Granddad Daniel Grant Varner

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

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Researching the Jesse Smith & Julia Booher family of Athena, Umatillia, Oregon

For the last few weeks I've been concentrating on my Granduncle Jesse Smith (Julia Booher) family.  I've found numerous records on  These included, censuses, marriage records, death records (SSDI & death indexes), burial records (Find A Grave).

I was able to grow the family tree by three first cousins, plus two spouses, and six second cousins.

After finding the record on Ancestry I added it to that person on my Ancestry member tree (this worked great)  and loaded it to my ancestry shoebox.

Then working from my shoebox I downloaded the source records to my computer and updated my Roots Magic 6 database.

Finally I updated my Family Search Family Tree directly from my Roots Magic database.  This process also works extremely well.My Jesse Smith family tree on Ancestry.

My Jesse Smith ancestry tree may be found at Don Varners Jesse Smith ancestry tree

I was also able to acquire several tombstone photo's from find a grave and have received permission to use them.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Working with RootsMagic / Family Search Family Tree and / my Ancestry Member tree

I have spent the last several days working on my online family trees.  I have one on Family Search and one on Ancestry.

I use RootsMagic for the most part to update my tree on Family Search.  The RootsMagic integration with FS family tree works fantastic.  I can easily copy facts, sources and notes as well as add new people or correct the FS record.

I was using Family Tree Maker to integrate with my Ancestry tree.  However, I've now stopped updating my FTM 2012 and am maintaining the tree only on Ancestry.  To do this I've modified my workflow as follows:

  1. Use RootsMagic determine the source documents needed or the person to locate.  I use the ToDo's to keep track of  what to be done.
  2. Manually add the new person to the Ancestry tree (if required).
  3. Find the needed source documents on Ancestry if available.  Add the source to the person on my Ancestry tree.  Add the source document to my Shoebox in Ancestry.
  4. Manually create the person in RootsMagic (if needed).
  5. Manually create the necessary sources and citations in RootsMagic (using the ones in my Ancestry shoebox).
  6. Sync the person, facts, sources and notes from RootsMagic to FS Family Tree.

This workflow is fairly labor intensive but not too bad considering it will maintain three trees.  I have saved several steps by eliminating my FTM 2012 file.

I'm still not completely settled.  I need to spend more time looking at pulling sources from Family Search, updating my FS family tree directly and then syncing back to RootsMagic and finally adding to Ancestry member tree.

I also need to start utilizing the RootsMagic person's research log.  For hard to find source information I find myself wasting time checking the same places for the same source information over and over again.  Maintaining the research log should help eliminate this problem.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Daniel Grant Varner

The Ancestor Spotlight is on my paternal grandfather Daniel Grant Varner.

Daniel Grant "Grant" Varner was born on 17 Jun 1870 in Covington, Miami County, Ohio.  He died on 8 Aug 1916 at the age of 46 in Deepwater, Henry County, Missouri.  He was buried after 8 Aug 1916 at Teays Chapel Cemetery in Henry, Missouri.

Daniel was known as Grant his entire life.  He lived in Delaware County, Indiana, in Mar 1882.  
Daniel Grant "Grant" Varner and Ada Florence "Addie" Smith were married on 20 Dec 1899.
Grant was baptized in 1901 at Church of the Brethren in Deepwater, Henry County, Missouri  
Grant was a Farmer and Rural Mail Carrier in Henry County, Missouri.

 The family farm was located in Fairview Township. It was situated on the west half of the northwest fractional quarter of section 18 (eighteen) in township 40 (forty) and in range 26 (twenty six) containing 73 63/100 (seventy three) acres.

Grant appeared in the following US federal census records:
10 Jun 1880 in Covington, Miami County, Ohio.  
13 Jun 1900 in Fairview Township, Henry County, Missouri.
20 Apr 1910 in Fairview Township, Henry County, Missouri,

Grant signed a will on 13 Sep 1907 in Henry County, Missouri.  Grant had his estate probated on 12 Nov 1917 in Henry County, Missouri.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Ada Florence (Smith) Varner

The Ancestor Spotlight is on my paternal grandmother Ada Florence Smith Varner.

Ada Florence Smith was born on 4 Jan 1880 in Henry County, Missouri the daughter of John Franklin Smith of Allen County Indiana and Mary Francis Smethers of Madison County, Indiana. John and Mary moved to Fairview Township, Henry County, Missouri in 1877.

