Friday, November 05, 2004

Lost and Found

The only record of what happened to John McCafferty had been a letter written by his great-nephew sometime in the 1940s. In it, William T. Painter wrote:
John McCaferty was a big strong man. Went to Alaska in the Gold Rush 1898, most likely died on the Chillcoot Pass (where many failed to get over the terriable mountain) never heard from.
I had always wondered what happened to him. It would have been unusual for someone to make that trip by themselves, why hadn't his companion(s) written to say what had happened?

Today I randomly put "Montgomery County, Missouri" and "McCafferty" into Google and I found this listing of an unmarked grave:
John John McCafferty
From Montgomery County, Missouri
Died during the week prior to March 12, 1898, of "Tuberculos fever".
Death and burial at Dyea reported in 2 sentences in The Dyea Trail of March 12, 1898.
and with him:
Thomas E. See
From Montgomery County, Missouri
Died during the week prior to March 12, 1898, of "Tuberculos fever".
Death and burial at Dyea reported in 2 sentences in The Dyea Trail of March 12, 1898.
I guess he didn't go alone.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

"Strange but true this rare circumstance"

Not my relative, but...

Grandmother Sample:

"Mr. S.'s mother came to this county, and lived to the remarkable age of one hundred and two, being the oldest person buried in the Gilboa Cemetery. "Grandmother Sample," as she was usually called, could read fine print without glasses for sometime before she died, and the most remarkable circumstance occurred just three or four months before her death. As perfect a set of teeth as ever filled the mouth of any person came through her gums. Strange but true this rare circumstance."

Sunday, October 24, 2004

My most wanted

I expect we all have our favorite ancestor.

Mine is Experience, though she went by "Spiddy", and she had eight children. Not an expecially high number, but varied. The first two were Mitchells, the next a Cox, and the last 5 Pierces. She apparently died with a year or two of her last child's birth, her husband remarrying when the boy was about 2 1/2.

Since she's my favorite ancestor, and has such a great name to boot, I've decided to call my genealogy website "Experience's Children".

It's currently going through a face-lift, thus the serious lack of posting here.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Matilda Catherine

Matilda Catherine Pierce Brown Posted by Hello

I found another one today.

Another girl named after Matilda Catherine "Tilda" Pierce Brown...

This is Tilda Evans, my Tilda's niece. I finally found the 1900 entry for Sarah Pierce Evans' family the old-fashioned way: I browsed for it. Fortunately her family was in the same township they'd been in in 1910 and 1920 or I'd have had a long, fruitless day. :)

I just found Sarah recently, married to Granville Evans in Greene Co., TN, and later living near Tilda and Sarah's brother Dan Pierce in White Rock Twp., McDonald Co., MO.

So, some girls named after her:

Nancy Matilda Ellen "Tildie" Pierce

Matilda "Tilda" Evans

Mary Katherine Brown

Mary Katherine Zeilinger

and me. :)

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Great Scott

Oh my, the Scotts.

I've been dealing with them a great deal, but haven't had the heart to mention them here (you might have noticed a lack of blogging).

Did you know that the name Scott is extremely, extremely common? Especially in Kentucky?

Well, it is.

I had started off with a slight handicap with the Scotts because all I had was a vague family tradition. There was my ancestor Alice and a list of siblings (in no particular order): Allen, Charlie, Lee and Anna. Their mother's name was Martha Harrietta McRae and their father Robert Lee Scott.

I was a bit hamstrung until I discovered the marriage record online and it said that his name was Robert N. Scott. As did the only census records I could find, the 1880:

Jackson Township
S.D. 4, E.D. 64, Page No. 15/434A
11 June 1880 by WB McNeel
line 13, 125/125 SCOTT Robert N WM 37 M Farmer Kentucky NC NC
Martha WF 27 wife M Keeping house Missouri Geo MO
Willam WM 11 Son S At home attended school Missouri Ky MO
Charley WM 9 Son S Missouri Ky MO
Robert WM 7 Son S Missouri Ky MO
Alice WF 5 Daughter Missouri Ky MO
Anna WF 2 Daughter Missouri Ky MO

A very close fit, though no "Allen", but since "Lee" was probably "Robert Lee", the first child could be "William Allen".

Nearby was a "Allen Scott" the right age to be Robert's father, but his birthplace didn't match Robert's reporting, and there was another Robert nearby whose did, so I thought he was probably Allen's son and my Robert a nephew or something. In any case, I needed to find Robert in 1850, where he would certainly be with his parents.

Yeah, no.

I found a couple likely fellows, and then quickly found them later with wives and seemed my Robert was not in the 1850.

