Friday, May 24, 2019


People have been honoring their dead for millennia. Ancient Greeks and Romans held days of remembrance, decorating their graves with flowers and holding festivals. In 431 B.C the first recorded tributes to war dead was delivered when the Athenian General, Pericles, praised the sacrifice and bravery of soldiers killed in the Peloponnesian War.

Americans came to the custom much later, during and immediately after the Civil War. In the South, women's groups decorated the graves of Confederate soldiers even before the end of the war. This was not a official day and was held on different days in the different locations.

The club house at the race course where 
Union officers were confined. 
(Photo from the Library of Congress.)

At the very end of the Civil War, members of the U.S. Colored Troops, 1,000 recently feed slaves, and
white citizens gathered to create a new burial ground for 250 Union prisoners of war who had died at a camp near a Charleston, S.C. race track. On May 1, 1865, they came together to sing hymns and distribute flowers upon the new graves.

These activities might have been the inspiration for General John A. Logan, the head of the Grand Army of the Republic, a Union veterans' group, to declare in 1868, that May 30 should be a day of commemoration for the over half million soldiers lost in the conflict.

In 1870, Logan wrote a 1,000+ page tome titled,  The National Memorial Day: a Record of Ceremonies Over the Graves of the Union Soldiers, May 29th and 30th, 1869. Pages 866-869 cover Medina's Celebration.

For over a century the unofficial holiday was called Decoration Day, as flowers and banners were used to decorate the graves. Logan himself preferred the term "Memorial Day." In 1964, the name was officially changed to Memorial Day and in 1968, the date was changed to the last Monday in May. It wasn't until 1971 that it became an  official federal holiday.

As noted above, Medina has participated in the commemoration from the start. The 1869 holiday brought close to 3,000 people to the square of the small, sleepy, rural village.The G.A.R led the procession, followed by the ladies, arms full of wreaths and flowers, from the hall to the (Ole Town) cemetery. Soldiers that were buried elsewhere were remembered with wreaths that hung on a large cross in the center. On top of the cross a large circular wreath was placed to honor "him who had charity for all and malice toward none, the Nation's martyred president," Abraham Lincoln. The speeches were long and patriotic and somber.

Excerpt from  The Medina Gazette 4 June 1869 article that described
Medina's first Memorial Day.

The following year, no Decoration Day or Memorial Day was planned, as Medina was still recovering from the fire that devastated the square in April of that year. However...

Medina Gazette 3 June 1870, p.3.
The patriotic and reverential spirit of the citizens would not be denied and an "impromptu" commemoration took place.

Medina Memorial Day Parade circa 1880's
Photo sold on Pinterest

Photo from the 1880's, possibly 1888 when the Soldier's Monument was erected and dedicated.
Friends of the Cemetery newsletter May 2006
In 1884, William McKinley, State Representative.  and future Governor and  President of the United States, was the main speaker. McKinley was also a Civil War Veteran. After the memorials, Major McKinley was treated to a social that featured army songs and music and more speeches.

This photo from 1887 shows part of the Memorial Day festivities. Until at least 1931, part of the schedule was always
conducted in the Park before heading over to the cemetery.
Photo owner Melanie Robinson.

1889 photo from Bob Hyde's Beyond the Storefront web site.

Memorial Day Parade 1890, from Friends of the Cemetery  newsletter, May 2013.
Photo provided by David Kellogg.

The Memorial Day procession entering the gates of Spring Grove Cemetery, circa 1892.
Friends of the Cemetery newsletter, May 2004.
This undated photo shows the parade on the south side of the Park, circa 1897-1906.
Friends of the Cemetery newsletter, May 2015.

Also, circa 1897-1906. Dan Wells died in 1916.
 Note the dirt street and compare it to the street in the next photo dated, 1907.

This photo is clearly dated May 30 1907 and features the band leading the procession.
Note the brick paved street.
The plans for the 1917 Memorial Day Parade were laid out right below
a picture of four Medina "doughboys" on their way to fight in World War I.
After World War I, Memorial Day was expanded to remember all the soldiers who died in service of their country, not just the Civil War veterans.

Horses led the parade in the 1938 Memorial Day Parade.

Miss Ella Canavan escorts her students in this 1945 Memorial Day photo.
Friends of the Cemetery newsletter, May 2012.
The following year...

