Sunday, December 29, 2013

Stumped! Who Was Emiline Niday?

Our first introduction to Emiline Niday is when she planned to marry Greenberry Percy Stump. In Therese A. Fisher, compiler, Marriages in the New River Valley (Bowie, MD: Heritage Books, Inc., 1991), page 229 is the entry: "STUMP, Green B. & Nidah, Emaline (d/o John Niday); 18 Jun 1847 (GB)" Spelling inconsistencies aside, this tells us that a marriage bond was taken out for the marriage of Green B. Stump and Emaline Niday on 18 June 1847 in Giles County, Virginia, and that Emaline was the daughter of John Niday. In the introduction to this book, the compiler tells us that she made no assumptions regarding parentage (even when it seemed to be made quite evident) and so we can safely assume that Emaline's parentage was explicitly stated in the record.

John Vogt and T. William Kethley, compiler, Giles County Marriages, 1806-1855 (Athens, Ga.: Iberian Publishing Co., 1985), page 123 adds a little more detail in the entry: "Nidy, Emaline & Green B Stump 17 Jun 1847; perm- John H Nidy, father  wit- James G Stump, Jacob Nidday  b- 18Jun by Jacob Nidey, John P Johnston." The two dates in this entry puzzle me; according to the introduction the date should be assumed to be that of the marriage with any conflicting bond dates noted, but it seems unlikely that a bond would be needed on the day following the wedding. That aside, we do now know that John H Nidy, Emaline's father, gave permission for the marriage, indicating that Emaline was not yet 21 years old. We also have the names of the two bondsmen, Jacob Nidey and John P. Johnston.

Two things these entries agree upon - Emaline Niday was the daughter of John Niday and she intended to marry Green B. Stump.

Recently I came upon another researcher's work where this is disputed. That author believes the transcriptions to be in error and that Jacob Niday should have been listed as the father of Emaline. The author bases this belief on two factors, one the mistaken belief that "Bond is generally given by the father" and the other, that "No record of a John H. Nidy corresponds with the time frame for this marriage that I can find." I certainly can't know what this researcher has or has not found, but not finding something is not at all the same as that thing not existing. Like this researcher, I have not found any contemporary record for a "John H. Nidy", but there is good evidence of a contemporary named "John Nida" or "John Nidah."

John Nida/Nidah/Niday was born in Virginia circa 1797, took out a bond to marry Sarah Harless on 23 October 1818 in Giles County, Virginia and later moved to Ohio and then Iowa. It is this John Nida who I believe to be the father of Emeline Nida, but can I prove it?

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Got My Favourite Database Back Online Today.

I absolutely love "On This Day in Harless History." I know that sounds a bit vane considering I created it, but although I am proud of it, that isn't really what I mean. I developed this database as a fun thing so people could see who they shared a birthday with. I thought it would be a good way to introduce children to their heritage and genealogy - on their birthday go to the Harless Homepage and see how many of their Harless ancestors were born on the same day. I didn't really think of it as any more than that, but after a while I noticed how often I checked it myself.

I maintain several large genealogy databases using a few different genealogy programs, but the bulk of my personal research is in my Harless database that I have in The Master Genealogist (TMG). This database has almost 81,000 people in it and I add to it most days when I get a chance. But five minutes here and there isn't enough time to check every fact for every one of those 80,000+ people. One thing TMG does is keep a record of the last time you edited anything in the record of a given person. I do not recall exactly when I switch over to TMG (I used Roots4 before that, so genealogy tech nerds will probably know the exact date! lol). What I do know is that I have people in this database that I have not edited since 11 June 2000 because that is the date shown for the random person I just selected in that database.

If I come across a new collection at a library, archives, online etc., obviously I revisit the people who are or might be covered by that collection. The next reason is when I get an email - people ask me where I got a certain fact or offer to update a line - when that happens I usually work on their line for a few days until I am satisfied I haven't missed anything. But if I have no new collections and no emails, how do I pick which line, which family, which person, to check? I go to the "On This Day in Harless History" database and pick the first name that comes up! I love it. No over thinking, no picking easy lines or favourite states (yes, I will admit to it - have you seen the collections WV has put online?)

