SNGF (but on Sunday) - Ahnentafel Roulette

So the rules are that I'm supposed to take my father's age, divide it by four, and then find the person listed as that number on my ahnentafel report and write at least three facts that I know about him/her.  For me, this leads to a woman who I need to research further, my 2nd great grandmother Katie Lamb.

"The British are coming!!!"


A couple years ago, Jennifer and I went to Boston for our 15th wedding anniversary.  We were riding a tour bus around the city hearing about some of the Revolutionary War sites that we passed and found that one of the historical sites we passed had a direct connection to our family.  Remember the story about the famous midnight ride of Paul Revere?  The road along which this ride took place is now part of Minute Man National Historic Park, and Hartwell Tavern is one of the locations on the road.  As it turns out, this building and its residents played an important but lesser known role in the story of Revere's famous ride.

Questions from high school

My son just began his freshman year in high school this month.  In "American Experience," the class that my generation simply called "U.S. History," he's been given an assignment that boils down to a unified genealogy and history report, with an emphasis on migration patterns across the country.  This week, students are working on their four-generation pedigree charts, which connects back to their great grandparents.  Sure, I could just print a pedigree chart from the database, but that would be cheating for this assignment.  He's got to do that part on his own, and then when he's done that, we'll check it over and compare it with the data that I have in my genealogy database.

The more interesting part of this assignment is the section where he will show how our family's migration fits in with national migration patterns and the events of the day.  His teacher gave him a set of questions to guide researching and writing the report, and I think they should also be answered by genealogists who spend a little more time researching than most of the students will.  The research questions are:
  1. Why did the movement happen? What pushed people out of where they were and what pulled people to where they went?
  2. Was there a turning point in history that prompted your family's move? Explain.
  3. How was their life in the new place different from their life in the old place and how was it the same?
  4. How did your family's life change as a result of this movement?  How significant was the change in your family's life?
  5. How did your family adapt to their new environment?
  6. How did the move affect your family's ethnic identity?
  7. How is your family's ethnic identity today similar to or different from the past?
  8. How complete was your family's assimilation to their new environment?
  9. Why did your family choose the places they went?
  10. What were your family's experiences getting into the United States if they moved from another country?
  11. How was your family treated by the people in the area once they came to the new place?
  12. How did your family travel in their movement?
  13. How was your family's movement affected by any major pieces of U.S. legislation?
  14. How was your family's movement affected by any major historical events?
  15. How was your family's movement affected by wider patterns of settlement and movement in history?
  16. Has your family's movement affected or been affected by any type of music, food or religion?
  17. How has education affected your family's movements?
  18. How have political events or violence affected your family's movements?
  19. How has your family's movements helped shape the "American" identity?
Answering a couple of these questions as they relate to stubborn research subjects, our "brick wall" ancestors, we might be able to make a few breakthroughs and continue our research in other directions.

Another location named for my ancestors

The Meharry family line, of which I am descended from Alexander "Red" Meharry III (1763-1813), left their mark in a few place names in western Indiana.  I've known about the Meharry Cemetery in Wingate, Indiana, where many of this family is buried, for a while now.  Since I'm actively researching this family, I've been looking around recently at other history references that deal with this part of the state.  Here's a fun tidbit from the History of Montgomery County (published in 1881) about another place that carries the family name:
Meharry Grove
If there is one spot in Montgomery county more celebrated than another (and there certainly is), that spot is Meharry Grove.  Located on Coal creek, one and a half miles north of Pleasant Hill, a high and beautifully shaded place, it has been the favorite campground for over thirty years.  The grounds contain about forty acres, a large number of seats are provided, and water is plentiful.  Here it has not been an uncommon occurrence for thousands of happy faces to congregate.  The eminent divines, Cyrus Nutt, Pres. Berry, Bishop Bowman, Dr. Brenton, have preached to immense audiences.  Here was held a mammoth temperance rally about 1875, addressed by the "Broad Ax," or M. D. Chance.  Here too, have ex-Gov. Col. Robert Hawley, of Centennial fame, Gov. S. M. Cullom, of Illinois, Hon. G. S. Orth, Judge T. F. Davidson, and other renowned statesmen, proclaimed American principles to vast concourses of people.  In all these gatherings the prevailing characteristic has been good order and universal enjoyment.

Satellite view of Coal Creek in western Montgomery County, Indiana, a little north of Wingate. View Larger Map

There's a 1916 obituary for Charles W. Meharry published in the Crawfordsville Review that mentions the "widely known Meharry family of Western Indiana" held a number of annual family reunions at Meharry's Grove, placing it on the border between Montgomery and Fountain Counties, which would place it on the western edge of Montgomery County.  But, I have yet to find a map that shows this location more precisely.  Looking at current satellite images of the area, there are a few areas surrounding Coal Creek that look like they have not been farmed.  I suspect that Meharry Grove was a parcel of farm land that was once owned by the family, and that Meharry Grove was an unofficial name for the farm.  But again, I don't have any proof of this yet.

Wordless Wednesday, but with a few words...

Okay, so this post isn't strictly about someone with a connection to the family lines I'm currently researching.  But, as I've seen mentioned in other genealogy publications, the history of a building can be just as interesting to research as the family that used it.  I'm always fascinated when I look at historical buildings around me to find evidence of previous tenants.  This building on State Street here in Madison has always been one of my favorites because of the visible history in the storefront.  But, there's more history to this building beyond the coal company offices.  According to the Wisconsin Historical Society, this building was originally built in 1857 as the home of Madison Fire Engine Company #2.  A filing with the City of Madison for landmark status for this building has a more complete history of the structure.  It mentions that the Castle & Doyle Coal façade was added in 1921.  The building now houses one of State Street's many arts and gifts stores.  I haven't been inside the current store yet, but always take a moment to look at this building when I pass it.