Granddad Daniel Grant Varner

Granddad Daniel Grant Varner
Daniel Grant Varner (front, far right) and siblings with spouses

Friday, December 21, 2012

Working on SMETHERS branch of family and indexing on the World Archives Project

As I mentioned in my last blog post I have resumed indexing on Family Search.  I was working on the New York Naturalization project.  I thought I would try something different  so I begin indexing on Ancestry's World Archive Project as well.  I've been working on the Kansas (city and county) state census there.

Comparing the two I believe the indexing tools are fairly equivalent with a slight edge to Family Searches.  However, Family Search far surpasses Ancestry on project instructions, examples, help forums and accuracy ratings.  In fact on Ancestry there appears to be no way of knowing what changes had been made to your indexed records.  For that reason the frustration level is much higher working with the World Archive Project.  At least on Family Search you know what the arbitrator changed and if you do not agree you can request a further review.

For now I will continue to do some for each.

Also this week I was able to spend a lot of time on Ancestry working on my paternal 2nd great grandmothers family the SMETHERS (SMITH'S).  With the help of another researcher on Ancestry I was finally able to determine and prove her maiden name of WELTY.  So far it appears as though the most of the family have stayed in the Madison and Wayne County, Indiana areas.  A few (my great grandmother) came to Missouri and one or two to Kansas.  I have found several death and marriage records and many census records on Ancestry.  I also found some burial locations, and tombstone photos on Find A Grave.  The family tree grew by almost 30 people this week.

I still have much work to do on the Elias SMETHERS / Barbara WELTY family.  There are 9 children in the family and most (if not all) married and had children of their own.  I will be spending the next few weeks on this branch of the tree.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Documenting the HOLLY / HOLLOPETER / MARTIN family connection

It's been a very busy last three weeks.  Thanksgiving was great with all of the family here at the new house.  I've also re-started my Family Search Indexing efforts again.  I've just past the 5,000 records indexed mark. I've also been volunteering at the Henry County Museum and Genealogy Library a couple of days a week.  That has left little time to spend on my family history.

No new relations uncovered but I've been concentrating on more complete documentation of those I already  have in the family tree.  My concentration areas of the last few weeks have been the MARTIN / HOLLY / HOLLOPETER connections.  These connections are related to the VARNER side of the family.  Primarily I've found census records, marriage records and a few obituaries.  The HOLLY name came from Ray V HOLLY who choose to shorten his surname of  HOLLOPETER  to HOLLY.  At this point I'm not sure how many of his siblings's choose to do that as well.  I have a research "TO DO" to look into this a little more at a later date.

I received some invaluable assistance from Bill Martin to set me on the correct path for his mother's (HUEY) side of the family.

I've now decided to rework my research strategy with the focus being on more complete documentation of the family file I have.  My intent is to focus more on family history and less on genealogy.  Now to put together a game plan.  Also for the new year I plan on rethinking my genealogy "Tool Kit".  That may be a future blog subject.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Census finds for John F SMITH & Daniel VARNER

Last week and so far this week has been very busy.  My wife and I just returned from a trip to the southern tip of Missouri to pick up my grandson for the Thanksgiving holiday.  Down and back in one day (13 1/2 hours).  It's so good that he will be able to spend it with the rest of the family.  All of the kids/grand kids will be home for Thanksgiving.

Last week I resumed my Family Search Indexing,  I've indexed a few more records for the first time since the 1940 census was finished.  I also spent quite a bit of time doing photo requests for Find A Grave.  The weather has been very cooperative so far this month.  It's really been a very mild November so far.

I've not progressed much on the family tree in the last week or two.  Spent a couple of days on Ancestry and I was able to finally find my maternal great grand father (John Franklin Smith) in the 1880 census.  This has eluded me for quite some time.  He was enumerated as John SMITT.  I also found my paternal grandfather in the 1900 census.  He was enumerated as Daniel VERNER.  Also found marriage licenses for a couple of cousins.  I hope to be able to spend Friday on research.

Friday, November 9, 2012

New VARNERS added to the tree and new sources for VARNER/SMITH/LEONARDS/SMETHERS

This has been a very productive week from a genealogical research stand point.  I've been able to spend a couple of days concentrating on my paternal grandfathers line.  I found several new source documents and was able to add an entire family (2nd cousin 3X removed) John Peter VARNER of Fayette Township, Juniata County, PA.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

New family names - GAMBLIN & BONDS

I have finally cleaned up my converted (Family Tree Maker 2012) database.  Existing sources have all been redone and linked as well as all photographs have been linked.  Earlier this week I shared the database on  I do all database updates on FTM then sync those to Ancestry, so far it has worked like a charm.  It can be found here Varners.

