Thursday, September 23, 2021

Great News from FamilySearch


For many years I ordered microfilm from FamilySearch to view at my local Family History Center.  Now most of those records can be found online at  Whether it's 2:00 pm or 2:00 am, I can now search through those digitized records in my own home. What a blessing this milestone is for all genealogists!  

The following is from FamilySearch:

Effort makes billions of historical genealogy records freely available online

It is a milestone 83 years in the making. Today FamilySearch International announced the completion of a massive project to digitize its collection of millions of rolls of microfilm containing billions of family history records from around the world. The archive containing information on more than 11.5 billion individuals is now freely available to the public on

"We hope that all those who contributed to this milestone in the last 80 years feel a sense of humble accomplishment today," said Steve Rockwood, the CEO of FamilySearch International. “And we hope the millions of individuals who will discover, gather, and connect generation upon generation of their family members for years to come because of these efforts will have a deep sense of gratitude for the many unheralded contributors who made those discoveries possible."

“It's a game-changer for everybody in the world. So, instead of having to come to the library, people can start accessing these records from home,” said Becky Adamson, a research specialist at the FamilySearch Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Over 200 countries and principalities and more than 100 languages are represented in the digitized documents. Completion of the project makes it much easier for individuals to make more personal and family discoveries.

To explore FamilySearch’s free collections of indexed records and images, go to and search both “Records” and “Images”. The 
Images feature enables users to peruse digitized images from the microfilm collection and more. A free FamilySearch account will be required to access the service.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Grandma Johnson's 74th Birthday

 Okay, so this isn't a direct ancestor, but it was a great find!  I only wish I could find a newspaper article with this much information on a direct relative.  Not only does this give information about Grandma Johnson (nee Annie McKinney), but also about her husband's Civil War days.  Annie Johnson's husband was John Alfonzo Johnson, referred to as "J A" Johnson.  He was the first cousin of Great-Grandma Caldona Jane Box Leffel and that makes him my first cousin 3X removed.

The Hamblin Herald, Hamblin, Texas, 23 Nov 1923

Monday, August 30, 2021

The Proof is in the Probate

Several years ago I wrote a post about the death of Thomas M Box, the son of Thomas and Clarkey Box.  To view, click here.  My theory (that the Thomas Box who was murdered in southern Arizona in 1883 was the same Thomas Box who was in our family) was based on circumstantial evidence and a “gut feeling”.  Some questioned my conclusion and thought there should have had more records to back up my claim. 

I am happy to say that now there is proof that the two Thomas Boxes are one and the same.  That proof can be found in the Thomas M Box Probate.  The mother of Thomas Box, Clarkey Box, stated in an affidavit found in the probate that she was the mother of the Thomas M. Box who was murdered in Arizona in 1883.  In a separate affidavit, Josephine Box Cunningham stated that she was the sister of Thomas M. Box who was murdered near Stafford, Arizona.  The proof was in the probate😊.

Thomas M Box Probate

Thomas M Box was murdered 18 April 1883 in the Dos Cabezas Mountains of Cochise County, Arizona, but he had been living in Smithville, Graham County, Arizona.  Thomas disappeared after selling a herd of cattle and receiving cash.  Foul play was immediately suspected, especially after his horse was found.

The probate of Thomas M Box began in the Probate Court of Graham County in June 1883 and continued through September 1884.  As seen in the probate papers below, Peter Anderson was appointed special  administrator of the probate.  On the first page, Anderson gives an accounting of some of the personal property Thomas Box left in his estate.  Page 2 of the probate gives some interesting facts concerning men that may have been taking advantage of the murder of Thomas Box.

A transcription of the probate papers shown can be found just below the copies.  Click the copy of the page to view larger size.  

Thomas M Box Probate page 1

Thomas M Box Probate page 2

Thomas M Box Probate page 3

Transcription of Thomas M Box Probate, pages 1-3.

In the matter of the estate of Thomas Box deceased

The Probate Court of County Territory of Arizona.

