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John Hilyard Family ca. 1909

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Brick Wall: BUSTED! The maiden name of of Pharaba Moore is...

Have you ever watched a mystery where the super sleuth is hunting diligently for a secret panel or switch to open up a passage, when the bumbling sidekick accidentally leans on it without even trying?

Enter me, the bumbling sidekick. Yesterday I stumbled on some documents on Ancestry that have solved, in my mind, a mystery that has eluded me since I started doing genealogy.

I have blogged about my ancestors Edward Windsor and Susannah Bryant Moore extensively.  Edward's parents were Edward and Pharaba Moore. This is proven by a family Bible belonging to Edward Windsor Moore's brother Thomas Moore.
Third page of Thomas Moore family Bible transcription,
listing his parents and siblings
Other than this, I can find only one other record in my possession that lists Pharaba (in its myriad number of spellings) by name. It is a deed where Edward sold a piece of land, and Pharaba, as his wife, had to be listed. This is a transcription of the deed provided many years ago by my cousin Phyllis Hill.
Deed from Edward and Pharaba Moore to William Wolfington, 1833
Beyond this, 27 years of research hasn't yielded a single clue as to who Pharaba was before becoming Mrs. Edward Moore.

Yesterday, I stumbled onto the metaphorical secret panel:
This document is a petition by Reuben Pearce, who was attempting to settle the estate of his maiden aunt Kiziah Pearce. She died without children so her estate fell to her siblings and their heirs. To quote from above:
"She had a sister named Ferabee who married Edward Moore, who removed from the county with his wife some twenty years ago and neither of them has been heard of for the past twenty years and your petitioner is advised that their long absence, not being heard from by their relatives, is presumptive evidence of their deaths."

This is the magical piece of the puzzle I always hoped to find. But not only this, the great internets yielded up to me the names of Pharaba's parents as well. Ready?
Will of Windsor Pearce, Randolph County, North Carolina
Down towards the end it says this:
"and to My Daughter Pherrebee More They give one Featherbed & Furniture and Two Dollars to her or Her's".

Windsor and Mary Pearce, the parents of Pharaba Pearce Moore. Pharaba Pearce Moore, the mother of...don't forget...Edward WINDSOR Moore! Huzzah! 

In my mind, this is proof. I hope my fellow Moore researchers will read over this, and rejoice with me!

I have much more to share with you, but I'm still processing all this.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Extinction of the Moores

It hit me on my afternoon commute. My Moore line is nearly extinct. I could think of only one living male Moore, and couldn't wait to get home to make sure I was right.

Grave of Edward Windsor Moore in Orleans, Indiana

I blogged earlier about my 4th great-grandparents, Edward Windsor and Susannah Bryant Moore, and their struggle to get a Civil War pension. You can start reading about that here if you like.

The Facts

Edward Windsor Moore was born 17 October 1802 in North Carolina. He married Susannah Bryant (born 25 July 1804 in Lincoln County, Kentucky) on 24 September 1823, in Orange County, Indiana. They lived nearly all their lives in rural Orange County except for a short stint in Kansas which did not agree with them. This couple had thirteen children. You would expect a large number of Moores to come down from them, right?

Well, you would be wrong.

Their children

Edward and Susannah Moore had seven sons. John and Joseph died in early childhood. Bartlett Coffin, their youngest, died tragically at the age of 16 serving as a bugler in the Civil War.

Sons Columbus and David only produced daughters that survived to adulthood.

This leaves only William Bryant Moore (my ancestor), and Edward Windsor Moore II. Both of these men had sons that survived adulthood.

Their grandchildren

Let me address Edward Windsor Moore II first. He died in battle during the Civil War. He has my only "loose end." He had two sons, Nelson and Edward Windsor III. Edward Windsor III is the only one listed as an heir to his grandfather's estate in 1890, meaning Nelson Moore died before this time leaving no heirs. I can find no other records for him beyond this date. If he produced any heirs I haven't yet located them.

Now on to my ancestor, William Bryant Moore. He died at the age of 20, on 10 January 1851. Fortunately he left behind one tiny baby, William Braddock Moore, my great-great grandfather.

