Friday, August 8, 2014

GFR Update: Cousin Connection Just Keeps Getting Closer

I've been posting, now and then, about the Global Family Reunion and my connection to AJ Jacobs. My last post was back in May, when I posted Update: Shorter Connection to A.J. Jacobs and the Global Family Reunion. In that post, I shared the news that WikiTree's Connection to AJ tool had determined that there are 31 steps (aka, degrees of separation) between us.

Well, the path just keeps getting shorter, as more and more work is done on the global family trees at and WikiTree. Yesterday, I added the following section to my biography on WikiTree:
According to WikiTree, I am 28 steps away from AJ. Here's the path, as reported by WikiTree's Connection to AJ tool:
AJ Jacobs and Pamela Lloyd have 28 degrees of separation:

AJ Jacobs -> Ellen Kheel (his mother) -> Jane Kheel (her sister) -> John Stanley (her husband) -> Everett Stanley (his father) -> Grace Garrett (his mother) -> Sophia Thompson (her mother) -> Greenbury Thompson (her father) -> Chloe Redman (his mother) -> Nancy Redman (her sister) -> Lloyd Benton Prather (her husband) -> Basil Prather (his father) -> Aaron Prather (his father) -> Martha Sprigg (his mother) -> Sarah Sprigg (her sister) -> Katherine Graves (her mother) -> Thomas Graves (her brother) -> Thomas Graves (his son) -> Robert Graves (his son) -> James Graves (his son) -> William Graves (his son) -> Middleton Graves (his son) -> Matilda Herrington (his wife) -> Isaac Herrington (her father) -> John A Herrington (his brother) -> Isaac Newton Herrington (his son) -> Inez Minerva Herrington (his daughter) -> Winston Lloyd (her son) -> Pamela Lloyd (his daughter)

According to, I am only 23 steps away from AJ (just count the arrows in the following path). Here's the path, based on Geni's calculations:

Arnold Stephen Jacobs, Jr. is Pamela D Lloyd's first cousin 6 times removed's wife's uncle's wife's fifth great nephew's ex-wife's nephew!

Pamela D Lloyd (Me) -> Winston Dale Lloyd (my father) -> Elmer Bruce Lloyd (his father) -> Samuel Hughes Lloyd (his father) -> Ellen Hughes (his mother) -> Joel Hughes (her father) -> Eleanor Lee (his mother) -> Eleanor Ellis (her mother) -> Mordecai Ellis, Sr. (her brother) -> Nehemiah Ellis (his son) -> Sarah Thornburgh (his wife) -> Benjamin Eli Thornburgh (her father) -> Thomas Thornburgh (his brother) -> Martha Stanley (his wife) -> Micajah Stanley (her brother) -> Mahlon Stanley (his son) -> John Stanley (his son) -> Wyatt Stanley (his son) -> John Richard Stanley (his son) -> Everett Edward Stanley (his son) -> <private> Stanley (his son) -> <private> Kheel (his ex-wife) -> Ellen Jacobs (her sister) -> Arnold Stephen Jacobs, Jr. (her son)

You'll have noticed that the two connection finders start from different directions. WikiTree's starts with AJ and works it's way to me, while Geni's starts with me and works it's way to AJ. One thing I find interesting is that one path goes through my mother's father, and the the other through his mother.

Almost all my connections to random people (that is, people with any fame or notoriety) are through my father. I simply haven't got enough information about my mother's family.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

At the June 2014 Meeting of the Pima County Genealogy Society

Today, I attended a meeting of the Pima County Genealogy Society (PCGS). The usual meeting place is in a room in the Medical College at UMC, and I learned recently that there is often an informal gathering in the UMC hospital cafeteria. I started by showing up for that, which was fun.

Typically, there are two topics for each meeting, and today's was no exception. The first topic was "Death Customs: Mourning and Morbid Mementos," presented by PCGS President Amy Ulman. The second was a presentation by PCGS Secretary Leslie Carney, on "Family & Taxes, Oh My!"

