Thursday, June 28, 2012

Photo Thursday

One of my 'successes' when at the Nebraska State Historical Society Research Room last week was discovering that I could look in available cemetary books and find which cemetary an ancestor is buried in.  Mike's 4th great grandfather Aquilla/Equillar HALL was a mystery because he was not buried in the same cemetary as the 'other' HALL's at Palmyra, Nebraska.  Since we now had the name of the Cemetary, Prosper, we could surely find it.  Seems that the Cemetary is also known as Mound Cemetry, Porter, Richardson County, Nebraska.  The location is about 5 miles east of Humboldt, Nebraska.

The cemetary contains burials that were very old and some that were new.  The bonus was the church standing across the road from the cemetary called Prosper Church.  Long abandonded yet stately, the church where Mike's 4th great-grandfather worshiped our Father God in earnest, was filled with hay, horribly vandilized, but still very beautiful.  More on that in my Tuesday Trivia post.  Why is it when searching your family history that the solving of one puzzle leads to the search of yet another puzzel?

Equillar HALL was buried in the same area with his daughter Marcia who married James Shue.  Before coming to Nebraska from Illinois Equillar married widow THOMPSON (her maiden name was ROBINSON) who came with several children, one of them being Nancy Jane THOMPSON.  Three years later Nancy Jane became the wife of Equillar's son, William Alexandar HALL.

Equillar and widow Thompson had two children.  She died shortly after the second daughter was born.  William and Nancy came to Nebraska in 1864 and Equillar and his two young daughters (Marcia was 18 at the time) followed them in 1866, buying land and living next to the younger HALL family in Richardson County, Nebraska west of Stella. 

It appears that Marcia HALL SHUE cared for the aging Equillar, with her husband James and his father James. At the advanced age of 86 years Equillar went home to be with his Heavenly Father in 1880 and was buried at the Prosper Cemetry across from the church where he spent many a Sunday worshiping his God.

Equillar Hall
b. 1796 in Kentucky d. 11 Mar 1880 in Nebraska

The Stone Reads:

to the memory of
Equillar Hall
Who departed this life
Mar 11, 1880
Aged 86 years

He died as he lived, a Christian.

Dear is the spot where Christians sleep
And sweet are the strains that Angels pour
O, Why should we in anguish weep
They are not lost but gone before

Equillar is buried between James Shue and Marcia Shue.  Next to Marcia is James' father James.  Next to the elder James is the grave of what appears to be two children but could be the grave of Equillar's other daughter, Anna, who married the elder James Shue (another case of my mother-in-law is also my sister).  The stone is very old and barely readable.  I wish we would have taken more time to decipher the stone.  Looks like it means another trip.................awe, the life of a family genealogist.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tuesday Trivia

Prosper Church and the Prosper (Mound) Cemetery

The Prosper Presbyterian Church is located deep in the center of Richardson County, Nebraska about 6 miles southwest of Stella or 5 miles northeast of Humboldt in an area the locals had once hoped would be the town of Prosper. The land is laced with streams beds lined with trees, the farm ground is some of the best in the state. 

We were looking for the grave of our Equillar Hall, Mike's 4th Great-Grandfather who was said to have been a real gem of a man and well liked by all who met him.  Back in Illinois he was a Justis of the Peace with dark hair and eyes of the lightest blue in color.  He was the father of our William Alexandar "Alex" Hall by his first wife Rhoda O'Bannion.

As we came up on the location of the cemetery we were given what we genealogists call a BONUS!

The original church attached to the cemetery stood across the road.  Lonely in the adjacent corn field, the church was in great disrepair and had been used for storage of hay for a good many years.  It had been raped repeatedly by vandals.

Stately she stood.  We couldn't resist going inside just to stand in the room where Mike's great-grandfather stood to worship our God and Father.  We felt blessed and sure that this saint of a man had prayed for the generations to come after him that they would know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and indeed Mike and I fulfill that description even though we came to this revelation later than we had hoped (our late-20's).

The light was perfect and I found myself wishing that my Daughter-in-law, Kandi, was behind my camera instead of myself, but the camera was clicking as I shot a few pictures of this grand old church.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Monday Moments


I started this BLOG just this last April but I'm remodeling it already!!! Not a good sign.  The pages on the top are all being redone so that the information there can remain static and easily me!  I'll be working on it this week as I take breaks from the huge mountain of sewing for birthday gifts for July.  July seems to be a popular month for birthdays in our family.


Today I feel like I've cleared a hurdle but can't get over the other side.  I've sent in the paperwork to get my first FIRST FAMILY certificate, that of William Alexander HALL.  I hope I did the application correctly and the proof work is correct.  I guess we'll see and I'll know what to do for the next certificate.  Why can't I get over the other side? 

