A Race of Giants

I have been doing some research on my Erb family ancestors in the Cleveland Plain Dealer and I found this article in the January 7, 1842 edition. I found it amusing and you might too.

A Race of Giants – An extraordinary family. — There is now a person of the name of Scott, a nurseryman, about three miles form Manchester, and near the Independent College now building, who is one of six sons, now living, and whose united stature is the extraordinary one of 38 feet, or six feet four inches on the average. The lowest in stature is six feet two inches and a half. The father of this race of giants, who was married when thirty nine years of age, has now living nine children, six sons and three daughters, two of the latter being very tall, whilst the other is by comparison diminutive, About seven years ago, all the family assembled at the family residence near Carlisle and on the sons visiting the city, which they did, walking two and two, arm in arm, the circumstance caused much attention. The mother was only nineteen at the time of her marriage, and she died about twelve months ago.

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My Grandparents – Marion Etta Bagnall Gibson and Robert Alexander Gibson

My Grandfather Robert Alexander Gibson "Bob" was an engineer for the Canadian National Railway in the Canadian Rockies. My Mother (Margaret Helen Gibson Robinson) told me that when she was young she was afraid of the steam locomotives he drove  because they were so big and so noisy. Here are a couple of pictures of my Grandfather.

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MV0001 (9)-cropped

Both my Mother and her brother Gordon are gone now. I recently called their cousin Helen who is 92 now and lives in Kingston Ontario. I asked her what she remembers about my Grandfather and Grandmother. They were  Aunt Marion and Uncle Bob to her.  She said:

"Well
you know one thing I can remember… one
time after Jane (my sister) was born Grandma came down and she asked me if I wanted to go
home with her and of course I jumped at the idea. I thought it was great. So I
went home with her and you know I ended up staying about a year and a half. While I was in Edmonton your Grandfather  was transferred to Jasper
and while he was getting a place to live in Jasper Aunt Marion came to
Grandma’s. We were all there. There was
she and Margaret and Gordon and me. 

I remember Uncle Bob, he was a nice man, good looking too. You know the train went right back of Grandma’s house, about a block, and of course we’d watch, we knew what train when he was going by and used to run out the back and wave at him and he’d blow the whistle. He was
the engineer. He was always leaning out the window there and waving at us. That
was my Uncle!

He worked for the CNR,
Canadian National Railway. I’m sure
about that. You know Gordon used to say
… He was a little bit lonesome for his Dad you know and he used to say “I’m
going to jump out the window. I’m going to run to the CNR station and I’m going
to say Jasper Park!”"

At this time Gordon would have been about 4 my Mom about 6 and Helen about 11.

When I asked Helen what she remembered about her Aunt Marion, my Grandmother, she told another story from the same time period.

"I can remember Aunt Marion sewing. She was a great seamstress. She could make anything! She made these Hudson Bay
coats.  Aunt Hilda and Aunt B each bought
a Hudson Bay blanket and Aunt Marion made coats for them. Theirs were that camel color with the black
stripe around the bottom. 

Then Grandma bought the white Hudson Bay blanket
with all the candy stripes you know, the red and the green and the gold and Aunt Marion made me a coat.  And the way she cut it she got a coat for
Margaret too. Margaret and I both had a coat out of that blanket." 

Her is a picture of my grandmother, Marion

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Here is my Grandparents wedding picture

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The baby in the picture below is my Mom with her parents.

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Helen and I talked for about 45 minutes and I got some great family history stories and information.

Almost a Genealogy Blog and searching for the Erb Family in Richland County, Ohio Land Records

The Separate Genealogy Blog Question

In a post about a month ago I pondered the question of whether my genealogy posts should be in a separate blog. I really appreciated the comments, including one from the king of genealogy blogging, Thomas MacEntee, who manages a
group of over 900 genealogy bloggers at GeneaBloggers (http://www.geneabloggers.com). He clearly has a Google alert set up for the words "Genealogy Blog"!

Thomas recommended a separate blog and others said they would like all the content in one place. For the time being I've compromised. I've added a link in the navigation bar at the top of this blog to my genealogy content. You can also go to the genealogy content directly at

http://marionvermazen.blogs.com/marions_blog/genealogy/.

Searching for the Erb Family in Richland County, Ohio

My Dad's Mother, my Grandma Ruth was an Erb. She told me that her Grandparents were Joseph Erb and Mary Harris Erb but she didn't know a lot more about them than their names and the fact that they lived in Wabash County, Indiana.

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Over the years other family researchers and I have discovered that Joseph Erb's father was also named Joseph. Joseph Senior was born in 1788 in Maryland. His wife's name was Elizabeth. They show up in the census in Allegany County, Maryland.  He was drafted and served for a few months in the war of 1812. In the early 1830s Joseph and his family which by that time included 8 children moved to Richland County, Ohio. In the mid 1850s they moved to Wabash County, Indiana.

In my genealogical digging the questions about Joseph Senior and Elizabeth that I am working on right now include:

  1. Where and when did Joseph die?
  2. What was Elizabeth's maiden name?
  3. Where and when did Elizabeth die?
  4. Who were Joseph and Elizabeth's parents? (An Ancestry.com family tree may take the Joseph Erb family back several generations. The tree shows that Joseph's father was Michael Erb. There is a Michael Erb of about the right age on the same page as Joseph in the 1820 census but I'd like some real proof.)
  5. Did Joseph have siblings?

In addition to these specific questions I like to fill in details about my ancestors to make them more than just names.