"Death Customs: Mourning and Morbid Mementos"

Since I read a lot and a moderate slice of my reading has involved historical contexts, I've been familiar with some aspects of mourning customs, such as keeping a lock of hair (which many consider a morbid memento), sometimes braided, as a keepsake. Plus, as an Etsy seller who deals in vintage postcards, I've become much more familiar with mourning rings and other jewelry, especially from the Victorian era, when the interest in such things was super-charged by Queen Victoria's long-term mourning following the death of her beloved husband, Prince Albert.

Queen Victoria also engaged in and popularized a related morbid memento practice by wearing jewelry made from the baby teeth of her children. This practice was also associated with mourning, and many people had jewelry made from a tooth or teeth of their dead children and other loved ones.

The tradition of morbid mementos and mourning jewelry, which Amy Ulman told us extends back at least as far as the 1500s, is one which continues today. It's now possible to have an artificial diamond made from the ashes of a loved one, even a pet, and to have this set into a ring or other piece of jewelry.

Note Amy didn't tell us this, but I don't assume that all jewelry made from hair or teeth is mourning jewelry. While much of it is and I was unable to find anything about this online, if one credits romance, fantasy, and historical novelists with doing their research (something that can't always be assumed, but which is true for many), such pieces were often made as keepsakes even while someone was still alive. For example, when lovers had to part for a time, one or both might share a lock of hair, sometimes elaborately braided, as a remembrance and a promise that they would be together again. In such stories, the braiding is generally credited as having been performed by a young woman on her own hair, so that her efforts contributed to the meaning of the gift.

Still curious about mourning jewelry? Here's some online reading on the subject:

"Family & Taxes, Oh My!"

I'll admit it. I haven't worked much with tax records. I suspect that's because tax season is, well, ... let's just say it's not my favorite time of year.

But, after Leslie's excellent session on tax records, they may just become my new favorite type of record.

Tax Records Start Early

Tax records in the United States, she told us, pre-date census records. In fact, they date back to 1646 in some parts of the country.

Tax Records Can Help You Estimate Date of Birth

Also, surprisingly, they can be used, fairly accurately, to estimate date of birth, because historically (sorry, I didn't catch an exact time and place) some kinds of taxes were applied to every man age 21 and up, and since lying to the tax collector about your age was a punishable offense, while fudging a bit on the census carried no penalty, you can pretty much figure out how old a guy was by when he started paying taxes.

Tax Records Provide Evidence of Changes in Circumstances

Tax records were compiled on a regular basis. While this was often annual, some types of taxes were collected every 6 months, or even every month. So, if your ancestor fell on hard times, or a sudden increase in business, the tax records will show a timely response. Plus, if your ancestor moved, tax records may help you pin point just when that happened.

Tax Records Help Document Lifestyle

Want to get a better picture of what kind of life your ancestors lived? Property tax records included an inventory of taxable items, which included some items that seem rather surprising today. For example, in some times and places, fireplaces, clocks, or glass windows might have been taxed.

Tax Records Identify Occupation and Business Ownership

It makes sense that business owners would face business taxes, but some kinds of professions also had special taxes.

There was a lot more, but it's late and I'm tired. So, I'm going to finish up by sharing something completely unrelated to the meeting. By way of a completely non-genealogical post, I stumbled across this cool video explaining cousin relationships. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Charles V. Rote, Lancaster, Pennsylvania

At this time, I do not know what connection, if any, Charles V. Rote of Lancaster, Pennsylvania had to my family. However, as there were a number of Rotes living in the Lancaster, Pennsylvania area, many of them descendants of Alpheus Rote, and possibly of his siblings, it seems quite possible that he was a relative.

Regardless of the specifics of his connection, in honor of my relatives, and those of my husband, who worked for the railroads, especially those who worked as brakemen, I am sharing this patent listing for a better brake.

On page 674 of Official Gazette of the United States Patent Office, Volume 160, available as a free book on Google Books, is an entry for a patent on a railway car brake, filed with the United States Patent Office on July 25, 1910. The patent was filed by Charles V. Rote, with assignor Maggie P. Holman, both of Lancaster, Pennsylvania:
Image 1: Left Column of entry for 975,893 CAR-BRAKE.
Image 2: Right Column of entry for 975,893 CAR-BRAKE.