Medina Gazette 4 June 1946
The caption reads "The cemetery exercises were preceded by one of the largest parades to march on Memorial day in Medina in recent years... especially marked by the large turn-out of uniformed World War II veterans." They walked in memory of their fellow soldiers who never made it home.

Twenty years later, American was engaged in another war and the ceremony again was very poignant.

Medina Gazette,  31 May 1968, page 1.

Medina Gazette,  31 May 1968, page 1.

The U.S. Marine truck often features a re-enactment of the flag raising
on Iwo Jima as in this photo from the May 1987 Memorial Day Parade.
Yes, Medina County has a strong tradition of paying homage to the fallen comrades on Memorial Day.

While this post has focused on the city of Medina's commemorations for brevity, every village and town in
the county hosts Memorial Day Celebrations, as evidenced in the photos from this 30 May 2017 Medina
I hope to see you at next Monday's Medina Memorial Day Parade and Commemoration. I will be riding with the Medina County Women of the Military to commemorate the over 200 women who have died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Memorial Day Parade 2012


  • Maranzani, Barbara, "8 things You May Not Know About Memorial Day", History, , A&E Television Network, accessed 8 May 2019.
  • Kerr, Amanda, "Memorial Day Uncovered; Charleston's 'Martyrs of the Race Course'", The College Today, College of Charleston, 29 May 2017, accessed 10 May 2019.
  • Logan, John L. Gen., The National Memorial Day: a Record of Ceremonies Over the Graves of the Union Soldiers, May 29th and 30th, 1869, Washington, D.C. , 1870.
  • "Decoration Day",  Medina Gazette, 4 June 1869, page 4.
  • "Decoration Day",  Medina Gazette, 3 June 1870, page 3.
  • "In Memoriam" , Medina Gazette, 6 June 1884, page 4.
  • "Memorial Day Celebration to be Medina's Greatest", Medina Sentinel, 25 May 1917.
  • Medina Gazette, 3 June 1938, page 1.
  • Medina Gazette,  31 May 1968, page 1.
  • Medina Gazette,  26 May 1987, page 1.
  • Medina Gazette,  30 May 2017, page 1.
  • Beyond the Storefront web site,, accessed 8 May 2019.
  • Friends of the Cemetery Newsletter, May 2004.
  • Friends of the Cemetery Newsletter, May 2007.
  • Friends of the Cemetery Newsletter, May 2009.
  • Friends of the Cemetery Newsletter, May 2012.
  • Friends of the Cemetery Newsletter, May 2013.
  • Friends of the Cemetery Newsletter, May 2015.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Researching Immigrant Ancestors

Guest Blogger: Lauren Kuntzman, MCDL Family History & Learning Center Manager

If you’re an American of European descent, you probably have at least a few immigrant ancestors for whom you’re searching. In this installment of MCDL’s “how to” series, we’ll take a look at the best strategies and resources for learning about these family members. Though this article will mostly focus on researching individuals who arrived in the U.S. during the height of immigration in the early 1900s, it will include resources for locating individuals who arrived here earlier, too.

In general, researching immigrant ancestors is a three-step process. This blog post will discuss each step, then provide an example to illustrate the search process.

Step 1: Start with records in the U.S.A.
Researching immigrants starts like all other research. Collect sources about your ancestor, such as death certificates, obituaries, church records and more. At the top of your priority list, should be the U.S. Federal Census. Last month, Lisa Rienerth wrote an excellent blog post on this topic and noted how the census can help lead to naturalization and immigration records. (See here for details.)

After you’ve exhausted records from the U.S., the next steps involve finding naturalization records and passenger lists. If your ancestor became a U.S. citizen after 1906, I recommend trying to find naturalization records first. Otherwise, Steps 2 and 3 could be conducted simultaneously, or in either order.

Step 2: Find your ancestor’s naturalization record
Kathy Petras has written two fantastic posts about naturalization records in the past: see Naturalization Records and U.S. Naturalization Records for Women for in-depth information on laws, facts in records, and tips for finding documents (especially if your ancestor was in Medina County).

FamilySearch is a great place to search for naturalization records. If your ancestor became a citizen while living in Ohio, see the list of relevant online collections here. If your ancestor became a citizen in a state other than Ohio, see FamilySearch’s list of all online naturalization records here. Note: Some of these collections are on the subscription database Ancestry, but you can access these for free from MCDL.

