Sunday, March 29, 2015

NoteWorthy Reads #8

Image via
Image via

For me, Noteworthy Reads are articles, websites, or blog posts I found this week which are fascinating, interesting and/or helpful, and occasionally “wacky” or “wonderful” will likely sneak in as well. It’s not going to be a “best of” post because I don’t have the knowledge to make that determination. I don’t even promise that the articles & blog posts will be written that week – just that I found them that week. At the end of each quarter I’ll review the posts to determine which entries should be put in my Resource pages; the rest will still be available through the blog's search function.

Note: Just because I list an article does not mean I endorse its contents. It just means I want to be able to find it easily in the future when I may want to consider the issue in more depth.

For week-ending 3/28/15


New Mennonite Photo Archive in Canada explanation article from the University of Waterloo’s Mennonite Archives of Ontario, contains a link to the new database (MAID)  which currently has over 80,000 descriptions of photos and over 9,000 images and will be expanding.



Webinars by Michael John Neill offered by, $5.00 to $8.50, covers a wide variety of topics: optimum use of various databases, finding female ancestors, breaking down brick walls, case studies, land, methodology, and others.

The 2015 Illinois State Genealogical Society’s Webinar Series listing, free, one per month April through December, variety of topics. Be sure to read FAQs.

The 2015 Southern California Genealogical Society Webinar Series listing, free, two per month. Be sure to read FAQs.



The Stories that Bind Us – What are the Twenty Questions?  – the more of these answers kids know “were associated with higher levels of self-esteem, an internal locus of control ( a belief in one's own capacity to control what happens to him or her), better family functioning, lower levels of anxiety, fewer behavioral problems, and better chances for good outcomes if a child faces educational or emotional/behavioral difficulties.” The thing is, these are good Family History questions!


NEWSPAPERS AND PERIODICALS – fascinating site! “The old articles, essays, poetry, cartoons and photographs that can be found on the site have all been collected from a number of different libraries, bookshops and yard sales throughout the United States and Europe.” Wide variety. Read the “About Us” and FAQs at the bottom of the main page.



It’s All About Access by the Organize Your Family History blog  – “what’s really meaningful is easy access to your information, both physical and electronic.”

Eleven Things I Would Do Differently and A Dozen Things I Got Right by on the DNAeXplained - Genetic Genealogy blog.

How Do We #GenChat?  by Your Roots Are Showing, Dearie!  – very helpful! #Genchat is a Twitter based 1-hour long Genealogy conversation every other Friday night at 7pm Pacific, 8pm Mountain, 9pm Central or 10pm Eastern. I’ve only managed to do it once but it was interesting and fun & this looks like it will make it much easier to participate!


Which Black’s?  by The Legal Genealogist: Discusses which edition of Black’s Legal Dictionary is best for genealogy in that it contains definitions of those old legal terms in old deeds, estates and old court cases involving your ancestors. Unfortunately not the one I have but now I know where to get the one I’ll need at a reasonable price (cheaper than the one I have).

And More Dictionaries, wherein The Legal Genealogist provides the names of and information on where to find similar resources for England, Australia, and Canada.

List of Genealogical Societies in the Federation of Genealogical Societies  and their websites and contact info; 438 of them.

Souvenir Books via the Genealogy: Beyond the BMD blog – I never would have thought of these, but now I will be looking for them!

The blog for The National Genealogical Society, Upfront With NGS, has been running a 6-part series, titled “20 Free and (Relatively New Genealogy and Family History Resources” -- that’s 20 resources each post! They cover an amazing variety of topics and don’t seem to be in any order whatsoever as far as I can tell, but you can go through them and bookmark the ones that will be helpful for you.  I’ve been waiting for the series to be finished to put the series in a NoteWorthy post. I will list direct links to each post. Have fun!



Western Reserve Historical Society’s online databases, includes funeral home Indices, Cuyahoga County Cemetery Inscription Index,Jewish marriage & death notices, 1907 Voter Registration Index, Cleveland Servicemen Photo database, among others.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Letter From A Soldier

Climbing My Family Tree: Letter from A Soldier, Big Piney Examiner, Big Piney, Wyoming 1 August 1918
Letter From A Soldier, Big Piney Examiner, Big Piney, Wyoming 1 August 1918

I love finding things that give me a picture into my ancestors' history and/or the times or place. When I was researching my great-grand-aunt Grace Gregor Bentley, I found a letter to her from her middle son, Benjamin F. Bentley (my first cousin, twice removed), printed in the Big Piney Examiner (Big Piney, Wyoming) on August 1, 1918. In the letter, he describes his life in Camp MacArthur, Texas after he had joined the Army during WW1.

My transcription:


We, we arrived at our training camp at last, here at Camp MacArthur, Texas, it is quite a nice camp here but not so pretty as Fort Logan.

The cotton here is short this year, it looks like sunflowers and about knee high, the country is flat with little groves of locust trees. In some fields the corn is ripe and right beside the ripe corn, young corn is just beginning to grow. It is sure hot but not so uncomfortable as one might expect – we sure sweat an awful lot, they say when one quits sweating down here he is sick. They are keeping us in quarantine for the first two weeks, they do all of the new recruits the same way at Denver.

