Thursday, October 27, 2016

Who was Doris McCall?

This past week I received several new matches on 23andMe, two of them from adoptees who appear to be related to my father's family.

One of them is a woman whom I'll call "S".  In her own words, she was born in 1949 and "adopted at 5 days old from a Northeast blackmarket adoption agency in Binghamton, New York".

The curious thing is, she is matching-- on the same chromosomal location--both my brother and myself, grandchildren of ALONZO COX HUBER, and also two known 2nd cousins from the family of ARETTA HUBER & JEFFERSON SPAKE of Vici, Dewey Co Oklahoma (ARETTA was my paternal grandfather ALONZO's sister).

So far, "S" is not matching any other descendants of grandfather ALONZO COX HUBER, or any other descendants of my great grandparents PHILLIP LUTHER HUBER & CRAMELIA FRAZIER of Marshall Co Iowa.

That said, she definitely seems to be related to my paternal family, at about 3rd-5th cousin level. My paternal family mainly lived in Iowa, Missouri, Indiana, and Oklahoma, and had no connection whatsoever to New York state.

The only clue that "S" has about her birth parents is that her mother was named DORIS McCALL.
Was McCALL her maiden name?  Was she from New York?  Or was "S" born elsewhere, and taken to the agency in Binghamton, New York at 5 days old?

And how on earth does my midwestern paternal family intersect with DORIS McCALL??

Since the SPAKE/HUBER family was from Oklahoma, I looked there first. There were two with the name DORIS McCALL born in Oklahoma in census records:

--DORIS McCALL born 1910, divorced & lived in Texas in 1930s, Tempe, Arizona in 1940 census. No further information.

--DORIS T McCALL born 1918 Beaver Co Oklahoma--very near Vici, Dewey Co Oklahoma--the daughter of HERSCHEL & IDA  McCALL, moved with her family by 1930 to Brownsville, Cameron Co Texas and married DUKE McCAULEY, died 1979.

There was also a younger DORIS McCALL born about 1932 in Corpus Christi, Texas, daughter of GEORGE & IDA McCALL.  She is intriguing because....

In July 1948, CAROL GENE SPAKE born Sept 17, 1932, the son of MERLE SPAKE & ZELPHA PICKERING of Enid, Oklahoma, ran away from home.  This made the papers because CAROL GENE SPAKE was a diabetic, and needed his insulin shots.  He also ran away more than once! By Oct 1948, he was in Fort Worth, Texas, and looking for work, according to newspaper accounts. He did not return to Oklahoma for several years. To my knowledge, he was the only grandson of ARETTA HUBER & JEFFERSON SPAKE to live for any time in Texas. He died in Enid, Oklahoma in 1967.

Several other DORIS McCALLs of correct age range were listed in the 1940 census in Texas.

Likewise there were several of that name & correct age range in New York state in the 1940 census.

"S" is also looking into a DORIS McCALL related to ROBERT McCALL of Green Co New York, which is  near Binghamton, Broome Co New York.

I have suggested that "S" upload her raw DNA data from 23andMe to, and FamilyTreeDNA, and if possible test with AncestryDNA, in order to receive more matches, and possibly find more clues about her parents' families.

Any McCALL or SPAKE/HUBER descendants with any possible information, please contact me.

Have a great day!


© Betty Tartas  2016

Monday, October 24, 2016

IGNATIOUS BUTLER Born Oct 2, 1755 Monongalia Co Virginia was NOT the Son of Rev BENJAMIN BUTLER & DORCAS ABBOTT of New Hampshire

Here's a little horror story of how one error in one family tree can spread online like wildfire.

My great x 5 grandfather Rev BENJAMIN BUTLER was born April 6, 1729 Windham, Connecticut, died  Dec 29, 1804 Nottingham Rockingham Co New Hampshire. He married DORCAS ABBOTT April 17, 1754 in Andover, Essex Co Massachusetts.

This BENJAMIN BUTLER was the son of MALACHI BUTLER & JEMIMA DAGGETT, of Edgarstown, Dukes Co Massachusetts (Martha's Vineyard).  The family also lived for a time in Connecticut, where BENJAMIN was born.

