Thursday, April 17, 2014

It's Your Day Thursday John President Porter: 1818-1895

John President Porter is the second son, 4th child of Sanford Porter and Nancy Aretta Warriner. He is my 2nd Great Grandfather.

In reading John Presidents story, written by his granddaughter, I begin to wonder if the DNA thing means we inherit more than our physical traits but others too. I see much in John Presidents story that I relate to.

On October 5, 1843 John President married Nancy Rich at the home of her brother Charles C Rich in Lee County, Iowa. This is where my great grandfather, their first child Joseph Rich Porter was born.

JP, he is sometime referred to, was in Winter Quarters in 1847 where so many died of illness and lack of food. Another 2nd great grandfather, Elisha Cragun died there; along with a daughter. In this year they joined 132 others in the Charles C Rich company to cross the plains to Utah. He was 29 years old.

They left Winter Quarters on June 14, 1847. It was only five days into their journey that Charles C Rich journals that they encountered three Indians which fired on them, painfully wounding brother Weatherby who died the next morning. Others died later from Indian attacks.

Soon they joined with other companies and divided into groups with Captains of hundreds and fifties. These were hard times for the pioneers, they often had disagreements and short tempers. Their journals have many stories of disputes which ended in asking for others to forgive them. Often their animals bolted, sometimes injuring them. Their cattle were at times stolen and killed by the Indians. Their wagons often broke down. They often encountered large herds of buffalo. In one instance two angry bulls came charging into their camp. One nearby company lost 50 head of cattle and their party sent help to find these cattle. The Indian encounters weren't always bad; in late July they came across about 100 Indian men of the Ogallala tribe. They invited them to eat with them and showed off their cannon by allowing them to fire it off. Later these returned with an additional 200 to trade with them and see the cannon. One thing they traded for was robes made out of buffalo skin. They arrived in the Salt Lake Valley October 7th. Many died on the way, some just the day before they entered the valley.

Soon after arriving in Utah John family went to what is now Centerville. They had always understood that the bottom land lying close to the river was more fertile and with this though in mind took up land down near the lake. Being near the Great Salt Lake was not the case and the farming was poor.

During the gold rush JP went to California and to pan for gold and returned with a large some of money and a bag of gold nuggets, which enabled him to provide comfortably for his large family.

The members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the Mormons, we severely persecuted, murdered, and plundered for their religious beliefs. Immigrating west to the Utah Territory was an exodus to live their lives in peace, free from persecution. One of his children wrote in his journal: "Something that was indelibly impressed on my mind as a young child, was that the government was sending an army of men with guns to kill every Mormon. Everybody was talking about it, but mother said that they would not be able to do that. Then I remember Brigham Young told all of the people the army was getting close. They called out all of the spare men and boys, one Eli Kilbourn who I knew, to go to Echo Canyon and help build up a defense so they could hurl down rocks  on one sided and bombard the other. It seemed to me from what they said, that Brigham would do anything, no matter how many men came. The next spring as I remember, father had just planted his crops when word came from Brigham Young that the army was coming, and for everyone to get ready at once to move south, and leave their buildings ready for the match. A few men were to be left to burn them at a given signal." He goes on to write about the events of moving south.

Several of the Porter family founded Porterville, west over the mountains from Centerville. It is a beautiful valley. I have seen what I believe are the homes that John President Porter built in both Centerville and Porterville. I hope to return and verify I have them correct before posting photos. They are very tasteful in design.

It seems that John President was able to sustain a good living from his farms and orchards in Centerville and Porterville. He raised crops, peaches, and cane. The made enough molasses to supply their needs of sweetening through the winter. He also kept several hives of bees near his homes. He also raised beef and pork for their own needs.

The gold success lived in his heart. There is a hillside area in Porterville they called Hardscrabble. As soon as his sons were able to take over the farming work John focused on the hills looking to mine the valuable oars he believed were there. He spent every cent he could spare from the family income trying to uncover the rich veins that were always only a few feet away.