So I realized, "I should be working backward". That's the right way to do these things, step by step from the known to the unknown. So I needed to find Robert with is family in 1870.

Yeah, no.

Yeah, I'm frustrated.

So I start in on the 1860. Not finding much, not finding much...Roberts born in KY are surprisingly rare... give up on Robert and try finding this "Allen Scott" in the 1860.

1860 Dade Co., MO Census
North Township
Page No. 110/113, 31st July 1860 by Thomas S. Coffee
P.O. Sons Creek
line 6, 734/734 Samuel LAWRENCE 26 M " [Farmer] /50 Illinois cannot r/w
Clarinda 21 f Tennessee cannot r/w
Allen SCOTT 48 M " [Farmer] 500/5700 Kentucky
Judith 40 F Tennessee
Philip WL. 21 M " [Farmer] /75 " [Tennessee]
Judith C 19 F " [Tennessee] attended school
Robert N. 17 M " [Farmer] " [Tennessee] attended school
Mary W. 4 F " [Tennessee]
Sarah F. 2 F " [Tennessee]

The crowd roars.

There is Robert N., not born in Ky, but born in TN. That's the problem with having only one census reference. So many details can be wrong.

Saturday, September 25, 2004


I once had a woman point out that I needed to "clean up those nicknames" in my database. I always include nicknames, such as Robert Milton "Bob" Hamby. She really complained, thinking it was quite silly to say someone named "Robert" had the nickname "Bob"...

Well, she chose an awkward example there, since in my family I have Roberts who go by, respectively: R.W., Bob, Rob, Bobby, and one who has gone by Robin. And what about Elizabeth? Lizzie, Liz, Beth, Bessie... and there's the confusion so many people have over "Eliza". It was not a nickname for Elizabeth (generally speaking) and it was very common to have one daughter named "Elizabeth" and another named "Eliza". I frequently see people try to conflate the two or to call both "Elizabeth". Nope. One is Elizabth and the other Eliza.

In any event, not only do I like noting what they actually went by (this is really all about finding out what their lives were like, and a big part of that is what name you use!) but it helps with searches. If you put "Bob Hamby" into the rootsweb database, you get my grandfather.

It gets really helpful if someone only shows up in census records with their nickname. I know of a man named Oliver Scott (as his name appeared in his marriage record) who shows up in every census as "Olly" or even "Olla". If you put that nickname into the search engine you will find the right fellow...

But I think she got the idea you were supposed to "fix" the nicknames from Family Tree Maker, which tells you in no uncertain terms that it is a "Data Entry Error" if you put a nickname in quotes with the name. They have an AKA line for that - but you can't see that AKA from the main page and it creates an annoying second entry in the database, making it look as if you've got the person twice.

Family Tree Maker is just bossy anyway. If you accidentally type over a name it will note:
By changing this name you are making Scott the child of Daniel McRae. Is this what you mean to do?

At which point I hit the "No" button and wait, annoyed, for its final chiding:
If you are trying to fix individuals who are incorrectly shown as related, use the People-Fix Relationship Mistakes commands.

To which I have to meekly agree, "OK", before it will let me go on.

The whole thing is incredibly frustrating because it is always a mistake. I will click the button for the Index and start typing without noticing that it hasn't come up and that my cursor is in the "name" box, so I'm already annoyed with myself, and then it points out that ridiculous possible reason for the error: I can't even imagine how someone would think that typing over someone would fix a 'relationship mistake'. Not to mention that I've got some new idea or document, etc. concerning said 'Scott' and having to wait while the program tells me I'm a bad little girl can make me completely forget what I was doing...

Really, really dumb.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Elizabeth Alice/Alice Malinda

It's one of those annoying problems of genealogy caused by the very people you are tracking down.

They change their names, or at least what they go by.

My first problem with this was the girl known in my Brown family as Ethel, who in her first census is called Kattie E., is in her second as Catherine E. (not that different...), so I'd always called her Catherine Ethel "Ethel" Brown. But then her sister Alice (in a letter) comes out with this one: Catherine Ethel Elizabeth Brown. Okay, that's a solution, add another 'random' name just to confuse the issue. This sister Alice is listed in every census as a young person as "Sarah A.", but otherwise seems to have never used the name "Sarah" at all.

It is extremely common to see a child go by one name in one or two censuses and then pop out with a new one for the rest of their lives. Most frequently they are going by a middle name as a child and then as adults they 'revert' to their 'first name', though the whole idea of a 'first name' doesn't seem to have really been important. These people lived at a time when such things as birth certificates did not exist and names could be changed readily.

I see them all the time: Cleo William/William Cleo, Raymond Bert/Bert Raymond, etc. used interchangeably to the point that you can't even tell for sure what they went by, which is part of the point.

