Genealogy Studies Lead to Research Breakthroughs

Mary Jane Hayden and her youngest child, Mary Cordelia, in the mid-1870s

January was a busy month for classes and webinars. Not only did I take the course on the Civil War, but also Reverse Genealogy: Working Forward to Break Down Brick Walls taught by the Google Goddess, Lisa Louise Cooke. In addition, I also participated in the Kentucky Genealogy Crash Course: Find Your Bluegrass State Ancestors webinar lead by J. Mark Lowe. Both were excellent and gave me more than enough places to look, things to think about, and research to do.

The Kentucky webinar is the second webinar I have taken. Last summer I took one on Virginia ancestors and both have been highly rewarding. I have family lines on both sides that started in Virginia, and then migrated through Kentucky before settling in Indiana. Needless to say, I am waiting with bated breath for the Indiana webinar on Mar. 20. I took some time off from classes in February so that I can put what I have learned into action.

I especially want to put into practice what I learned in the Reverse Genealogy course. I had already done some of this by accident in my research by looking at adjacent sibling lines to try and trace ancestors and break down walls. She taught us not only how to find ancestors, but living relatives as well. I have spent a couple days making research plans and using her worksheets to try and get an edge on finding some long lost ancestors and current day cousins.

To be honest, I would like to find the living descendants of my great-grandfather’s sister Eliza Jane Combs. I don’t know her married name, but I know she lived and died in Vincennes, Ind. sometimes in the late 1980s. One of my cousins, who I met online since doing family history, had actually been in touch with her great-granddaughter. Unfortunately they have lost contact. We know Eliza Jane had her great grandmother’s family Bible.

My third-great-grandmother, Mary Jane Hayden (wife of James M. Combs) is rumored to have had a Hayden family Bible that went back numerous generations. My own grandmother Combs had spent many an afternoon with Eliza Jane over the years learning about the family history of the Combs and Hayden lines through her. In this book was supposed to be the written lineage that told us how the Hayden family came from John Alden and Priscilla Mullins. In case those names aren’t familiar, they were passengers on the Mayflower. I would love to know what happened not only to this Bible, but the decades of genealogy research that she had done. If only just to prove what my grandmother told everyone, and see a piece of history like that.

Best of all, Lisa Louise Cooke gave me a small “gem” dealing with the ancestor I was using as a case study in her course. In six months of research it amazes me that I didn’t find what she had, but I guess this proves I still have a lot to learn about research! I was trying to discover the birth place and parents of my husband’s third-great-grandfather, Philip Henry Greeley. I knew that he was from New Hampshire, married Eliza Cunningham, had seven children, and died in Swanville, Maine. She found a snippet of a book that had an entry about his son Philip Hartson Greeley, my husband’s second-great-grand-uncle. In it was the line of Greeleys he descended from, starting with Andrew Greeley who immigrated to Salisbury, Mass from Engliand in about 1640. I have been frantically looking into the line and connecting the dots.

Who needs sleep right?


Family Tree Firsts is an ongoing blog series featuring newbie genealogist Shannon Bennett of Locust Grove, Va.


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One thought on “Genealogy Studies Lead to Research Breakthroughs

  1. Wow that was unusual. I just wrote an extremely long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyways, just wanted to say fantastic blog!

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