Thursday, August 30, 2007

Farewell the McIntires?

It seems we may bid a fond goodbye to the McIntires (McIntyres, McIntairs), no longer to be deemed ancestors. Whereas the tree has Elizabeth McIntire marrying William Smith, who dies in 1831, and mothering Elizabeth Smith, who marries Joseph Rippey, Marjorie found this:

"11 May 1825

MARRIED - In Seneca, on Thursday last, by the Rev. Mr. Nisbet, Mr. Joseph Rippey to Miss Elizabeth Smith, sister of Capt. William Smith."

The key word is "sister", not daughter. Marjorie asserts, and I have to agree, that if Elizabeth's father were still living, he'd be mentioned, not her brother. That tends to screw up the previous theory and perhaps excludes the McIntires from the honor of being our ancestors.

More to follow

Monday, August 27, 2007

Elizabeth McIntire Smith Problems (Again)

The listing of Old Number 9 Cemetery gravestones shows Elizabeth as wife of William:

For the Smiths:

Amy, wife of Leonard; died Feb 23 1819; ae 38-4-11;
Elizabeth, wife of Capt. William Smith and dau of Samuel & Isabella McIntire; died Aug 3 1820; in her 22nd yr;
William; died June 29 1831; ae 68 yrs;
Josiah; died Jan 25 1847; ae 77 yrs.
Ann H, dau of P. W. & S. A. Smith; born May 7 1849; died Sep 6 1852;

Observations: Elizabeth is too young to be the mother of Elizabeth Smith Rippey (1805-1838).

If the dates are right, William really robbed the cradle, being 40 odd years older than his wife. One possibility is the transcription is mistaken--a "52" would fit pretty well. Otherwise we've a problem. So, because I'm totally frustrated (I keep getting the Elizabeths mixed up), I'm going to assume the error.

That only leaves the issue that her offspring are forgotten in the Hugh McIntire suit.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

McIntires and Other Progress(?)

The McIntires are a frustrating group as well. As a matter of fact, many of my ancestors seem deliberately to frustrate a poor, aging, descendant who's easily confused. I think I've published the McIntire papers that Jean extracted. [Turns out I lied--so I just posted them under "family records"] William, the patriarch in PA, gives strict orders about cutting out his son-in-law, James McCay. (I was thinking it must have been McKay, but there are McCay's around.) He has extensive property.

Samuel moves to Ontario county with his brood and starts buying.. Apparently around 1819 he runs into trouble, because there is a sheriffs sale and he sells land to some sons. In 1855 his descendants, (son Hugh and other children and grandchildren) tell the court that Samuel had land in PA and he died intestate. Conveniently the suit lists the descendants. Disconcertingly, it doesn't list Elizabeth McIntire who is supposed to be the wife of William Smith and mother of Elizabeth Smith, wife of Joseph Rippey.

Discussing problems with Jean, she suggested that her linking of McIntire and Smith came from a headstone. That caused me to go back today to the Ontario County historians site (which I should have done before this) and the rootsweb site.

Based on information there, I've added some stuff, corrected some stuff, and probably screwed up some stuff on the Harshaw Family site. Hopefully progress is being made.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Those Darn Smiths

One of the blocks in the Rippey lineage is the Smiths. Elizabeth Smith was the wife of Joseph Rippey and thus my great, great grandmother. But she was born in 1805 and died in 1838 so we can't use any census data to get at her. William Smith was her father and Leonard Smith may have been her brother. William was an early settler in Ontario county, showing up in the early 1790's. How to trace him?

I can't report much progress, but I did go back to the Milliken history of Ontario County found that "William Smith, Jr." was there in 1793 in Seneca township. So now I can guess (and it's not much more) that William Smith's father was also William Smith, who I've added to the tree.

The census report for 1800 shows 4 Smiths, one group of William, Leonard and Josiah (that is, on adjacent lines) and a separate entry for another William Smith. Interpreting the entries is hard, because they don't seem to relate to the printed form.

Anyhow, I've added the excerpts for the early settling of Seneca and the forming of the No. 9 church (so called, because it was located in township no. 9, of the first range of the Phelps/Gorham tract) to the website and I've added Jean's extract of the William Smith will and the purchase of land from James Latta in 1791.

Friday, August 17, 2007

"Family Trees"

Looking at the printing function of, it says something to the effect: "every family tree either starts with a person or ends with a person".

Well, no. That's an organizational convenience--you either start with yourself, being as ego-centric as anyone else, and trace back all the ancestors who contributed their mite to building your effulgence.