Quoting his granddaughter "This continued as long as John President lived. The last work he ever did was in the mines. A deep shaft had been sunk in on one of the Hardscrabble mountains and from all indications, as grandfather understood them, a rich vein of gold was just out of sight. He was all excited and promised his wife and daughters gold buttons for their coats that winter.

One morning when he returned to work, he found several feet of water in the bottom of the shaft. They tried to bail it out but it ran in faster that they could bail. A pumping system was badly needed, but was too expensive to be considered unless they could be sure the gold was there. Grandfather decided to drive a pipe deep into the shaft, believing that when the pipe was drawn out, enough ore would be clinging to it to convince his doubting family, that the gold was there. The pipe was driven in, but when they attempted to bring it out, it broke off a few inches under the ground. Grandfather gave up. He sank down on the ground and said, "This is the end."

They took him home in the old lumber wagon, over the rocky, bumpy road, a tired broken old man, and tucked him into his good old feather bed. When he arose the next morning, the family saw a white stricken face. They put him into bed again. He was suffering with a severe ailment and needed expert medical care and hospitalization which, of course, was impossible. Ten days later he passed away, May 28, 1895 at the age of seventy-seven. And the gold in the old shaft is still "just a little way away.

John President was a leader in making roads, building school houses and canals. He was a school trustee and on the water commission for many years. The chart below shows over 200 deceased descendants. I am honored to be one of the many living descendents. I am not so anxious to meet him, but will at the same time be glad to, and hope to have some one on one time with him.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Two Videos For Your Sunday Enjoyment

The Tabernacle Choir

and a new release about Christ by The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Schedule To Go Live Next Week In Family Tree

Yes, the engineers and developers are still on the job. This one should resolve a lot of requests; having a descendency view. Here it is: 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

It's Your Day Thursday Patrick Cragun 1745 – 1812

Today is the deceased Michael Lindsay Craguns Birthday. We miss you son.

One of the great things about reading other blogs is that you can get some great ideas for posting. I am adding my own title to a great idea, calling it "Your Day Thursday". In my case I will try and regularly post on Thursday a story or snippet from an ancestor'a life.

I post a fan chart from FamilySearch Family Tree to identify how I am related. Today I write about the fabled Patrick Cragun. I am a descendant of him and his son, Elisha.

There are stories that were passed on to Eva Heiner which are published in her book. (Patrick Cragun, Descendants in America). These stories having him running away from Ireland as a young boy. They say he was a participant in the Boston Tea Party.There are records of Patrick as an adult; his documented trail picks up in Tennessee. We know a little more of his children. Elisha is my second great grandfather.

Patrick is a road block or dead end in our families research. Supposedly his father was Caleb. We aren't even certain of his wife's name. Any who can break this dead end will become the beloved researcher in our family.

Gaylynne Heiner Hone, granddaughter of Eva Heiner, is an excellent researcher. In her book about the Osborne line (Elisha Craguns wife is an Osborne descendant) she brings in some information and sound speculation regarding Patrick.

I recommend the book, buy it here at a discount:

From Gaylynne's book:
"A very interesting this to note is that a lot of Patrick Cragun's neighbors and possibly Patrick lived in Pennsylvania after migrating to America and did he possibly live there for awhile before coming to Tennessee."

In speaking with Gaylynne she reminds me that people traveled in groups for safety reasons. It is logical to her that if all of Patricks neighbors can be documented as coming from Pennsylvania, Patrick living among them, it is a possibility he migrated with them.

The spelling of Cragun is a challenge. Some suggest it was Craughn. Ireland has about 100 spellings, none I find the way we spell it C R A G U N.

