Wells Family Genealogy

The study of my Family Tree

15 May 2016: Brigadier General Clark Crandall of Hopkinton and Alfred May 15, 2016

I was cleaning up some notes in my genealogy database and spent the afternoon polishing up my notes for my great, great, great-grandfather, Clark Crandall (1785-1862.) Clark is one the ancestors in my family tree that I wish I could go back in time and talk to so I could glean some of the finer details of his life that are conspicuously missing from the records left behind.

What finer details, you ask … well, for one, what is his father’s name.  Clark was born 17 April 1785 in Hopkinton, Washington County, Rhode Island to Jane Crandall.  Problem is, in all the records, Jane is always listed as mother but there is never a mention of his father’s identity.  I find this odd because it’s as if no one is ashamed of this fatherless fact.  I would have thought that back in 1785, an unmarried mother would wreak havoc with records, the disgrace of an unwed mother and all.  It’s almost like there was no shame in the birth, as if for some reason it was acceptable to society which I think highly unlikely.

Another odd fact of Clark is that I see mentions of him being a brigadier general in historical books, but none of them military related.  I mean there’s not mention one of him on http://www.fold3.com, the military genealogy site.  You’d think there’s be some record of him there if he served long enough to attain such a high rank.

Anyway, just to share what I’ve collected on Grandpa Clark, here are my notes:


Documents of the Senate of the State of New York, Volume 11,

Page 2073

Year: 1819

Battalion of infantry in the county of Steuben commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Simeon Bacon:

Charles Oliver, adjutant

One Hundred and Twenty-sixth regiment of infantry:

Clark Crandall, colonel.


Page 2194

Year: 1820

Allegany County.

New Brigade organized, consisting of the militia in the county of Allegany, and denominated the Fifty-second brigade of infantry:

Clark Crandall, brigadier general.

The One Hundred and Twenty-sixth regiment of infantry is the county of Allegany being organized into four battalions, Resolved that the following officers be and they are hereby appointed, viz.:

Battalion in the town of Alfred:

Alexander Head, major commandant; David Crandall, adjutant.

Asa Coon, captain; Joseph Goodrich, Lieutenant; Dennis Saunders, ensign.


1820 US Federal Census, Alfred, Allegany, New York, Enumeration Date: August 7, 1820 (Original Record available on Ancestry.com)

  • Name: Clark Crandall
  • Free White Persons – Males – Under 10: 1 (William Ladurney: Age 8)
  • Free White Persons – Males – 16 thru 25: 5
  • Free White Persons – Males – 26 thru 44: 1 (Clark: Age 35)
  • Free White Persons – Females – Under 10: 2 (Amelia Jane: Age 1, Orpha: Age 16)
  • Free White Persons – Females – 16 thru 25: 1
  • Free White Persons – Females – 26 thru 44: 1 (Amelia: Age 32)
  • Free White Persons – Females – 45 and over : 1
  • Number of Persons – Engaged in Agriculture: 5
  • Free White Persons – Under 16: 3
  • Free White Persons – Over 25: 3
  • Total Free White Persons: 12
  • Total All Persons – White, Slaves, Colored, Other: 12


1830 US Federal Census, Alfred, Allegany, New York  (Original Record available on Ancestry.com)

  • Name: Clark Crandall
  • Free White Persons – Males – 5 thru 9: 1 (Ira: Age 8)
  • Free White Persons – Males – 10 thru 14: 1
  • Free White Persons – Males – 15 thru 19: 2 (William Ladurney: Age 18)
  • Free White Persons – Males – 40 thru 49: 1 (Clark: Age 45)
  • Free White Persons – Females – Under 5: 2 (Susan: Age 1, Mary Elizabeth, Age 4)
  • Free White Persons – Females – 5 thru 9: 1 (Eleanor Matilda: Age 6)
  • Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 14: 1 (Amelia Jane: Age 11)
  • Free White Persons – Females – 15 thru 19: 1 (Orpha: Age 16)
  • Free White Persons – Females – 40 thru 49: 1(Amelia: Age 42)
  • Free White Persons – Under 20: 9
  • Free White Persons – 20 thru 49: 2
  • Total Free White Persons: 11
  • Total – All Persons (Free White, Slaves, Free Colored): 11


