Sunday, February 11, 2018

A Rolling Stone for Sure

(By Candice Buchanan, Greene Connections Archivist)

Family reunions come in all forms when you are heart-deep in genealogy: DNA matches, brick-wall breakthroughs, friend-requests from long lost cousins. This week, my tree had the benefit of such an unexpected reunion, in rather a unique form.

One section of is devoted to identifying area cemeteries. Many volunteers contribute regularly to posting photos and improving listings via this section's specific links to When a contributor offers suggested edits to a grave listing on the site, the volunteer managing the grave's page receives an email. Such an email arrived last week with an unusual entreaty. The volunteer advised that he had added a tombstone photo to the entry for Elizabeth Young in Mt. Zion Cemetery, which is located in Castile, Morgan Township, Greene County, Pennsylvania. However, this was not an ordinary image addition. I had visited the graveyard looking for that very stone in 2013 and found it to be missing. The volunteer explained why that had been the case. Elizabeth's memorial had been photographed by him, not in Pennsylvania where she rests, but in North Carolina, where it graces the yard of a friend! The stone had been found abandoned in a ditch with other markers, while the current owner was passing through Pennsylvania. Finding it in good condition, it was rescued. Not knowing where it belonged or why it had been so neglected, it was resurrected in it's new home.

The Find a Grave volunteer photographed it and searched for a listing that matched the criteria presented in the inscription as well as a relevant location. His note to me was to ask if I agreed with his conclusion that this stone and my Elizabeth Young posting were a match.

Elizabeth Young, was not just any entry in my work on the site. She is my 7th-great-grandmother! When James and Dorothy Hennen recorded the inscriptions at Mt. Zion in 1977, Elizabeth's stone was next to that of her daughter Mary (Young) McGinnis, and Mary's husband Joseph McGinnis. Joseph and Mary are my 6th great-grandparents. This couple is often mixed up and misrepresented in McGinnis family trees because another Joseph McGinnis had lived in the same era, though different geography and family; that Joseph's heirs have an unfortunate habit of linking him as the son of John McGinnis and Sarah Clark, pushing my poor ancestor, the proven child of John and Sarah, out of existence. As such, I was anxious to document and photograph these three stones to show some physical proof in addition to my research, that Joseph and Mary had lived.

As is custom in my family tree, upon reaching the row of stones, I found mostly grass. Only Mary (Young) McGinnis still has a marked grave.

Fortunately, the Hennen's fine work provides a record of exactly what each stone said. Accordingly, I created Find a Grave entries with the Hennen's notes for each, so that they could be linked to the family and given representation of their known burial locations.

Now then, there was at least an inscription to match to the volunteer's photo submission. It was exact!

Based on the geography of the found stone and the matching inscription, we feel assured that this is my Elizabeth's marker. Whether or not we will try to arrange for her memorial to be brought home is now a pending consideration, but it is very wonderful and incredible to have reunited the person and the marker that remembers her in this way for now!

This is the new text posted on her Find a Grave site:

SOURCE NOTES: Dorothy T. Hennen, compiler, Cemetery Records of Greene County, Pennsylvania, 12 volumes (Waynesburg, Pennsylvania: Cornerstone Genealogical Society, 1975), 10: 699, Mt. Zion Baptist Cemetery, Elizabeth Young entry.

"Elizabeth / Young / Died 1834 / Aged 72 Yrs."

Hennen recorded tombstone data in Mt. Zion Baptist Cemetery in 1977. When the present researcher, Candice Buchanan, visited the cemetery 8 June 2013, this tombstone could not be located. Based on Hennen's list of graves, the stone should have been beside Mary McGinnis (nee Young), who was most likely her daughter. While Mary's stone was located, neither Elizabeth's, nor Mary's husband Joseph McGinnis's stones were found, though they should have been together. In 2018, researcher Terrence McManaway contacted Buchanan with a tombstone photo matching exactly to the Hennen's inscription for Elizabeth Young. The stone had been found abandoned in a ditch in Pennsylvania, thence removed to a location in North Carolina where it is still located.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Who Will You Honor on This Women's Day?

(By Candice Buchanan, Greene Connections Archivist)

Regardless of where you stand on current issues, Women's Day transcends politics, to give us just a moment in our bustling routine, to focus, honor, respect and remember the obstacles women have overcome and still endeavor to achieve. Here, we are merrily fixated on family and local history. The women of our ancestry and communities who labored to birth, raise, and improve the lives of generations past, present, and future. There are so many stories and photos that deserve to be shared. Accomplishments in the home as grand as those on the national scale to those impacted by them.

