Dec 13, 2014

I Need a Coffin!

No, not THAT kind!  I need Sybil Coffin.  Sybil Coffin married my second great uncle, John Washington Burrill, in 1889 in Minnesota.  Sybil was born in Michigan in September of 1867, the 10th of 11 children of Isaac and Jeanette (Richardson) Coffin.  Son, John Wesley (usually seen as Wesley) Burrill was born 13 Feb 1891 in Minnesota.  Cousin Ellen Jean advised me that John's sister wrote to the family mentioning that her brother, John, was going to San Francisco, California to join the Yukon Gold Rush.  Family lore states that John ended up working on cable cars and was crushed by one on 22 Jul 1898 at the age of 41.  He is buried at Cypress Lawn Memorial Park in Colma, California.

In June of 1900, for the 1900 census, Sybil is in Arbuckle Township, Colusa County, California, recently married to John W. McDonald, a widower with three sons.  Son Wesley is with her and his stepfather.

By Feb of 1906, Sybil filed a lawsuit for divorce because of neglect.  In the 1910 census, Sybil is in Burney Valley township, Shasta County, California as a housekeeper for a single farmer, Alonzo B. Metzker (also seen as Metsker).  In May of 1911, two pieces of property in San Francisco on Edinburgh Street, one from Wesley and one from Sybil, are transferred to an Ella Feige.  Here is where the trail ends.  I don't know if Sybil married again.  I find no info on death for her.  

I do have a FamilySearch death notice for her son, Wesley Burrill, on 12 Feb 1916 in Clackamas, Oregon at 24 years of age.  I've not been able to find an obituary for him, either.  Sybil's father, mother and at least two of her brothers died in Oregon, so I have concentrated my research in Oregon and California.  So far no luck. 

Nov 28, 2014

My new favorite worship song

or maybe you'd rather hear these awesome Camp Pendleton Marines sing it!  Oohrah!!
Days of Elijah by Marines


I'm thankful for beautiful grandkids; beautiful on the inside and outside!

Nov 13, 2014

On the Mend

Bill saw our family physician on Monday who pronounced him good to go - healing well and everything in a normal condition at this stage of healing after he tripped over a laptop cord and took a major hit to his forehead.  He still has a colorful eye and the 14 stitches will leave a scar above his brow, but we're told that will make him a more rugged-looking Marine.

Today he had a follow-up with his cardiologist who said his labs looked good, gave some advice on a supplement and will check with him again in six months.

Nov 4, 2014

14 Stitches

We were all ready to go to a birthday party for a friend last evening.  Bill went to the media center to put away his headphones, caught his foot on the cord to the laptop that I had left out after working on computers and down he went, hitting his forehead on the floor.  He cut quite a gash above his left eyebrow.  We are both blaming ourselves.

So we went to the ER instead of the party.  Bill told everyone at the ER he was missing birthday cake.  He got 14 stitches, 3 inside and 11 outside and is doing fine.  They took an MRI.  Everything looks good but we are to watch for any unwanted reactions over the next couple of weeks, for possible bleeding on the brain.  Stitches come out Saturday.  He's really swollen and the bruising is beginning.  He looks like he lost to Ali.  He will be aglow soon.  Say a prayer, OK?

Oct 30, 2014

A Month I Want to Leave Behind

A major hard drive crash this month!  If I had it to do over again, there are a lot of smart things I would do that I didn't do after getting my latest computer.  I had too much trust in Carbonite - which did its job, by the way - but what good is a backup when you can't even get into your computer to back files up?!?  No, I hadn't made a repair disc.  Sheesh.  So here it is, 15 days later and I'm still not back to "normal."  Everything seems to be fine except my e-mail program, which I use the most of all. 

Oct 17, 2014

Back to Parks Research

I am back to Parks research, both for my line and for Cousin Carol's line through our DNA connection.  But first I must wait for my reformatted hard drive.  A botched attempt to add some incorrect version software seems to have set off a firestorm, possibly with other issues involved, and now I will need to reload programs and get all my data from backup.  This is not my favorite thing to do!