I came across another example today. Young Edwin Capps is listed with his parents in Tahlequah County, Oklahoma in 1910 and 1920, but come 1930 and he's married and on his own and he's suddenly Edward! And it apparently stays that way, as it is the name on his tombstone, though he obfiscated the whole thing with Social Security by going as "Ed".

One of the most frustrating ones was a girl who is clearly listed as Elizabeth Alice or E.A. in her father's Civil War pension file, but on subsequently (and on her tombstone) her name is given as Alice Malinda. And you can see the lack of birth certificates created problems: the family bible was considered (for purposes of these pensions) a legal document. Elizabeth Alice/Alice Malinda's father's name was Horton Cox, but his uncle Horton Cox actually died (of disease) during the Civil War. His wife had to reproduce the children's names from the Bible record and when she misspelled one she nearly lost her pension.

"in and for said county [Greene Co., TN] Personally appeared Nancy Cox widow of Horton Cox and makes oath that this only explenation she can give in regard to the discrepency in the name of her Second child named in her decleration for pension is she is no schollar herself, and did not know how the name of sd child was written wither in the original decleration or Suppemental affidavit she first gave the name of sd child to the person who made out her decleration did not know how he spelt it, and when her Supplemental affidavit was made up she handed the person who made it up her family Record and from that the names of the children was taken, and on now being called on for this explination she has the name cearfully examined, and find it Spelt Manday which is the way the father of said child did Spell it as he did write the names in the family Record the affiant further swers"

I do like to know what they 'went by', but the practical problem is how to refer to these people so that other people, other researchers, have some idea who you're talking about. Someone who came across the records in the later half of her life might never make the connection between Alice Malinda and Elizabeth Alice.

Generally, I steal Sarah Alice "Alice" Brown Wiley's solution and list all the names. It gets long sometimes, but at least it's (somewhat) clear.

So, some 'stand outs':

Elizabeth Alice "Alice" Malinda Cox

Nancy Matilda "Tildie" Ellen Pierce

Catherine Ethel Elizabeth "Ethel" Brown

Laura Pearl "Pearl" McRae

Thursday, September 16, 2004

More about sources

So much of genealogical research is based on instinct and guesswork, but so many people completely fail to cite their sources. I don't know if it's just ignorance, or if it's an attempt to obfiscate, in which case the whole thing is made personal: "Trust me, I wouldn't lie to you."

But it's not about 'trust', it's about relative value.

I mean, if I want to say that I had a dream in which my ancestor convinced me that her middle name was 'Shazam', fine, but if I want to tell other people that her middle name is 'Shazam' then I'd better say that my source was a dream.

What I find over and over again is that people don't then cite either my source or me and then it begins to look like 'fact'. What's that old saying? If you say something three times it's true? What does publishing it online make it? That you've said it 1,000 times?

I discovered today that I'd made a mistake in my database - typed "David J. McRae" when all my sources said "Daniel J. McRae" (and it was the name of his uncle), so I fixed it. And then noticed that three other database on rootsweb had the same 'spelling' error. Obviously they had used me as their source and not even looked at my sources. They did not note a source at all.


That's how mistakes get passed on...

Friday, September 10, 2004

Such a geek

Here it is!

The Census Update Report from Ron and Kathy at

MO / Jackson / 1850 (Partial)
Dist/Twp/City Kaw Township
Transcribed by Tara Painter
Proofread by Bill Painter
3 census files
2 index files


I am such a genealogy geek.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

What's wrong with this picture?

50th Wedding Anniversary, 1907Posted by Hello

Standing L-R: Ferrell Taylor, Ernest Cox, Lewis Taylor, Myrtle Taylor Gladden, Hannah Goas Taylor, Thomas Cox, Melinda Goas Cox, Nora Taylor, Verna Cox and Sylvia Taylor
Front row: Ethel Gladden, Henrietta Fluxton Goas (seated), Lela Cox

This is the family picture from Lewis and Henrietta Fluxtin Goas' 50th Wedding anniversary. This picture would have been taken in Pulaski County, Missouri on the 19th of July 1907.

Lewis and Henrietta are an interesting couple.

Henrietta A. F. L. Fluxton (her name according to her marriage license) was born in Saxony (then a Kingdom) the 23rd of August 1838, and is said to have arrived in the U.S. from Germany in 1852 on the "Tennessee", coming with her mother and step-father to St. Louis, Missouri.

Lewis is said to have been working on the steamboats, and she working in a hotel in St. Louis when they met. They were married in Jefferson County, Missouri, near St. Louis, in 1857. Henrietta died in Pulaski County, Missouri the 27th of March 1919 and was buried in Colley Hollow Cemetery.

