Saturday Night Genealogy Fun

It’s Saturday Night – 

time for more Genealogy Fun! 

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission Impossible music here) is to:

1)  I am completely out of ideas for this week – and am late in posting.  What genealogy activity have you spent time on this week?

I have been working on the same genealogy goal for the past several weeks: researching the descendants of a third great grandfather, Ozias Wells. While I’ve been working on this for a while, I still have quite a bit of research to go. When finished, I will have researched descendants down to about 1950 for all of my third great grandparents.

Since I prefer to work ahead on my blog posts, I’ve also written several posts that will be published in the next week or so.

Thanks to a Facebook post by one of the Crawford yDNA project coordinators, I investigated the newly released Discover feature on FamilyTreeDNA. (See: FamilyTreeDNA Discover Launches – Including yDNA Haplogroups)

When I put in my CRAWFORD haplogroup, I discovered that a common ancestor is predicted for about 300 years ago.

The project administrator asked me how these results look for my branch of the tree. Since I have researched 5 of the 6 lines that were in the haplogroup and done some research on the 6th line, I felt comfortable responding to his query. Below is my response.

The 300 years for R-Y88686 seems probable. The current theory is that the James b1758 is the uncle to the James b 1770. Thus, a common ancestor for the two of them being born around 1720 seems to fit the paper trail. The margin of error of 100 years might mean the common ancestor is back another generation or two. We don’t know where/how my James (b1772) fits in. We have a theory that William Nelson Crawford (b 1829) descends from the James b1770 but no proof yet.

While looking at this data and yDNA matches, I discovered that my brother’s BigY results were completed. Not only did the project administrator confirm that those results were back but indicated that they will likely result in my branch of the tree being separated out from the other members of the Y88686 haplogroup. Thus, my James Crawford may not be as closely related to the other James as previously thought. Below is how the new BigY tree might look for my portion of it.

While I’m plugging along at researching the WELLS descendants, it was a nice break to learn about the new DISCOVER feature on FamiyTreeDNA and to review my new place in the Crawford tree.

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun

It’s Saturday Night – 

time for more Genealogy Fun! 

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission Impossible music here) is to:

1)  Who is in your paternal grandfather’s matrilineal line (i.e., the mother of your paternal grandfather, and her mother, etc.)

  • My paternal grandfather is Leon Russel Crawford. Leon was born in Dodge City, Kansas in 1894 and died in Dodge City in 1976. He is the son of Judson Foster Crawford and Josie Winifred Hammond.
  • Josie Winifred Hammond was born 9 Feb 1874 in Knoxville, Knox County, Illinois and died 27 Sep 1954 in Dodge City, Kansas. She married Judson Foster Crawford in 1890 in Dodge City, Kansas. Josie is the daughter of Richmond Fisk Hammond and Sarah Ellen Ralston. ThruLines indicates that I have 12 DNA matches with descendants of Josie. (Note: This includes my two brothers.)
  • Sarah Ellen Ralston was born in 1849 in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania and died in 1892 in Dodge City, Kansas. She married Richmond Fisk Hammond in 1867 in Knoxville. Sarah is the daughter of James Barr Ralston and Nancy Jane McCormick. Ancestry’s ThruLines indicates that I have 13 matches with descendants of Sarah Ellen Ralston
  • Nancy Jane McCormick was born in 1818 in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania and died in 1907 in Grundy County, Iowa. About 1836, she married James Barr Ralston in Pennsylvania. Nancy Jane McCormick is the daughter of James B. McCormick and Sarah Hall. Ancestry’s ThruLines indicates that I have 38 DNA matches with descendants of Nancy Jane McCormick.
  • Sarah Hall was born about 1789 in Pennsylvania. According to FamilySearch, she died in Woodville, Sandusky County, Ohio. Marriage information for Sarah Hall and James B. McCormick has not been found. Sarah was the daughter of David Hall, Senior and Jane Jackson. (Note: I have not done much research on Sarah or her ancestry. I am pulling information about her and her ancestors from the FamilySearch tree. Sarah’s ID on FamilySearch is LHS3-S56.) Ancestry’s ThruLines indicates that I have 35 DNA matches with descendants of Sarah Hall (even though I had 38 matches with her supposed daughter, Sarah Hall.)
  • According to FamilySearch, Jane Jackson was born about 1765 in Ireland and died about 1849 in Akron, Summit County, Ohio. Jane married David Hall about 1781. FamilySearch indicates that Jane is the daughter of John Crieve Jackson and Agnes McIntyre. Ancestry’s ThruLines indicates I have 37 matches with descendants of Jane Jackson
  • According to FamilySearch Agnes McIntyre was christened 21 May 1749 in Perth, Scotland and died in 1818 in Apollo, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania. FamilySearch indicates that Agnes McIntyre and John Crieve Jackson were married 28 Jan 1766 in Carrickfergus, Antrim, Northern Ireland. FamilySearch lists Agnes McIntyre’s parents as Adame McIntyre and Janet Irvine.
  • According to FamilySearch. Janet Irvine was born in 1711 in Perth, Scotland. No death information is listed for Janet. FamilySearch indicates that Janet Irvine married Adame McIntyre in 1736 in Perth Scotland. No parents are identified for Janet Irvine.

