Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Cluster Theory Clues - Witnesses to Wills & Co-signed Loans

Computer Classes every Sat. mornings 10-12. "Open House" Whatever you need. Drop in anytime during those two hours.

The Library will be CLOSED Tuesday, December 24, Christmas Eve. and December 25, Christmas Day. We will reopen on the 26th.

Genealogy tip for today: Cluster Theory - Who witnessed the will?

When you were a kid, did you ever run over to a group a kids that were looking at – wow – something special??? You and your friends all clustered around to see the ‘whatever’. You would ooh and aah over the found treasure!

As adults we still do the same thing – just maybe in more subtle ways, more ‘adult’ ways! You see this a lot in the 1700’s and the 1800’s probably more than in the last century or so. With this in mind, sometimes it is easier to find one person if you can find the other friend. One person may be hard to track, someone else much easier.

In the pioneer days, friends often moved with friends, or at least followed friends. Someone would find the Promised Land and come back and tell all his neighbors and off they go.

How can you tell when this happens? There are a variety of ways. This is a trick that I have used. See if you can find a will on the person you are researching. Now, when you get it, look at the names of those who witnessed the will. Folks do not take any ‘joe blow’ off the street to be a witness to their will. They will find a trusted friend or relative to do so.

Some folks have to have a co-signer for a loan. This, too, would be someone trusted, and most often a relative. If you are lucky and have found papers on a co-signed loan, check to see who co-signed with your person of interest. If you can do research on the co-signer it may help you find information on your ancestor who seems to escapes notice. Look for any other document or contract where there could be additional signers and see if that helps in your search.

Here's an example: Omar Crandall witnessed my proverbial Caleb Trask on his will. They were living in Pennsylvania at this point. I found where Omar Crandall came from in New York, and it is in the same ‘neck of the woods’ where Caleb Trask had once been.

So this is one trick you might try when tracking down someone elusive. Think ‘detective’! Try to pick up on every and any kind of clue you can think of to track down your family.

“History – it’s who we are; Genealogy – it’s who I am” sg

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Alfonso the Battler

Alfonso the Battler, the Christian King of Aragon captures Saragossa, Spain, causing a major blow to Muslim Spain.
Napoleon Bonaparte arrives in Paris after his disastrous campaign in Russia.
Nathan Bedford Forrest engages and defeats a Federal cavalry force near Lexington in his continued effort to disrupt supply lines.
Union General Ulysses S. Grant announces the organization of his army in the West. Sherman, Hurlbut, McPherson, and McClernand are to be corps commanders.
Slavery is abolished in the United States. The 13th Amendment is formally adopted into the U.S. Constitution, ensuring that "neither slavery nor involuntary servitude… shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."
In a single night, about 20,000 Australian and New Zealand troops withdraw from Gallipoli, Turkey, undetected by the Turks defending the peninsula.
The Battle of Verdun ends with the French and Germans each having suffered more than 330,000 killed and wounded in 10 months. It was the longest engagement of World War I.
Soviet leaders Lev Kamenev and Grigori Zinoviev break with Joseph Stalin.
Adolf Hitler issues his secret plans for the invasion of the Soviet Union–Operation Barbarossa.
Defended by 610 fighting men, the American-held island of Guam falls to more than 5,000 Japanese invaders in a three-hour battle.
Japan invades Hong Kong.
Adolf Hitler meets with Benito Mussolini and Pierre Laval.
Japanese forces are repelled from northern Burma by British troops.
North Koreans give the United Nations a list of 3,100 POWs.
Japan is admitted to the United Nations.
A rightist government is installed under Prince Boun Oum in Laos as the United States resumes arms shipments.
U.S. Marines attack VC units in the Que Son Valley during Operation Harvest Moon.
An atomic leak in Nevada forces hundreds of citizens to flee the test site.
President Richard M. Nixon declares that the bombing of North Vietnam will continue until an accord can be reached (Operation Linebacker II).
The European Economic Community and the Soviet Union sign an agreement on trade and economic communication.
California Gov. Gray Davis announces the state faces a record budget deficit; the looming $35 billion shortfall is almost double the amount reported a month earlier during the state's gubernatorial campaign.
Civil war begins in Chad with an rebel assault on in Adre; the rebels are believed to be backed by Chad's neighbor, The Sudan.
United Arab Emirates holds it first-ever elections.
In an opening act of Arab Spring, anti-government protests erupt in Tunisia.

Ty Cobb

Paul Klee, Swiss abstract painter.
Ty (Tyrus Raymond) Cobb, American baseball player, first man to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Willy Brandt, German political leader. Mayor of Berlin and Chancellor of West Germany.
Steven Spielberg, film director (E.T., Jurassic Park, and Schindler's List).
Brad Pitt, actor (12 Monkeys, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button).
Katie Holmes, actress (Dawson's Creek TV series, Batman Begins).

Word for the Day: Blandish




verb intr.: To coax with flattery.


From Latin blandiri (to flatter). Ultimately from the Indo-European root mel- (soft), which also gave us bland, melt, smelt, malt, mild, mulch, mollify, mollusk, emollient, enamel, smalto, and schmaltz. Earliest documented use: 1305.


"In his first speech in the Parliament, Mussolini insulted and blandished the legislature by turns."
Thomas Bokenkotter; Church and Revolution; Doubleday; 1998.

A person usually has two reasons for doing something: a good reason and the real reason. -Thomas Carlyle, historian and essayist (1795-1881)

Today’s Recipe

Holiday Cooking


 1 ½ c butter, softened
2 c white sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt



  1. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Roll out dough on floured surface ¼ to ½ inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
  3. Bake 6-8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely. Ice and Decorate.


Now You Know!