I've also been able to resume researching this week.  I've found many new census records and a marriage record on  Finally getting to do some much needed work on expanding on my sources.  

The really good news this week is that I have found my maternal 2nd ggrandparents.  I have found my maternal grandmothers (Martha Breshears COBB) maternal grandparents (Madison BONDS and Elizabeth Hamblin BONDS).  This is my great grandmother (Mary Ann Bonds BRESHEARS) parents.  They were both born in Kentucky in the early 1830's and had relocated to Missouri sometime between 1850 - 1860.

In addition to the 2nd ggrandparents I was able to find my 3rdggrandparents.  I was able to find Madison BONDS parents.  William and Mary Ann (?) GAMBLIN.  William was born in North Carolina in 1794 and Mary Ann was born in Maryland in 1797.  They have relocated to Missouri by 1850.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Researching John Varner and Stuffel (Varner) Werner of Juanita / Schuylkill Counties in PA

I have spent the last week splitting my time between cleaning up my FTM file and trying to find more information on my 2nd and 3rd great grandfathers.

First I uploaded my family tree to Ancestry and synced it with my FTM database.  Then I began updating the tree on Ancestry.  The synchronization worked great for about two days.  Something happened and the trees would no longer sync, so I disconnected the tree on Ancestry and I'm updating only my Family Tree Maker file for now.  Once I get it finished I will delete my tree on Ancestry and upload a new one.  I'm now working on cleaning up my source citations.  I did not get a clean transfer of sources via gedcom from a Legacy 7 file to an FTM 2012 file.  This is slow going.  Not only do I need to retype most of the sources but all of the media needs to be reattached as well.

On the research front I decided to concentrate on my 2nd great grandfather John Varner (1787 - 1852) in Schuylkill and Juanita County PA and on my 3rd great grandfather Stuffel Christophel (Varner) Werner (1750 - 1853) in Juanita County PA.  I've checked Ancestry and Family Search and found no census or vital records.  The only thing I've been able to come up with is an oft quoted story found in the book "Biographical Encyclopedia of Juniata Valley PA, 1897".  I would really like to prove and build on the information shown in this book.  I'll spend a little more time on these two before I move on

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Starting VARNER line research again

I have taken a six month hiatus from family history research.  It's been an exceptionally busy time for me.  Since the first of the year I've done the following:
  • Worked on the Familysearch indexing project of the 1940 census.
  • Built a new house
  • Sold my house
  • Relocated back to my home town
  • Switched part time jobs
We just moved into our new home on August 7, 2012.  Still many boxes to unpack but we are beginning to settle in.  It's good to be back "home".

It is my intention to resume work on the family history again.  I have decided to concentrate on the VARNER line.  I've changed my database from Legacy to Family Tree Maker 2012.  I did not get a smooth transfer of my source documentation (limited as they are) and media.  It is my intention to take one branch at a time and clean up the sources I have and look for new ones as I'm working with each individual.

Friday, January 6, 2012

New family line found. Maternal gggrandfather was a GREEN.

Well the holidays and all the birthdays are over for awhile.  The last month and a half have been incredibly busy.  Little progress has been made on the family history.

I have spent some time trying to prove my information on my maternal gggrandfather.  His name is William Carroll Green "Breshears".  The following was written in the History of Benton County, Missouri (vol 1).

"In addition to their own children, Henry and Atsey raised William Carroll Green Breshears as their own. He was 13 years old when he was orphaned on the trip to Missouri and joined the Henry Breshears family."  This occurred in 1838.

I have been trying to find William's birth parents with no success whatsoever.  I can find no adoption records for him nor can I find him in any of the earlier census records.  Family stories indicate that William was born in either Tennessee or Virginia. He died during the civil war and I have been unable to find a death certificate  I am now trying to find information on his military service.  Next step will be any information available on the wagon trains that would have taken this route.

At any rate it appears that my "Breshears" line doesn't go back very far.

With the start of the new year I hope to be able to concentrate more on my family history research and updating this blog.