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun

It’s Saturday Night – 

time for more Genealogy Fun! 

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission Impossible music here) is to:

1)  I found this on Facebook:

I was very lucky to know both of my grandmothers! The one thing I remember most about BOTH of my grandmothers is their love of family, both immediate family and extended family.

One vivid memory I have from visiting my mom’s mother, Pauline (Mentzer) Briles, was sitting on her couch and going thru her photo album. It was thru this time on the couch that I learned about her twin brother and other siblings. Grandma would talk about family members that I had never met but thru sharing the photos she would also share her memories. As a young child, it was hard to understand that I had a first cousin, David, whom grandma hadn’t seen since before my birth. Grandma would talk lovingly about David but her words also conveyed sadness. When I started researching my family history, it was grandma Briles who helped me begin my Mentzer and Briles research.

While grandma Briles helped me begin researching my mom’s side of the tree, it was my grandma Crawford (Winnie Currey Crawford) who started me on this family history journey. As a child, I knew that my grandmother had a strong bond not only with her siblings but with my grandfather’s siblings. It wasn’t until learning about her childhood that I understood why she strived to maintain those connections. My grandmother’s family was torn apart when her mother died. While her older brother went to work, she and her older two sisters spent time in a children’s home and her two younger siblings were ‘adopted’ out. Even though the family was torn apart while the children were young, they were able to reconnect as adults.

Since she lost her mother at the age of 10, she also lost out on hearing about her mom’s family. Not only did grandma miss out on the stories, but her mother’s parents had died before my grandmother was born. Thus, grandma did not know a lot about her mom’s family. It was this desire to know about her grandparents that started my genealogy journey.

I am thankful for these memories of both of my grandmothers!

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun

 It’s Saturday Night – 

time for more Genealogy Fun! 

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission Impossible music here) is to:

1)  What genealogy search/research did you do last week?  Did you have a research goal or plan?  Tell us about one or more search/research session.

Welcome back Randy! I am very thankful that your surgery was successful and that your recovery is going smoothly. For those who are unaware, Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings shares these blogging prompts every Saturday evening. Randy’s favorite hobby of genealogy was interrupted when he needed open heart surgery.

While Randy is receiving care at home for his continued recovery, his time spent in front of his desktop computer is limited. Like Randy, I like to be in front of my desktop computer to do serious research. While I like having the portability of my laptop for travel, I find that I don’t like to use it in my living room for two reasons: access to files and screen space.

I know that I could store all of my genealogy files on a portable hard drive that I could use on both my desktop and my laptop. I could even use the software, Second Copy, to copy those files to my desktop overnight so they could automatically get backed up in the cloud.

I haven’t pursued the portable drive idea because I still have the screen size issue to deal with. If I was in Randy’s situation where I had to spend time away from a desk, I would likely think about a long HDMI cable to connect my laptop to our television. I would also have my husband scrounge the house for a small monitor that could be turned into a living room TV so that I could still watch TV while using the big screen as a computer monitor.

