SNGF: Who is Your MRUA?  

Posted by Abba-Dad in , , , , ,

Randy over at Genea-Musings has another great Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge for us tonight:

  1. Who is your MRUA - your Most Recent Unknown Ancestor? This is the person with the lowest number in your Pedigree Chart or Ahnentafel List that you have not identified a last name for, or a first name if you know a surname but not a first name.
  2. Have you looked at your research files for this unknown person recently? Why don't you scan it again just to see if there's something you have missed?
  3. What online or offline resources might you search that might help identify your MRUA?
  4. Tell us about him or her, and your answers to 2) and 3) above, in a blog post, in a comment to this post, or a comment on Facebook or some other social networking site.
As usual I will split this into my ancestry and then my wife's.

My MRUAs are half of my eight 2nd-great-grandmothers (no maiden names):
21. Hanna Minka Smorgonski
23. Ita Segalchik
29. Sarah Zinberg
31. Miriam Benditovich

For the first two, on my father's side, I only have my sister's roots project family tree as well as Yad-Vashem pages of testimony for their children, listing them as the mothers. I have not been able to track down any other information from JewishGen or family members about these two women.
The other two are on my mother's side and all I have for them is oral history from my grandmother. Both of them were her grandmothers, but she can not recall their maiden names. I suppose I could try my grandmother's brother, but since he is younger I don't think he will be able to help me either.

On my wife's side, I was surprised to find that her MRUA is also her 2nd-great-grandmother, Maria Kearney (also number 31 with maiden name unknown). This is obviously due to me not doing enough research on this branch. Here's what I know about her:

She was born in Ireland in January 1843 and immigrated to the US in 1847 at the age of 4. She married Thomas Kearney (born 1840, Ireland) about 1868 and had 4 they had at least 4 children: Thomas Jr. (born April 1876), James (born July 1878), Mary (born May 1880) and Margaret T. (born 27 Dec 1882). Most of this basic information was found in an interview done in 2000 with Agnes Auth, who was her granddaughter. I also found some of the family in the US Census, but it's obvious to me that with a little digging I will be able to find a lot more information about Maria.

The difference in information about my side versus my wife's is staggering. Especially because my wife's ancestors have been in the US for centuries and almost every line is well documented. I mean, if I pull up my pedigree chart, I have only 9 out of 32 people in my 6 generation chart and most of those are unconfirmed first name only ancestors. My wife, on the other hand, is only missing 8. I have done some basic research on some of her branches and they easily go back to early the 1600's colonial settlements. I also know she is descended of several Revolutionary War patriots. The next challenge is documenting all this properly and citing all sources correctly. That will take a very long time.

"The Lost Symbol" and a Freemason in our tree  

Posted by Abba-Dad in , , ,

I just finished reading the latest Dan Brown novel "The Lost Symbol" and wanted to share my thoughts. I've read all of Dan Brown's novels so far and I have to say this one is pretty good. There were definitely some twist and turns that I kind of expected as well as some that were a little surprising. I won't give anything away, but I think intelligent readers will figure most of it out pretty easily.

What was interesting to me was that the whole plot takes place in a limited geographical location and over a very short time period. This is a testament to Brown's writing ability because the characters are very well developed and you still get sucked into the plot easily. I also had a feeling that he wrote the book almost like a screenplay, I guess that would make it easy to eventually make this into a movie at some point in the near future.

I love how you never know what's real and what's fiction in Brown's books. Although he mentions that all locations are real, you still have a strange feeling that some of it has to be fiction. Could these images and places actually exist and be out there in plain sight for all to see? I guess so.

This novel revolves around the Masonry and Freemasons. I've somehow always been aware of this fraternal group, but never gave them a lot of thought. Just a bunch of guys in aprons sitting around and talking about religion, right? Well, not according to this book or any of the numerous conspiracy theories out there. You can find a lot of information (and mis-information) out there these days. You just have to Google it.

While scanning some cemetery photos a couple of weeks ago I noticed that my wife's 2nd-great grandfather's headstone had a Masonic symbol on it:

I then went to check out his obituary:
Atlanta Constitution - 1/12/1910 - Rev. Milton B. Tuggle died at a private sanitarium yesterday afternoon. He lived at 17 Ashland Avenue. He is survived by his wife and five children, Mrs. Mary King, Mrs. Vining, Dave G. Vining, Mrs. Princey Mines and Paul L. Tuggle. The funeral will be at 2:30 pm from Barclay & Brandon's chapel, the Gate City lodge, No 2, Masons, being in charge. Interment will be in Oakland Cemetery.
So I did a quick Google search for Gate City Lodge, No 2 and found out they actually have a website and a blog. You can navigate those pages and see who the current members are as well as the history of the lodge and more. Apparently they have been in the news lately for filing a civil suit against the Grand Lodge of Georgia:
The Grand Lodge of Georgia Free and Accepted Masons, a fraternal organization, is being sued by an Atlanta chapter and its senior officer who say the group’s state leaders are trying to disband the local affiliate because it accepted a black man as a member.
You can read more about that here. Anyway, they withdrew their suit and all is well I guess.

I also found a contact email and sent them an email to see if they have any information about Milton Tuggle that they could share. I have never gone down this path before and not sure where it will lead just yet, but I hope I can get some more information this way.

Do you have any Masons in your tree? Any interesting stories or experiences? Let me know in the comments.