Thursday, March 26, 2015

Dickson Co TN Probate Records--A. N. Balthrop--proved March 31, 1949 in Rutherford Co TN

On days when the weather isn't that great I enjoy reading through old land and probate records. Today was one of those days.  I found a will that I thought was amusing and spent most of the day researching the family.  No...I have no connection to the family outside of the will being brought before the judge in Dickson Co TN where I grew up.  It was the will of Alvin Nixon Balthrop and included many details. I spent a good part of the day looking over census records, obituaries, cemetery records and family files concerning the family.  I learned that Alvin was called Nick and that he had one son and 3 daughters with his first wife.
The children are listed in his will as follows:
Bobby Balthrop
Roberta(Mrs. H. L. Arnold Jr.)
Bettie(Mrs. Harold T. Shehann)
Becky(Mrs Windle Bates)

Nick's will was written Feb. 21 1948 and proved  Mar 31 1949, just a little bit over a year later in Rutherford Co TN where Nick and his 2nd wife Ruth Caskey Balthrop were living.   He was employed by Consolidated Products of Danville Illinois.  There was a statement from Rutherford Co. dated 1952 with the copy of the will stating the date it was proved in Rutherford Co TN. (see below) and I believe his will is on file with the Dickson Co. Court because it was needed in order to prove ownership of lands or inheritance.

It appears that the Balthrop family was in Virginia as early as late 1600s.  They were in the Westmoreland Virginia area and by 1750s were in Warren Co NC. William Balthrop, GG Grandfather of Alvin Nixon Balthrop was the head of the family that came to Dickson TN.  I see where there are many descendants researching this family and  they seem to be plagued by use of the same names over and over again each generation just like I am in my research.  I am including several of the snippets from the will of Alvin Nixon Balthop.  The full will can be seen at Family Search.

"Tennessee, Probate Court Books, 1795-1927," images, FamilySearch-- Dickson > Wills, 1800-1950 > image 1999 of 2261; county courthouses, Tennessee.

Nick owned the following properties which were mentioned in his will
Properties in
Dickson Co TN Yellow Creek 11th Civil District.(1/3 share)
Jefferson Co KY Louisville
Rutherford Co TN property(left to 2nd wife Ruth Caskey Balthrop)

Nick is shown here at age 10 in the 1910 Census(see original census record for more detail)
1910 Dickson Co TN Civil Dist 11 Sheet 4A
Lee Balthrop Head M 44 Tennessee
Rebecka A Balthrop Wife F 30 Tennessee
David L Balthrop Son M 13 Tennessee (Loy)
Alvin N Balthrop Son M 10 Tennessee (Nick)
Mary Balthrop Daughter F 8 Tennessee
Eliner Balthrop Daughter F 5 Tennessee
Armock Balthrop Son M 3 Tennessee (This is Carmack)
Panthea Balthrop Sister F 55 Tennessee

Both Bettye and Roberta passed in August of 2014.

Nick was buried in Lone Oak Cemetery in Lewisburg(Marshall Co.) TN.  I found several of the family members on FindAGrave and suggested edits to link them to one another.

Monday, March 23, 2015

J. H. Hale TN Confederate Pension Application--It's almost a book(66 images)

I intended to read through a few of the TN Confederate Pension applications today.  I checked the TN State Library & Archives Confederate Pension Index and found one for a J. H. Hale(S2278) who applied in White Co Tennessee(a county near the area where my Hales lived)  Logged onto and selected the TN Confederate Pension Applications---Applications by Soldiers and then the link for Pensions by Soldiers covering 2242-2292.  This section had 686 images typed in 500 and ended up right in the middle of pension S2278.  Talk about luck...or was it.  A check soon told me the pension files contained 66 images(images 462-528 of 686).  I read through the documents. This application process started in 1899 and goes on for 12+ years.He states that he lives in Putman Co TN but his Post Office is in White Co.  He had enlisted underage as a member of Co K 25th TN Conf. and served for a year and then was released in 1862.  J. H. Hale was born in Jackson Co TN in Aug 1844.  Apparently after being released he still wanted to fight so he followed Dibrell and fought "bearing my own expenses".  He had numerous people who offered sworn affidavits about his character --neighbors and those who served with him.   They can't seem to find his records.  Then it appears they find one that shows him serving but doesn't show his release.  He tells of his wife and invalid daughter in the files. Over the course of the correspondence there is some mix up with his pension and it appears they start noting 5911 as his pension number(I checked this one and it is a J. H. Hale of Rhea Co TN who applies in 1908)   There are obvious differences in these soldiers identities ...different household sizes, counties of residence and application dates as well as dates of service.  The White Co. J. H. Hale's application is Rejected after letter upon letter to the pension board from people in the community who have known him for many years and know his circumstances.  The Rhea Co J. H. Hale's pension is approved.  It is a good read and lets you see the human condition.

