Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Finding Ezra J. Starr ~ One Puzzle Piece At A Time

One truth we learn as family historians - data may not always be true. People may not know the information, have part of the facts, or outright lie. We hope what our ancestors share is gospel. But, that is rarely the case.

Incorrect information caused years of confusion locating my husband's 3rd great-uncle, Ezra Starr. Brother to his 2nd great-grandfather, Alfred Platt Starr. We have very few facts about Ezra. His approximate birth date, place of birth, and the profession of blacksmith. Sometimes he used the middle initial "J". Surprisingly, there are few Ezra's fitting the description.

Several years ago, I discovered what was to be the first puzzle piece. Or, was it?

Here we have a Kentucky death certificate for Ezra Starr [1]. Correct name, age and occupation. But, we see him born in Germany, along with his parents. My husband's Starr line came from England, to the United States, in the late 1600's. This doesn't seem to be our guy. But, just because you never know, I saved the record to my Shoebox on Didn't want to lose the "possible" information. 

Kentucky Post
Covington, Kenton, Kentucky
23 Sep, 1904

During my weekly "Starr" family newspaper searching [2], came across the next piece of the puzzle. Located in Covington, Kenton, Kentucky. Same town referenced in Ezra's death record. We link Alfred and Ezra! The case received lots of press. Giving details, confirming the relationship between our Starr brothers. But, why Germany on Ezra's death certificate?

This Starr line moved from Massachusetts, to Connecticut, to New York, to Pennsylvania. Once in Pennsylvania, they settled in and around Littlestown, Adams County. Most of the family records are located in this town.

A podcast led me to the final puzzle piece. One favorite is Research Like a Pro with the Family Locket Genealogists. Listening again to all the previous episodes. Sometimes we miss information that may be vital. A light bulb went off with an episode about locality research. Did I miss something in Pennsylvania?

FamilySearch has wonderful locality pages. Researching the Adams County, Pennsylvania Wiki page [3] we discovered the answer. Listed are boroughs, unincorporated communities and townships. One of the townships being Germany Township.

"Germany Township is in southern Adams County, along the Maryland border. It borders the west and south sides of the borough of LittlestownPennsylvania Route 97 passes through the township, leading northwest 9 miles (14 km) to Gettysburg and south 12 miles (19 km) as Maryland Route 97 to Westminster, MarylandPennsylvania Route 194 crosses Route 97 in Littlestown and passes through the township, turning to Maryland Route 194 and leading southwest 5 miles (8 km) to Taneytown, Maryland."

Ezra most likely told his fellow Kentuckians he was from Germany Township. The official filling out the death record may have interpreted this as a country. Having no knowledge of the area in Pennsylvania, they wouldn't know about the township. Not a lie, just a case of misunderstanding the facts. We see this in many records.

All the pieces have come together. Solving the mystery of Ezra J. Starr. Also, we now have the story of a family law suit. 

Moral of the story? Keep records, even when they seem not to be part of the puzzle. Don't stop digging. Connect with other researchers, in every format possible. And, never give up! The puzzle piece you need to complete the story, could be around the corner.



[1] Kentucky, U.S., Death Records, 1852-1965; indexed database and digital image, (https// : accessed December 8, 2020), "City of Covington, KY, Department of Health,Bureau of Statistics", page 206 (image 223 of 1092), Ezra Starr death entry, February 19, 1904.

[2] "Want Settlement of an Estate, Heirs Filed Suit Against the Administrator," Kentucky [Covington, KY] Post newspaper, Friday, Sep 23, 1904, page 5 column 3, ( : accessed December 8, 2020).

[3] Adams County, Pennsylvania Genealogy Wiki Page, FamilySearch ( : accessed December 8, 2020), 

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Family History Meanderings ~ Week of Dec 05, 2020


I spend a lot of time reading, blogging and attending webinars. Sharing discoveries from each week. Hope you find something educational and entertaining.