The petition of Peter Andersen of said County of Graham and territory of Arizona respectfully shows that Thomas Box died on or about the 10th day of May 1883, in the County of Cochise and Territory of Arizona.  That said deceased at the time of death was a resident of the said County of Graham, Territory of Arizona, that said deceased left estate in said County of Graham, consisting of personal property.  That the value and character of said property is as follows to wit:

Five (5) horses, including one one year old colt  

Valued at 250.00             One mule                                                                    

                75.00             One wagon                                                                 

                60.00              One wagon                                                                 

               30.00              One set of harnesses                                                

                18.00              One plow                                                                    

                66.00             Two Cows & Calves

                15.00              One ______

                20.00              One Stove

Cash         750.00

Accounting in the aggregate to the sum of $1,284.00

That due search and inquiry have been

Page 2

to ascertain if said deceased left any will and testament, but none has been found and according to the best knowledge, and information and he left of your petitioner, said deceased died intestate.

That the next of kin and heirs at law of said deceased if any there be are unknown to your petitioner.  That said deceased left debts which are now due and unpaid to the amount of several hundred dollars, the exact amount of which your petitioner cannot now state.

That a short time after said deceased had gone from said county of his residence of Cochise County to collect a large sum of money, one J. M. Moody, Charles Lindquist, and Joseph Cluff went to said Cochise County to ascertain the fate of the said deceased and found the Saddle horse of deceased at or near the place where the payment of said money was to have been made and they were further informed by a written paper secretly put into their wagon after night that the said Thomas Box had been murdered, said paper giving the names of his murderers, That your petitioner is informed and believes that said paper is in the possession of said Moody.  That the above described property is now in the hands

Page 3

of the said J. M. Moody and that the same is being wasted and that said Moody has threatened to move said property out of Graham County in order to place the same beyond the jurisdiction of the Court.

Wherefore your petitioner prays that he appointed Special administrator of said estate according to Section 1605 of the compiled laws of Arizona.

Pete Anderson

Thomas M Box Heirs 

The following two documents found in the probate papers were affidavits signed by the heirs Thomas M Box: his mother, Clarkey Box, and his sister, Josephine Box Cunningham.  Both mother and sister were residents of Rio Arriba County, New Mexico at the time of the murder of Thomas Box and the probate of his estate.  And, both Clarkey and Josephine stated that they were the only living heirs of their son and brother Thomas M Box.  (See note at end of blog post)

Affidavit of mother, Clarkey Box

Affidavit of sister, Josephine Cunningham

Below are the transcriptions of the two above statements from mother, Clarkey Box, and sister, Josephine Cunningham.

Territory of New Mexico, County of Rio Arriba

Clarkey Box of Rio Arriba County New Mexico being duly sworn according to the law deposes and says that she is the Mother of Thomas M Box, deceased, who was murdered in Graham County A.T. and who was formerly a resident of Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, and that there is no other living heir except her daughter, Mrs. Josephine Cunningham of the County & Territory aforesaid and who is thirty four years of age.  And affiant further states upon her oath that she is seventy four years of age.

 Clarkey X (her mark) Box

Witnesses:  John Schwarten, H. Benning

Sworn to & subscribed before me this 2nd day of August 1883. W. G. Markley, Notary Public

Territory of New Mexico, County of Rio Arriba

Josephine Cunningham of Rio Arriba County New Mexico being duly sworn according to the law deposes and says that she is the sister of Thomas M. Box deceased, who was murdered near Safford in Graham County A.T. and was formerly a resident of Rio Arriba County New Mexico.  And affiant further states that she is the only living heir of said Thomas Box except for her mother Mrs. Clarkey Box also of this County and territory.  Affiant further states that she is thirty four years of age.

Josephine Cunningham

Sworn to & subscribed before me this 2nd day of August AD 1883. WG Markley, Notary Public 

Note:  Although Clarkey and Josephine both stated that in 1883 they were the only two living heirs of Thomas M Box, that is not accurate. There was another brother in the Box family, William Jefferson Box, who was still living.  Brother William had moved away to Louisiana and changed his name some years earlier.  It is not known if any of the family knew he was still alive or not.  

Other Posts about Thomas M Box 

Source: The probate packet in it's entirety can be found on in the Arizona, U.S., Wills and Probate Records, 1803-1995.  The complete probate packet has 96 pieces of paper.

