The more I learn, the more I realize how much I do not know! That in and of itself is not a bad thing. I believe that in fact that is definitely a good thing, because it keeps me focused on a goal. What is my goal you may be asking not only me but asking that of yourself. My goal is to find a common ancestor with other friends and family seekers. It is finding where did this family begin.

It is a lot like Alex Haley’s “Roots”. I am not satisfied with finding that elusive great-great-great-great grandfather; it is much more and then some. What did my great-great’s and great-great-great-greats do for a living. How did they live and love. What did they think. Who did they associate with and much more. For example: my great-grandfather and former Jefferson County resident William Chalmers Hendricks was close personal friend with the great naturalist, John Muir. Yes, I am speaking of the Yosemite National Park, Muir Woods, and general protector of our natural environment John Muir. Some of his personal letters to my g-grandfather have survived the ages and archived with the California State Historical Society.

Who did your ancestors know? Who were they related to? Do we have common Jefferson County Ancestors? Let’s find out, shall we? I will start off this discussion with my Jefferson County family. Let’s see how many families we can gather and then let’s find where we have ancestors in a common family.

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Descendants of Abraham Hendricks
1 Abraham Hendricks 1785 – 1851
.. +Sarah Elizabeth “Eliza” Henderson
…….. 2 Joseph Henderson Hendricks 1814 – 1872
………… +Sarah Ann Hendricks 1818 – 1900
………………. 3 Sarah Ann Hendricks 1841 – 1847
………………. 3 Eliza Mary Hendricks 1843 -
………………….. +Charles T Hurd
……………………….. 4 Bessie Hendricks Hurd
……………………….. 4 Peter Hurd
………………. 3 John Joseph Hendricks 1846 -
………………. 3 Eliza Mary Hendricks 1849 -
………………. 3 Sarah Dickson Hendricks 1852 – 1932
………………….. +Henry Ketcham
……………………….. 4 Virginia Hendricks Ketcham
……………………….. 4 Henry Hendricks Ketcham
……………………….. 4 John Hendricks Ketcham
……………………….. 4 Frances Hendricks Ketcham
……………………….. 4 Percival Hendricks Ketcham 1934 -
………………. 3 William Abram Hendricks 1854 -
………………. 3 Virginia Fitch Hendricks 1858 – 1940
………………. 3 Walter Lowrie Hendricks 1860 -
…….. 2 Mary Ann Hendricks 1817 -
…….. 2 Sarah Dickson (Dixon) Hendricks 1820 -
…….. 2 Abram Washington Hendricks 1822 – 1887
………… +Virginia Fitch
………………. 3 Child Hendricks
…….. *2nd Wife of Abram Washington Hendricks:
………… +Sallie (Sarah) Butler 1835 -
………………. 3 Caroline Butler Hendricks 1858 – 1929
………………. 3 Rebecca Hendricks 1860 – 1864
………………. 3 Butler Hendricks 1863 – 1866
………………. 3 Allan W Hendricks 1864 – 1947
………………. 3 Elizabeth Hendricks 1866 – 1929
………………. 3 Victor King Hendricks 1869 – 1938
………………….. +Susan E Ross
……………………….. 4 Edwin Ross Hendricks 1909 – 1909
……………………….. 4 Victor King Hendricks III 1910 -
…………………………… +Anna Ames Flowers
…………………………………. 5 Victor King Hendricks IV 1940 -
…………………………………….. +Barbara Boyle
………………………………………….. 6 Pamela Hendricks 1965 -
……………………………………………… +Parish Patterson
……………………………………………………. 7 Lauren Ashley Patterson
…………………………………. 5 Susan Ross Hendricks 1942 -
…………………………………….. +David Bruce Collins
………………………………………….. 6 David Bruce Collins 1962 -
……………………………………………… +Pamela Syc
……………………………………………………. 7 Paxton Aubry Collins 1991 -
…………………………………. *2nd Husband of Susan Ross Hendricks:
…………………………………….. +Paul Melvin Olstad
………………………………………….. 6 Erik Ross Olstad 1972 -
………………………………………….. 6 Johanna Christine Olstad 1974 -
……………………….. 4 Allan Ross Hendricks 1914 – 1992
………………. 3 Ezra Reed Hendricks 1871 – 1938
………………. 3 Amelia Meldrum Hendricks 1873 – 1893
…….. 2 William Chalmers Hendricks 1825 – 1892
………… +Susan Elizabeth Glass – 1921
………………. 3 Springer Hendricks 1866 – 1868
………………. 3 Samuel Glass Hendricks 1869 – 1953
………………. 3 William Chalmers John Hendricks 1871 – 1924
………………….. +Delores unknown
……………………….. 4 Marion Edith Hendricks 1898 – 1975
………………. 3 Louis Victor Hendricks 1872 – 1906
………………….. +Harriet Farnham
……………………….. 4 Louis Victor Hendricks, Jr. 1904 – 1983
…………………………… +Gloria Rich
………………. 3 Max Hendricks 1874 – 1874
………………. 3 Scott Springer Hendricks 1878 – 1960
………………….. +Georgia Kenney Hammon 1882 – 1915
……………………….. 4 George Hammon Hendricks 1914 – 2002
…………………………… +Beatrice (nmi) Brundage 1913 – 1990
…………………………………. 5 Ann (nmi) Hendricks 1944 -
…………………………………….. +James Leonard Beam, Jr.
…………………………………. 5 Paula (nmi) Hendricks 1947 -
…………………………………. 5 Scott Hammon Hendricks 1949 -
…………………………………….. +Lynda Sheree Sellnow 1955 -
………………………………………….. 6 Renee Patricia Hendricks 1977 -
……………………………………………………. 7 Madison Sheree Hendricks 2004 -
………………………………………….. 6 Michael Scott Hendricks 1980 -
……………………………………………… +Nicole Marie Gulden 1981 -
……………………………………………………. 7 Scott Robert Hendricks 2006 -
………………. 3 Elizabeth Winona Hendricks 1880 – 1966
…….. 2 Eliza Scott Hendricks 1827 – 1901
…….. 2 Thomas Pollack Hendricks 1831 -
………… +Mary Perry
………………. 3 Mable Dixie Hendricks 1869 -
………………. 3 Thomas Perry Hendricks 1874 -
…….. 2 Victor King Hendricks 1833 – 1907
…….. 2 John Thomson Hendricks 1836 – 1874