Transcript of text from above images:
975,893 CAR-BRAKE. Charles V. Rote, Lancaster, Pa., assignor to Maggie P. Holman, Lancaster, Pa. Filed July 25, 1910. Serial No. 573,656.
1. In a car brake the combination of a track-brake suspended above and adapted to be lowered upon the rail, a brake-applying device and a take-up device, both movable with the track brake whereby they maintain a relation at each application of the brake, and means for locking said take-up device in a substantially fixed position when the track-brake is on the rail, said brake applying device exerting pressure upon the track-brake and having its reaction taken by said take-up device.
2. In a car-brake, the combination of a track-brake supported above and adapted to be lowered to the rail, a wear-compensator or take-up device movable with the track-brace to maintain a constant relation thereto, means for locking said take-up device in a substantially fixed position when the track-brake is on the rail, and a brake-lever mounted upon the track-brake and having a projection taking under said take-up device, said brake-lever being operable to bear down upon the track-brake.
3. In a car-brake, the combination of a track-brake supported above and adapted to be lowered to the rail, a wear-compensator or take up device movable with said track-brake, means for locking said take-up device in lowered position, and a leg-formed brake-lever supported upon the track-brake and having a foot-portion or toe adapted to engage under said take-up device, said brake-lever being operable so that its heel portion bears the track-brake.
4. In a car-brake, the combination of a track-brake, and brake-actuating mechanism including a pressure applying device and a wear-compensator, said pressure-applying device bearing upon the track-brake and having opposed pressure taken by said wear-compensator, the latter being automatically adjustable in proportion to the increased distance the brake-shoe has to travel to the rail as it wears away.
5. In a car-brake, the combination of a track-brake and a brake-actuating mechanism including a pressure-applying device and a wear-compensator, said pressure-applying device bearing upon the track-brake and under said wear-compensator, the latter being automatically adjustable in proportion to the increased distance the brake-shoe has to descend as it wears away.
[Claims 6 to 39 not printed in the Gazette]
On page 105 of The Railway Review, Volume 62, available as a free book on Google Books, is a list of patents on railway devices, issued by the United States Patent Office on December 18, 1917. Among them is a mention of a patent submitted by Charles V. Rote:

Brake shoe mechanism, 1,250,513 to 1,250,515 inclusive — Charles V. Rote, Lancaster, Pa., assignor to C.V. Rote Brake Shoe Co., Lancaster, Pa.
These two entries provide evidence that Charles V. Rote was living in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in the years 1910 and 1917, that he was an inventor, that he was associated with one Maggie P. Holman, and that he owned or was associated with a company called C.V. Rote Brake Shoe Co. located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 1917.

If Charles V. Rote is your relative, or if you have any more information about him or his family, I'd love to hear from you. Please, feel free to comment or send me an email.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Elmer Bruce Lloyd, ACMM, US Navy (1886-1948)

Over on WikiTree, I've been working on biographies on my family tree. One of these is my paternal grandfather's biography, which is almost complete. Since he was a veteran of two world wars, I thought Memorial Day would be an appropriate time to share, even though I've still got several source citations to complete.

Elmer Bruce Lloyd, looking jaunty in his leather jacket, as he rests his arm against one of the propeller planes he worked on. (Scan of photo, original in RLM's collection.)
Lloyd, Elmer Bruce, WWI Draft Registration Card (FamilySearch)
Elmer Bruce Lloyd was born 2 May 1886 in Michigan. (Most likely, Sault Sainte Marie, Chippewa, Michigan. Lloyd-391 00:23, 17 May 2014 (EDT)) He was the forth child and second son of Samuel Hughes Lloyd and Jane Ellen Higgins. He died 19 January 1948.
His son Winston wrote about his early education[1]: "I thought he had finished the eighth grade but Bruce says Father told him it was the third grade and I believe him. (Per the 1940 US Census, Elmer B. Lloyd had completed 8th grade. Lloyd-391 15:56, 19 May 2014 (EDT)) The story goes...