Friday, November 6, 2020

1904 Rocky Ford Crossing Sunday School in Color

There is an earlier 2008 post on clmroots about the 1904 Rocky Ford Crossing Sunday School photo.  Click here to view the original black and white version of the photo along with details about who is in the photo.  In this post, I want to share the colorized version of the Rock Ford Crossing Sunday School photo. Rock Ford Crossing was in Grady County, Oklahoma.

Rocky Ford Crossing Sunday School 1904 (colorized)

Charles Leffel (our ancestor) is the 2nd on the far right side and his wife, Caldona, is next to him (2nd from the right).  Grandma Baldwin (Mabel Leffel) is the cute little girl in the 2 row back, right in the middle, and just behind all the boys sitting in the front row.  Mabel is standing to the left of the girl in the white dress.  She has a cute pouty face, pigtails with bows, and a dress made of the same material as her mother, Caldona.

Grandma Baldwin would have only been four years old when this photo was taken.  So it is the earliest photo we have of Mabel Leffel Baldwin.  Below is a close up of Mabel from the above photo.  Isn't she cute😊

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Old Man Taylor and the Bobcat

Recently while sorting through old photos, I ran across some very interesting snapshots that brought back some long forgotten memories.  One of the photos was labeled, “Old Man Taylor and bobcat." I vaguely remember his story.  Taylor lived in a shack along the banks of the Colorado River outside of Yuma, Arizona in the early 1950s.  Grandpa Elmer Martin, who spent a lot of time fishing along the river, got to know Taylor and would visit him every time he went down to the river.  More than likely they shared a drink or two from the bottle Elmer always carried with him.  LeRoy also knew Taylor, because family legend has it that LeRoy helped him tame his pet bobcat. Bobcat probably had a name but I have no clue what it was, so I think we should come up with a good name😼

Old Man Taylor, Cathy, Bobcat; LeRoy in right photo

LeRoy and Bobcat, Bobcat posing for camera

Elmer must have been the person taking the photos because there is a shadow of a photographer in the bottom right corners.  The photographer appears to be wearing a hat and Elmer always wore a fedora hat.

I have no idea who “Old Man Taylor” was.  Without a first name it is hard to find him in records. Since he was homeless and apparently somewhat transient, Taylor did not show up in records such as city directories or voting records. Also, found nothing promising after going through online Arizona Death Records and Yuma newspapers.  I also remember others living down along the river. In the hot summer months they would take the cool mud from along the banks of the river, make a plaster for their heads, and then wrap a cloth on top of the mud plaster.  It would keep them cool.

Bobcat (colorized)

Bobcat looks like he is smiling for the camera
 (cropped and colorized)

Photos of Elmer Fishing can be found here

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Balzar and Sybilla Leffel

 Balzar and Sybilla Leffel are Grandma Mabel Leffel Baldwin's 4th great-grandparents.  We descend through their son, John Leffel.  Line of descent: Balzar and Sybilla > John Leffel > Anthony Leffel > David Miller Leffel > Charles Edgar Leffel > Mabel Leffel.

Balzar Leffel was our first immigrant ancestor in the Leffel family.  Balzar Leffel, the son of Johann Philipp Loeffel and Anna Rosina, was born 3 Jan 1721 and baptized on 6 Jan 1721 in the Oggersheim Reformed Church in Ludwigshafen, Bayern, Germany. His name is recorded as Balthasar Loeffel on his baptismal record.

Baptism Record for Balthasar Loffel
6 Jan 1721
Reformed Church of Oggersheim, Ludwigshafen, Bayern, Germany

In 1750, Balzar immigrated to America.  Balzar arrived in America on a ship called "Two Brothers" and took an oath of allegiance on August 28, 1750 in Philadelphia.  Below is a print showing a view of Philadelphia as it may have looked in the 1700s.

Library of Congress print

Balzar was married to Sybilla, (maiden name unknown), who was born 1 Mar 1728.  Their marriage date and place is unknown. They most likely married in 1750, either in Germany before immigrating or in Pennsylvania once they arrived.  Their children were all born in Pennsylvania: Mary, John, Eve, Catherine, Jacob, Susannah, Phillip, and Sybilla.  
Balzar and Sybilla first lived in Exeter Township, Berks County.  Later in 1775, Balzar purchased three tracts of land in Amity Township on "Kings highway between Philadelphia and Reading Town".  He lived in Amity until his death on 11 Jul 1796.