1840 US Federal Census: Alfred, Allegany, New York  (Original Record available on Ancestry.com)

  • Name: Clark Crandall
  • Free White Persons – Males – 15 thru 19: 1 (Ira: Age 18)
  • Free White Persons – Males – 50 thru 59: 1 (Clark, Age 55)
  • Free White Persons – Females – 5 thru 9: 1 (Amanda: Age 9)
  • Free White Persons – Females – 10 thru 14: 2 (Susan: Age 10, Mary Elizabeth, Age 14)
  • Free White Persons – Females – 50 thru 59: 1 (Amelia, Age 52)
  • Persons Employed in Agriculture: 3
  • Free White Persons – Under 20: 4
  • Total Free White Persons: 6
  • Total All Persons – Free White, Free Colored, Slaves: 6


1850 US Federal Census: Alfred, Allegany, New York, Family Number 307, Dated 9 Sept 1850, Page 40  (Original Record available on Ancestry.com)

  • Clark Crandall (Head) Age 65 … Born In RI … Occ: Farmer … Value of Real Estate Owned: 50
  • Amelia Crandall (Wife) Age 61 … Born in RI … No Occupation Listed
  • Ira B Crandall (Son) Age 28 … Born in NY … No Occupation Listed … Value of Real Estate Owned: 2000
  • Harriet L Crandall (Daughter-in-law)… Female … Age 27 … Born in NY
  • Samuel S Warner … Male … Age 20 … Born in NY … Occ: Carpenter
  • Daniel B Crandall (Relationship Unknown) Male … Age 22 … Born in NY … No Occupation Listed
  • James Gorden … Male … Age 20 … Born in NY … No Occupation Listed
  • Jenette Stickney … Female … Age 17 … Born in NY … No Occupation Listed


New York State Census: Alfred, Allegany, New York, Household number: 61, Line Number: 53  (Original Record available on Ancestry.com)

  • Clark Crandall (Head) Age 70 … Born in RI … Value of house: 500 … Occ: Hard to read, might be “none”
  • Amelia Crandall (Wife) Age 66 … Born in RI … No Occ listed.


1860 US Federal Census: Alfred, Allegany, New York July 31, 1860, Dwelling # and Family #: 567, Page 72, Post Office: Andover.  (Original Record available on Ancestry.com)

  • Clark Crandall (Head) Age: 75 … Occupation: Grocery Man … Place of Birth: RI
  • Amelia Crandall (Wife) Age 71 … Occ: House Labor … … Place of Birth: RI

NOTE: Two doors down on the Census is their daughter Orpha and her family: Phineas C. Stillman, Orpha Stillman, Ellinor Stillman, Albert S.Stillman, Amelia E. Stillman, Mary Stillman


First Alfred Seventh Day Baptist Church, Membership Records (1816-1886)

By Ilou M. Sanford, 1995, Heritage Books, Inc. Pages 27-32 (From the Seventh Day Baptist Historical Society)

Page number listed below is as noted in the book as the page that the record comes from in the original text., Page.29

Judge Clark Crandall

b Hopkinton Apr 17, 1785 , ad ’16, d Alfred Nov 9’62 … m abt 1810 Amelia Vincent sis/o David; ex Sep 5’47

(Abbreviations: ad = admitted, d = died, ex = excluded, b = born, m = married)


Allegany County and it People: A Centennial Memorial History of Allegany County, New York, John S. Minard, Esq. Historian, Mrs. Georgia Drew Andrews, Editor. W. A. Fergusson & Co., Alfred, N. Y. 1896,

History of Alfred, New York


Page 633:

…..Amos Crandall, Clark Crandall and Maxson Stillman used to act as choristers alternately, always standing in front of the pulpit to lead the congregation in singing….. (Re – the Alfred, NY 7th Day Baptist Church)

Page 648:

