Month: February 2014


Welcome to ConnecticutConnecticut is another state that is mainly from my wife’s line, specifically her maternal line which dabbles a bit in Colonial America.

The most recent ancestor to appear in Connecticut is her 4th-great-grandmother, Susan (SKINNER) WARNER, who is noted to have been born in the state in about 1813. There isn’t much more info about Susan that I have on file. This is also where her documented mtDNA line stops as Susan is a direct maternal (mother’s mother’s mother, etc) ancestor of my wife.

Many of the other Connecticut ancestors are actually ancestors of Susan’s husband, Seth WARNER. Seth’s grandfather, and my wife’s 6th-great-grandfather, Phineas RIPLEY, was born in Windham, Connecticut on 20 March 1746. This information was taken both from a Sons of the American Revolution Membership Application and a Find-a-Grave entry, so there is more solid research to be done. Phineas Ripley was also involved in the Revolutionary War with Herrick’s Regiment Vermont Militia according to his service record from Fold3.

The RIPLEY line stays in Connecticut as it goes back a few generations. Phineas’ parents, Nathan & Ann RIPLEY, were both born in Windham. Nathan’s parents, Joshua & Mary (BACKUS) also lived their lives in Windham. The RIPLEYs stop there, but Mary’s parents John & Mary (BINGHAM) BACKUS were born in Norwich, Connecticut before moving to Windham. Mary BINGHAM’s father, Thomas BINGHAM, died in Connecticut but is said to be the first BINGHAM ancestor to settle in the North American colonies. He was born in Sheffield, England. There is a nice write-up on Thomas on the Bingham Association’s Official Website:

All research to the present time indicates that Thomas Bingham of Connecticut and his mother, Anne Fenton Bingham, were the earliest Binghams to settle in the North American colonies. They migrated to Saybrook, Connecticut Colony from Sheffield, Yorkshire, England between 1652 and 1659 when Thomas, who was born in 1642, was ten to seventeen years old.

Another surname that makes some stops in Connecticut on my wife’s line is her WHIPPLE line. The most recent one being Thomas WHIPPLE, Sr. who was born in Somers, Toland, Connecticut on 23 October 1760 and is listed in the Connecticut Town Birth Records from the Barbour Collection. It continues on to Thomas’ father, Nathan WHIPPLE who was born and married in Somers. Nathan’s parents, Thomas & Mary (GARY) WHIPPLE both married and died in Connecticut and his mother was born in Woodstock, Windham, Connecticut in 1699. Our currently documented line stops there for us on the Whipples.

So far, those are the only connections to Connecticut.

Public domain photo from Wikimedia.

Moran Family

I wasn’t really sure who to pick next. I didn’t want to pick an ancestor I always talk about, so I opened up RootsMagic and closed my eyes and clicked a random person from the pedigree tree. I picked Frederick MORAN.

Moran Family
Frederick & Norma (Powell) Moran family

Frederick MORAN is my wife’s paternal great-grandfather. He was born 21 February 1891 in the small Richwood Township in Richland County, Wisconsin to Charles & Emma (DIETER) MORAN. According to early census records, he was a farm laborer until his marriage on 31 October 1915 (Halloween and my daughter’s birthday) to Norma POWELL. For some reason, this line seemed to like marrying in Iowa as they were married in McGregor, Clayton, Iowa and my wife’s paternal grandparents also married in Iowa. They had two children, my wife’s grandfather, Keith, and his sister, Vivian.

He had many occupations over the next few decades including Farmer, Lime Grinder, and Janitor at the public school. He passed away on 22 March 1949 in Boscobel, Grant County in southwestern Wisconsin and is buried there with his wife.

Much of my wife’s paternal ancestors, including the MORAN family, settled in the southwestern area of Wisconsin, which is full of hills and mines, though none of them were miners as far as I can tell. According to the Wisconsin Historical Society, a lot of people were drawn to this area in the 1800s due to it’s potential for mining:

Although southwestern Wisconsin is best known today for its rich farmlands, place names such as Mineral Point and New Diggings evoke an earlier time when local mines produced much of the nation’s lead. In the early nineteenth century, Wisconsin lead mining was more promising and attractive to potential settlers than either the fur trade or farming. Its potentially quick rewards lured a steady stream of settlers up the Mississippi River and into Grant, Crawford, Iowa, and Lafayette counties in the early nineteenth century. By 1829, more than 4,000 miners worked in southwestern Wisconsin, producing 13 million pounds of lead a year.