The officers here said we were the best looking bunch of men that had come in here. We are all training together in companies. Nate Sanford, Bradley and Bill Moffit of Daniel, are in my company. The training is easy so far, just squad formation in plattons (sic), and they are teaching us the right face left face – right dress and that lung exercise.

Out of each squad of eight men they just took one man for a corporal, just lined us up and the captain walked down the line and gave us the once over, he picked me. We corporals have to train after supper every night, I am getting along fine. A lot of them got scared or mad at the extra training, but I am going to stick right with it although it isn’t as pleasant as being a private. I have to know where those seven men are all the time and answer roll call for all eight of us and see that they keep shaved and the tent clean and all that goes with this army life. The extra training at night sure helps, as I can keep about two jumps ahead of the rest of my squad, they are all good boys too and are all from Wyoming, but strangers to me.

I like this army life better every day, the grub is good and lots of it, only the kitchen policies, pile beans, soup and pudding all on the same plate – I eat three plates full three times a day and am hungry all the time at that.

They just assigned this company to the infantry – that is O.K. with me as I like to train. The fastest of us will go into another company as we learn the different drills, so you see a corporal has to keep on the jump all the time. We have to train every day and Sunday’s (sic) too, with only a few minutes off at a time. I sure improve that time practicing the drills behind the tent. Those square dances in Wyoming are easy alongside of the right flank march, flank march double time and a lot of other stuff – I have to stand so straight I almost tip over but the officers carry themselves that way all the time. After we get trained we will be assigned a new squad to train, with only a lieutenant over a lot of corporals.

The officers are sure fine men, very pleasant and all of them are Southerners and talk with that slow drawl and don’t sound their r's at all.

This is an aviation camp, about fifty planes in the air all the time. There is a world of stuff to write about but I will write again soon.

Your son,

Benj. F. Bentley
42d Company Infantry Replacement Camp
Camp MacArthur Texas" 

Benjamin later got to France with the army; he served about a year and by the end of the war was a 1st sergeant, according the news article about his death. He survived the war but died only eight years later in a horrible work-related accident in Olympia, Washington, where he worked as a longshoreman. He was hit in the head by a timber and knocked into the bay while he was helping to load a ship (the Nyhaug). Despite a round the clock search, his body was not recovered for nine days, He left behind a widow, Kathryn (Cavanaugh) Bentley and three children, Thomas L., born about 1921; Dora Berenice, born about 1924; and Benjamin, Jr., born about 1926.


"Letter From Soldier," 1 August 1918 Big Piney Examiner, p. 1; "Cavanaugh-Bentley", 1 July 1920 Big Piney Examiner, p. 3 (found at; "Accident Results in Death of Ben Bentley at Olympia," 2 September 1926 Pinedale Roundup, p.1 (found at; "Bay Gives up Body of Port Worker; Blow Caused Death," The Morning Olympian (Olympia, WA), Thursday, September 2, 1926, pp. 1 and 6 (found at

Sunday, March 22, 2015

NoteWorthy Reads #7

Climbing My Family Tree: NoteWorthy Reads #7
image from

For week-ending 3/21/15

For me, Noteworthy Reads are articles, websites, or blog posts I found this week which are fascinating, interesting and/or helpful, and occasionally “wacky” or “wonderful” will likely sneak in as well. It’s not going to be a “best of” post because I don’t have the knowledge to make that determination. I don’t even promise that the articles & blog posts will be written that week – just that I found them that week. At the end of each quarter I’ll review the posts to determine which entries should be put in my Resource pages; the rest will still be available through the blog's search function.

Note: Just because I list an article does not mean I endorse its contents. It just means I want to be able to find it easily in the future when I may want to consider the issue in more depth.


UK Mapped Out by Genetic Ancestry by – “Finest-scale DNA survey of any country reveals historical migrations.”


136-Year Old Pair Of Levi’s Was Built To Last, from – surprising what a pair of jeans has to say about history

How A Brilliant Intelligence Officer Used ‘Monopoly’ to Free WWII POWs by Mental Floss – a fascinating story

10 Historical Inventions Patented by Women by the Crestleaf blog - very interesting


The Irish Genealogist Database - The Irish Genealogical Research Society’s annual journal, The Irish Genealogist, (1937- present) has been scanned in full to create a searchable resource of more than a quarter of a million names.


Searching With Wildcards and Boolean Operators from Fishwrap, the Official Blog of – this would work on almost any searchable resource or search site

When Searching Databases Doesn’t Work from the Mocavo blog

Are You Organized Enough? by Organize Your Family History blog

How To Find Black Sheep Ancestors, Part 1: Church Records and How to Use Tax Records to Solve Genealogy Problems, by Colonial Roots blog 


U.S. Federal Agricultural Census Questions from the Search Tip of the Day blog. Link to .pdf file which contains explanations for those impossible to read categories at the top pf the form. 

