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Off track

Posted: , by Robyn

The trip to Illinois was interesting and productive, however quite a bit different than I had planned.  My goal was to further research on the Ash line but as we were on our way to Illinois Mary Lou presented me with a wealth of information on the Fitzjerrell side of the family from Betty Sue.  From that point on most of our time spent in Litchfield, IL was focused on finding the graves and published biographies on the Fitzjerrell’s.

            Our first stop after breakfast on Saturday was the Roberts cemetery in Honey Bend, IL.  The Roberts cemetery is home to many Ash family members in particular Elijah Ash, the earliest documented Ash relative.  Unfortunately for us the Roberts Cemetery has been designated a savanna area and the tombstones are now over grown with brush, thickets and brambles, not indicative of a natural savanna but that is another discussion.  We braved the overgrowth of flora to find Elijah’s tombstone and the tombstones of several children of Tabitha and J.W. Ash.  We left Robert’s cemetery and proceeded to a more maintained cemetery in Honey Bend, we did not find any Ash’s or Fitzjerrell’s there but have since been informed they are there and we must have not seen the tombstones.

            We next spent some time in the genealogy research room of the Litchfield public library.  There we found some biographies of our Fitzjerrell’s in various county histories; these have provided a wealth of information.  We then found a record of Tabitha E. Fitzjerrell’s tombstone in the Cass cemetery.  After a quick lunch we headed out to the farmlands of Montgomery County to find Tabitha.  The map took us right up to the edge of a field surrounded by woods.  Pat hiked a couple of four wheeler trails looking for the cemetery.  After about an hour he found the cemetery and off we went in to the woods!  The hike was an arduous one and the recent rains only complicated the trek.  We arrived at the cemetery to find an even more overgrown cemetery than the Roberts cemetery earlier that day.  After about an hour of taking pictures and trying to decipher well warn tombstones we headed home. 

            In the week since the trip I have poured over the information and added the pictures and data to the website.  As with most genealogy trips I now have more questions than answers.  I am planning a solo trip to Springfield as soon as school is out, my goal is to research several county histories and cemetery records for the Ash, Fitzjerrell and Behen families.  With school being out I can take my time and let the research plan my trip. 

            The Behen side of the family has also yielded new information this week.  I received Nellie Stanton Spence’s death certificate.  Nellie was Elizabeth (Libbie) Stanton Behen’s sister.  Nellie’s death certificate confirms her birth place as Adrian, MI; same as Libbie and her mother’s maiden name as Raycraft.

            That’s it for now, there has been a lot of new information added and I am sure I made some mistakes entering data, please let me know of any errors in spelling or dates.  I will let you know how my solo genealogy “vacation” trip to Illinois goes.

It’s been awhile

Posted: , by Robyn

Well it has been awhile since the last entry!  The end of the school year brings a flurry of activity and occupies most of my time and energy.  Now school is out I will have to try and find a balance between cleaning, gardening, Halloween prep and genealogy.  So far cleaning and gardening have won the battle for my time, but as the temperatures increase outside I am sure my cooler indoor pursuits will win out!  The first week in June took me to Illinois for a solo genealogy trip of three days.  Most of the time was spent in the new Lincoln Presidential library and archives.  There was so much information to go through; I would highly recommend research there if you have ancestors in Illinois.  I only spent two days researching but could spend another week!  However, two days of reading over county histories and cemetery records will make you bleary eyed. 


So what is new?


 At the Lincoln complex I found pictures of William and Elizabeth Fitzjerrell in a history of Montgomery County!  We had no family pictures of the Fitzjerrell’s so finding these made the trip worth the effort.  I also found a record of a will for Ambrose Fitzjerrell in New Jersey, I will have to follow up on this and see if a copy of the original is still available.  I went back to Asbury Cemetery south of Raymond to find William and Elizabeth’s tombstone.  Found it and photographed the tombstone and cemetery.  The first time to Asbury in May we did not find the tombstone, but we had just hiked through the thickets and brush of the Cass cemetery and our energy levels and motivation were low!  Although I did not find a lot of new information I can now cross off my list several counties and cemeteries where the family is not.



Also at the Lincoln archives I found a cemetery listing for a John Ash (1768-1845) in Bowers Cemetery, Scott County.  Scott County is where the Ash family first settled in Illinois and although I don’t have a direct link to John Ash I am sure he is related.  I went to the cemetery and photographed his tombstone and that of his wife Elizabeth.  It was pouring rain the day I made the cemetery trips so the quality and quantity of the photos is a bit lacking.   I also went to Manchester cemetery to get a photo of Elizabeth Ash (Elijah’s first wife) and Eliza Jane Ash (daughter of Elizabeth and Elijah).  Elizabeth’s stone is broken and well worn; Eliza Jane’s is in better shape but not by much.   Manchester cemetery is less than ten miles from Bowers cemetery, which makes me even more certain John is related.     



Not much new information found in Illinois, but I did locate and photograph the tombstones of Daniel Bahan and his family in Jacksonville.  Daniel was the brother of Michael and son of Andrew.   Mary the wife of Andrew is supposed to have a marker in this cemetery but I did not find it, however I do have the phone number now for the parish which oversees the cemetery and perhaps they have a location.  By the way I did find the tombstone for Peter Rabbitt in Jacksonville.  Peter is buried not far from Daniel and his family.  After a long day of research in Springfield and then the drive over to Jacksonville it was rather humorous to stumble upon this stone.  Just before I left for Illinois I did receive information from the dioceses in Philadelphia.  They had located baptismal records for Michael, Daniel, Andrew and Catherine!  I have looking for this bit of information for about twelve years now.  These records confirm the 1850 Philadelphia, 1860 Wabash census and the Ed Behen baby book information.  The information is as follows:


All baptized at St. Francis Xavier Church in Philadelphia, PA


Daniel Beahan

Born September 15, 1843

Baptized October 15, 1843

Parents: Andrew and Mary Beahan


Michael Joseph Bane

Born: November 15, 1845

Baptized:  November 30, 1845

Parents:  Andrew and Mary Bane


Andrew Bain

Born:  February 28, 1848

Baptized:  March 7, 1848

Parents:  Andrew and Mary Bain


Catherine Behan

Born:  October 6, 1850

Baptized October 13, 1850

Parents:  Andrew and Mary Behan


All of the baptisms were done by Rev. P. Rafferty and the sponsors for the children varied between John and Catherine McCarron, Martin Bowes and Mary Behan, Bartholomew Thomas and Mary Lyons, these sponsors may very likely be siblings of Andrew and Mary Behen and represent potential new information. 


