Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – Where Were They 150 Years Ago?

Every Saturday, Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings creates a little challenge for all the genealogy bloggers out there.  I’ve decided to participate in this week’s challenge:

“1)  Determine where your ancestral families were on 1 September 1863 – 150 years ago.

2)  List your ancestors, their family members, their birth and death years, and their residence location (as close as possible).  Do you have a photograph of their residence from about that time, and does the residence still exist?

3)  Tell us all about it in your own blog post, in a comment to this post, or in a Facebook Status or Google+ Stream post.” ~Randy Seaver, Genea-Musings, 7 Sept 2013.

Pedigree Chart

Most of my ancestors living in 1863 would be my 2nd-or-3rd-great grandparents.

1.) Benjamin Smith Dugger (1835-1885) & Charlotte Asher (1843 – ?), my 2nd-great grandparents were living in Johnson County, Tennessee.  Charlotte was likely pregnant with the couple’s first child, Sarah Dugger, while Benjamin Smith Dugger was out fighting for the Confederacy in the Civil War.  At some point during the Civil War, Benjamin deserted his Confederate unit and joined a Union unit in West Virginia.  After the war, Benjamin married Rachel Lantz and settled in West Virginia – seemingly never returning home to Tennessee.  The story for Charlotte gets rather sad – she has 5 more children (father’s unknown but there are some guesses that only DNA will solve) and lives the remainder of her life in poverty.

2.) James L. Clawson, Sr (1835 – ?) & Sarah Ellen Potter (1834 – ?), my 3rd-great grandparents, were living in Carter County, Tennessee.  Later in the month, James joins Company E, 13th Tennessee Regiment for the Union.  Meanwhile, Sarah is at home raising three children: William Clawson, James L. Clawson, Jr. (my 2nd-great grandfather), and Martha Clawson.

3.) William Madison Morris (1827 – 1904) & Julia Ann Downer (1831-1912), my 3rd-great grandparents, were living in Mansfield, Richland County, Ohio or Sullivan, Sullivan County, Indiana.  In 1861, William served 3 months in the military in Ohio for the Union.  Meanwhile, Julia is at home raising Alice, Hattie, William, and John Morris (my 2nd-great grandfather).

4.) Adolph Carl Doerflinger (1851  - 1938) and Augusta Baumeister (1853 – 1921), my 2nd-great grandparents, were not yet married and were probably living somewhere in Germany.  Adolph immigrates to the United States in 1868 and settles in St. Louis, Missouri.  Augusta immigrates to the United States in 1871 and marries Adolph in St. Louis in 1874, a year after the birth of their only son, Maximillian Adolph Doerflinger (my great-grandfather).  The couple later divorces after Adolph’s affair with a woman that worked in his saloon.  Adolph marries his mistress and moves to California to raise a new family while Augusta then moves to Washington.

5.) Antone Kepper (1847 – 1898) & Rosalie Lena Friederike Endres (1845 – 1908), my 2nd-great grandparents, were married and living somewhere in Germany with their children, William A. Keppler, Adolph Keppler, Marie Keppler (my great grandmother), Ernest Keppler, and Annie Keppler.

6.) Fredrick Harney (1846 – 1911) & Margaret Becker Steinmetz (1842 – 1894), my 2nd-great grandparents, were not yet married and had not yet immigrated to the United States.  Margaret would have been married to Frank Steinmetz and living in Austria.  Fredrick would have been living somewhere in Germany.

7.) Stephen Weston (1831 – ?) & Mary Morgan (1835 – ?), my 3rd-great grandparents, were most likely living in Llantwit Farde, Glamorgran, Wales raising their son Daniel Weston (my 2nd-great grandparents).

8.) John Coombe (1837 – ?) & Esther Mary ? (1832 – ?), my 3rd great grandparents, were probably living in St. Peter, Carmarthenshire, Wales raising their children: Elizabeth Francis Coombe (my 2nd-great grandmother) and John H. Coombe.

I’m sure there are more ancestors living during this time, but these are the main ancestors living in 1863.  Where were your ancestors living in 1863?

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3 Responses to Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – Where Were They 150 Years Ago?

  1. This is a fun way to take a fresh look at the living situations of a group of ancestors. You have some great stories in this generation of your family tree – and as for Benjamin Smith Dugger and Adolph Doerflinger, my oh my!
    Melanie Frick´s last blog post ..Photograph Analysis: Vintage Swimwear

    • Yeah, it was pretty interesting when I found a descendant from Adolph’s second wife – she had only great stories to tell about the man. My family has always talked about him as a cheater and liar and adulterer. But the other descendant had lovely stories about a sweet grandfather that was devoted to his family and a hard worker and how he always had a stash of candy for the grandkids. Perspective really plays a key role in the family stories we hear.

      And as for Benjamin…. well, the question becomes who the real daddy is for Charlotte’s kids. There is no indication that he ever traveled back to Tennessee to father her kids and it doesn’t seem that even the kids knew who their daddy was. My guess is that there are a few different fathers amongst her kids and only a DNA test would conclusively prove it so I’m trying to get my dad tested.

  2. I’ve definitely experienced the differences of perspective in family stories, too. It can really be the difference between night and day! Good luck with the DNA testing – hope it will help solve the paternity mystery, especially if you have some hunches already.
    Melanie Frick´s last blog post ..Photograph Analysis: Vintage Swimwear

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