Lewis Goas was born in Pennsylvania to Andrew and Hannah Lewis Goas. Family tradition is that his family was Scottish living in a predominantly German area. This is extremely unlikely. Not only is the name 'Goas' normally German, it is not normally Scottish. It is amusing to note that the probable 1840 census of Andrew Goas in Beaver County, Pennsylvania shows him nearly entirely surrounded by families with traditionally Scottish names.

See my genealogy report for current guesses on Andrew Goas's origins.

Lewis died in Pulaski County, Missouri the 10th of April 1920 and was buried in Colley Hollow Cemetery.

Lewis and Henrietta had five children, 3 of whom lived to adulthood. Standing behind Henrietta in this picture are two of them: Hannah Goas Taylor and Melinda Goas Cox. The young Taylors in the picture (Ferrell, Lewis, Myrtle, Nora and Sylvia) are all Hannah's children, and the Coxes (Ernest, Verna and Lela) are Melinda's children. The adult man in the back is Malinda's husband Thomas Cox. Neither Hannah's husband nor their sister Mary Agnes Goas Hargett are there.

Family tradition is that Lewis Goas had his name spelled 'Goss' instead of 'Goas' on his tombstone because he was so upset at having no surviving sons to pass his name on. According to the online transcription, however, it's his son Willie's tombstone on which the name is 'misspelled'. Willie was his final surviving son.

But, back to our picture. Isn't something missing? I mean, we have Henrietta and Lewis's death dates confirmed by their tombstone readings. Lewis didn't die until 1920. Henrietta died first, just the year before. In fact, he is in the 1920 census, living with his daughter, and listed as widowed.

So, my questions is, this is his 50th wedding anniversary: just where is Lewis Goas?

Saturday, September 04, 2004

It's online!

My transcription of the Kaw twp., 1850 Jackson Co., Missouri census is online!

And isn't it a pretty thing?

Washington's ready to go, once Bill proofreads it. Blue will take a lot longer...

But, whew!

And, how fun!

Friday, September 03, 2004

-berry names

I've just added 10 new- berry names.

I like to save them up and add them in bunches.

My favorite right now is the brand-new "McGilberry", which has the distinction of being my first Mc-berry name.

Here they are:


Thursday, September 02, 2004

Having a Ball

I started out with the 1860 Bureau Co., IL Census:

Center Twp., Wyanett, Ills
Pg. 199/204
5 July 1860 by James S. Eckely
lne 26, 1446/1474 Daniel BALL 27 M do [Farm laborer] do [Ohio]
Mariah 26 F do [Ohio]
Laban 8/12 M Illinois
line 2, 1447/1475 Frisbe ANDERSON 42 M Farmer 3000/327 Maryland
Clarrissa 26 F Ohio
William A. 11 M do [Ohio]
Emmor 9 M do [Ohio]
Daniel 6 M Illinois
Eliza J. 5 F do [Illinois]
John W. 10/12 M do [Illinois]
Barbarie TRIPLETT 32 F Ohio
Arrilla 4 F Illinois
Daniel Ball is the brother of Clarissa Ball Anderson, next door, and their sister Celia Ann was married to Luther Triplett, but my question was, who is this Barbarie Triplett?

My first guess was that she was their sister Barbara Ball, although Barbara would have been 22, not 32. That didn't fuss me too much since census taking is a messy business, and I was really pleased to find a marriage record in Illinois for Barbary Ball and James Triplett in 1853, but then I found this biography of Charles Johnson written in 1915.

It was great, laying out Barbara's parents (Vachel and Fanny Bailey Ball), and her marriage date (1858) and their various moves in Illinois and Iowa, and listing their two children: Charles and Eugene. But it was the marriage date that proved problematic. She couldn't have been Barbary Triplett with a daughter in 1860 if she was busy being Mrs. Charles Johnson...

So now I'm thinking, aunt?

And I'm thinking I'd better set this aside. So I did.

Recently has added a partial index to the 1900 census (yeay!) and Iowa was one of the early accessible databases, so I started collecting the data. One of the useful questions they asked women in the 1900 census was how many children they had had and how many were still living. And I found Barbary and Charles in Audubon County, Iowa:

Melvill Township
S.D. 9, E.D. 30
Sheet No. 6A/320A
15 June 1900 by Walter F. Hoyt
line 4, 92/92 JOHNSON Charles Head WM Feb 1835 65 M 39 Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Farmer
Barbary Wife WF Sept 1837 62 M 39 6/3 Ohio Virginia Maryland
Monroe Brother WM Nov 1847 52 S New Jersey Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Farm
BROWN Jennie Servant June 1881 18 S Iowa Scotland Pennsylvania
Barbary had had 6 children, 3 of whom were still living.