Maps and Deeds: The Perfect Combination from The National Institute for Genealogical Studies blog

Preserving Old Cassette Tapes from Ancestor Soup blog - this could be quite useful.


The Kentucky Digital Library is made up of thousands of digital documents found at 20 libraries, archives and institutions in Kentucky, but through this portal all collections are searchable at once.


Finding New Death Certificates on SeekingMichigan on No Story Too Small – lots of blogs had posts on the newly expanded death certificate database this week. I chose Amy’s because she illustrates how to search it with screenshots.


The Spoon Theory by Christine Miserandino  from – explains what everyday living is like with a chronic illness or disability, using an easy to understand analogy, For those who don't have a chronic illness but have a friend or loved one or client with one and want to better understand what it's like to live with one.  

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Women's History Month

Climbing My Family Tree: Myrtie Mabel Wilcox 1899
Myrtie Mabel Wilcox, 1899
Click to make bigger

March is Women’s History month. It is designed to recognize and honor women’s participation and accomplishments in history. One of my goals in research my family’s history has been to tell the women’s stories too. And I have discovered that I have some fascinating forebears --- about half a dozen blogs last week were adamant the “ancestors” only refers to direct blood line; what is the word for previous generation collateral family members? I haven’t figured it out. But they’re all family, and they all have stories. Some of the most interesting stories come from women in my family. So I thought I’d point out some of my favorites in this post to give some of my newer readers an opportunity to get to know them.

Myrtle Belle Bailey (1880-1970), my great-grand-aunt, on my Mom’s side, lived a fascinating life and never married. She was a missionary to China from 1917 – 1954. She lived through two revolutions, the Japanese invasion and occupation of Hong Kong and the Asama Maru – Gripsholm prisoner of war exchange. And thankfully, her local newspaper loved to write about and interview her! 

Mariah/Maria Williams Bailey Huber (abt 1815-after 1900) , my 3rd great grandmother, on my Mom’s side, was twice widowed, and lost one son in the Civil War. She drew a Mother’s pension based on his service.

Myrtie Mabel Wilcox (1879-1953), my paternal great-grandmother, a Michigan farmer’s wife in the late 19th and early 20th century. And due to her daughter Lucille Henn Robson’s book Members of the Flock, I can describe her life in those times surprisingly well (and found old advertizing pictures to illustrate them) and am so glad I didn’t live then!

Generosa/Rosa Henn Strauss (1836-1908), my  2nd great – grand aunt. She was born in Germany and emigrated to the US with the rest of the family. Her life was fairly normal until she married. Thereafter, tragedy followed tragedy until she was adjudged insane and committed (and much of this made the local papers).

I actually think all of my historical family members are fascinating, however, I decided to keep my list today down to a non-overwhelming number. I hope you enjoy reading about them! 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

NoteWorthy Reads #6

Climbing My Family Tree: NoteWorthy Reads #6
photo via
For week-ending 3/14/15

For me, Noteworthy Reads are articles, websites, or blogposts I found this week which are fascinating, interesting and/or helpful, and occasionally “wacky” or “wonderful” will likely sneak in as well. It’s not going to be a “best of” post because I don’t have the knowledge to make that determination. I don’t even promise that the articles & blogposts will be written that week – just that I found them that week. At the end of each quarter I’ll review the posts to determine which entries should be put in my Resource pages; the rest will still be available through the blog's search function.

Note: Just because I list an article does not mean I endorse its contents. It just means I want to be able to find it easily in the future when I may want to consider the issue in more depth.


20 Do’s and Don’ts of DNA  from Roots Revealed blog – read the comments as well.


James Tanner of Genealogy’s Star  has been running a series on Understanding Real Property Legal Descriptions For Genealogists. This week’s entry was on Homesteading. Thus far he has 10 other entries in this series; there are links to them at the bottom of this post.


Geneapalooza Genealogy Panel Cartoons. *snert!*  Go Look!

19 Strange Professions of Your Ancestors That Don’t Exist Today  – from the Crest Leaf blog. Made me feel OLD since I worked during college and law school as # 2! (Other than the outfits, it was virtually the same as the picture.)



Becoming A Legal Person (Canada – Women) from ‘On a Flesh and Bone Foundation’: and Irish History blog  Women weren't people until 1929 in Canada! The story of how the law was changed to recognize women as people.

“Deputy Husbands”  from Vita Brevis - In 18th & 19th centuries women could sometimes act as surrogates for their husbands in business 

IMAGES (for illustration of family story or for blogging)

Flickr: The Commons – List of Participating Institutions [click on each institutions’ icon to get to their collection] hidden treasures from the world's public photography archives, with no known copyright restrictions. Includes images from Internet Archive Book Images; Museums from Great Britain, France, Finland, Sweden, Finland, Australia, USA, Mennonites, Ireland, NASA, Scotland, etc.; the Law Society of Upper Canada (this is not remotely an exhaustive list – go look!)


Irish Genealogy: 70 Top Resources for Finding your Irish Ancestors from the Crest Leaf blog.  Wow! This just made my research of my Bailey and Bennett lines much easier!