In her book Gaylynne describes what it might have been like for Patrick and his family in a trek to Tennessee:
"They would have traveled in hopes of finding good land on which to settle. They probably moved westward in the usual pioneer manner - the men walking with their rifles on their shoulders, the oldest children driving the cows, and the women and young children riding on horses already burdened with household goods and farming implements. Arriving at  Watauga (Long Island) country, the group separated. Each family cleared a piece of ground for themselves and then built a cabin around Indian Creek and the Holston River.

He probably crossed the mountains with his wife but that is unknown. Patrick Cragun with friends and family arrived in Sullivan County, Tennessee about the same time: and received property next to each other. Patrick probably would have traveled with his reliable horse and rifle for protection, like most frontiersman, the family probably lived on game and whatever they were able to shoot and grow when they first arrived. He was probably a grimy and tired traveler, weary from his possible long and difficult journey across the mountains. They probably rested on the banks of the Holston river in Eastern Tennessee.

Gaylynne's book gives an interesting scenario of what it was like for those traveling in those days. She also came across a 1795 court order appointing Patrick and others to view and lay off a great road. She copies the text into her book.

Patrick, whatever your trail was, you have a great posterity. We are many as depicted in the Puzzilla chart below. Help us find your ancestors. Was Caleb your father? Where really did you live; Ireland, England, or Scotland? What is your wife's name? We need your help from the place you now abide.

We your grandchildren are grateful for our heritage. We would love to know more about our Irish roots.

We know so little, but it is your day Thursday. Thanks for your life, your DNA flows in our genes.
If you are unaware of the chart above it is from a Family Search partner, The data in family tree is the data that creates the descendants chart. Each dot is person. Patrick shows 4 daughters (red dots) and 6 sons (blue dots) You can see where research needs to be done, in his case 5 of his children showing no children. In this photo this is a four generation chart. Some are recently deceased. Only deceased people are public in Family Tree.Yellow blocks by the person indicate that they died before age 16. 

As you see, this shows almost 40 grandchildren and I count about 175 great grandchildren. I leave it up to you to count the great greats.  

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

New Way To Move A Person To The Center On A Fan Chart in Family Tree

There’s a new, simpler way to move a person to the main position on a fan chart. (This moves the person to the center circle and displays the person’s ancestors and descendants.) 

1.    Hover your cursor over the name of the person in the chart. The person’s position turns gray, and a little fan chart icon appears. 

2.    Click the icon, and wait while the system changes that person to the main position.

                 The Memories Feature—Updates to Adding a Document 
    You probably know that you can attach documents to people in Family Tree. The screen is now easier to use.
The screen below appears when you add a document. You can also get to it after you add the document. Just click Memories, then click Documents, and then click the image of the document.   

They Just keep Rolling Along At FamilySearch Family Tree

A Faster, Easier Method for Attaching Records to Entire Families

Many have requested a faster way to attach a source to all of the appropriate family members, it's here!

When you find a historical record about your ancestor, that record often contains information about other family members. Census records, particularly, mention several family members.

Until now, attaching a historical record to all of the family members required you to deal with each person one at a time. Many of you have requested a faster way to attach a source to all of the appropriate family members. We have heard your requests and have a new feature that does just that.

Here is the link to the entire announcment:

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Land Deeds, An Important Resource Indeed

Beginning around 1850 as many as 90% of men owned land. Thus, we might have an effective time researching our ancestors of that period as land records are a mot complete type of record. They showed where an individual lived and could include additional important information, such as spouses, heirs, or other relatives. Ages might be mentioned.

One of the best sources to find online land records is on the FamilySerach Wiki. Click get help in the upper right hand corner of the website. Towards the bottom of the menu is Research Wiki. The search box is under the six icons you see. Types in the State you are interested in. Several options of collections will come up. At this time I am interested to find out if Patrick Cragun owned land in Pennsylvania. Recently, February 4th records were added to this collection. (You should check once a week as records are regularly being added) The Wiki doesn't lead  you to the ancestor, but leads you to the sources of records that may be applicable to your search. The Wiki can be kind of like a research plan, offering several selections of published records; on line, at locations, or on film.