To read the rest of the biography and see more photos, please visit my grandfather's profile on WikiTree. I've also created military pages for him on Ancestry, and at Fold3, where you can view additional sources and photographs that have not yet been added to his biography.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Update: Shorter Connection to A.J. Jacobs and the Global Family Reunion

Earlier this month I posted about my relationship to A.J. Jacobs, who came up with the idea of a Global Family Reunion (GFR) to include everyone to whom he is related.

The first connection route between us, calculated by Geni, showed 200 degrees of separation, with some Greek gods and goddesses along the way. Humorous, and A.J. and I were willing to accept it as showing a connection between us (mostly because we already recognize that as human beings, there is a connection, even if unknown), but we now have a much more satisfactory connection route, this time courtesy of WikiTree's Global Family Reunion project.

AJ Jacobs and Pamela Lloyd have 31 degrees of separation:

  1. Jacobs-2987.jpg
    AJ Jacobs

  2. Ellen Kheel
    (his mother)

  3. Theodore Kheel
    (her father)

  4. Julian Kheel
    (his brother)

  5. Victoria Kheel
    (his daughter)

  6. James Spader
    (her husband)

  7. Jean Fraser
    (his mother)

  8. Elizabeth Bowditch
    (her mother)

  9. Frederick Bowditch
    (her father)

  10. Sarah Higginson
    (his mother)

  11. James Higginson
    (her father)

  12. Stephen Higginson
    (his father)

  13. Stephen Higginson
    (his father)

  14. Elizabeth Higginson
    (his sister)

  15. Benjamin Prescott
    (her son)

  16. Rebecca Minot

    (his wife)

  17. James Minot

    (her father)

  18. Timothy Minott

    (his brother)

  19. Mary Brooks
    (his wife)

  20. Noah Brooks
    (her father)

  21. Hannah Mason
    (his mother)

  22. John Mason
    (her brother)

  23. Sarah Mason
    (his daughter)

  24. Thomas Harrington
    (her son)

  25. John Harrington
    (his son)

  26. Charles William Herrington
    (his son)

  27. William Herrington
    (his son)

  28. John A Herrington
    (his son)

  29. Isaac Newton Herrington
    (his son)
  30. Herrington-206.jpg
    Inez Minerva Herrington
    (his daughter)
  31. Lloyd-1430.jpg
    Winston Lloyd
    (her son)
  32. Lloyd-1428.jpg
    Pamela Lloyd
    (his daughter)
Note: The color changes indicate where the connection is through a spouse, rather than a direct relative.

For more about my efforts on WikiTree, visit my profile there. If you'd like to join me on WikiTree, you can do so for free, just by signing up. Or, if you prefer, ask me to invite you.

August 28, 1919: Soldiers to Receive Naturalization Free

Thanks to Dick Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter, I've just discovered the free digital archives of newspapers offered by Advantage Preservation. Although the offerings are not as comprehensive as most paid sites, it just so happens that one of the collections is for Erie County, specifically for the Digital Archives of the Huron Public Library. One of the newspapers in the collection is the Erie County Reporter, which was published in Huron, Ohio. My mother and her older sister were both born in Sandusky, a small town in Erie County, on the shores of Lake Michigan, so I thought that looking for something related to their childhood might be good for a trial run.

According to Larry Parker, who is the person who alerted Eastman of the archives, the search feature doesn't work well for the newspapers, so I decided to browse through an issue. I chose the August 28, 1919 edition because it was the first edition (the newspaper was a weekly) immediately following the birth of my mother's sister, Marion Virginia Rote, who was born the 24th of that month. So far, I haven't found an announcement of Marion's birth, but I did find a short article on page 5 that I feel fits the spirit of Memorial Day very well:

Here's the text the transcript (with one misspelled word corrected):
"Soldiers to Receive Naturalization Free"

No soldier of foreign birth who served in the U. S. armies during the world war need pay a fee for naturalization, according to instructions [received] by Clerk of Court Carroll. It is not necessary for him to obtain a declaration of intention, or certificate of arrival, if he presents his discharge.