Their great-grandchildren

William Braddock Moore was orphaned at the age of 12 when both his mother and stepfather passed away that year.  He married Martha Ann Tillery in 1870, and they reared a large family that included four boys.  Two of them, William and Charley, died in childhood.
Moore Family Portrait about 1900
Back row: Minnie, Nannie, Fred, and Ella
Front row: Ed, William Braddock, Nellie, Martha, and Opal

This left Edward Bryant Moore, who only had daughters, and my great-grandfather Frederick Thomas Moore.

Their great-great grandchildren

Fred Moore married Della Mariah Moore (a great confusion but completely separate line of Moores) in 1899. They had three sons: Lee, Ed, and Robert. Robert died just after his first birthday.

My great-uncle Ed married and helped raise his stepchildren, but never had children of his own. That just leaves my grandfather Lee, who passed away several decades ago.

Their great-great-great grandchild

Lee Moore married Lillian Wilson in in 1936, and had one son, my uncle Bill. In the 215 years since the birth of Edward Windsor Moore, it has come down to this. One man that still carries the Moore yDNA.
My uncle Bill, the last of the Moores

That's what hit me in traffic the other day. Bill is 80 now and has no children.  I immediately asked my mom to talk to him about taking a yDNA test for me, and he graciously agreed. I'm ordering the kit today, and hope that this will help solve some mysteries for me. Moore is a fairly common surname and I'm stuck at Edward Windsor Moore's grandfather William, who died in North Carolina in 1781. I can't figure out where he came from. Perhaps in a few months I'll get some more clues.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Mark of Thomas Hilyard (1789-1853)

I enjoy collecting the signatures of my ancestors. All of my 20th century ancestors were literate, and I can find at least some small samples of handwriting for each of them.

Delving back to the 19th century and beyond, I find a lot of this, however:
Typical "X" mark of illiterate

This "mark" most often meant that an ancestor was unable to write. This usually meant unable to read as well, though not always. One other possibility is that the person was no longer able to write due to illness or infirmity. The cross, or X, was the most common way for a person who could not write to sign a document.  I found an interesting article on Ancestry titled How Did Your Ancestors Sign Their Names? Click through to read if you are interested in more information.

One ancestor's mark caught my eye. Thomas Hilyard, born July 12th, 1789 in Pennsylvania, was a blacksmith. He and his wife Elizabeth nee Haught produced a family of at least 19 children (possibly two others stillborn). On a side note, I would like to point out that at age 33, Elizabeth gave birth to healthy twin girls, already having nine other children, then less than one year later had another healthy girl.

Back to Thomas Hilyard. When my cousin and I looked over his probate packet in Fairfield County, Ohio, we found he made his mark, but it was not the typical X. We photographed it in addition to photocopying the pages.
Signature Mark of Thomas Hilyard born 1789, made in 1851

Looking over other documents, I was able to find further examples of Thomas Hilyard's signature mark. In his application for bounty land for his War of 1812 service, it is rather cramped but now I see it:
Signature mark of Thomas Hilyard from 1850

I hadn't even noticed this unusual mark when I received these papers many years ago. It never hurts to look back over the original documents with a fresh eye to see what you might have missed.

As I wrote this post, I knew I had seen his signature in one other place but couldn't call to mind where. I finally located this example, from much earlier in his life, about 35 years old.
Signature mark of Thomas Hilyard from 1824
It isn't the exact same as the signature from his later years, but still a distinctive curve as opposed to the usual X. What this reminds me of is a horseshoe! I wonder if the blacksmithing Thomas thought of it that way.

If I am fortunate enough to find more documents for Thomas Hilyard, I will surely know I have the right man by this unique signature mark.

Friday, January 27, 2017

My Grandmother's Calendars

Many years ago, my dad gifted me an old trunk from his side of the family, full of old stuff. I looked through it, and treasured what I had in store to look through.
Old Hilyard Family Trunk

I recently was able to move the trunk from an impossible-to-access place in a closet to my bedroom. Opening it, I found my grandmother's old wall calendars. I was aware they were in there, but wasn't sure what to do with them. Seeing their fragile condition, I knew they needed some help.
Disintegrating before our very eyes!

I called over my partner-cousin in genealogy crime, and we went to work. It only took us a few hours to sort and photograph/digitize all the pages. After that, I stored the originals in scrapbooking boxes, labelled in case I need to see them again.
Neatly stored!

Now, all of the calendars are stored on my Google drive, accessible from any computer, any time.