I really want to start another family but I just can't seem to quit.  The more I uncover the more I want to know.  It doesn't help that as a 'history buff' the time period happens to be one of my favorites so I want to dig and dig.  I was ready to go to another family but this family draws me.

William's father for one.  I guess I can use him (Equillar HALL) as another FIRST FAMILY sense he came before 1867 to Nebraska after William with his two younger daughters.  I'll have to go to Falls City to the county seat courthouse for Richardson County, NE for that one.  I'll have to pull his deed for his first property for my proof citation.  Not a really big deal since I have everything after it already.

Then there's the timeline for this family.  It needs to be created.  I'm so curious. What was it like in Morgan Co, Illinois before they left for Nebraska and why did Equillar (Aquilla) leave the Bluegrass country of Kentucky to go to Illinois in the first place?  Who was Equillar's father?  That has never been discovered.....but really........this is out of my promise of sticking with five generations back until those are finished.  Darn, so much fun......


My ancestrial DNA is in the mail and I can't wait to see the results since a half cousin (we have the same grandfather) did his and discovered that he is a close match to Hebrew Levite.  My grandfather and his mother and father had to leave Germany because of persecussion in the mid 1800's but we were never told what that was.  Now we're pretty sure that it was because he and his mother and father were Jewish.  WOW, it's a real shock, but at the same time I'm not surprised.  Since now has a DNA test that can reach even through my DNA to discover my grandfathers roots I'm anticipating the results will be the same and the excitement is killing me!  The test went in the mail today so I should have the results in the next couple of weeks.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Planning a Trip to The Nebraska Historical Society

Yesterday I had a successful trip to the Nebraska Historical Society, 15th & P in Lincoln, Nebraska inspite of very little time and being totally unprepared. I had only made one other trip to the Historical Society and that was a couple of years ago. There are several things you have to remember about going there plus I'm going to give you some hints on how to prepare beforehand for your trip.

  1. You cannot take large notebooks, or purses into the room. There are lockers, but they cost you a quarter to leave your things and get a key.
  2. You cannot take a pen into the room. There are plenty of pencils available for your use.
  3. You will have to sign in when you enter the room which is at the end of the hallway on your right.
  4. When you leave please leave a few dollars in the box to help keep this wonderful resource up and running.
Helpful Hints to Make the Best Use of Your Trip

  1. You will be using the 'Reference Room'. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday 10-4 BUT if you are new and think you might need help then don't go on Saturday. There are plenty of restaurants in the area but you can always take your lunch and go to your car for it's consumption.
  2. There are usually 2-3 people on staff helping you do research during the hours the room is open.  They used to close for an hour at noon but they did away with that recently.  Please don't be afraid to ask questions, they are there to help.
  3. You can take a laptop computer and a small notebook and/or a file folder to help you with your search.
  4. Copies are 15 cents to 50 cents so bring change for the machines.  I keep a coin purse for that purpose and make sure it is full. 
  5. You'll need money for parking meters also.  Time is 90 minutes per meter 75 cent plug.  Plugging the meter is frowned upon so you may have to move your car a few times so keep your keys and license in your pocket so you don't have to replug the locker with another quarter.
  6. Make a Plan - Perhaps you'll search Obits or look through newspapers.  Maybe you'll spend the day searching through the County and State history books for information.  What I do is make a list of the things I want to know about each family while I'm on the trip, type it up and put it in a file folder.
  7. Whether it's your first or fourth time at the Research Room don't be afraid to ask for a tour of the room so you get a feel of what kind of information is available.
On This Trip

  1. I found the last bit of information, with the source, for the application for my first "First Family" certificate (William & Nancy Hall) that will be mailed tomorrow.
  2. I knew that William's father Equilla was buried in some obscure cemetary in Richardson County.  Instead of looking all over the county in one cemetary and another I searched the county books, found him in the list and the cemetary he is buried in.  This weekend we'll go there on a picture taking trip.
All in all successful for a 60 minute search. That's all the time I had for the day.  I had to ask for help because the information in #1 was NOT in the County History book but an old Nebraska History Book.  I would not have known about the book unless I asked for help.  They are very used to helping genealogists.

My next trip in a few weeks will be an all day trip with a planned lunch with one of my daughters.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Monday Moments

Thanks for your patience as we take a bit of a BLOG VACATION to reorganize and set some priorities here.

It has taken me longer to get things together and achieve my goals for my genealogy projects this summer than I had planned.  Primarily this is because I find myself busy with summer things and confused because I do not know enough about how to do this genealogy business. 

Thus........the BLOG VACATION to help me prioritize my life so that I can be more productive.

The goal to have all the documets for the HALL 'Nebraska First Family' certificate done by the end of May did not happen.  I'm am still learning so much about this family.  I think I can get enough to put the certificate documents together but I'm definately not done learning about the life of this family.