This post is 2 of 52 in the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” Challenge” begun by Amy Johnson Crow.

I was going to choose a commonly researched ancestor for my first post, but I decided to do it on an ancestor I don’t post about as often. My first 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks post is about my 3rd-great-grandfather, Charles Ludovicus VAN PARIJS. The Dutch surname was Americanized to Van Price not long after immigration. This caused a lot of grief in the beginning, as I’ll talk about.

Charles was born in IJzendijke, Zeeland, Netherlands on 6 July 1846 to Jacobus and Janneke (DEES) VAN PARIJS. There isn’t much else known about Charles’ childhood, but he met and married Johanna Marie KREBBEKX on 22 December 1870 in the nearby town of Hoofdplaat. He and his family emigrated to the US around October 1874 and they finally settled in central Wisconsin along with many other families from the Netherlands and Belgium. Johanna and Charles had 8 or 9 children, depending on the source of information. My ancestor, Peter, was born in Zeeland right before they left for America in 1874. Mysteriously, there is no definitive date of death for Charles as I’ll talk about, since he basically vanished.

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As they always say, “Better late than never.” I’ve seen the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” challenge across the genealogy blogger community during the past few months and I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to carve out time to do it. Than I thought that since it was only once a week and I know it will probably help open up some research paths or even connect to new cousins, I decided to do it. I’m starting a bit late here in February, but I plan to go all 52 weeks.

I will talk about ancestors on both sides of my children’s trees, so my ancestors and my wife’s ancestors since I research both lines. I will also use this post as an index of each of the 52 ancestors, so you can always check back here to see a complete list as the year goes on.

  1. Week #1: Charles Van Price
  2. Week #2: Frederick Moran
  3. Week #3: Augusta (Luedtke) Last
  4. Week #4: William J Dakins
  5. Week #5: Ignatz Szulta
  6. Week #6: Robert Moran
  7. Week #7: Joseph Troka
  8. Week #8: Anna (Huizel) Collins
  9. Week #9: William Henry Thompson
  10. Week #10: George Washington Shannon
  11. Week #11: Minnie Thielke
  12. Week #12: Alexander Felix Banach
  13. Week #13: Maria (Klegin) Braatz
  14. Week #14: James A Collins
  15. Week #15: Jean Joseph Desire DeBroux
  16. Week #16: Emma Lucretia (Douglas) Lant
  17. Week #17: William Corrigan
  18. Week #18: Peyton Wey
  19. Week #19: Herman Rathke
  20. Week #20: Susan (Skinner) Warner
  21. Week #21: Anna (Lindner) Zalewski
  22. Week #22: Georg Heinrich Stiern
  23. Week #23: Gustave Gyrion
  24. Week #24: Marie DesAnges (Manseau) St. Louis
  25. Week #25: Henry Lint
  26. Week #26: Ida (Schanvandie) Muhm
  27. Week #27: Nathaniel Shannon
  28. Week #28: Henry Peter Thielke
  29. Week #29: Carey Toney
  30. Week #30: Jean Baptiste Laurent
  31. Week #31: Frank J Zalewski, Sr
  32. Week #32: Michael Troka
  33. Week #33: Rosina Winslow (Arnold) Shannon
  34. Week #34: Jacob Zalewski
  35. Week #35: Lyman Eugene Whipple
  36. Week #36: Johann Peter Firmenich
  37. Week #37: Michael John Corrigan
  38. Week #38: Adrien Francois

rootstechI’m looking forward to watching all of the available RootsTech videos from this year’s conference, but the only time I really get to watch something on my own is when I’m going to bed and I do it on my smartphone. I was disappointed to see that the videos embedded on the RootsTech website were using an Adobe Flash-based played which does not work on almost all smartphones now since they don’t support Flash.

Fortunately, I noticed that the video provider for RootsTech was Brightcove, a platform I am pretty familiar with due to some of my work at my software engineering job. I knew that they had technology that determined the device you were using and gave you the player best suited for it. For example, on a smartphone, they would give you the HTML5-based player instead of the Flash-based one. It seems that the video player that RootsTech’s uses on their video page player doesn’t do this. Well, I found a workaround for all of you out there who want to watch them on your smartphone.

