Posts Tagged With: Carnegie

Five Enduring Foutz Family Mysteries


Jonathan Foutz

Great-Great Grandfather Jonathan Foutz would probably agree with Dory — looking for answers to genealogy questions? Just keep sleuthing!

Genealogy Never Rests

Just keep sleuthing, just keep sleuthing….

Dory from Finding Nemo (and her own eponymous sequel) was really a genealogist at heart. The motto that kept her moving — swimming — kept leading her to families, no matter the leagues between them. First, Nemo’s, then happily, her own.

Aside from occasional bursts of full-contact hereditary rummaging, my genealogical quest has been more of an occasional thing. Some early-a.m. flipping through old newspapers here, some peeks at the burgeoning pile of electronic detritus on Ancestry.com there. Day job, Dad duties, mindless TV — all conspire to slow my family-sleuthing from mad scramble to meandering marathon.

And that’s OK. This blog is a record of where we’ve been before, and an open lane to the depths we’ve yet to discover. And often, the way to latch on to new currents is to back-paddle to places we last left off. Dive around. Pick up the tidal pull again.

What do we do? We sleuth….

Questions to Keep Sleuthing By

My goal for this space the next six months is to share, at least once a week, some tidbit or tale that I’ve kept under glass the last few years, or lately untangled from the historical net. These discoveries spark conversations, which in turn spark connections — people with answers, and questions of their own. Keep ’em coming.

For now, here are five of the biggest, most-enduring mysteries I’d like one day to solve, bringing further clarity to the muddy waters of Foutz, Ley, Weible, Morgan, Fisher, Johnson, Palmer, Zeigler origins.

1. Where did Michael Pfouts come from?

Yeah, we think we know. Württemberg. Along the lower Neckar River region in Germany. Where Foutzes of old farmed, fought, made little Foutzes.

So says John Scott Davenport’s Foutz Newsletter of the 1980s: Michael Pfoutz emigrated to America in 1787, settled in Washington County, Maryland, and by 1810 or so was on his way to Harrison County, Ohio, where multiple records pretty definitively trace the Pfouts-Fouts-Foutz story through the succeeding two centuries.

But: Where exactly did Michael come from in Germany? Why did he cross the ocean, at 18? Did anyone come with him? Where else did those possible brothers and sisters, and father and mother, end up?

As the Davenport newsletters grow yellowed, and the originators of that work pass away, we’ve got to look for new answers, new connections. One I may have found, that I’ll reveal in a post soon (to echo Star Wars’ original trilogy): “a sister(rrrrrrrrr)?”

2. What happened to Rachel Foutz?

As traced in the years since an original summation of Foutz mysteries, we now know what became of every brother and sister of my great-grandfather, Vance Foutz, and even have a pretty good bead on their descendants, save for one sister, Rachel (Foutz) Coleman.

Rachel was one of three older sisters to my great-grandfather. We know what became of Lila and Ida. And it’s through Ida’s son Sherman’s diary — and the useful transcribing of distant cousin Dawn James — that we gain a little color around the facts we know, and a window on life in Dover, Ohio after Rachel and family followed younger brothers Charles, Vance and Mom Rebecca Foutz there in the first decade of the 1900s:

  • Born June 3, 1871 to Jonathan and Rebecca Foutz,in Harrison County, Ohio
  • In 1891, at age 20, Rachel married a war vet, William Coleman, more than 20 years her senior, and became stepmom to at least one living son, Berttie
  • They had at least four kids — Carl, who died of tuberculosis at my great-grandfather’s house in 1915 (same spring as Rebecca Foutz and her oldest son, Sherman); Blanche, Frank and Bessie.
  • Bessie, born in 1906 in Dover, disappears, along with mother Rachel, from the record. No other census, death or burial records have been found.

We later find William living in a veterans’ home in Canton, Ohio. And Frank lives until 1959 in Canton (he has a family I have not further explored – could be connections there). Meanwhile, sister Blanche lives until the ripe old age of 97, passing away in 1994 in Kent, Ohio. A few years back, I spoke to a family who knew her well, and shared photos. Story to come.