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I will add other brothers and family of Abraham & Eliza Hendricks in the comments to keep this post shorter.

You are probably asking yourselves, why is he saying that? The answer is real simple; they are a slice or just a small tid-bit of history that you are making. They give historians a small glimpse of life at the time the letter is written. I”m sure the next question would be; with all this technological media around why send a letter? Let me ask you, when was the last time you saved a text message with all the abbreviated spelling.

I am a writer and there is something about the motion of writing a letter or in a journal long hand. It not only brings what life is like at the moment but it gets the creative juices flowing and you leave behind a small amount of emotion – or a large amount if you would like. For us genealogists they are very important. Why don’t we leave something behind for our great-grandchildren. For† some reason, paper seems to last longer than electronic media.

Let me give you a snippet of why letters are import. I am going to quote a letter from former Madison, Jefferson County, IN resident William Chalmers Hendricks to his wife Susan Elizabeth “Lizzie” (Glass) Hendricks dated at Fort Bridger Sunday, July 17, 1881.

———————————————————-

“My dearest Lizzie

As Jones had (illegible word) in my letter from Salt Lake the Major conducted under invitation of Genl George Crook, to stop over a day or so here. I was the less reluctant for the reason that I found myself improving in heart & health & was willing to loose time to that end, and also that the extreme hot wave may have passed away east before we reached it.

After finishing my letter to you from Salt Lake day before yesterday, we accepted the invitation of Genl Bain & son Doctor Bain, for a drive over the city and out to Camp Douglas. After which with a larger party we took the train at 5 p.m. across about 20 miles to the southerly point of Salt Lake for a bath & swim. Found the water a little cold, but wonderfully bouyant, being at least 0/5 salt — jsut the opposite of Lake Bridger. There the water is so light that a person can scarcely swim in it & if they drown go to the bottom & never rise. But in Salt Lake a person can scarcely sink themselves; the principle danger being of strangling from the excessively salt water. I could float without the least† difficulty on exertion on my back with my head, hands & feet – in fact all the upper surfaces of my body out of water. Had a delightful trip; only sorry that you & the boys were not along. After returning at 8 p.m. with a small party of gentlemen including Gov Murry (one of the easiest pleasantest gentlemen I ever met) We were taken by Genl Bain to his residence for a coffee cake & ice cream lunch. The next morning (yesterday) we returned to Ogden and on to Cantin’s Station where a govt ambulance was waiting to take us over to Fort Bridger about 10 miles. There was an army officer along who introduced us to three lady passengers from the Fort — One the wife of a Captain stationed here — another a married lady visitor at the Fort,† & her sister.