Ancient Irish DNA (or lack of) by Dara of Black Raven Genealogy

How to Add A Half Sibling To Your Ancestry Tree by Margaret O'Brien of Data Mining DNA

New tools show Civil Townships on Google Maps on Research Hub

The 19th Amendment at 100: Women and the Final Frontier by Hilary Parkinson on Pieces of History: a blog of the U.S. National Archives

Why I Absolutely Love The Family History Guide by Bob Taylor on The Family History Guide Blog

New Languages added for use on by James Tanner of Genealogy's Star

Blogs with weekly list

Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings - Genealogy News and Educations Bytes - Friday, 04 December 2020 and Tuesday, 01 December, 2020

Linda Stufflebean of Empty Branches on the Family Tree Friday's Family History Finds

Podcasts and more

Sam Williams: Building a Family Forest on Stories In Our Roots Podcast by Heather Murphy

The orphan hero who fought at Trafalgar with Helen Berry on HistoryExtra Podcast

Webinars and Online learning

Your DNA questions answered live with Diahan on Legacy Family Tree Webinars - free through December 11, 2020

Ten Databases You Need to Know About with Shannon Combs-Bennett on Legacy Family Tree Webinars - Free - registration required - December 30, 2020

Tips for Interviewing Relatives presented by Stephanie Call on American Ancestors - Free -registration required - Thursday, December 17, 2020 - 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. est


Tracking Ancestors with City Directory Spreadsheet

If you have been reading the blog, you know that I love spreadsheets. Using them has helped me organize information. And best of all, answer questions.

A research problem has been our Gaphardt/Gephardt surname. At times, my ancestors used one or both of these spellings. Trying to determine relationships has been overwhelming. That is when I began using city directory research spreadsheets. 

This is the template I created. Named with directory title and date range. Added title of each individual directory. Now I can copy for each surname I wish to research.

Located the Digitized Baltimore City Directories on University of Maryland website. These are digitized from Internet Archive. Also, available on I find these directories easier to negotiate. Also, placed a link to the website, ensuring I have exact location the information was obtained.

Here is the first entry for my 2nd great-grandfather, George C. Gaphardt. Another surname spelling! Gephart  is now added to the growing list.

By 1871, we see my 2nd great-uncle, John C. Gaphardt appear in the directory. Verifying address for the family. My 2nd great-grandfather is listed as Gaphardt and Gephardt! No wonder I'm having such difficulty with this ancestral line.

Adding subsequent directory information, we discover the family relocating many times. Also, tracked their movements during gap created by the loss of the 1890 United States Federal Census. During this time span, the family relocated three times. Several of the addresses have previously been unknown. I will be searching the Maryland Land Records website for possible deeds. These may have important clues.

By 1901, my line settles on Gaphardt. In each succeeding record, they use that surname. But, we still see the Gephardt surname. This spreadsheet has given me a place to gather facts, and hopefully, discover relationships. I know from DNA matches, both of these surnames are indeed related.

With the directories, I made a fun discovery. How my 2nd great-grandmother met her second husband. 

According to the directories, by 1860 the Judd family was residing at 20 Walker. The last entry for them and this address being 1882.

Looking at the 1868-1869 city directory we see:

  • Henry Horn - tailor - 11 Walker (future 2nd husband of Elizabeth Judd Wakefield)
  • Philomena Judd - tailoress - 20 Walker (2nd wife and widow of 3rd great-grandfather Mathias Judd, step-mother of Elizabeth Judd Wakefield Horn)
  • Henry Wakefield - tailor  - 290 s Ann (2nd great-grandfather, 1st husband of Elizabeth Judd)

This is the last record we found for Henry Wakefield. I believe he passed away somewhere between 1869 and when Elizabeth remarries. The hunt continues!

By 1870 United States Federal Census [1], Elizabeth is residing with Phillipina Judt. Along with her young son, back to the family home.

On October 27, 1872 [2], Elizabeth weds neighbor, Henry Horn. The young widow and little boy, begin a new life. With the widower and his two small daughters. The couple would go on to have seven children. A combined total of ten children.

By the way, did you catch they were all in the tailoring business? Another connection revealed by the directories. 

Love when stories come alive using the records.

Here are a few links about using city directories in family history research:

City Directories for Genealogy When There's Been a Loss of Vital Records by Amie Bowser Tennant on The Genealogy Reporter

How to Use City Directories in Your Genealogy Research by Lisa Lisson of Are You My Cousin?



