52 Documents in 52 Weeks #30 – Ann (Ranney) Abbott’s Family History

Person of Interest: Ann May (Ranney) Abbott
Relationship: 4th cousin 2x removed (Abraham and Charlotte (Comer) Strait were Anne’s 3rd great grandparents and my 5th great grandparents)


Source Citation: Ann Ranney Abbott, “Strait Genealogy,” Strait Family descendent report, narrative and photos, 1750-2005; supplied by Abbott, Columbus, Ohio, 2005. This compilation offers only a general list of materials referenced, with no specific documentation for any piece of data. This copy contains photos, family biographies, and copies of newspaper clippings from local Ohio newspapers. Ms. Abbott passed away on 01 September 2009.[1] Current location of the original is unknown.


Document Description: Ann sent this “Strait Genealogy” to me when I corresponded with her in November of 2005 and early 2006. It is a blue, 3-hole report folder with a label on the front. (Pictured to the right.) There are seven 8-1/2 by 11 inch pages in total and she explained, “As you see, I do my genealogy a bit different. I like to read something about my ancestors so if I find interesting info I include it and hope it’s true.”[2] This is not a straight photocopy of the document as what she sent me includes some copies of photos on heavier card stock glued onto the 2nd and 4th pages. All the pages are single-sided except five and six which are on a single sheet.


Document Scan/Transcription: Since Ann has passed away and I don’t have permission from her family to share this with you, I won’t be able to show you the document in its entirety. Bummer, but it keeps me out of copyright trouble! I will provide a general description of what the document contains.

Page 1: Her first page begins with the first generation of Abraham and wife unknown coming from Holland. The six children are listed using the basic descendent report format. While family tree programs will do a nice job of automatically numbering for you, it helps to understand why things are organized the way they are. For a great book about genealogical numbering, please see Numbering Your Genealogy produced by the National Genealogy Society.[3]

She continues with the second generation and has some references listed at the bottom. They are:

  • J. Percy Crayon’s book, Rockaway Records published in 1902
  • Family files at Goshen, Orange County, N.Y. Public Library
  • Elaine M. Mason, Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania
  • Nancy J. Pascal, Ft. Pierce, Florida

However, Ann does not tell the reader what facts are associated with what references. This is not so unusual; J. Percy Crayon’s book does the same thing as do many home-compiled (published or not) family genealogies.

Page 2: Ann continues with the 3rd generation and has photos of James D. Strait, W. Sherman Strait, and Mary Doran Strait (mother) at the bottom of the page. The page is filled with narrative and mentions Abraham and Charlotte Comer, land deeds, the David Smith farm that the family purchased in Plain Township, Franklin County, Ohio, in 1855, and Maplewood Cemetery, New Albany, Ohio. No references are given on this page.

Page 3: The completion of the 3rd generation occurs on this page and the 4th generation begins with Dennis B. Strait, Ann’s great grandfather. There are no pictures or references on this page, just narrative about Dennis and his life.

Page 4: Continuing the 4th generation, this page has a line drawing of Dennis, a photocopy of his home, and the listing of Dennis and his wife Ann’s children are provided on this page. The line drawing of Dennis appears to be the same one found in the county history discussed last week. At the bottom,  Ann references:

  • N.A. Hist. Soc.
  • Fr. Co. Hist. Soc.
  • Josie Garner
  • family notes

Page 5: Provides the photos of Whitney Strait (top left), Cordelia (Strait) Ranney (top right), and Anna Eliza (Strait) Brooks (bottom left) along with a photo of Anna Eliza and her husband Lewis H. Brooks (bottom right). The last photo has a credit saying it is from grandson Clark Cubbage.

Page 6: This page has photocopies of what look to be clippings from mostly unidentified Ohio newspapers. All articles are about Dennis B. Strait or his children. The first clipping is dated 06 April 1891 and is a lengthy obituary with a crude line drawing most likely inexpertly copied from the fine line drawing above. The second article is a very short death notice about his daughter Dulcena. The third is a 1907 article from the one identified newspaper, the Ohio State Journal.  This article tells about a lamp explosion incident at the Dennis residence that happened 31 years ago. The fourth clipping is another obituary and dated 06 April 1891.

Page 7: This page continues with the 5th and 6th generations. It is all text and slightly confusing as it does not follow the neat presentation method of the family groups as found on page one. The bottom references the Ranney Genealogy.


Analysis: This short genealogy is a great example of an unpublished family history. I’m not sure if Ann provided her local genealogy society with a copy, gave/mailed copies to others, or where else it might reside but I am glad she shared it with me.

This is an authored work as Ann has a particular way of presenting her information that is unique to her. She chose what narratives, pictures, family facts, and references to include. She organized it and laid it out according to her own sensibilities. It is a hybrid of both original and derivative materials. Ann didn’t write the obituaries but chose to pick pieces out of them to enhance her narrative.