Getting back to the ‘Saturday Night Genealogy Fun’ challenge, I have to admit I don’t keep a log of my research. Thus, I’m relying on my memory for this post.

One of my goals for 2022 was to finish researching descendants of my 3rd great grandparents. I’m happy to report that I’m working on the last great-great-great-grandfather, Ozias Wells. Most of my recent work on this goal has been the children, grandchildren, etc. of Ozias’ third child, William Wallice Wells (1823-1907). This research is time consuming but I hope that it helps identify DNA cousins.

During the past week I watched several genealogy videos on YouTube. One of those was Genealogy TV’s recent video, Ancestry ThruLines: How to Use It for Your Family History. While I had worked with my ThruLines matches before, watching this video prompted me to take another look at my George MENTZER ThruLines to see if I could identify any new cousins. I concentrated on my MENTZER line because I will be meeting some of those third cousins at a reunion next week.

In preparation for that reunion, I also spent time going thru family pictures to find the ones I wanted to take with me to the reunion. Although I contemplated printing reports or previous blog posts, I doubt that I will do so. Instead, I’m thinking about creating a “business card” with my Facebook name, Ancestry user name, tree name and the URL of my blog. This would allow them to access the family information I’ve shared online at their leisure.

Since I will be traveling for the reunion and other events this next week, I’ve also been writing blog posts and scheduling them to be published for the next week and into the following week. Thus, I can keep my blog updated and enjoy my time away.

That’s my week — mostly plodding along updating research. How about you? Did you have any major breakthroughs this past week?

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun

 It’s Saturday Night – 

Time for more Genealogy Fun! 

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission Impossible music here) is to:

1)  How many entries are there on Find A Grave for your exact current surname, and the birth surnames of your grandparents?  What about your spouse’s grandparents birth surnames?

Since I was curious about how this data might be used to track migration, I not only searched for the total number but also for the states along the probable migration path back to what is believed to be the country of origin. Since the spelling of the name can and likely did change over time, this data does not prove anything. It was just fun exploring the possibilities.

My Side


  • Total: 147,657
  • United States: 120,794
  • Kansas: 2,356
  • Indiana: 3,909
  • Ohio: 8,879
  • Kentucky: 4,050
  • Virginia: 3,225
  • Scotland: 2,644
  • Ireland: 485
  • Northern Ireland: 1,701


  • Total: 3,830
  • United States: 2,969
  • Kansas: 79
  • Illinois: 107
  • Indiana: 77
  • Ohio: 132
  • Pennsylvania: 159
  • Virginia: 14
  • Scotland: 2
  • England: 229


  • Total: 1,212
  • United States: 1,173
  • Kansas: 123
  • North Carolina: 248
  • Virginia: 13
  • Germany: 0 (spelling of name changed in Virginia)


  • Total: 3,759
  • United States: 3,675
  • Kansas: 85
  • Illinois: 137
  • Massachusetts: 51
  • Germany: 0
  • Wales: 0
  • England: 0

Husband’s Side


  • Total: 4,199
  • United States: 3,953
  • Kansas: 87
  • Iowa: 33
  • Ohio: 86
  • Pennsylvania: 15
  • Massachusetts: 330
  • England: 46


  • Total: 2,753
  • United States: 2,655
  • Pennsylvania: 424
  • New York: 344
  • New Jersey: 180


  • Total: 594
  • United States: 435
  • Kansas: 17
  • Germany: 72


  • Total: 114,238
  • United States: 76,826
  • Kansas: 1,745
  • Ohio: 6,355
  • Virginia: 2,152
  • Wales: 5,904

Thanks Randy for this challenge to look at our data on Find a Grave!

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun

It’s Saturday Night – 

time for more Genealogy Fun! 

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission Impossible music here) is to:

1) Go into your Genealogy Management Program (GMP; either software on your computer, or an online family tree) and figure out how to Count how many surnames you have in your family tree database.

2)  Tell us which GMP you’re using and how you did this task.

3)  Tell us how many surnames are in your database and, if possible, which Surname has the most entries.  If this excites you, tell us which surnames are in the top 5!  Or 10!!  Or 20!!!