Ada was a member of the Church of the Brethren in Deepwater, Henry County, Missouri

Ada Florence Smith and Daniel Grant Varner were married on 20 Dec 1899. Daniel Grant Varner, son of Daniel Grant Varner and Mary Leckenton, was born on 17 Jun 1870 in Covington, Miami County, Ohio

Ada appeared in the following US censuses:
11 Jun 1880 in Fairview Township, Henry County, Missouri
13 Jun 1900 in Fairview Township, Henry County, Missouri
20 Apr 1910 in Fairview Township, Henry County, Missouri
6 Jan 1920 in Fairview Township, Henry County, Missouri
9 Apr 1930 in Fairview Township, Henry County, Missouri
14 May 1940 in Deepwater, Henry County, Missouri

The Daniel and Ada Varner family farm was located in Fairview Township. on the west half of the northwest fractional quarter of section 18 (eighteen) in township 40 (forty) and in range 26 (twenty six).  The farm contained 73 63/100 (seventy three) acres.

Daniel Grant Varner and Ada Florence Smith had the following children:

Earl Franklin Varner, was born 8 Oct 1900, in Deepwater, Henry County, Missouri and died 20 Jun 1941, in Portsmouth, Rockingham County, New Hampshire.

William Harrison Varner, was born 30 Mar 1902, in Deepwater, Henry County, Missouri. He married Ruby Phillips, on 22 Dec 1930, in Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California. William died on 29 Dec 1954, in Deepwater, Henry, Missouri, United States. 

Elvie Grant Varner was born 12 Mar 1906, in Deepwater, Henry County, Missouri,. He married Zula Marie Cobb on 20 May 1933. Elvie died 10 Mar 1981, in Clinton, Henry County, Missouri.

James Hadley "Jim" Varner, was born 31 Oct 1908 in Deepwater, Henry County, Missouri. He married Zelma Mae Cobb on 3 Jul 1936 in Clinton, Henry County, Missouri. Jim died 9 Nov 1996, Clinton, Henry, Missouri, United States.

Henry Wallis "Doc" VARNER, born 15 Apr 1914 in Deepwater, Henry County, Missouri. He married Erma Lucille ARGABRIGHT on 26 Jun 1937. Henry died on 14 Nov 2006 in Kansas City, Wyandotte County, Kansas.

Daniel died on 8 Aug 1916 at the age of 46 in Deepwater, Henry County, Missouri leaving Ada to raise their five boys on her own.

Ada died on 26 Nov 1962 at the age of 82 at Wetzel Hospital in Clinton, Henry County, Missouri. She was buried on 29 Nov 1962 at Teays Chapel Cemetery in Henry, Missouri. Rev Herbert Zeiler, her former pastor, (Bethany Brethern Church Stet, MO) assisted by Ira Gibbel (Messiah Church of the Brethern, Kansas City, MO) officiated at the service. Pallbearers were nephews: James and Ray Martin; John Wagner; Herbert Dickey; George Pumphrey and Sam Briggs.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Working with RootsMagic 6 and FamilySearch Family Tree

I have finally finished matching all of my deceased people in RootsMagic with their counterpart in FS Family Tree.  I am very thankful that I did not go the route of uploading a gedcom.  It is unbelievable how many duplicate records have been created for the same person for many of my ancestors.  I'm glad that I did not make the problem even worse.

For those people where no FS Family Tree person was found they could be easily added by a single button click

Now that the matching process has been completed I can proceed with FS Family Tree cleanup and sharing information between RootsMagic and FamilySearch.

I believe the process that I use will be as follows:.

  1. Create list of all deceased people in RM (showing name, Birth/Death dates and FamilySearch ID.   This will be my list to work from.  I may do this using the RM "Group" function.
  2. Find and merge all of the duplicates in FamilySearch for a given person.
  3. Compare my RM6 database record with the resulting record in FS.  This will be done using the RM Family Search Person tool.
  4. Add any facts or sources from RM6 that do not exist in FS.
  5. Make note of any information found on FS Family Tree.  Validate and source this info then add it to my RM database.

This will be a very long, time consuming process but I feel that eventually it will be worth the effort.  I really enjoy the way RM6 integrates with FS Family Tree.  It will make the comparison and update phase so much quicker.