Judge Clark Crandall was born in Hopkinton, RI, April 17, 1785. His family removed to Petersburg, Rensselaer Co., in 1793, and from there he came on foot, in 1807, with two companions, and became one of the three first settlers of the present town of Alfred. He married Amelia Vincent during the first year of his residence in the town. Descended from ancestors who had been prominent in public affairs, strong and resolute, he at once assumed the position of a leader which he continued to hold during his lifetime. His first public office was that of a commissioner for the opening of roads. He was a constituent member of the First Seventh Day Baptist Church of Alfred in 1813, and supervisor of the town in 1814 and 1815, and town clerk three terms. He was made captain of the militia in 1811, second major in 1812, colonel of the 126th regiment of the state militia in 1819, and brigadier general in 1820. He established the first manufactory in the town, wooden pails, built the first courthouse in Allegany county in 1819, represented the county in the state legislature in 1820-21, and was one of the presidential electors of the state in 1832. Having been made a justice of sessions he was called “Judge Crandall” during the remainder of his lifetime. Always engaged in business enterprises, he was subject to varying fortunes financially. In 1836 he succeeded Luke Greene in the tanning and currying business at Alfred, and some years later he engaged in the cheese trade, finding markets mostly in Pennsylvania for the dairy product of his town, which he conveyed thither over the “Laurel Mountains” in wagons. This was the beginning of a business which has since assumed large proportions. Honest, persistent, public-spirited and kind hearted to a fault, he served his generation well and died in Alfred November 6, 1862, aged 77 years. His son, Ira B., and his youngest daughter, Amanda, wife of William C. Burdick, are still living in Alfred.”


The Sabbath Recorder“, Vol 18, No 49, p 195, Dec. 4, 1862.

In Alfred, N. Y., November 9, 1862, of liver complaint, Mr. Clark Crandall, better known as Judge Crandall, aged 77 years, 6 months, and 22 days. He was born in Rhode Island, 1785, moved to Petersburgh, N. Y., and to Alfred in 1807,being one of the first three settlers in the town, and assisted in organizing the 1st Seventh-day Baptist Church in that town. In 1820 he was elected Member of the Assembly, and afterwards held the office of County Judge of Allegany for three years. When the Town of Almond was set off from Alfred, in 1821, he was a member of the Assembly. At that time many towns were being formed in the western part of the State, and there was much wrangling and disputing about names. The Judge had taxed brain to think of one for this town, but could not satisfy himself. The morning that the bill came up, just before it was called, a boy came through the crowd selling almonds; he bought some, and at the same time the thought struck him that Almond was just the name he wanted, and handed it in. It was immediately adopted; but its eccentricity attracted the attention of the members, and many perplexed for names, came to ask him where he found his. ‘I bought it of a boy,’ replied the Judge. Perhaps no one man did as much to build up the town of Alfred, in its first settlement as he. He was always noted for his resolution and public spirit, and it followed him till the last. He only gave up when his strength became so reduced that he could no longer walk. There was a large circle of friends in attendance at his funeral, though a majority of his own family were absent in distant parts of the United States and South America. He will be greatly missed in the town of Alfred.

N. W.


If you have any additional info on Clark, let me know and I’ll update this post.


Jennifer Geoghan, genealogist and author of The Purity of Blood novel series and If Love is a Lie: A Partly True Love Story.

I’d love to hear from you! So click on “Leave A Comment” below and let me know what’s on your mind.


8 May 2016: My DNA Test Results … Part 2: The Family Finder Test May 8, 2016

So yesterday I wrote about my mtDNA or maternal line DNA test. Today I’m going to share my experiences with Family Tree DNA’s Family Finder DNA test. According to their website, this is what Family Tree DNA says about the Family Finder test …

  • Family Finder is an autosomal DNA test that automatically finds your relatives within 5 generations. It works by comparing your DNA to the DNA of other users in our massive database.
  • Discover unknown family connections
  • Confirm uncertain relationships
  • Connect with living relatives
  • Gain a genealogical leg up
  • myOrigins will give you a very detailed geographic breakdown of where your ancestors came from. It works by comparing your DNA to the DNA of hundreds of ethnic groups around the world.
  • Learn your ethnic background
  • Gain insight into your ancestry
  • Confirm family lore

Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? Well, let’s see if it lives up to expectations. Let’s start with the Family Finder test Dashboard:

FF Dashboard

The first item on the dashboard is my MATCHES and here are the top matches I was paired with:

FF matches

The first question you’re probably asking is … how accurate is this test? Well, pretty accurate when you consider that Alice (seen above) is listed as potentially between my 2nd and 4th cousin and in reality she’s my third cousin once removed! Yep, we’d crossed paths via email a few years back through this blog. When I emailed her through my Matches page here, she reminded me of that. With that in mind, I think we can accept the legitimacy of this test and lay any doubts to rest.

If you click on any of my matches, a pop up box will come up that looks like this. (Again, I blocked out personal info to protect the privacy of my cousins.)

FF Match Pop Up

It gives you more info on what that person is looking for and their dead ends. With my cousin Alice, it gave us a match score of 83.27, the highest there. My second highest comparison score is Michelle at 63.38. On the website, they describe this score as: “This is the sum of the autosomal DNA, given in centiMorgans (cM), that you and your genetic match share.”

Next on the Dashboard is the Chromosome Browser. Here’s how the website describes it: “Chromosome Browser page allows you to compare your matching DNA segments (blocks) with your genetic matches. You may assign a known relationship to a person by clicking on the Assign button.”

I did a comparison between me and my known cousin Alice, and this is what it showed:

Chromosone with Alice

Is this a lot?  I’m not sure, but it’s enough to make us 3rd cousins.

The Known Relationships button on the dashboard is just a place for you to keep track of those you’ve officially found a connection to.

Next is My Origins. This is what I see when it first opens up:

My Origins First View

Well, there you have it. I’m 99% European and 1% South/Central Asian. My Asian actually comes out of the middle of Afghanistan! Humm… maybe that explains why my mother has crocheted me so many afghans … interesting ….

When I hit the Expand under my Ethnic Makeup, this is what you see:

My Origins - Expanded View

When you break it down, I’m:

  • 55% British Isles
  • 20% Southern Europe
  • 9% Western and Central Europe
  • 8% Finland and Northern Siberia
  • 7% Eastern Europe
  • 1% Central Asia

Some of this makes sense right off the bat. Firstly, my maternal grandfather’s history is 100% English, so that accounts for 25% right there for The British Isles. My paternal grandfather’s history is 100% Scottish and Irish. Put those together and at least 50% of my DNA should say British Isles. With the 55% they list, I say that’s pretty accurate.

So what about the rest?

My paternal grandmother is a mix. Her father has very deep roots in Bavaria, Germany. Her mother has deep roots in modern-day Slovakia.   They’re saying that the area of Slovakia is Eastern European and German is Western and Central Europe. With that in mind, you’d think both my Eastern and Western/Central Europeans would be about 12.5%.

My maternal grandmother’s parents were both born in Bavaria, Germany. Her mother’s parents are: Father Germany, Mother … not quite sure. This is the elusive Regina Van Glahn who we aren’t sue if she came from Germany or Holland. Since I’ve got this strange 8% of my DNA coming out of the region of Finland and Northern Siberia, I’m wondering if the Van Glahn line of my family is somehow connected to that part of the world. This is also the family line that we have Jewish roots on. Could that be my Central Asian connection as well?

My real question is where is all the Southern European coming from? I mean 20%? That’s a lot! And I have no one from that area for like 16 generations! Yes, I have some VERY Distant ancestors that were in Italy for quite a few generations. To give you an idea of old they are, here’s who I’m talking about:

  • Sir Roger De Hautville, Grand Count of Sicily. Born 1030 in Sicily. (My 22nd Great Grandfather) His father was born in England.
  • Count Roger II, King of Sicily. Born 1093 in Sicily (My 21st Great Grandfather)
  • King Tancred of Both Sicilys, Born 1130 in Sicily (My 20th Great Grandfather)
  • Aaron Fitz Roger, born 1249 in Rome, Italy (My 19th Great Grandfather)
  • Aaron (or John) Fitz Roger, born 1260 in Rome Italy (My 18th Great Grandfather)
  • Aaron Fitz Roger, born in Italy (My 17th Great Grandfather)
  • John Fits Roger, Gentleman, Morn 1335 in England (My 16th Great Grandfather)