Step 3: Find your ancestor’s passenger list
When you search for your ancestor’s passenger list, keep these points in mind:
  • The terms Passenger Manifest, Ship Manifest, and Passenger List refer to the same type of record.
  • United States passenger lists are all arrivals.
  • Few countries document individuals leaving. (Exceptions: limited departure records are available from Germany and England.)
  • Date and place affect sources, information, and searching.

The records you’ll find (and the information included in them) is impacted by the date when the document was created. Specifically: 

MCDL owns many volumes of the Passenger
and Immigration Lists Index
 that can help
research immigrants arriving in the
USA in the 1800s.  
Before 1820, passenger lists were not required by the U.S. government. However, some were created. Of the early passenger lists that have survived, many have been indexed in Passenger and Immigration Lists Index by P. William Filby. This multi-volume set of books is available in the MCDL collection (currently housed in the 1907 room).

After 1820 (when the U.S. federal government mandated creation of passenger arrival lists), these records have limited details about the voyage and the passengers, including:
  • The captain’s name, the ship’s name, the ports of departure and arrival, and the date.
  • The passenger’s name, age, sex, occupation, nationality, and country they intend to inhabit.

After Ellis Island opened in 1892
, passenger lists steadily grew to include more details. This timeline summarizes the information you may find in these records:
  • 1893 - details added about a passenger’s marital status, literacy, last residence and final destination, financial status, if they were previously in U.S. or have relatives in U.S., if the individual was a prisoner, poor, or polygamist, and their mental and physical health.
  • 1906 - details added about the passenger’s physical description, and place of birth, and if they were an anarchist.
  • 1907 -- lists become 2 pages long and include name and address of a living relative in country of origin.
  • 1919 - lists add questions about head tax, the purpose of the passenger’s visit, belief in overthrowing government, and if they were previously deported.
  • 1925 - the lists add three questions pertaining to immigration visas.

While the date of the record determines what information it may contain, knowing the place where the record was created impacts locating it. Passenger list records are generally organized by the place (“port of entry”) where the immigrant entered the country. 

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection,
The New York Public Library. "Immigrant Station, Ellis Island, with ferry
docked at adjacent pier." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed
May 9, 2019.

Ellis Island is the most famous port of entry, with more than 12 million immigrants entering the U.S. from this site, while it was in operation between January 1, 1892 and November 12, 1954. Before Ellis Island opened, Castle Garden (aka Castle Clinton or Fort Clinton) served as America's first official immigration center, with 8 to 12 million immigrants entering the country through this earlier port. 

To find records for Ellis Island, Castle Garden, and earlier New York arrivals, try the following resources: 

Besides Ellis Island and Castle Garden in New York, other major U.S. ports include Baltimore, Boston, New Orleans, and Philadelphia. To search for records from these ports, try:


Search the Ancestry Card Catalog United States Passenger Lists for the following collections (and many more):
  • Baltimore, Passenger and Immigration Lists, 1820-1872
  • Boston, 1821-1850 Passenger and Immigration Lists
  • Philadelphia, Passenger and Immigration Lists, 1800-1850
  • New Orleans, Passenger Lists, 1813-1963

This is a lot of information. Here’s an example of how the process works:

Helyak Family, date/place unknown.  Copy in the collection of the author.
The gentleman on the far right in the photo is my great-grandfather Michael Hellock (born Mihaly Helyak). When I began to research him, I wanted to learn where he had been born, when he arrived in the U.S.A., and when he'd become  a naturalized citizen.  Since Michael had a typical, twentieth-century immigration experience, he makes an excellent example of the research process and records you can expect to find. 

Step 1: Start with records in the U.S.A.
Though I found my great-grandfather’s death certificate, obituary, and social security application, the most helpful source was the U.S. census. I located Michael on the 1910, 1920, 1930, and 1940 censuses. Here is the relevant information from these records:

Immigration Year
Naturalization Status
Michael Helak
AL [Alien]
English [?]
Mike Hellock
Michael Helak
NA [Naturalized]
Michael Hellock

From these records, I learned that Michael became a naturalized citizen between 1920 and 1930, that he arrived in the USA around 1904-1905, and that he came from somewhere around Austria-Hungary-Slovakia. It also gave me options for how his name might be spelled. These clues gave me the information that I needed to begin Step 2.

Step 2: Find your ancestor’s naturalization record
When I originally searched for Michael’s record (about 20 years ago), census records indicated that he had naturalized between 1920 and 1930, while living in Jefferson County, Ohio. I had to go to the county courthouse, look at indexes, and search through bound ledgers of records. Today, his records can be found with a few mouse clicks.

