Monday, February 24, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Archibald Sawyer (1795-1880)

Archie Sawyer, my great great-grandfather, is a man of mystery. He shows up as Archibald Sayard in the 1830 Federal Census living in Cocke County, Tennessee census. A grown man, age 30-39, with a house full of women and children. Another Archibald Sawyers, aged 70-79, is enumerated on the same page. According to later census data Archie was born about 1795 in South Carolina. Just to make this more interesting there are two similar James Sawyers families enumerated a couple of pages later.

1830 Census listing showing two Archibald Sawyer/Sayers/Sayard listings
Ten years later, I believe Archie is living with my great-great grandmother, Sallie Killian, their eldest two children, his son, her daughter and three other children. Sallie is the only adult woman in the household. The second household, no longer listed on the same page, appears to now be headed by Rebecca or Bricka Sawyer. The elder Archibald appears to have died.

An aside. The presumed death of old Archibald corresponds very nicely with the death in 1839 of a Revolutionary War pensioner, Lewis Sawyer, in Cocke County. A man who does not appear in any Cocke County census. Except his name is NOT Archibald. James Sawyer also loses an elderly man, aged 80-89 in the 1830 census. And names a son Lewis. Of course, I don't know what Archie named those children living with him in 1830.

1840 Cocke County, TN census

By 1850, Archie and Sallie's household reflects the family I know, family my great-grandfather Gee Sawyer, his brothers and sisters considered their own. They claimed Sallie's daughter, Linnie, and Archie's son, James, as their own, never distinguishing them from the full brothers and sisters. Which led to more than a little confusion when I began researching.

The confusion lingers. Just who are those people living with Archie in 1830? I assume brother James, born about 1820, is one of the boys. I have no idea who the others are. None. In 1840 the women, oldest girl, and one male child are no longer in the household. That leaves one boy and two girls, all aged 10 to 14 years old, living with Archie and Sallie. Three people of whom no mention has ever been made in my family.

So who are these folks, Archie? These people you sheltered in 1830 and 1840. Where are they hiding? I am hoping DNA testing may lead to some clues.

Written for Amy Johnson Crow's blogger challenge 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

  • Alta Sawyer Palmer, The Sawyer Family, Third Edition (Morristown, Tennessee: Privately published, 1986).
  • 1830 U.S. census, Tennessee, Cocke, p. 245, line 4, Archibald Sayard; digital images, (accessed 24 Feb 2014); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M19, roll 180. 
  • 1840 U.S. census, Tennessee, Cocke,, p. 262, Archabald Sawyers; digital images, (accessed 16 Jan 2014); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M704, roll 518.  
  • 1850 U.S. census, population schedule, Tennessee, Cocke, District 11, p. 423A, dwelling 1142, family 1142, Arch Sangers or Sawyer; digital images, ( accessed 16 Jan 2014); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M432, roll 874.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Isabella Bryson McAdams Hale (1776-1855)

One of the first ancestors to capture my imagination was my 4th great-grandmother Isabella or Ibby Bryson. I first learned about her when I was 12 years old. According to information handed down in the family she was born 14 September 1776 to John Bryson and Margaret Carson. Her father died shortly after her birth in July 1778. Her poetic name, 1776 birth date and a father who died during, though not necessarily in the Revolutionary War sparked adolescent speculation about her life. When I grew up and began seriously researching my family she was one of my first projects.

I learned then, and continue to learn, that what I know is far surpassed by what I do not. What I know (or at least believe I can support) is that Ibby married Hugh McAdams in June of 1800 in Greene County, TN. The family record lists the date as 12 June 1800. A register of marriage licenses and bonds now available online gives a date of 9 June 1800. They had five children - Margaret (b. 1802), Mary (b. 1804), Thomas Cunnningham (b. 1806), Samuel Bryson (b. 1809) and Jane (b. 1811) - before Hugh's death on 13 December 1814 in Washington County, TN. Hugh's estate documents suggested he had been a cabinet maker. I have since learned that he may have been an influential cabinet maker. A PhD candidate at Middle Tennessee State University is examining his work for her thesis. I look forward to her analysis.

One year after Hugh's death Ibby married a widower, Joseph Hale. Their daughter Louisa was born about 1817. Learning of Louisa's birth was startling to me. She is not mentioned in the seemingly comprehensive family record passed on by her half-brother Thomas.