Balzar's will was dated 25 Apr 1796 [Berks County, PA Will Book B, pp 444-445] and probated on 6 Sep 1796.

Abstract of Will for Balzar Leffel:

Transcription of above Abstract of Balzar Leffel Will:

BALZAR LEFFEL of Amity in his will dated 25 April 1796 and probated 6 August 1796. Left to his wife (not named) all real estate during life. Which at her death to be sold and divided into 7 equal shares as follows: To son John, to children of son Jacob deceased, to children of Mary, wife of John SCHRADER, to dau. Eve wife of Benjamin BOONE, to dau. Elisabeth wife of Philip MARQUERT, to dau. Sevella wife of John POTT, and to children of dau. Susanna wife of Henry REMLY. A special bequest to granddau. Susanna, dau. of Jacob deceased, £10. Exrs: Friends Nicholas JONES and John POTT (son-in-law). Witnesses: Jacob RHOADS and Jacob HERNER. 1796: Will Proved: 06 Aug 1796, Berks Co., PA

The following article about Balzar Leffel was published in volume 21 of "The American Genealogist" in April 1945.

Balthasar Leffel was born 2 February 1721, doubtless in the Palatinate, died 11 July 1796 in Amity township, Berks County, Pennsylvania, and was buried two days later. He arrived on the ship "Two Brothers," Thomas Arnot master, from Rotterdam and last from Cowes, and took the usual oaths at the courthouse in Philadelphia, Tuesday, 28 August 1750, in the presence of Thomas Lawrence, Esq., mayor. His name is written by someone other than himself, appears on the list of the male passengers of that vessel; sixteen years of age and older, as Balsazar (O) Loffler.  Since the dominant form of his surname is Leffel, used by himself and his wife in their wills, and by his sons and their descendants, that will be used exclusively in what follows. As his given name was usually recorded as Balzar, that form will be used hereafter. [One English-speaking tax assessor, however, on one occasion, confusing the German “B” with the English “P” actually entered his name as Paul!]

Balzar Leffel was taxed amount varying from nine pence to nine shillings in Exeter township, Berks County, from 1759 through 1770. By an indenture dated 13 November 1770 and recorded 3 December 1770, Benjamin and Samuel Boone conveyed to Balzar Leffel for a consideration of 10 shillings one messuage, one barn, two orchards, 100 acres of arable land, 26 acres of meadow land, and 37 ½ acres of woodland. Sometime between 1770 and 1775 Balzar Leffel removed to Amity township, Berks County, where he lived until his death. In 1775 John Sands, Jr., and Hannah (nee Trump) his wife, “of Amity” conveyed to “Balzar Leffel, of the same place, yeoman.” for £660 Pennsylvania money, title to three tracts. From 1775 to 1791 he was taxed in Amity on 109 acres; in 1794 on 136 acres, assessed at 58 shillings per acre, and on two cows, assessed at £3 each, the tax being 12 s. 1 d.; and in 1795 he was taxed 11s. 1d. On 128 acres and two cows.

On 28 May 1778 Balzar Leffel took the oath of allegiance in Berks County, in accordance with the Act of the General Assembly of Pennsylvania of 13 June 1777.  The family name of his wife Sybilla is not known, nor has the date of their marriage been ascertained. She was born 1 March 1728, died 20 July 1804, and was buried the following day, her funeral services being conducted by Rev. William Boos, pastor of the Reformed Church of Schwartwald. In 1784 she was a communicant member of the Amityville Lutheran Church of which Rev. Mr. Streit was pastor.

In addition to being godparents to certain of their grandchildren, as will be mentioned later, Balzar and Sybilla Leffel were sponsors at the baptism 25 April 1784 of Samuel Hoch, born 2 November 1783, son of Samuel and Magdalena Hoch; and of David Schrack [Schraich] 9 May 1784, born 1 March 1784, son of Elizabeth Schrack [Schraich].