Sep 14, 2014

O'Tooles of Tipperary

A “hit” on the O’Toole DNA brought me in contact with Cousin Colleen.  Colleen has ancestors in County Tipperary, but seemingly no O’Tooles.  Common names to both our trees are Sweeney and Meagher.  While we were not able to find a match at this time, we worked on some elusive ancestors of hers, one of them Patrick Tracy (sometimes Treacy; sometimes Tracey] who was born in August of 1860 in Drangan, Tipperary the eighth child of William (Liam) Treacy and Mary Byrne.  According to family lore, Patrick arrived in Boston about 1881.  There were relatives in Appleton, Wisconsin, but according to my research, Patrick settled in Covington, Baraga, Michigan where he married Mary Doeing (sometimes seen as Doering or Deering) in 1903.  In 1926 the family is seen in Lake County, Indiana where Patrick died in June of 1934.  

His obituary reads:
1934 Jun 4, Hammond Times, P83, Hammond, Indiana
Patrick Tracey[sic] Dies Sunday
Funeral services will be held tomorrow for Patrick F. Tracy, 75, who died Sunday morning in St. Catherine’s hospital.  He resided at 1402 East Chicago avenue and had lived here eight years.  Besides his wife, he is survived by three daughters, Mrs. Mary Gatewood, Mrs. Agnes Ebeltoft and Miss Catherine Tracy, and by two sons, William and John Tracy.  Rites will be conducted at 9 a.m. tomorrow at St. Patrick’s church, Indiana Harbor, and interment will be in Mount Mercy cemetery.

Patrick and Mary (Doeing) Tracy had at least seven children:
Francis H. Tracy (1903-1903)
Mary F. Tracy Gatewood (1905-1986)
William P. Tracy (abt 1907-Unk)
John Henry Tracy (1908-1979)
Agnes Cecelia Tracy Ebeltoft (1914-2000)
Catherine M. Tracy Day (1920-2003)
Frank Fremont Tracey (1922-1922)

We will keep an eye on this connection and hope to find more DNA matches to make the search more productive.

Aug 25, 2014

Follow-up Doctor Visit

Visited the pain doctor today for a follow-up.  I'm doing very well.  She thinks I'll get a minimum of six months' relief from the recent pain shot (I was hoping for more) and that I can take a couple of meds that won't hurt my various organs or become addictive (I was going cold turkey).  Since my allergies have improved so much and since she thinks spinal decompression will help, things are looking good for this non-healing injury. 

Aug 18, 2014

Miss Mary Ann of Romper Room

Remember Romper Room???

My great great grandfather, James Parks, had a daughter, Lydia Jane Parks (sister to my great grandfather).

Lydia married (2d husband) William F. Mullen and they had a son, Alonzo Mullins (he changed the name from Mullen to Mullins) who moved from Indiana to Iowa and then to California where he was a minister in the Ceres area.

Alonzo and his wife had five girls.  The second girl was Virginia (Betty) Mullins who married an unrelated (at least as of now) Parks, Lloyd S. Parks (born and died in Modesto).

Lloyd had an older brother named Stanley R. Parks whose son, Douglas Eugene Parks (who went to Cal Poly San Luis), married Mary Ann Carpenter who became Miss Mary Ann on Romper Room.

And that is how I am “related” to Miss Mary Ann of Romper Room.  It was Miss Mary Ann who taught Shannon the Pledge of Allegiance.  My software says the relationship is Miss Mary Ann’s husband is my “nephew of husband of second cousin 1 times removed."  Life's a romp! 

Aug 15, 2014

Sunny Outlook

Now that the shot in my back has taken effect, life is much sunnier!  In fact, other issues have also cleared up since the shot.  Ever since our auto accident in 2002, my allergies have been on high alert - and it's really nice to have them behaving a little better.  I'll have a follow-up appointment with the pain specialists on the 21st of August to discuss the bulging discs and continued treatment.  I feel much better!

