Posted in Ancestor Stories

The Baker/Arthur connection

Genealogy is full of surprises.  It could be finding out that you are related to someone famous.  I have also seen where two friends ended up being distantly related!  There are all kinds of fun surprises and for the most part, that is what keeps a genealogist going.

What happens, though, when those surprises seem a little off-putting?  What if you’re related to the biggest traitor in American history?  (Yeah, let’s not talk about that one).  What do you do if you find out your parents are related?  Yep, this was my big surprise moment.  What in the world do I do now?  Does this explain why some of my joints a double-jointed?!  Genealogy is just like life, you have to take the good with the bad.

*Cue the Facts of Life theme song here*

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First of all, let me start by explaining that where my parents are connected is far enough down the line that it really doesn’t matter.  They are somewhere in the arena of 8th cousins and many, many, many times removed.

I began this discovery by researching my maternal Baker line.  My 2nd Great Grandmother was a Baker (Stella Alice Baker) and her line had me researching in the Eastern Kentucky area.  I was curious to see where exactly this line would take me. I found Stella’s father John William Baker who lead me to his father John Baker and then to George Thompson Baker and on to Brice Baker.  It was my discovery of Brice Baker that gave me a little pause.

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It seems that Brice, my maternal 6x Great Grandfather, married a woman by the name of Mary Arthur.  Wait a second, I thought, I’m an Arthur.  Is it possible that I’m just related to Arthur surname on both sides of my family?!  This wouldn’t be the first time.  I have several surnames that appear on both my maternal and paternal side of may family.  As I’m sure most who are doing their family research have discovered.  So, just out of curiosity, I hopped over to Mary’s family to see what I could find out about her Arthur line.

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I didn’t find a connection anywhere until I found Mary’s 2x Great Grandfather, Thomas Barnabus Arthur (1680-1715).  When I attempted to enter Thomas’ information into my tree, it showed that he was already there.  That was strange!  When I looked at his children, it seemed that I was already related to his one son, John Arthur.  After connecting the dots, John was my 8th Great Grandfather on my paternal side.  That meant that Thomas Barnabus Arthur was the bridge that connected my maternal and paternal sides!  Talk about mind being blown!

After sharing this information with my family, a new joke started.  They like to tease me and say that if I keep researching, I’m going to be my own Grandma!

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Posted in The Want Ads

Wanted: Who’s Coming To Dinner?

To get the Want Ads kicked off, I thought I’d be a little self serving and share a picture that I’ve been struggling with.

IMG_2292.jpgThis picture includes my 2x Great Grandmother, Stella Alice Baker Martin (m. Frank Martin).  She is the second from the left and sitting with her arm on the table.  Stella was born in Laurel County, Kentucky (1895) and lived in Knox and Harlan Counties in Kentucky.  I’m assuming this picture was taken in one of those counties.  Her father was Reverend John William Baker.

This picture sits in my kitchen and every time I walk by it, I want to figure out who these people are!  Haha!  I’ve asked my family members and nobody seems to know…except that Stella is in this picture.

If you have any ideas, suggestions, or contacts please share in the comments section or send an email to coolgirgenealogy@gmail.com and remember, I’m always looking for items to post in the Want Ads!

Posted in Genealogy 101, Tuesday's Tips

What Are You Fighting For?

 

Yes, I know it’s Wednesday and I’m just now posting “Tuesday’s Tip”.  You can blame the NHL playoffs for that! Haha 🙂

Anyways…this week I have been showcasing Thompson Baker.  You have already read about his time in Union army during the Civil War.  That brings us to today’s tip!  Always look…and read…the pension papers!

You never know what you may find in pension papers.  Look for both the soldier’s and his/her spouse.  For example, Nancy Henderson Baker, Thompson’s wife, applied for the widow’s pension.  In her statement, she verified not only that she was married to Thompson, but the date, place, and person who married them.  (A copy of that page of her statement is below).  Sometimes in pension papers you will find children’s names, ages, and if you are lucky enough, who they married.

My favorite place to search for pension records, and really any type of military record, is http://www.Fold3.com

…and when you find these documents, make sure you actually read them!

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Posted in Ancestor Stories

George Thompson Baker: Age Doesn’t Matter

This week’s “Sunday Spotlight” is George Thompson Baker, the son of Brice Baker and Mary Arthur.  Thompson Baker was born in 1809 in Knox County, Kentucky and was the youngest of seven children.

Thompson married Nancy Henderson on October 31, 1829 at her father’s (John Henderson) home in Knox County.  Thompson and Nancy would have a total of 11 children: John (m. Elizabeth Rogers), James Madison (m. Martha Agnes Butcher), Mary, Andrew Jackson, William (m. Emily Martha Tompkins), Emily (m. William Clark), Mahala (m. John Clark), Elizabeth, Pleasant Martin, Eleanor, and Nancy.

The most notable aspect of Thompson Baker was his support of the Union army during the Civil War.  It is noted that in his community in Knox County, he was known as a staunch Unionist.  His views on the War would cause him to do something that most men his age wouldn’t dare.  At the age of 54, Thompson would accompany his son, Andrew Jackson, to Camp Dick Robinson in Kentucky to enlist in the Union army.

Shortly before he was mustered into the Army, Thompson wrote his will.  In it he stated, “Expecting in a short time to be exposed to many dangers and being desires to settle my worldly affairs have made and ordained this my last will and testament…”  It seems that Thompson knew how dangerous the war would be for a man his age.  Thompson and Andrew would be officially mustered into the Union army on September 22, 1861.

Thompson and Andrew, along with the rest of the Kentucky Volunteer Infantry, would see action in not only Kentucky, but also Ohio, West Virginia, Tennessee and Mississippi.  In 1863, Thompson would fall ill to smallpox and be treated at a hospital near Louisiana.  A few months later, Thompson was transferred to the R.C. Wood Military Hospital Steamer on the Mississippi River just outside of Memphis, Tennessee.  According to documents, Thompson would die in June of 1863.  The official cause of death was listed as dysentery.  It seems that Thompson knew his fate was sealed when he wrote his last will and testament.

Thompson’s widow, Nancy, did not find out about his death until a year later.  It is noted that the body was never returned home.  It is more than likely that Thompson is buried at one of the “unknown” sites in the Memphis Military Cemetery.

While there isn’t too many details about why Thompson was such a staunch Unionist, you have to respect a man who will stand up for what he believes in.  I would be interested to know if he joined the army because his son Andrew did, or maybe it was just something he felt strongly that he needed to do.  While we may never know what led to his decision, George Thompson Baker is definitely an ancestor to be proud of and one that did not let his age stand in his way.

George Thompson Baker’s lineage is:

George Thompson Baker – Nancy Henderson

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John Baker – Elizabeth Rogers

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John William Baker – Melissa Charity Tompkins

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Stella Alice Baker – Frank Martin