Since Michael spelled his name in a variety of ways, I searched for Helyak, Hellock, and a couple other variations. The first document I found was his “Declaration of Intention” (aka “First Papers”). It includes great personal details, plus specific information on the port through which he entered the country (New York), the ship he came on (Ultonia), and its date of arrival (28 June 1906).

The next document I found was the “Petition for Naturalization.” Be aware that these are at least two pages long, so browse pages around your record, to make sure you don’t miss something! For Michael, a copy of his Declaration was inserted prior to the Petition, making it three pages. While much of the information from the Declaration is repeated, the Petition also includes info on Michael’s children.

Step 3: Find your ancestor’s passenger list
With information from the census records and the naturalization records, I next looked for a passenger list with Michael on it. For Michael, his naturalization record specified that he arrived on 28 June 1906 in New York aboard the Ultonia.

I searched FamilySearch’s “New York Passenger Arrival Lists (Ellis Island), 1892-1924” collection because it was the place I needed, for the right time period, and it’s a free resource. In searching it, I found not one, but two records for Michael. He first arrived on 21 May 1904... and then he arrived again on 24 June 1906 -- almost the exact date in his naturalization records!

Mihaly Helyak's 1906 Passenger List.  View on FamilySearch at  

Arriving in the United States more than once was not uncommon in the 1900s. With technological improvements, in the early 1900s a trip from Europe to America could take as little as two weeks. With shorter travel times, individuals would come to the U.S. for work, save money, then return to the “old country.” They would then return to the U.S. for work, and the cycle could repeat itself -- or the individuals might decide to stay and become citizens. These individuals (including Michael) are called “birds of passage.” (Learn more here.) 

Be sure to read all of the details on the passenger lists. For Michael’s 1906 record, this includes his last residence (Zahar, today Zahor, Slovakia), his destination in the U.S. (Bridgeport, PA), and the name of a relative/friend he will be meeting in the U.S. (his brother, Gyorgy Helyak). These facts confirm information from the naturalization record, plus add a new relative, Gyorgy, to my family tree. This illustrates another important point of researching immigrant ancestors -- the idea of chain migration. In the early 1900s, it was common for one relative to come to the United States, then provide aid to have other family members join them. For Michael and Gyorgy, their three siblings also came to the U.S., but only one sister stayed permanently.

Though my questions about Michael’s experience with immigration and naturalization have been answered, the clue about Michael’s brother Gyorgy means the search process can begin all over again!

Some Final Tips for Searching
If you’re having trouble finding your ancestor...
  • Try searching variant spelling of your ancestor’s surname.
  • Spell a surname with wildcard characters. In most databases you can use a ? to represent a single letter in a name, while a * can represent multiple letters in a surname. (Example: searching for Sm?th will find records for Smith or Smyth, while searching for Smith* will find results for Smith or Smithe or Smithson.)
  • Learn the ethnic name equivalents and try searches in the immigrant’s native language. While it’s a myth that immigration officials changed your family’s name at Ellis Island (learn more here), you ancestor may not have used the English version of his or her given name. Their surname may also have ethnic variants.
  • Learn about pronunciation in your immigrant ancestor’s native language. In some cases clerks may have recorded the name as they heard it.
  • Remember: Not everything is online and not all records have been indexed. Check back periodically, or consider which repository might hold a copy of your ancestor’s documents.
  • Try searching for relatives of your ancestor -- siblings, spouses, children, etc.
And lastly, if you’re running into challenges, contact the Genealogy Team at MCDL. We’re happy to offer suggestions for finding your ancestor!

Wednesday, May 1, 2019


Usually, the first Wednesday of the month's blog is dedicated to an instructional topic. This month's topic was slated to be IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION.

But... we've been a little busy and time got away from us.  What have we been up to?

Glad you asked!

If you have not been to the Medina Library in the last two weeks be prepared for some MAJOR changes!

In preparation for the renovation on the second floor, the Reference Staff (including me, Lisa and Lauren) have been moving a few things around.

The eastern half of the second floor of the Medina Library is undergoing a major renovation to make room
for the Family History Center made possible by a gift from Virginia Wheeler Martin.
Read more about that HERE.
During the renovation the materials that used to be in the Franklin Sylvester Room have been moved to the 1907 Room. Because of the delicate nature of some of these materials, Library Staff boxed up, loaded up and moved the materials. THANKS, Collection Development Staff and Lauren!

