02 April 2017

Searching for Vernon Robinson Lee

I have been searching for Vernon R Lee off and on for awhile now. He is the maternal grandfather of some of my cousins on my Newman side. I have managed to develop a pretty good tree on our shared paternal side, the Newman side, but they know almost nothing about the maternal side of their tree.

My cousin, FN, has tested at 23andMe at my request. And his son, AN, tested on Ancestry at my request. This was to try and narrow down which side of my tree some of my matches fall. Basically I knew if they matched both myself and one of them that meant the match would be on the paternal Newman side of my tree.

Howevery, they both had a significant number of matches that don’t match me, and since I hadn’t done any research on the Lee side of their tree I had no idea how people who contacted me might connect with them. So I started searching.

I did manage to find the marriage record for FN’s maternal grandparents. I discovered that Helen Hartmann and Vernon R Lee were married 04 Jun 1930 in Clark County, Washington. But there was very little information on the certificate that would allow me to go further back in the records, especially on Vernon’s side.

The one hint I did find on the certificate was what town Helen had been living in. I decided to see if maybe I could find her as a child in the census which would allow me to discover who her parents were. Sure enough, I did find her as a child in that town with her parents. And that meant I was able to get a little more on her. Vernon however wasn’t showing up in the census records in Oregon or in Washington, so I was stuck.

Until this week when a DNA match that I had tried to contact previously finally answered. They said that yes, Vernon R Lee was on their tree! This person had a tree with good sources and documentation, so I think I can trust their research. They had Vernon’s family of origin, including his parents, both sets of grandparents and even a couple sets of his great grandparents! AND they including siblings at each level. I feel like I hit the mother lode because of this person’s hard and detailed work.

The problem is I can not find any record of what happened to Vernon coming forward. Like I said I have his marriage certificate, I know Vernon and Helen had 2 daughters, and there is a passenger list that has Vernon listed as single and heading to Hawaii a couple of weeks before the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

When and where did Helen and Vernon divorce? Why was he going to Hawaii? What happened to him after he arrived? Did he join the military? If so, why can’t I find a record of that? Did he ever remarry and have more children? When and where did he die? So far ancestry isn’t showing any easy answers.

I am hoping that someone who is a descendant of one of his 8 siblings might know something that will give me a clue to where to look for him. To that end I am sharing the Family Group Sheet with his parents and siblings. If Vernon or his family are in your tree and you have any information on any of them please contact me. I would love to be able to hand my cousins a copy of their family story on the Lee side.

Since I first wrote this a few days ago I have found a death date for Vernon of 1 Nov 1958 in Oregon, and the fact that he was buried in the Greenwood Hills Cemetery in Portland, Oregon. Also in looking closer at the Passenger list I found that the USS Chaumont was a Navy Transport ship that made regular runs from San Francisco, California to Manila via Honolulu. This leads me to think that Vernon was at that time in the Military, and probably the US Navy. Haven't found anything more about his military service. A thank you to Paul for replying to my message on FindAGrave.

22 March 2017

Update

Well, I went on ancestry to see what records I could find for the missing two great great great grandparents. I hit the mother lode! Not only did I find them I found their parents!

The people within the red outline are the eight people I managed to add to my tree tonight

Of course it is now 10 pm and I haven't had dinner and my neck is getting stiff from looking at the computer. Time to stop for the day, get some food, some ibuprofen and soak in a warm tub. Have a good night all, and good luck in your hunt. I love days like this that go so well.

I love doing Genealogy, so why haven't I been doing any research?

I love doing genealogy. It is more than just a casual hobby it is a passion. I get such a thrill from research and finding new information. I love being able to share the story of our family with others. So, the question is, why haven't I been working on doing any research?

There are several reasons, or should I say excuses why I haven't been working on doing genealogy....

One, I managed to get all my papers gathered up and put in boxes to go through folders and papers one by one to start my Genealogy Do Over. I even came up with some of the other parts of doing the do-over. I have goals made, I have a naming plan for naming files, etc., and a few other of the exercises that Thomas MacEntee wanted us to do. The problem is I didn't have a clean organized spot to work on my genealogy research.

Everytime I start making progress on getting my "office" area set up life seems to interfere, and by the time I manage to get back to working on it I have managed to pile more stuff in that area that I now have to find homes for. Sometimes it feels like the old "one step forward, two steps back" dance when it comes to organizing my things.

It probably has something to do with organizing not being as much fun as other things, although I can do a really good job at organization (I have had numerous people compliment me on how organized I am). And I do really like the results of having things organized, but sticking with just one organization project until it is done and not getting side tracked is an issue for me. It is why I love books like "Side Tracked Home Executives" by Pam Young and Peggy Jones; "Sink Reflections" by Marla Cilley; and "Organizing from the Inside Out" by Julie Morgenstern. These books have helped me learn the "how-to" skills to be better organized, and also helped me recognize some of the ways I sabotage my efforts in getting organized. It still requires time and energy to do the follow through.