So, what's on the calendars? Reading through them, we compared them to Facebook. Just day-to-day recordings of what my grandmother was doing, who was born, who died, who came to visit. The range? From 1932 to 1976! Some years are missing, but what a treasure. We looked up our birthdays, and there they were. Not only was my birth recorded, but the fact that my grandmother baked bread that day.

There is very little in the way of worldly happenings, but I spotted this entry:

World War II made the calendar
Just picking any page at random:

Look at all the canning she did! She notes it was hot. Remember this--she did all the cooking and canning on a woodstove. No fans, no A/C.  Fifty-four quarts of her own apricots, then she notes that she canned her sister's the next day. On the 14th, they had 42 people to dinner. My mom says she would feed the men, then the women, then the kids. My grandma turned 62 that month. My hat is off to one tough lady.

I see my grandpa had a wreck on the 7th and broke a rib. Later that week his sons mowed and plowed the garden for him. I'll have to ask my dad about that.

Dig around for old calendars and journals, diaries and such. So much rich daily detail in there! It also makes me consider what record I'm leaving.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Right Under Your Nose, or at Least, Your Fingertips!

Dickey Family about 1909
In Back: Cyprian
In Front l to r: Burnie, Jennie, Audrey, Marion, and my grandmother Alys

THANK YOU, Lisa Louise Cooke!

I woke up a little early to noodle around with my genealogy, and saw I had a new Genealogy Gems podcast to listen to (episode 197). As I made the coffee, I was listening to Lisa talk about how she had found the exact marriage date for her great-grandparents, a fact that had eluded her for several years. She had searched in depth, found nothing, and set it aside. She finished the segment by encouraging listeners to try again on a tough problem.

Well, I too had a set of great-grandparents with a mystery marriage. I actually had the date, but I had never been able to find the civil record. I had come to the private conclusion that perhaps a marriage hadn't even taken place...

I was wrong. Following Lisa's advice, I sat down with my coffee and loaded up FamilySearch. I typed in "Marion Dickey" and "Sarah Jane Reck", and clicked on marriages, with the dates from 1890-1900. I didn't specify a location.
Screenshot of FamilySearch showing my great-grandparents' marriage
I was dumbstruck. I had spent a good chunk of 1994 mailing (with stamps) letters (on paper) to nearly a dozen counties where I thought the marriage could have occurred. This couple lived in both western Ohio and eastern Indiana so I concentrated in that area. I included a SASE (you kids even know what that is?) to ensure a reply, and I kept all those. I saw the above record came from Randolph County, Indiana, and I was curious as to whether or not I had tried that one.  Guess what?
"We're sorry. We have no idea what you are talking about."
I had given them the exact date. The exact woman's name. The correct man's surname with what would be a matching middle initial. Seriously?

So, 22 years after receiving word that my great-grandparents were not in the index in Randolph County, Indiana, I present to you their marriage record:
Francis M. Dickey married Jennie Reck on April 3rd, 1896 in Randolph County, Indiana, courtesy of
I found this record in less than one minute, drinking coffee, before 7 a.m. on a work day. How sweet is that? Thanks again to Lisa Louise Cooke for her great podcasts and encouragements!

P.S.: I love this record because my dad told me that Marion (his grandfather) was named after the Revolutionary War figure Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox. I have seen NO records that show his first name being Francis, until today.

I'm doing the happy dance! Now, go looking for something YOU had given up on.

Monday, October 31, 2016

All's Quiet On the Blogging Front; or, How Much Can One Genealogist Actually Accumulate? Don't Ask.

I haven't been posting much lately, but happily not for lack of genealogy. I've been in overdrive on several projects, and want to share a few with you.
Gravestone of my 5th great-grandmother Elizabeth Hill Grinter; part of my ongoing digital organization project

The Great Software Changeover

It was announced late last year that the Family Tree Maker software that I have used in some form or another for 20 years was no longer going to be supported. Like many others, I was at first unhappy with this sea change that was being forced upon me. I decided, upon the recommendation of many bloggers and podcasters, to switch to RootsMagic. Rootsmagic had the business savvy to offer a good deal to new users when Ancestry made their announcement.

