Judy's Gen Research Trip to Pennsylvania
Welcome to our online log of Judy's Genealogy Research Trip to PA!
This a page we are posting to document the genealogy research trip that Judy recently completed! Below are the actual excerpts from e-mails & online chats with Judy from PA on how the work went on a day by day basis.
The Research Trip Log!
- August 13, 1998
I now have reservations flying directly into Harrisburg, PA. That is where the state library and archives are. I plan to spend several days there and then migrate west through 3, maybe 4 counties stopping at libraries, courthouses and genealogical society libraries. I have to make myself stop long enough to visit with real people! I just hope I have enough time to do all that I plan to. There are at least 6 families that I need to stop in and visit... I hope to take the scanner and rent a laptop to copy pictures and family bibles. Looking at all this, I just may need to extend my trip.
.....I just received excellent advice from a professional genealogist in England and plan to follow it to a T. ....
... Love, Judy
- Wednesday, August 26, 1998
I am closing everything down in preparation for my trip to PA. I belong to Blair Co. and Cambria Co. mailing lists through rootsweb and I asked for advice on planning my trip. I have received so many emails and full pages of information, that I made a document from them, to use as a guide everywhere I go. The response was overwhelming. I am even getting help from a librarian at the State Library of PA. Everyone made me realize that I had not allowed nearly enough time so I am leaving 2 days earlier, Aug 30 and returning 5 days later (than originally planned). I'll be in Harrisburg and then Cambria Co. the first week. Then I move to Altoona area for the next 5 days. After that I will hit bedford Co., Hagerstown, and then finish up in Harrisburg. I can hardly wait.
I'll be in touch.
- September 2, 1998
I am in my motel room after my first real day of research at the court house in Cambria County, PA, where everyone was in 1850. I found deed records for the Soulsbys but not Dudley. I found wills and marriages in the Soulsby name but no mention of Dudley. I was almost ready to send you an email that I now believe Dudley was an alien. But 10 minutes before the courthouse closed, I finally found Dudley mentioned in a will for a William Soulsby. Esther was being left money from William Soulsby and she and Dudley had to sign a receipt for it. Their name is written as Templeton and they both signed with an X. We tried to make a copy from the microfilm machine but they were very poor. So tomorrow morning they are going to pull the actual papers and let me scan them!
I believe William is the brother of James, Esther's father. I will be here for several more days and still have the huge resources of the Cambria Co. Historical Society to go through.
I bought a refurbished Dell laptop and brought our scanner. This sure makes life easier, except for the long runs in the airport of Chicago from concourse G to H. More heavy stuff to lug! I'll keep in touch. Judy :)
- September 3, 1998 online chat with Judy via 'AOL Instant Message Software'
Judy: I was out until 11 last night because I went to Altoona to the Blair Co. Genea Soc. They have evening hours.
Chris: What is that all about? (Gen soc.)
Judy: Blair County Genealogical Society. a wonderful library full of family information. One of the best.
Chris: Oh, did you find any good stuff?
Judy: I have only just begun to scratch the surface of what they have on file there. Yes, they even have the Templon name in the file. That is the city where Templons have lived since 1860.
Judy: I started out at the court house in Cambria County in the am, then spent the afternoon at the Cambria Co Historical Society and then in the evening was at the Blair Co. Gen Soc. Today I am going back to the Courthouse first, then off to the Blair Co. Gen Soc.
Judy: Yesterday I was able to actually handle papers from 1855 from the wills of James Soulsby and William Soulsby and paper work signed wife and children!!!!
Judy: Then at the Historical Society I actually looked through the real newspapers from 1853. What a day.
Judy: I must sign off so I can get breakfast and be at the courthouse by 9.
- September 4, 1998 e-mail from Judy
Hi Chris: My first stop today was at the Cambria County Courthouse to get a copy of a will from George Soulsby. The original documents were not at the courthouse yesterday, because they were out being microfilmed. When I setup my laptop and scanner yesterday, to get good copies of the old wills, I had most of the office staff looking over my shoulder, admiring the quality of copies, so I entertained them with Picture Wizard. Now they want a setup just like mine! No more xerox machines for them.
I absolutely struck gold in the Register of Wills office, when I found the estate records of James Solesby, which included the assignment of 3 minor children, Matthew, Mary & George to Orphans Court. I also found wills for William Solesby and George Soulsby. These not only give death dates but include names of heirs.