Herndon, John Goodwin, PH. D., "Balzar Leffel (1721-1796)", THE AMERICAN GENEALOGIST, Demorest, GA: Volume 21, Number 4, April 1945.

Balzar Leffel is listed in the DAR Patriot Index, The National Society, Daughters of the American Revolution, Centennial ED,  Washington: 1990, page 1775. Lists Balzar Leffel born 2-2-1721 GR death7-11-1796 PA married Sybilla ---PS PA DAR Supplemental application #614206; Patriot Service: "Swore oath of fidelity" in Pennsylvania, Amity twp.; Berks County Oaths of Allegiance, Book D, Volume 1, pg 222.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

DNA Solved Another Family Mystery

Our family tree is filled with brick walls, dead ends, and unsolved mysteries.  There are several unsolved mysteries just in the Michael and Susannah West family - our third great-grandparents.  Recently one of the West family mysteries was solved with the help of DNA. 

The Michael and Susannah West family has been written about previously in this blog.  To read about the family click here Michael and Susannah were the parents of nine children: Mary Ann, John Wesley, Susan Emeline, Joseph Jackson, James Harvey, Rebecca Jane, Michael Perry, Elizabeth, and Louisa.  We descend through daughter Susan Emeline West Leffel.

Most of the children in the Michael West family have been researched by using traditional genealogical research methods and then substantiated with DNA.  That is all but the youngest daughter, Louisa, who has been a major mystery.  Louisa and her family completely disappeared during or right after the civil war - no records, headstones, nothing.  I have often wondered if Louisa along with her entire family died from disease/influenza, were killed by outlaws/Indians, or moved away to some unknown location???  

The Louisa West Thomas Family

Louisa West, the youngest child of Michael and Susannah West, was born about 1833 in Champaign County, Ohio.  She had eight older siblings. Louisa's mother died around 1845 while the family was still living in Ohio.  A few years later, when Louisa was about 15 years old, her father moved the family to Grayson County, Texas (1848).  Michael had received land through the Peter's Colony.  His land patent states that Michael West, a widower, came to Texas with two girls (Elizabeth and Louisa) and a boy (Michael Perry).  Louisa’s oldest brother John had previously moved to Texas.  

Shortly after arriving in Texas, Louisa met Jesse Thomas, a land-owner who had also obtained land in Grayson county through the Peters Colony.

Louisa and Jesse were married 14 July 1849 in Grayson County.  Their marriage record can found in Grayson County, Texas Marriage records, Vol A, page 43. 

Grayson County, Texas Marriage Record for
Jesse Thomas and Louisa West
19 July 1849

Jesse gave his occupation as a farmer when young couple was enumerated in the 1850 Federal Census.  

1850 Federal Census, Grayson County, Texas

Louisa's brother, Michael Perry West, mysteriously died in 1853, when he was only 26 years old.  Her father, Michael, died five years later in 1858. Michael specified in his will that his estate would be divided between his living children, prompting daughter Susan Leffel and family to move to Texas from Ohio.  To read Michael's will, click here.   

Louisa and Jesse Thomas were still living in Grayson County when enumerated for 1860 Federal Census.  By that time, three children were added to the Thomas family: Mary S. born about 1852, John E. born about 1856, and Rebecca E born about 1858.  Also living in the household is 13 year old Sarah Massey (relationship unknown).

1860 Federal Census, Grayson County, Texas

The 1860’s in Texas would prove to be harsh years for the West and Thomas families.  1861 was the beginning of political unrest for Texas as well as the whole country.  Texas would eventually secede from the Union and join the Confederacy.  Those in Texas who considered themselves citizens of the United States and were loyal to the Union, suffered the most during the Civil War in Texas. 

In 1861, Louisa's oldest brother John died, leaving behind a wife and daughter. Cause of his death is unknown.  During the next year 1862, two of Louisa's sisters lost their husbands during the "Great Hanging" in neighboring Cooke County, Texas.  Sister Susan's husband, David Miller Leffel, was hanged along with 40 other men for their Union sentiments by an extra-legal "Citizens Court".   Sister Elizabeth's husband, William Boyles, was wounded by Confederates and died from pneumonia while hiding out in the Timbers. Sister Rebecca's husband, John Haning, was conscripted into the Confederacy.  Texas had passed a conscription law requiring all men to fight for the Confederacy or be hanged.  

