home single

and doing well

hoping this find you

well believe my  me

Yours affectionatly

Josuah Rhodes


Saturday, July 23, 2022

Another Sparks letter

As I am reviewing my English genealogy and going through old boxes of data I received and maybe looked at years ago, in preparation to a trip to England this fall, I am still finding new letters and data. Here are  the latest letters [This post has 2 letters, the next will have 2 more] Thank goodness someone in the family kept all these!!!!!    I'll post photocopies later.

1.   Letter from Ann Sparks Holmes to her niece Elizabeth Sparks Edwards. Photocopy of letter received from Patsy Davies. Transcribed by Susan Fairchild Barry  23 Jul 2022 . As always  my comments are in [ ] and any transcription unknowns are given.  All spellings are as in the original.... 

  Burley Dec 17 1892      [   Burley in Wharfedale?]

  Dear Neice

I write these few

lines to you hoping

this letter will find

you and your family

all well. You have oft

wanted a letter from

me to know how I was

coming on. I am very well

to say at 70 years old

plenty to do to get on.

with the help of a few

good friends

         [page 2]

Dear niece I could

like to hear from

you also. and you

will oblige me

cetainly by writing

to No 6 Iron Row

Burley -In- Wharfe


Wishing you all

 a merry Christmas

and a happy new 

year when it comes

    [page 3]

so no more at

present from

your Aunt

Mrs Ann Holmes

No 6 Iron Row

Burley in Warfdale

near Otley


2. Letter from John Morell to his cousin Elizabeth Sparks Edwards . Letter photocopy received from  Patsy Davies. Transcribed by Susan Fairchild Barry 23 July 2022. As always comments and unknowns are in [ ] .

Leeds England Feb 18th 1872

Dear Cousin    

       It is a pleasure for

me to write to you hoping it 

will find you in good health as

it leaves us pretty well at present

Dear Cousin I dare say that

will not know me but I am

your Aunt Elizabeth's Son &

my name is John I am turned

18 years of age my father left us

when my grandmother Died  &

was away 8 years [& 9 ?]  months&

then they brought him home

ill & he had the Deliriums

& he recovered & was at home

about one year & he Died

but I am very happy to say

he was prepared for another

world I am the only one

         [ page 2]

my mother [has?] but [ rest illegible]

we have had our share of trouble. I say

Cousin I never got your letter before the 

11th day of February  I was over at Burley

I went over to see my Aunt Jane for she

has been very ill in the Rhuematic but

she is on the recovering side again.

She showed me your letter & I read it

& I said that I would bring it

home and read it to my mother & then

I would answer it as I thought that

it was time some of us answered.

for I think you will think that 

it is very bad behavior but I 

never knew anything about it

until I saw it at Burley.

Dear Cousin you mention my

Cousin Thomas Footer I hope that

              [page 3]

he is doing well it is such a long

period since I heard from him

do you ever see him if you do ask

him to write to us & let us know

how he is going on in America

& what he is doing. My Aunt Jane

desires me to give her kind regards

to you she cannot write herself

& when she wants a letter ^writing to us

at Leeds she has to ask other

people to write for her & they

think it too much trouble to 

write a long letter & it is no

use to write a short letter into

America. My Aunt Ann is

quite well & she is living at

Burley & for my Uncle William

I never hear anything from

    [Page 4]

him My aunt was very ill

about one year since & when

we went to see her my Mother

& me & when we came away

they said they would write to

us & let us know how she was

but they have never wrote

to us yet  I think I have said

all me & my Mother sends 

our best respects to you all hoping 

that if we cannot meet in this

world we shall meet in 

heaven at last. please to

answering this letter as soon 

as you can Believe me Dear 

Cousin to remain your ever

Affectionate Cousin John

{written up side of page 4]

PS Please to direct your letter 

to Leeds as follows.

                                  John Morell

  please to excuse             Lamberts Yard Briggate

all mistakes                       Leeds

& the writing                      Yorkshire


Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Transcription Tuesday--New Sparks and Rhodes Letters!!!

 Well, as COVID seems to be providing me with more spare time, I am working on cleaning out all the boxes of data and mixed stuff that we packed up for our move to Texas.....

And I found several letters that I didn't know that I had, providing info to aid my search for my English Rhodes and Sparks roots!!! 

I've placed here, and will move them to the Rhodes/Sparks Letters separate page  after I finish them all. The first is from Jane Sparks, a sister of John Gill Sparks and addressed to him, and his wife Sarah Rhodes. Each letter I find adds another name to be researched, and another link in the family chain!!

Letter from Jane Sparks to John Gill and Sarah Rhodes Sparks, copy obtained from Patsy Davies in 1980 and transcribed by Susan Fairchild Barry on 11 Sep 2021.  Photocopy of letter attached.

                                                                                                March 3d 186[ 4? 9?]

