Much has been happening on the research front but very little of it has made it to the web yet. As I work to bring our citations up to standard I am frequently sidetracked by new leads. The project itself is overwhelming. More importantly though, I am still sorting out which family members will be included in my certification portfolio and which will not. The prohibition against collaboration in the portfolio leads me to hold off blogging some of our more recent discovers. Peer review of portfolio families is also against the rules. That leaves me in a bit of a quandry for what to blog about. I can give you some general ideas of what is happening for now.


CathcartGeorgeH, IN

I don’t think much of the Cathcart line will make it into the portfolio.  So much work has been done on this family by others I am essentially back sourcing and verifying conclusions which makes it inappropriate for submission. If anything, this line might provide a conflicting evidence case study but so far, none of merit have materialized.

George Hume Cathcart continues to challenge me. Doing business in Charleston, died in Columbia, buried in Winnsboro – and not a probate record in any of those places. He left minor children behind such that at the very least, guardianship papers might be expected. Time to dig into the laws of the era to truly understand what records might have been generated and where, even in an intestate case. Speaking of the law, I am trying to pull together all available records for Wardlaw, Walker and Burnside v. Harrison.This case began before G. H. Cathcart’s death and ended after it. It spoke to his insolvency in 1858 and it continued on up to the Supreme Court of South Carolina. My hope is that the earliest case transcripts might include testimony of G. H. Cathcart himself with possible information of genealogical value. Fingers crossed. Next trip to South Carolina Department of History and Archives will focus on land rather than probate records.


McDonnellTerrence, IN

All 11 of Mary G. (Wilcock) McDonnell’s children are now accounted for. Aunt ViVi was a twin whose birth name was Kate. Her sister, Josephine, died a day after their birth.

I am so excited to begin getting my eyes on Terrence McDonnell’s probate records. I know which will book microfilm to bring in but the real meat and potatoes is in the inventory and appraisal books of which there are multiple entries. Still ferreting this out. My hope is that in addition to providing for his wife and children he will have bequeathed to his siblings as well, thereby confirming the relationship conclusions I’ve already made.


BeirnMichaelF, IN

While I already have a copy of Micheal Beirn’s will from Cape May – which fails to mention any siblings – I hope to again focus on the inventory and appraisal books to find possible relatives. I will also seek Sarah (Caslin) Beirn’s will. She may identify Caslin or Beirn relatives in relation to her children’s future.

Another trip to Cape May is in order (oh dread, wink-wink). The actual Perry Street address has been identified for which I would like to run the deed. There is also the matter of 911 Ocean Avenue and the Miller Farm to be resolved with a deed search.


WilcoxMaryG, IN

I’ve recently been in touch with a distant cousin working on the Wilcock line. She was able to provide me with a good lead on one of Mary G (Wilcock) McDonnell’s nephews. I was able to provide her with marriage evidence she had been looking for. Though she found me at rather than here I am still very grateful for the connection.


After a long hard slog by some dedicated Records Access Advocates, Pennsylvania is finally making available death certificated from 1906-1966. Researchers are obligated to scour the indices themselves to determine the actual file number needed. Wait times for response are out to 25 weeks. This is the biggest obstacle to my portfolio submission at this time. I need those death certificates if I’m to use either the Beirn or McDonnell lines in my portfolio submission.

A trip to Philadelphia for both deed and cemetery work is also in order. The Mead and Catherine Street addresses are of most pressing interest as they may provide relational evidence between Terrence McDonnell and his presumed mother Letitia. I’d also very much like to run 108 S 38th Street to see if I can’t rectify a long-held family misconception. But that is a story for another day. It will be important to get plot deeds and interment cards for the McDonnell obelisk. I’d like to know just who is buried there. Also, I’d like to try a foil technique on the Beirn headstone before the relief completely wears away.

I hope to be able to share these stories with you in their entirety very soon. For now though most of what you see will be changes to the database.