Friday, February 28, 2014

The Philip Collier and Amanda Judd Marriage Certificate...A Long and Winding Road

Marriage Certificate of Philip Collier and Amanda Judd. 
Deena Lucas Loyd, my friend and mother of my niece Abbi, recently posted on Facebook that she had in her possession three really old books and a marriage certificate. The book in which the certificate was hiding was entitled Physical Geography, published in 1901 and bore the name of Miss Margaret Sells. Deena had been hoping to pass the certificate on to a descendant of the couple. She believed her deceased husband, Mike Loyd, came across the books and certificate in an old, abandoned house while mushroom hunting in the Madison County, Indiana some 30 years ago.

The marriage certificate, despite being stained and creased, was in good shape for being 166 years old.  The top section of the certificate was the actual marriage license, issued by James Hazlitt, clerk of the Madison County Circuit Court, to Philip Collier and Amanda Judd in Madison County, Indiana on 04 January 1848. The lower portion of the certificate, stated that Stephen Norman, Minister of the Gospel, performed the ceremony and dated the certificate 04 January 1847, a mistake many of us make when writing the date at the beginning of a new year.

I am familiar with the Collier family of Madison County.  Margaret (Surber) Blake Collier was my 4th great grandmother.  She married married James Foster Collier after the death of her first husband, Abraham Blake.  After a little research, I discovered that Philip Collier was the son of James Foster Collier and his first wife.

I think it is amazing that Philip Collier was the step-son of Abbi's 5th great grandmother.  I believe Mike would be happy to know that the marriage certificate he rescued that day and kept in his house for the last 30 years had a connection to the daughter of his future wife.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Henry Family Bible...Reunited and it Feels So Good!

Teri Wheeler presents Henry Family Bible to Sandy Kinnaman.
Just before Thanksgiving 2013, I was determined to find a family for the old Bible I had rescued from my mother’s garage.  My mother, Mary Ellen (Davisson) Roberts had passed away on 03 September 2009.  She had a small prefab house in Anderson, Madison County, Indiana which she had purchased from her brother-in-law and sister, Calvin Chlorice “Joe” and Sophia Mae (Davisson) Gourley in the 1970’s, in which my brother, Ronald Stephen Roberts, lived.  After my brother passed away on 13 June 2010, my sister, niece and I had the daunting task of cleaning the house to get it ready to sell.

In a dark, dusty corner of the non-attached garage, I discovered an old cardboard box containing an even older, dilapidated and heavy family Bible.  My sister wanted to add it to the pile of items destined for the local landfill, but as a genealogist, I knew that family Bibles can hold a wealth of information not found anywhere else…and I have a great respect for Bibles.  I don’t know how the Bible came to be in my mother’s garage or how long it had been there, but I won my battle that day and the Bible was put with the “keep” items to be relocated to my sister’s garage since my own garage was located in Florida at that time.

Fast forward to 03October 2013…  As fate would have it, my husband and I had relocated to Kosciusko County, Indiana.  My sister, lived a mere two hours away in Muncie.  I was determined to get my items from the “keep” pile from my sister’s garage to giver here more space, so my husband I visited her, took her to dinner for her birthday and proceeded to load up our great grandmother’s antique dresser, the Bible and a few other keepsakes into my husband’s truck.  We returned to our home in Leesburg and unloaded the truck.  Now the Bible sat in my garage!

Shortly after obtaining the crumbling Bible, I carefully took it out of the box for a closer examination and began photographing it with our Sony Bloggie.  The binding and intricately engraved covers were held together with masking tape.  I turned to the title page.  The Bible was printed in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1881 by the Bowen Merrill Company.  No wonder the Bible was disintegrating …it was 132 years old! 

Now for the exciting part…I located the page certifying the marriage of Joseph Milton Henry and Mary Mahala Hunt.  They were married on 07 October 1880 in Eden, Hancock County, Indiana.  Other pages in the Bible listed the births, marriage and deaths of their children and grandchildren.  The Bible also contained a report card, a tithing card, and an obituary.  Even though there appeared to be no connection to my Davisson family in Henry and Hancock Counties, I photographed each page.

After photographing  and scanning the pages and documents the Bible contained, I started a new family tree on just for the Henry Family Bible.  I made it public so the information will be accessible to anyone researching this family.  It can be viewed here:  I also posted the pictures of the Bible to the tree. 

Not long after creating the family tree, I noticed someone else researching the same family on  I emailed Judy Parker Walker from Panama City, Florida and asked if she was related to the Henry family.  She told me it could be her daughter-in-law’s family and she would get me in contact with them.  The next day I received an email from Sandy Kinnaman from Eden.  Her husband was a descendant of the Henry and Hunt families.  We made arrangements to meet.

Just before Thanksgiving 2013, I was standing in the Sandy’s dining room in Eden, returning the Henry Family Bible to the family.  As we were leaving Sandy’s house that day, I felt as if I was forgetting something.  I looked back and saw the Bible sitting on her dining room table.  With sadness and joy, I knew my job there was done.