Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Genealogy Resolutions

I see that it has been a while since I have posted.  With all of work I do to maintain my Van Sickle Family site at Facebook, I tend to neglect the blogs.  I am tempted to make a resolution to post regularly, but I have other genealogy resolutions in mind:

1.  I have no ancestral information on my 4th generation grandmother, Mrs. Alce WORSHAM (nee JOHNSON).  I really need to do some digging into the JOHNSON family in Pike County, Missouri circa 1820.  That is awfully early in Missouri history.  Coupled with the fact that Johnson is such a common surname, I definitely have a challenge ahead of me.

2.   There are tons of records that I need to order for my BROWN family in Cedar County, Missouri.  The courthouse there was nearly destroyed completely in a tornado about 10 years ago.  I've had some trouble locating some records since that time.

3.  I really want to understand the lives of my Anabaptist ancestors.  My Brethren family was quite modern compared to Old Order Amish and Old Order Mennonite groups, but that was not always the case.  I am somewhat familiar with how my family help establish Brethren churches in Indiana and Missouri (see:  History of the Church of the Brethren in Indiana.  My 4th generation grandparents were Jacob and Hannah RONK).  I know too that many in the church struggled with the modernization of society that began in the 19th century.  Was this true for my family?  I'd love to read, "The Brethren During the Age of World War", but did you see the price?  Wow!

4.  Speaking of Mrs. Hannah RONK, her parents were Thomas and Nancy (nee DEVER) BROTHERS.  Who are Nancy's parents?  And does her DEVER branch somehow connect with my other DEVER branch- Henry and Elizabeth (nee MILES) DEVER of Hardin County, Kentucky?  I need to find some documentation!!!

What genealogy resolutions do you have for this year?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


I've been having fun playing with the Predict Eye Color at GEDmatch.  By uploading the results of my DNA test (which I took through Ancestry.com), the test predicted the following color:

Picture from GEDmatch
My eyes are a a lot lighter in color overall, especially near the outside of the iris, but the brown in the eye above is in my eye around the pupil.

My eye without flash (left) and with flash.
I did read their page on accuracy which says, "FTDNA Illumina and Ancestry.Com results may provide a prediction, but generally there are not enough of the necessary SNPs for it to be accurate."  That being said, I think it was a pretty close match.  Not exact, but close.

The Predict Eye Color test doesn't really tell me anything about my genetic ancestors, but since becoming interested in genetics, I have discovered that my brown eyes are not actually brown at all, but amber.  Pretty neat!  Maybe I should change my driver's license.

The test says, "Read rules from top to bottom. In some cases, a rule cancels out results from rules above it."  The rules are based off of the SNP's (single-nucleotide polymorphism- see SNPedia).  But basically, as one reads down the results of the test, a result can be canceled out.  So, though one result lists a "weak amber gradient", the VERY next result lists "inhibit weak amber gradient."  ROFL!!!   But as you can see from my picture, I do have quite a bit of amber in my eyes.

One result lists that I have a gray ring around the outer edge of the iris, which I do.  I didn't even realize that I had that!!  How neat-o!!
Another fun test is their Rare SNP (Minor Allele) mutation test.  Now, we all have genes that have mutated.  This does not qualify you to join the X-Men (so sorry).  It does qualify you to learn the various diseases that may occur because of these mutations.  I will keep in mind that my DNA may indicate that I should really keep an eye out (at least while they are working) for signs of retinal and macular degeneration.

I am no expert at genetics and so I am going to be participating in some GEDmatch groups at Facebook to learn more about how to interpret the results.  Pretty cool stuff.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Who is the father of Henry Weaver VAN SYCKLE?

Henry Van Syckle died near San Jose in 1903.
His estate was valued at over $50,000.
I have a biography on Henry Weaver Van Syckle, as well as his obituary, but I have been stuck on his ancestry for a long time now.

The biography lists his birth place as New York (born on the Mohawk River) on March 12, 1830. The oldest of three children, Henry's father died when he was just a boy.  The bio lists that his mother remarried when he was nineteen, and then Henry moved out west with his uncle, Solomon Hasbrook Burger.  And so I have assumed his mother's maiden name was Burger.

I have found his mother only in the 1880 census (San Jose, Santa Clara Co. CA) as M. A. VAN SYCKLE, age 70, born in New York.  Others in the household are Henry, his daughter Pearl, a male listed as "D. BURGEAR", a female listed as "L. BACKAM", a male "Array BACKAM", and Henry's mother, "M. A. VAN SYCKLE". 

What I am hoping to discover is the following:
  • M. A. Van Syckle in other census records (of course a death record, bio, etc. would be just great!)
  • Whether or not "D. BURGEAR" in the 1880 Census a Burger, and specifically, if he is David Henry Burger (1834-1911, son of Abraham Garrison Burger and Mary BEASMER).
  • Whether or not "L. BACKAM" is Henry's sister.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

An Index Is Great, But An Image Is Better

A few years back, Ancestry.com released the Missouri Marriage Records, 1805-2002.  Finally, I was able to track down the marriage dates for my dad's grandparents, James and Nannie Brown.  I learned that they were married in May 1902, which was about the time I had expected.  Great!  The end.

