Asa BURRELL Probate

Asa Burrell lived and died in Brandon, Rutland County, Vermont. His estate was probated in April of 1872. He was married to Abigail Burrell, who survived him.

In the process of finding out information about the Cheneys, I copied his probate records and have them linked here:

asa burrell estate pt 1

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WH Neling letter home

This letter retains the spelling of the original.

Grand [E]core Louisiana

April the 17 [1864]

Dear Mother

I recived a letter from you the other day dated the 11. I was glad to here from you. It was the first I had since I left vixburg. I wrote to you when we ware at Elexander and told you about taking that fort. It was a prity hot plase for a while but we have seen hoter plases since we came up the River 100 miles and stopt. Banks’ forses went on to Shrevport [Shreveport] but they got stopt before they got there. On Friday they had a fight. The Rebs drove him back 15 mil—captured 180 teams and 3 peaces of artilery and took nearley all of the 13 Corp, we got orders on Thursday to come and reinforse him but we did not get those till Friday night. Saturday morning Gen. Smith led us in to the front. Banks wonted to retreate but Smith wold not do it. He sad he wold fight them with his one [own hand?] before he wold retreat. We laid thare in line of battle all day untill 4 o’clock in the afternoon, then the Roll {Boll? Ball?] opend. The Cavelrey maid a charge on us and they ware repulsed. They tried it three times and we drove them back. Them the infentrey came up, they opend on us prity thick but we gave them as good as they sent. At last they drove our rite and left back and then they crossed fire on us. We seen that is we did not soon get out of that plase we wold all soon be prisners, so we comenced to fall back. Then they pord it into us. We fel back to the other line and thare we turned the cuses. The fight lasted 2 hours. We took 1500 prisners and 22 peaces of artilery back from them. Our Reg lost 91 men killed and wonded. Our Company lost 10 men wonded and nun killed. You were not aquanted with eney of them. We had fall back to the River for rashens. We are laying here now wating for orders. We don’t know wheather we will go up or down the river-we expect to go down.

I will have to stop for this time. Write soon and direct to Cairo. Give my love to all hands.

I will write you a longer letter the next time. I have not got time today.

From your boy WH Nelings

Posted in 1860s, Civil War, Iowa, Nelings/Neilings/Neelings | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Found film–looking for owners

My parents came into possession of a number of 8mm films reels from the 1950s-1960s. They got them at a second-hand store near Tucson Arizona.

I would love for the films to find their family. I believe the family was living in Iowa, although they traveled to New York, Yellowstone, Black Hills, Mt Rushmore, Virginia, Lake Okoboji, and other places.

Below is a photo of one of the reels. If you know who this might belong to, or where I can post to try and reunite the film and family, please post a comment.

Reel 2: Dec 53- April 54. Shelly’s Party, Young Mothers, Lions Kids Party, Alice’s Shower, Women’s Club Fashion Show.


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Writing about mental health issues

DA Neeling hospital The_Algona_Upper_Des_Moines_Wed__May_25__1892_

Current statistics about mental illness in America estimate “1 in 5 adults in the U.S.—43.8 million, or 18.5%—experiences mental illness in a given year.” – See more at:

Doing genealogy research means that one uncovers facts about behavior that can be difficult to talk about, much less write about. One such example is Daniel Austin Neelings, the cousin of Daniel T Nelings (the Nelings had three common spellings of their name: Neilings, Nelings, and Neelings).

Daniel A Neelings fought in the Civil War with the 27th Iowa. While fighting in the south he suffered heat stroke which left him with debilitating headaches for the rest of his life. Another consequence was repeated, involuntary commitments to the Iowa State Hospital in Independence.

At the end of the 19th century, especially with veterans from the Civil War, mental illness existed, but the treatment was different than in the 20th century. As Grob writes, individuals with a mental illness were generally cared for at home and only the most serious cases were hospitalized. The hospitalizations were generally short, patients were admitted and then released after a short stay ( Daniel A’s illness fits this pattern. According to the newspapers, Daniel A. was admitted in 1892, after a daughter died, and 1894, for “religious notions” following a revival meeting.

Mental illness, along with disease, affairs, and bankruptcies, all happened to our ancestors. They are part of our family history as much as ruling nations, starting nations and founding towns. I believe it is important to be honest about our family history, even when the stories may be uncomfortable.

da neelings asylum The_Algona_Upper_Des_Moines_Wed__Feb_28__1894_

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The challenge of incorrect information

frank smith daisy perry marriage

Frequently, government information is incorrect. Census records will have relationships wrong, names misspelled, places of origin incorrect. This makes sense, given that interviewers may not have understood the person answering the questions and those answering the questions may not have wanted to give certain information. Soundex is a big help in these cases.

Other times it is the family themselves that is reporting incorrect information. For example, the wedding license of Frank H. Smith and Daisy L. Perry. Daisy was the youngest daughter of James Samuel Perry, with his third wife Emma Jane [Elwell]. The license, granted in Pasadena, California on May 14, 1917, states that Daisy’s father was E.A. Perry, born in New York.

James Samuel Perry, my great-great-great grandfather and Daisy’s father, went by many names: J.S. Perry, Samuel Perry, James Perry to name a few. E.A. Perry was not one of them. And, according to the family bible, and the majority of records, James was from Vermont, not New York. James most likely lived in New York, in Warren County, immediately after leaving Vermont. This was where his first family was left behind.

Was this error a result of transcribing data from the original license into the county records book? Was Daisy confused about where her dad might have been from? Was James honest about his past?

No matter what, E.A. Perry provides another option for searches.

Names in document: Frank Durham (Baptist Minister), Maud O. Durham, Frank H. Smith, Daisy L Perry, J.W. Smith, S.E. Thomas, Emma Jane Elwell.



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Helmbolt and Keith Wedding

The courtship and wedding of Thomas Helmbolt and Eugene Keith was as exciting, and mysterious, as their life in Canada.As reported by the Twin Falls News in 1907:

Miss Eu Gene K. Keith of Payette and Thomas G. Helmbolt of Salubria, Idaho, were married at the Hotel Perrine at midnight last Friday…under somewhat romantic circumstances.”

Thomas tried to get a wedding license that afternoon. Since he was a stranger to Twin Falls, Thomas was not aware that the county clerk had left for his farm. Folks in Twin Falls heard about the desire of the couple to be married that day, and everyone from the Assessor to the Mayor offered to marry them (on a tax receipt, water contract or poll tax receipt and not a marriage license, however). At long last the Deputy Clerk G.H. Smith was spurred from his bed and issued the license. Even though the hour was late, so many from the town had heard about the situation that the midnight wedding was well-attended. Two local men acted as flower girl and maid in waiting, and the boys drank long for the health of the bride and groom.

Helmbolt Keith wedding news


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Ancestry and FamilyTreeMaker

The biggest buzz in genealogy at the end of 2015 is Ancestry’s decision to stop providing their FamilyTreeMaker software at the end of 2015.
If you have FTM on your computer already, then you can continue to use the program. It will be like going back to the olden days, when Ancestry sold the program and CDs with data on them, and that was all you had for searching from Ancestry. Ancestry will continue to provide support for the program and sharing features (like TreeSync) until the beginning of 2017.

My guess is that Ancestry is going to push cloud-based storage of trees that are created on the website. But since much of the website data is duplicative of other websites, more information is digitized and accessible for free, and their foray into DNA is, in my opinion, less than helpful, I wonder what Ancestry will do to maintain its income stream.

As always, back up your family tree files in gedcom format. I will post more about alternative programs for creating trees that are compatible with FTM as I learn about them.

Happy 2016!

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