I keep on noticing in many pension applications, people wrote using paper with informative letterheads.  All of these were from the J. H. Hale application  I have snipped a few of these with the dates below as it shows occupations and dates.  I have also included the 1900 & 1910 Census Records for J. H. Hale of Putnam Co TN.  Click on the images for larger views.

Source Citation

Year: 1900; Census Place: Civil District 4, Putnam, Tennessee; Roll: 1592; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 0064; FHL microfilm: 1241592
Source Information 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2004.
Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Twelfth Census of the United States, 1900. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1900. T623, 1854 rolls.

Source Citation
Year: 1910; Census Place: Civil District 4, Putnam, Tennessee; Roll: T624_1516; Page: 11B; Enumeration District: 0082; FHL microfilm: 1375529
Source Information 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2006.

Original data: Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910 (NARA microfilm publication T624, 1,178 rolls). Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C. For details on the contents of the film numbers, visit the following NARA web page: NARA.

O.K. Holladay Cookeville  

Senator for counties of Clay, Fentress, Jackson, Overton, Pickett, Putnam

Senate of Tennessee--Nashville    3/16/1911

J. T. Pointer--Trustee--Putnam County  
Cookeville Tennessee 
Oct 2nd 1905

E, L Ferrell, Cookeville
Superintendent of Public Roads
March 21 1912  Putnam Co Tennessee

Tennessee Central Railroad Company
H. B. Chamberlain, W. K, McAlister, Receivers
Office of the General Agent
Rutledge Smith General Agent--Cookeville Tenn.
Nashville Tenn, April 27 1916

Pennock-Walter Manufacturing Co.
Manufacturers of White Oak & Hickory Wagon Spokes
Algood, Tenn.
J. A. Efferson President
J. L. Efferson, Vice- President
C. B. Rickman, Secretary
T. J. Clark, Treasurer
April 11 1914 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

March 21, 1891--Birthday of Pearl Gray Jakes Cooke

Today is the birthday of my Paternal Grandmother, Pearl Gray Jakes Cooke.  She was born on this day in 1891 in Bell Buckle, a town in Bedford County, Tennessee to James Jakes and Thelitha Ann Frizzell Jakes.  She married Thomas DeWitt Cooke in Shelbyville, TN in 1912 and they lived around Christiana(Rutherford Co. TN) until they moved to Old Hickory in the mid 1920s when Tom went to work for Dupont.  They lived on Clarke Street in Old Hickory for the first few years and that is the residence they were living at when her only son(at that time), Tomie D.  died with Scarlet & Rheumatic Fever in 1927.  That loss stuck with her as it would any mother but I think it played a huge part in her being over protective of her children.  At the time that Tomie died my grandmother was pregnant and 2 months later she delivered another son, my Uncle Morris.  The picture shows Tomie D. Olive June, and Pearl not long before Tomie came down with the illness which swept through the community.  At the time Old Hickory, TN was pretty much a company town with the vast majority of the residents employed at the Dupont Plant.  After Tomie's death they purchased plots at Mt. Olivet Cemetery where he is buried along with my Grandparents and several of their children.  They must have moved to 911 Dodson Street not too long after Tomie's death because they are on Dodson Street by time the 1930 Census rolls around.  It was the year that my Dad was born but he would not arrive until October so he was not enumerated on that census.  Daddy also came down with Rheumatic Fever and was bedridden for a great length of time.  I'm sure this must have been tough on not only my Dad who was in Elementary School, but also on Pearl who I can only imagine was fearing that he too would die.  He didn't though...not til many years later.  Daddy joined the service during the Korean War and Pearl insisted that they were not going to move from the house on Dodson St as long as he was away.  When Dad returned home he worked at Dupont for several years.  Pearl was in her late 70s when I was born..Dad was their youngest son and my parents didn't start a family until my Dad was 38. By the time I was old enough to have memories of Pearl she was in her 80s.  She was stern...but she had seen a lot in her lifetime.  The loss of a son...disease outbreak,  wars...the transition from buggies and horses to automobiles.  She and Tom had 3 sons and 4 daughters.  My Grandfather retired from Dupont and in 1970 they along with my parents moved to Dickson TN.  My Grandpa was dying from Lung Cancer.  He passed in 1971 another loss for Pearl and our family.  During the biggest part of my childhood my Grandmother lived in the same neighborhood that my parents and I did--Spanish Oaks in Pomona Community of Dickson Co. TN.  The things I remember most about my Grandmother.  She used to make Kraut in a a child I was fascinated by the bright green flies.  Kids are weird and I was no different.  She loved flowers.  She planted them everywhere.  She made good homemade wine...and if you coughed while you were visiting her...she would give you some of the wine for your throat.  We coughed a lot.  She also thought that a shot of whiskey could ward off a cold.   After she hit her 90s, her present day memory failed but she could remember things from her childhood.  I always loved to hear her stories.  She had good and bad days...she could bless your heart in one breath...and tell you where to go in the next..they called it hardening of the arteries but I guess it was dementia.  She would hide money....and she had a small pistol which we were always taking away from her so she wouldn't hurt herself and she was always finding.  The first curse words I ever heard were said by her.  I remember her getting a self propelled lawnmower.  She was in her 90s...she would put it on "rabbit speed" and hold on for dear life.  I always wondered why she didn't pick the slower speed.  She must have been doing something right though because she lived to be 102 years old.  Happy Birthday, Granny Cooke!!