Was there division of loyalty even within the West Family?  Louisa's niece, Sarah Ann West, was married to Calvin Dale.  Dale's obituary referred to him as a "True Southern" and that "no man ever wore the gray more loyally."  Wonder if that is why Sarah divorced in 1862?  Two of Sarah’s uncles were killed by the confederates and yet her husband "wore the gray" loyally.  That could cause some family friction.

Louisa's husband, Jesse Thomas, was also conscripted into Confederate service in 1864.  A year later on 13 Feb 1865,  J.F. Thomas (4 in family) is listed on the Indigent family list for Grayson County, Texas.  The Texas Legislature had passed a resolution stating that the government pledged support and maintenance of "families, widows, and dependents of soldiers currently serving in State or Confederate forces, or of soldiers killed or disabled in service."  Not sure if the listing referred to Louisa and their three children while Jesse was still away fighting; or if Jesse was disabled/wounded and the indigent listing included him and three other family members with one of the family members being previously deceased??

The above mentioned Indigent Family List was the last record found for the Jesse and Louisa Thomas family.  After that, the family disappeared, vanished, faded into the unknown history hole.  They are not found in the 1870 Federal Census.  Jesse is not listed in the 1867 Voter Registration list for Grayson County - at least there is no Jesse Thomas or J.F. Thomas.

Much was unknown about Thomas Family: Did Jesse died while fighting for the confederacy?  Did Jesse come back wounded and die soon afterwards? Did Louisa die while Jesse was away fighting? What happened to all the children?  Where was this missing family??

DNA Solves Part of the Louisa West Thomas Family Mystery

Image my surprise when I recently noticed a DNA match on my ThruLine for Michael West from a descendant of Louisa West Thomas.  I was cautiously optimistic as I looked at the match information.  There have been plenty of matches for the other Michael West children, but never one for Louisa. After checking out the new Louisa descendant match, it appeared to be legitimate with documentation, research, and DNA.  The match is through Louisa's daughter Mary Susan Thomas.  

ThruLine for Michael West 
116 Matches
28 Oct 2010

The genealogical records for Mary Susan Thomas match up, although there is no record that specifically names her parents.  But, there are plenty of DNA shared matches who are descendants of Michael and Susannah West.  This new match also has a close family member with an unlinked tree who shares DNA with all of the other descendants of Michael and Susannah West. So we actually have two DNA matches from the Louisa West Thomas line - plus there may be many more matches that have no tree, incomplete tree, unlinked tree, or have private trees.

Grayson County, Texas Marriage Record
J. H. Jones and Mary S. Thomas
6 Feb 1876

Mary Susan Thomas, the daughter of Louisa West and Jesse Thomas, married in Grayson County, Texas on 6 Feb 1876 to John Henry Jones.  The Mary and John Jones family added two children, Oliver and Grace, by the time they were enumerated on the 1880 Federal Census for Grayson County.  Two more children were born in Texas, Frances Belle and Lillian.  The family was living in Arkansas by 1889 when son John was born.  Son, Paul Edwin, was also born in Arkansas in 1895. By 1898 the family was living in Kay County, Oklahoma when the youngest son, Harold was born. Son Charlie (born 1892) died in 1899 in Kildare, Kay, Oklahoma.  In the 1900 Federal Census, Mary and the children are still living in Kildare, Kay County, Oklahoma.  Mary is the head of household and states she is married, but husband John Henry is not living in the household. By 1910, the Jones family was together again and living in Mason, Yell, Arkansas. Mary Susan Thomas Jones died on the 8th of November 1910 in Birta, Yell, Arkansas.

