Keep Looking!

Always keep looking, don’t give up. Records are coming online all the time.

A few years ago, I searched online records for Huntingdon County and other nearby counties in Pennsylvania, and what I was looking for was not available. Just last week, I did another search and found things that weren’t there before! sometime between last week and a few years ago they went online.

I didn’t need to wait a few years…you could just as easily keep very good research logs with records of what you searched for and when…and try again every year or six months. When new stuff pops up, search the index, or full records if you need to, and you just may find some new things!

I’m working on a bigger write-up of what I found, and how it fits in, but the long version of the full Research Report is about 20 pages in Word. I may post shorter versions or snippets here.

Just remember to keep looking!

Probate file helps but has little info

When I was in Salt Lake City in January, I found an index for probate files for Baca County, Colorado, which are available only directly from Baca County. Albert William Jones is my 3rd great grandfather. He was listed as having a probate file from the year 1946 when he died in Baca County.
Baca County emailed me the probate file today.
There is not much to it, he died intestate, or with no last will and testament. Sometimes a file with no will is called Probate or Letters of Administration.
His wife was Rebecca Jones. The estate was valued at less than $300, so she was entitled to receive it all. The estate was primarily an OAP warrant, which is an Old Age Pension with the State of Colorado. The document states he owned no other real estate or property. The document confirms his death date as 19 October 1946.
His widow was Rebecca Jones. I have her death date as 1951 but this is unconfirmed. We do know from this document that she was still living in 1946.
A photo of the tombstone is at with some other info.
Note it is a shared grave marker. Albert’s dates seem correct and confirmed with other sources, including the probate file. Her dates are a birth date only, no date of death is engraved on the stone. Which means I have doubts she is even buried there. I requested a death certificate from the State of Colorado, with a range of dates including the expected 1951, and they replied no record found. So, she may have died out of state, or the death is not recorded. If she died out of state, I currently have no other records that suggest where she may have resided after the death of her husband.
The probate file does not give us much more info, but it confirms his death date, and confirms his widow was still alive in 1946. It also confirms he owned no real estate.
Genealogy is one record at a time…

George Hoffman; Patriot?

My wife’s paternal line goes back to George Hoffman, born in Germany in 1736. Her grandfather kept a journal every day he was in college, starting in 1912. It includes stories of how he met his wife, and train travel to New York state to get married. After college, he kept journal entries on a less often weekly, and later only monthly, basis. But in the back of the journal is a Hoffman family tree. He got the info from his aunt; we don’t know where she got her information. But most of the tree, so far, seems to be fairly accurate, even though it has no sources.

Other documents have verified much of what is in the Hoffman journal family tree. Found out George Hoffman was born Johann Georg Hoffman, German for John George Hoffman. He Americanized his name after coming to Pennsylvania. The names of his wife and children are confirmed in other documents, including his will, written in 1801 in Cumberland, Pennsylvania.

[Pennsylvania, Wills and Probate Records, 1683-1993; George Hoffman will of 1801; Pennsylvania County, District and Probate Courts, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. Wills, Volume F, 1795-1803, pp. 294-300, images 506-509 of 542, images and database online, : accessed 18 November 2018).]

Now, another user on Ancestry has made the claim that George Hoffman fought in the American Revolutionary War. They do not substantiate that claim with sources. I have sent an ancestry message to this person asking what sources they have, how can they prove their claim, and they have not responded. If George did fight in the American Revolutionary War, he is an American Patriot that would qualify my wife for membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).

So, another thing on the Research To Do list is to answer the research question, did this George Hoffman actually fight in the American Revolutionary War? I am actively searching for information; if you have any tips, let me know. When I find an answer, I’ll post it here.

Stevens will

In my research, I have been lucky to have so many family trees written by other people. From there, I have two jobs; 1) prove the work they did with sources, and 2) expand on their work, finding earlier ancestors and filling out the family tree.

The Cross Family Tree, as written by Samuel B. Cross, is quite a work. But there are really no sources, so we don’t know where he got his information. Does not mean he is not accurate, just means it is not proven. I have proven much of it, but not all. The parents of Andrew Cross (my 3rd great grandfather), for example, are not considered proven by myself and several other family genealogists. He names the parents as Cornelius Allen Cross and Mary Stephens. And Mary Stephens’ parents were Leonardt and Elizabetha Stephens. But where did he get this information?

But I recently found two documents that help in this matter.

I recently found a will of Elizabeth Stevens in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania. She was the grandmother of Andrew Cross. Her will states and proves the names and relationships; she says her deceased husband was Leonard Stevens, her daughter Mary Ann Stevens is the wife of Allen Cross. Allen Cross is sometimes called Cornelius Allen Cross and is the father of Andrew Cross.

I did contact the Clearfield County Historical Society, and they have the original Cross Family Bible, which names the parents of Andrew Cross as Allen Cross and Mary Cross, and I now have a photocopy of that Bible page.

The will was important, because I sometimes had the name spelled as either Stephens or even Stepheus. I think the Stepheus was a typo and the u is really an n. But the suggestion was their name was German, so Stepheus was a possibility. I now know their name, in America, was Stevens. Previously, possibly in Germany, there was an alternate spelling, but that is not examined yet.

Leonard and Elizabeth Stevens are the grandparents of Andrew Cross. His parents were Cornelius Allen Cross and Mary Ann Stevens.

So, it seems the work of Samuel Cross is accurate and parts of it are now proven with a few documents. We have the parents of the wife of Cornelius Allen Cross. Who are the parents of Cornelius Allen Cross? Is the next question to answer.

I have full source citations on my online tree. Go to my contact page and shoot me an email, and I can invite you to my tree.