A Potential Project

1896 Map of Butler, PA

I’ve dug out my genealogical research notes and been back at it.  I am very much a genealogically newbie, and am learning as I go.   But one thing I am re-discovering is just how much fun genealogy is as it ties together history, human relationships, and social institutions.

Just some highlights:

  • The question of storing genealogical research has always troubled me. There are many programs one can buy, but migrating from computer to the next is frustrating. In addition, I have multiple computers, so having my research on just one machine is frustrating.  Well, I’ve discovered Wikitree, which is an online system for recording genealogical information.wikitree-logo

    I like it and I’ve been using it.  Another website I’ve discovered is Find A Grave.  Amazing.

  • While I do not believe there are any published family histories for any of my lines, I am very fortunate to have inherited lots of genealogical information from family members about the Whitmires of Butler, PA .  I have a document that is nearly 100 pages long and provides family trees for nearly 10 generations, all the way back to Francis Whitmire, the son of a German immigrant, who moved to Butler, PA in 1798.
  • Whitmire Family History Document
    Whitmire Family History Document

    The vast majority of the research this document contains is genealogical research done before the Web.  This fact is amazing to me.  It represents countless hours recording oral history, visiting courthouses, libraries, etc.  I really appreciate all the work.  It makes me appreciate all the more that genealogy is a labor of love, and requires significant determination!

  • Concerning the document, many of the branches in the family lines have gaps. In addition, there are no real significant documentation provided. Lastly, there are no stories in the document. There are generations listed and an occasional biographical note, often concerning a marriage or premature death, but very little that gives one insight into the Whitmire character.  So there is lots of opportunity to share primary sources and tell stories, and in fact, it seems that this document begs for a the next level of a family history treatment.

    FrancisWhitmireSr1832_Signature_Will
    The signature of Francis Whitmire on his Last WIll and Testament – 19 May, 1832
  • So, I’ve been polishing up on my genealogical skills, working on some of these branches, capturing stories and documentation.  As a result I have already collected some documents, like Francis Whitmire’s 1832 Last Will and Testament, and stories and feel like I already have the makings of book about the ancestry and progeny of the Whitmire Family of Butler, PA.
  • I thought I might use the blog as a place to capture and share some of these documents and stories, as I work on them.
  • My grandparents where Edith Whitmire (1917-2003) and Leroy McClain (1916-2000).  The differences in their ancestry in amazing. The Whitmires were German-descendant farmers, who dug roots and in some cases became relatively wealthy and part of the social fabric of Butler. In contrast, my Scot-Irish McClain line were apparently rugged and practical, and prone to wandering.  They represent a more challenging genealogical puzzle. Currently I’m attempting to connect the dots in pre-civil war TN.  If anyone has any connection to Erin, Houston Co., TN and/or knows about the John Biller McClain and/or Joseph Newton McClain (AKA McLane), I’d welcome the opportunity to collaborate.