In my case, under Land office records are indexes to several microfilmed records. I can order them to arrive at my closes family history library or as in my case they may be already on location at the downtown Salt Lake City FHL Now I have some action to take. I will copy these references into Evernote, easily to be retrieved on my next visit.  

NOW DEAR COUSINS: If you want to beat me to this effort, you have my full support. Here are the references: Just let me know if you want to tackle this. We are looking for Patrick; Cragun, Cragin, Craughn, Cragan, Craughan, Craughan or you get the picture. I will be using wild card searching to expand beyond those six variations.

Land Office Records

The state land office was established in 1682 by William Penn. Original deeds and patents were recorded by this office.
The state land office is now called the Bureau of Land Records. Extensive files of the bureau's records have been transferred to the State Archives. Many records have been scanned and are now searchable on the Pennsylvania Historial and Museum Commission website.  The Family History Library has copies of many of these records (on over 1,000 microfilms), including:
  • Pennsylvania. Board of Property. Board of Property Papers, 1682-1850. FHL film 988274 (first of 19 films). These loose papers involving land disputes are mostly in chronological order. They can contain valuable genealogical and historical information. There is no index to these records, but some of the documents have been extracted in Pennsylvania Archives, series 3, vols. 1. (1681-1739, 1765-1791) and 2 (1792-1795). (see Pennsylvania Genealogy). FHL book 974.8 A39p ser. 3, vols. 1-2 and FHL film 824426 items 1-2. There are documents on the films that are not in the books and visa-versa, so both books and films should be used together. The indexes in the books may be used to access the records on the films with a little bit of searching. For example, finding a name in the book index may lead to records in the films covering the same time period. The books contain mistakes.
  • Early Pennsylvania Land Records: Minutes of The Board of Property (Baltimore, Maryland.: Genealogical Publishing, 1976) is a published source that lists the names of many early settlers. FHL book 974.8 A39p, ser. 2 vol. 19. This was originally published as part of Pennsylvania Archives, second series (see Pennsylvania Genealogy), which covers the era 1687 to 1732.
  • Pennsylvania, Board of Property, Board of Property Petitions, Undated 1682-1815. FHL films 988269-73. These and the Board of Property records above can be some of the most valuable land records available for providing family history information. Because of the way land was distributed in Pennsylvania, there were many opportunities for disputes.
  • Pennsylvania, Bureau of Land Records, Warrant Register, 1682- 1950 is an important index to land records. FHL films 1003194-99. Munger, Pennsylvania Land Records, p. 202, states this index includes records beginning in 1733. This is an index to the warrants, patents and surveys listed immediately below. For an index to the earliest warrants and surveys, see Weinberg and Slattery, Warrants and Surveys of the Province of Pennsylvania, also listed below.
  • The State Archives has digital images of the Warrant Registers 1733-1957 for each county in Pennsylvania. The registers are alphabetical by surname of the warrantee (the person who got the warrant).
  • Pennsylvania. Bureau of Land Records. Original Warrants. FHL film 1028662 (first of 156 films). These are discussed in Munger, Pennsylvania Land Records, p. 202 cited above. The Warrant Register above gives the warrant number in the first column on the left. With that number and the first letter of the last name, one can find the warrant in the proper county. Alphabetical lists by the first letter of the last name and by county are in Pennsylvania Archives, series 3, volumes 24-26.