Well, I have to admit that I would likely have not completed this task if Randy Seaver wasn’t using the same software. Thus, I was able to ‘cheat’ off of his post to figure out how to do this.

I am a RootsMagic 8 user. My first attempt at using the Surname Statistics report was with the ‘Surname (Alphabetical)’ setting. If printed, that would produce a 90 page report!

Running the report with the ‘Frequency of Surname’ sorting option still produces the same information in a different order. Leaving out those individuals yet to have a surname added, the following are my top surnames:

  • Crawford – 1482
  • Ricketts – 921
  • Foster – 422
  • Briles – 397
  • Curry – 336
  • Wells – 285
  • Thompson – 268
  • Hammond – 263
  • Mentzer – 203
  • Sellers – 195 (Not an ancestral line)
  • Smith – 185
  • Currey – 181
  • Young – 158
  • Broyles – 140
  • Ralston – 131
  • Jones – 126
  • Burke – 126
  • Rush – 119
  • Hutchinson – 118
  • Allen – 116
  • Christy – 109
  • Crandall – 102

Did you notice the similar surnames in the list? Since the name is spelled differently, names like Curry/Currey and Briles/Broyles appear in the list twice. To help identify other names with duplicate spellings, I exported the report to Excel.

This allowed me to see that I have 3577 unique surnames in my list and to sort them alphabetically. Once sorted I can visually browse to list to locate other similarly spelled surnames.

  • Andersen / Anderson
  • Barnhard / Barnhart
  • Barret / Barrett
  • Beall / Beals
  • Beattie, Beatty / Beaty
  • Beckerdike / Beckerdite
  • Beer / Beere / Berrs
  • etc.

Browsing this alphabetical list also revealed what is likely a misspelling: Crawrford.

Thank you Randy for this challenge to look at our data differently!

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun

It’s Saturday Night – 

time for more Genealogy Fun! 

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission Impossible music here) is to:

1)  What Keeps You From Doing Genealogy?  What real life activity do you have to do, or like to do, that takes time away from genealogy research?

Besides the obvious things like cooking, cleaning, eating, and sleeping, I do spend quite a bit of time on things other than genealogy.

Volunteer activities

  • Nemaha County Historical Society board member working in the museum at least one day a week
  • Visual worship leader for Seneca United Methodist Church. This involves putting the worship order, prayers and lyrics into a program to be projected during worship for Sunday worship
  • Upcoming activity – to help put together a digital history of Nemaha Central High School

Maintaining my physical health

  • Getting my steps in daily
  • Participating in a Pre-Diabetes group

Maintaining my mental health

  • Friday lunch with friends
  • Church – worship online with the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection where my husband and I are members
  • Reading – about 1 to 2 hours each evening
  • Random short trips with my husband
  • Annual weekend at lake with my siblings and their children

How about you? What takes you away from your family history research?


Saturday Night Genealogy Fun

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission Impossible music here) is to:
1) Participate in the Ancestors GeneaMeme created by Jill Ball on the Geniaus blog back in 2011!

The list should be annotated in the following manner:

  • Things you have already done or found: bold face type
  • Things you would like to do or find: italicize (colour optional)
  • Things you haven’t done or found and don’t care to: plain type
  • You are encouraged to add extra comments in brackets after each item

Which of these apply to you?