George Soulsby died April 4, 1875 in Chest Springs, Cambria Co.,PA His will reads as follows: "In the name of God Amen! I, George Soulsby, of the County of Blair in the" etc, etc, "I direct that my body be decently interred, and that my funeral expenses and all my just debts be first paid out of my estate that may be remaining after my decease, as soon as possible. I give, devise and bequeath to my beloved nephew, George Soulsby, son of James Soulsby, his heirs and assign forever, all my property, real, personal and mixed, of what nature or kind soeven and whosoever," etc, etc. This confirms that James and George are brothers. The other will is for William Soulsby, who I believe is a brother of George and James. If I am correct, they were all born in Northumberland, England around 1800.
In William Soulsby's will, Esther Templeton, wife of Dudley Templeton is left $51.00 along with her sisters, Margaret, Isabella, brothers Matthew and James, and mother Jane. This document gives us Mary's husband's name, Michael Nagel, which we did not have.
Also, at the Cambria County Courthouse, I found 9 marriage records from 1896 - 1947. In Registration of Deaths, 1896 - 1903, a child of George and Mary Soulsby dies of Typhoid pneumonia in 1896. The Register of Deeds office had so many deeds on the family in the 1800's, that I decided to not copy anything from the 1900's.
Today, I returned to the Blair County Genealogical Society in Altoona. What a wonderful library! Outstanding selection of material, PLUS friendly and very helpful people. I have only just begun to scratch the surface there.
I'll be in Cambria County for a few more days.
- Fri, 4 Sep 1998 23:22:59 +2000 (EDT) email from Judy
The week in review:
Tuesday: First stop, Cambria County Courthouse, Record of Deeds Office: I found 31 references to deeds filed under the name of Soulsby from 1851 - 1921. Found 3 deeds of David Templeton, 1906, 1916, 1917. Got copies of all deeds from the 1800's. Went to the office of Records of Wills and found reference to James Soulsby, William Solesby, and George Soulsby in the Orphans Court documents. Xerox copies of the documents for James and William did not turn out, so I asked permission to bring in my scanner the following day. Found 9 Soulsby names in the Marriage License Index spanning the years of 1896 - 1947. To access these records, I have to go to the courthouse warehouse.
Wednesday: 1st stop, Cambria County Courthouse: Took scanner and laptop into Record of Wills Office to scan the original documents from Orphans Court. It was pretty exciting, I actually was able to handle the same document that Esther and Dudley, my great grandparents signed. Went to Cambria County Historical Society, Ebensburg, in the afternoon and started with a surname index search. Found James Solesby referenced in the DS 7/8/1856, pg 3, c1. When we searched that particular paper, ( the real paper from 1856) there was no July 8, 1856, therefore I tried several other combination of dates, with no results. In an index to the Cambria Freeman newspaper, I found an obituary for Mr. George Saulsby who was 78 yrs old and died Apr 9, 1875, in Chest Springs. I was wondering, now who is this? The historical society closed at 4:30, so I grabbed dinner on the run and headed to Altoona. The Blair County Genealogical Society would be open from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm. I was extremely impressed with the holdings in the library, the volume of publications this organization has created and published, and above all, the hospitality of the staff.
Thursday: Back to the Cambria County Courthouse, to get a copy of a will from George Soulsby, which had not been available the day before. This was a real surprise to find that it is James' brother and not James' son George. What a find! Now I know who the George is that died Apr 9, 1875! I then traveled to Altoona to Blair County Genealogical Society and researched there for 3 hours, until they closed at 3:30 pm. The short hours for the genealogical and historical societies is really difficult to plan around. While at the BCGS, a gentleman sitting next to me asked me what names I was researching. I was so intent on covering as many books as possible in 3 hours, that I was surprised when he spoke. Well, thank goodness he asked, because we both have Logsdon relatives in the Mt Savage area of Maryland! How about that! You just never know where your next lead will pop up.
I then drove to Fairview Cemetery in Altoona and found the family plot of Jane Soulsby and her children. In this same plot are the unmarked graves of Dudley, Esther and Mary Ellen Templeton. Some of the stones on the plot are unreadable. There is one tall monument carved with information for James, Jane, Margaret and Isabella. This monument is almost identical to the one in James Samuel Templon's family plot in Shenandoah, Virginia, Dudley and Esther's son. I plan to return to Fairview Cemetery, to get the location of all graves in the plot.
Friday, September 4, 1998 Returned to the Cambria County Courthouse, Ebensburg and went to Records of Deeds Office: Rechecked Grantee (Buyor) Index 1804 - 1923 for any possible spelling of Soulsby and Templon under S, T, & D for Dumbleton that I just might have missed. Rechecked Grantor (Seller) Index 1804 - 1923 for any possible spelling of above names. In the 1850 census record for Washington Twp, Cambria Co., Dudley Templer and James Soulsby are both recorded as owning property. On Tuesday, I only found a deed for James, not Dudley. The clerks in that office said that a lot of deeds were never recorded.