All right now, hold the phone, that biography was very clear. She and Charles had two children. Okay, so maybe one of their children had died between 1900 and 1915 so that they weren't listed in the biography, but usually such a child would have been mentioned. So I thought, fine, I'll go find the happy couple in 1860.

I couldn't find them right off the bat, so I decided to collect their 1870 census record. No problem. They and their two sons were in Macon County, Illinois, as the biography had predicted. Er, told us they had been.

So back to the 1860.

Well, I found Charles right about where you'd expect him in Putnam County, Illinois (where they set up housekeeping after their marriage, as his biography described). But he was single. And there was no "Barbara Ball" to be found.

"No, really?" I thought, "back to Barbarie Triplett?!"

So I revisited the 1860 Bureau Co., IL census and saw, lo and behold, that the 32 was really a smudgey 22 and I checked the Illinois marriage records and found the marriage of the daughter Arilla Triplett:

Illinois Marriage Records online,
BARNES, William G m. TRIPLETT, Arilla Jane 07/22/1869 /00003763
Well, Sangamon County isn't very near to Macon County (the state capitol, Springfield, is in Sangamon), but how many Arilla's can there be?! So I started looking for William Barnes and wife Arilla in the 1870. And guess where I found them:

Hickory Point Township
Page No. 5/468A
11th July 1870 by Mad. S Collins
P.O. Decatur ILL, line 28
105/118 BARNS William G. 23 MW School Teacher Ohio
Rillis J. 16 FW Keeping House Illinois
line 30, 106/109 JOHNSON Charles 34 MW Farming /1000 Pennsylvania
Barbary 34 FW Keeping house Ohio
Charles 7 MW Illinois attended school
Eugene 3 MW Illinois
CAMPBELL John 27 MW Working on Farm Ohio

Right next door to Mom.

How fun is that? Oh, and married to the schoolteacher... Hmmmm. Wonder why they got married in Sangamon County? She would have been what, 15 when they got married? The same age her mother was at her first marriage.

So the marriage date listed in the biography had to be wrong. Good thing everything else was right. With a name like 'Johnson' it was very, very helpful to know where they had lived before. I suppose that Arilla wasn't mentioned in his biography because she wasn't his child.

I have not been able to find a marriage record for Barbary Triplett (as she would have been listed) and Charles Johnson. It appears that there are no Putnam County, Illinois marriage records for this period (although they said they were married in Bureau County). I can't find anyone mentioning it, but I'm afraid those records were destroyed. I've some other marriages that I'm missing from that area at that time.

I've got a bunch more on Vachel Ball's family on my website.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Transcribing the 1850

I'm a confirmed genealogy nut and have been since the age of 8.

It was about that time that my grandmother started doing genealogy, and while I didn't ever go with her when she did her research, I did get to look at all the "Family Group Sheets" that she shared with my mother.

I would sit and stare at them, trying to memorize the names, and then write out the family relationships in different ways on yellow legal pads.

First of all, FGSheets are a very limited way of looking at the information (thank goodness for genealogical databases!) and secondly I have a very complicated family - with an ancestor who married his uncle's granddaughter.

That's a complicated thing to "see".

Later, I got a Master's degree in History and worked at a State Historical Society as a librarian. That was a lot of fun, but I didn't start doing real research until a few years ago, and the advent of internet resources has completely facilitated my work. Without it, I wouldn't have much more than family stories, so I'm a big proponent of free, online genealogical resources.

So now I'm transcribing the 1850 Jackson Co., Missouri census for USGenWeb.

I've always wanted to do something, and when I noticed that not one single census year for Jackson County had been transcribed, I decided that that was what I had to. I have one line of my family in Washington and Kaw Townships, but they rest of them are strangers to me...

I've just turned in my first township, so I'm a bit nervous, I guess. It took me forever to do it because I'm such a perfectionist. Ah, well. No such thing as perfection in transcribing! But that doesn't mean I won't try...

You can see the images that I'm working with at Ed and Sandy Mackley's wonderful Missouri census images page, without which I would not be able to create my (soon to be searchable) transcription.

The most interesting thing I've found so far is a young man named "Fleury Fontenelle", born in Fort Laramie about 1834. He might be an undocumented son of Lucien Fontenelle, the famous trader. Lucien did have a son named Henry Fontenelle, but he is said to have been born in 1832 in Nebraska. That's not far enough "off" to discount the possibility they are one and the same, but it tends to support my thoughts.

So, I hope his name is Fleury. It's a common French name and seemed to be what I was reading. It did not look like "Henry" to me.