This BENJAMIN BUTLER graduated from Harvard with  a Bachelor of Arts in 1752, and a Master's degree in 1758.  He was ordained as a minister, and that was his profession for most of his life. He & his family moved after 1758 to Rockingham Co New Hampshire.

This BENJAMIN BUTLER & his wife DORCAS ABBOTT  were NOT the parents of IGNATIOUS BUTLER who was born Oct 1755 supposedly in England, and died in Bath Co Kentucky.

Sadly, I have seen over a hundred online trees with this error, particularly on

And how do I know this is incorrect?  I spent over two years researching the BENJAMIN BUTLER & DORCAS ABBOTT family & the BUTLER pedigree for application to the Society of Mayflower Descendants.  My application & pedigree were accepted as correct in 2011.

Rev BENJAMIN BUTLER left a will which was probated Jan 10, 1805 Nottingham, Rockingham Co New Hampshire and in it he lists his 2nd wife PHEBE, son HENRY BUTLER, and two daughters MARY (who married ABRAHAM BROWN) and DORCAS (who married JONATHAN CILLEY).

Here is a scanned copy of the will of Rev BENJAMIN BUTLER

 Rev BENJAMIN BUTLER had no connection whatsoever to Virginia, and was in fact attending Harvard in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1755 when IGNATIOUS BUTLER was born in Virginia.

A quick check of Massachusetts birth records & published genealogies shows that BENJAMIN & DORCAS BUTLER never had a son named IGNATIOUS.

--"History of Martha's Vineyard" by Dr Charles Bank Vol III p 17-66;
--"Ancestors of Gen Benjamin Franklin Butler" by Blanche Butler Ames;
--"History of Northfield New Hampshire" by Lucy Cross, page 29-31;
--"History of the Town of Canterbury New Hampshire 1727-1912" by James Otis Lyford p 43;
--"Lineage Book of the Hereditary Order of Descendants of Colonial Governors" by Robert Glenn Thurtle;
--"Lineage Book, National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution DAR, Vol 31" by DAR page 311, lineage of NELLIE PRESCOTT BROWN
--"Genealogy and Family History of the State of Maine Vol 4" by Burrage & Stubbs p 1731, section of BUTLER & ABBOTT
--" Register of the Society of Mayflower Descendants in the District of Columbia 1970" (BUTLER lineage registered by JOHN HENRY BRONSON SMITH)
--appears on several different lists from Harvard University.
--An detailed biography appears in "Colonial Collegians"by Conrad Edick Wright, published 2005. See the NEHGS website, American Ancestry. 

Please refer to my tree "New England Ancestors of Ruby Bolton Brown"  profile page for Rev BENJAMIN BUTLER

Or, if you don't have a subscription, here is the version

Have a great day!


© Betty Tartas  2016

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Letters to Jessie by Patricia Pulver Fitzgerald

I had the pleasure of meeting Patricia Pulver Fitzgerald at a recent Skagit Valley Genealogy Society meeting where we both were speaking.

Patricia recently published a book called "Letters to Jessie" (Green Ivy Publishing, Feb 2016).

Her grandmother, Jessie Whitney Pulver, was born Aug 7, 1896 in Burlington, Skagit Co Washington,  the daughter of William H Whitney & Anna Rose Dunnett, both born in Canada.

Jessie & her family lived in the same family home in  Burlington from about 1901 until her death in 1982.  The house is still standing.

In 1915,  Jessie married Rudolph Henry Pulver, the son of Swiss immigrants who settled in Skagit Valley before 1887.

Jessie kept all  correspondence from her family in New Brunswick, Canada & Washington state, and these letters were handed down to Patricia.  She transcribed 200 letters for the book, which also contains images of the actual letters and commentary.

"Letters to Jessie" should definitely appeal to anyone interested in Skagit Valley history, as the Pulver & Whitney families were prominent pioneers and had many connections to other families in this area.

Here is a press release/description  from Green Ivy Publishing

And here is a press release from  A Book for All Seasons in Leavenworth WA

"Letters to Jessie"  is available on

Have a great day!


© Betty Tartas  2016