But what became of Rachel? There’s a mystery even more vexing for all we’ve assembled about our now-distant Foutz relatives.

Kaiserslautern Coat of Arms

Kaiserslautern Coat of Arms. The Leys emigrated there from The Netherlands sometime in the 1600s.

3. What can we learn of the Netherlands Leys?

According to A Short History of the Ley Family, a pamphlet passed down from our Port Washington, Ohio Ley ancestors, the Ley family originated in the Netherlands and came to Kaiserslautern in Germany, probably in the late 1600s.

We can trace the family back through my fourth-great-grandfather, Karl Ley, coming to America in 1833 and settling first in Shanesville, Ohio, and later, Port Washington, making his career as a saddler. And then further back through his father, Frederick Charles Ley, a minister at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Pfalz, Bavaria; and then through his father, John Frederick Ley, also pastor at that parish (succeeding, in fact, his father-in-law, who succeeded his own father).

Neat trick, and probably an amazing place to visit someday for all that family mojo.

But we don’t know much about Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandfather Ley — not his name, date of birth, city of residence, or death — save that he had a large, rural estate and was mayor, for a time, of his unknown city. And that his dad, Great Ley x 8, was first to move from the Netherlands and settle in Kaiserslautern, where he set up a cloth “manufactory.”

What can we learn from detailed German records, which seem to have been maintained through the tenuous political jigsaw puzzle of those centuries, and through war, etc., but weren’t so far recorded by our relatives?

Who were Thomas Johnson’s parents?

We’ve got names, known to my grandma, Erma (Johnson) Foutz, and her sisters. Just not much else. Maybe because his name was so common?

George Johnson was probably born in England, so says family legend, and he married a, well, Mary, and they settled in Guernsey County, Ohio. That’s the sum total of our knowledge about fourth-great-grandfather Johnson.

Admittedly, it doesn’t get too much clearer with Great-Great-Great-Grandfather Thomas, who died at 42 in the Civil War. Though just where in Mississippi, and of what, is a matter of some debate. (Possibly also due to his fairly common name?)

We hear he was a mule skinner in the army — something to do with nabbing available meat from local farms the army passed through and butchering it for the fighting boys. But we don’t even know that much about the wife he left behind, Nancy Valentine, back home in Guernsey, at first, and then, by 1910 in Jackson, Ohio. There’s a tid bit about her maybe not getting his pension — why? We also don’t know her death.

This is odd, because we know all their descendants, and their paths through Harrison and Tuscarawas counties, Ohio. Time to start sleuthing….

5. Where, in Wales, were the Morgans?

Also in the common name department are my second-great-grandparents, Thomas and Jannett (Rees) Morgan. We know their lives after they emigrated from Wales quite well — from their marriage in Philadelphia in 1872, to their settling in western Pennsylvania, and eventually, in Carnegie, where Thomas ran the Hotel Morgan before he died, in 1897.

What is a continued vexation — a problem not cleared up by the terse obituaries of the 19th century — is just who their parents were. When Thomas first came over; when Janet did. What happened to their sisters and brothers (if they had any) and parents. Even how “Reese/Rhys/Rees” is spelled.

We have theories about where they were from in Wales, and family stories of Jannett and her children going back to visit. We’ve gained their photos, and a hunch about Jannett’s Dad’s name, Daniel.

Everything else? Time to get sleuthing.

Categories: Foutz, Johnson, Ley, newsletter, Weible | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Beatrice Weible Tries for Board of Elections


Beatrice Weible Dover Woman's Club president

Beatrice Weible in 1959, after her election as president of the Dover Woman’s Club.

Widowed Beatrice Weible Active in Dover Civic Life

Our binge-sharing of several dozen finds combing through Newspapers.com archives continues today with a look at the Weibles.

I don’t seem to be keeping to my grand plan of garnering posts to last well into this year by only sharing one clipping at a time. However, it’s the cumulative effect of seeing our relatives names crop up in the usual places, year after year, that I find most profound.

Take my great-grandmother, Beatrice Morgan Weible. It has always been difficult for me to imagine her young life and family life, since the broadest strokes of history, particularly when it comes to record-keeping, usually focus on the more profound and somber life events: birth, marriage, death.

