Thriller Thursday! In an illegitimate child kind of way

Yesterday I posted a picture of my 3x great-grandparents, Judson and Nancy Almy. He’s been a main focus in my research lately because of his Civil War record file that I received. Well that, and a bit of a mystery too.

Cora Almy, a daughter. Here’s the story, in the 1880 census (her first she’d be in) she is not with her parents at all.[1] In fact, I never see her with them in any census records. My search for her started because she is mentioned in both Judson’s and Nancy’s obituary as Mrs. Frank McLean.[2] That led me to the Saginaw Obituary Index where I found Frank’s name and the index states his wife was Cora Almy.[3]

Now I had a name! But then where was she? I found her in the 1910 census, which gives how long she had been married and her age. She was 36 years old and had had no children (but one adopted son lived with her and her husband). Here’s one of my surprises – they had been married for 20 years – which means they got married when she was 16![4]  I understand that was 1891 and things were very different but it still shocks me when I see that.

So, now I know why I can’t find her with her family after 1880. She was married and out by 16. I puzzled for a long time (in my opinion) over why she wasn’t with her parents in the 1880 census. Nancy and Judson didn’t move and none of Judson’s relatives had a 6 year old girl with them… that’s when it hit me. Six-year old girl! In 1880, Judson and Nancy had only been married for three years – Cora would have been 3 years old when they married.

I didn’t notice this right away when I collected her birth year from the 1880 census (the getting married at 16 thing had really shocked me apparently). All I figured was that she must have been six years old at the time of the census and didn’t put two and two together. I feel silly that it didn’t hit me until a phone conversation with my mom yesterday when I was talking about.

SO! As far as I knew, this was Nancy’s one and only marriage but I didn’t have evidence confirming that. But, knowing that she had a 3 year old daughter when she married made me think to look at Nancy’s parents 1880 census (I had only recently confirmed her parents’ names so I hadn’t searched yet for Cora in those records). And there she was:[5]

464 Cora Almy

She’s even listed as a granddaughter! Her name is listed as Cora M Abby, which leads me to believe that she was not from another marriage with Nancy because Cora would have his last name. So, was Cora Judson’s? When Judson had to list his children in a Civil War document, he specifically leaves out Cora’s name.[6]  Why? Shame? He was supposed to list their ages and maybe he didn’t want them to figure out she was born before they were married (although he did accidentally list everyone’s birth year as 1898, the year he filled in the document)? And was this why they married in Midland County instead of Saginaw, where they both lived? And is this the true story of why their marriage certificate was “lost”? (See this post for that story.)

I love how in genealogy, you may get an answer to your original question but then you are always left with more questions! :)

[1] 1880 U.S. census, Saginaw County, Michigan, population schedule, Thomastown, sheet 3 (penned), 196 (stamped), Enumeration District (ED) 322, dwelling 25, family 26, household of Judson Almy; digital image, ( : accessed 30 October 2014), citing National Archives and Record Administration microfilm publication T9, roll 603.

[2] “Judson Almy, Civil War Veteran, Here 75 Years, Succumbs,” Saginaw Daily News (Saginaw, Michigan), 21 May 1932, p.3, col. 4. Also, Mrs. Nancy Roxann Almy, Saginaw News (Saginaw, Michigan), 13 October 1939, p. 17.

[3] Public Libraries of Saginaw, Saginaw Obituary Index, ( : accessed 30 October 2014), entry for Frank S. McLean, 1959.

[4] 1910 U.S. census, Saginaw County, Michigan, population schedule, Saginaw Ward 15, sheet 3A (penned), 122 (stamped), ED 64, dwelling 44, family 44, household of Frank McLean; digital image, ( : accessed 30 October 2014), citing NARA microfilm T624, roll 672.

[5] 1880 U.S. census, Saginaw County, Michigan, population schedule, Richland, sheet 16, ED 311, dwelling 138, family 138, household of Amos Abby; digital image, ( : accessed 30 October 2014), citing NARA microfilm T9, roll 602.

