Monday, March 25, 2013

March Madness Monday: Final 4 Ancestors

[Editor's Note: Today's post is written by Denise Hibsch Richmond, Publicity Chairperson and Tech Committee member for Root Cellar Sacramento Genealogical Society.]

Many people around me are talking about their brackets in the 2013 NCAA College Basketball Tournament currently in progress.  It started me thinking about how genealogy could be applied to "bracketology", the art of selecting which teams will advance to the final game.  Fans use a template like the one shown below to record their selections.


With my genealogy glasses on, the template sure is reminiscent of Family Pedigree Charts, shown below, used to record information about direct-line ancestors.  Sort of a genealogy bracket if you will.
Skipping past the "Sweet 16" and the "Elite 8" of the tournament, I wondered who would be in my "Final 4" genealogy bracket and the champion.  Who are my favorite ancestors?  Maybe my finalists are my most frustrating ancestors - the brickwalls.
Then, in keeping with the spirit of the tournament, I needed a "pool" of other genealogists to join the contest.   No money will be involved.  The winner(s) will be those who make a "genealogy slam-dunk" - a cousin connection by virtue of their participation.  So I sent an invitation to a few members of Root Cellar Sacramento Genealogical Society to create my pool.  The following are their genealogy brackets:
Martha's Final Four Ancestors
  1. Alice Bird (b. 1853, Asbury, Warren County, NJ, d. 1918, Newark, NJ)
  2. Daniel M. Curtis (b. 1804, Warren County, NJ; d.1875, OH?)
  3. Lucinda Curtiss (b. VT; d OH?)
  4. Adriana Wilkinson (b. 1783, NJ; d. ?, NJ?)

Alice Bird
Courtesy of Martha
Champion:  Alice Bird.  She is quite short (bird-like) compared to her husband, my great grandfather, who was well over six feet.  There is a nice, nature centered photograph of her with flowers in the forest.  Finally, she willed her only blood grandson (my father) her piano.  Music has been very important in our family and she supported that on my father's side.
Barry's Final Four Brickwall Ancestors
  1. Willis Joseph Travis (b. 1823, New York City; d. 1873, Houston, TX)
  2. Susan Travis (b. 1825, New York City; d. 17 Jul 1902, Dobbs Ferry, NY)
  3. William Levi Travis [went by Levi] (b. 13 Oct 1826, New York City; d. 15 Dec 1866, New York City)
  4. Unknown Travis
William Levi Travis
Courtesy of Barry
Champion:  William Levi Travis.  He is my direct-line ancestor. All of my Final Four are children of unknown parents.  I have two death certificates but I record their parents as "unknown." DNA evidence also shows me to be related to another Travis line, and to a Whitney line. The latter may be linked to the unknown sibling. All four were orphaned, probably in the late 1820s.  Do you know who their parents were?

Glenda's Final Four Brickwall Ancestors
  1. Barbara - wife of Conrad Zile. Married about 1795 as the first child, John, was born 13 Oct. 1796, Frederick Co, MD. Barbara died 26 Feb. 1843 in Carroll Co, MD.  I need Barbara's maiden name, parents, date and place of birth. Some researchers online say her maiden name is Tener. I have searched Teners and find no Barbara anywhere.
  2. Patrick Jeremiah Donovan – b. 1814, Ireland; d. 10 Sep 1855, Grass Valley, Nevada, CA.  Married Mary Bradwell 11 Sep 1840 in Jamestown, Grant, WI. Appears in 1840 census in Galena, Jo Davies, IL. Purchased land in Jo Davies County in 1840, 1842 and sold it in 1852 when he moved to California. Need place of birth in Ireland, immigration record.
  3. John D. Grimes – b. about 1811, Maryland, probably Baltimore County. Married Margaret Zile 16 Oct 1832 in Baltimore Co. In Adams County, OH in 1850 census. In Mahaska County, Iowa in 1856 state census and remained there until his death 20 Aug. 1881. Need names of parents and date of birth. I believe David C. Grimes is his brother, born 1805, died after 1880.
  4. Samuel Crawford – b. 25 Jan 1799, probably Fleming County, KY, son of James Crawford and Sarah VanZandt. Named in father’s will, written in 1835. Need name of wife, date and place of marriage, date and place of death. His daughter Mary Ann married John P. Cockern 26 Dec 1837 in Fleming County, KY. An uncle of Mary Ann and brother of Samuel, James Crawford, signed the marriage bond.
Champion: John D. Grimes.  He's my most frustrating ancestor having researched him for many years.  I still don't know who his parents were, do you?
Denise's Final Four Ancestors
  1. Jane Clark - b. 1846 Adams County, OH; d. Aug 1918 Athens Insane Asylum, Athens, OH
  2. Thomas Brown - b. 1843 Jackson, Highland, OH; d. 1927 Blanchester, Clinton, OH
  3. James Hutson or Houston - b. about 1859 Wisconsin or Scotland; m. 1878 Osage, Mitchell, IA; death unknown
  4. Ida May Brown - b. Jul 1868 Worth County, MO; d. May 1955 Covina, Los Angeles, CA
Champion:  It's a tie.  James Hutson is frustrating because he seemingly vanished from records until 1895 when his wife Ella Pillsbury divorced him based on abandonment.  Ida May Brown's childhood fascinates me to frustration.  Was she really born in Missouri?  Why were her parents in Missouri?  They otherwise lived their entire lives in Ohio.  Her father, Thomas Brown, divorced her mother, Jane Clark, in 1873; her mother was institutionalized in 1881 when Ida was about 13; her father Thomas Brown remarried in 1880 when she was about 12.  She's not in any census with her father.  Who raised Ida May Brown, my great-great grandmother?
Hoping for a Cousin Connection
Readers, can you provide "an assist" to these genealogists in discovering more about their Final Four Ancestors?  Please leave a comment on this post or send an email to  Thanks for following along with our fun with these genealogy brackets.

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