Irish Societies Make Journal Articles Available Online from The British GENES Blog. This will help in researching my Irish ancestors, too! 


How To Easily Translate a French Website into English (or just about any other combination of languages) from the Genealogy al la Carte blog 

Asking For Help The Right Way by Aunt Barb’s Papers - How to make sure your request for help in a Facebook genealogy group, or other social media setting, isn't "set up for failure".


Katherine R. Willson’s Updated List “Genealogy on Facebook”  4,500 + links to genea groups  from the Genealogy al la Carte blog 


Sons of the American Revolution Patriot & Grave Index  - database of Revolutionary War patriots gravesites 


Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections  -  hoping this will be helpful for my Erwin, Conley, Craig lines 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Favorite Blogs

Image from

I love genealogy blogs. Nearly everything I know about doing genealogy I've learned by reading blogs. I follow a whole bunch of genealogy blogs via -- I counted about 200 the other day.

I've finally gotten  the time to get my Favorite Blogs page updated and back up on the page bars above. This page does not list two hundred blogs. These are my favorite blogs. I read each of their posts and am invariably entertained and learn something. I've also interacted in some way with most of them, commenting of their blog, asking questions or making a suggestion, emails, etc., and discovered that each blogger I have talked to (well, written) is a really nice person.

Each blog name listed on the page links to the blog in question. Drop in and take a look around, click through and explore. Each one of those blogs are worth your time, for the stories, the fun, the advice, the ideas of where to look next....

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Genealogical Societies and Conferences

via Shutterstock, copyright to travellight

One of my New Year’s goals for this year was to join one or more genealogical and /or historical societies in the states or counties where my ancestors resided. Last year I often found very helpful information on county and state historical society and genealogical websites, and several of them indicated that they had further resources that were only available to members. I wasn't in a place last where I could get good use out of such resources last year (moving too fast in order to keep up with my challenge), but this year is a different story.

So I've been looking at my logical choices, based on where my ancestors were: (alphabetically) the Illinois State Genealogical Society, the Indiana Genealogical Society, the Maryland Genealogical Society, the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, North Carolina Genealogical Society, the Ohio Genealogical Society, and, the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania.  Michigan would be logical as well, but I've not found a state genealogical society for Michigan. Either way, that’s a lot. It doesn't make sense for me to join one until I get to the ancestor who lives there, so I think I’ll start with Ohio, then Indiana and Illinois.

I took my first step into these sort of waters on the last Saturday in February and attended a meeting of the Capital District Genealogical Society. To my current knowledge I don’t have any ancestors from this area, but it’s local for me, and I thought I could learn more about how to do proper genealogical research and what’s available where, in general. I also look at it as a possible way to make new friends with similar interests, although I didn't necessarily start off on the best foot with that. You see I’m an introvert (I’m told I don’t come off that way online according to online friends I've actually met; they've all been surprised I’m not talkative as they expected, at least not at first – after I get to know you, it’s a whole different story!). Anyway, as an introvert, it’s hard to walk into group where I know no one, and I don’t know what to say.  I told myself before I went in that I had to talk, had to initiate conversations. (Ack!) Each person there was friendly and welcoming when I did speak to them. They were a nice group of people, even when I tried their patience, lol – you see, the second half of the program was on “Learning from Genealogy Blogs” and I just kind of lit up and dived into the lecture conversation, splashing about (wince).

I joined the Society while I was there, and will go back. The next session, on March 28,  is on “Long Distance Ancestors,” which would be a help since I only have a few generations of one branch in New York (so far); most of my ancestors are at a distance from me -- as shown by the list of genealogical societies above.  

They also sold me on going to the New York State Family History Conference in Syracuse in September – the program looks fantastic, including several sessions with one of my  favorite bloggers, Judy Russell of The Legal Genealogist, and speakers from several organizations that I use and respect. It looks really interesting and really helpful. Enough so, that I intend to go, even though instead of walking into a venue with 40 people I don’t know, there will be hundreds I don’t know. …but it will be fascinating!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

NoteWorthy Reads #5

Climbing My Family Tree: NoteWorthy Decisions #5
Image from used via Creative Commons License, photo by Webvilla

For me, Noteworthy Reads are articles, websites, or blogposts I found this week which are fascinating, interesting and/or helpful, and occasionally “wacky” or “wonderful” will likely sneak in as well. It’s not going to be a “best of” post because I don’t have the knowledge to make that determination. I don’t even promise that the articles & blogposts will be written that week – just that I found them that week. At the end of each quarter I’ll review the posts to determine which entries should be put in my Resource pages; the rest will still be available through the blog's search function.

Note: Just because I list an article does not mean I endorse its contents. It just means I want to be able to find it easily in the future when I may want to consider the issue in more depth.

For week-ending 3/7/15. (Again, if I haven't gone to bed yet, it's still today.)
[Apologies on the godawful editing job on this post when it went up - I've been sick. I just re-read it and am embarrassed. Will try to catch and fix all. If I missed any please let me know in a comment; I want to fix it.]