They were dispenced to be very lively† & social. I had not entirely recovered my natural health & life; and while the Major was in his glory I felt that I was a restraining element & determined that I would banish the clouds for a while at least & join them. On the principle that one extreme is apt to succeed while in the opposite direction an inspiration of funny anecdote & thought took possession of me & effected them the more because they had obsessed me as a serious old codger, in front of whom neither wished to sit. It not only lasted me through the ride to the fort, but during the evening & at the supper table full of army officers & strangers.

It seemed to me that every funny thing that I had ever heard came up accompanied by plenty of new. I could hover on the edge of the vulgar & profane without penetrating either. Had them all convulsed. For once I took a social bulge on the Major, who remarked when we retired to our room, that he was astonished at the development of a new man.

Excuse the above little egotism, but it is only to give hope† that the changed feeling may at least partially last & mark the permanent breaking up of a depressed feeling that cannot possibly be productive of any good. I will try & am (illegible word) I can succeed, not withstanding my stomac trouble & draw back. Find Genl Crook very interesting in conversataion though dignified and quiet. He (illegible work) all as very pleasant & cordial & determined to keep the Major several days –† I will try however to get him off tomorrow. He rode off† with Capt Bisby for a ride & fish & I am putting in the day alone peaceably, reading & writing you –

Denver Col July 21st

Monday the 18th in company with Genl Crook & Captain Bisby (commandant of the fort) we drove eight or ten miles over onto a tributary of Green River fishing, caught in all 127 trout. Tuesday 19th spent about trout until about when we drove back to the station. The Captain’s wife put us up a very nice little lunch (Sage hen, Saratoga potatoes & ) and she and her lady visiting friend Mrs Miller accompanied us (over)to the station. Was much surprised to meet Luce on train — we traveled together until about 2 pm† next day when the Major & I left that train at Cheyenne for his place, where we arrived about 11 last night.

The first person I met this morning when I got up was Prof W F Stewart. We were both glad to meet so unexpectedly.

I have spent today very pleasantly with the Major and Proffessor & a Mr Hale of this place looking over this Young City of 40,000 or 50,000 inhabitants. Even here at an altitude of over 9000 fee the thermometer was yesterday and day before over 100. Today is cooler & I am in hopes tht extreme hot spell has past. We go on tomorrow. Am getting anxious to get to Indianapolis & get letter from you.

Affectionately, Will Iam”

——————————————————————-

As you can see, it doesn’t matter if you spell everything correctly or have perfect grammar, the thoughts get through. How about we all write a letter to our wives, husbands or children and ask that they keep them and then to pass them on later in life. This really gives me important information about my great-grandparents relationship. Great-grandpa, Will signed all his letters to Lizzie with that same greeting.

I asked Brad Manzenberger to write an essay on the importance of cemeteries as it relates to genealogy. Brad restores old cemeteries and headstones. Prior to the 20th century it was not uncommon for relatives to put the date of death and the deceased age in terms of years, month and days. Most of the time it was only in years; but that can give you important clues.

The Importance of Cemeteries

By Brad Manzenberger

When I tell people that I restore historic cemeteries I get one of two response; Wow! Thatís cool! or Wow! Cemeteries creep me out! I have always loved cemeteries and as long as none of the ďresidentsĒ get up and join me they wonít creep me out.

My love for graveyards increased as I got into genealogy. From that genealogy my passion for restoring historic pioneer cemeteries grew.

So why are cemeteries important? Are they only for burial of remains and for visitation by loved ones? Of course not. They are so much more.