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Crusader Kings II

Besides genealogy, one of my other enjoyments is video games. For people who don’t really dabble much in video games, which is probably a lot of the genealogy community based on demographics, they probably think it’s just a wastes my time and rots my brain. While, in some cases, it probably does, in other cases it makes me learn about the history of the world by letting me get involved in that history.

Two games from Paradox Interactive have sucked up almost all of my free gaming time (which, with 2 kids, is not a lot.) They are Crusader Kings II and Europa Universalis IV and are described as “grand strategy” games.

Crusader Kings II
Crusader Kings II

The first, Crusader Kings II, which my brain is stuck to at the moment, is described: “[explore] one of the defining periods in world history in an experience crafted by the masters of Grand Strategy. Medieval Europe is brought to life in this epic title rife with rich strategic and tactical depth.” You can choose any one of hundreds of noblemen anywhere from 867 to about 1453. Start with a king and rule your minions, or start with a count and work your way up to emperor, if that’s your thing. There is really no goal to the game, it’s basically a sandbox. Each time your character dies, you begin to play as their heir. Do what you want, the only important thing is to continue your dynasty by having heirs because once you run out of bloodline heirs, your game is over (or it hits 1453.)

Europa Universalis IV is similar to CKII as it’s a grand strategy game, but instead of controlling people, in EUIV, you control a country.

The empire building game Europa Universalis IV gives you control of a nation to guide through the years in order to create a dominant global empire. Rule your nation through the centuries, with unparalleled freedom, depth and historical accuracy. True exploration, trade, warfare and diplomacy will be brought to life in this epic title rife with rich strategic and tactical depth.

Though, in EUIV you can literally pick any country in the world from 11 November 1444 A.D. (the day after the crushing defeat of the Poles and Hungarians by the Ottoman Turks at the Battle of Varna, and the death of King Władysław III of Poland), and ending 1 January 1821 A.D. I put less time into this one so far, but it has been out for less time. It’s a different style that CKII. You deal more in colonization or trade or warfare and expanding your country around the world. In CKII, you deal more with people and expanding your kingdom through marriage, intrigue, and clever relationships while at the same time watching your back. It’s like a world-wide soap opera.

Though, these games have a pretty steep learning curve, but once you get into them they are tons of fun. Once you hit the play button, you are creating an alternate history for the world. For example, here is one of my first play-throughs of Crusader Kings II that I talked about on our entertainment/gaming site.

I started as King Bolesław II of Poland and it went pretty smooth during his reign. He lived to be pretty old, even by today’s standards, dying at 82. That’s when everything fell apart. My new heir was the King’s first born son, Franciszek, though he did not inherit everything because the succession laws in Poland were “Gavelkind.” That law gives the first heir the major titles and then equally spreads the rest to the other heirs (male in this case.) So, Franciszek’s half-brother, Josef, decided to declare war on me for his claim to the Kingdom of Poland. He won, due to having many allies.

It didn’t last long as his brother, Roman, went to war with him for the kingdom also, imprisoning him in the process and taking over. More people started wars. In the end, or as it stands in my game right now, Roman is dead, Josef is a Polish Duke, their sister Elisabeth is now Queen of Poland, and I’m down to being a Count with one county, but still alive and scheming including secretly murdering two other Counts. Though Franciszek is no longer my character, his son the heir is now my character. Sadly, one of his main traits is “imbecile” so he’s a really bad ruler. He has no bloodline heir since he’s only 15, so my goal is to get him a son before he dies or gets assassinated.

And that was back when I wasn’t very good at it. You learn as you play and from your mistakes. I learn a lot of tips from “Let’s Play” YouTube videos. Every time you play, it is completely different. My most recent play through with Poland, King Bolesław died in his 30s with only a single daughter, but she reigned for a long time as Queen Helena the Ironside. After that, it sort of fell apart after the Holy Roman Empire went to war with me for his vassal, the Kingdom of Bohemia and I had to surrender most of Poland to Bohemia. Currently, I am ruling as the King of Denmark, which somehow came to my dynasty through clever marriages and deaths.

Not only is it enjoyable, but I’ve learned a lot more about the history of the world during these times. You can play from 867 with Crusader Kings II and when it ends in 1453, you can convert your game over to Europa Universalis IV and then play until 1821. That’s almost 1000 years. What kind of world will it be then? I bet your family history would be very different.