Dear Brother and Sister

  I am very well of myself and am living

in Burley and I am very unhappy about you

not sending me a letter. I send you a letter and

you never sent me no answer back and you ask

me what I thought about going into Canada

and I told you then I could not come by my-

self, we have had a very hard winter here

and am left by myself and I mention John

Shoesmith and he die very suddenly at Ilkley

and Ann is living at Otley and she is very well

for anything I know and Elizabeth is residing

in Leeds and I got a letter from her last Friday

and she sends her best respects to you she would

like to see you but she thinks it will be not in

this world and Elizabeth has one son and his

age is fourteen and he would like to see you.

     William is living at the bottom of Holling[s?]

Hill [s or,] is William writing to you or not

I have sent this letter William Smith and

John Craven and if they come to your house

you must treat them very kindly for I know

their parents remarkably well and you must

give my best respects to Mr and Mrs Wie and

please to let me know if Elizabeth has got

married or not but let me know in the next

letter and I have sent my mother funeral chard

and I have sent you a English newspaper

             So no more from your



                  Jane Sparks



I'll try to add one each week until they are all here!   Thanks to the family members who saved these and didn't throw them away!!


Friday, May 7, 2021

Follow Friday -- The Patriot War -- a bright shiny object

Well yesterday, I succumbed to what Brenda Wheeler from National Institute of Genealogical Studies calls  a BSO -- bright shiny object --- something that takes us away from our planned genealogical task.  I was on the Clayton Library's microfilm catalog,  which was what I originally planned to write about for Follow Friday.  I was looking to see whether they had NY Civil War or 1812 service record microfilms for  one of my ancestors to use as an example .... and I noticed they had a listing for

Now I know most conflicts and military sources, but this was a new one for me. 1837-8 ?  Too late for War of 1812, Too late for Texas Independence, too early for the Mexican War, and too early for the Civil War....uh oh,   I was hooked!   So I started to Google the war of 1837, got  Patriot War, followed it, and I learned a lot!
The Wikipedia listing is here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patriot_War and

    I knew nothing about the Canadian Rebellions of 1837 and 1838 or the Republic of Canada formed by William McKenzie  and his followers in the US and Canada.  This was a failed attempt for the prospect of a declaration of independence and secession of Canada from Britain !  And on  "Navy Island " between Ontario and New York!
     And volunteers from the State of Louisiana?    Now I can't wait to get to the Clayton library and check out the names on the microfilm!!!! Perhaps it will help with finding info for members of my DAR chapter from Louisiana!!! But I obviously didn't have what I intended to post today.
    So I guess it is a great lesson that checking the microfilm catalog for things other than just surnames is a great idea to find unusual records and history!!!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Travel Tuesday -- Friuli, especially Raveo, home of my grandmother

Hard to believe it's been almost a year since I embarked on my trip to Italy in search of my mother's genealogical past and to show my husband and daughter a little of the culture, arts, food, and people of Italy.

  I was most interested in visiting the area my grandmother was from. Close to the Austrian border, and in a part of Italy that I had never seen.  I'm not really great yet at using embedded Google maps, and couldn't get it to display all the town names when I made it. The top red is Raveo, the main town

of the family. The yellow pin is Enemonzo, the town they moved to after grandmother was born in Raveo, and the latest home.  The green pin is where we stayed in Tolmezzo, and the middle pin is the town of Colza, which we discovered as birthplace of one of the ancestors in some of the records, but I only passed through it, it's  a frazione (subdivision) of Enemonzo now. From Tolmezzo to Raveo is about 7 miles,  From Raveo to Enmonzo is about 4 miles. The towns are in the Carnia Valley.  It is a beautiful area and off the beaten tourist track. I think only skiers in ski season or really serious summer hikers visit the area.  There is only one bus from Udine (capital of region) to Tolmezzo most days... of course we missed it, necessitating a long expensive cab ride!!!

I spent most of my 2 1/2 days in the region ensconced in the archives of church records, so I will have to go again in the future to really look at the land and connect with the people....maybe next year? I'll have to rent a car, as this area isn't covered well by public transit, so I'll avoid winter, as the area gets lots of snow!

Wikipedia has a great history of the region. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friuli . The Friuli language -- not an Italian dialect, it's a separate language--- is spoken as well as Italian..... I can't follow it at all, and my Italian was somewhat better, but I'm glad my cousin and the genealogist I was with spoke English! 

According to the relative  I met in Raveo, there are about 300 people in Raveo now (486 in 2004 according to Wikipedia) and probably never had more than 1000 people.  Since our family lived there from at least 1700 to 1890, I must be related to everyone in the town!

Friday, September 2, 2016

Family Friday --- who are these people???? Fessias???

Well, I'm in New York visiting with my cousin Dolores to share the info I found in Raveo, Italy, and she has pictures with no names we are trying to figure out.  I think these are of my Fessia line, specifically of Pietro/Pedro older brother of my grandfather who went to Chile instead of coming to America with the rest of the family.....
So I'm going to post them here, let the relatives in Chile know of this post, and hope that they can identify the people in the photos ( use left to right or by rows)....  Then I'll get back to the Italian research posts, I promise!!!!

Photo 1

Photo 2

Photo Three

Photo 4

And we think this one may be of Giovanni Battista / John, the youngest brother of Augosto and Pietro who lived in Utica  ?????

Thanks everybody!!!!!!