I have to move on....................

I need to move on so I'm organizing my information and will begin learning more about the SHAVLIK family in July.  Since I don't have much information on them I'm assuming this will be a longer task than the HALL family since I had some great information already about that family.  I'm hoping to meet a  SHAVLIK cousin in Omaha for a 'Cemetary' visit soon, which will be fun.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Photo Thursday

This is a photo of Burton (Birtie) Witlock HALL on the left back and his wife Esther (MASTERS) HALL to the right of him.  Next to Esther is their daughter Thelma (HALL) CUNNINGHAM and between them in the front their daughter Alva (HALL) MARTIN.  Finally next to Thelma is Mike's Grandmother Oneita (HALL) CUNNINGHAM and next to her, her husband Chester CUNNINGHAM

This picture must have been taken at their home in Palmyra, Nebraska

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Tuesday Trivia

How the Hall's Took Their Name

Family Legend (according to the late Doris Cunningham-Hall Family Historian)

The Hall's originally used the name William back when most folks only had first names.  They were originally from Normandy and about the time of the Norman Conquest Fitch William went to England and took the last name.....HALL.

Map of Normandy

The name of Normandy is derived from the settlement of the territory by Vikings ("Northmen") from the 9th century, and confirmed by treaty in the 10th century. For a century and a half following the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, Normandy and England were linked by Norman and Frankish rulers.

The Norman and French conquest of England was the invasion and conquest of England by an army of Normans and French led by Duke William II of Normandy. William, who defeated King Harold II of England on 14 October 1066 at the Battle of Hastings, was crowned as king on Christmas Day 1066. He then consolidated his control over England and settled many of his followers in England, introducing a number of governmental and societal changes to medieval England.

According to Doris those 'Williams' from our ancestry who went to England took the name HALL.  I am uncertain if she was speaking of the Duke or not.

Apparently there were 4-5 Halls who came to the New World in the 1600's.  One settled in Maryland and moved to Ohio, Others followed and settled in Delaware and New Jersey before moving to Kentucky.  Equillar's father was said to have been a land owner, who raised race horses in the blugegrass country of Kentucky and was opposed to slavery.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Monday Moments

It's going to be an interesting week here at FOOTSTEPS.  We're going to learn how the Hall Family got it's name on Tuesday, Wednesday we're going to learn more about organizing our time to avoid distractions in our Family History search, Thursday there will be a new picture to be seen.  Friday, of course, is our on going challenge to learn and pratice genealogy resources.

It's A Matter Of Faith

I am gathering information for an article about the faith of our fathers. What do you know about the religious life of your ancestors. If you are part of our families please EMAIL me with what you know.

Sometimes an apparent lack of faith in one of our ancestor's can give us a clue of many things. Are they hiding their faith? Were they persecuted for their faith? What do you know about your ancestors faith? Did they have a favorite Hymn or Song? How did they live out their faith?

Watch for my progress in this area. REMEMBER our goal is to make these people 'real' and not forgotten and not just names on a Family History Genealogy sheet.

Upcoming Nebraska Genealogy Activities and Meetings

Nebraska Educational Television's (NET) documentary of the OCGS "Tombstone Tour" can be found at: Tombstone tour: Finding the value in Nebraska cemeteries

Tuesday, June 12, 7:15 pm
Dick Admin. Bldg., Union College, 3800 S. 48th S
"Obituaries And More . . ."
Bill Eddy who worked with obituaries at the Lincoln/Journal Star will present suggestions and ideas for making obituaries interesting and helpful for genealogists.
Debbie Way from Roper and Sons Funeral Services will provide information regarding content of obituaries and tell about accessibility of genealogical information provided by mortuaries. She'll also demonstrate the process of using technology to make information more available than ever before. (Remember the "smart" tile on the tombstone Gail Blankenau showed a slide of at our May meeting?)

16 Jun 2012: The Greater Omaha Genealogical Society will be hosting a FREE gernealogy class, titled, Part I: "Finding Family on the Internet—Is It Accurate?" Once thought to be primarily the tool of business and science, the internet is being taken over by genealogists. What’s out there? Part II: "There’s More in the Courthouse than Vital Records." Learn what helpful records can be found in the courthouse to document your family history. This class will be held from 9:15 a.m. to 12:00pm at the Mormon Trail Center, 3215 State Street in Omaha. Classes are free, but pre-registration is requested. Please call (402) 706-1453 or email at

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Photo Thursday

Today we have a photo of an event in Nebraska History.  This picture was taken near Fullerton, Nebraska in 1895.  Burton W. HALL is pictured behind the white horse.

