When I got up this morning and picked up my phone, FamilySearch had reminded me that today, September 6, is the birthday of my 3rd-great-grandmother, Orienta A. Gustin, and I thought, what a better day to learn more about her than her birthday?
Orienta A. Gustin was born on 6 September 1851 in Scio, New York, a town in Allegany County to Benjamin Gustin and Nancy Return Gault. Benjamin was a farmer and between 1865 and 1870 they had moved to Pennsylvania, where Orienta met and married Winfield Scott Warner, a farmer and Civil War veteran in 1869.
Orienta and Winfield settled in Sharon Township. In 1877 their oldest daughter, Mazie Lorenia was born, followed by Cymanthia Lencretia in 1881, Jeanette in 1887 and Catherine “Cassie” Belle in 1890. In 1899 Winfield died, leaving Orienta to finish raising her 2 youngest daughters solo.
Having an uncommon name like Orienta I have found an article or two in the newspapers. Below is one of my favorites about Orienta and her daughter, Jeanette (aka Nettie).
As far as I can tell though, Orienta did her best to take care of her children. In 1918 when Jeanette’s husband, Thomas Bergan, fell on hard times and passed away, Orienta moved in with her to help her and get her and get her on her feet.
In 1922 when Cymanthia came down with cancer living in California, it was Orienta who travelled across the country to first care for her daughter and assist with her grandson’s. Orienta eventually moved to Akron, Ohio where Mazie and Jeanette both lived.
Orienta Gustin Warner passed away on December 23, 1928 at the home of her daughter, Mazie, in Akron, Ohio. She passed away from Brights Disease, which is Nephritis of the Kidneys, and Myocarditis. She was 77 years old. She was buried in Sharon Center Cemetery in Potter County with her husband.
When I see these photos of Orienta, she appears to be a no-nonsense woman who loves her family. I am so grateful to be descended from such strong women, as her daughter Mazie, my 2nd-great-grandmother was the same way.
Some of the earliest, largest, and most complete types of genealogical records used in research are land documents. Along with showing legal proof of ownership, land records provide a plethora of information such as:
a person’s age
name of their spouse
their parent’s, relatives, and neighbors
location of where they previously lived
if they were a naturalized citizen
if the land was acquired from the government
If land was acquired from the government, it is called a grant. This can be found on all levels of the government: federal, state, and county.
If land has been acquired from another person, it is a deed.
There are 2-different types of indexes to look up land records of your ancestors, direct and indirect.
A direct index has you searching by the grantor, or the seller of the land.
An indirect index has you searching by the grantee, or the buyer of the land.
Both indexes include the warranty, deed, quit claim, trust, description of the property, date of the sale, recordings and page number of the sale. An important tip is that surnames are often lumped together and are not found alphabetically. For example you may find a grouping of Smith’s on the S page in the beginning of the index with the name Saunders listed well after.
Below is a Direct Index from Potter County, Pennsylvania. Though you do not see any other “W” last names, you can see how the entire sheet is filled with Warner’s. Many of these are my relatives, with Winfield and Orienta Warner being my 3rd-Great-Grandparents.
Where to Find
Land records can be found using the FamilySearch Wiki, Google, Ancestry, USGenWeb, and sometimes records can be found online through the county governments (I know this is the case for several counties in Pennsylvania). Just remember it is important to search for the documents where the land was at the time of the sale. If your tract of land was originally done in Bedford County, Pennsylvania in 1835, but today it is found in Blair County, Pennsylvania, you will need to look in Bedford County for the documents.
What to Find
You never know what other bit of information you may find within your land document:
Value of the land
Sale or Manumission of Slaves
Power of Attorney
Deed of gifts
Below is a lawful agreement of a land sale from David Ritchey to my 3rd-Great-Grandparents, George Ritchey and his wife, Anna (Annie) Cypher. I like how the paperwork includes a drawing of the land in question and the neighbors and relatives surrounding the area.
When you are looking at older records, reading the handwriting can be a challenge. Sometimes you may need to get a feel of the older handwriting and possibly do some analysis to figure out all that is being said. Sometimes you will get lucky and some of your documents may be from the same time period and you may get the same person doing more than one.