You can judge for yourself, if you'd like. He's on Page 230B, line 26.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Human nature

One of the odd ideas I run into all the time is that 'back then' things were different.

I've actually had a woman argue with me that a man convicted of killing his daughter couldn't have done it because 'fathers didn't kill their daughters back then'.

So when I found this page of notes from the County Court Minutes in McMinn Co., TN in the early 1860s, I had to chuckle.

I found a "cousin" of my husband's recorded there:
p.530, Apr 1861; Jeptha Sivils guilty of being father of illeg. child of Malissa B. Only which was orn 11 Jan 1860.
He wasn't the only one. You should take a glance at the webpage. Here are a few excerpts:

p.482, Nov 1860; James Montgomery denies that he is guilty of bastardy on Mary J. Dixon.

P.454, 2 July 1860; Petition of James Lamar in 1857. He was accused of being father of illegitimate dau. of Hersula Pearce named Sarah Virginia Pearce born 1 Nov 1856; he has been supporting child; mother is loose woman and he wants to legitimatize child and change name to Sarah Virginia Lamar.

p.473, 2 Oct 1860; Thomas Grisham age 15 bound to Wm. W. Porter. Thos. is illegitimate child of Ursula Pearce and John Grisham, dec'd was his reputed father.

and then there were the divorces:
p.76, Dec. 1852; Divorce granted Mary Dunlap. Married John Dunlap in Bradley Co. early 1849. John abandoned Mary.

p.112, Ar 1853; Divorce granted Matilda McCarver from Wm. McCarver who abandoned her.

p.141, 11 Aug 1853; Lewis Erwin granted divorce from Barbara Erwin, married about 29 July 1845. Barbara has deserted Lewis and is guilty of adultery with on Elijah Largent.

p.222, 5 May 1863; The State VS Thomas J. Cate. Bigamy, married on 9 Nov 1830 Mary Cate, married on 8 Aug 1862 in McMinn Co. Tabitha Ledbetter while still married to Mary, who was still alive. Eli Cate the prosecutor. John Neil & E. B. Cate witnessess for State.
And half this was going on during the Civil War:

p.543, 27 May 1861; Called Session of County Court - voting upon the organization of a home guard - postponed for the present - vote to lay a tax to support the indigent families of volunteers in the service in the Southern Army during the continuance .

p.552, July 1861; A man in each district paid for ascertaining no. of guns, rifles, & shotguns.

p.206, Nov 1862; Martial law existing.
Even in war time, life goes on.

Back to Jeptha, who's been a special problem, which this record helped to resolve.

In 1870, he's shown in Bradley County, TN with wife Eliza and four children. His brother and mother are next door.
the Ninth District, Page No. 13/100A
24 June 1870 by R.T. Engledow
P.O. Athens
line 34, 95/95 SIVELS Jepthy 41 M"[W] Farmer 2000/800 " [Tennessee]
Eliza 29 F"[W] Houskeeping " [Tennessee]
Susan 12 F"[W] " [Tennessee] attended school
Sarah 10 F"[W] " [Tennessee] attended school
William 9 M"[W] " [Tennessee] attended school
Albert 5? M"[W] " [Tennessee]
SIDWELL William 16 M"[W] Working on Farm " [Tennessee] attended school
Page No. 14/100B
line 1, PARKER Ella 15 FW Asst Houskeeper Tennessee attended school
line 2, 96/96 SIVELS Jack 35 M"[W] Working on Farm /400 " [Tennessee]
Jane 80 F"[W] Asst Houskeeper NCarolina
Louisa 30 F"[W] Tennessee
PARY John 16 M"[W] " [Tennessee]
Most researchers seem convinced that the 1860 Bradley County census of this family, which shows the husband's name as "Levi" is simply a mistake.

Dist. Thirteenth Dist., pg. 230/278B
31 July 1860 by James
P.O. Cleveland
line 5, 1521/1521 Levi SIVELS 33 M Farmer Painter
1000/100 " [Tenn]
Liza 18 F " [Tenn]
Susan M. 3 F " [Tenn]
Sarah C. 1 F " [Tenn]
Sarah 60 F " [Tenn]
Telitha 19 F " [Tenn]
Timothy 15 M " [Tenn]

The problem is that Jeptha is still in his mother's household in McMinn County in 1860. And McMinn is where Malissa's daughter California was born in January of 1860. It seems clear that Jeptha needed to be in McMinn County for that.