Introducing The Slave Name Roll Project from the Tangled Roots and Trees blog  – To help those of African-American descent find their ancestor (so difficult before 1870), the blogger has resolved to go through her ancestors wills and property records and post any information about a named slave she found so that names of slaves and their owners will be posted on the Internet and available through search engines to researchers. She encourages others who wish to participate in the project to submit a comment to the post I’ve linked to which includes link to their posts and she will include it on the Slave Name Roll Project page on her blog website. If you do not blog or have a website, just list your information in a comment on the blog, and she will put it on the Slave Name Roll page.  

Canadian Census Enumerator Instructions from the Family Tree Knots blog, with links to the manuals for the various years (might help figure out what some of those entries actually mean)




Woman Creates Touching Animated Portrait of Her Grandmother Using Her Old Possessions  – I love for interesting art. This is the first time I’ve seen family history as art there. This is a lovely video tribute to the artist’s grandmother using the stuff she left behind. It’s less 3 minutes of your time. Go watch it, now.


Understanding Civil War Pensions – Contains text of  the  various pension acts (it liberalized over the years), example of petitions and supporting documents, etc.


Tips for Using the Free David Rumsey Historical Maps Website from the Genealogy Insider blog for your family history - old maps can help you learn about the places your ancestors lived. 

Courthouse Research From Home from the My Kith and Kin blog – good blog post explaining how to search courthouse record books via, with screenshots. She uses Ohio as an example. I’ve used it for New York to find Francis Henn’s will. It’s very useful.

Digital Preservation, or why I worry about Evernote from the Worldwide Genealogy blog – interesting commentary on some concerns about digital storage

Three Free Tools for Genealogists and Family Historians  from the Christina George Genealogy Researcher website -1) Ages & Year; 2) Genealogical Terminology in 8 Languages (English, German, Polish, Hungarian, Latin, Czech, Slovak, & Ukranian); and 3) Common Names in Various Languages (central or eastern European)
Over 40,000 Digital Genealogy Books Searchable & Downloadable for Free at   – Post is great explanation of new site where genealogy-relevant books can be searched and read. Better than I could do so I’ll link to the GenealogyBlog  & you can get to the new site from there.

Historical Atlases and Maps of U.S. and States – “Each State page contains rotating animated maps showing all of the county boundary changes & all of the county boundaries for each census year for each year. Past and present maps of US are overlaid so that you can see the changes in county boundaries, downloadable County D.O.T. Maps, and state atlas maps.


Boys in Blue in Illinois  – Have ancestors who served in the Civil War  in an Illinois regiment? It’s possible that the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library has their picture, in a searchable online database. (It figures; most of my Illinois Civil War union veterans joined Missouri regiments for some reason.)


North Carolina Genealogy on Twitter from the Are You My Cousin? blog-   It really looks like the next step in one of my family branches is North Carolina so I’m putting this here for when I need it. There’s a lot of Genea-people on Twitter; you can learn a bunch just by lurking if you follow them. Yep, I’m there too; I mostly lurk. My twitter name is in the bio to the right (-- you can tell I didn't know much about Twitter when I joined or I’d have chosen a shorter name!).


First Families of Ohio Roster  – “First Families of Ohio is a lineage society open to OGS members who prove their descent from an ancestor who lived in Ohio by the end of 1820. This database of over 17,000 names contains the FFO roster through December 2007.”


This Is Everything I have to Say about GP  – Not everyone needs this one; but those who do, really need it. If you have Gastroparesis and haven’t discovered Crystal Saltrelli’s website , books, YouTube videos, Pinterest pages, & classes yet, any of those will vastly improve your standard of living. With this post she has released her most popular class on Living (Well!) with Gastroparesis as a self-guided, on demand program, at a reduced rate. The cost is $199. It’s worth it to improve your life substantially. [To those without GP, this is NOT for you. But anyone might know someone who gets this diagnosis, so I’m putting this here.] {I don't know Crystal personally, I get nothing from this. I did donate to the crowd funding page for one of her books. Her stuff helped me. I think it will help anyone with gastroparesis.}

Thursday, March 5, 2015

52 Ancestors (plus!): Grace Gregor Bentley (1864 – 1929) Home is WhereFamily Is

Climbing My Family Tree: here Grace Gregor Bentley Lived
Where Grace Gregor Bentley (1864-1929) Lived
Image copyright to Google Maps
Click to Make Bigger

Last year I did the 52 Ancestors Challenge with Amy Johnson Crow of the No Story Too Small Blog. This year she is continuing it, but is using themes for each week. I hadn’t thought to participate even though I knew I wanted to continue the ancestor bio sketches, albeit at a slower rate,  but she did tell me at the end of last year that I could drop in and out of it as I needed. This week her theme is “close to Home” and it seems to fit Grace Gregor, my great grand aunt, in an odd way. She moved huge distances in her life with her family, and for her, it seemed that as long as family was there, she was home. And, frankly, as I was writing it, this became more of a family entry than a person entry.