Like my great-grandparents, Vance Foutz and Laura Zeigler Foutz, great-grandma Weible’s early life was at least in part shaped by birth order and the death of parents.

Vance was born seventh in 1887, 20 years after his oldest brother, Sherman Foutz. His father, Jonathan Foutz, died in 1900 when Vance was just 13. The family would soon move from their home of several generations in Harrison County, with Vance and brother Charles working to support their mother, Rebecca, eventually settling in Dover.

Laura was born tenth in 1885, 18 years after her oldest brother, Johann Heinrich Zeigler. Her father, John Jacob Zeigler, died in 1897 when Laura was not yet 12. While she would have a large support network of siblings surrounding her at their family farm, her married life from the beginning was occupied with sharing a residence and caring for, first, her mother-in-law Rebecca, who died in 1915, and later her own mother, Elizabeth Duerr Zeigler, who died in 1928.

Beatrice Weible, similarly, was born eighth in 1892, 19 years after her oldest brother, William Daniel Morgan. Her father, Thomas W Morgan, emigrated from Wales about 1870, marrying her mother, Jannett Rees, in 1872 in Philadelphia.

From there, the family made their way across Pennsylvania. In 1880, Thomas is working as a heater, probably in a mill or factory, and the family resides in Apollo, Pa. By 1884, the family moves to Carnegie, where Thomas finds iron work in the rolling mill there. He is elected to two terms as councilman, and in February 1895 begins running the Hotel Morgan.

His promising life is cut short at 49 when he dies in October 1897. Great-grandma Beatrice is just 5 years old.

Beatrice Weible 2nd VP woman's club

Beatrice Weible in 1957, after her election as 2nd vice president of the Dover Woman’s Club.

Busy Beatrice in Adopted Hometown Dover

In the years after Thomas Morgan’s death, the Morgan crew travel extensively. Family lore tells of ocean journeys with matriarch Jannett Morgan to their ancestral home in Wales. Fortuitously, they also reside for a couple years in Dover, Ohio, where daughter Jennet May Morgan becomes the bride of Howard Richardson.

It is in Dover where Beatrice meets my great-grandfather, Robert Ohio Weible. Again, their marriage in May 1914 is shaped, at least in part, at least from the vantage point of history, by tragedy: Jannet Morgan dies three months prior to their wedding, in February 1914. R.O.’s parents, Esther Bliss Goddard Weible and Franklin Eli Weible, follow not long after, in January 1915 and February 1917, respectively.

Perhaps losing parents early was more common back then. But I can’t help but wonder how these events shaped my great-grandmother’s early life. Certain pictures, in which her countenance is somber, suggest far more sadness than seeing a life in motion would probably reveal:

Probably I’m reading too much into an expression. Certainly, the photos above, from the 1950s, show an active, proud, pleasant person in the thick of it with the Dover Woman’s Club. That these images capture her in the decade after great-grandfather Robert Ohio Weible’s early death in July 1947 at just 55, reliably demonstrate her resilience, I think.

It is really not until the 1950s that the Dover Daily Reporter becomes positively peppered with at least weekly mentions of Beatrice Weible’s service. As Woman’s Club hostess and later, president. As co-hostess with cohort Edith Harney of weekly Trinity-Bethany Bible classes at Dover First Moravian Church. As frequent hostess of the Moravian Church’s “Merry Marthas.”

And etc. and etc. and etc. (Click on the thumbnails below to read some representative notices. Again, there are hundreds of these published throughout the 1950s and 1960s.)

Weible Beatrice Merry Marthas Daily Reporter 24 Mar 1955 Weible Beatrice Trinity Bethany Moravian Daily Reporter 12 Oct 1964 Woman's Club meeting Beatrice Weible

Sole woman in male BOE field

But one discovery I found particularly intriguing may show evidence of her early re-entry into society life following R.O.’s passing.

From February 1950, the Dover Daily Reporter shares the results of the Tuscarawas County Republican party’s  choice for its board of elections. On the ballot: R.E. Fair, mayor of Shanesville; Forrest Smith of Newcomerstown; J.A. Neff of New Philadelphia; and… one Mrs. Beatrice Weible of Dover.