My software stayed in the box for several months until I decided how I was going to handle things. I'll admit, I had been entering stuff in Family Tree Maker (FTM) willy-nilly for years. Sourceless, unsubstantiated stuff. I'll even admit to having just a few "Ancestry Family Tree" sources in there. Just a few though! With over 17,000 people in my database, I needed to make some changes.

I finally decided that I was going to do my own form of the Genealogy Do-Over begun two years ago by Thomas MacEntee, creator of the excellent Geneabloggers community.  Rather than throw everything out the window as he suggests, I decided to start with a clean slate. Not import data over from FTM, even though RootsMagic made that incredibly easy for us converts, but rather start with me. Type in my name. And source EVERYTHING.

Do you have ANY idea how tedious this was at first?

I was bogged down in the beginning with the learning curve of the new software. Once I grew accustomed to it, things sped up considerably. But now the task of proving every. Single. Thing. How did I know my own birthday? My parents' wedding day? Could I prove my grandparents were really my grandparents? For someone working mainly in the 1700s, these seemed so...almost trivial? Of course I know when my parents got married. I am fortunate enough to still be able to ask them. But that is not exactly proof.

So, I have been gathering birth certificates, death certificates, marriage records. Censuses. Probate. One eye-opener for me was realizing that all the documents I had linked to in Ancestry needed to be downloaded. I had not actually saved the documents themselves, only links to them.

RootsMagic promises that by the end of 2016, I will be able to sync my data in their program with my Ancestry family tree. When that happens, I will add a second RootsMagic database where I import it ALL. Until then, I am quietly chipping away at what I am calling my Fact Tree.

Which brings me to my second big project of late:

Digital Organization

There has been much talk of this lately in genealogy blogs. I purchased Drew Smith's excellent book, "Organize Your Genealogy" which came out this summer. This isn't strictly about digital organization but goes into it and was the catalyst for much discussion.

I had already followed the framework for my digital files suggested by Lisa Louise Cook in her free genealogy podcast, Family History: Genealogy Made Easy. It makes sense to me, and I have been able to find any file I need without racking my brain.

My digital organization project has included setting up a consistent naming system for my files. To maintain this consistency, I had to write myself an Evernote note with templates on how I name everything. I have used this so many times!

Now I have (most) of my existing digital files organized, I have to attack the files and binders full of 26 years or more of my old-school paper research.  I love having the ability to pull up documents from anywhere on any device via Google drive and Evernote. I want to be able to do that with all my papers. Oh, and don't forget the photos. Sigh.

Ongoing Research

Finally, I have been continuing to do some onsite research for my Hilyard line. Most recently my cousin and I visited the Allen County Public Library. The last time I was there was 1997. I honestly didn't recognize the place. One librarian said they had a complete makeover about 10 years ago. We were there all day (and part of the evening as they had Midnight Madness going on) and I doubt if we even scratched the surface of what they have.
My 15 minutes of fame: a book I donated in 1997!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Writing a Research Report; or the Story of How We Didn't Really Find Out Anything, Part Two

We only spent a short while at the Allen County Museum as time was running short. I wish we had more time to really look it over. One exhibit we did stop to look at was this:

An original Conestoga wagon; perhaps the Hilyards used a similar one on their trip from Pennsylvania to Ohio

Informational placard

Once we were home, I recorded all the information in my research report as follows:

