Wednesday, January 20, 2016

52 Weeks/52 Ancestors, Week 2 - Thomas Christopher McNally

Thomas Christopher McNally is my 2x Great Grandfather on my paternal name line. He was the son of Christopher McNally and Rosanna Pearson. He was born 6 January 1852 in Bedford county, Pennsylvania, the oldest of Christopher and Rosanna's children.

He married Anna Martha Myers on 28 July 1875 at St Patrick's Catholic Church in Newry, Blair County Pennsylvania. This apparently was not a full Catholic ceremony, as the Church record indicate that Anna was a Protestant and I know from other records she was a life long member of the Brethren Church. They had three children - Richard (my great-grandfather), Thomas Jr., and Augustus.

Besides their three natural children , Thomas and Anna "adopted" a young man named Harry Malone some time before 1900, as he is enumerated with them in 1900 and 1910. I have e-mail correspondence where I was working with another family researcher to untangle Harry's details - maybe I'll do a separate post about Harry to try to sort him out. 

The point of this story is that I think it demonstrates one aspect of Thomas's character - his generosity, which he learned from his parents. It is no small act of generosity to take in a child. 

According to a report in the Altoona Tribune from 1906, a Thomas McNally from Roaring Spring, Pennsylvania was injured by a railroad car, causing the loss of his foot. I have not been able to determine if Thomas Christopher or his son Thomas was the one injured, as they both lived in Roaring Spring and both worked for the railroad doing manual labor at different times.  Thomas Christoper would have been 54 and his son Thomas would have been 26 at the time of the accident, so both are possibilities.  If anyone has ideas about how to sort this out, I'm listening.

Thomas died 16 September 1912 in Taylor Township, Blair County, Pennsylvania.  His death certificate lists asthma as the primary cause of death.  He was buried at the St. Patrick's Cemetery in Newry, Blair County, Pennsylvania in an unmarked grave. Extracts from church records indicate that his brother Richard and his sister Lavina are buried in the same grave.  At the least, there are stones marking those graves, so the location of his burial is not lost.   

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

52 Ancestors/52 Weeks, Week 1 - Wallace Kinder

For my first "52 Ancestors/52 Weeks" entry, I'm going to discuss one of my wife's ancestors - her grandfather (my children's great-grandfather), Wallace Kinder.

I never had the opportunity to meet Wally, as he passed away long before I ever knew my wife, when she was a child, but I have many stories about him from my extended in-law family, and he seems like he was quite a character.

Wallace Kinder was born 9 July 1918 to Otis Harry Kinder and Lillian Mae Eisnaugle. He had one sibling, an older brother Donald, who died 20 February 1926 at the age of 10, when Wally was only 7.  I'm told that fact and the death of his father were the formative events of his youth.

His father died 27 November 1934, when Wally was 16. Family lore says that Otis died of a heart attack after going out on a cold day to kill a chicken for dinner after Wally refused to do the deed. I was told that Wally carried guilt from this event for many years.

He married Janet Louise Reeg on 8 August 1936, and like so many men of his generation, he served in the Army during World War II.  After the war he worked for Rockwell International building "clean rooms".  In a story told by one of his daughters, in the late 1950's he traveled to Roswell, New Mexico for work.  He would never discuss the particulars of this trip, which was out of character for Wally, who loved to tell stories - he occasionally asked why someone would need television or radio if he was around to tell stories.

He died 28 January 1989, after a battle with cancer.

At the beginning of this post, I stated I never met him.  This might not be entirely true.  The house I grew up in until the age of 10 had a small path behind it for utility access.  This path also got used by residents for quick trips to the convenience store and local pizza place.  On the other side of the path, directly behind my house, was the house where Wally and Janet lived - effectively, he was my back fence neighbor. It is more than likely that at some point in the years I lived there that I saw or spoke with Wally and Janet, at least in passing.  I just had no way of knowing at the time that he would be the grandfather of my future wife.

A note on this entry - I acknowledge that this post is lean on source citations.  Hopefully, that will improve as the year progresses, particularly as I discuss people more remote in time.  Thanks.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

A New Year, a New Approach

I've done resolutions for the last few years, with varying degrees of success.  I could analyze why they have or have not succeeded, but that won't further my genealogy, so I'm not going there.  What I am going to do is take a different approach this year and participate in a weekly blogging challenge - 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.  This challenge has been going on since at least 2014, started by Amy Johnson Crow ( (but I could be mistaken about that and will gladly attribute the correct person if necessary).  The plan is to make a blog post on this challenge every Wednesday starting January 13th, with an extra post somewhere to make up for starting a week late.  I plan to have other posts as well, and I'm hoping for more activity in general in 2016.

I'm also going to be doing the year long "Genealogy Do-Over", a program started by Thomas MacEntee ( of the Geneablogger web site.  There should be at least one post near the end of each month going over what was accomplished on the progaram.  I' already behind on this, so I need to get moving on that.
Looking back at 2015 for a few moments now.  I'm not going to sugar coat it - 2015 was a year of stark contrasts.  We took our first real family vacations this year with my little dudes, building great memories and having lots of fun.  This was tempered, however, by the death's of my father and both maternal grandparents within the span of three months.  I've tried to write a few times about them, but each time, I've found it to be too soon.  The 52 Ancestors will be in no particular order, so it seems likely I'll include them at some point in the year.

Here's looking to a great 2016, full of family fun and good genealogy.