All were vying for a seat to succeed W. Paul Wilcoxen of Uhrichsville as a member of the county board of elections. The article further described Beatrice Weible as “widow of R.O. Weible,” hopefully a measure of respect for the wife of a man who had served as chairman of the executive committee in the 1930s, as well as president of the Dover Republican Club (among many, many, many other civic groups). But probably a means of further underlining the obvious: here’s a woman running against three men.

Fair was elected on the first ballot by a wide margin, the article reported.

Beatrice Weible tries for county board of elections

However, great-grandma Weible would go on to enmesh herself fully in Dover life, if not politics, throughout her remaining quarter century.

Quite a legacy, I’d say; quite a lady.

Twig 8 Group makes quilts with Beatrice Weible

Categories: newsletter, Weible | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

In Good Countenance #8 – Jannett Louise (Reese) Morgan


Morgan Jannett Louise Reese

Great-Great-Grandmother Jannett Louise (Reese) Morgan, a native of Wales, made her home in Carnegie, Pa. for decades after immigrating through Philadelphia in 1870. But she made at least one trip back home to Wales, and lived in Dover, Ohio for a time — the place her youngest daughter, and descendants, still call home a century later.

Jannett Louise Morgan | Weible Family History

Picking up our series on Vintage Visages earlier this week, we came face to face with Great-Great Grandfather Thomas Morgan for the first time. We followed his life and times as we know them (so far) in America, from emigration from Wales in 1870, to marriage in 1872 in Philadelphia, through work in the mills of western Pennsylvania as a heater.

After establishing a foothold in America, the family really settled down in Carnegie, Pa., northwest of Pittsburgh. It was there that Thomas made a name for himself in local political life, and in his final years ran the Hotel Morgan.

Sadly, those golden years were cut short. Thomas died in 1897 at age 49 of unknown causes — at least to this one of his descendants 115 years later. His Post-Gazette obituary follows the same tight stylistic constraints the paper stayed with for generations of Thomas’ descendants, revealing no details about his parentage or place of birth in Wales, not even the names of surviving relatives.

Fortunately, we know a bit more about his wife, my great-great grandmother, Jannett Louise Morgan. And we pick up the family’s story after Thomas’s death, where interestingly enough, their journey westward continues to the hometown of several branches of my family for several generations back — Dover, Ohio.

A Two-Year Stay in Dover, Ohio – With Relatives Remaining

Following her husband’s death, Jannett Morgan keeps a lively household in Carnegie.

Residing with her in 1900 and most of the decade leading up  to 1910 are oldest sons William and Thomas, who were already working, as well as younger sons David and Glenn. Daughter Sarah would be married by 1910. Rounding out the household are younger daughters Janet and (my great-grandmother) Beatrice.

But sometime before the next census in 1920 — and more importantly, before Janet’s death in 1914 — part of the family moves to Dover, Ohio. We know this because of the descendants who remain — son Glenn, who married Salina Belle Rudge, died in Dover in 1956, and is buried in Dover Burial Park; daughter, Janet May, who married Howard Richardson, and moved from Dover to Warren, Ohio in the 1930s, dying there in 1978; and my great-grandmother Beatrice, who married Dover native Robert Ohio Weible three months after her mother’s death in February 1914, and made her home in Dover for 60 years until her death in 1974.

Great-great-grandmother Jannett Morgan’s Post-Gazette obituary is again vague about anything other than the basic details. But her death was front page news in Dover, Ohio, with the obituary recounting her two-year residence in the city, where she was reportedly “well known here,” but had returned to Carnegie in June 1913. An article the previous day noted that daughter Janet Richardson had been called to Carnegie due to her mother’s illness.

None of the articles memorializing Jannett’s final days outline her origins in Wales. What we’re left with, then, are breadcrumbs. Some definitive — like the  Pennsylvania death certificate that identifies her father as Daniel Rees, and her mother “unknown.” Or anecdotal clues from family, including Aunt Pinny Ley’s remembering her grandmother, Beatrice (Morgan) Weible telling her that Thomas and Jannett hailed from Cardiff, Wales.