[6] Department of the Interior Questions about Marriage and Children, Jutson Almy (Private, Company I, 15th New York Engineers, Civil War), pension no. XC 265,180, Federal Military Pension Application – Civil War and Later Complete File; Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Categories: ALMY, Discovery, Paper | Tags: , | 8 Comments

(semi) Wordless Wednesday – Judson and Nancy Almy

463 Judson and Nancy Almy

Judson and Nancy (Abbey) Almy are my 3x great-grandparents. If you can look closely at Judson, he does NOT look well. After receiving his Civil War documents, I read that in 1901 he had a physician inspect him for his pension and wrote that he was 5’8″ and only 129lbs! The doctor said he was emaciated – yeah, I’d say so! (1) Apparently, 18 years later his health did not improve. Right after this, the pair moved out to California. (2) It could be they went for Judson’s health but their daughter was also there.

1)Surgeon’s certificate for application for increase, Jutson Almy (Private, Company I, 15th New York Engineers, Civil War), pension no. XC 265,180, Federal Military Pension Application – Civil War and Later Complete File; Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C.

2)1920 U.S. census, Alameda County, California, population schedule, Oakland, sheet 1A, Enumeration District (ED) 225, dwelling 9, family 9, Judson Almy household; digital image, ( : accessed 28 October 2014), citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm publication T625, roll 91.

Categories: ALMY, Photo | Tags: , | Leave a comment

National Archives Virtual Genealogy Fair

462 gen conference

This event has been talked about all over the genealogy world but I’m still going to chime in here. I love that this is a FREE event! And that I can watch the presentations from the comfort of my own home!

The schedule is posted online but I only see today’s on there, not the next two days. It could be a glitch or something wrong on my side of things but either way, I will be watching a few sessions today!

I also love that you can chat with them, live, on their youtube station too! Or on twitter, too.

Everything starts at 10am EST, so I’ve got my coffee on, the youtube station up, and a word document opened (the perks of having a dual screen set up!). Anyone else joining in?

Categories: Research | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Motivation Monday! My Business Venture

I have some big news! I have officially started my own business! It’s called Copper Leaf Genealogy. Why the name? At the NGS conference last May, I happened to buy a copper leaf necklace. The necklace is a reminder to me of my new career choice and represents my hopes for my career. So, I named my business with that in mind.

One of the blogging prompts on geneabloggers today is about Motivation and setting some genealogy goals. With my new business in mind, here are some of my goals (in no particular order):

  1. Create an “elevator pitch” so I have something to go to when people ask me about my business
  2. Start marketing myself by getting out there and doing some presentations for groups
  3. Find a professional genealogist mentor
  4. Continue my own family research with the thought of writing articles on them
  5. Continue my education by attending conferences, reading journals, etc.
  6. Begin creating presentations that I can bring to libraries for beginning genealogists
  7. Continue networking with other genealogists to get ideas and advice from others who have been there
  8. Continue working toward certification by taking ProGen (still on the waiting list!), writing articles, and doing presentations

Can you believe that this has been just a bit over a year? It was a year earlier this month! There is so much that I have done and learned through this process and I want to say a big THANK YOU to everyone out there who has read my posts, commented, and given some wonderful advice.


I am looking forward to what will be coming next! :)

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , | 16 Comments

Military Monday: Civil War Documents

I apologize for the slow down in my posts! There will be a new website soon that this blog will be moved to and I have been working on my new genealogy business. Stay tuned for that!

I have been slowly going through my 3x great-grandfather’s Civil War records. They have been very interesting and really give some insight into what his life was like from 1890-1932, when he died.

What I have loved as well is the added information on items I can’t find. For example, these records explain why there is no marriage certificate to be found (1):

461 Judson Almy Marriage

Also, the county Jutson died in no longer has a death certificate for him, just a recording in a book. However, his Civil War file has the actual death certificate! (2)

460 judson death certificate

It also explains why there was no will or probate record. There was nothing left to be given! He must have already sold off his land (he was a farmer) as his health was very poor for about 30 years before his death and farming just could no longer happen so he moved into the city. In one of his records, it states that there was no personal property left and he only had about $100 of cash money left. The homestead was owned jointly by his wife so there was nothing to go about there either. (3)

The other things that are great to find are all of the affidavits when his health started to get bad. There are many neighbors and friends who wrote in saying that he didn’t have these disabilities due to “vicious habits” but came by them naturally. It even includes an affidavit from a doctor who treated Jutson’s mother and brother. The doctor mentions his mother had died from consumption and his brother also had some respiratory issues. (4)

I love these records as I feel I know so much more now about Jutson then I did before. I love it when records make the ancestor seemingly become more alive. :)


1) Jutson Almy (Private, Company I, 15th New York Engineers, Civil War), pension no. XC 265,180, Federal Military Pension Application – Civil War and Later Complete File; Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C.