  1. LAND RECORDS--Abstract Records: if you have the physical description of property, you can follow all the transactions for it on one page. Jeremiah Sr.'s land is found under
           NE Quarter, Section 22, Township 3 South, Range 5 East
a. The deed I had without a source was from the State of Ohio to Jeremiah Hillyard. This is found in Book 60, p. 195. The deed is dated 30 Mar 1850, but was not recorded until 12 Feb 1890. WHY THEN?
b. The next transaction for the land was from the Adminstrator of Jeremiah Hilyard (Jr., though it doesn't specify this) to John Hilyard dated 28 Feb 1878, recorded 11 Mar 1878.
Detail: Joseph Brenneman was the administrator of Jeremiah Hilyard Jr. Joseph was married to Jeremiah Jr.'s sister Nancy. Jeremiah Jr. was entitled to 1/7 of the land, which seems to have never been probated. Jeremiah Jr.'s administrator sold the estate's undivided share to John Hilyard so he could proceed with Jr.'s probate.
c. Noah Hilyard and wife Lorena granted a quit claim deed to John Hilyard for his 1/7 part of the land. Deed dated 2 Jan 1878, recorded 4 Mar 1878.
d. Next, the Auditor of Allen County granted the land to John Hilyard, deed dated 5 Aug 1879, recorded 6 Aug 1879.
Detail: the property had delinquent taxes, interest, and penalties for 1874, simple taxes for 1875, and is listed for taxation under the name Jerry Hillyard (38 acres). The land was advertised for sale. Peter Remlinger bid $15.87 (the amount due on the property), and paid this to the treasurer. More than two years elapsed and the land was not redeemed by Remlinger. John Hilyard produced the certificate of sale duly assigned to him along with a survey of the land. The auditor of Allen County granted the land to John Hilyard on 5 Aug 1879.
e. Sidney Hilyard (widow of John) deeded a quit claim to John's children Phoebe Baumgardner, Laura Bowers, Ira Hilyard, John M. Hilyard, and Clarence C. Hilyard. Deed dated 14 Feb 1914, recorded 28 Apr 1914.
  1. PROBATE RECORDS--We felt a double check of Jeremiah Jr. probate packet was needed. It ordered Jeremiah Sr.'s land to be sold to get Jr.'s 1/7 interest in it subject to the dower of Mary Neeley (Sr.'s widow). Dates on outside of packet note where all items are recorded.
**We found as we worked that a timeline would be useful. I outlined the bare bones of what we knew and we added to it over the day.
  • 1850--Jeremiah Sr. purchased land
  • 1850--Jeremiah Jr. born
  • 1855--Jeremiah Sr. died
  • 1856--Mary Ann married Samuel Neeley
  • 1878--Jeremiah Jr. died before Feb. 28th, 1878
  • 1888--Mary Ann died
The original scribbled timeline

Tidied-up timeline written on the drive home

Now, what did all this mean:
ANALYSIS:  When Jeremiah Hilyard Sr. died, his estate was inherited in 7 equal parts. His heirs would be: son Thomas, daughter Nancy Brenneman, son David, son John, son Jeremiah Jr., son Noah, and son Ephraim. Widow Mary Ann had her dower right. There has been NO RECORD of the estate found so far other than what is shown in the these land transactions. We have examined the General Index of Estates, Administrators Bonds, and Guardianships, and have found nothing for Jeremiah Sr.
Now, with my original goal in mind, what did we learn?
CONCLUSION: There is still insufficient evidence to prove Jeremiah Hilyard Sr. is the father of Thomas Hilyard.
Insert sad trumpet sound: wah wah.  But that isn't the end of the project. We had to look over what we had found, pulling out names and dates, facts, figures, and brainstorm what else we could check into. The last section of my report is this list:
  1. Delinquent tax sale should be advertised in newspaper: FOUND! But property was advertised in 1865??
  2. Research the tax records
  3. Find original land records from State of Ohio
  4. Research all the references on Jeremiah Jr.'s estate packet
  5. Are there any records of Mary Ann and her sons' time in Michigan?
  6. Make a new timeline with as much information as possible: STARTED
  7. Are there divorce records for Samuel and Mary Ann?
  8. Scour probate records. Possibly not indexed??
  9. Find info on Samuel Neeley; who are his parents, what happened to him?  FOUND: Parents Thomas and Mary Neeley. Thomas died in 1847; Mary died in 1874. She left Samuel $1 in her will dated 1866.
  10. Find John Hilyard's survey of land from 1879 land transaction
  11. Who is Peter Remlinger? FOUND: He lived in Milan, Ohio (near Lake Erie) but had a sister, Mrs. William Hedrick, in Delphos (Allen County). Born 1840 in France, died 1897 in Milan, Ohio. Living in Wyandot County, Ohio in 1860. Maybe Huron County, Ohio in 1880.

As you can see from the final section, we have already started working on the further steps, and that they have led to even more questions.

I hope you can see the value in writing out something like this report to help solidify and clarity what you have, what you find, and what your next steps should be.

Blog reader Laura Mattingly submitted her thoughts on the poem on Jeremiah and Mary Ann Hilyard's gravestone from the previous post:

"Forever Father and Mother dear
  you are not dead but sleeping here."

Looking at this along with the photo, I propose the first word might be "Farewell" instead of "Forever".