[1] 1870 U.S. census, Baltimore City, Maryland, population schedule, Baltimore Ward 6, page 224 (penned), dwelling/family 1859, Phillipina Judt household; digital image, ( : accessed 04 December 2020); imaged from NARA microfilm 552073, roll M593_574

[2] Henry Horn entry, Baltimore City Court of Common Pleas, marriage index (marriage index, male), 1851-1885, CM205, reel CR 1672; Maryland State Archives

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Found Amelia Earhart!

NASA on The Commons
No known copyright restrictions
So, did I get your attention with that title? Think we found the most famous missing woman? Actually, I found Amelia in my husband's family tree.

Last week Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings posted "Lucille Ball is My 7th Cousin Twice Removed". He discovered Lucy in his family tree with FamilySearch Famous Relatives.

FamilySearch Famous Relatives  

I tried the search for my tree, nothing. Wasn't surprised, since most of these ancestors are fairly recent immigrants.  Many lines don't go back further than my great-grandparents. The tree is not filled out enough to connect with "famous relatives".
Then we search hubby's tree. ALL his lines have been in the United States since the late 1600s. So, figured we would have a few interesting relationships. And he did! Twenty seven presidents, eleven inventors and scientists, twenty entertainers and artists, seven trailblazers and two athletes. Quite an array of notables.

Most of the "predicted relationships" go back quite far. Many I haven't fully documented. But, there is one I can verify. Amelia Earhart. She and Doug are 5th cousins once removed. The common ancestral couple being Johann Jacob Altman and Anna Maria Eisenmann. 

This was a fun discovery. Even hubby was impressed. Family history to share with the granddaughters. Now when reading a story about Amelia, they will know they share the same DNA. 

Check out the site. Hopefully, you are like my husband, with a nice fully documented tree. You may discover famous relatives. 

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Family History Meanderings ~ Week of Nov 28, 2020

I spend a lot of time reading, blogging and attending webinars. Sharing discoveries from each week. Hope you find something educational and entertaining.


As Brief As The Click Of a Shutter by Alan Burnett of News from Nowhere

The Archive Lady: Preserving Old Family Recipes by Melissa Barker on Genealogy Bargin$

GEDmatch Superkits - How To Reap The Benefits by Margaret O'Brien of Data Mining DNA

Remembering Lloyd Oliver, U.S. Marine Navajo Code Talker by Jessiekratz on Pieces of History: a blog of the U.S. National Archives

Blogs with weekly list

Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings - Genealogy News and Educations Bytes - Friday, 27 November 2020 and Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Linda Stufflebean of Empty Branches on the Family Tree Friday's Family History Finds


Podcasts and more

Connecting the Inner and Outer Journey by Lynn Palermo from The Family History Writing Studio

Women in the Dark: Female Photographers in the U.S. 1850-1900 with Maureen Taylor of The Photo Detective

Webinars and Online learning

Family Stories, a free webinar from The Genealogy Center at Allen County Public Library (registration required) Tuesday, December 01, 2020, 2:30 p.m. EST

Adding Context: Social History for Genealogists (Zoom Event, registration required) from Arlington Heights Memorial Library, December 01, 2020

Delaware Genealogical Society ~ 2021 Free and Open to Public Presentations (registration required) : 

Genealogy of a Home: Using Land Records, Wills, Census and Newspapers to Trace Family with Reese Robinson - Saturday, April 24, 2021, 10:00 am


Baltimore Heritage has a "Five Minute Histories" about different historic places in Baltimore

Why Ask Why : GenFriends: FYR Episode 14 

Friday, November 27, 2020

The Judd Connection Solved!

Orion M. Judd (left) first cousin three times removed
1925 - Fresno, California

About ten years ago, while researching my Judd family line, I came upon a cache of photographs. They were of my cousins, Orion and Carl Judd. I quickly contacted the Ancestry member, thinking we may be related.

Steve and I began an email conversation about the photographs. Once I let him know my relationship to the Judd's, Steve graciously sent the originals to our family. 