  • Pennsylvania, Bureau of Land Records, Patent Books, 1676-1960. FHL film 1028673 (first of 78 films. They are discussed in Munger, Pennsylvania Land Records, pp. 53, 118, 207-8. Besides being indexed in the Warrant Register, they have their own index. They may include other records such as naturalizations, etc.
  • Pennsylvania, Surveyor General. Original Surveys, 1682-1920. FHL film 1003388 (first of 499 films). These records are described in Munger, Pennsylvania Land Records, pp. 47-48. A partial index is also Pennsylvania, Surveyor General, Index to Old Rights in Philadelphia County, 1682-1748. FHL film 1028671 item 1, and Pennsylvania, Surveyor General, Index to Old Rights in Bucks and Chester Counties, 1682-1761. FHL film 1028678 item 3.
  • Pennsylvania, Land Office, Depositions, 1683-1881 also gives helpful family history information. FHL films 986869-82. These were usually made when land disputes were involved.
  • Pennsylvania, Land Office, Caveats, 1699-1890 are important records suggesting land disputes. FHL film 986599 (first of 20 films). These were legal documents to postpone acceptance of surveys or patents until all issues were resolved. Records of land disputes can be fruitful sources of genealogical information. Caveats for the period 1748-1784 are abstracted in Pennsylvania Archives, series 3, volume 2, pp. 159-660.
  • Pennsylvania, Land Office, Applications for Warrants, 1734-1865 FHL film 984123 (first of 173 films). These records are arranged chronologically. From 1762-1776, these applications are filed by the first letter of the applicant's surname within each year. Many applications are on small slips of paper that contain the name of the applicant, the date, and the location of the land desired. Sometimes, additional details are given, such as neighbors to the property. Often, more than one application will be listed on a document. If the applications are in alphabetical order, order was determined by the first name on the page. Other important documents may be found in these records, such as petitions, etc.
  • Pennsylvania, Land Office, Proof of Settlement Records, 1797-1869 are helpful records for the northwestern area of the state. FHL film 986619 (first of 15 films). As the title explains, individuals submitted proof of their settlement on a parcel of land. These records may tell when the owner settled the land and describe the improvements made.
Land Companies. The Holland Land Company and the Pennsylvania Population Company acquired large tracts of land for speculation purposes in the Last Purchase area in northwestern Pennsylvania, obtained by treaty in 1784. Many of the names in their records are fictitious. The Family History Library has copies of some records of these companies, including certificates and miscellaneous papers.
Military Bounty Lands. The state awarded some lands for military service. Certificates of depreciation were issued to Revolutionary soldiers to supplement the money they had received, which had depreciated in value. These certificates were sold or redeemed for land in the Last Purchase treaty area in western Pennsylvania, obtained in 1784. See:
Pennsylvania, Land Office, Original Warrants of Depreciation Lands, 1780-1800, FHL film 985462 (first of 4 films).
Donation land in the Last Purchase treaty area was issued to veterans of the Pennsylvania Line in the Continental Army. Eligible veterans drew lots for a piece of land and then paid a small fee for their certificate. Most soldiers sold their title instead of settling on the land. The library has Pennsylvania, Surveyor General's Office, Donation Lands Records, 1780-1800. FHL Collection. For a printed list of names, see Pennsylvania Archives, series 3, volume 7, pp. 659-795.
  • A description of the Bureau of Land Records is in Pennsylvania Bureau of Land Records, in Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Quarterly, vol. 8, no. 4, May 1982. FHL book 974.8 B2wg and FHL film 2024355.
The State Archives sells warrantee township maps. These show the original land grants within present-day township boundaries. The maps include the names of the original warrantee and patentee, the number of acres, and the dates of warrant, survey, and patent.