Aug 3, 2014

New Devil Pups

SoUtah new Devil Pups, including Honor Pup Ivan Cataluna.  Wish I had been there for the excitement!

Jul 31, 2014

I don't like it!

So now I know what a bulging disk feels like.  I don't like it!  On the eve of leaving for a trip to Oceanside, California and Camp Pendleton to graduate our latest crop of Devil Pups from SoUtah, I was unable to walk or sleep because of the pain.  A trip to the ER brought to light two small bulges in L4-L5 and L5-S1.  A shot in the . . . um . . biggest part of me, a prescription for a pain killer, and a referral to "pain management" brings me some mental and physical relief.  I will not make this year's graduation trip but I will concentrate on healing. 

Jul 27, 2014

Summer Shopping with Grand Girls

Who wouldn't enjoy shopping with these beauties?!?!?  [Grace and Claire at Tai Pan Trading.]

Jun 27, 2014

Back to Ancestors

Genealogy websites are back up and I've been enjoying the hunt, working with cousin Eileen from Wisconsin.  She's a great family genealogist on my Phelps side.  We're hunting for an elusive Belinda Beals from Delaware County, New York, to prove that she was married to our fourth great grandfather, Lachlan McDougall, prior to his migration to Canada and subsequent marriage to Sarah Ruthven. There are a lot of Beals in Delaware County and several migrated into Wisconsin about the same time as Lachlan's son, William, migrated there.  We just haven't yet found Belinda or any marriage, birth or death records.  We had always had the impression Sarah Ruthven was our fourth great grandmother, but she didn't immigrate to the USA until 1819.  Since Lachlan's son, William, was born in 1815, he had to have had a different mother.  A couple of online sites give the information that Belinda Beals was his mother - thus the hunt began. 

Jun 17, 2014

Two of my Genealogy Websites are Down and FindaGrave have been down for at least 24 hours - and are still down, so I spent some time with my (living) family.  They seem like nice people.

The McDougall Mystery

This is a long post - settle in!!

Background:  My 3d great grandfather, William McDougall, born 1815 in Delaware County, NY married Sarah Tucker, born 1810 in Delaware County, NY.  Their only daughter was named Persis.  Persis was my 2d great grandmother who married Anson Phelps.

Once again history has a way of laughing at us.  We have taken the writings of Colin McDougall in approximately 1929 as family gospel and assumed that the Wisconsin McDougalls began with William McDougall, Persis’ father, who was the son of Lachlan and Sarah (Ruthven) McDougall.

While there has been no DNA that we are aware of, it has been noted that a few genealogy trees and grave information indicate that William’s parents were Lachlan McDougall and Belinda Beals, not Sarah Ruthven.  Cousin Eileen and I have worked on this information quite a bit without much success to date.  The facts are as follows:

Census reports in Canada show the Ruthvens immigrating from Scotland to Elgin, Ontario, Canada in 1819.  Some records show that Lachlan McDougall and Sarah Ruthven were married abt 1820 and had two children, Neil (born 1822, who died at age 14) and Colin McDougall, born 1834.  An 1842 Canadian census shows William McDugale[sic] and his wife Sarah and states they have been married 23 years - putting a marriage date at 1819.  It really could be no earlier if Sarah was still in Scotland prior to 1819.

This gives Eileen and myself a genealogy puzzle.  If William was born in 1815, then who was his mother? It can’t be Sarah if she was in Scotland until 1819.  Most of the trees showing William and Sarah state (and indeed he reports on the 1860 census) that he was born in New York - not Canada like Neil and Colin. 