As of yet, there is no additional information for Mary's parents, Louisa West and Jesse Thomas, or her two siblings, John E Thomas and Rebecca E. Thomas.  But, I am more than delighted to add Mary's information to the family tree🌳 

It's always nice to find a missing branch of the family tree😊😊


Tuesday, April 14, 2020

My Favorite Cowboy Colorized

 In 2008, I posted a story about my Grandpa Jess Baldwin.  The original post included photos of Grandpa with some of his horses.  Recently I have been having fun colorizing old black and white photos with MyHeritage In Color and I thought some of the family would like to see the colorized versions of Grandpa's photos from the 2008 post.
This first photo comparison shows the comparison between the old black/white photo and the colorized version.  I like the colorized version much better.  The little white emblem in the bottom left corner indicates that the photo has been colorized. 

To see the original black and white photos, click here.

Grandpa and Joker
Colorized Comparison

Grandpa and Angel

Grandpa and Amber
Grandpa bought the above horse (name unknown) and saddle when he lived in California.
In this last photo comparison, you can see that the colorizing tool is not always perfect and made his hand the same color as his jeans, but everything else seems good.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Methodist Camp Meeting

Both Catherine and Mathias Martin belonged to the Lutheran Church in their native Germany, but joined the Methodist Church after coming to America.  Catherine's obituary states that "she was converted to God under the labors of George Miller and ever since was a member of the Evangelical Association."  Their son John S Martin was also an active member of the Methodist Church.

John S. Martin, his family, and his mother Catherine "Kate" Martin would attend annual Methodist Camp meetings.  These yearly meetings were held at Tindall's Grove.  In the 1896 photo shown below, the Martin family is in front of the John Martin Cabin at the Methodist Camp Grounds.  Showing the original black and white photo on top and the colorized version below.

Back row standing: John S. Martin holding Wilber, ?not known?, Christina Weiss, Mary Martin, ?not known?, Ahart Martin, Christina Martin Wittick

Front row: Elizabeth Martin, Emma, Elmer, John, Catherine Martin (mother of John)

The following article from the Dispatch newspaper (Moline, Illinois) features the program for the 1903 Methodist Camp Meeting.  As noted in the news article, John Martin was on the executive committee.  The camp meeting would last for a week.  The daily program was the same throughout the week with different people preaching each day.
The Dispatch (Moline, Illinois)
8 Aug 1903

Related Posts:
Mathias and Catherine (Castner) Martin 
John and Elizabeth Martin Family 
German Immigrant Ancestors 
In Living Color

Monday, March 16, 2020

"Churches, Schools, and Theatres Are Closed"

After reading the above headlines to a news article, one would think they were reading from a newspaper published today about the present-day Coronavirus Covid-19 Pandemic we are experiencing.   Our churches, schools, theaters, restaurants, sporting events, etc. are closed.  The public is being warned to practice hand washing,  "social distancing", and self-isolation to stop the spread of the virus.  

But, the above news article is not from present day.  The news article is actually from an Oklahoma newspaper written over a 100 years ago during the Spanish Flu Pandemic.  The Spanish Flu is said to have killed between 50 and 80 million people worldwide.

1918  Spanish Flu Commentary

American-Democrat (Anadarko, Oklahoma)
10 Oct 1918
The above newspaper was published in Anadarko, the county seat for Caddo County, Oklahoma.  In October 1918, we had family members living in two adjacent counties: the Leffel family lived in Grady County and the Baldwins lived in Kiowa County. The Spanish Flu would have caused great  concern to our family members and most likely caused the death of our great-grandfather, Charles Leffel.

On June 4, 1919 in Chickasha, Grady County, Oklahoma, our 68 year old Great-Grandpa Charles E Leffel died of influenza.  Since the Spanish Flu was still claiming many lives in the area during 1919, it's most likely that the influenza Charles died of was the Spanish Flu.

The above newspaper article in it's entirety can be found on, if you have an account click here  

Related Links:
Charles E Leffel 

Wikipedia article about the Spanish Flu   

Saturday, March 7, 2020

1902 McNeil Reunion in Color

Last June I posted an article about the 1902 McNeil Reunion that took place in Smith County, Kansas.  I was excited when I found the original newspaper clipping (that matched the old one in our family bible) of the reunion in the Smith County Pioneer newspaper.  And, even more excited to find some  photos (posted by a McNeil cousin) that were taken the day of the reunion.  The original photos were black and white or sepia and seemed to have aged with time.