[edit] Indexes of Colonial and State Records

If one of your ancestors could have received a warrant to have land surveyed between 1682 and 1898, but you don't know in what county, see Pennsylvania Archives, 3d series. Volumes 1-4 and 24-26 include land records. The surname indexes are in volumes 27-30 FHL films 824436-38.
For additional assistance in identifying the county, search Allen Weinberg and Thomas E. Slattery, Warrants and Surveys of the Province of Pennsylvania Including the Three Lower Counties, 1759 (1965, Reprint, Knightstown, Indiana: Bookmark, 1975. FHL book 974.8 R2w and FHL films 982105 item 7 and 1036747 item 2. This source indexes warrants by county. Most warrants listed were issued for the period 1682-1759. This book also indexes Pennsylvania, Provincial Assembly, Warrants and Surveys of the Province of Pennsylvania, 1682-1759: Transcribed from the Records of the Surveyor General's and Proprietaries Secretary's Offices by John Hughes, Recorder of Warrants and Surveys under the Act of Assembly July 7, 1759, Original manuscripts, 9 vols. (Philadelphia, PA: Department of Records, 1957), FHL films 981096-97. These films are difficult to read.
The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission has several indexes and other land records online of the land records at the Pennsylvania State Archives, including Warrant Registers, Copied Survey Books, Patent Indexes, Patent Tract Name Index, etc. Instructions for using the indexes and records are included as well as where to write to copies of original records.
The records of the Land Office are at the Pennsylvania State Archives. The site includes a history of the Land Office and descriptions of the records available at the State Archives.
For help with more complicted searches, see Donna Munger's book, Pennsylvania Land Records. A History and Guide for Research. FHL book 974.8 R2m and Other libraries with this book.

Other sources to locate land deeds are Google (Type in county and state land records), USGenWeb,, and several newspaper sites, ie; Chronicling America.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Just One Good Reason of Many To Subscribe To My Heritage

This feature could have saved me one month of serious research. Before I uploaded my tree to MyHeritage I decided to go through the site:‎ to look up articles about the Cragun family. It was interesting and once I got into it I couldn't quit. I would guess I spent about 20 hours a week on this effort.

To my dismay - Record matching in MyHeritage has assembled all of those articles and thousands more and organized them by ancestor? Can you hear me weaping and wailing? Oh well, the good news is that I have a total of 21,298 pending matches for 7,098 people awaiting my view. Yippee.
 Here is a clip showing how it is organized:

There are at least 9 records on each of these ancestors.

Here is their announcement on this feature.

Introducing Record Matching

We're pleased to introduce today a new technology - Record Matching - that automatically finds relevant historical records for every family tree on MyHeritage!

This is an add-on feature for SuperSearch, our global search engine for historical records, that was successfully launched in June. We're very excited about Record Matching, and believe it is a breakthrough that can bring value to almost every user of MyHeritage and to people not using MyHeritage who are curious about their family history. Read the details below and we hope you'll share our excitement.
Introducing Record Matching Technology
What is Record Matching?
If you're like many of us who love genealogy but don't have lots of spare time to invest in it, you'll love Record Matching. While you're busy with other things - or even sleeping - Record Matching does much of the work for you. It works behind the scenes on a new server farm set up by MyHeritage, constantly comparing every family tree on MyHeritage to more than 4 billion historical records on SuperSearch, looking for matches to bring to you. A Record Match is a document relevant to your family's history, such as a birth record of one of your ancestors, a tombstone photo of a relative in your family, or a newspaper article describing how your great-grandfather met and fell in love with your great-grandmother. Record Matches are found automatically and delivered directly to you. New discoveries await you!
What's unique about Record Matching?  ...... for the rest of the story click this link.

Monday, March 24, 2014

More For Getting The Youth Involved

Phooey on Video games and iPad games, encourage your kids and grandkids to a much more fun passion.

I have already posted the talk by Neil A Anderson given the youth at RootsTech, click here, but even the younger can catch on. Teach them, or have a  family history consultant teach the both of  you, how to use FamilySearch, FamilySearch family tree,, and even MyHeritage. Teach them they can search on Google, FindaGrave, and if they have pioneer ancestors have them Google Mormon Overland Pioneer Trail; this takes them to an awesome site.

There is a website focused on the youth; " " I enclose their brochure from RootsTech below. You can also sign up for a weekly suggestion email. We have enjoyed going around to our grandchildren with a family home evening structured around their ages. I have come up with some games, look for something fun about an ancestor, and  shown them a puzzilla and fan chart about their ancestors.

It is their time, teach them the basics and they will do the rest. Much better than video games, more fun and satisfying too. Encourage them to find their cousins; they can do it.