Grace Gregor was born in 1864 in Morriston in Puslinch Township, Wellington County in the British Province of Unified Canada (three years later that area would become Ontario, Canada when three provinces joined to become the nascent Dominion of Canada in the British Commonwealth). She was the fourth child and youngest daughter of Benjamin Gregor and Elizabeth Taylor; my great-grandmother Anna’s younger sister. They lived in Puslinch Township, where her father was worked as a farmer and laborer. Both her parents died before Grace was 17. Her oldest brother had moved to Burnside Township Michigan in the year before their father’s death on March 15, 1888, and when their parents died Grace, her older sister Anna, and younger brother Benjamin moved to Michigan to live with him in Goodland Township in Lapeer County. The 1884 Michigan Census showed Grace’s siblings living in the township of Goodland, in Lapeer County: James (27) worked in “lumber manufacturing”, Anna (24) was his housekeeper and Benjamin (17) attended school. The same document indicated that a female of 18, who had previously lived in the household, had married Anson Bentley on August 18, 1884.  

Grace married Anson in Burnside MI on August 18, 1884; their witnesses were Anson’s brother William and Grace’s sister Annie (my great-grandmother). Anson Jacob Bentley was the oldest son of George B. Bentley and Sarah Buck; he was born on 31 July 1856 in Dorchester, in Elgin County in the Unified Province of Canada.   [His younger siblings were Gertrud (born about 1863), William (born about 1866), Emma (born about 1870) and half-brother Duncan (born about 1876).]  He grew up in Canada. I’m uncertain of when he moved to Michigan, because his self-reported dates don’t really agree with some of the documentation I’ve found.

Grace and Anson lived and farmed in Burnside MI for about twenty years. All of their children were born in MI.  Grace and Anson had six children: Sarah E. (later known as “Essie” – I expect from her initials, “S.E.”), born May 16, 1884; George Gregor, born March 25, 1886; Gertrude G., born October 20, 1890; Benjamin F., born May 9, 1893; Josephine A., born November 8, 1898; and  Anson Buck, born 1902.  (Note: some trees on Ancestry showed one more short-lived child born after they left Michigan, but I’ve not found him independently yet.)

The 1900 census showed that Anson was a naturalized citizen. As of the late 1800’s a woman’s citizenship status was dependent on that of her husband, so Grace would have become a citizen when Anson did. I’ve not yet been able to determine when Anson became a citizen of the U.S. because, although he asserts in later census that he was in the USA by the 1860s, he is counted in the Canadian census and not the U.S. Census through 1881 and the 1890 census doesn’t exist. I haven’t found his naturalization documentation yet.

At some point between 1902 and 1905, Anson & Grace moved the whole family to Gove County, in western Kansas. According to the 1905 Kansas state Census, Anson & Grace and the family were homesteading and farming in or near Alanthus, in Larrabee Twp, Gove County (Alanthus was a farmers’ “post office” village, and has since become a ghost town). Their oldest daughter, Essie, was a school teacher but had been unemployed for 7 mos. of the prior year.

Climbing My Family Tree: Gove County Kansas by Chris Hartman
Gove County Kansas by Chris Hartman CC by 2.0
Click to make bigger

Climbing My Family Tree: Monument Rocks in Gove County KS by Lane Pearman
Monument Rocks in Gove County KS by Lane Pearman CC by 2.0
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The Homestead Act was signed by President Lincoln in 1862. Under the provisions of the Act, a homesteader could claim 160 acres of public land by applying and paying a filing fee of 10 dollars at the nearest land office to claim the land temporarily. Then he or she (single women could apply too) had six months to begin living on the property. If the homesteaders lived on the 160 acres for five continuous years, built a residence and grew crops, they could then “prove up” or file for their deed for the property, by filling out forms describing the boundaries of the land and the improvements they had done to it and having two neighbors or friends sign as witnesses that the homesteaders thus vouching for the truth of his statements about the improvements to the land. After completion of this final form and payment of a $6 fee, the homesteader received the patent for the land, signed with the name of the current President of the United States. Another option was to purchase the land from the government for $1.25 per acres after living on the land for six months, building a home, and starting to grow crops.

I don’t yet know which method Anson and Grace chose. But it must have been successful, because, by the time of the 1910 Census, Anson owned their farm, although it was mortgaged at that time. The 1910 Census also shows that Grace’s oldest brother, James, his wife, and seven children farmed next door to them. James owned his property too, but in coming years would move his family to the next county over (Lane). It must have made the huge move easier for Grace to have her brother join her in her new home.

In 1908, Grace and Anson’s daughter Essie married Edward S. Allen, a native of Colorado; she was 24 and he was 30. By 1910, she and her new husband, Edward, were living in Pueblo, Colorado, where he was a shipping clerk for what looks to be the Commission House.

After the census in 1910, Grace and Anson’s middle daughter, Gertrude, married Leo Levi Baker. They were both 20 years old.

In or about 1912, Grace and Anson, and those of their children who remained at home, bought and moved to a ranch near Merna, Wyoming. Anson formed a partnership with his sons to run cattle on the ranch. At least by 1914 (per the Big Piney Examiner), Grace and Anson’s daughter Grace and her husband Leo lived in the nearby community of Daniel, Wyoming, and by 1920, farmed and ran cattle on a ranch down the road from A.J. (as Anson was now known) and Grace, and their sons Benjamin, Anson B., and their daughter Josephine.