2) “Jutson Almy Death Certificate,” Jutson Almy (Private, Company I, 15th New York Engineers, Civil War), pension no. XC 265,180, Federal Military Pension Application – Civil War and Later Complete File.

3) “Affidavit Supporting Burial Claim,” Jutson Almy (Private, Company I, 15th New York Engineers, Civil War), pension no. XC 265,180, Federal Military Pension Application – Civil War and Later Complete File.

4) “Physician Affidavit 24 January 1896,” Jutson Almy (Private, Company I, 15th New York Engineers, Civil War), pension no. XC 265,180, Federal Military Pension Application – Civil War and Later Complete File.

Categories: ALMY, Discovery, Paper | Tags: , | 3 Comments

Wordless Wednesday: GM Gathering

459 Glenn Witherell


Left to Right: Mart Engerer, Jim Smith, and Glenn Witherell

Their badges say Central Foundry Division General Motors Corporation

Categories: Photo, WITHERELL+ | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Wordless Wednesday: Formal Picture

Mary Hummel  age 17; about 1947

Mary Hummel age 17; about 1947

Categories: HUMMEL, Photo | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Matrilineal Monday: Barnes Line

I hate to say it, but I haven’t really focused on my maternal grandmother’s line, the Barnes, at all. I have focused on my own maiden name and my mom’s maiden name more than anything. After all, this search began with finding out where the Witherell’s came from. And my mom’s maiden name’s line has a lot of the immigrant stories that I love to hear about.

So, I kind of avoided/didn’t pay attention to the Barnes.

But their story is interesting too, as I’m figuring out with bits and pieces. I’ll share some of those bits today and hopefully have a much fuller story in the coming months!

James and Helen Barnes - probably taken early 1980s

James and Helen Barnes – probably taken early 1980s

These are my grandmother’s parents. She was only one of two children that they had. My grandmother is 11 years older than her younger brother so they weren’t very close. Which is probably why I don’t know much about this family and why they weren’t talked about too often. My grandpa, after all, had a large and local family so most of the family stories came from there.

However, those two up there did elope (1). I love the story my grandmother told me. Apparently, her parents met and fell in love early in life. Before her mom, Helen, graduated from high school, these two sneaked over the Ohio border and got married, telling no one. Then after her graduation, when Helen’s parents wanted to take her home, James (my great-grandpa) intervened and said Helen would go with him since they were married. I can’t imagine how well that went over!

The Barnes family isn’t one I have researched very well but I do know they came to Michigan from Canada. My 3x great-grandfather, James Kelley Barnes, was born in Canada (2). The story on him is interesting and I haven’t verified it yet but apparently he was quite the sportsman. So much so that in 1902 he went into Northern Michigan to establish a hunting and fishing lodge and his family never heard from him again. I really want to follow up on that and see what became of him.

The rest of the family I still need to search into but I can say that although the family wasn’t talked about in much detail, I think that will make everything I find all the more interesting. :)


1) Fulton County, Ohio. Marriage License, Barnes-Henderson, 1931; County Clerk’s Office, Wauseon.

2) 1880 U.S. Census, Tuscola County, Michigan, population schedule, Juniata Township, ED 407, SD 3, sheet 21A(penned), 198 (stamped), dwelling 197, family 197, James Barnes; digital image, ( : accessed 18 March 2014), citing National Archives microfilm publication T9, roll 407.

Categories: BARNES | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Friday’s Faces from the Past: Baby Picture

457 Baby


I love this photo but I have no idea who it could be.

Happy Friday everyone :)

Categories: Photo | Tags: , | 5 Comments

Wordless Wednesday: Flowers and a Visit

456 Ada (Raifsnider) Hummel

1948 – Ada (Raifsnider) Hummel visiting her sister, Hattie, in Centerville, Michigan.

Categories: Photo, RAIFSNIDER | Tags: , | Leave a comment

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Virginia Allain

Writer, Photographer, Book Designer

Once a Hoosier...Always a Hoosier

Record your Indiana Ancestors

Planting the Seeds

Genealogy as a profession

If Destroyed Still True

Putting my teenage diaries online is a pretty daft idea but I can't quite bring myself to chuck them on a bonfire after years of writing EVERYTHING down... with diagrams.

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My Strange and Wonderful Experiences and Adventures as I Travel through the World

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It's all Relative


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Digging up the past is a present to yourself


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