This was just a brief glimpse at what all goes into land documents. The types of measurements and such are all different wherever you go, from state to state and country to country. (States tend to be grouped with states that earned their statehood at the same time, for example, the 13 original colonies have similar measurement methods).
To discover if your ancestor received bounties from the government for military service you can go to the Bureau of Land Management’s General Land Office Records Automation Website (https://glorecords.blm.gov/default.aspx). Not only does it give you information on what the website provides but you can search for your ancestor’s land documents as well.
As most of the world is resigned to stay home and be in isolation, I finally have found my genealogy groove. And though I normally try to partake in Amy Johnson Crow’s fabulous challenge 52 Ancestors in 52 weeks, I find myself struggling with the recent week’s prompts. So I think I’ll focus on a specific surname in my family, and I’ve chosen the Warner’s (I suddenly have the Animaniac’s theme going through my head, if you have never watched this outstanding cartoon brought to us by Steven Spielberg you really should, I discovered it in college and it is one of the greatest animated shows ever, if I do say so myself). I figure this can be the first of many tributes to my Warner clan and could possibly get me to find out more about them.
Mazie Lorenia Warner
The last of my line of Warner’s was my great-great-grandmother Mazie Lorenia Warner. I know I’ve spoken of Mazie before because she is one of my favorite relatives on my mother’s side of the family. She was born on 21 July 1877 to Winfield Warner and his wife, Orienta Gustin in Potter County, Pennsylvania. She had 3-sisters: Cymanthia Lencretia, Jeanette, and Catherine “Cassie” Belle.
Mazie was one of my first successfully solved puzzles. Just getting her name correct was one of my first obstacles as every document I found seemed to be something different – Mazie, Magie, Daysa (still trying to figure that last one out), but then my mom clarified it all for me (she was going off memory as Mazie passed away 2 years before my mom was born).
Mazie married my great-great-grandfather, Arthur James Dunbar on 2 Jan 1894. To this marriage came 4-children with the 3-girls surviving: Myrtle Iona, Merle Winfield (he passed away at 8 months), Ina Mae and Mildred Laura (she is my great-grandmother).
On 18 Dec 1912 Arthur died of polio (adult onset). A few years later Mazie married a second time to Samuel Randol, in 1916 they moved to Ohio and this is how this portion of my family settled in Akron. Oddly enough the area of Akron where they settled is not far at all from where I live with my own family.
Mazie and Samuel had a son, Richard LeHoty, but he passed away when he was 5-months old.
Because my library (Akron Summit County Public Library) has digitized the local city directories, I have been able to follow where Mazie and Samuel lived from 1916 until Mazie passed away in 1945. Mazie has come across as a loving soul, always taking her daughters in when their marriages failed (or at least that is how I assume her to be as my own great-grandmother returned home more than once and Mazie even let her and her third husband live with them for a bit when they first got married while I assume they saved up for a house – I have nothing to confirm these stories because my mother, grandmother and great-grandmother have all passed).
At one point in time Samuel and Mazie ran a store on Howard Street, and I believe it was called SJ Randol’s according to the 1924 city directory, and back in the 1920’s Howard Street was the place to be. According to a lady my parents’ were guardian’s of, Clara Mueller, she claimed that you could find things at the shops on Howard Street that you couldn’t find anywhere else.
Samuel passed away on 16 Oct 1938 in Decatur, Illinois. He was a truck driver and wasn’t feeling well and passed away after he had been “ill for a week over a complication of diseases” according to the 17 Oct 1938 edition of the Decatur Herald. This made me sad to learn of Samuel’s death. The 1937 City Directory is the first where my great-grandmother, her husband and my grandmother finally moved into their own home, which gave Mazie and Samuel basically 1-2 years to finally enjoy life together.
Mazie continued to live alone until 1943 where she moved in to her old house which is where her daughter, Ina lived with her second husband, Ralph, and her daughter, Almeda. She passed away there on 19 May 1945.
I drive down Howard Street every day when I go to and from work and I look to the spot where the store stood that Mazie and Samuel ran. I look to the abandoned lot with just a very slight portion of a brick wall standing that would most likely been the back of their store, and wonder what it would have been like to know her, if she ever looks down on me and is happy to know that I am making sure my family doesn’t forget her and her legacy.