Once I came down from cloud nine, started wondering about this new mystery. How did the Judd children come to live in California? They were all born in Texas. What was their connection to Steve's family?

We begin with the children's father, my 3rd great-uncle, Charles Judd. After serving for the Union Army in the United States Civil War [1]he moved from Maryland to Texas. Once there he met and married, Lois Berry Crocker. They were wed April 22, 1869 [2], in Grayson, Texas. The couple went on to have six children. Sadly, Lois died January, 02, 1886 [3] at 37 years of age. Charles then married the widow, Lucinda Button Barnhart on August 11, 1886 [4]. Only seven month after losing his first wife.

Not long after the couple married, on May 06, 1888, Charles himself died at 44 years of age [5]. Leaving behind his orphaned children, ranging from 18 to 6 years old.

Now, this is where things go awry. All because of that dreaded 1890 U.S. Federal Census! Or lack of. The loss of this important record set creates a big hole in researching our ancestors.

With no records until 1900, it is unclear where and with whom the children resided. Did they  stay with their step-mother? Since the oldest was 18 years old, could she legally take responsibility for her younger siblings?

Next we find the various family members on the 1900 U.S. Federal Census [6-12]:
  • Olive Judd - age 30 - married to James R. Hodges abt. 1889  - Los Angeles, California
  • William Judd - age 29 - unmarried - Flagstaff, Arizona
  • Mattie Judd - age 26 - married to Aaron L. Keim abt. 1891 - Los Angeles, California
  • Minnie Judd - age 24 - married to Henry L. Wilson abt. 1893 - Merrick, Nebraska
  • Orion M. Judd - age 22 - unmarried - Philippine Islands, Military and Naval Forces, USA
  • Carl V. Judd - age 19 - unmarried - Ventura, California
  • Lucinda Button Barnhart Judd - age 58 - widowed - Pueblo, Colorado
Their step-mother had relocated to Colorado. The children all left their home state of Texas. Several residing in California. One step closer to figuring out the mystery. 

Arizona Weekly Republican, 19 Jan, 1893 - Phoenix, Arizona - [13]

Several months ago, while doing Judd research, the biggest clue appeared in a 1893  Phoenix newspaper. The children were taken in by A.P. Walbridge. Who is Mr. Walbridge? What about California?

I noticed in the 1900 U.S. Federal Census for Carl Judd [11], he was residing with George A. Walbridge. Relationship to head of household ... cousin! A connection! But, how were the Judd children related to this Walbridge family? 

Since I documented all the paternal cousins, began looking to the maternal line. Added Lois Crocker's siblings into the family tree. Discovered that George's mother, was Mary Crocker Walbridge. She was married to Henry Walbridge. Mary was the children's aunt, sister of Lois Crocker Judd.

But, who is A.P. Walbridge? More digging into the family tree, and we find another Crocker sister. Amy Crocker married Solomon Walbridge. Their son was Alfred P. Walbridge. The Judd children's much older cousin. He was 35 years old when he obtained guardianship.

At some point, between the 1893 guardianship and 1900 U.S. Federal Census, the children relocated from Texas to Arizona and finally to California.

So, am I related to Steve? Not really. But our families are related. Another Crocker sister, Martha Josephine married William Levy in, Grayson, Texas, on April 14, 1867. By the 1920 U.S. Federal Census [14], this family would make their way to California. The couple's daughter, Bertha Levy Gans, married and become the great-grandmother of my new connection, Steve. We are both cousins of the Judd children of California. I'm related down the Judd line, he is related down the Crocker line.

How sad these children lost their parents at such a young age. But, the story had a happy ending. Two aunts and their families came to the rescue. Taking care of their sister's children. From the facts I have gathered, they all lead a wonderful life. Because of the Walbridge family.

Above is another photograph sent by Steve. In it we have mine and Steve's cousin, Carl Judd. Pictured with Carl is his cousin, Claudine (Tot) Levy. Claudine was Steve's great-aunt. Daughter of William Levy and Martha Josephine Crocker.

Mystery solved! Moral of the story. Connect with everyone you can. And keep on digging. 