Or, you start with some heroic figure in the past, a king or president, and trace out all the ways in which his descendants diminished his glory.

But, at least for me, the reality is this mixture of people--I'm almost as curious about Othniel Brown, born in 1759 in Providence, RI as I am about my lost first cousins, once removed.

Anyhow, I want a new metaphor, no more "trees", and software that can handle it.

Updates of Harshaw Family Tree

I've been adding to the Harshaw Family Tree on, picking up collateral lines, like Ralph Gold's ancestors (old New Englanders, perhaps even with a poor relation of the Brown Brothers of Providence, RI (or maybe just run of the mill Browns), Goulds, Lovejoys, and what all.

A couple of tidbits--Ada went back to her mother to have her first child--Helen was born in Cuylersville. On my mothers side I've about filled in all the first cousins, to the extent I can.

Of course, when I say "filled in", I don't necessarily mean anything more than hitting the census records and maybe the SSDI death index.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Kellswater to Abbeville to Sparta to Margaret McCloskey

Remember the baseball doubleplay combination: Tinkers to Evers to Chance. No? Neither do I. Remember who did the comedy routine: Who's on first? I don't though I remember the routine.

Anyway, in our chat this morning Marjorie came up with a new combination: Kellswater to Abbeville to Sparta to Margaret McCloskey. Though it's really more of a fugue, coming back to the beginning. Anyhow it's based on the page about Carol Pirtle's book from August 10 (see previous post).

Marjorie points out (and correct me if I'm wrong) Marjorie McCloskey, Michael Harshaw's wife and our great great grandmother, was baptised in the Kellswater church in Ireland. (Note to self, that's something I've got to link to on the site.) In 1772 there was a large migration from Kellswater to the Abbeville, South Carolina area. Subsequently, as reported by Ms. Pirtle and others, people migrated from there to Randolph County, Illinois. They formed the Bethel church in the Reformed Presbyterian denomination. And that was where Michael was ordained. The fact that Margaret may well have had connections to people in the area, perhaps through the Rosboroughs, may have played a role in where they settled.

(Note: I thought I had written documentation of the "ordained" bit, but if I did, I lost it. Being scandalously uninformed about matters Presbyterian, I googled the question: "who can ordain a Presbyterian minister." The answer is the "Presbytery". As the partial obit of Michael says, he was "called" by the "Six Mile Prairie" congregation but it's unclear what ceremonies might have occurred, but as Rev. Sam Wylie was the senior minister in the area, it's reasonable to assume that he was there at the installation.)

Friday, August 10, 2007

Michael's environment

Here's a link to a summary of research, mostly conducted by Carol Pirtle. I'm linking to it here because I find it doesn't really fit into the overall structure. So maybe the structure needs to be changed. Anyhow, Pirtle's book, Escape Betwixt Two Suns, provides a different take on the Randolph/Perry County area at the time when Michael arrived to take up his duties.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

On Names

One point that's interesting to me--the variability of names. (Maybe I've already mentioned this, if so I apologize.) Obviously, I assume that the Platonic "ideal" of my family name is "Harshaw". Anything else must be a deviation. But when you search, you find lots of "Harshas"--obviously a branch of the family that got a little lazy, dropping the superfluous "w". But there's also a "Harshe" recorded in the census--what's that about--some census taker who couldn't really spell? And "Harshy"--did people mispronounce the true name all those years ago?

And a "Hershey". Now we're really getting into trouble--is it possible that we're really the unrecognized heirs of the founder of the Hershey chocolates and Hershey, PA? And what does this do to the search? Do you try to follow all the variants down all the rabbit holes? uses the "Soundex" system in searching (I think--Soundex being a formula that converts variant spellings into one set of sounds) and therefore turns up a lot of "Harrises". Do you seriously consider the possibility one or more of those results is the misrecorded offspring of a "true" Harshaw?

And all this is without getting into other sources--like Germany for "Harshas".

Monday, August 6, 2007

What's Up

Been working on the Washington County, NY Harshas (see this link for the progenitor). As I've told Marjorie, I've found James and some of his children, and a bunch of people from 1840 on, but the pieces I can identify in-between don't link up well. There's a John born 1784 who is claimed as the father of a Daniel, born 1796! (I know Harshaws are precocious, but I'm not convinced of that.) Unfortunately, there's lots of Johns and James and Davids around and because the census shows only the household head's name before 1850, it's hard to link them together.

What's interesting is the more you search, the better you can become at it. I'm finding the searches to be helpful--most people seem to track just their line back. If you're lucky you can get 2 or 3 lines meeting at one ancestor.