Tomie D. Cooke Jr., Olive June Cooke Brannon & Pearl Gray Jakes Cooke

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Roane Co. TN --Will of John Rice--April Session of 1815

Reading through some of the Roane County Tennessee court records.  While this John Rice is not in my direct Rice line(to my knowledge) I felt like the information contained within this was post worthy.

Will of John Rice ---Rice attached his seal 22nd September of 1812 & it was declared his last will & testament in the court's April Session in 1815

  • Gives his wife Susannah $200 in cash which is to be applied by her to purchase whatever household good and furniture she would like.  He also gives to her one bed and furniture.  
  • To William Rice, son of his first wife he leaves $1. 
  • His personal and real estate to be equally divided among his children.  
  • Leaves to Milly Bartlett a young Negroe whose value will be deducted out of her proportional part of his estate.  
  • Betsy & Esau Rice(his grandchildren and heirs of his son John Rice) shall have one equal share between them.  
  • Desires that his two old Negroes Jack & Jenny shall not be parted or separated but shall be permitted to live together in the same family.

  • Appoints his son Isaac Rice as sole executor
  • Witnesses were:  John C. Haley, Henry Matlock & John Williams

"Tennessee, Probate Court Books, 1795-1927," images, FamilySearch (,179950601 : accessed 12 March 2015), Roane > Settlements, Wills, 1802-1824, Vol. A > image 46 & 47 of 136; county courthouses, Tennessee.(orig. book pgs 60 & 61.

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Don't Discount the Double Check

Today I was reminded of why you should always double check things.  I have been working with several other researchers on a Chromosome 20 puzzle .  We have 5 people who match along a given segment(with slight variations in the length) and who all match each other.    I had been waiting on my mother's results so that I could at least narrow down the lines over which I needed to search.  Those results came in Friday afternoon and late Saturday I ran a check on three of them against my Mom's results and neither matched.  This told me that the segment match was along my father's lines.  I noted this without writing it down and planned to email the researchers Sunday morning to let them know that we could narrow it down to Dad's lines.  Sunday morning came and I sat down to write the email and always one to double check...I checked again.  I input the numbers of the only kit that I hadn't run a one to one on with my Mom's kit....The only reason I had not ran this kit against hers was that this tester was a known closer cousin of one of the others and I thought that running just one was enough.  Was I ever puzzled when they had a match....Not on Chromosome 20...but on Chromosome 21.   It was a smaller match than the ones we were working on.  So I checked my notes and ran each of the remaining test against my Mom's.  None of them matched her accept this kit. I ran a One to One on mine and his and I had a match with him on Chromosome 21 also but it was smaller than the segment that he and Mom shared and that was why it was not showing in my Genome Mate.  So now, in addition to my Chromosome 20 puzzle...I have a Chromosome 21 puzzle.  One puzzle at a time....

