Local Genealogical Societies; Bible records found!

Family History Researchers should keep in mind that local Genealogical and Historical Societies often have rare and unique holdings. If your ancestors lived in an area for at least some amount of time, and especially if they resided there for an extended time, consider contacting the local Genealogical Society for that area to inquire about their holdings. You may also consider traveling there in person if you can, and make it a research trip. If you are unable to travel there in person, contact them to see what they have and ask if they can do some on-site research for you. Results may vary, but it’s always worth it to inquire.

A distant cousin of mine wrote a Cross Family Tree back in the 1950s. He was the same generation as my grandfather and died years ago, so I never met him. He lived in Pennsylvania, died in New York, and I have yet to travel to either state, although I’d like to someday. His Cross Family Tree is about 30 pages long and lists nearly 500 individuals.

He refers to an Old Cross Family Bible as a source, but unfortunately never mentions who owned the Bible at the time of his research. He did type up a transcription of the pages that include births, marriages, and deaths for genealogy. The Cross family resided in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania in the early 1800s.

I found the Clearfield County Historical Society online. I contacted them about their holdings, and inquired about on-site research done by their staff or volunteers. They do research for a fee or an hourly rate. I engaged them for research.

They returned copies of documents they found, including newspaper obituaries, many that are difficult or impossible to find elsewhere. They also sent a copy and a transcription of the Old Cross Family Bible that my cousin referenced in his work! It matches, word for word! As it turns out, the family member that had the Bible back in 1976 donated the Bible to the Historical Society for preservation!

My research is now a little more complete with this addition. The Old Cross Family Bible is intact, stored for preservation and posterity, and I have scanned copies of the pertinent pages, with source citation of the Bible (publication date and publisher, who donated the Bible, etc.). This Bible is unique, and found nowhere else. Obtaining this information is a find.

I am grateful that this family member donated the Bible, and grateful that the Clearfield County Historical Society has a way for me to do research there using their on-site staff and volunteers.

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, Ancestry.com : 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.

Gettysburg ancestor Allen B. Cross

My 2nd great grandfather, Allen B. Cross, was born in Pennsylvania and served in the Civil War. He was in Company D of the 148th Infantry of the Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry.

On the internet, I connected with a distant cousin. Allen’s father was Andrew Cross, and I am descended from Allen B. and my cousin is descended from one of Allen’s brothers. His last name is also Cross, and he lives in Pennsylvania.

He sent me photos of some bronze memorial plaques at Gettysburg with the name Allen B. Cross on it. This proves Allen B. Cross fought with his company at Gettysburg. Look at Company D for his name, two photos follow.



I knew that 148th Co. D had been at Gettysburg. When I spoke with a military history expert, I asked if there was a way for me to prove that my ancestor had been present at a particular battle. He said no, not unless there is some proof elsewhere. It was common in the Civil War for soldiers to take a leave of absence, basically AWOL, to sneak home and visit family for a few says to a few weeks. If the Army did not take a roll call while they were gone, it may look like the soldier was present between roll calls, which may or may not have happened. Meaning proof that he was present during a battle is difficult to prove. This does not mean every soldier went AWOL unnoticed. It does mean proving a soldier was present at a particular battle means more research than just saying his company or regiment was present. But if there was some mention of his name, such as a letter or plague, that would definitely place him at that location on that day, then you could prove he fought in that battle.

I’d say this plaque at the Gettysburg National Military Park proves he was there!

There is a photo of this memorial online at Wikipedia also. List of Monuments at Gettysburg includes the Pennsylvania State Memorial for men serving from that state, and if you scroll down to the 148th Regiment you’ll see this same photo.

Allen B. Cross, my 2nd great grandfather, fought with his company at the Battle of Gettysburg in the Civil War.