I love-love-love the new colorizing tool at MyHeritage and the 1902 McNeil reunion photos were some of the first old photos I wanted to colorize.   As you can see from comparing the the original and the colorized versions of the reunion photos, the colorized versions are much improved.

This first photo is of all the family members who attended the 1902 reunion.  According to the newspaper article of the McNeil Reunion, the photograph was taken on the front porch of the Nate McNeil home in the afternoon by Photographer Stone.  Grandma McNeil (Sarah Margaret Cole McNeil) is right in the center of the photo, resting her head back on the white pillow.

Original Photo of the McNeil Reunion 1902

Colorized Photo of McNeil Reunion 1902
(Back row: Martin M. Hatfield, Nancy McNeil Hatfield, Thomas C. McNeil, Mary "Stella" Reed Hoyt, George Hoyt, Addie Ball, Noah Ball, Alma Peterson Hatfield, Amos Reed, Charles E. Hatfield. Middle row: Minnie Newbrey McNeil, James "Harmon" McNeil, Verna McNeil, Susie Hoyt McNeil, Nathan H McNeil, Grandma McNeil (Sarah Cole McNeil), Levi Ball, Susan McNeil Ball, Albert Reed, Roxie Ellen McNeil Reed. Children: Clinton Hatfield, Lenard McNeil, Juanita Higby, Nellie McNeil Miller, Lester McNeil, Blanche Hatfield, Blanche McNeil Miller, Alfred Hatfield.)

The MyHeritage colorizing tool seems to help restore old faded photos.  The photo below was taken at the same time as the photo above.  It is a photograph of Grandma Sarah Margaret Cole McNeil with her six children. Her sons are standing in the back top row (L-R): Harmon McNeil, Nathan McNeil, and Thomas McNeil.  Sarah and daughters are sitting in the front row (L-R): Nancy McNeil Hatfield, Grandma Sarah Cole McNeil, Susannah McNeil Ball, and Roxie Ellen McNeil Reed.

Grandma McNeil and children
Original photo

Grandma McNeil and children
Colorized version
As you can see from the the comparison, the colorized version is clearer and more detailed than the original.  There is still some fading at the top of the photo but overall the quality of colorized photo is much improved.  Grandma McNeil is especially detailed as you can see from the below thumbnail of Grandma McNeil.
Sarah M Cole McNeil

Related Posts:
1902 McNeil Reunion
Introducing MyHeritage In Color  
MyHeritage in Color Goes Viral 

Thursday, March 5, 2020

In Living Color

Recently added a new feature to colorize black and white photos. The colorizing tool from DeOldify is called "MyHeritage in Color".  I started by colorizing a few black and white photos I had previously added to my family tree on MyHeritage.

When I first saw a colorized photo of my Grandpa, I was stunned and had tears in my eyes.  My Grandpa Baldwin died almost 50 years ago and my memories of him had turned black and white just like the photos.  But, then after colorizing the photo he was right before me in living color!

Mabel and Jess Baldwin
Colorized comparison
Photos that have been colorized will have a small white icon in the bottom left corner of the colorized photo.  Some photos turned out better than others -- the technology for colorizing is not perfect.  But the colorized photos for the most part are accurate, easy (just click the colorizing button), and fast (a few seconds).  Downloading is available for the original photo, colorized version, or comparison (as I have used here.)  If there was grass or trees in the original photo, the color seems to pop, as seen in the photo below.
Jess Baldwin
Colorized comparison

Related Posts:
Introducing MyHeritage In Color  
MyHeritage in Color Goes Viral  
My Favorite Cowboy 

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Top Posts of the Decade

The clmroots blog was created to share my family history research, photos, and stories.  Hopefully the stories and information found on this blog has also been of benefit to others interested in their family history and searching for their roots.

Here is a list of clmroots top 20 most popular posts. 
20. Jesse Stewart - Baptist Preacher 

Our Alamo Defender, Jonathan Lindley, has been the most popular post almost from the time it was posted.  It is always near the top of the Popular Posts list.  

When the History Channel ran their three-part miniseries on the Hatfields & McCoys in 2012, my Hatfield family posts shot to the top of the Popular Posts list.  And NO, I have not made a connection between our family and the feuding Hatfields.