Friday, March 06, 2015

Improvements at HeritageQuest Online site

This is a follow up to my post from several weeks ago March 4, 2015 --- HeritageQuest Online to be powered by Ancestry .  If you have access to HeritageQuest Online through your library or a society membership your luck just increased in leaps and bounds.  No more missing the elusive ancestor in the census records because the indexed name doesn't match your spelling of the name.  No more having to search on varied spellings.  The new search capability alone is one I'd been hoping to see here every since I began using the site many years back.

In addition to the 1790-1940 US Federal Census Schedules which are now all indexed you also get

  • 1850 & 1860 U.S. Federal Census Slave Schedules
  • 1890 Veterans Schedules
  • Selected U.S. Federal Census Non-Population Schedules, 1850-1880
  • U.S. Federal Census - 1880 Schedules of Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent Classes
  • U.S. Federal Census Mortality Schedules, 1850-1885
  • U.S. Special Census on Deaf Family Marriages and Hearing Relatives, 1888-1895
  • U.S., Indian Census Rolls, 1885-1940

You will also find improvements on search capabilities in the other sections of the site which includes Books & Directories, Revolutionary War Pension Files, Freedman's Bank,  PERSI and  US Serial Set.  Also be sure to check out the Research Aids and Maps sections.

If you don't currently have access to HeritageQuest Online, check with your local library or state library.  Many of libraries offer access to cardholders.  It is also one of the sites that doesn't require that you be at the library in order to access.

Friday, February 27, 2015 site --Genealogy Gem

If you were to ask me if I had any research interest in Kentucky I would have said not very much.  Sure my Frizzells had ties there but moved back and forth from Bedford Co. TN and Calloway Co. KY and for reasons which I have never been able to find my maternal grandfather was born in Jordan, Fulton Co. KY in 1892 despite the family having lived in Dekalb Co. TN.  Beyond that there seemed to be no really lasting ties in Kentucky.  Today I found a wonderful Kentucky resource that made me think about something I'd really not considered.  Over half of my GGG grandparents came from Virginia.  Did they leave a paper trail through Kentucky?  Did some of the children or siblings settle along the way?  The Kentucky Land Office page of the Kentucky Government website has a great deal of information available online.  The section which really peaked my interest was where they had scanned copies of wills that were found in the patent files.

I would recommend that if you have Virginia ancestors who moved south into Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri or  or even Mississippi, that you check these resources and read through a few of the wills.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

March 4, 2015 --- HeritageQuest Online to be powered by Ancestry

When I logged into my library's HeritageQuest Online tonight I noticed they had an announcement.
Looks like exciting news.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Finding the Sisters of my Direct Lines for Clues to DNA Connections

Following my own advice and working on the daughter lines of my GGGG Grandparents.(eventually I will do this for my 5th greats)  Had so many names not in my direct line among those with a large portion of DNA matching close enough to put us as connected around the GGG or GGGG and started noticing surnames that were repeating.  So now I am going in search of those names.  Have already found where a sister of my Frizzell married into the Elliot family.  That may be the reason for several occurrences of the Elliott surname in a few of my matches files.  This is not an easy process.  DNA by itself is meaningless if you can't find the connection and back it with a paper trail.  It's not like the DNA linking someone to a crime where you have the  crime.  So now I think I have about 20 specific DNA projects I am working on to find cousins.....and then there are the other priorities in my life which come first.  I so wish I was more organized but I guess that is something for which we all strive.

Monday, February 09, 2015

Just for fun

Thought it would be fun to run my DNA kit through a few of the Admixture utilities and see how they compared to AncestryDNA"s interpretation 

This was Ancestry's Ethnic makeup guesstimate shown below

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Chromosome Mysteries and hopes for some answers....A learning process for sure.

