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My Journal and my Genealogy Obsession

Today I was faced with the choice of starting a genealogy blog on Blogger with the rest of my blogs are continuing this journal/blog. I have decided to continue this journal/blog.

First, even though I haven\'t been writing here doesn\'t mean I haven\'t been working on several trees, some family trees and some non-family trees. I was lucky enough to have gotten the entire summer off to recuperate from a hip replacement which meant I spend a lot of time in front of my computer. There are a lot of things I do when I am engaging in my favorite obsession and while some of them may not seem connected at all to research, in my strange old head they do connect.

One of the things I do is volunteer work, both online and offline. My online volunteer work consists of indexing historical documents for the Family Search site (), run by the Latter Day Saints. This is not my religion but I admire them for their work in helping people find their long lost ancestors. Their spiritual belief is that everyone will be reunited one day with all their ancestors, therefore finding them and knowing them is a good thing to do. What happens while I am indexing names of folks I have not connection to at all, I get ideas of what to search for to try and break down brick walls. My tip here is - always keep a paper and pen nearby so you can jot down any ideas you come up with while you are on the computer. My job actually is an overnight job where I work along all night with lots of think time. I have been known to write down any number of thoughts that cross my mind about my ancestors during the night.

My other volunteer endeavor is that of taking volunteer photos of ancestors for folks who live out of the area which I am now able to do. I haven\'t been able to do much cemetery work up until the last month or so but it does feel wonderful to be back walking the cemeteries. This I do through Find a Grave () and have found absolute joy in walking through the cemeteries I visit and communing with those who have passed. I do not always find who I am looking for but I always find those who want to be found and remembered. My most recent cemetery project has been to photo any and all children I might find in my wanderings. I do this because it is so easy for them to be lost to time simply because they were on this earth for so short a time, \'Planted on earth to bloom in heaven.\' Author Unknown.

Virginia (Jacobson) Willhite 1877-1944

About this time last year I had the opportunity to visit Humboldt, Iowa where I believed Virginia Jacobson might be buried. I did not find her there. With the publication and indexing of the 1940 Federal Census, I have found a tiny little bit of information that for now is another brick wall. In 1940, Virginia had a granddaughter named Monaca (sic) Jacobson living with her and my great grandfather. Monaca was 9 years old at the time and is listed as being born in Michigan. Not much information but it is something.

Guess this is another brick wall that will have to rest for a while. Seems that just when you least expect it, a family member pops up with information so maybe that will be the case here.

Jonathan Jackson Hall 1816-1884

Still routinely running searches on this gentleman who is my 3rd great grandfather. What I know is that his name is definitely Jonathan J. Hall and most likely Jonathan Jackson Hall as I have found census records where he actually used Jackson as a first name and another that listed him as Jonathan Jackson Hall Sr. The birth date and death date I have are from his gravestone and may or may not be entirely correct. I suspect the death date is not correct as I have not found documentation of his death in any of the neighboring counties where he lived and is buried. Neither have I found any documentation of his birth. I have found documentation of his marriage to Rachel VanZant on 27 Aug 1835 in Knox County, Ohio.

One day, after going over census records of another family member and noting that families, especially farmers, tended to stay together I took a close look at the earliest census record I have for Jonathan (Federal Census for 1840). I started checking our the neighbors on the census and I might have gotten a teeny tiny niche in this brick wall. After doing some research on on a Richard Hall and a Samuel Hall who were neighbors to Jonathan, I found a gentleman by the name of Lorenzo Garton who ha Richard Hall living with him in 1850. Lorenzo's wife was Hannah Hall and I am thinking that Richard is her father since there is about a 25 year age difference.

This all has me wondering if Richard might have been a grandfather to Jonathan. This would make Hannah (Hall) Garton his aunt and Lorenzo Garton his uncle. My rationale for thinking this way is that Jonathan's children are named: Hannah Adeline Hall; Jonathan Jackson Hall; Lorenzo Garton Hall; and Ida Leilla Hall.

This all clicked after I exchanged email with a distant cousin who married into the family and had researched the way the English generally named their children. Apparently the English naming tradition was to name your children after your aunts and uncles. Unfortunately, I have not been able to connect this family with Jonathan yet. You can bet I will be working on that and hoping to find more bits and pieces as I do.

Virginia (Jacobson) Willhite (1877-1944)

Dear Journal:

Thanksgiving is upon us and this is my first journal entry. Although I have to work for the actual holiday, we will be visiting in Humboldt, Iowa. I am hoping to have some time to search for Grandma Virginia's grave site while we are down there. I have no idea if she is buried there or not. Since I will be there, I would like to walk through a few cemeteries and see if she is buried there. I know my Great Grandpa is buried in New Ulm, Minnesota with his first wife, Mary Kaltrider. His son, Daniel, is also buried there with his two wives but I have never seen a marker for a Virginia in the area. I must admit I have never specifically looked for one either so perhaps a trip to New Ulm is called for here.

Mystery women are who I tend to gravitate toward during my genealogical research. Grandma Virginia was my Great Grandfather's second wife. I know that Great Grandpa Willhite ran a "cabin court" and gas station in Humboldt, Iowa which he eventually handed down to his oldest son, Daniel. Recently I found a "Birthday Book" that belonged to my mother and Grandma Virginia was listed in the book as "Grandma Virginia". My mother would have been 11 years old when Grandma Virginia died so I have to assume that she did know her. My aunt on that side also remembers travelling to Humboldt to see "Uncle Dan" and she did know that the "cabin court" and gas station once belonged to Great Grandpa Willhite.

That, in a nutshell, is all I know of Grandma Virginia. I was lucky enough to cross paths with one of Uncle Dan's granddaughters who had pictures of Grandma Virginia with Great Grandpa Willhite. Many thanks for that since I really love looking at old photos.

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