What a wonderful and appropriate celebration of veterans, to ensure that all who served, regardless of their country of birth or the status of any immigration paperwork, had the opportunity to be citizens of the United States for which they had offered their lives and service, without question and without paying any monetary fees.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Cousin A.J.'s Relationship to Me

Okay, I'll admit it. I was just a bit disappointed when Geni's relationship calculator couldn't find a connection between me and A.J. Luckily, however, it worked from A.J.'s end, so I now know that he is (in a fuzzy, I don't claim there are any valid genealogical proofs, way) my 87th cousin 24 times removed.

The short path includes myself, my father, 197 relatives, A.J.'s mother, and A.J.

The long path… well, as A.J. put it, "it goes so far back that I'm not sure it's 100 percent trustworthy. I'm sure there's a cleaner and shorter route." A.J., I discover, has a knack for understatement. But, he's ready to call me cousin and I am now officially invited to the Global Family Reunion.

For your amusement—for this surely tickles me!—I present the long path below the cut:

Friday, May 2, 2014

Cousin A. J.'s Get-Together

A. J. Jacobs, "editor at large at Esquire magazine and author of four New York Times bestsellers" according to his website, is hosting what he hopes will be the world's biggest family reunion. News of his upcoming party has been shared widely, with notices on the WikiTree, Geni, and My Heritage blogs, and in the New York Times. Jacobs has also been a guest on Boston's NPR program On Point, for a discussion of "Crowdsourcing And The New Genealogy Boom."

I looked him up on Geni, to see what our connection is, but that was a bust. Geni just couldn't find the connection. Which is strange, because I know there is one, as explained in the email I just sent to A.J.:

Hi A.J.,
Although Geni tells me it can't find a path between us, I know there has to be one. Here's why:
You say that Albert Einstein is your second great-uncle’s third cousin’s wife’s first cousin. Well, Geni reports that he's my 6th great aunt's brother's wife's fourth great niece's husband's aunt's husband's great grandson. This is a distant, some might even say tenuous, connection, but it is a connection none-the-less.
I'm on Geni at I'm also on WikiTree at, but my ancestry is much less developed there, mostly because the entry process is much more time-consuming.
Your website requests that I submit the names of my four great grandparents. My paternal grandparents are Elmer Bruce Lloyd and Inez Minerva "Sissy" Herrington. My maternal grandparents are Galen Weiker Rote and Lulu P. Craun.
My Lloyd lineage goes directly back to Thomas Lloyd, my 8th great grandfather, who served for a time as lieutenant governor of provincial Pennsylvania under William Penn.
I hope I've provided you with sufficient information for you to discover our connection. I'm sure there is one, since I hold to the firm conviction that all humans on the planet are related and it's only through a lack of knowledge of the connections that we don't all call each other cousin.
Best wishes,
Pamela D. Lloyd

What I didn't tell A. J. is that I'm unlikely to attend in person. Not only would travel to the party pinch my pocketbook, but I really don't like big crowds. But, that's okay because I can attend virtually, via a Google Hangout.

For more information about the MegaReunion, as it's sometimes called, check out WikiTree's Global Family Reunion project and then join WikiTree's Global Family Reunion Project.

What about you? Ready to join the party?  Do you think you might be related to A. J.? Or to me? I'd love to hear from you.

Monday, January 6, 2014

WikiTree and Me

Since May 2013, I've been a member of WikiTree, a free genealogy site that uses the power of a wiki to help genealogists collaborate on a worldwide family tree.

Although I'm little more than a newbie on the site, I've been invited to participate on the WikiTree blog in two ways: an interview about my genealogy experience, and a blog post. You can find these posts at:

Meet Our Members ~ Pamela D. Lloyd, posted 6 January 2014

WikiTree has been tremendously welcoming and a great way to meet other genealogists. Plus, because it's run collaboratively by genealogists, for genealogists, it's free and promises to stay that way.