Local history and genealogy materials used to be in the
Franklin Sylvester Room.

Materials were packed up and moved by Library Staff to assure proper delicate handling.

The 1907 Room, which had been used for meetings and Teen Programming had to be cleared out to make room for
the Local History and Genealogy materials and equipment.
Thank you to our Teen Staff, Sean Rapacki, Rachel Rundle and Kathy Staufer!

The Local History and Genealogy Materials have been moved to the 1907 Room
at the back of the Teen Room

Lauren and the Collection Development staff did a grand job of fitting everything into the 1907 Room.
Our Technology Department got the microfilm machines and computers set up in no time!

 But it is not just the local history materials that are getting moved around. Our staff workroom has been moved up to the third floor, which meant packing up all of work files and materials. A lot went into storage and we each have one small file box for the duration of the renovation.

The Reference Desk had to be moved also.

The temporary Reference Desk has been moved to where the New Non Fiction is shelved near the top of the stairs.

The whole eastern half of the 2nd floor has been blocked off so that the Library can stay open during the construction. 

Since the eastern half of the floor isn't available, many MANY things had to be moved!

The non fiction materials have been squeezed into the area that used to have study desks and seating for reading
newspapers and magazines. 

SOME  of the computers have been moved into fiction area in front of the fireplace.

Thanks to a donation, lap tops have been set up for the teens to play their favorite online games.

 Then, this past weekend we had our biannual Genealogy Slam!  Kelli Bergheimer talked for 4 hours on DNA testing and how to get the most out of it for your genealogical research.

Kelli is a nationally known speaker on the Genealogy Conference circuit. 

Kelli answered questions throughout the talk.

SIXTY people attended the program.

As always, there were dozens of tasks to be completed in preparation. It was well worth it.

92% of the survey respondents gave Kelli an EXCELLENT rating!

For the last 20+ years, the Medina County District Library has hosted an online index to
 local obituaries and death notices. For now, obituaries can still be requested here. But new obituaries,
since the end of February, are not being added at this time.

And as part of updating our services in preparation for the new Family History Center, we are migrating our obituary index to the RBHayes, Ohio Obituary Index. This will give the collection wider exposure and boost use.  Lauren and I have been busy working with the Techy people to handle formatting and data entry issues that have cropped up. And keep cropping up.  But when finished, the database will be a tighter, better product.

The Ohio Obituary Index hosted at the RB Hayes Presidential Library in Fremont, Ohio.
Many Ohio Libraries host their obituary indexes here. And soon, MCDL will, too!

So, in the last two weeks, we have:

  • Moved local history materials from Franklin Sylvester Room to 1907 Room. 
  • Closed out our staff room and Reference Desk & moved to other side of the building.
  • Hosted a very successful Genealogy Slam. 
  • Migrated obituary data to a new host at RB

Oh! Did I mention that this weekend is the Ohio Genealogical Society Conference? Lisa, Lauren and I often attend this conference to learn new techniques and sources. And this conference? This weekend?  Lauren will be attending AND presenting a program on Alsace-Lorrain Research?

Busy? You betcha!

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

The Phillips Family - Royalty? Or Not?

Excerpt from page 383 of The History of Medina County and Ohio(1881)
talking about early settlers of Medina Township.
"...Augustus Philips settled on the south half of same lot. Philips' father and mother came in 1820. They were colored (sic) people, and are said to have been descendants of the noted Indian Chief -- King Philip."

Years ago, when I first read those words, they struck me as the germ of a legend or folk tale. Probably no basis in fact. Curious, I did a little research and found Augustus listed in the 1850 Census for Medina County. The column for his race is left blank as it often was at that time. Knowing nothing about King Philip, I researched him enough to know that he caused trouble for the British in the 1600's and after finally being shot, his descendants were "sold into slavery." So that was enough information to say that the tale was possible, but  not provable without doing extensive research on the Philips family.

So when a member called wanting to find the obituaries for Philip Phillips and his wife Elizabeth because they had heard that their daughter-in-law was a mulatto, I remembered the few lines I had read all those years ago. 

Philip had died June 15, 1838 and Elizabeth died  February 27, 1851, so I knew that obituaries for either of them was highly unlikely. But doing due diligence,  I checked the Medina Library's Online Obituary Index, the Ohio Obituary Index and NewspaperArchive database. No obituaries were found.