  1.  Can name my 16 great-great-grandparents
  2.  Can name over 50 direct ancestors – in software
  3.  Have photographs or portraits of my 8 great-grandparents
  4.  Have an ancestor who was married more than three times
  5.  Have an ancestor who was a bigamist
  6.  Met all four of my grandparents – but my mom’s father died when I was 4
  7.  Met one or more of my great-grandparents – picture with one as a 1 1/2 year old
  8.  Named a child after an ancestor
  9.  Bear an ancestor’s given name/s
  10.  Have an ancestor from Great Britain or Ireland – Hammond and Ralston lines
  11.  Have an ancestor from Asia
  12.  Have an ancestor from Continental Europe – Briles line
  13.  Have an ancestor from Africa
  14.  Have an ancestor who was an agricultural labourer
  15.  Have an ancestor who had large land holdings – if 160 acres is considered large
  16.  Have an ancestor who was a holy man – minister, priest, rabbi
  17.  Have an ancestor who was a midwife
  18.  Have an ancestor who was an author
  19.  Have an ancestor with the surname Smith, Murphy or Jones – at least 2 SMITH lines, 1 Jones lne
  20.  Have an ancestor with the surname Wong, Kim, Suzuki or Ng
  21.  Have an ancestor with a surname beginning with X
  22.  Have an ancestor with a forename beginnining with Z
  23.  Have an ancestor born on 25th December
  24. Have an ancestor born on New Year’s Day
  25.  Have blue blood in your family lines
  26.  Have a parent who was born in a country different from my country of birth
  27.  Have a grandparent who was born in a country different from my country of birth
  28.  Can trace a direct family line back to the eighteenth century – Briles – part of 2nd Germanna colony
  29.  Can trace a direct family line back to the seventeenth century or earlier -Hammond part of great migration
  30.  Have seen copies of the signatures of some of my great-grandparents
  31.  Have ancestors who signed their marriage certificate with an X
  32.  Have a grandparent or earlier ancestor who went to university – Hiram Currey of Peoria was a lawyer
  33.  Have an ancestor who was convicted of a criminal offence
  34.  Have an ancestor who was a victim of crime
  35.  Have shared an ancestor’s story online or in a magazine (Tell us where) – this Heartland Genealogy Blog
  36.  Have published a family history online or in print (Details please) – no longer online but I used The Master Genealogist and Second Site to put my file online
  37.  Have visited an ancestor’s home from the 19th or earlier centuries – Briles homestead in Coffey County, Kansas
  38.  Still have an ancestor’s home from the 19th or earlier centuries in the family – Briles homestead
  39.  Have a  family bible from the 19th Century
  40.  Have a pre-19th century family bible – photocopy


This is my Easter post from last year.

Growing up, did you have something new to wear for Easter? Looking back at family photos, it appears that I and my brothers did have ‘Easter’ outfits.

I’m almost 5 – Possibly Easter time

I’m almost 6

I’m almost 8

Even though I think the ‘Easter Outfits’ tradition continued into our teens, the pictures of those outfits likely have not survived.

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun

1950 Census Version

 It’s Saturday Night – 

time for more Genealogy Fun! 

Your mission, should you decide to accept it (cue the Mission Impossible music here) is to:

1) The 1950 United States Census was released by the U.S. National Archives on Friday, 1 April 2022.

2) Did you make a list of your census targets and try to find them in the 1950 census? How did your plans pay off – did you find everyone, or just some of them?

So, in mid-March I posted about my 1950 census plans. That post and the research that went into it made it much easier for me to have success on April 1st when the census was released. At the end of that post, I listed my initial research goals.

On Friday, April 1st, I posted my success in locating my parents and grandparents on Facebook.

So, how have I done with my initial list?

  1. Herbert Mentzer – found in Coffey County
  2. Leon Crawford – found in Dodge City
  3. Eugene Crawford – found in Dodge City
  4. Josie Crawford whom I thought might be living with Leon Crawford was NOT found in Dodge City
  5. Helen Horton – was not found in Dodge City, thus, I need to try Texas.
  6. Myrtle Jones – found in Dodge City
  7. Esther Noll – found in Dodge city
  8. E. O Briles – found in Emporia
  9. Roberta Briles – found in Emporia
  10. Eugene Crawford – found in Emporia
  11. Letha Doolittle — not found in Emporia – likely living in San Bernardino, California
  12. Gladys Green — not found in Emporia or Coffey County, Kansas
  13. Edward G. Briles — possibly found in Yates Center, Kansas — but this entry has a ‘surprise’ wife
  14. Glen Briles – found in Woodson County
  15. Lulu Cope – found in Woodson County
  16. Charles Mentzer – found in Woodson County
  17. Leslie Mentzer – found in Allen County

Even though I did not find everyone on my list, I feel like my initial voyage into the 1950 census was a success. Now, I need to patiently wait on the indexing to have a better chance of finding those for whom I don’t have a specific address to search.