Summer Voyages to Wales

One nice bit of family lore I will present in this blog for the first time is a note from Elizabeth (Betty) Curtis Neely — Jannett’s granddaughter — to my mother Janet Louise (Ley) Foutz in the 1970s. It is Betty Neely’s daughter, Sally, who graciously shared the portraits of Thomas and Jannett Morgan.

In the note, Betty shares some remarkable details of family members, among these:

* Thomas and Jannett had a daughter, Edith, who died in infancy at just more than a month old. Edith is memorialized with a little stone lamb on her grave in the family plot in Chartiers Cemetery, Carnegie.

* My great-grandmother — “Aunt Beece,” as Betty calls her — was so tiny that for months the family carried her around on a pillow.

* William Morgan — “Uncle Bill” — went to the Yukon during the Great Gold Rush. And was there at the time his mother died, traveling back for her funeral.

* William, Thomas and David were all bachelors.

* the family name of Jannett, at least back in Wales, was Rhys

Perhaps most remarkable in Betty’s note is her remembrance of the trips Jannett and her older daughters would take back to Wales in the late 19th century, something my mom discovered as she tracked entrances and exits from Ellis Island. Betty Neely writes:

I do know that for some years their Mother took the two girls, Mother and Aunt Jen, back to Wales for a summer vacation — usually a month. Mother said it took seven days by boat and she was seasick every minute of the way.

Can you imagine packing bags and trunks for 3 women for that length of time — leg o’ mutton sleeves, bustles, etc. — and hats.

What this note indicates, with the Wales trips and also the remembrance of visiting cousins, is that the Reese/Morgans maintained links with family, both in Wales and probably stateside, too. That these connections have faded with time is perhaps inevitable — but reason enough for the genealogical quest to continue.

Categories: quickie post, Weible | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In Good Countenance #7 – Thomas W. Morgan


Morgan Thomas

Great-Great-Grandfather Thomas W. Morgan was well-known in 1890s Carnegie, Pa. as the owner and proprietor of the Morgan Hotel.

Thomas Morgan | Weible Family History

The Morgan branch of our family has long been a fascination for me. A lot of it has to do with my personal association with their stomping grounds near Pittsburgh.

While on a college visitation trip, I had the pleasure of visiting one of my mom’s namesake relatives, Janet Louise Curtis. We’d gotten sidetracked, somehow, in all those hills surrounding the city, and Mom navigated by memory down Shady Lane in Mt. Lebanon, where we dropped in on an aging Janet.

She had been a graduate of Westminster College and, later, Penn State, and had taught for years in the Carnegie and Mt. Lebanon school districts. At 84, she was still a lively conversationalist, recalling, among other things, her fondness for the football exploits of the Steelers’ Terry Bradshaw, related in her Pittsburgh accent.

Later, during the April of my freshman year at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, I had the bittersweet privilege of attending Janet’s funeral and connecting with extended family. She is buried in the cemetery of her ancestors, Chartiers, in Carnegie.

Mom (Janet Louise (Ley) Foutz) had always enjoyed staying in touch with another Janet Louise, a niece of her favorite grandmother, Beatrice Ethel (Morgan) Weible. And that was the main connection for me — Mom’s beloved grandmother and confidante. I’d heard much about that branch’s Welsh ancestry, which ran through the namesake of all namesakes, Great-Great-Grandmother Jannett Louise Reese and her husband, Thomas W. Morgan.

So when I started digging into family history in August 2008, chipping away at the Morgan connection was an engrossing, and — as it has turned out — slow-going endeavor.

Marriage in Philadelphia, Family Life Near Pittsburgh

I won’t be sharing any new information on Great-Great-Grandfather Thomas W. Morgan in this post, except to recap what’s already been pieced together.

Oh, yeah — and share his portrait for the first time! This remarkable keepsake was graciously shared a month or so ago by Sarah Neely — niece of Janet Louise Curtis, daughter of Elizabeth Curtis Neely, granddaughter of Sarah Elizabeth Morgan Curtis and great-granddaughter of Jannett Louise Morgan. We’ll get to the matriarch Jannett Louise in the next post.