If you are really series about this I would highly recommed the following free webinar from RootsMagic.
Webinar # 52 Using FamilySearch Family Tree with RootsMagic found at  Rootsmagic Webinars

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Ancestor profile of the week - Paul Holly (Hollopeter)

Thanks to Dawnette for posting a comment on my earlier blog post from 12/13/2012.  This was on the post "Documenting the HOLLY / HOLLOPETER / MARTIN family connection" which can be found at Hollopeter post

Dawnette posted a comment to the effect that Paul Hollopeter had also changed his surname to Holly.  Based on this information I searched ancestry for Paul Holly and was able to find an SSDI entry and a California Death Index entry.  Following is the information I have collected so far on Paul:

Sex:         Male
Father: Harlow Bryant HOLLOPETER (1859-1951)
Mother: Ella B. VARNER (1864-1957)
Birth         6 May 1899 Creighton, Cass, Missouri, United States
Census 22 Apr 1910 Bear Creek Township, Henry, Missouri, United States
Occupation 1919 Agent for the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad Company; Henry, Missouri, United States
Death 4 Jan 1991 (age 91) Palm Springs, Riverside, California, United States
Alt. Name Paul HOLLY
1. Bernice WHITE (1900-1985)
Marriage 2 Aug 1919 Clinton, Henry, Missouri, United States
Children Gene HOLLOPETER (1925-    )

Obviously I have much more research to do on Paul (census and military records) but I now have a good foundation to work from.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Lost in summer things and genealogy software program change to RootsMagic 6

It has been quite some time since my last post.  It has also been quite some time since I've done any serious family history research.  Been very busy with "summer" things.  Mostly Grand kid's related.   Many many baseball games, overnight visits and cookouts.  I've really enjoyed my summer.

Now it's time to get back to family history.  Lot's of things have been happening, especially over at Familysearch.  I've been working on loading the family tree into the new Family Tree program there.  I was doing this manually as my current software program (Legacy 7.5) is still not working with Family Tree.  I decided it was time to give RootsMagic 6 a try.

So far I'm very pleased with the program.  Fairly simple to use and the interface with the familysearch Family Tree is great.  I have spent several hours viewing the on line "how to" webinars to become familiar with the program.  So now I'm using two genealogy software program Family Tree Maker 2012 (to sync with my family tree on Ancestry and RootsMagic 6 to sync with my tree on familysearch.  At some point in the future I'm going to have to decide which one to work with as my primary.  I really don't want to be maintaining two different programs.

I imported my Legacy database directly into RootsMagic without going through a gedcom.  For the most part everything appears to have worked fairly well.  Of course, the sources all came in without the sourcewriter (ee format) style.  Also many of the locations shown in the census and residence facts was dumped into the description field instead of the place field.  Using standard RootsMagic queries / filters I've been able to identify the problem records easily.  Now I'm working on cleanup.  Re-linking the images was also very easily done in RM.

One good thing about switching programs and the resulting file cleanup process is that it forces you to look carefully at your data again.  I'm seeing several areas that need some real detailed review and cleanup.  My "To Do List" is growing daily.

Hopefully I will also get back on track with this blog, posting more family information.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day 2013 - remembering James Varner

This memorial day weekend  my sisters, my wife and myself made the round to all of the local cemeteries where our relatives are buried.  Since my retirement and relocation back "home" we are now able to do this each year.  We do this to put flowers on the graves of our deceased family members.  We also do this because that is what our parents taught us to do.

Memorial Day holds many fond memories for me.  Around the age of 10 or 11 my father, James Varner, began taking me along each year to put the small flags on the graves of the military veterans.  We did between six and eight small cemeteries.  Usually our group included my father and uncle, James and Elvie Varner, and a good friend Reuben Bryant.

Thursday or Friday before memorial weekend we would go to each cemetery meeting two or three others there that helped us place the flags.  The flags would be placed in small round aluminum tubes (usually broken TV antenna's) that had been painted with red, white and blue stripes.  One person "ran the book" checking off the names as we went to make sure that no veteran was missed.  This was generally a fairly long day and my memory is that most of these days were rainy and chilly.

After Memorial Day we would go back to each cemetery to pickup the holders and flags.  These had to be saved to use again the next year.  Over the fall or winter the holders would be repainted as needed and the old faded or torn flags disposed of and new replacements obtained.