I tracked down the lines from The History of Medina County and Ohio (1881) that are reproduced above. When the member was called with the results, she shared more information - Sarah PEEK/PEAK was the PHILLIP's daughter-in-law, and she was married to Jeruel PHILLIPS.

Now I was on a roll. First to revisit the information on King Philip.

King Philip - illustration from Pictorial History
of King Philip's War
 by Daniel Strock.

King Philip was born as Metacomet in 1638. He and his brother, Wamsutta, known as King Alexander,  took extraordinary step of formally adopting English names, during a time of peace with the English. The designation "King" was a term the English used to address the leader of the tribe. Alexander and Philip were members of the Wampanoag tribe in the area of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. So while they were leaders in their community, they were not royalty in the traditional sense.

Their father, Massasoit made many concessions to the English and his sons followed his lead. But after years of encroachment into their lands, the tribe started pushing back at the English. Starting in the 1660's clashes occurred culminating in King Philip's war, which transpired 1675-76. Whenever the English captured any of the Native Americans, people who weren't killed would be sold into slavery. In August of 1676, King Philip's wife and his one son were captured and sold into slavery in Bermuda. On the 12th of August, Philip was shot and killed. That was an end to the hostilities.

Other sources make the point that no one knows for sure how many children King Philip had, so it still makes it a possibility that some of his descendants survived and were also sold into slavery. They would have intermingled with the African slaves and produced children. Nothing more is known for certain.

Besides the intriguing entry into the 1881 History, the Medina Phillips family can be traced in other records.

As I mentioned earlier, Augustus Philips is located in the 1850 Medina County Census and he was born in Connecticut. By the 1860's the family had moved on to Michigan. Ten pages further in on the 1850 Census, Jeruel Philips is found with his wife, Sarah, and their 10 children. Jeruel was born in Connecticut and everyone else was born in Ohio.  They are all listed as mulattoes.* Next door to Jeruel and his family is Elizabeth Phillips, aged 89, born in Connecticut and the column for her race is blank. On the other side of Elizabeth is Sophie Philips and her two daughters. They were all born in Ohio and are listed as mulatto. 

Working back in time, the 1840 Census shows that Augustus is the only one in Medina County. There are 7 people listed in the columns for "Free Colored Persons." Jeruel and Elizabeth Phillips are in Lorain County, where family lore says that Phillip and Elizabeth are both buried. But no tombstones exist to confirm this. Again, all eight individuals are in the "Free Colored Persons" columns.

1840 Census for Medina Township, Medina County, Ohio, showing the Augustus PHILLIPS family.
All are listed under the "Free Colored Persons" 
The 1840 Census for Grafton Township, Lorain, Ohio, showing Jeruel PHILLIPS and in a separate household, Elizabeth PHILLIPS

In the 1830 Census, Philip, Jeruel and Augustus are all listed in Medina County and the 10 people listed are in the "Freed Colored Persons' columns.

In the 1820 Census, only Philip is listed in Medina County, Augustus, born 1796 and Jeruel, born 1803 are probably enumerated with their father, again in the "Free Colored Persons" columns

The 1800 and 1810 Census for Ohio has been lost. But from the history, we know that Philip moved to Medina around 1820. 

Philip is listed in the 1790, 1800 and 1810 Census records for Litchfield County, Connecticut. His birthplace. In each of the enumerations, he and his family members fall into the column "All Other Free Persons". The other columns available to the census takers were "Free White Males", "Free While Females", and Slaves.

So as far back as 1790, Philip Phillips was recognized as not being white. As Native Americans were not listed as a separate race in the census until 1860, any Native Americans would have been considered "non-white".

But there is more information. The member who had asked about the Phillips family had shared that it was thought that Philip Phillips had served in the Revolutionary War. 

Another avenue to pursue!!

First, a quick check of Marcia & Terry Hart's book Veterans Buried in Medina County, Volume I Revolutionary War.

On page 78, this entry reads:

Phillips, Philip
Born 22 Dec 1762 in Windham, Connecticut, he lived in Medina County in 1835 according to the 1835 Pension Roll. His widow Elizabeth applied for a widow's pension in 1839 (W 5532) in which she indicated that he had died 15 Jun 1838. He could not be found in Medina County. Email contact with the descendants reveals that they believe he is buried in Grafton, Lorain County, but do not know of an exact cemetery.