So you can see there were 7 generations of the family that were born in Italy, but that was about 900 years ago, so I’m not sure that’s what’s accounting for all that Southern European. I also have very old roots in Spain. Here’s an example of them:

  • Alphonso VIII, King of Leon and Castile, Born 1105, Spain (My 23rd Great Grandfather)
  • Ferdinand II, King of Leon, born 1137 in Toledo, Spain (My 22nd Great Grandfather)
  • Alphonso IX, King of Leon, born 1171 in Spain (My 21st Great Grandfather)
  • Ferdinand III, King of Castile and Leon, Born circa 1198 in Spain (My 20th Great Grandfather)
  • Princess Eleanor of Castile, born 1244 in Castile, Burgos, Spain (My 19th Great Grandmother)
  • Eleanor moved to England and married King Edward I (Longshanks) Plantagenet.

Again, this seems so distant to account for the 20% in my DNA. I’m really at a loss to understand how this number could be so high.

So that’s about it. Was it worth the money? That remains to be seen. One of the reasons I did this test was that I’m searching for a long-lost close relative. I’m hoping perhaps we can find each other through our DNA as conventional searching hasn’t worked so far. I’ve also downloaded the raw DNA data from Family Tree DNA and uploaded it onto another site, www.gedmatch.com. I’m curious to see if this yields any matches. I uploaded my data there today, but he site says it takes a few days to process the info. I’ll post again to give a review of that site. I would have loved to be able to upload my DNA data onto my Ancestry.com account, but they don’t let you do that there.  Seems a little unfair as you can upload your Ancestry DNA data onto Family Tree DNA’s site.


Jennifer Geoghan, Genealogist and author of The Purity of Blood novel series and If Love is a Lie: A Partly True Love Story.

I’d love to hear from you! So click on “Leave A Comment” below and let me know what’s on your mind.


7 May 2016: My DNA Results are in! … PART ONE mtDNA May 7, 2016

I finally received the results of my DNA tests last week. As I said in my first post, I used the company Family Tree DNA. Mostly because I’d read on-line reviews that insinuated that you got more detailed results with them. I did two tests, the Family Finder and the mtDNA. The Family Finder tested you for your whole spectrum DNA and the mtDNA only tests your maternal line DNA. Since there’s quite a bit of info here, I’m going to split this up into two posts.

First I’ll start with my mtDNA test. This is the test that zeros in on just my maternal line. My direct maternal line has been one of my most annoying brick walls. Here’s what I know starting with me:

  • Me
  • Myra Wells (my mom)
  • Florence Jeanatte Weber 1902-1961 (my grandmother) born in Jersey City, NJ
  • Julia Regina Erbig 1882-1954 (my great grandmother) born in Jersey City, NJ
  • Catherine/Kate Green 1860-1936 (my great great grandmother) born in New Jersey
  • Regina Von Glahn 1835-1907 (my great great great grandmother) born in Germany or Holland

Regina has been impossible to track down past her passenger manifest to America in 1850. The only scrap of info I had as a lead was an old family rumor that the female line in the family had Jewish roots. I was hoping that with this mtDNA test, I’d be able to prove or disprove this theory and perhaps find someone else with the same line where we could share info and find a way to break through my brick wall.

When the test results came back in, I have to say I was annoyed that they are so vague. Perhaps it’s just the test itself, but I was annoyed by the way in which the results are explained to you. I’ll get to that later on. First of all, this is the dashboard you get on the website when you log in.