In 1816 Ibby's only known sibling, Samuel Bryson, died without having married. She was the executor for his estate. Ibby is mentioned in her husband Joseph Hale's will. According to the family record she died on 1 June 1855 and was buried in Fairview Cemetery with the children of her sons Thomas and Samuel. Standing at her grave was one of the most emotional moments of any of my research trips.

I do not know where she was born or when she came to Tennessee. Son Thomas stated she was born in Pennsylvania in the 1880 census. Son Samuel said Virginia. I do not know if Carson was her mother's maiden name. I suspect not since the only mention of her in the family record is of her death in a listing where the other women are listed by their married names. I have no information on her father beyond his presumed existence and death. I have never found any documentation that names a John Bryson or Margaret Carson that I could tie to Ibby's parents. I am not even certain of her date of death, for she is nowhere to be found in the 1850 census.

I cannot connect her with any of the established Bryson or Carson families found in the area. I have not made any DNA connections that point clearly to Ibby, though she is high on my most wanted list. I assume she was Scots-Irish, assume she was associated with the Presbyterian church, though her second marriage was performed by a Baptist minister. I hope to learn more about her parents, but their lives on the 18th c. frontier make that problematic.

Written for Amy Johnson Crow's blogger challenge 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.


  • 1880 U.S. census, population schedule, Tennessee, Washington, District 16, enumeration district (ED) 035, p. 549A, dwelling 6, family 6, McAdams, Samuel; digital images, ( : accessed 14 Feb 2014); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T9, roll 1284. 
  • 1880 U.S. census, population schedule, Tennessee, Washington, District 17, enumeration district (ED) 035, p. 663B, dwelling 263, family 272, McAdams, Thomas C.; digital images, ( : accessed 14 Feb 2014); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T9, roll 1284. 
  • FamilySearch, "Tennessee Marriages, 1796-1950," database, FamilySearch ( : accessed 14 Feb 2014), entry for Izabel Brisson. 
  • FamilySearch, "Tennessee, Marriages, 1796-1950," index( : accessed 14 Feb 2014), Joseph Hale and Ibby Mc Adams. 
  • Washington, Tennessee, Probate Court Books, 1795-1927 Vol. 00: 328, Hugh McAdams Estate, 6 Nov 1815; digital images, Family Search ( : accessed 14 Feb 2014). 
  • Washington, Tennessee, Probate Court Books, 1795-1927 Vol. 00: 342, Samuel Brisons Estate, 22 Oct 1816; digital images, Family Search ( : accessed 14 Feb 2014). 
  • Washington, Tennessee, Probate Court Books, 1795-1927 Inventories, 1844-1857, Vol. 02: 530, Joseph Hale Estate, 24 Jan 1856; digital images, Family Search ( : accessed 29 Jan 2014).

Sunday, February 9, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Stefan Papp, Csendőrs

My grandfather, Stephen Popp or Stefan Papp, was a state policeman, a csendőrs in Hungary before he emigrated to the United States shortly after World War I. He served in the rural area near his home in the Chust district of Máramaros, patrolling on horseback. Today the region is part of the Transcarpathian district of Ukraine.

This photograph is of him in his csendőrs uniform. He is a sergeant, wearing a badge for Patrol Leader and two medals, the Long Service Cross for non-commissioned officers and the commemorative cross for the 60th anniversary of Franz Josef's reign issued in 1908. The bars or strafes on his sleeve indicate eight years of service.

Dating the photograph was a bit of a challenge. Since he had been awarded the commemorative cross it was clearly after 1908. The uniform collar design suggests it was taken before World War I. His soldiers book says he entered military service in 1904. The Gendarmerie were drawn from the military. I am estimating the photograph was taken about 1912 when he would have been about 30 years old.

I believe this is the earliest photograph we have of my grandfather. It corroborates what I have been told by his children about his life in Europe before coming to America. I am curious about the ring he appears to be wearing. He was not married then. I have a ring he left when he died, but don't know if it was the one he was wearing in this photograph. 

I used the wonderful website Austro-Hungarian Land Forces 1848-1918 created by Glenn Jewison and Jörg C. Steiner to find out more about the medals, decorations and uniforms of the Hungarian military and gendarmerie.