We know that William's grandfather, Neil McDougall, died early and his son, Lachlan, went to New York to live with an uncle, Neil McKinnon, a prosperous wine merchant.  Lachlan received a good education and it is stated in Colin’s family history write-up that he left his uncle to make his own way and migrated to the Mohawk Valley in New York.  This could very well be the Delaware County area of New York, where it is said William worked as a school teacher and in the lumber business.  Several records show that Lachlan's son, William, was born in Masonville, Delaware County, New York.  While Colin reports that Lachlan then migrated into Canada in 1814, married Sarah Ruthven and had William in 1815, the facts do not support this scenario, especially since Sarah was not in the Americas prior to 1819, and never in New York.

Because other genealogy sources report that William McDougall’s mother was Belinda Beals, we have done quite a bit of research on this person.  There were indeed several Beals in Masonville, Delaware, New York where Lachlan was supposedly working in the 1815 timeframe, lending some credibility to the Belinda Beals information (since it cannot be Sarah Ruthven). One Beals gentleman had daughters, Lucinda and Linda, the older probably being too old to be a mother to William.  We can place no marriage to either of these ladies, nor any birth record for William in that area, no divorce or death of a Belinda Beals McDougall in that timeframe.  That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen - we just can’t find the records.  There is a tree that indicates that a Belinda Beals, born 1798 died in 1882 in Masonville, Delaware, New York, apparently unmarried.

Another curious thing about the William McDougall situation is that William was born in 1815 and the Colin who was supposed to be his brother was born in 1834.  That’s quite a time gap.  Another factor that would indicate that William and Colin were not full brothers is a cemetery transcription on Neil McDougall’s grave.  Neil is the boy born to Lachlan and Sarah in 1822 (7 years after William’s birth) and who died in 1837 at age 14.  We have found an entry in the New Glasgow Cemetery located in Alborough Township, Elgin County, Ontario, Canada which reads:

Sacred / to the memory of / Neil McDOUGALL / who died / Apr. 25, 1837 / aged 14 yrs 5 ms / ; 14 ds / Erected by his only brother / C. McDOUGALL/ [Emphasis added.]

Given the fact that Sarah Ruthven did not arrive in Canada from Scotland until 1819 and the 1842 census states they had been married 23 years, we believe Lachlan and Sarah married late 1819 or early 1820 in Canada, five or six years after William's birth.

A further curious situation are the names of the children of William and Sarah Tucker McDougall.  In nearly all cases for those early years, children were named after grandparents and after those names are used, then parents’ names are used, then uncles and aunts, etc.  William and Sarah named their children Justin, Edwin, Edward, Edgar, Persis, Levi and George.  None of these names are consistent with Lachlan and his ancestors.  Lachlan’s ancestors had names like Margaret, Colin, Robert and Neil.  In only one instance, William’s son George named a son Colin.  It seems quite evident that William was a stepson of Sarah Ruthven McDougall and half brother to Neil and Colin.

As for Persis’ name, a FamilySearch extracted record turns up the name of Rachel Cannon as Sarah Tucker’s mother.  In researching the name Rachel Cannon we have come up with a website exploring the Cannon family in and around the area of Cannonsville, Delaware County, New York - same county where William was born.  What is interesting is that one of the Cannons married a Persis of about the same age as Sarah Tucker’s mother.  This is possibly where William and Sarah got the name Persis for their only daughter - a trusted friend and/or neighbor.

The story goes from Colin's writings that when William McDougall (sometimes seen as McDougald) and Sarah Tucker were married in Canada in 1838, they took a honeymoon trip into Wisconsin, fell in love with the area and ended up settling there later.  However, the marriage occurred in Wisconsin and the History of Walworth County, Wisconsin, written by Albert Clayton Beckwith, published in 1912, states:

William McDougald, farmer, Sec. 29; P. O. Heart Prairie; has 175 acres of land; settled in Walworth Co. in the spring of 1837; he was born in Masonville, Delaware Co., N.Y., Nov. 20, 1815; is the son of Lochlin[sic] and Belinda (Beals) McDougald was brought up a farmer, and came to Wisconsin in 1837, arriving in Milwaukee March 31 of that year; he proceeded to Walworth Co. and made a claim in what is now Sugar Creek, at the land sales of February, 1839; he bought 240 acres in the town of LaGrange.  The following year he made his home on this land, Sec. 29, where he has continued to reside until this date; he was married in Muskego, Waukesha Co., Wis., May 10, 1838, to Miss Sarah Tucker, having to go to Milwaukee for the marriage license.  Mrs. McDougald was born in Tompkins, Delaware Co., N.Y., [and] went to Wisconsin with her aunt in August, 1836.