My Family Tree DNA Dashboard

My Family Tree DNA Dashboard

Let’s start with my Matches.   As you can see below the website has listed folks who, like me, are in their database and have been found as a match for their mtDNA, maternal line DNA. (I’ve blacked out their last names for their privacy.) Under the column “Genetic Distance” a 0 (zero) means we are an exact match and that our family connection is the closest. As the numbers go up, our common ancestor goes farther back in time. The other info listed is the ancestor the person listed on their profile as the farthest back they can trace. If you click on the little blue square that looks like a family tree it will show you the family tree that person built on the site. I found it extremely useful to be able to look at their family tree to see if I could find any commonality. If you click on the envelope you can also email these folks to see if they want to work with you on your research.

My mtDNA Matches

The next item on the dashboard is my Ancestral Origins. This report was what annoyed me the most about my results, mainly because Family Tree DNA gives you no explanation of what it means. I actually had to call them up and the explanation I did get was really strange. Here’s the first few lines of the report. I’ll scan and attach the full one below as well. Another thing I didn’t like was that there is no way to download these results as a PDF.

Mt DNA Ancestral Origins

Here’s what the columns mean:

  • Country Total: The total number of people in the Family Tree DNA database that claim to have ancestry in the country listed.
  • Match Total: The total number of people listed in “Country Total” that are actually matches to your mtDNA.
  • Percentage: The percentage of people in “Country Total” that are in your “Match Total.” Yes, had I a calculator, I could have figured this one out for myself.
  • Comment: Either a region of that country or ethnic people of that country that your matches have listed as part of their ancestry, which of course is pretty subjective as it could very well be based of family rumor more than truth proved with evidence.

Interestingly enough, my highest percentage of match came from the country of Morocco with 14.5%.


When I called customer service to ask for an explanation of this report, even the Family Tree DNA rep said this report was kind of weird. When I asked about ways to find out if I was Jewish or not, he said that by the extremely large amount of Jewish ancestry noted in the comments fields of my report that odds were extremely high I had Jewish roots on my maternal line!

Mazel Tov

No, I didn’t get exacting scientific proof … yet … but that was good enough for me. Yeah! I’m a Jew. I’ll take it where I can get it. I’m so tired of just being plain old white bread European.

Here’s my Full Ancestral Origins Report:

Report Page 1

Report Page 1

Report Page 2

Report Page 2

Report Page 4

Report Page 3

Report Page 4

Report Page 4

Report Page 5

Report Page 5

The next item on the dashboard is the Matches Map. Here’s what it looks like when you open it up:

mtDNA Matches Map whole World

If you zoom in on a place, here’s what you see. If you click on a pin, the info for that person pops up.

mtDNA Matches Map for NYC

All things considered, this is just another way of looking at your matches.

The next item on the dashboard is the Migration Map. Here’s what it looks like.

MtDna Migration Map

There is no explanation to help you understand what this map really means so I honestly have no clue what it’s supposed to tell me. You’d think if they went through the trouble of creating it, they’d at least want you to understand it.

The other tab is the Frequency Map. Here’s what it looks like:

mtDNA Frequency Map

At least this map gives you a little explanation, but then when you click on one of the pie charts, I’m lost again. It doesn’t explain what A,B,C,D and X are for.

Mtdan Frequency map close up

Next on the Dashboard is the Haplogroup Origins. Take a look for yourself, but I don’t see how this differs from the Ancestral Group origins report much.

Haplogroup origins


Next on the dashboard is my Results. I’m Haplogroup H7, which according to Family Tree DNA is an uncommon branch found in low frequencies. Gee, nice to know I’m special.  Here’s the scientific gobbledygook they throw at you here:

Results 1

Results 2The last item on the dashboard is my Certificates. Here’s what I got:

CertifiacateThe only other certificate was the migration map which was kind of redundant.  So what did I think of this test? I have mixed feelings.  I get the impression that no matter what company I used, I was going to have a difficult time proving my Jewish heritage and really that was the only reason I did the test. I feel that there is interesting results to be had here, but was disappointed that Family Tree DNA did such a poor job of interpreting these results in an easy to understand way.  I think the Family Finder test results were more interesting.  That test will be my next post here.


Jennifer Geoghan, Genealogist and author of The Purity of Blood novel series and If Love is a Lie: A Partly True Love Story.

I’d love to hear from you! So click on “Leave A Comment” below and let me know what’s on your mind.