The information found in this compiled genealogy is either secondary or undetermined. Since there are no hard links to what facts go with what references Ann makes, there’s no way to determine the reliability or quality of the information provided. Her references to “Fr. Co. Hist. Soc.” could mean that she consulted any number of things or people at that Society. It is unknown if she was looking at vertical files, other people’s genealogies, books, letters, city directories, etc. As a good genealogist, this unpublished family history is a great jumping off point for the location of more original records. It’s a great clue book.

Depending on the multitude of research questions that can be crafted from this source, the evidence found here would be either direct (explicitly stating the answer) or indirect (needing other evidence) or negative. There’s just too much in here to classify it strictly in one classification or another.

CONCLUSION

Fortunately, for me, Ann was kind enough to share what she had on the Ohio branch of the Straits. I enjoyed reading her narratives and appreciated that she chose to include photos of the people discussed within it. The photos and narrative added to the story of the family and enriched my understanding of them.

Unfortunately, unpublished genealogies could be anywhere: historical societies, libraries, in personal files, on-line, and even languishing on some computer somewhere because some now-deceased author never chose to share it with others. Research and its results are made better when it is shared with others, discussed, analyzed and improved upon. You need to ask yourself: Where in the process am I with my genealogy? I encourage you to write up it up and get that sharing going!


[1] “Ann M. Abbott,” obituary, the Columbus Dispatch [Ohio], 01 September 2009, Online obituaries (www.legacy.com/NS/ : accessed 27 November 2012).
[2] Ann Ranney Abbott, Columbus, Ohio, to Jodi Lynn Strait, letter, 17 November 2005, regarding Strait genealogy; Personal Correspondence, 2005; Strait Family, Strait Document Files; privately held by Jodi Strait, Tucson, Arizona.
[3] Joan Ferris Curran, Madilyn Coen Crane, and John H. Wray, Numbering Your Genealogy: Basic Systems and Complex Families and International Kin, (Arlington, Virginia: National Genealogy Society, 2008).

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52 Documents in 52 Weeks #29 – Dennis B. Strait’s Biography

Person of Interest: Dennis B. Strait
Relationship: 1st cousin 5x removed (his grandparents are Abraham Strait married to Charlotte Comer, who are my 5th great-grandparents)


Source Citation: The History of Franklin and Pickaway Counties, Ohio, with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of the Some of the Prominent Men and Pioneers (n.p.: Williams Bros, 1880), 585.


Document Description: This is a biographical sketch within a larger body of work. Dennis B. Strait has a short biography on page 585 and he also has a lovely line drawing featured in the book along with his signature underneath. He is featured under the section titled “Biographical Sketches” starting on page 584.


Background on county histories: In the late nineteenth century, the writing of county histories blossomed as the country experienced a desire to celebrate the centennial of the country in 1876 along with a a surge in popularity of genealogy. These large tomes were published all over the country and are a wealth of information. The bi-centennial celebrated in 1976 also caused another increase in the publishing of county histories.

They contain detailed coverage of various topics including things like local histories, schools, churches, oral traditions of an area, associations, cemeteries, participants in the Civil War (or even Revolutionary), government and its structure, biographical sketches and illustrations of noted individuals, listings of public officials, descriptions/histories of long gone villages or towns, bodies of waters, business and industry data, geology of the area, lists of long-lived residents, weather, maps, roads and transportation, and much more.

Sometimes called brag or mug books, almost anyone could contribute their biography if they had the dollars to get it included. If the person was writing the biography he was contributing (or relaying the facts to a ghost writer), it was most likely favorable. No sense in publishing the dirty laundry when you could portray yourself as a fine, upstanding, industrious, and/or pious person.


Document Scan/Transcription:
Dennis B. Strait.
county commissioner, was born in the State of New Jersey, on May 20, 1824. He is the second of a family of eleven, the children of Abraham and Dulcena Strait, who removed to Franklin county in 1839. They located in Plain township, and here the mother died, not long after. The father died in June, 1862.

The education of the gentleman who is the subject of this sketch, was acquired at common schools, and was quite limited, owing to the fact that his parents were in indigent circumstances, and his being obliged, at an early age, to seek his own living. At the age of twenty years he struck out to battle with fortune, having rough but strong hands, and a brave heart to aid him. Accoumulating some means be sought and obtained the hand of Miss Ann, daughter of Caleb and Eliza Farmer, to whom he was married on November 20, 1851. Soon after he purchased one hundred acres of land in Plain township, this county; this, by industry and economy on the part of Mr. Strait, aided by his good wife, has been added to, until he now owns six hundred and twenty-five acres,

the greater part of which is under a profitable state of cultivation. His life work has been that of a farmer and stock raiser. Of the public life of Mr. Strait, the writer learns that he was first elected county commissioner in the fall of 1860, and served two terms of three years each. Upon the expiration of the second term he was appointed auditor of Franklin county, and it this capacity he served two years. In the fall of 1876 he was a third time elected to the office of commissioner, his term expiring in the fall of 1879. Politically, Mr. Strait is a firm adherent to the teachings of the Democratic Party. For the past twenty years he has been a member of the society of Free and Accepted masons.