That seems to confirm that Philip served in the Revolutionary War.  Heritage Quest has Revolutionary War Pension Records. Next step...

The file is 69 pages long! Among those many pages are two pages that were torn out of the family Bible. Jeruel Phillips attests to the fact that he saw Philip write in the Bible after its purchase in 1811. The pages are the birth and marriage records for the family.

1811 PHILLIPS Family Bible Births Register
  • Philip Phillips Born December 22 1762
  • Elizabeth Phillips Born August 29: 1764
  • James Phillips Born February 11 1790
  • Augustus Phillips Born March 28: 1791
  • Benjamin Phillips Born September 29: 1792
  • Huldah E Phillips Born April 24: 1795
  • John Phillips Born January 4: 1800
  • Jeruel Phillips Born April 5:1804

INCREDIBLE!  A reliable document that gives the birth dates for people born in the 18th and early 19th centuries! And it confirms that Jeruel and Augustus are brothers and are the children of Philip and Elizabeth!

The page for the Marriage Register is not as complete:

1811 PHILLIPS Family Bible Marriage Register

The only complete dates for marriages are for Philips & Elizabeth's marriage and then their daughter, Huldah:
  • Philip Phillips married March 4:1789
  • Huldah Phillips married November 8:1815
  • John Phillips married November 18
  • Augustus Phillips married February
  • Jeruel Phillips married

In his affidavit, Jeruel explains that some of the entries had been entered incorrectly and then were erased.  In a separate affidavit, a Martha Phillips testifies that Philip and Elizabeth were married at her home and she verifies the year, but does not remember the exact date.

The Medina County District Library has just subscribed to the American Ancestors Database, which is produced by the New England Historic Genealogical Society and concentrates on New England families. Checking for Philip in that resource, nothing was found on him. But Elizabeth did turn up in New Milford birth records. It shows that Elizabeth is the daughter of Benjamin & Mary Phillips and was born 29 August 1764. These additional children are attributed to Benjamin & Mary:
  • Hulda b. Aug. 4 1756
  • Jaruel b. Aug. 31 1758
  • Mary b. July 14, 1762
  • Onla b. Jan. 15 1766
  • Reuben b. May 8, 1755
  • Shubel b. Dec. 10, 1760
A couple of those names should seem familiar -- Huldah and Jeruel are names that Philip & Elizabeth used for their children.

So Philip was born in 1762, almost a century after King Philip was killed. Again, tracing the family back another 5 generations at this time period and involving either Native American or African peoples is nearly impossible.

Family history and county and town histories have been checked, with no luck. In 1878, one of Massasoit's descendants, Zerviah G. Mitchell,  wrote a book about her family called Indian History Biography & Genealogy Pertaining to the Good Sachem Massasoit. However her line descends from one of Massasoit's daughters and contains no additional information on King Philip or his brother, King Alexander.

IF  local resources in Litchfield County, Connecticut were consulted we might find additional information.

So, we are back to my original conclusion. It is possible that the Medina PHILLIPS family are descended from King Philip. But not provable without extensive additional research...

*Mulatto is an archaic and offensive term that means a person of mixed ancestry, usually meaning white and African American ancestry. 

  • US Census Bureau
  • 1850 Census, Medina Township, Medina County, Ohio, Ancestry Library Edition
  • 1840 Census, Medina Township, Medina County, Ohio, Ancestry Library Edition
  • 1840 Census, Grafton Township, Medina County, Ohio, Ancestry Library Edition
  • 1830 Census, Medina Township, Medina County, Ohio, Ancestry Library Edition
  • 1820 Census, Medina Township, Medina County, Ohio, Ancestry Library Edition
  • 1810 Census New Milford, Litchfield County, Connecticut, Ancestry Library Edition
  • 1800 Census New Milford, Litchfield County, Connecticut, Ancestry Library Edition
  • 1790 Census New Milford, Litchfield County, Connecticut, Ancestry Library Edition
  • Connecticut: Vital Records (The Barbour Collection), 1630-1870, American, New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2011.
  • Hart, Marcia, Hart, Nelson(Terry), Veterans Buried in Medina County, Volume I Revolutionary War, 2009.
  • History of Medina County and Ohio Baskin & Battey, 1881, p. 381.
  • "King Philip's War", History, 
  • "Metacomet" Wikipedia,
  • Strock, Daniel, Pictorial History of King Philip's War, 1851.