John Mustain and the War of 1812

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One thing that digital records often do a poor job of reproducing is serendipity. On more than one occasion, I’ve run across records purely by chance when going through books and written records, one time most memorably when I went looking for an American Revolutionary War lineage in a volume of such and my eye […]


The Elusive Frank Jennings

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One of the frustrations of genealogy is finding where an ancestor originated from, particularly without records regarding parents or limited information on a place of origin. Connecting the dots, on the other hand, can be very rewarding. Though not a direct ancestor, the story of my great-great-grandmother Caroline Taylor’s first husband, Frank Jennings, is inseparable […]


Missing Places

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One of the joys of genealogy, since I love maps, is tracking down places that no longer exist or places where the names have changed. In some cases, the place still exists, but as part of a different municipality, township, county, shire, or territory. Sometimes, one area will get subsumed by another, as is the […]


Sideways Through a Brick Wall

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For many years, I’ve been trying to find further information about the parents of Mary Ann Mustain nee Arnott. I knew pretty definitively that her father was of Scottish ancestry, if not a first-generation immigrant, but I knew less about her mother. In part, I labored under the assumption that her mother was Nancy Ann […]


The Mustains of Virginia

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One of the best-documented family lines I’ve researched is my mother’s patrilineal line who cam to Yuma, Colorado, by way of McDonough County, Illinois from Pittsylvania County, Virginia. Prior to that, there’s no concrete indication of where the family originated. The variations in spelling (Mustain, Mustein, Musteen, Mosteen, Musten) provide some hints, but nothing more […]