David “Dickie” Nelings Autograph Book

One of the items gifted by my cousin was David “Dickie” Nelings’ autograph book. Autograph books were used to collect signatures, well-wishes, and addresses of school friends and teachers (http://www.ohiohistoryhost.org/ohiomemory/archives/2546). Usually, autograph books were kept by young women, in this case, however, a young man had an autograph book.

David Nelings, the son of Daniel T. Nelings and Elmina (Osborne) Nelings. David was born in 1886 in Foster Township, what was then Dakota Territory and is now South Dakota. David never married and lived with other unmarried siblings in the farmhouse in Foster Township, Beadle County South Dakota.

David, or Dickie’s, autograph book had 29 entries, most by his family in 1895, when Dickie was 9.

In addition to the autographs, there are a number of stickers. These include dogs, flower baskets, and watering cans.


Autographs by Dickie’s family:

Jan 11 1895. Dear Dick, On this leaf in memory prest, may my name forever rest. Your girl, Pearl Tyrrell [Pearl was Dick’s sister born in 1884 and married John Waddington in Redfield South Dakota].


Jan 11. Dear Dick, Never trouble till it troubles you. Ruby Tyrrell. So Dak. [Ruby was David’s sister, born in 1885 and wife of Hugh McClure].


Dick. “Trifles make perfection but perfection is no trifle.” Jennie Nelings. Jan 7 1894 [Jennie was Dick’s sister, born in 1862, and married Thomas B. Tyrrell].




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Tyrrell Family Reunion

I spent the past 10 days at a family reunion in Montana. This was the first reunion that the “younger” generation has planned and executed and I am exhausted. It felt like I spent the entire 4 days of the reunion, and the 3 days before, cooking and preparing and cleaning.

A challenge was balancing discussion of the family’s past with making memories for the future. That, and having accurate family trees and charts printed out for people to look at. Since Ancestry has stopped supporting Family Tree Maker, and with the very buggy FTM2014, I can no longer update information about people on the tree. Nor can I add, delete, or attach/detach people. In other words, FTM has provided me with a static tree that is incorrect and cannot be changed. I have a lot of notes attached to people, these I can still edit.

One cousin gifted attendees with a selection of items formerly owned by Nelings and Tyrrell family members, including autograph books and jewelry. In the coming days I will be posting images and some research on these items.

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Letter from home, Civil War

Civil War Letter


National July 30


Dear Will. I received a letter from you on Satterday writen on the 10. I was very glad to here you were still well when so many thare is sick. That is my great fere that you will be kept thare untill you are down sick and not able to come home. It seems strange you are not discharged well as others. I think your officers cannot halve attended to thare business right, but I think you will shurly be discharged before long. Keep up your spirits as toward you keeping you down in that sickly place when you are doing nothing and no need of you thare. If you get discharged against the time you enlisted it wont be long. Harvest will comence here this week. The crops looks very good. We are well as usual. Dave has not got home yet. She expects him this week. I saw Enock on  Satterday he was well. I gave him your letter to read. Sam Bucks wife was buried last week. The friends to the boys in this place is well. [Keep?] as well as you can untill you are honorably discharged. If you only keep well that is that great matter. I believe the 21 is hime, they enlisted the same time you did. Burky that is in the 27 wrote a letter to uncle Jim giving a Awful description of it down thare, He says the discontent is dreadfull and you do not get enough to eat. One spell you had nothing to eat but parched corn and that you had to steal from the mules. If one half is true he says it is bad enough. I think government is not doing thair duty. I believe I have  no news to write. I hope you will be home before this gets to you. Take as good care of yourself as you can and keep up hart. That you may be spared health and strength to return to your home is the prayer of your


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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

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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: https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-By-the-Numbers#sthash.SVhkrOSJ.dpuf

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 (http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/11/3/7.full.pdf). 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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