The 9th Civil District, Page No. 32/277B
19 June 1860 by Thos Rogers, P.O. Calhoun
line 18, 228/228 Teeman SIVILS 65 F Farmer 1000/350 Va
Rebecca 29 F Seamstress Tenn
Jeptha 27 M Farm Laborer " [Tenn]
Jane 25 F " [Tenn] cannot r/w
Andrew J 23 M Farm Laborer " [Tenn]
Sirena 20 F " [Tenn]

The whole issue would seem to be resolved by their marriage record:, Marriage records, 1808-1958 Rhea County (Tennessee). County Court Clerk: Jeptha CIVILS married Ruth E. SIVILS 20 Nov 1866 Rhea, Tennessee.

Ruth's maiden name is well known as Gibson. And she started having children named "Sivils" in 1857. Clearly there is a missing marriage record. A marriage to Jeptha's cousin Levi.

The problem is that the only record that exists for Levi (except this 1860 census record) is a note made out by descendants of his brother Timothy's family, but since Timothy is living in Levi's household with his/their mother in 1860, and Jeptha is living with his, I'm confident that the family tradition is correct. Levi is not to be found in 1850, nor are most of his siblings. These Sivils seem to have a special gift for disappearing...

Oh, did I mention that Malissa and her daughter are enumerated just a few pages over from Jeptha in McMinn County:

The 9th Civil District, Page No. 29/276A
18 June 1860 by Thomas Rogers
P.O. Calhoun
line 26, 205/205 Levi ONLY 55 m Farmer 1500/400 N.C.
Mahala Jane 47 F S.C.
Melissa 21 F Tenn
Thomas J. 17 M " [Tenn]
Sarah J. 15 F " [Tenn]
Mary 12 F " [Tenn]
Amanda 4 F " [Tenn]
E. JOHNSON 19 M Farm Laborer N.C.
Texanna 2 F Ten
California 6/12 F " [Ten]

I've found California in 1870 working as a domestic servant in McMinn County. I think she is the "Callie Onley" who married S.A. Hartsell in Bradley County (a neighboring county) in 1884, but I haven't been able to find them.

Malissa herself got married in 1874 in McMinn County, Tennessee to Ezekiel Swafford. I haven't been able to find them either.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Tag, you're it

I think I've found another one. I don't know that I have, but it sure looks like it: another tag.

The first "tag" I ever bumped into had been attached to my great-great grandmother Martha A. Davison Boyd.

I got started in genealogy with the Boyds because it was Martha's daughter Ida and granddaughter Jessie who largely raised my grandmother, so she felt a special closeness to the Boyds and had started her research there. I found a woman doing work on the Boyds and shared information. She told me that Martha's middle name was "Avarilla". I thought "how fun!" and put it in my notes.

A few years later, I found a typescript made by Jessie in 1943 of the family bible, and in a handwritten note at the bottom she said that Martha Davison's middle name was Ann (her middle name wasn't specified in the record, just the initial). I told this to my Fellow Researcher, and she wrote back that she hadn't thought that Martha's middle name was really Avarilla - that a relative had told her it was, but that she didn't think he was a very reliable source, but that she wasn't going to change it in her records because she used it as a "tag", that is to say, she would know if someone was using her work without giving her credit if they had Martha's middle name as "Avarilla".

I was flabbergasted. I'd never heard of such a thing.

But what made it unforgivable (to me) was that once she had access to a more reliable source, she refused to change it! Her "tagging" being more important than the (likely) truth!

As a genealogist it can be so hard to get accurate information that I really couldn't believe what she was saying. She must have felt that same frustration of knowing you were dancing around a 'truth' you couldn't prove. Her work is really good, and she was always very generous with it. A lot of people use it. In fact, I can't find anyone using "Martha Ann", though I cite my source and she did not, but her vast research lends crediblity that I cannot outweigh.

People really should read and cite sources.

But now I may have another.

For years I've dealt with "Jane Telita Cox" and I've been trying to find her in the 1930 census without any luck. I was chatting about her to my husband, about how humorous it was that in every census her first name was different: in 1900, "Jane", in 1910, "Runer? J.", in 1920, "Eurma? J." It was one of the reasons I wanted to find her, to see what name her husband had 'made up' next...then Bill said, "Well, those names are kind of similar, aren't they?"

As he said later, "I thought you got a funny look on your face when I said that..."

I was thinking that I had never seen one record that suggested her name was "Jane Telita" except a family group sheet. Not even "Jane T."

So I sat down immediately to really find her in 1930. I did. I was willing to look at every record in Arkansas in which the first name of the husband was "James", but I didn't have to go that far...they were still in Boone County (the first place I looked).

This time the record was perfectly clear: Arranna J. Ewards (should have been Edwards). Looking at the 1920 census again it looks like "Errana". She had an aunt named Rena (now I'm thinking Arrena?). In any case, clearly the "Telita" (which was her mother's name) is completely wrong.