I would love it if everyone who came to the Harless Homepage looked at On This Day in History and checked their own lines. Perhaps you know it is your ancestor's birthday and I don't have them listed - if they aren't on the page it either means I don't have any information or I only have partial information. As soon as I have the full date and the name of their spouse for the marriage entries, I can add them to the list.

On This Day in Harless History

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Webpage Overhaul

I spent today giving the Harless Homepage a new look - it was long overdue but it is one of those things that aren't really urgent enough to make it to the top of the to-do list. One thing that was much higher up that list was getting some of the databases back online. These were incompatible with the (new a few years ago) server and I knew I needed to write a new script and make new databases - those things are just about as boring as they sound - so obviously I put that off in favor of the fun things like research.

Today I finally finished the first database makeover and I was feeling very pleased with myself right up until I remembered I still hadn't given the page it's new look. But I am invincible. I decided to update the site before I took the database live. And then I decided the blog needed an updated look. And then I decided the family tree needed a new look too. Nearly 2,000 pages in total. And I did it! Yes, I'm bragging. I usually don't, but this is a huge chunk of my very long to-do list cleared. Christmas shopping is now at the top of that list, but I have plenty of time for that, right?

Go check it out and let me know what you think of it.
Newly Renovated Harless Homepage

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Harless Family Tree Updated

Yesterday I wrote about the big corrections I had to make to the family of Anthony Harless Sr. I worked on it most of yesterday and today I have uploaded the latest version of the family tree. There are now 71,704 people. Lots of the new people are in Anthony's line, but also lots of new people and details from Indiana.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Correcting Errors - an ongoing process

I have always tried to be quite clear that I make mistakes and implore people to point them out to me. My Harless database is quite large and contains over 70,000 people. I work on parts of it at a time - and here is something I don't think I have ever mentioned before, but if you want me to add more to your branch the best way to get that done is send me an update. Every time I receive updates and corrections I make those amendments but then I spend a couple of days checking and making my own corrections and additions to that branch of the family.

Why am I posting this today? I was transcribing a record to share on the blog when it occurred to me I should make sure I had already entered all the information into my own research database - and I hadn't!

Susannah B. Harless is getting a new daddy today (I had long doubted the accuracy of my data on this, but now I have convincing evidence to support the correction).

Francis Harless, wife of Enoch Lafon, is also getting a daddy today. I am now convinced and able to offer good evidence that she and Susannah B. Harless were sisters. I do not know who their mother is though.

I will upload the corrected family tree in an hour or two - if this is your line, please check your own records to see if they agree and let me know if they don't - and why!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Sporting Saturday - Taught Notre Dame How to Play

William Warren Harless
University of Michigan

William Warren Harless was a natural athlete and handsome with it. Born on 9 March 1867 in Chigago, Illinois to Thomas Henry and Barbara Ann King Harless, he was the youngest of 8 children (2 older half-siblings had died as children almost 20 years before William was born). William Warren was only 3 years old when his father died, but his mother was well provided for and was able to raise her children by herself until she chose to remarry when William was 11 years old.

William Warren Harless began his higher education at Notre Dame but transferred to the University of Michigan because Notre Dame did not play football.

For the 1886 season William was a substitute player, but was a rusher for the 1887 season and was invited, with his teammate, George Dehaven, back to Notre Dame for a training session to teach the Fighting Irish this new game. Perhaps William was a better player than a teacher, but when Notre Dame played their first ever game, against Michigan, they were defeated 8-0 and it would be 32 years before the Fighting Irish would achieve victory over the Wolverines.

William played football as a center, a rusher and a guard, but this was not the only sport he participated in. In 1887, he came first in putting shot (29' 3"), and the hammer throw (56' 10 7/8"), but was defeated by W. C. Malley in heavy weight wrestling. It was noted that both the hammer and the shot were overweight and that otherwise the distances might have been greater. The prizes were of interest too, a set of George Elliot's works for the hammer throw and Paradise Lost for the hammer throw.

After university William Warren Harless became a civil engineer and married Mary Jane Lennon in 1896. William and Mary had no children, and when the Spanish-American war broke out, William joined the US Army as a quartermaster in the 7th Illinois Infantry.