Since the paternal lineage is still in tact as far as we can tell, it is included in our family history as the family that married into the Phelps line when William and Sarah Tucker McDougall’s daughter, Persis, married Anson D. Phelps.

William and Sarah are buried in the Heart Prairie Cemetery in Walworth County, Wisconsin.  We find that several Beals also migrated to the same location in Wisconsin and records show they were from Delaware County, New York.  We're working on tying the Beals family to the McDougalls and hope to learn just who William's mother was.

Jun 13, 2014

Belinda Beals

Looking for Belinda Beals, born around 1795 in Masonville, Delaware County, New York who may have married Lachlan McDougall around 1814.  Their son William McDougall, born 1815, is my third great grandfather and I'd like to find info on his mother, Belinda.

O'Toole DNA

Hubby's daughter, Kit, gave her dad a DNA kit for Father's Day.  Won't we have fun tracking those O'Tooles back to Tipperary!!!

McDougall Mystery

Another mystery has popped up on my family tree.  We have always thought my third great grandfather's parents were Lachlan McDougall and Sarah Ruthven.  Sarah arrived from Scotland in 1819 and she and Lachlan were married about 1819 or 1820.  However, William was born in 1815 in Masonville, Delaware County, New York.  Now I'm hunting down his mother which some accounts show as Belinda Beals, also born in Delaware County, New York.  Just when I think I'm wrapping up my ancestry . . .

May 10, 2014

LA Poster

Finally found the appropriate artwork for our great room niche - an L.A. poster, celebrating the area where Bill and I met.  We actually met at our office building at 3250 Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles when he was in an insurance office on the 21st floor and I was in a law office on the 16th floor.  It only took 8 years to find this poster. :}
3250 Wilshire Boulevard Photo by Wayne Lorentz.

May 2, 2014

Bill's New Computer

Bill's 7 year old laptop has been retired.  We finally replaced it - and what a time that was!!  I struggled with the e-mail program we use and finally admitted defeat and had our IT expert set it up properly.  Hopefully that is the end of our issues and Bill can now get back to reading 2300+ emails!

Apr 20, 2014

Easter at Tuacahn

What a beautiful Easter service we had at Tuacahn ampitheater this morning.  Lots of people acknowledged the need for Christ's love in their hearts, the weather was nothing short of perfect, the music was great and Rick's message from the Bible's account of Christ's resurrection nothing short of superb.  We got there early and took this photo - couldn't even fit in the top of the natural rock backdrop in my camera frame.  What a beautiful place on a special day. 

Apr 19, 2014


New Droid Ultra and an upgrade from XP to Windows 7 for Bill.  Will we ever catch up?

Mar 29, 2014

Home from the Hospital

It is good to be home.  It is good to sleep in one's own bed.  It is good for a non-interrupted night of sleep!  It is good that God answers prayers.  Bill just spent two days in the hospital resolving a bowel obstruction.  He started feeling bad Wednesday around noon, getting progressively worse until we handed over a Devil Pup meeting at 6 to Steve and headed to the ER.  After four hours in the ER, the diagnosis was made, a hospital room readied, and a treatment to unkink the bowel was decided upon by the doctors.  At least 50% of the time, this treatment works and avoids surgery.  Praise the Lord it worked for Bill.  

A tube was inserted through his nose, down his throat and esophagus, to the stomach and his stomach was slowly vacuumed out!  This relieves pressure on the "gut," allowing it to relax and unkink similar to a hose when you shut off the water.  It wasn't at all a fun process, but was much better than surgery.  Just a few hours of that treatment worked, but the tube was left in for more than a day to make sure.  

Bill has some very bad scarring in his colon from a 9-day hospital stay in St. Louis (a business trip that ended badly) many years ago due to diverticulitis.  The doctor said that is most often the root cause of this condition - that part of the colon isn't as efficient as the "normal" part of the colon.

The first night he was monitored very closely, making a sleepless night for both of us, but the second night was better.  X-rays confirmed that the blockage was gone by Thursday morning, and by Friday morning the tube was removed (another fun event) and he was released to eat again and go home.  Several people from Calvary Chapel came to pray and offer encouragement - much appreciated - and Marines from the Utah Dixie Detachment visited.  A number of people in the veteran community took over at events where Bill was expected to be through next Monday, relieving his mind and letting him get well.  

The only after effect is, not surprisingly, fatigue. I kept our kids in the loop with constant e-mails.  It was where I learned that having the kids e-mail addresses up to date in my home computer really doesn't do much good while at the hospital. 

Mar 9, 2014

James Parks - One Brick Down

A query to the Wells County, Indiana library has netted two bits of information.  My great great grandfather's middle name was Galloway!  James Galloway Parks, born June 17, 1791 in Virginia.  His daughter, Martha J. Parks, by his first (or possibly second) wife married a George W. Harshman, and it was his bio which contained this information.

The second bit of information was Martha J. Parks Harshman's son's second middle name.  (Both her children had two middle names.)  The son was Royal Johnson Hastings Harshman.  The information from Wells County also contained the information that Martha's husband had a first wife named Amy Hickman (though I have seen the name also as Anne Hickman).

James' wife is named in the information from the "Historical Hand Atlas" 1881, History of Wells County, Indiana, as Susannah Goodman.  I believe her maiden name to be Susannah Johnson Goodman.  Susannah's mother's name was Mary B. Johnson and her father William Goodman - but I've found very little on the Goodmans.  They were born in Maryland but I believe may have died in Ohio.  So it is Susannah's other's maiden name that started the Johnson tradition.

I believe the marriage of James Parks and Susannah Goodman occurred in 1829 per this FamilySearch entry:
Susan Goodman, "Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-1994"
Name:     James Parks
Titles and Terms:    
Event Type:     Marriage
Event Date:     24 Aug 1829
Event Place:     Montgomery, Ohio, United States
Spouse's Name:     Susan Goodman
Reference ID:    
GS Film Number:     1030834
Digital Folder Number:     004017452
Image Number:     00098
Citing this Record: "Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-1994," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 15 Feb 2014), James Parks and Susan Goodman, 24 Aug 1829; citing Montgomery, Ohio, United States, reference ; FHL microfilm 1030834.
Two children were born before Susannah died in 1842: John G. born in 1832 (died in 1842) and Martha J. Parks referenced above, born 1834 (died in 1902).  Since James would have been about 38 years of age at this marriage, I am making a wild guess that he was married prior to Susannah.  This theory was given more thought when I found an Elizabeth Parks, born 1812 to James and Susannah Parks (altho I believe Susannah was a stepmother) who married William Golden in 1836 in Ohio.  Martha's son, Royal, named a couple of children with the name Golden/Golda, lending credence to this find.  Elizabeth Parks Golden died in Noble County, Indiana in 1890.

After Susannah's death, James then married Eliza Jane (Clevenger) Thornburg, a widow, in 1845.  Eliza was 18 years younger.  She and James were my great great grandparents.  I have no information on their dates of death or burial place.

Jan 17, 2014


Finding an announcement of a ragtime concert at the Cox Auditorium of Dixie State College initiated a wonderful evening of entertainment by 

Mimi Blais
Frederick Hodges,
Martin Spitznagel and others!!

It was a toe-tapping evening!