Climbing My Family Tree: Bentley & Sons Cattle Brand, Big Piney, Wyoming
Bentley & Sons Cattle Brand, Big Piney, Wyoming
In the Public Domain
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On October 6, 1917, Grace and A.J.’s son George married Nan Ethel Wallace, in Kemmerer, Wyoming; he was 31 and she was 25. They lived in Wyoming through at least the mid-1920’s, then per the Pine Dale Roundup, lived in Oakland CA, and later, near Reno, Nevada.

A.J. and his sons dissolved their partnership in 1918, when the youngest, Benjamin, went to fight overseas during WW1. He served in the Army as a first sergeant in France through the end of the war. He returned to Wyoming after the war.

During the time the family lived near Merna, WY, there were hundreds of mentions of them in the local paper, The Big Piney Examiner. Most were small two-line mentions, describing one or more of the family “calling on” someone, attending a dance, going to summer school in Laramie (Josephine), riding for cattle, snowshoeing to the Post Office, or arriving from someplace on a coach.

On July 1, 1920, Grave & A.J.’s son Benjamin married Kathryn Cavanaugh in Quinter, KS in the presence of only immediate family and friends. They honeymooned in Colorado, then returned to their own ranch near Merna, Wyoming. Benjamin was described by the newspaper as “a prosperous young cattleman of the Cottonwood Valley and recently returned from overseas where he served as a sergeant in the army.” The article noted that his bride was “a charming young woman who has taught school in western Kansas for several years.”

By the time of the 1920 Census, Grace and A.J.’s daughter, Essie, her husband, and their three children had also moved into a farm, or ranch, in the same county as her parents.

On November 16, 1921, the doctor was called to the ranch because Grace had suffered “a stroke of paralysis”. Daughter Josephine’s wedding to Marshall Gordon Dunham, jr., was postponed due to her mother’s serious illness. The couple were finally married a very small ceremony at the house of her parents, conducted by Rev. Herbert C. Kimmel of the Big Piney Community Church on New Year’s Day morning, 1922, at 8:00 AM, followed by a “sumptuous wedding breakfast.” The newspaper said of the couple,"both parties are well and favorably known here, and have a host of friends who wish them a happy and prosperous wedded life….” They lived in the same county as her Josephine’s parents’ ranch for much of the early and mid-1920’s.

Throughout the 1920’s Grace travelled, sometimes alone and sometimes in the company of one of her daughters, several times a year to visit her children and grandchildren, spread across the country, staying anywhere from two weeks to an entire season during the course of her visits.  Her trips to visit family took her to nearby towns in Wyoming, and as far away as California, Kansas, Colorado, and Idaho. I did not see a newspaper article mentioning an occasion in which A.J. travelled. He did host his sisters when they came to visit them in Wyoming, from Michigan and Kansas.

In 1923, when A.J. was 67 and Grace was 59, they gave up ranching and moved into Pinedale, WY, where A.J. opened a store, “The Bentley Fruit, Vegetable, and Grain Cash Store.”  In August of that year they celebrated their fortieth wedding anniversary. He operated that store for five years. Within that time, he also became a city councilman.
Climbing My Family Tree: 1923 Ad for The Bentley Fruit, Vegetable, and Grain Cash Store in Pinedale WY
1923 Ad for The Bentley Fruit, Vegetable, and Grain Cash Store in Pinedale WY
in the public domain, Click to make Bigger

In or about February 1925, Grace and A.J.’s son, Benjamin, and his family moved to Olympia, Washington, where he found work as a longshoreman. His sister Essie and her family also moved to Olympia at or around the same time frame.

Tragically, Grace and A.J. received word in late February, 1926, that Benjamin had been killed in a freak accident at work. He had been hit by a timber being loaded onto a ship. It had knocked him into the water, and despite dredging the river, his body had not been found. His body wasn’t found until nine days later.  Examination by the coroner showed that he had been killed by the blow and not by drowning. The family was devastated, and in the weeks that followed, they pulled closer together – several of the ones who lived out-of town came to stay with their parents and siblings for several weeks.

It looks like his brother’s death brought home to Anson Buck how short life could be. He married Thelma Olynn Porter on September 14, 1926, at the home of her parents in 1926. Directly after the service the couple went to Pinedale, WY, where they received guests and congratulations at their parents’ home on September 15.

In October of that year Grace traveled to Twin Falls ID, with her daughter, Gertrude, to visit with her daughter Josephine’s family and to see Benjamin’s widow and his three children (Thomas, Dora Berenice, and Benjamin, Jr.). The number of Grace’s visits to family and the duration of the visits increased after Benjamin died.

In June 1928, Grace went back to Kansas, wither her daughter, Gertrude. She visited her grandchildren (Benjamin’s children) in Utica, KS, and her brother, James, whom she hadn’t seen in several years, and took a side trip back see their old home.