This is a wonderful picture of how haying took place then.  Large stacks were made in the fields.  The men on top of the stack ran around and stomped on top of the stack to pack it down after each addition was made to the stack.

E'Lonna (SHAVLIK) GESCH told that making stack's in the 1940's was only slightly different.  On the ranch she lived on near Bartlett, Nebraska the stack was powered by an old car instead of horses and she tells that she and the other children were to ones that did the stomping.  She also said that later she was allowed to drive the car.

Burton and Esther (MASTERS) HALL is the son of William A HALL.  Burton (from the Stella Area) and Esther (from Syracuse) lived in many places including Chase county, Tilden, Meadow Grove, and Palymra.  He actually passed away in Johnstown, Nebraska (I don't know why he was there but was living at Palymra at the time), but is buried in Rosewood Cemetary at Palymra.  Esther later lived in Lincoln where she passed away and is also buried in Rosewood Cemetary in Syracuse. 

Burton and Esther HALL are the parents of Onieta (HALL) CUNNINGHAM, Mike's grandmother.  Mike says he barely remembers Esther (MASTERS) HALL, but said he did meet her.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

On-line Research Links

Rather than combine what others have already written, I've decided to provide you with a list of links, which probably offer some of the best beginner’s advice on the internet today even for the greenest family historian. This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to beginner genealogy advice on internet, but I think it will get you where you need to be.

Where to Start When You Don't Know Where to Start from Gentutorials presented by Genwriters is a 10 step tutorial program.

How to Begin Tracing Your Family Tree by Kimberly Powell at Genealogy with lots of links to plenty of information.

A Guide to Research at

Genealogy 101 – at Rootsweb, while this article is 17 years old, it still has some good basics outlined for the newest of genealogists.

Researching Your Family Tree at is a self-paced tutorial for the beginner

An Introduction to Family Research - a self-paced tutorial from the Brigham Young University Independent Study program.

Genealogy from is a comprehensive article about what genealogy involves.
NATIONAL GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY QUARTERLY from 1987 to date.  Some libraries carry this publication.  Borrow back copies or plan blocks of time to go to the library to read this publication.  It will help you no matter what family or region is present in learning methodology.

Most of these are free articles on the internet, you are not required to subscribe or pay a membership to view them, and they are all very sound advice. Some are quick overviews while many of the tutorials are great opportunities for more extensive learning.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Tuesday Trivia


Can you identify if  Onieta (HALL) CUNNINGHAM is in this picture and who are the other people in this picture?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Monday's Moments

It's A Matter Of Faith

I am gathering information for an article about the faith of our fathers. What do you know about the religious life of your ancestors. If you are part of our families please EMAIL me with what you know.

Sometimes an apparent lack of faith in one of our ancestor's can give us a clue of many things. Are they hiding their faith? Were they persecuted for their faith? What do you know about your ancestors faith? Did they have a favorite Hymn or Song? How did they live out their faith?

Watch for my progress in this area. REMEMBER our goal is to make these people 'real' and not forgotten and not just names on a Family History Genealogy sheet.

First Family

I am still working to put together my proof of WILLIAM A. HALL as a first family.  After a day trip to Falls City, Nebraska I hope to put the paperwork all together and send it off the the Nebraska State Genealogical Society by the end of the week.  Interestingly enough in getting information together for this I discovered another family that qualifies, that of the MASTERS family.  Since William's father Equillar came to Nebraska in 1866 I think that also qualifies him as a First Family so I'll have to look into that also.

Mikes mother was Dorothy (CUNNINGHAM) SLOCUM whose parents were Chester CUNNINGHAM and Oneita HALL.  Oneita HALL's parents were Burton W. HALL (son of William A HALL) and Esther MASTERS.

In 1870 William A. Hall raised Durham Cattle (Shorthorns), Poland China Hogs, plus Norman and Clydesdale Horses

The Anglo-Norman horse was a warmblood horse breed from the old province of Normandy in northern France. From early in the 19th century, local Norman mares were crossed with imported English thoroughbreds, Norfolk Roadsters and half-breds, which themselves had Norfolk Roadster and Mecklenburg blood.  Three principal lines developed: a light draught horse, which became the Norman Cob of today; a fast harness-horse which was the origin of the present-day French trotter; and a general riding horse suitable for military use, the Anglo-Norman.  In 1958 the Anglo-Norman was fused with other regional warmblood saddle-horses such as the Angevin, the Charentais, the Charolais, the Cheval Limousin and the Vendéen in order to create the national warmblood stud-book, the Selle Francais or French saddle horse.

An Anglo-Norman mare, book illustration from 1904, after a painting by Thomas von Nathusius

The Anglo-Norman horse excelled in jumping. Winners included Lutteur B, an Olympic gold medal winner at Tokyo in 1964.