Sometimes only record that person lived

There have been a few times I have found unknown ancestors, particularly distant aunts, uncles and cousins when visiting a cemetery. I have also found the names of various great Grandmothers on their headstone when I hadnít found them in records. I use the Census extensively in my genealogy research, but since it is only done every ten years you wonít find children who were born and died between Census enumerations. But you will often find them buried next to their parents or other family members.

Locate birth/death dates

Sometime we donít have birth or death dates available in records. We can only guess an approximate date when using the Census. But when visiting the cemetery we often find at least a death date and an age at time of death. But be careful, as with any genealogical sources, verify the information through other means when you can. Stone carvers made mistakes from time to time that werenít always caught or changed.

Discover relationships

I have, on many occasions, found, or confirmed the names of siblings of my direct ancestors by finding their graves next to those of my Great Grandparents.

Tangible connection to ancestors

Visiting my ancestorís graves has allowed me a physical connection to them. There is a headstone with their name and other information on it. I can touch it. I never met them, but I can touch what, in most cases, is the only thing that remains from their entire existence.

History of local community

You can sometimes learn some of the history of the local community in an old pioneer cemetery. As I walk through the oldest sections of my local city cemetery I see names on headstones that I also see on street signs. Ever see a whole bunch of death dates within a few months of each other, often many children? That could indicate a plague, natural disaster or other tragedy. All of this can help give you an idea of what your ancestors experienced in their community.

Art

Like art? A cemetery is full of it. Some basic and simple, others intricately detailed.

Brad Manzenberger is the owner of Stone Revival Cemetery Restoration, Inc of Franklin, IN. He has been a professional genealogist for the past five years in conjunction with his cemetery restoration work. He did personal genealogy for several years prior to that. Visit his site at http://www.StoneRevival.net.

I have mentioned this before and will mention it time and time again in the future; having bulldog persistence and the patience of Job pays off when pursuing your family genealogy. This week I have been the recipient of both. I have been trying diligently to develop the ancestry of Jefferson County resident, Sarah Elizabeth “Eliza” (Henderson) Hendricks. I have been working on this off and on over the last 20 years. I think that satisfies both categories. I have been very patient and putting the words of Winston Churchill into action, I never, never gave up!

This week, I hit the mother lode! And, yes I want to shout it from the roof tops so the whole world can hear. I have found the family of Eliza’s father, Joseph Henderson. First, I have confirmed that he was a Presbyterian minister and that he attended Princeton College in New Jersey. I have confirmed that he was married to Mary Breckenridge. I have confirmed he was born in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. I have confirmed where he was ordained as a minister, where he began his ministry and where he went from there to end up in the home county, where Eliza was born. I have learned his father’s name and that of his siblings and his roots back to the “Old World”. I have found out not only that; but the family and roots to the “Old World” for his wife, Mary. Now that we have found that out, we are working on proving it.

Now that I have crowed; I’d like to hear what successes have you enjoyed?

Where does one begin looking for their ancestors? Better yet, where does one go when they hit that proberbial wall that seems impossible to climb?

Ask anybody who put forth a valiant effort in the search for your ancestors; and they will tell you that those are questions they have asked themselves at least a dozen times. There isn’t a genealogist or serious student of genealogy who has all the answers. I will start by saying to answer one question will be answering both. Since I am a story teller (since I was 7 years old and I haven’t quit yet), author, free-lance writer, novelist, I will tell you my story to show how you can proceed. There is nothing magical and no quick short cuts. The best I can tell you is to be persistent, yet patient.

When I embarked on my journey into genealogy over 25 years ago, I had a base from which to start. I knew who my great-grandparents were and a brief history of all. The first wall I attempted to scale was my Hendricks family. In 1990 I inherited copies of W C Hendricks papers which the originals donated to the California Historical Society. I had all sort of problems getting past Madison, Jefferson County, Indiana. I knew WC was born in Pennsylvania; but where and who were his parents was quite elusive.

I spent numerous days and years searching until I finally got a glimmer and I followed it. I have learned in the past three months the big wall was a great family schism – how or why it occurred no one knows for sure. My Indiana family refused to recognize the Pennsylvania family. Then this last weekend, I found out That my ggg-grandmother, Ann (Jamison) Hendricks was left purposefully out of her father’s will. That was huge for that era. So, I selected those who surrounded Col. Abraham Hendricks and Ann Jamison. I chose the in-laws to their son Abraham and daughter Ann to find the trail back to the east coast.† I have also chosen the in-law to the other siblings. I am looking for their family background to get a break as to where the Hendricks and Jamison began their journey west.