(1) Margaret Kerr (Bell) Miller
Very often, I have written about my local history hero Margaret (Bell) Miller. As a young teacher, she was specifically selected to come from Washington to Waynesburg and lead the female education component of Waynesburg College, at its establishment. At that time, with the first classes in 1850, women were taught separately from men. Evidence indicates, though, that Margaret was brought in particularly to lead the controversial move toward coeducation resulting in equal Bachelor's Degrees for women. This she did. By 1857, Waynesburg graduated women with male-equivalent Bachelor's Degrees and classrooms were mixed as early as 1851. This makes Waynesburg College arguably second in the United States, only after Oberlin College in Ohio, to offer such educational opportunities. Additionally, Margaret taught, directed, and inspired the ladies; led the school administratively with the man she later married; and gave birth to 8 children. She died at age 47 following a stroke. Her youngest child was still a toddler; her oldest, a daughter, had just started Waynesburg College. Margaret was an advocate of women's rights, abolition, suffrage, and other causes of her day. She was quite a woman to have blessed our little community.

This whole column could be dedicated to her, but instead, I want Margaret to set the tone and theme for the women in my own family who I would honor today. Interestingly Margaret touched their lives, as they grew up and were educated in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, though at the time they never knew. Margaret's story may be further studied by visiting:

Choosing this theme of education and leadership, I would like to honor my two grandmothers.

Grandma Sara (Livingood) Buchanan [1917-2009] was herself a Waynesburg College
graduate with the Class of 1938. Though Waynesburg had a long history by this time, it was still very early in terms of social norms and acceptability for women to receive an advanced education. Grandma proudly engaged in the education of her family everafter and saw many graduate from her alma mater. (See her Memory Medallion.)

(3) Donna (Leasure) Kennedy
Grandma Donna (Leasure) Kennedy, to whom I am able to pay a living tribute, was born in 1942. Incredible to someone of my generation, she was forced to leave high school when she became pregnant with my mother, who was born in Summer 1959. A hard worker, Grandma carried on and ultimately raised 9 children. As her youngest entered school, Grandma decide to complete her education. She actually returned to high school as an adult student, graduating in 1981 with one of her sons as a classmate. She earned honors and awards while doing so and set an amazing example.

There are so many stories this Women's Day! Who will you honor?! is a free local history archival project. Sponsored by LOLA Energy.

[1] Item # PUBL-AN003-0001Women's Centennial Paper 1796-1896 Series, Publications Collection, Greene County, Pennsylvania Archives Project ( Published with "Mrs. Margaret Kerr Bell Miller" article, by Martha (Bayard) Howard, Women's Centennial Paper 1796-1896, Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, 26 August 1896–27 August 1896, page 3, column 1-3.

[2] Item # CAND_AN004_0063Buchanan Series, Candice Lynn Buchanan Collection, Greene County, Pennsylvania Archives Project (

[3] Private collection of Candice Lynn Buchanan.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Politics a Century Ago - Waynesburg, PA - 1916

(By Candice Buchanan, Greene Connections Archivist)

What politics looked like a century ago!

Preserved in the Helen Mae (Jacobs) Fonner Collection and shared courtesy of George & Anna (Fonner) Blystone, this photograph [1] comes complete with the following handwritten notation, capturing the details of the moment for us to enjoy.

"Float representing the American Emblem, Uncle Sam and Columbia. Designed and made by J. Warren Jacobs for the Democratic Election Demonstration, at Waynesburg, Pa., Nov. 20, 1916. The Eagle - a specimen killed near Rices Landing about the year 1897, and mounted by J. Warren Jacobs. The Boy (Uncle Sam) William Francis Jacobs, age 14, son of J. Warren Jacobs. The Girl (Columbia) Mildred King, age 13, daughter of Charles King, Attorney, Waynesburg, Pa. See the big one-half man on the left edge. That's Ben Jacobs, age 16, height 104 in. weighs 190 lbs. Picture taken on south-east corner First and Washington St., Waynesburg, Pa. Jacobs residence in background." is a free local history archival project. Sponsored by LOLA Energy.

[1] Item # JACB_AN001_0149, Jacobs-Kent Series, Helen Mae (Jacobs) Fonner Collection, Greene County, Pennsylvania Archives Project (