Well, it would have been the end if I hadn't bothered to click on the image, and instead just relied solely on the index.  What I found on the image was a very nice surprise.  To the left of the marriage record were two little notes, one written by the father of the bride, and one written by the father of the groom, giving consent to the marriage.  Here is the note written by Henry Deardorff:

"To the Honorable Circuit Clerk of Cedar County Mo.  
Greeting this is to certify that I have given my consent to the 
marage (sp) of my daughter to James W. Brown.  
My daughters name is Nanna Christina.
Your truley (sp) Henry C. Deardorff"

When Nannie's sister was married in 1908, both parents signed a consent note:

I have no picture of either ancestor, but I am very happy to have a copy of their signatures!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

My ancestor, Catherine Harshbarger-Deardorff is described beautifully in, "A History of the Descendants of Jacob and Maria Eva Harshbarger of Switzerland":

"She was a woman full of life and energy, even in her old age, ever cheerful and disposed to look on the bright side of all things...She could never be idle, regularly retiring at 9 o'clock and arose at 4.  Her disposition was mild, yet firm.  She never manifested anger...she had little education, but was an intelligent conversationalist, and her memory was so good that she was authority on Scripture, of which she was very fond.  She and her husband were Dunkards and her home was the 'meeting house' for many years.  Her hospitality for strangers and the homeless was unsurpassed...she was among the first to visit the sick and afflicted, her skill as a nurse was well known and her services were more often sought after than that of a doctor."

Mrs. Catherine Deardorff,
from "Faces from the Past" by Beverly Whitaker

Please pay your respects to my ancestor at:

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Schwarzenau Brethren

Thanks to digging into my Dad's maternal line and laughing my head off at the antics of Dwight Schrute on The Office, I've lately been very fascinated with my Brethren roots.

According to Related Families of Botetourt Court, Virginia, my 6th generation great-grandmother, Mrs. Anna Eva AMMEN, (nee RANCK) "...became a Dunkard but Durst [her husband] refused to change his religion...Her Presbyterian parents considered she had committed a grave sin by becoming a Dunkard."

No doubt it was Eva's religious beliefs that influence her descendants.  Daughter, Barbara (my 5th generation great-grandmother) married Christian HARSHBARGER, also a Dunkard, and their daughter Catherine (my 4th generation great-grandmother) married John Jacob DEARDORFF, another Dunkard.  John and Catherine's son, David and wife Eva (née RONK- a relative of my 6th great-grandmother, Anna Ranck-Ammen), opened his home to Dunkard meetings in Cedar County, Missouri, before a church was built there. 

The Deardorff family has Dunkard roots going back nearly 300 years to Anthony Deardorff, who according to the Encyclopedia of the History of Missouri Vol. 2, was "...a German Dunkard minister, who left his native country on account of religious persecution, and immigrated to America in 1729..."  When my father, who was raised by his grandmother, told me that as a young boy he went to the Church of the Brethren, I was not very surprised.  But that is where my family connection to the Brethren ends (though I now wonder if my longing of a simpler way of life has been somehow imprinted in my DNA).

In the upcoming weeks, I will be researching my roots through The Church of the Brethren Network.  Besides learning more about my direct ancestors, I will be studying when the Brethren began to adopt modern technology and began to live life a bit differently than their Amish and Mennonite cousins in faith.  I am also very interested in how their religion influenced their cooking (my grandmother was an incredible cook, and I believe she learned to cook from her Deardorff mother).

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Van Salee

It is difficult enough with all of the Van Sickle research I tackle; I will not dive too far into the Van Salee gene pool.  For the most part, I will leave that to others.  I foresee a great deal of confusion on the part of the Van Salee researcher.  Jan JANSZOON, the man, is fast becoming lost in a sea of fiction, but Jan Janszoon, the pirate, fueled by modern-day plays and poems, and a current pirate craze in Hollywood, is once again raising his flag and sailing in the perilous Mediterranean of the early 17th century.

But as stated, I'm not wading too far into those waters.  My search for all Van Sickles (especially those tricky 18th century ones) continues.  It was when searching for one tricky relative when lo and behold I found the will of one France Abramse VAN SELLEA (a purported descendant of Jan Janszoon.)  Because the Van Sickle and Van Salee paths often flow parallel here on land, I do know something about the family, mainly in regard to the relationship of Anthony Jansen of Salee and his daughter Eva (Mrs. Ferdinandus Van Sicklen).  There are enough muddy waters there- the claim that Anthony was the son of Jan Janszoon is likely, but not proven.  The claim that Ferdinandus Van Sicklen is related to the VAN DER SICKLEN family of Belgium is downright hysterical when one learns how that information came to be, but it still may be possible.  But I digress.

I did say that I located the will of France Abramse Van Sellea.  Now according to records1, France (Frans) was the son of Abraham Van Salee, a mulatto, and likely a brother of Anthony Van Salee.   Frans is an important person in Van Salee history.  From my own research I have concluded that Anthony had no other sons, and that all descendants of the Van Salee name are through Frans (such as John Van Salee DE GRASSE).