As I said, I don't know that her middle name was a tag, but I have had some communication with descendants of Janie (as she was apparently called) and they were the first ones to raise the issue with me. Again, the researcher who said her middle name was "Telita" was a good researcher with lots of stuff and she shared it. It lent credibility to her statement, though I had not seen even a "T.", suggesting that she would be on the right track. She certainly hasn't admitted it to me nor refused to change her work (I've lost contact with her), so I don't want to disparage her unfairly. She might really think Jane's middle name was Telita.

In any case, the real lesson is that incredulity is always a good trait in a genealogical researcher...

But you can almost understand the impulse. I can't count the number of times I've seen people use my conclusions as their own without giving me any credit. It doesn't bother me, but it is rude, disingenuous and counter-productive. I always put my sources online, so sometimes people will say that my sources were their sources (though the citation style is clearly the one that I worked out myself). The only accurate way for them to have cited, say, the John H. Brown 1850 Greene Co., TN census record from my notes is to have noted that it had been transcribed by me. They don't.

If people would always state their source not only would other people be able to judge the quality of assertions for themselves, but they would also not feel the urge to 'tag' their work. If you source is your Aunt Judy, put her name (or initials) with it. And the date. If it's a will, put that. And the county it was written in and the date. It will help everyone who works on that line.

Read the sources, people. And put them in your own work.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Found William V. McNeely

I had an awfully good day today.

I found Wm. V. McNeely in the 1850 census.

Now, I know you don't know that that's a big deal, but it is...

The first step was to find William in the 1860 census. I've known where he was in 1870 for some time: he was living in Scott County, Arkansas where six years later his daughter, Mary M. McNeely, married Edmon S. Hamby.

Mary and her older brother James were both listed as being born in Georgia, so that's where I've focused for 1850, but their younger brother was born in Tennessee in 1856, so I was going back and forth for 1860. His second wife Lucinda was also listed as being from Georgia, but I finally found their marriage record by pure chance in Sebastian Co., Arkansas in 1864. I was looking for the record of another family entirely and noticed the "McNeely, W.V." marrying a Lucinda. She was too young to be the mother of any of these children, but I'd imagined they'd gotten married in Georgia at any rate. They didn't.

After finding that record I began looking a little closer to Ft. Smith and Sebastian Co. and finally found a "William McNeely" with children James, Mary and John, all the right ages, in Iron County, Missouri. The birthplaces weren't spot on, but they never are, are they?

That was the original relief: finding them all together in 1860. And not too far away was John C. McNeely and living with him and his large family was "Jane McNeely 75 born in Pennsylvania". Since William reported his parents as having been born in PA in the 1880 census, I felt I had enough to move forward...

And then there was the key, John C.'s son and William's (probable) nephew, William V. McNeely.

John and his family eventually ended up in Newton County, Missouri, where William the younger married Lucreasy Trent. It was in an old query posting that I found a woman looking for "William Lance and Lucresy Trent McNeely". Now, I had seen his many census listings, and they were invariably "William V. or W.V.", so I thought, huh, must be William Vance...that's kind of unusual...

So today when I tried YET AGAIN to find William and his mother Jane and her other son James in Tennessee in 1850 (John C. having already been in Madison Co., MO by 1850) I was sure I'd have no luck. I've searched and searched and searched...but today I tried the *wildcard* trick yet again, but this time I noticed "McNeelea, Vance"...

Knowing leads seeing, as usual.

That was it. 1850 Hamilton Co.,TN Census:

Dist No 27, pg. 911/459A, 24th Oct. 1850 by R.P. Jones
line 4, 1232/1232 Gincea McNEELEA 45 F N Carolina
Vance 18 M Laborer Tenn, James 10 M " [Tenn]
line 7, 1233/1233 George McNEELEA 22 M Farmer Tennessee married in the last
Rhoda 18 F " [Tennessee] married in the last year

"Gincey" was a nickname for Jane...very, very tricky of them! So, yeay! I found another brother too, but, unfortunately they all probably got married in Hamilton Co., TN, where all marriage records of this period have been destroyed...this is especially frustrating because the most likely woman to be William V.'s first wife is Louisa Gardenhire, daughter of George Gardenhire, and I love the name "Gardenhire".


I like William V. quite a bit. He eventually became a minister. Here is a link to part of his work for the Missionary Baptist Church of Shiloh, near Ione, Scott County, Arkansas.

And another with the current "full story" of his family: Descendants of James McNeely and my database (think, searchable!) for the Hamby-McNeely families.

So, I had a good day!

And decided to share my joy (and my research) by starting this blog.