After having gotten my DNA results almost a month ago I have been working on finding matches to help solve a few of the research issues I have had on several of my family lines.  While waiting for responses from some of those I contacted I started looking more in depth at names and groupings of people that match along each chromosome.  I have been comparing matches along the X chromosome(Chromo 23) and noticed that I have over 6 matches who have the Taylor surname listed in their user name.  Given the X inheritance pattern (paternal grandmother and maternal grandparents) it intrigues me even further because you would think that there would be a wide assortment of surnames.  I don't have a Taylor surname in my direct line that I know of though I have always suspected that my GGG Grandfather, William Taylor Hale(Warren & Van Buren Co. TN), possibly had the middle name because it was the maiden name of either his Mother or one of his Grandmothers.  Since I have not gotten his line back with proof any further than him I do not know if this is so.  Another thought as I was looking through the family tree shares of people who match my DNA --I have noticed that there are several who have the surnames Archer, Collins Martin & Scott in their trees. I checked over my new matches at AncestryDNA and found a tester's name that I recognized.  She is a 4th cousin through my Daniel Pittman & Comfort Hatfield line.  I have had known matches of Daniel & Comfort's son David & his wife Mary Adcock but to get the DNA connection back even further is exciting.  I recommended that she put her DNA data at GEDmatch so that we could compare chromosome segment matches.  Sure hope she does as it would really help to sort those lines out.  Still waiting on Mom's DNA to show up as processing.  I would expect to have the results by the end of this month which will help me to determine what matches are on her side and which were from Dad..

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Using "wait time" for DNA results wisely

Over these past 2+ weeks since I've gotten my DNA results, I've been busy analyzing and comparing in an effort to break through some of my genealogy brick walls.   I really had a hard time waiting on the results but while waiting(and it really wasn't that long--around 4 weeks) I wanted to use my time wisely.  If you have additional suggestions please add them in the comments.

Things to do while waiting for your DNA results:

  • SET UP INQUIRY & INFORMATIONAL TEMPLATES  --  I did set up several templates with a link to my working file at Rootsweb's WorldConnect...a listing of my GGG & GGGG Grandparents and areas in which they lived.
  • "FLESH OUT" YOUR FILES   -- I also made some efforts to find the maiden names of a few of the females where I had just their given name.  While I didn't have a lot of luck with that, I was able to pick up some new names by finding who my direct line's siblings had married.
  • WRITE A PLAN OF ACTION  --  I did my atDNA test at Ancestry so my plan was to download raw data...upload it to FTDNA & GEDmatch.  I set up my username at GEDmatch ahead of time and uploaded a GEDCOM.  I also uploaded a "barebones" file of my direct lines to Ancestry.
  • DOWN LOAD GENOME MATE  --  This is a WONDERFUL software that lets you compare segments of your results.  The first week I had my results at GEDmatch I was doing this by writing things down or copying into a spreadsheet...this is so much better.  I don't regret having tinkered with it the hard way....I think I learned more by doing that.  When I started out researching in 1990 I used the hand cranked microfilm this day it is still my preference when viewing microfilm.(Don't judge
  • STOCK UP ON OFFICE SUPPLIES  --  Truth is....I look for any and every excuse to do this.  You will need loads of index cards for it notes unlimited supply of ink pens and mechanical pencils...and Print off a few 100 blank pedigree sheets and family group sheets so you can just grab those when the notion hits you.  As far as the pedigree charts take two of them and label one X inheritence Son and X inheritence Daughter....use these as your guides for checking contributors to your X Chromosome.
  • WATCH GENEALOGY SHOWS  --  I have a bunch of shows such as Finding Your Roots, Genealogy Roadshow and Who Do You Think You Are? on my DVR.  You may also be able to find these OnDemand or on the web.
  • GET FAMILIAR WITH DNA TERMS AND TYPES -- Read DNA blogs like DNA Explained   Join USER groups for the site(or hopefully sites) to which you plan to upload your DNA.  For my budget, testing at Ancestry and uploading to GEDmatch and FTDNA was the way to go. 

Several things I learned since getting my DNA results:

If you email 30 people you will get several responses....but then one day 20 will answer all at will be overwhelming...don't stress.

Having a public tree at doesn't mean that anyone with a username can see it.  Be sure to send a share to a match if you use Ancestry.   Those who have their test there but who do not have a subscription(such as myself) cannot see your public tree.  I did not know that.  I assumed(wrongly) that if I made a tree public, that anyone that had registered and had a user id could see it.  That is not the case. I feel like the explanation of Public tree as given by Ancestry needs some clarification. Ancestry allows you to share(and turn off a share) with several different options.  Don't miss out on a cousin connection because you didn't share your tree.

Not everyone loves genealogy. WHAT!!!!   Some have done the DNA tests purely for the entertainment value of knowing their ethnic makeup.  Sad but true...