And time and energy brings me to the second reason, or excuse, for not spending more time doing genealogy. Because of my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome my energy is extremely limited. Within the past year I have been appointed to the Modoc District Fair Board, and for about the last 6 months now I have been spending a couple of hours a week working in the fair office, handling the bills. That doesn't sound like a lot until you also add in the fact that it is a 30 minute drive each way over Cedar Pass which is 6300 ft elevation (about 2000 ft higher than Alturas). Beautiful drive, unless the weather is bad.

I have also joined The American Legion. I have met some nice people by joining. It has added other responsibilities to my time too. I am District Chaplain, which really means just attending quarterly meetings and saying Opening and Closing prayers, I am now Post Historian and have had fun scanning some old documents for the post so we have digital copies of them. And then putting all the pages into page protectors and into a binder so people can actually see them, instead of having them stuck in a file cabinet. I am also in charge of making the website for our post and maintaining a facebook page for our post.

And if all that wasn't enough, I had surgery to have joint replacement for my right knee at the end of November! That has really set me back physically, between the actual surgery, and the physical therapy to help rebuild the leg muscles, my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is flaring up big time.

But I did go online recently and checked to see if I had new matches on either Ancestry DNA or 23andMe. As I reported in my previous blog, I did find a 2nd cousin match on my Newman line and was able to update the more recent generations in their family. So that was good.

This week I updated Family Tree Maker 14 to FTM 14.1 by the company who purchased the FTM software from Ancestry. So that was good, because in the process I also made backup files of all the different trees I have on my computer (now to burn those onto a disk just in case anything happens to my computer.). I also found I had FTM files in several locations on my computer. Now, all the most recent files for each tree are in one directory instead of scattered here and there.

I also did an update for Charting Companion which I find is a really neat software program for making specialized charts that you can't get in FTM. Because I do genetic genealogy one of my favorite is the X Chromosome Ancestor Fan Chart. It shows which relatives I would have received dna from on the X Chromosome. You might be asking, but don't we get dna from all our ancestors on each of the chromosomes?

No, we don't receive dna on the X Chromosome from all our ancestors. Men do not pass down any X chromosome DNA to their sons, instead they contribute the Y Chromosome to their sons. This is handy in eliminating ancestors from consideration when you have a dna match that shares dna on the X chromosome with you. On the chart, all the white spaces are descendants of sons of males. These are the ones I did not get any dna from on my X Chromosome, only those who are in Pink or Blue spaces.

You might wonder how that works in a real life situation. I have a dna cousin on 23andMe that shares DNA with both me AND my paternal first cousin. Of my 32 3x great grandparents I can eliminate the 16 on my maternal side, Then, because her and I share dna on the X Chromosome, I can eliminate the 11 other 3x great grandparents i would not have inherited dna on the X chromosome from. This leaves only five lines at that level for us to research to find our common ancestor(s). The problem is of those five possible lines, I don't have names for two of them. Time for more research! Wonder what new records Ancestry has gotten since the last time I looked for them?

14 March 2017

Made a contact!

I have not been doing much with Genealogy this year. I am on the Modoc District Fair Board, and have been appointed Treasurer. Even though I only spend a couple hours of week in the office and go to a monthly board meeting it really takes a lot out of me physically because of my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. If I ever thought that maybe I could get off of disability and get a full time job this is totally showing me it is not possible. I have also joined the American Legion. Meetings are once a month, and I come home and have to retire to my bed. I love being involved and being able to give back, but it really exacts a price on my health.

But this week I decided to hop onto ancestry.com and check my dna matches. Good news! I found that a 2nd cousin on my Newman side had tested since I last checked my matches. I messaged him and ancestry messaging system actually worked properly, I he contacted me back. We have been emailing back and forth updating each other with what we have found, and updating the information our our current generations. This gentleman is a grandson of my grandfather's (Frederick Newman) brother (Eric Newman). Fred and Eric were both born in London in the late 1800's. Something happened to their family because on the 1901 census mom was living with her sister and brother-in-law, Fred was living with his maternal grandparents. I have found someone by the same name as the dad living elsewhere but I am not sure it is the right person. I have also found someone with the name Eric Newman living elsewhere, but again not sure it is the right person. I do know that at some point Eric was sent to Canada, that mom emigrated to America and got remarried the day she stepped off the ship in Philadelphia, and that Fred came to America a few years later. Eric eventually also came to America and joined him mother and brother. Both brothers fought in WWI and became naturalized citizens. They both married and had families.

As a result of the depression my grandfather Fred lost his job. He was able to get a job from his former boss's son, but it meant moving cross country to California. Fred came first, and then my grandmother, aunt, uncle and father (who was only 6 months old at the time) traveled cross country via Greyhound Bus. The story is my dad made the trip in a laundry basket.

Eric and family stayed on the east coast. This means the families did not see much of each other, although I have vague memories of Uncle Eric and his wife Nan coming to California a couple of times to visit. And when I was and adult and had moved to Massachusetts for a couple of years I did visit Uncle Eric at his home on Cape Cod.

Jennifer, Linda, Eric, John (1984)

I guess the point of all of this is to keep looking, we just might suddenly find a relative that is also interested in genealogy and is also looking to make connections with family!