As for Thomas, we still don’t know anything of his origins, other than that he, too, hailed from Wales. What we do know:

* He came to America about 1870, marrying Jannett Louise Morgan in 1872, in Philadelphia, Pa.

* In 1880, we next find the family in Apollo, Pa., in Armstrong County, where Thomas Morgan works as a heater, probably in a mill or factory. The young couple has three children: William, Thomas and 1-year-old Sarah (Sally Neely’s grandmother).

* In 1884, the family moves to Carnegie, where Thomas finds iron work in the rolling mill there. He is elected to two terms as councilman, and in February 1895 begins running the Hotel Morgan.

* Sadly, Thomas dies at a young 50 years old in October, 1897. We don’t know the cause, we don’t gain any information as to his parentage or family, since the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette obituary is stiflingly brief:

PITTSBURGH POST GAZETTE – OCTOBER 18, 1897 – PAGE 5
MORGAN-On Sunday, October 17, 1897 at 5:10 a. m., Thomas W. Morgan in his 50th year.
Funeral services from his late residence, Hotel Morgan, corner of Fourth Ave. and Chartiers St., Carnegie, Pa. on Tuesday, October 19 at 2:30 p. m. Friends of the family are respectfully invited to attend.
[New Castle, Pa. papers pls. copy]

Now, there could be a clue to his origins in the instruction to copy the New Castle papers. But the number of Thomas Morgans who emigrated from Wales in the 1800s is staggering. And records at Ancestry.com which show his presence in Wales in 1871, 1901 and 1911 aren’t really helpful.

Probably an international records search or a detailed conversation with other branches of the family can help fill in the missing details. In the next post, I’ll pick up the Morgan story with Jannett Louise — and share her portrait.

Categories: quickie post, Weible | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Will the Real Mr. Reese Please Reveal Himself?


Rees John dies 1904 Wales

Say hello to this handsome Welsh stranger. That appears to be all John Reese is... though one Ancestry.com researcher seemed to think he was father to Colt's great-great grandmother, Jannett Louise (Reese) Morgan.

Which Reese is Right? Daniel, Undoubtedly.

I’ve written before in this space about what a luxury it is to have the bulk of my ancestors hailing from the “great state with 88” — counties that is, as in Ohio.

Ohio has not only kept judicious records of its residents, its “open-access” approach to digitizing and sharing those records online ensures that descendants can find the information they need going back well over a century, whether for genealogical purposes, assembling critically-valuable health histories, or what-have-you.

I’ve just as often lamented that certain of our ancestors wound their way through or to Pennsylvania. That state, though one of the original 13 British colonies, and steeped in even more history than my beloved Ohio, will put the average family-history-seeker through labyrinthine back channels in its bureaucracy simply to track down a birth, death or marriage certificate. That is, when Pennsylvania isn’t simply cutting you off completely.

It’s mighty irksome, for example, to have to explain that, no, a century after your great-great-grandmother passed away, you aren’t seeking an illegitimate claim on her long-since-resolved will. Or to have to navigate through the various layers of government — township, city, county, state — only to be deposited at a pay-for-record service like VitalCheck, where more forms await.

Sigh.

But I finally got my scissors sharpened and made a run at all the red tape, the better to solve a mystery — or at least, a misunderstanding — regarding the parents of my second great-grandmother, Jannett Louise (Reese) Morgan.

Previous posts have pretty well established Jannett Louise Morgan’s life, and were aided by any number of successful records-fishing expeditions. To wit (in order of my discovery):

* International records searches at Ancestry.com established the marriage of Jannett Louise Reese to Thomas W. Morgan on Oct. 15, 1872 in Philadelphia, Pa.

* The 1900 census establishes the family as we know them living in Carnegie, Pa, and records Jannett’s immigration date (from Wales) at 1870. Jannett is recorded as married 25 years, but a widow now, which puts Thomas’s death year as 1897.

* The 1880 census finds the earlier version of the family living in Apollo, Pa. (Armstrong County) where Thomas W. is employed as a “heater” in the steel industry.

