Dennis Prue

Dennis Prue

Dennis has been researching family trees for more than 30 years. His expertise has been invaluable in helping to break through brick walls.


This Old Tree, July 2013

This month’s column is about taking the time to review your whole family tree. What have you added the last couple of years? I know for myself, I often pick a particular branch or family to work on each summer. I will see which part of the family I have not work in quite awhile. And yes I do revisit the brick wall people for quick refresher. You never know if you might trip over some new information. I print out a family group sheet and hi-lite in yellow what information is missing. I review my notes that tell where and what I have already looked at so I don’t waste my time look at same stuff, unless I have a solid lead and need to re-visit those old resources. Then I look at what’s new out there in genealogy world that might be useful.

What is your genealogy family or member for your summer project? Check to see if there are any new web sites or magazine articles that might cover the area where your ancestor lived. Summer is the time for road trips to visit and take pictures of headstones. Or that day trip to visit that library or historical society building and see what stuff is available.

I was in the Mark and Emily Turner library in the last couple of weeks. Spike Savage and I were looking at the various cemetery listings for any help on the Benjamin family. Trying to find where Mary Jane Whittaker Benjamin Dyer was buried. She died in April of 1926 and was to be buried at a later date next to her husband. The problem is that she had two husbands and we cannot find where in Presque Isle either man John Benjamin or Wilson aka William Dyer are laid to rest. While Spike went to check on something, I browsed the shelves. I spotted a thin book on Maine Soldiers at Valley Forge. For the fun of it I look in the back of book at the index and look at various names. I look at all of them just in case any thing jumped out at me.

I saw the name Greenleaf and found that there was a Joseph and Richard Greenleaf who were listed as being from Pownalboro, Maine. Pownalboro was large township that present day includes the towns of Wiscasset, Dresden and Newcastle. The Greenleaf men were brothers of my 4th great grandmother Lydia Greenleaf. This made me realize that years ago I had looked at books with Maine men in the Revolution War. I only had names of two men, one on my mother side, James Culbertson and one on my father’s, John Oakes. When I looked many years ago at Soldiers from the Revolution War, I just did not have very many guys in my family that were in the R War. Most of my father side of family is French-Canadian in origin and were not part of the War for Independence. My Mother family was in the Virginia area and I found little about men in the R War.

This made me realize that now that I have added more names and generations back on some of my family tree I need to see if any of the men might have served in the War of Independence. I found that my first McConnell ancestor George McConnell is listed in Sons of American Revolution. George did not fight in the army but was listed because he gave supplies to the American troops. So you may find that just because you do not have an ancestor as a soldier he may be included as a civilian who aided the war effort and that you could be part of Sons or Daughters of American Revolution.

So for my one of my summer projects, I will see if any more of my male ancestors or their brothers may have serviced in the War of Independence, either as a soldier or civilian who served by providing to the war effort.