So……. I am currently working on finding the land records for Joseph and Elizabeth and their children in Richland County Ohio. I ordered the microfilm of the Grantee Index for the Richland County Ohio Deed Books (film # 388652) from the Family History Library and it arrived while I was gone on my road trip. A couple of days ago I spent several hours pouring over the index and extracting all the entries for the names Erb, Arter, Caldwell and Calwell. I created a Google spreadsheet of the relevant entries and I took digital pictures of each page that had an interesting entry.

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The next step is to search the Grantor index and to start looking at the Deeds. I have the microfilm of the Grantor index to the deed books and  the microfilm of deed book volumes 13-14 on order. I love doing research and solving mysteries. I'll keep you posted on what I find out.

Her is a picture of Joseph Erb Junior, my Great Great Grandfather.

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Should my Genealogy Postings be a Separate Blog?

I'm torn! I'm trying to decide whether to start a new genealogy blog or whether to start publishing genealogy content along with everything else here on this blog. On one hand it makes sense to start a new blog because family history and genealogy are very interesting to me but to most people they are pretty boring. On the other hand readers can skip the genealogy content if they are not interested and there is something to be said for keeping all my content in one place. It is also possible to select a tag like Hiking or Reno or Genealogy from the list at the right and get the content you want.

As I say in my tag line I am a renaissance woman or what Barbara Sher calls a scanner. I have a wide variety of interests and enjoy moving from one interest to another. My blog has always reflected that diversity of interests.  It means that I can't market my blog as being about one topic but it also means the blog reflects me.

Here is a list of some of the Genealogy content I want to post.

  1. The more detailed story for each of my Grandparents.
  • Marion Etta Bagnall Gibson – Born in Prince Edward Island, married in Vancouver British Columbia, Lived in Jasper, Alberta, emigrated to the U.S. after the death of my Grandfather. She started and ran a sanitarium in Spokane, Washington.
  • Robert Alexander Gibson – Born in Kilmaurs, Ontario, Canada, died in Jasper, Alberta, Canada. Worked as an Engineer on the Canadian National Railroad.
  • Mary Ruth Erb Robinson – Born in Boone, Iowa. Homesteaded with her family in Dunn County, North Dakota. Married, lived for more than 50 years, and died in Bismarck, North Dakota.
  • Ray Robinson Born on a farm near Viroqua Wisconsin. Homesteaded with his family in Dunn County, North Dakota. Served in the Army during World War I. Worked for the North Dakota Highway department for 45 years eventually as Chief Maintenance Engineer.

    2. Stories of some of my research and the brick walls I am running up against

    3. Stories of some of my exciting moments of discovery

    4. Descriptions of some of the tools I use. Like this post.

    5. Stories of other ancestors

    6. Questions that I would like answered.

One of the advantages of blogging about this kind of stuff is that when people Google search a name they are researching they will be led to my blog and I may find 'lost' relatives.

Blogging about a question like whether to start a separate genealogy blog turns out to be a good way to work out what I want to do. After composing this post I am leaning towards leaving all my content in one place.

I'd be interested in input about this question from anyone reading this. Thanks!

 

My Genealogy Interest and Lostcousins.com

I have been a genealogist off and on since 1969 when my grandfather's cousin, Opal Hanson published the civil war diaries and letters of Oliver S Robinson a great great grand uncle of mine who was killed at Vicksburg during the American civil war. Opal included what she knew about  the genealogy of our family when she published the book. I began corresponding with her  and I even helped a little in the research for her subsequent book The Family History and Genealogy of Sarah and Munson Robinson.

Genealogy research has changed a lot since 1969. For instance when I used to search for my family in the census records I would request the microfilm from the library and then when it came in I would sit at a microfilm reader and search. When I found the family of interest I would copy down what I found. For instance when I searched for and found the Joseph Erb family (my great great grandfather) in the 1880 census in Story County Iowa I created the following extract.

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Today when I searching for the family I can just go to the 1880 census on line, search, and there the family is.

Erb-Family

I have recently been listening  to genealogy podcasts like Family History – Genealogy Made Easy by Lisa Louise Cooke. In a recent podcast she recommended a site called Lost Cousins. Lost Cousins is so cool. The premise is that if you can specifically identify your ancestors then you can find distant cousins who have also done the same. If you think about it, it is difficult to specifically identify ancestors. What Lost Cousins does is use the exact census page number and the exact census spelling of the name to specify allow you to claim an ancestor.

So I registered that Joseph Erb is on page 343  of the 1880 census and I identified him as a my ancestor. Lost cousins then tells me if anyone else has claimed Joseph as an ancestor. In the case of Joseph no one has. But in the case of another ancestor, Joseph Armitage, I did find a distant cousin who is also researching the family.

Finding all my ancestors in the 1880 U.S. census and in the 1881 Canadian census was really fun. Maybe it is the history geek in me but I love doing historical research and the fact that I was able to find 1880 census entries for 26 ancestors including all but 3 of my Great Great Grandparents was really exciting.

Lost Cousins is a British company. Their web site is http://lostcousins.com. Usually registering your ancestors is free but connecting with your cousins requires pay an annual fee of less than $20. But between Christmas and New Years Lost cousins is completely free!!

As I start getting back into family history research I think I am going to create a new blog that you will be able to access
from the bar across the top of the page. It will include bios of my
ancestors that people can find if they do a Google search for one of my
ancestor's names (something genealogists do a lot). My current thinking
is to not include these family history posts as a part of this blog
because family history may be very interesting to the person whose
family it is but it is almost always supremely uninteresting to
everyone else.