Next stop, Prothonotary Office: searched Declaration of Intent and Petition for Citizenship index books for any spelling of names Soulsby and Templon. Took notes on 5 people with various spellings of Soulsby but found no recognizable variations of Templon.
Drove to the Cambria Co. Courthouse warehouse to search the files for the 5 possibilities in naturalization, but sadly, non of these were in the family. Searched the files and recorded the information of 9 marriage license documents with 8 matching the Soulsby family. Found a lot of new information here. Discovered at the warehouse that some tax records are kept there. Not at all like I was told in the Tax Office on Tuesday. Could not find the 1850 tax records for Washington Twp., Cambria Co. The oldest record in the warehouse for Washington Twp. is 1895 - 1906. I have been told by several people here in PA, that a lot of tax records are missing. The employees in the tax office are very unfriendly, just as I had been warned, and they did not know what years or townships they had or did not have.
The worst part of the day came when I returned to my motel for the evening. I found that my belongings had actually been removed from my room. Due to an antiquated reservation method being done by 5 people who apparently don't talk with each other, I literally was thrown out of my room. I had a guaranteed reservation through this evening, but it was on the next page. It is a family run business and the 2 main people at the desk are very rude and unprofessional. I was allowed to return to my old room for the night, without compensation for the grief caused and no apologies. I definitely will not stay there again nor do I recommend that anyone stay at the Penn Gables, 4588 Admiral Peary Hwy., Ebensburg, PA!
Now, tomorrow is a fresh new day and I plan to spend it in the Cambria County Library in Johnstown! So good night to you all. Judy
- Tue, 8 Sep 1998 08:27:22 -0400 (EDT)email from Judy
For Your Information - Cambria County, PA
Cambria County Courthouse, 220 S. Center Street, Ebensberg, 1-814-472-5440, Hours Monday - Friday 9 am - 4 pm.
Cambria County Historical Society, 615 N. Center Street, Ebensberg, 1-814-472-6674, Hours Tuesday - Friday 10 am - 4:30 pm, Saturday 9 am - 1 pm.
Cambria County Library, 248 Main Street, Johnstown, 1-814-536-5131, Hours: Monday - Thursday 9 am - 9 pm, Friday 9 am - 5 pm. Closed Sat & Sun.
L. D. S. Family History, 609 Walters Ave., Johnstown, 1-814-269-4652, Hours Monday & Thursday 9 - 1, Tuesday 6 pm to 9 pm, Wednesday 5 pm to 8 pm.
- Tue, 8 Sep 1998 08:28:11 -0400 (EDT)email from Judy
Altoona accomodations: Days Inn, 3306 Pleasant Valley Blvd, 1-814-944-9661. I would rate this as a 3 1/2 Star property. The room was excellent and the staff was very professional. Outstanding!!!!!
Monday, I met with a relative to work on the family history. After 3 hours of paperwork, we drove to the Sinking Valley and stopped at 3 Amish farms. The Amish families had produce stands and one had a quilt shop and general store. I just had to try some of the cookies and I wasn't disappointed! That was the best, most correctly made Molasses cookie I have ever had. The valley was really beautiful with rolling hills and a mist hanging in the air from a recent storm. That was a nice break from the courthouses!
- Date: Wed, 9 Sep 1998 00:04:00 EDT email from Judy
Subject: Saturday's adventure
Holy Cow, I almost forgot about last Saturday's happenings. I had decided to visit the Cambria County Library in Johnstown since it was open, according to the schedule that I had, and all of the courthouses and genealogical societies were closed. Well, that was one location that I did not call to make sure the hours had not changed since last posted. I left extra early and arrived there in Johnstown by 9 am. And guess what, the library was closed! Always, always call and recheck the hours and even address. The Blair Co. Genealogical Society will be actually moving from one town to another in the near future.
Saturday my heart was set on research, so I drove to Pittsburg to the Carnegie Library. It was will worth the trip. I would say it is the best genealogical research library that I have experienced.
- Date: Tue, 8 Sep 1998 23:46:14 EDT email from Judy
Subject: WOW - What a Day!
My first stop today, was at the Blair County Historical Society. I thought that I would be in and out in maybe 2 hours and then spend the afternoon at the Blair County Courthouse. Well, I was having such wonderful luck searching their index files and newspapers, that I worked right through lunch and then helped them close at 4:30! I found the obituary for Esther Soulsby Templon, wife of Dudley. I also found the obituary for her brother Matthew. Then, in her sister Margaret's obituary we have a big surprise. A new name appears and is listed as her sister. When I tracked down that person's obituary, I discovered a new sister named Jane who married Jacob Forsht in 1844. It gives 8 names as her surviving children. Suddenly, we just multiplied!!!