As I got older we had to manage around my work schedule if I was able to be there to help.  I missed the four years I was in the Air Force. After many years we turned over all of the cemeteries to other volunteer's.  My father, uncle and Reuben were no longer able and due to my employment I had to relocate to a distant state.

To me Memorial Day is much more than remembering our veterans.  It is also about remembering and recognizing our family members that have gone before us.  After all, if not for them there would have been no me.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

WWI draft records and Ernest VARNER marriages

It's been two months since I've posted on this blog.  I have taken a little time off, but I hope to be back in the groove now.

With the coming of warmer weather the last few days I have been unable to make it to Englewood Cemetery and take care of the photo requests on Find A Grave.  I was able to clear up a three month back log.  I've also been able to key in several hundred more names in the Marine project for's World Archives Project.

I took a slightly different tact on the family history the last two weeks.  Instead of working on a single individual or family I ran a list of people in my family tree maker database that should have been registered in the WWI draft.  I was able to find the draft registration for almost all of them on  I still have the WWII draft left to do.

I also spent some time working on my 1st cousin (1x removed) Ernest Varner.  Ernest (Ernie) Varner was married three times (Pansy Briggs, Fern Simms Horn, and Helen Harness).  I've been searching for marriage and divorce records with partial success.  I've been able to document all three marriages but I'm still searching for a divorce record for Pansy.  I also have not been able to document a divorce or death (not sure which) for Fern.  Still have more work to do here.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Still working my SMITH line - more descendants of Phebe SMETHERS found (BRATTAIN, WILSON, SPARKS and GINDER)

This week I continued indexing on Ancestry's World Archives Project.  Added approximately 600 more names to my index total.  Getting a little faster each week.  Skipped indexing on Family Search and used my indexing time to start a family tree.

I decided to try the new (in beta testing) Family Tree in Family Search.  I'm not an LDS member but anyone can request to help with the beta testing prior to the general release to all.  I could not find a way to upload a GEDCOM using my FTM 2012 file.  Watched the training videos and it appears as though the only way to create the tree is to manually add one person at a time.  When a person is added to the tree the program checks Family Search to see if that person is already connected to an existing tree in Family Tree.  If found, there are two options given.  One is to choose the person or if not the right person there is an option to create a new person.  I like the interface but it will be very slow going to build out the tree.  I believe I will limit the tree to my direct line only.

I've added a few more second / third cousins to the tree.  They are part of my paternal Grandmother Smith's line. Working primarily on Phebe Smethers Brattain.  She was my great grandmother Mary Francis Smethers Smith sister

Phebe SMETHERS was married to Samuel BRATTAIN and they had four children.
Clara BRATTAIN, married John GINDER
Della BRATTAIN, did not marry
Lillie BRATTAIN, married Earl SPARKS
Nellie BRATTAIN, married Lona WILSON
All of the families lived in the Hamilton and Madison County Indiana area.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Holidays and new cousins (BRATTAIN / WILSON families of Madison County, IN) found

The Christmas and New Year's holidays have come and gone.  The last two weeks have been extremely busy and very enjoyable.  This year we were able to meet not only with all of the immediate family but also my two sisters and their families as well.  Nephew Eddie Neuenschwander and niece Debby Vanslyke and family were the only ones missing this year.  We had an extremely full house (30+) on Christmas eve.  We again waited until Grandson Kaleb Varner could be here to have our family Christmas, which was done on December 26th this year.  On Christmas day Carolyn and I drove to southern Missouri to pick up Kaleb and bring him back.

With all of the holiday activity I was still able to spend a couple of days at the Henry County Museum volunteering.  I'm working on creating a database program to store their collection records. Hopefully I will be able to finish this project in the next two or three weeks.  Current plans are to move to the genealogical library next to digitize their records and automate some processes.  I was also able to spend a few hours indexing for both Ancestry and Family Search.

On the family history front I've been working on the Brattain and Wilson families of Green Township, Madison County, Indiana. These are the families of  Phebe Smethers the daughter of Eli and Barbara (Welty) Smethers.  The Smethers are my paternal 2nd great grandparents.  I have found several 1st cousins (1x and 2x removed) and 2nd cousins. came through again with their fantastic census record,  Indiana marriages and SSDI collections. I still need two or three days to finish up the documentation on the Brittain and Wilson branches of the tree.