Written for Amy Johnson Crow's blogger challenge 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: George Sedor (1882-1963)

I am expanding my definition of ancestors this week to include cousins. My research efforts the last few weeks have been driven by my renewed interest in DNA matches. I have been scouring, with success, Old Fulton NY Postcards,, and FamilySearch for easily accessible records that will provide a paper trail linking my father to some new matches.

I was told that my grandmother Anna Pereksta had two maternal first cousins in Binghamton, NY where she lived after emigrating to the United States.

This photograph from one of her photo albums is labeled "Mom and Mr. Sedor (first cousin) at Saranac". My aunt had later told me that this was George Sedor. However, given the abundant numbers of George Sedors or Szidors or Citars or Sidors or Scidors appearing in Broome County, NY census records, I still wasn't sure which George to claim. 

So I was particularly pleased when one of my father's matches listed Sedor and Binghamton in his profile. He turned out to be descended from George Sedor and Mary Zubal. Having a name for one of the George's wives was all I needed to zoom on in a specific George. I corresponded excitedly with one of my match's cousins for several days comparing notes and histories.

Sedor, George. Photograph. 1949. Digital image. Privately held by Susan Popp Clark, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] St. Louis, MO. 2014.  And then we exchanged photographs. I sent her the photograph of our grandparents in taken at Saranac Lake after the Spanish Flu epidemic. She sent me a photograph of her grandparents and their children in 1949. As wonderful as the census data and newspaper articles are there is something altogether different about having photographs. Especially when there is shared DNA.

There he is. George Sedor, my first cousin, twice removed. Another one of the pivotal people in our history. Yes, as my new-found cousin pointed out, like my grandparents, he started life as a peasant and spent his working life making shoes in a factory. But his children's lives were far different than if he had remained in the Carpathian village of his birth.

His obituary tells the story.
Father of 4 Firemen, Sedor Rites Thursday
Survivors Include Chief 
Funeral service will be held Thursday for George Sedor, Sr. of 5 Jones Street, father of Binghamton Fire Chief John A. Sedor and three other Triple Cities firemen.
Mr. Sedor died yesterday morning at Wilson Memorial Hospital after a long illness. He was 81 years old.
Born in Czechoslovakia (then Austria-Hungary) in 1883, Mr. Sedor came to America at the turn of the century. He was a retired Endicott-Johnson employe.
MR. SEDOR was married to the late Mary Zubal and was a member of the Holy Spirit Catholic Church.
He is survived by three daughters, Mrs. Gregory (Anna) Cytch, Linden, N. J. and Mrs. John (Mary) Hlopko and Mrs. Robert (Helen) Tobey, both of Binghamton; five sons, John, George, Jr., and Steven, all of Binghamton; William, Jersey City, N. J., and Andrew, Endicott.
Also a sister, Mrs. Anna Gabok, Auburn; 17 grandchildren; nine great-grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews.
George Sedor, Jr. and Steven are members of the Binghamton Fire Department. Andrew is a member of the Endicott Fire Department.
FUNERAL SERVICES  will be held at 8:30 a.m. Thursday at the Greskovic Funeral Home, 161 Clinton Avenue, and at 9 a.m. at Holy Spirit Catholic Church. Burial will be in Holy Spirit Cemetery.
Friends may call at the funeral home tomorrow and Wednesday from 2 to 4 and  to 9 p.m. The Reverend Alexander P. Maczkov, pastor of Holy Spirit Church, will hold prayer services at the funeral home at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Written for Amy Johnson Crow's blogger challenge 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

Anna Pereksta and George Sedor photograph, c. 1919, Popp Family photographs and papers, 1930-1990; privately held by Susan Popp Clark, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] St. Louis, MO. 2005.  

Sedor, George. Photograph. 1949. Digital image. Privately held by Susan Popp Clark, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] St. Louis, MO. 2014. Published with permission of the owner of the original photograph.

 "Father of 4 Firemen, Sedor Rites Thursday," Binghamton Press, 16 Dec 1963, Evening Edition, p. 21, col. 7; digital images, Old Fulton NY Postcards ( : accessed 23 Jan 2014), Historical New York Newspapers.