[1] "Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers Who Served In Organizations from the State of Maryland"; The National Archives; published 1863; Fold3 ( : accessed 15 November 2020)

[2] "Texas, Select County Marriage Records, 1837-1965" ( : accessed 15 November 2020)

[3] Headstone for Lois Crocker Judd; Sherman, Grayson, Texas, USA; West Hill Cemetery; Find-A-Grave ( : accessed 15 November 2020)

[4] "Texas, Select County Marriage Records, 1837-1965", ( : accessed 15 November 2020)

[5] Headstone for Charles Judd; Sherman, Grayson, Texas, USA; West Hill Cemetery Find-A-Grave ( : accessed 15 November 2020)

[6] 1900 U.S. census, Los Angeles, California, population schedule, Rowland Township, enumeration district (ED) 6-12, sheet 9-A, household 207, James R. Hodges household; digital image, (https// : accessed 15 November 2020); imaged from NARA microfilm T623, roll 1854

[7] 1900 U.S. census, Coconino, Arizona Territory, population schedule, Flagstaff Precinct, enumeration district (ED) 11-14, sheet 13-B,  Early D. Davidson household; digital image, (https// : accessed 15 November 2020); imaged from NARA microfilm T623, roll 1854

[8] 1900 U.S. census, Los Angeles, California, population schedule, Rowland Township, enumeration district (ED) 6-121, sheet 3-B, household 65, Aaron L. Keim household; digital image, (https// : accessed 15 November 2020); imaged from NARA microfilm T623, roll 1854

[9] 1900 U.S. census, Merrick, Nebraska, population schedule, Loup Precinct, enumeration district (ED) 3-137, sheet 1-A, household 10, Henry L. Wilson household; digital image, (https// : accessed 15 November 2020); imaged from NARA microfilm T623, roll 1854

[10] 1900 U.S. census, Balinag, Philippine Islands, population schedule, Military and Naval Population, enumeration district (ED) Company B U.S. Volunteers, sheet 4-B; digital image, (https// : accessed 15 November 2020); imaged from NARA microfilm T623, roll 1854

[11] 1900 U.S. census, Ventura, California, population schedule, Saticoy Township, enumeration district (ED) 6-167, sheet 6-B, household 127, Geo A. Walbridge household; digital image, (https// : accessed 15 November 2020); imaged from NARA microfilm T623, roll 1854

[12] 1900 U.S. census, Pueblo, Colorado, population schedule, Pueblo, enumeration district (ED) 2-101, sheet 9-B, household 128, Lucinda H. Judd household; digital image, (https// : accessed 15 November 2020); imaged from NARA microfilm T623, roll 1854

[13] "Local Briefs", Arizona Republic, 19 Jan 1893 Thu, p. 1, col 2; digital images, ( : accessed 15 November 2020)  

[14] 1900 U.S. census, Tulare, California, population schedule, Porterville Precinct, enumeration district (ED) 6-271, sheet 821-B, household 628, Cecil C. Wright household; digital image, (https// : accessed 15 November 2020); imaged from NARA microfilm T625, roll 2076

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Ruth Family Turkey Keepsake

Years ago, our son was in the United States Marine Corps. Before the holiday season, he was assigned to Okinawa, Japan. This would be the first time he wasn't home for Thanksgiving. 

To keep sadness at bay, my husband suggested a pre-Thanksgiving shopping trip. As we negotiated a crowded store, Doug suddenly disappeared. Several minutes later he returned with a huge smile on his face. In his hands were two ceramic turkeys.

I reminded him we had more than enough decorations. He thought these would be fun to send to Justin. The next care package was filled with snacks, magazines and two turkeys. 

First thing Justin said when he called Thanksgiving morning ... "thanks Mom & Dad for the turkeys!" Seems he and his fellow Marines thought they were a hoot and placed them on their holiday table. 

When Justin finally returned home, we were in for a little surprise. While unpacking, he handed me a small box. Looking down I found the ceramic turkeys, carefully wrapped to survive a journey across the world. 

I honestly never expected to see them again. Asking Justin why he kept them, he replied "they are Ruth family keepsakes and must be saved". 

And that is the story of our ceramic turkey candle holders. 

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!