* A Google Books search turned up the 1896 edition of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania; Illustrated, and an entry on the Hotel Morgan and its proprietor, Thomas W. Morgan. His emigration from Wales in 1872, as well as employment in the steel industry and political activities are noted.

* Searches on FindAGrave.com revealed the Morgans’ burial in Chartiers Cemetery, Carnegie. Photographs of their monuments set Thomas’s death date as Oct. 17, 1897 and Jannett’s as Feb. 16, 1914.

* Both deaths are written up in the local paper, and Jannett’s is also given coverage in the Dover, Ohio Daily Reporter. Unfortunately, none of the obituaries so much as mention family beyond children — there is no mention of their Welsh ancestry or parents.

So, for a time we knew quite a bit about our Morgan ancestors of Pennsylvania. But going further back, I was stymied by Pennsylvania’s white-knuckled grip on the actual documents (not to mention thePost-Gazette’sarchaic obit format).

I’ve also been stymied — let’s admit it — by my own cheapness regarding premium “international” subscription rates on Ancestry.com. Only having the U.S. membership, I’ve been unable to view actual digitized records from Wales and other countries abroad. I’ve justified my reluctance to upgrade by being all too familiar with the constraints on my time — even if I had the enhanced membership, I wondered if I’d be organized enough to justify it. Preparing for such searches takes time, too.

But connecting with other members on Ancestry.com is otherwise free. And sometimes quite fruitful.

In this case, I came across a researcher who place my great-great-grandmother Jannett as daughter to a John Reese and Margaret Lewis. John, pictured above, was born about 1823 in Dyllgoed issaf, Llanarthne, Carmarthenshire, Wales. Margaret was born about 1822 in Abergwili, Carmarthenshire.

The researcher records a close year of birth — 1848 — for Jannett, and shows several censuses — 1851, 1861 — that show her residence, and presumably her family’s, in Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorgan.

A fit? Not quite yet.

The puzzle pieces seem to gnash and fray when exploring the information attached to Jannett’s alleged siblings. One, Mary, a supposed twin, is also born in 1848, but in Carmerthenshire, where she also appears on census of 1851 and 1861. Whereas, Dad and Mom are alternately located in Carmarthenshire (1851) or Glamorgan (1861 onward).

All this could be true. Or it may not. Not being able to actually examine the census records made me hold off on connecting Jannett to any ancestor back in Wales.

And so I finally ponied up the dough and did the official records dance for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Though I can’t scan and share Jannett’s death certificate here, I can divulge some of its contents. And they point to a different ancestry than, well, our friend at Ancestry.com.

* Jannett’s birth date is further confirmed as June 20, 1849

* She died Feb. 16, 1914

* Her cause of death is reported as cerebral hemorrhage, with chronic nephritis contributing. She was treated by her physician from Nov. 8, 1913 through her date of death.

* And her father, is reported asDaniel Reese. NOT this stranger John. Which probably explains the middle name of her first child, William Daniel Morgan (and may point to a further clue about Thomas William’s father), and is a nice connection to my brother, Daniel Morgan Foutz.

As for Jannett’s mother, the certificate reports “Don’t Know”, with her mother’s birthplace (not surprisingly) as Wales.

Now, Jannett’s obit in the Post-Gazette carries instructions to copy to the Dover, Ohio and Philadelphia, Pa. papers. We know her family in Dover (daughter Jennet May (Morgan) Richardson and, eventually, my great-grandmother Beatrice Ethel (Morgan) Weible) — could she also have siblings in Philadelphia? Or is that where her parents also landed?

Probably all of this can be cleared up with a quick phone call to our Neely cousins, who have already shared stories of the trips Jannett used to take with her eldest daughters back to Wales, presumably to visit family there.

And now, at least, we know the name of her father. Daniel Reese it is.

Jannett Morgan headstone: Chartiers Cemetery, Carnegie, PA

Colt's great-great grandmother, Janet Morgan, is buried in Chartiers Cemetery, Carnegie, Pa.

Categories: Ley, quickie post, Weible | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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