Using the U.S. GenWeb Project is a good place to start. Census, Churches and Cemeteries are the best places to start your hunt. Talk to all your relatives to get the location of where your ancestors were (State, County, Township or City(town/village). You might find your ancestory already listed. The different State Projects and the Projects within the Project that will give you all sort of links to all the sources of information or how to obtain it. You can also go to the message boards at Genealogy.com or Ancestry.com to search through the listings. You might find your ancestor listed or you may run across a distant relative trying to track down the same ancestor. Another method I just found out about this last weekend was to Google the ancestor you seek.

Then when you find something that has eluded you for a long time, you’l find yourself wanting to climb on the roof tops to announce it to the world. Good luck and good hunting. Stop by and let us know your successes and where you need some assistance.

Good morning to all. Officially winter is not over for another month and a half; tell that to the geese. Here on the ice/snow encrusted plains of South Dakota, I am being left to the resourses of the rest of you Jefferson County researchers. I have never had the opportunity to visit the childhood home of my great-grandfather, William Chalmers Hendricks (aka. Will or Billie). I have seen some photos of the area and plan to make a visit sometime in the future. Will was the dreamer of his family. He had 9 siblings – 3 sisters and 6 brothers. Will was the middle child. The children of the marriage between Abraham “Abram” Hendricks and Sarah Elizabeth “Eliza” Henderson were in age order: Joseph Henderson Hendricks, Mary Ann Hendricks, Sarah Dickson (Dixon – the correct spelling is still being studied), Abraham Washington Hendricks, Will, Eliza Scott Hendricks, Thomas Pollack Hendricks, Victor King Hendricks, and John Thompson Hendricks. Joseph who married a distant cousin before leaving Pennsylvania Sarah Ann Hendricks ended up living in Kankakee, Illinois. As far as our research goes none of the Hendricks sisters ever married. Mary and Sarah spent their lives in Madison and after the death of her two sisters Eliza went out to California to be with her brother Will and Tom. Abraham married Sarah Butler and had several children. He joined the law firm ran by their first cousin, VP Thomas Andrews Hendricks. We haven’t found out much about the lives of Victor King or John Thompson. I do know that Victor King went out to try working for Will but that didn’t work out and he returned to Indiana where he got into the shoe business.

If anyone has information regarding this family or any of the family members, I would be willing to share (especially if it is family). I know very little about the life of Abram and Eliza. I know he ran a shoe store in Madison and he helped his son Joseph building the section of the great incline that goes through the granite hill. I know a bit about his life before he left Ligonier Valley, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania; but that is about the extent of what I know. I would like to find out more about him and his family. Any one who can get me information about them as they lived and died in Madison, I would be eternally greatful.

Also, any one who is willing to share some photos of Jefferson County, I would like to post them out here. Just send me, via email, high resolution photos. As a photographer, I can get them ready to display on the internet in such a way they cannot be downloaded with any quality. Full credit will be given to the photographer. In addition, any one who has a panoramic photo of some section of the county (again high resolution would be needed to get started) that we can use as a banner head for this blog would be appreciated. I have temporarily borrowed a photo from another website promoting Jefferson County and Madison.

I invite everyone to share your family story with me, so I can publish it as a topic out here.

For all who are interest, my email address is: lysco@sio.midco.net

I was lucky growing up. My mother was a history teacher. Family history was of particular importance to her. By the time I graduated from high school, I knew not only the names but the parents names and for the most part where the came from all of my relatives back to my great-grandparents. She was self taught in the study of family so most of the hard information was in scrapes of paper and notes that I inherited from her upon her death in 1990. I encourage everyone to search for those scraps and notes, then catalogue them. Start file folders for each family. Later unbeknowst to me, I inherited copies of the letters and journal of my great-grandfather, William Chalmers Hendricks. What a treasure trove of information written by his own hand and that of TA Hendricks, John Muir, Abraham Washington Hendricks, Thomas Edison and many others. Don’t throw anything away because years from now it may be important to your descendants.

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