I was so worked up that I grabbed dinner and headed for the Altoona Public Library to continue my quest for obituaries. The librarian was super and ran my surnames in her computer to access the whole index of all names. Everyone here has been very friendly and helpful. I am really having fun!
- Wed, 9 Sep 1998 23:46:15 EDT email from Judy
Celebration Time!!! While working at the Blair County Genealogical Society today, I actually found Dudley Templeton in a book on the History of Blair County, listed in a 1844 Tax Record for Huston Township. Since I have searched for him for 35 years and have only found him in census records and the family bible, I had almost given up hope of ever seeing his name recorded any where else. The next big discovery was to find Dudley and Esther's long lost daughter Jane, with the pieces of clues from the obituary yesterday. She married a Michael MULLEN. Since the discovery yesterday of Esther's sister Jane FORSHT, our family has grown alot! Also, the puzzle is solved as to who Emma Soulsby is, in the Fairview cemetery AND (oh heavens above) we have another George Soulsby!. The obituary on Sarah Catharine Soulsby gave us a son that we hadn't heard of.
Well, I am headed to the Courthouse, talk to you later.
- Date: Fri, 11 Sep 1998 08:04:21 EDT
Subject: Still truckin in Blair County, Pennsylvania
Today, I started out at the Blair County Courthouse, which is located in Hollidaysburg. For those of you who do not know the area, this town is a beautiful, very old town with most of the old homes being well cared for and preserved. It is a perfect place to just walk and absorb the history. The courthouse is in a big renovation project at the moment and that should be done in January. At the present time, only the index books for naturalization are accessible, not the documents. I was advised that the plan is to bring those documents back to the office once construction is complete.
I searched at the courthouse for 2 hours and then headed back to the Blair County Genealogical Society, since they will be closed tomorrow. In case you are wondering why I seem to jump around so much, here are the hours of the courthouse and genealogical society. Blair County Courthouse, 423 Allegheny, Phone 1-814-693-3000, hours: 8 - 4 Mon - Fri. Blair County Genealogical Society, Phone 1-814-942-3681, hours Mon 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm, Wed. 10 am - 3:30 pm, 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm, Thurs 10 - 3:30 pm. This will all change in 2 weeks when they move to Hollidaysburg.
Today, I reviewed every Funeral Home book on file at the BCGS. They have many to review! I didn't have death dates for most of the recent additions to our family and this was one way of finding them. Once I found the date, I then checked the HUGE collection of obituaries and if necessary, would look for microfilm of the local newspaper. I flashed around the name FORSHT, that I was searching for and before long, the staff had found the cemetery where the whole family is buried!!! A real good find. As a general rule, I have found the staff at genealogical societies to be VERY helpful. As you know by the laws of human nature, there will be an exception from time to time.
The Ramada Inn, Altoona is a very good place. Located on the southend of town, which places it between Altoona and Hollidaysburg. Close by are many good restaurants.
Tomorrow will be clean sweep the courthouse day!!
- Date: Mon, 14 Sep 1998 21:29:38 EDT
Subject: Hi from PA
Hi Chris: Sorry I haven't been in contact for several days. I researched all day Friday and cleaned out the resources at the Blair Co. courthouse. I did find a deed in my grandfather's name, selling land to his mother's brother. Also, I found a will for each, Matthew and Sarah Soulsby. These answered questions about relationship of their ADOPTED son. I then drove to Bedford Co. and went through the Will, Marriage, Deaths, Births, Deeds and Naturalization records. There, I found deeds for George Soulsby, the brother of James from England who filed for naturalization. Then I ran over to the Pioneer Historical Society and checked out their surname indexes. Then on Saturday, I started calling relatives and ended up on the phone for several hours with each one. I returned to the Blair County Historical Society, Saturday afternoon to work on obituaries in the 1800's and then back to calling and visiting relatives in the Blair and Cambria County area in the evening. On Sunday, I visited with Mr. David Templon who showed me Kittanning Point, which is where Dudley & Esther lived for a period of time. We also visited the Allegheny Portage Museum and some local historical spots of Hollidaysburg.
I have been on the move again and went to Hagerstown to visit an Aunt who had lots of old pictures of my father's family. Her daughter gave me old receipts from my gandfather from 1870's and included was a receipt for land that I had just gotten a copy of the deed on Friday!!!
Last night, I was in an area where I could not access an AOL number! Now I am back in Harrisburg tonight, preparing to fly back to Seattle tomorrow. I plan to run into the State Library to check out a few files in the a.m. Once I return, I will do a final analysis of the trip and hope to post it to the website by Thursday.
It's been wonderful.
Thanks again for stopping by!
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Judy Templon Alexander (Genealogy)