His children are: Whitney, Cordelia (Mrs. B. Ranney), Ann Eliza, and Dulcena, and Edward L., who are deceased.


Analysis: This biographical sketch found in the Franklin county section of the book is a great source of genealogical information. We learn the following genealogy information from this sketch:

  • Dennis was born in New Jersey on 20 May 1824
  • Dennis’ parents were Abraham Strait and Dulcena whose maiden name is not revealed.
  • Dennis was one of eleven children
  • The family emigrated to Ohio in 1839
  • His mother Dulcena died shortly after 1839
  • His father Abraham died June 1862
  • Dennis married Ann Farber, the daughter of Caleb Farber and Eliza, on 20 November 1851
  • He purchased land Plain township, Franklin County, Ohio (100 acres which grew into 625 acres)
  • He was a farmer and stock raiser most of his life
  • Dennis was county commissioner from 1869 to 1874
  • Dennis was auditor of Franklin county 1874 to 1876
  • He was elected as commissioner again for a term that ran from 1876 until Fall of 1879
  • Dennis was in the order of the Free and Accepted Masons
  • Dennis and Ann had five children: Whitney, Cordelia, Ann Eliza, Dulcena, and Edward L.
  • Daughter Cordelia married a man named B. Ranney

Now that’s a pretty good start on the family of Dennis B. Strait if this happens to be the first document you ever come across. It gives you a place to look for his birth record (New Jersey), the clue that he had a number of siblings (10), an emigration to Ohio, a place to look for his mother’s death record and when (Ohio, sometime around 1839), a place to look for his father’s death record (Ohio, 1862), a place and date to locate a marriage record for him (Ohio, 1851) and the names of his children to explore further including birth and marriage records for them. Additionally, he was land owner so some deeds might provide useful information.

The source type is an authored work. As we look through the entire book, it most likely had multiple writers putting each of the sections together. The information in the book is undetermined as we can’t be sure if it is primary, secondary, or even tertiary or worse. There is a combination of direct (explicit), indirect (not explicit) and negative (not explicit or missing when it should be there) depending on the research question(s) asked.

CONCLUSION

The residence of Theo. Leonard, Sr. in Columbus, Ohio.

I’ve picked out a few of the illustrations from the book for you to peruse.

County histories are a great way to immerse yourself in life and times of your ancestors. They give a good overview of what it was like to live in the county at the time of its publication. Even if you’re lucky enough to have an ancestor that has a biographical sketch, don’t ignore the rest of the book. There may be maps with details or people pointed out that relate to your family. There may be business ads that relate to your relative’s business activities. The ancestor may be listed as a school teacher, military participant, or one of the oldest people still residing in the county. The oral traditions and geology of the county might explain why your relative got married in the county next door. It’s interesting to look at the clothing and hairstyles found in the line drawings.

Explore and don’t be afraid to learn some history!

Sunday’s Obituary – Ann May (Ranney) Abbott – Died 01-September-2009

Relationship to me: 4th cousin, 2x removed

This obituary was published din the Columbus Dispatch in September of 2009. It is available online at Legacy.com.

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ABBOTT –  Ann M. Abbott, age 87, of Columbus, died Tuesday, September 1, 2009 at her residence after a courageous battle with cancer. She was born January 23, 1922 in New Albany, Oh. to the late Clark, Sr. and Martha Ranney. She was a graduate of New Albany High School and was retired from Travelers Insurance. Ann will be greatly missed by her loving husband of 60 years, Harry Abbott; daughters, Susan Abbott of Dallas, Tex. and Diane Abbott of Columbus; sister, Carrie (George) McMillin of Columbus; brothers, B. Clark, Jr. (Donna) Ranney, Donald Ranney, Halden (Betty) Ranney, and Robert (Marlena) Ranney, all of Columbus, and brother, Ralph Ranney of Melbourne, Fla.; and numerous nieces and nephews. A memorial service will be held at 6 p.m. Saturday, September 5, 2009 at SCHOEDINGER NORTHWEST CHAPEL, 1740 Zollinger Rd., Columbus. Family will receive friends from 4-6 p.m. at the funeral home prior to the service. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Ann’s memory to the American Cancer Society , Franklin Co. Unit, 870 Michigan Ave., Columbus, Oh. 43215. To offer condolences to Ann’s family visit http://www.schoedinger.com.