In early January, 1929, at age 72, A.J. decided to close his store and made a deal with Jasper Paulsen to take the property. He liquidated his stock throughout the month, and closed his store on January 17, 1929. Thereafter, he moved to Twin Falls ID, where Grace was spending her winter with their daughter and son-in-law, Josephine and Marshall Dunham. He was contemplating opening a new store in Swan Valley ID in the Spring.

Unfortunately, he lived only a month after closing his business. A.J. Bentley died on February 18, 1029, of bronchial pneumonia.

Grace survived him by only ten months. She had gone to Sparks NV to visit her son George’s family in the winter of 1929. On December 13, Grace’s daughter Gertrude received a message that her mother had had a stroke, and another the next evening, telling that Grace had died on December 14, 1929, at age 65. On December 26, 1929, the Pinedale Roundup newspaper noted that Grace was survived by her three daughters and two sons: “Mrs. E. S. Allen, Olympia Washington; George Bentley, Boise, Idaho; Mrs. Leo L. Baker, Daniel, Wyoming; Mrs. M.G. Dunham, Twin Falls, Idaho; and Anson B. Bentley, Twin Falls, Idaho. Ben F. Bentley preceded his mother in death three years ago. There are living fourteen grandchildren of Mr. and Mrs. Bentley.” 

Anson's and Grace’s estates were finally settled in 1948.

-          Essie and Edward Allen’s children were: Dorothy G, born about 1910; Virginia E., born about 1915; Hugh S., born about 1917; and Wlliam S., born about 1920.
-          George and Nan Ethel (Wallace) Bentley’s children were: George W., born about 1920, and Marjorie Nan, born about 1922.
-          Gertrude and Leo Baker’s children were: Harland Bentley Baker, 1915-1956, and Leo M., born about 1920.
-          Benjamin and Kathryn (Cavanaugh) Bentley’s children were: Thomas L., born about 1921; Dora Berenice, born about 1924; and Benjamin, Jr., born about 1926. Kathryn subsequently married Edward W. Gegg in Kansas and had another child named Don, bout about 1930.
-          Josephine A.  and Marshall Gordon Dunham’s children were: Marshall Gordon Dunham, jr., 1922-1958; Barbara, born about 1925; Daniel, born about 1937; and Joyce, born 1938.
-          Anson Buck and Thelma (Porter) Bentley didn’t have any children that I found. Anson B. later married Leona May Workman on 24 April 1934 in Coalville Utah. Their children were Verda Ann, born about 1935; Virgie Lou (Virginia, maybe?), born about 1937; and A Blaine, born about 1939.  I lost Anson & Leona after 1940, there may be more kids.


I’d like to find out more about Grace's and Anson’s Michigan and Kansas years.

I’d like to know how they met, why they decided to move to Kansas, and why they moved to Wyoming.

I’d like to know what happened to the kids in the rest of their lives.

I’d like to know if Grace ever saw her sister Anna (my great-grandmother) again after she moved to Kansas & on to Wyoming.

If anyone knows more about Grace and Anson and their life, or their kids, and are willing to share, please contact me by leaving a comment below or emailing me at the email address listed on my Contact Me page.

(If you want a fuller cite for anything below, just ask. All are digital copies.)

Canadian Census for 1861, 1871 & 1881; U.S. Census for 1880, 1900, 1910, 1220, 1930, & 1940, Michigan State Census for 1894; Kansas State Census for 1905; Michigan Marriage Records; Idaho Death Certificate; Idaho Findagrave Memorial # 101419295 and # 101419340; Washington Findagrave Memorial # 102686392 & # 5870615; Wyoming  Findagrave memorial # 40044921; Washington State Death Certificate; Western States Marriage Index Marriage ID #235344 & ID #235344; U.S, Findagrave Memorial  # 9332098;  Bellingham, Washington, City Directory (U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011) for 1927, 1929, 1935, 1938, 1939, 1942, 1945, 1947, & 1949; U.S. Social Security Index; WW1 & WW2 draft registrations for George, Benjamin, & Anson B.

Big Piney Examiner, Big Piney, Wyoming for June 25, 1914 (p.3); February 24, 2016; November 23, 1916;  January 17, 1918; January 3, 1918 (p.7); April 8, 1920; July 1, 1920 (p.3); January 5, 1922 (p.1); July 31, 1922;  October 4, 1923 (p.1); and February 21, 1929 (p.1). (Found at

Pinedale Roundup, Pinedale, Wyoming, for November 17, 1921 (p.7); June 28, 1923 (p.1)August 23, 1923 (p.7); November 15, 1923; August 20, 1925;  March 4, 1926 (p.5); September 2, 1926 (p.1); September 16, 1926 (p.1)October 7, 1926 (p.7);  March 31, 1927; June 16, 1927; June 7, 1928 (p.7); January 3, 1929 (p.7); January 17, 1929 (p.7); July 11, 1929 (p.7); December 26, 1929 (p. 8); December 19, 1929 (p. 1 & 7); and July 15, 1948 (p.2). (Found at

The Morning Olympian (Olympia, WA), Thursday, September 2, 1926, pp. 1 and 6 (found at