Following his stint in the army, William became the manager of an insurance company, but his love of sports had obviously not left him, as he served as the Secretary of the West Golf Association for a number of terms.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Thriller Thursday - Stabbing Affair In Evanston Leads to Operation

Stabbing Affair In Evanston Leads to Operation

To escape from under the shadows of the gallows through a surgical operation performed upon another man, was the peculiar, if not harrowing, experience of Jack Harless, an Evanston, Wyo., railway clerk, last Sunday. The man who underwent the operation is J. R. Schillerman, telegraph operator, who is now confined in the Dee hospital with a fighting chance for life.

Schillerman, according to reports from Evanston, was seriously stabbed by Harless last Wednesday, with a pocket-knife, the assault following a trivial quarrel. He received long and deep wounds across the abdomen, right breast and right shoulder. Harless was arrested on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and his victim was given surgical attention at the Evanston hospital.

Saturday night, the wounded man's condition became so serious that the attending physician apparently fearing on account of the depth of his abdominal wound that the intestines had been penetrated and that the infection had set in, order [sic] the man removed to the Dee hospital in this city. This was done and a thorough examination of Schillermn's condition by Dr. R. S. Joyce revealed symptoms of appendicitis. An operation was performed and the Ogden physician's diagnosis proved correct. It was found that the wound made by Harless had not penetrated through the abdomen, but that Schillerman's appendix had burst, causing his serious condition.

In the meantime, a rumor became current at Evanston that the operator was dead and Harless, who had been released on bond, was rearrested and charged with murder. He was again released, however, when the report was sent in Evanston that his victim was still alive.

Stabbing Affair in Evanston Leads to Operation, The Ogden Standard, Ogden, Utah, 8 August 1916, page 7, column 3.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Harless Family Tree Updated

I have just uploaded a new Harless family tree update. Over 450 new people have been added and a few duplicate entries were removed. Hundreds of records have been updated or corrected. In all there are now 71,354 people on 1,789 pages in the online tree. Most of the new entries are from the Ohio Marriage records, but I was surprised to see people from Indiana, Alabama, Michigan, Kentucky and West Virginia made up as many of the happy couples as Ohio born people did.

Click on this link to check it out and see if I have the correct information for your Harless family.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Military Monday - Killed at Camp Perry

Charles Horneff [sic], Jr., of Wadsworth, a private in Company G, Eight Regiment, Ohio National Guard, was struck in the abdomen by a bullet from a rifle accidentally fired by an unknown member of Company F, Eighth Regiment, of Akron, at Camp Perry last Friday evening and almost instantly killed.

Later it was learned that the shot was from a rifle in the hands of Okey Harless who had borrowed the gun and thought it to be unloaded. The bullet went through five haversacks, a tent pole and heavy supply chest before striking the victim, 30 feet distant. Harless was exonerated by verdicts of the coroner and a military court of inquiry. This was the first fatal accident at Camp Perry since the camp was established.

Killed at Camp Perry, The News-Herald, Hillsboro, Ohio, 5 August 1909, page 4, column 1.

The dead man, Charles Hornoff, Jr., was just 23 years old, the same age as Okey Harless. Charles was born on 13 May 1886 in Guilford, Medina County, Ohio, to Charles Hornoff, Sr. and Emma M. Hartman.

Charles Hornoff, Certificate of Death number 37351 (30 July 1909), Bureau of Vital Statistics, Ohio.

Okey Harless was the son of William Henry Harless and Frances Fernelia Keffer. He was born on 11 June 1886 in Iola, Roane County, West Virginia. Okey died on 7 March 1957 in Vienna, Wood County, West Virginia.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Military Monday - Cpl. Fred Harless

Cpl. Fred Harless Cited For Bravery

Seng Creek, March 14 - Mr. and Mrs. Fred Harless, of Seng Creek, have just received word that their son, Cpl. Fred Vernor Harless, recorder for Battery C., 30th F.A. Battalion, displayed unusual bravery and quick thinking during the recent exercise Leap Year in Erlangen, Germany.

Cpl. Harless, who is in the U. S. Army in Germany, was near a combat-loaded tank when it went out of control on an icy road, struck two trees, slid across the road onto a bridge then off into a 15-foot ditch, overturning and trapping the crew inside.