A portion of the will of France Abramse Van Salle can be found online, but for those serious about researching this family, the entire will would be much enjoyed (there is a probate as well, but due to its length, I will not include it.).  To follow is my transcription of a transcribed copy (that's right, transcribed at least twice now) of the will of France Abramse Van Sellea (aka Frans Abramse Van Salee):

The Will of France Abramse Van Sellea2

In the name of God Amen the third day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and thirty seven I France Abramse Van Sellea in the County of Orange in the Province of New York being very sick & weak in body but of perfect mind and memory thanks be given to God therefore calling unto mind the mortality of my body & knowing it is appointed for all men once to Dye do make & Ordain this my last Will & Testament that is to say principally first of all I give and recommend my Soul into the hands of God that gave it & for my body I recommend it to the Earth to be buried in a Christian & like & decent manner at the discretion of my Executors nothing doubting but at the General Resurrection I shall receive the same again by the mighty power of God & touching such Worldly Estate where with it hath blessed God to bless me in this Life I give devise and dispose of the same in the following manner and form Imprimis
It is my will and I do order that in the first place all my just debts and bequeath unto my dearly beloved Wife whome I Constitute make and ordain one of my Executrixs of this my last Will and Testament all and singular the Lands messuages and Tenements and with all my moveable Estate that I now Dye possess'd of by her freely to be possess'd and Injoy'd during her being my Widdow but in case my beloved Wife should compleat a second marriage then I give and bequeath to my wel beloved son France Van Sellea Junr. whome  I constitute make Ordain one of my Executors of this my last Will and Testament after my dearly beloved Wife Death Isabala or at her second marriage all and singular the Lands messuages and Tenements with all my moveable Estate that I shall now Dye possess'd of I do give to the above named France Van Sellea my youngest son aforementioned all my Lands and moveable Estate by him freely to be possess'd by him his heirs and assignes for ever, Item I give to my well beloved son Abram Van Sellea one of the best horses that Wife Isabella shall Dye possess'd of and that my youngest Son France Van Sellea Junr. one of my Executors shall deliver unto his Eldest Brother Abraham Van Sellea one of my best horses after a Decease or a second marriage of my Wife Isabella, Further it is my Will and pleasure that in case my dearly beloved Wife Isabella whome I give all my Lands and moveable Estate to during her Life or my Widdow but in case she should Dye or marry again after my Decease then as before mentioned I give all of my Lands and moveable Estate to my youngest Son France Van Sellea Junr.

France Abrams (his mark) Van Sellea (SS)
In the presence of Arie Koning, Johannis De Gran, Johannes Remsen.

One of my Executors and further out of my Estate I give unto my Eldest Son Abram Van Sellea twelve pounds ten shillings and unto my Daughter Anna Mary Van Sellea I do give twelve pounds ten shillings and I do give unto my Second Son Cuffeen Prime Van Sellea twelve pounds ten shillings and I do give unto my third Son Casper Prime Van Sellea twelve pounds ten shillings which in all makes fifty pounds which said fifty pound my youngest Son France Van Sellea shall pay unto my three Sons and Daughters in Current Lawfull money of New York each of them twelve pounds ten shillings as aforest in this my last Will and Testament but if any of my Sons and Daughter before mentioned should Dye before or after my Decease and leave no Issue of their Bodys Lawfully begotten them I give them Legacies to my youngest Son France Van Sellea Junr. my Executor in case of their Death without Issue and further I give and bequeath unto Marya Salmons my Wifes Daughter one Cow, it is further my Will that after my Wifes Isabella Decease or a second marriage that my youngest Son France Van Sellea Junr. whom I give all my Land and moveable Estate to Except the fore mentioned Legacies shall pay unto my forementioned children the abovesaid fifty pounds in Lawfull money of New York in a twelve months time or a year time after the Decease of my Wife or a second marriage and further my Son France Van Sellea Junr. shall deliver a Cow to Marya Salmons my Wifes Daughter in a year after my Wife Isabella Decease or second marriage and I do hereby utterly disallow revoke and disannull all and every other former Testament Wills Legacies and Executors by me in any ways before this Time named Will and bequeathed Ratifying and Confirming this and no other to be my last Will and Testament In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand & Seal the day and year before written.

France Abramse (his mark) Van Sellea (SS)
Signed Sealed Published Pronounced & Declared by the said France Abramse Van Sellea Senr. as his last Will and Testamt. in the presence of us the Subscribers (Viz. this my Will Contains two sheets, Johannes Remsen, Arie Koning, Johannes De Gran.

P.S.  Mr. Howard Swain's post from 2005 sums up the connection of the Van Salee family quite accurately.

1New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, Vol. 121, No. 2, Apr. 1990, "Frans Abramse Van Salee and Descendants- Colonial Black Family in NY and NJ", pgs. 65-71.

2Record of Wills, 1665-1916; Index to Wills, 1662-1923, Vol. 13 1736-1741, Film #874522, New York Surrogate's Court, filmed by The Genealogical Society of Utah, 1971.