My notes from the trip are still in disarray and I have not fully updated the web with some of the new information and documentation.  Another trip is planned, this time to Kentucky to document some original research done by the Ash family, my hope is to find the documentation for information I have received on this family.  I do not wish to offend anyone and disregard their research but I do need the documents for proof.  As I have stated in earlier blogs, nothing goes in to the data bank unless I have at least two documents proving a fact.  This at times can be frustrating, time consuming and expensive, but I believe family members and future generations deserve no less than accuracy.


Well I had better get back to painting the bathroom, unloading the dishwasher and figuring out what’s for dinner.  Where does the time go?


Remember, you are not bugging me.  If you need information or think we have a connection e-mail me!  I will be happy to hear from you!



Show me your documents

Posted: , by Robyn

          Documentation is the skeleton upon which all good genealogy should be based.  There are many models to follow but for most of us we document what our genealogy programs dictate.  The base program I work with, RootsMagic has fields for dates, places, sources, notes….  I can sometimes become compulsive making sure I have all the fields completed with at least two documents.  In my opinion RootsMagic it is a document based program, and that is just fine with me.  All too often while doing research on the internet I will find someone’s genealogy which matches mine, how exciting!  Until I begin to dig further and look for the source of their information.  More often than not, the source is another researcher’s gedcom file.  This file has been sourced by yet another gedcom, and so on and so on.  Just because everyone has listed the same date of birth for person X does not make it so.  Too often we are just repeating the same research over and over without ever looking for the source.   Did the information come from a cemetery index (often transcribed incorrectly), an obituary, death certificate, family bible?   How do you know?  Because other family member lists the information as fact is not good enough.   Other researcher’s information can be good starting place, but there must be documents to back up the data.  Does this slow down the pace of research?  Yes, and it may ultimately limit the number of persons in your gedcom or how far back in history you can trace.  However, for the sake of those who come after us it must be done.  In our rush to find ancestors we may run right by the most interesting aspects of their lives.  I prefer the slow, document based approach.  As you look through my data, know every attempt has been made to include multiple sources for the information.  Occasionally, I will site another researcher, this is only done when their data includes primary and secondary sources I can view and obtain if needed.  Many times viewers will ask why I have not included “well known facts” about a family.   The omission of data is because I am still looking for the documentation.  If you have documents please share them with the rest of the genealogy community!  Obtaining documentation can be expensive and time consuming.   If you don’t want to build a website then scan and upload your documents to any of the free sites on the web or send it to the appropriate county coordinator at  My intention is not to disregard or belittle anyone’s research but to be upfront with you about my feelings on genealogy and how I approach obtaining information.  I feel the fun of genealogy is in the hunt not the collecting people.   

John Claiborne Tyree Jr.

Posted: , by Robyn

Under family histories on the forum side of this blog you will find information about John Claiborne Tyree Jr.  John was the brother of Obedience Tyree-Dillon and he was the first person killed in the “Battle of Cole Camp”. 

John Tyree


Ice Storm and Genealogy

Posted: , by Robyn

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My Rose Garden

Well the Ice Storm hit about midnight on the 8th and we were without power for over two days.  What does a genealogist due?  Head downtown to the archives, they had power and were open.  There is nothing better than to snuggle up with a role of microfilm on a cold and icy day. 

The tree in front of our house caught on fire!  The weight of the ice was making the limb come into contact with the power line.

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Posted: , by Robyn

Well I am pretty well stuck on many of my families.  I have not done much work on my Dad’s side of the family.  It might be time to dust off the notes I have on the Dillon, Bryant and McFatrich families.

Dad’s Dillon Family

Posted: , by Robyn

I have been working on my Dad’s side of the family.  I have been surprised to learn how long they have been in the Central Missouri area.  Some of the family members were here as early as the 1830’s.  There has always been a legend about two of my grandmothers family members who were tried and hung as horse thieves.  I have not found any evidence to support this but I am finding a fair amount of circuit court documents from the 1840’s and 1850’s dealing with Thomas Dillon.  Thomas would have been my ggggrandfather.  This may prove to be interesting.  I have also contacted others who are researching these lines and they have been very helpful with documents and location of graves.  I hope as soon as the weather warms I will be able to visit some of these sites.


Thomas Jefferson Dillon

Posted: , by Robyn

Well Thomas has kept me quite busy. He had many trips to the County Court house in Warsaw. Many of the cases were simple land and property disputes, however a series of entries implicate him and another woman in a lewd and lascivious charge. Thomas and the woman were eventually found not guilty, but it sure did make for some interesting reading. One of the most valuable pieces of information I found while reading the court cases was the divorce record for Thomas and his second wife Adelaide Portia Dorsey. It had been assumed she had died prior to the 1850 census. She divorced Thomas while the whole lewd and lascivious trial was going on. I have transcribed the court cases involving Thomas and placed them in chronological order, they are located in the forum part of this website. Thomas Dillon Court Cases