When some other soldiers yelled that the tank had overturned and was on fire Harless ran to see what could be done. Seeing the fire he ran back to a truck and grabbed the fire extinguisher.

Soldiers stopped Harless when he returned to the scene saying the tank was loaded with shells but Harless broke away and began trying to put the fire out. Before he could open the escape hatch of the tank the fire gained new fury. He finally succeeded in extinguish it and managed to get the escape hatch open allowing the crew to escape.

Cpl. Harless' display of bravery beyond the call of duty to release the tank crew when the ammunition might have exploded gained the everlasting thanks of the tank crew. Every member of his battalion is also proud of his action in saving both human lives and valuable equipment. 

Cpl. Fred Harless Cited For Bravery, Beckley Post-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia, 15 March 1952, p. 9, column 1.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Friends of Friends Friday - Henry Harless Estate, 1857

"Alabama, Estate Files, 1830-1976," digital images, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, FamilySearch ( : accessed 27 September 2013), image copy, Sale of Negroes, dated 13 January 1857, Greene County Estate Files, Henry Harless #1316

An Account of Sales of negro Slaves of the Estate of Henry Harless, deceased, sold by attorney R. Davis the administrator on the 5th day of January AD 1857 upon a credit of twelve months -
Negro Bob to Tabius T Hill – for$1730.00
[Negro] Jerry [to] Tabius T Hill [for]$1700.00
[Negro] Georgiana [to] Mary M Harless [for]     $1000.00
[Negro] Fanny [to] D. T. Harless [for]  $240.00
Subscribed and sworn to
this 13th day of January
1857 Before me
N C Oliver judge.
             A R Davis adm.

Friends of Friends Friday is a way to share “records of enslaved ancestors, whether they are your own ancestors or not…” I haven't come across very many mentions of slaves in my search for Harlesses and I like to think this is because so few Harlesses were slave owners, but the ones I do come across will be shared on Friends of Friends Fridays.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wedding Wednesday - Marie Harless and Norman Brogan

The Charleston Gazette, Charleston, WV, 27 September 1940.

Almost 73 years ago, Marie Harless, the 17 year old daughter of Belva Lockwood Brown and Lightburn Bernie Harless, married Norman B. Brogan in Russell, Greenup County, Kentucky. I have often wondered if the couple chose to marry in Kentucky because Marie was under age to marry in West Virginia without parental consent.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Amanuensis Monday - J. B. Harless' Will 1914

Will of James Burwell Harless

"West Virginia Will Books, 1756-1971," digital images, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, FamilySearch ( : accessed 23 September 2013), image copy, will of J. B. Harless, dated 24 February 1914, Kanawha County Wills, Vol. 7, p. 285.

State of West Virginia, County of Kanawha and town of Marmet.

I, J. B. Harless, with a sound mind on this the 24th day of February, 1914 in the presents of Albert Hearrold and J. C. Leavens, make my last will and testament to-wit: at my death I hereby make the following disposal of my property:

W. B. Harless, C. D. Harless, Flora Evines and Sybil Harless are to have an equal part of my estate, Improvements to be considered. Sybil Harless is not to come in possession of his part untill he reaches the age of 21 years. In case I should not live I here by name W. B. and C. D. Harless as his Guardian untill he does reach the age of 21 years.

My full meaning of this document is that the Four above named heirs shall shear and shear alike.

Signature of J. B. HarlessJ. B. Harless
Signature of witnessesC. A. Harold
J. C. Leavens

P. S. In case that Sybil Harless should die without leaving heirs of his own. His part shall be divided equeal among the other three heirs above mentions.

At a regular session of the County Court of Kanawha County, continued and held forsaid County at the Court House thereof on Saturday the 21st day of March, 1914.

A paper writing purporting to be the last Will and Testament of J. B. Harless,  deceased, late of said County, was this day presented to the Court for probate, and the same being duly proven by the oaths of C. A. Harold and J. C. Leavens, the subscribing witnesses thereto, the said paper writing is admitted to probate and ordered to be recorded as filed as and for the last will and testament of the said decedent.

Teste:  L C Massey. Clerk
Kanawha County Court.
An Amanuensis is a person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another. Amanuensis Monday is a daily blogging theme which encourages the family historian to transcribe family letters, journals, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts.