Thursday, November 17, 2005

Wily Twyla

We don't really know much about Twyla.

Daughter of Elmer and Alice Scott Gilbreath, born April Fool's Day, 1893 in Jasper County, Missouri.

Most of what I do know I got from her daughter Charlotte, who was a wonderful person. Really funny and lively. I saw her take an umbrella out of her drink and put it in her hair, like it was the natural thing to do.

As she told the story, when Charlotte was 5 and Georgina was 3, Twyla divorced Everitt so she could run off (marry? that's unclear) with a man who was an acrobat in the circus. Circuses did (and still do) winter in the Newton/Jasper Counties area of Missouri.

She took Charlotte and left Georgina (to become Georga) behind. Georga lived at first with her father and later with her grandparents and Aunt Jessie.

Twyla and Charlotte headed to Europe, where she and Charlotte performed in the acrobatic act of the man they left with. Later, she left him for another man, leaving Charlotte with this step-father. Charlotte was in Paris during World War I.

Twyla apparently lived in California, but we know nothing about this period of her life.

She died in 1948 at the age of 55 and is buried in Carterville Cemetery in the same plot as her parents under the name "Twyla Blevins".

We have no idea who her last husband was.

I've tried to do some research on this, checking Ellis Island for their comings and goings (none that I could find). And no sign of them in the 1920 census.

I did manage to find Charlotte in 1930, when she was living with Everitt's second wife's twin sisterJewel Innes Stipp in Pittsburg, Kansas and "dancing" in a "Theatrical troup". This is probably why Georga wasn't allowed to speak to her, though this wasn't explained to Georga. Her aunt made it clear that Charlotte wasn't "good enough" to talk to, but Georga never understood why. She simply did as she was told.

But I finally got a proper breakthrough the other day when put the World War I Draft Registration Cards online.

Twyla had a brother named Levie Sutton Gilbreath (she had a Great-Uncle named Levi Sutton). Levie later went by "Leroy", but in 1917 he was living in Chicago and his form reads like this:

WWI Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,
Serial Number: 3662, Order Number: 5082
Name: Levie Sutton Gilbreath
Address: 63 W. Shiller? Chicago Cook Ill
Age: 20, Date of birth: Mar 10 1898
Native born [citizen]
Occupation: Salesman, St. Clair Refinery Co
Place of employment: 35th + South Park Av. Chicago

Cook Ill
Nearest relative: sister Mrs. Twyla Cuby
64 W. Schiller Chicago Cook Ill

[signed] Levie S. Gilbreath

Medium height
Slender build
Eyes: Blue
Hair: brown
Disability: no

[signed] Mathilde Jacqer
Sept 12 1918

Chicago Local Board No. 46
Newberry Library, Chicago.

The alert reader will notice "sister Mrs. Twyla Cuby" who lives in Chicago. I did. My eyes nearly bulged out of my head!

And in 1920, Twyla still did:

1920 Cook Co., IL Census
State Illinois
County Cook
s.d. 1, e.d. 1153, Sheet No. 4B
Chicago City, Ward 21
January 1920 by Arthur Hanssen
1357 North LaSalle Street
line 88, 38/87 DUCKWORTH Hannah Head R FW 45 S 1912/Pa /yes/yes England/English England/English England/English Keeper/Rooming House
[other roomers]
line 93, /89 CUBY Clement Roomer R MW 30 M 1900/Na/1910 France/French France/French France/French Acrobat/theater
Twyla Roomer FW 23 M 1904/Na/1910 /yes/yes England/English England/English England/English Acrobat/theater
Georgenia Daughter FW 7 S yes/yes/yes Missouri France/French England/English
Charlotte Daughter FW 5 S no/yes/yes Missouri France/French England/English
[other roomers]

There they are. A slight mix up with the daughters ages, and Twyla claims (*cough*cough*) to have been born in England.

And just when you were convinced that the story was far to interesting to be true notice:

Occupation: acrobat/theater

Also of interest is Clement Seraphin Cuby's draft registration form that notes he is from Lausanne, Switzerland (not true - he's from the Haute Pyrenees in France, near Toulouse) and that he is single, claiming only his mother in Switzerland as a dependent (also untrue, she is actually working as a maid in New York City). It's not surprising Clement claimed to be from (neutral) Switzerland and not France while the war was raging. But I think we can assume he would have claimed Twyla, Charlotte and Georgina if he'd been married. Since he fills out his form on 5 June 1917, and Levie filled his out on 18 September 1918, that narrows down the marriage date signifcantly.

By 1930 Clement and Twyla are no longer married.

Clement is living in Nassau Co., NY:

State New York
County Nassau
Hempstead Township
e.d. 30-102, s.d. 36, Sheet No. 9B
Baldwin Village
Apr 10, 11, 1930 by Bessie H Betts
39 Ashland Avenue
line 79, 208/220 CUBY Clement Head O 10000 R no MW 41 M 35 no/yes France France France French 1900/Pa/yes Actor/Theatrical
Frances Wife FW 48 M 42 no/yes Scotland Scotland Scotland English 1903/Pa/yes Sales-lady/Real Estate
Idalie Mother FW 70 Wd 28 no/yes France France France French 1900?/Na/yes

I'm not sure where Twyla is. There is a Twyla Shaw in California who is about the right age and born in Missouri, but there's no reason to assume it's her.

Wily Twyla.

So, Twyla really was an acrobat. I thought perhaps just Charlotte and her step-father were in the act (from what Charlotte said I wasn't sure).

Anyway, thought you'd find this of interest. Oh, and Georgina/Georgia is also listed in the 1920 census in Neosho:

1920 Newton Co., MO Census
Neosho City
S.D. 13, E.D. 148, Sheet #16A/165A
13 January 1920 by J.S. Sutherland
Cemetery Road
384/409 JACKSON, George W. Head 60 TN TN TN Farmer
Ida Wife 58 MO MO MO
Jessie Mae Daughter Divorced 31 MO TN MO Needlework
Everitt Son Divorced 29 MO TN MO Mail carrier
Percy Son 22 MO TN MO Home Laborer
Georgia Grand Daughter 4 9/12 MO MO MO

Since Clement fills out his Draft Registration Form in St. Louis, Missouri but it gives his home address as being in Chicago, we can assume there was a lot of traveling back and forth. It's the only explanation I can think of for her dual listings. He mentioned specifically on his Draft Form that he's with a traveling show and that their next stop is in Jacksonville, Illinois.

It's the best explanation I have for the dual listing.

One striking thing is that although they were raised apart and saw each other infrequenly as adults, Charlotte and Georga have many of the same mannerisms, speech pattern and the same joie de vie.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Today in Family History:
The burning of the Potterstown Bridge

Jonathan Morgan of Greene County, Tennessee tells the story of his involvement in the burning of the bridge and the consequences of the brutal Confederate response.

You can read his account, transcribed by Donahue Bible, at the Greene County, Tennessee rootsweb website.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Today in Family History:
death of John H. Brown, Andersonville prisoner

On the 28th of October 1864, after 3 months of imprisonment at Andersonville, my ancestor John H. Brown died.

John H. Brown, memorandum Posted by Picasa

Several of his records say that he died at Andersonville Prison, but apparently he actually died while being transferred from Andersonville to the prison at Florence, SC. It is not known where he is buried.

He and several men from his unit, including his cousin Sgt. Oliver M. Brown, were captured at the Battle of Utoy Creek, Georgia on the 6th of August 1864. Another cousin, Sgt. Jotham Brown, was killed that day. They had all three mustered for service out of Greene County, Tennessee into Company D, 8th Tennessee Infantry Regiment on 15 May 1863.

The battle itself was not an important battle, just a small part of Sherman's Atlanta Campaign.
Battle of Utoy Creek, Georgia: After failing to envelop Hood’s left flank at Ezra Church, Sherman still wanted to extend his right flank to hit the railroad between East Point and Atlanta. He transferred John M. Schofield’ s Army of the Ohio from his left to his right flank and sent him to the north bank of Utoy Creek. Although Schofield’s troops were at Utoy Creek on August 2, they, along with the XIV Corps, Army of the Cumberland, did not cross until the 4th. Schofield’s force began its movement to exploit this situation on the morning of the 5th, which was initially successful. Schofield then had to regroup his forces, which took the rest of the day. The delay allowed the Rebels to strengthen their defenses with abatis, which slowed the Union attack when it restarted on the morning of the 6th. The Federals were repulsed with heavy losses by Bate’s Division and failed in an attempt to break the railroad. On the 7th, the Union troops moved toward the Confederate main line and entrenched. Here they remained until late August.

Result(s): Inconclusive

[Emphasis mine. -tkp]

Oliver Brown is listed as having "survived Andersonville", but he, too, had simply been transferred to Florence, SC Prison and he died there.

To quote from the diary of Samuel Elliot who was also among the majority of prisoners being transferred out of Andersonville because of the proximity of General Sherman:
Monday [October] 31.-While at Andersonville I did not suppose the rebels had a worse prison in the South, but I have now found out that they have. This den is ten times worse than that at Andersonville. Our rations are smaller and of poorer quality, wood more scarce, lice plentier, shelters worn out, and cold weather coming on. I have stood my prison life wonderfully, but now I am commencing to feel it more sensibly, and am getting too weak to move about. To add to my misery I have the scurvy in the gums.

John H. Brown's first wife, Sarah W. Hendry, had passed away in 1861 and he had remarried Eliza Starnes. At his death he left 8 children, 5 of them minors (though the other 3 were just 13, 15 and 17, they were all over 16 when the pension was created).
children by Sarah W. Hendry:

Nancy C. Brown
Joseph Henry "Henry" Brown
William Amos Brown
Massey Jane Brown
Sarah Ann Brown
John Emerson Brown
Alfred Wilkerson Brown

child by Eliza Starnes:

James Leonard Brown

The pension received by John E. Hendry was $2.00 per child per month, ending when they turned 16. Eliza Brown, as widow, received $8.00 for herself as long as she remained a widow and $2.00 additional for James. Some of Eliza's documents give also a Dec. 1864/Jan. 1865 death date for her husband, but the rest of the documents say that he died the 28th of October.

You can search a database of 32,000 Andersonville prisoners at the Macon County, Georgia website. They can be quite detailed. John H. Brown's entry looks like this:
Andersonville Prisoner Profile
Code No: 37321
Last Name: BROWN
First Name: JOHN H
Company: D
Regiment: 8
State: TN
Branch of Service: INFANTRY
Date of Death: 10/28/1864
Cause of Death:
Reference*: PG145[105]
Place Captured: UTOY CREEK, GA
Date Captured: 8/6/1864
Alternate Names:
More Information
Available: YES

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Ghost Goas

I finally found the Andrew Goas family in the 1850 census:
Liverpool Township, County of Columbiana, State of Ohio, pg. 249/125A
11 July 1850 by Wm Gellundieck
line 2, 245/247 An'd GHOST 34 M Labourer " [Pennsylvania]
Mary 15 F " [Pennsylvania]
Lewis 14 M " [Pennsylvania] attended school
Joseph 8 M " [Pennsylvania] attended school
Milnor 2 M Ohio
Christian 19 F Pennsylvania

But, of course, it almost raises more questions than it answers.

It confirms my guess about the young man "Millener R" in the 1860 census being a brother and not someone named "R. Millener".

But Mary's name was supposed to be "Hannah", according to family tradition, and who is Christian?! A second wife? Not correctly placed, if so. A sister helping out with the family?

And the way I found it...

Goas is a horrible name to research. Even if the census person writes it down correctly (and it is Goos, Ghost, Goas in the records I have) the 'search engines' that are my bread and butter have the addition handicap of a secondary interpretation. So, and I swear I've tried this before, I typed in "Lewis" as a first name, said he was born 1837 +/-2 years in Pennsylvania. I got 871 hits. And then I started scanning.

Lewis Ghest came up, and bingo!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


I've upgraded my Experience's Children website and I'm really impressed with the improvements.

Darrin Lythgoe's Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding is completely fabulous. The new capability to differentiate between documents and histories is very helpful.

And it even has a new "Today in Family History" feature that I've been wanting very badly.

After a lot of annoying fiddling with my .css I finally got the links to look like I wanted them to. Always the little things are the big hassles...

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Elvira and Martha Taylor

I haven't had much luck with my Taylor family of Pulaski Co., MO until Ina Tipton found me and sent me, among other things, this lovely photograph of her ancestor Elvira May Taylor Mitschele and Elvira's sister Martha F. Taylor:

Elvira and Martha Taylor Posted by Picasa

She also sent me a scan of Elvira and Martha's parent's bible record:

Hayden and Mary Jane Boston Taylor Bible Record
transcribed 17 October 2005 by tkp

Hayden Taylor son of John and Nancy Taylor born
Hart Co Kentucky Feb. 8 1822
Mary Jane Boston Daughter of James + Biddy Boston was
born Green County Kentucky Jan 1829


Hayden Taylor + Mary Jane Boston
were married at the home of her Fathers
by the Revd W.C. Privets? Feby 12 1851

Hayden Taylor born hart Co Ky Feb 8 1822
Mary Jane Taylor born green Co. Ky Jan 18 1829
James Washington Taylor born hart Co Ky Jn 27 1851
ransom Lane Taylor born hiart Co. Ky Dec 18. 1852
William Adair Taylor born heart Co Ky Feb 2, 1854
George Alexander Taylor born heart Co Ky April 5, 1855
Elvira May Taylor born heart Co. Ky Oct 14, 1856
John Franklin Taylor born pulaski Co mo March 1 1858
Benjamin smith Taylor born pulaski Co mo nov 16 1859
Zacariah harrison Taylor born pulaski Co mo Feb 14, 1861
Martha francis Taylor born pulaski Co mo Jan 23 1863
Mary Jane Taylor born pulaski Co mo Feb 4 1865
Hayden Jackson Taylor born pulaski Co mo Jan 24 1867
Willis Randall Taylor pulaksi Co mo Nov 22 1870

Fantastic stuff!

All my thanks to Ina.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Happy McNeely Hunting

Recently, a fellow McNeely researcher, Pat McNeely, had the opportunity to travel to Washington, DC and do research at the National Archives.

We were both looking into the family of the Rev. William V. McNeely of Blount and Hamilton Counties, Tennessee and Scott/Logan Counties, Arkansas. Pat researches John C., and I research Mary M., his surviving children from his first marriage and his only known surviving children. Unfortunately we haven't been able to track his first wife, Louisa, because the Hamilton Co., Tennessee no longer exist for the period they would have married.

She did find his pension record:
"He is listed with pension file #575906, certificate #724643. His widow, Augusta S. McNeely, collected widow's pension upon William's death, widow's pension file #700384, certificate #504878. His service was from 15 Nov 1863, discharged at Clarksville, Ark., 8 August 1865. He entered service as Private and was discharged as Sergeant with the Company "C" 2nd Arkansas Infantry."

But that wasn't the interesting part. The record included the pension application of his third wife Augusta White McNeely, and to file for this she had to document ALL of his wives.

We already knew his second wife was Lucinda B.M. Cannon Chambliss Land and his third wife was Augusta White.

But in an affidavit from William's daughter Mary, she noted that her mother's maiden name was Louisa Fitzgerald and that she died in 1865. Pat tells it best:
"If you can imagine, I was in the "Reading room" on the second floor. I now have an official researcher card from there. Pretty heady stuff!

"Anyway, there wasn't a seat for me, so I was hovered over the end of a table slowly turning pages over from the file. When I saw the one from Mary, I almost whooped out loud! Could not stop grinning and tried to regain my composure. I was on a high from having discovered there was a file that morning! I nearly tripped getting to the copy machine. If I had had to wait, I guess I would have peed my pants!!

"While looking at microfilm on the first floor, I overheard another group talking. There was a man who was a pro and he was talking to two other researchers. He was talking about one client who was looking for a grandfather in her line but he didn't have any Rev. War pension file. He urged her to look at the brother's file. She was reluctant to spend the money for the research. She finally broke down and in the file were pictures of the parents and their names on the back. She was ecstatic when she called him. It just shows you never know what would be in those files until you get them."

The thrill of victory. Congratulations and thanks to Pat!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Reuben Jackson, Obion Co., TN Court Records

I've recently arranged for someone to send me copies of the estate records of Reuben Jackson of Obion County, Tennessee.

I already know quite a lot about Reuben.

That he lived in Wilson County, Tennessee in 1820.
Obion County, Tennessee in 1830 and 1840.
That he was a saddler in the War of 1812.
That he had owned a lot of land in Obion Co., TN.
That he'd been married twice and had 15 children.

So I wanted to see if he had a left will, etc.

As it turns out, he died intestate and there are lots of interesting documents to be seen. One of which reads:

[Pg. 537, Dec Term 1844]

It appearing to the satisfaction of the court that Reuben
Jackson, Jane Jackson, Samuel Jackson, Robert Jackson and
George W. Jackson are minor orphans of Reuben Jackson
Deceased and that they are under the age of Fourteen
years and that they have an estate that needs attention +c
thereon James N. Cullum moved the court to appoint him
guardian of said minor children. It is therefore ordered
by the Court that said James N Cullum be appointed
Guardian of said minor orphans upon his entering
into Bond, and security as the Law directs. Whereupon the
said James N Cullum came into court and entered into
Bond in the sum of Twenty four Hundred Dollars. con=
ditioned as the law directs, with Thomas Sales Alfred
McDaniel and Everett H Verhin his securites all of which
was examined and recieved by the court and ordered to be
recorded which is done accordingly

I was excited to see "George W." listed.

I had guessed that the Jane and George Jackson living with Mary Jackson Davis in 1850 were her siblings, though George was not listed in the family bible. This document seems to have proven my guess to be correct. I transcribed it eagerly.

But upon further reflection the whole thing seems quite strange.

In terms of transcribing, the only difficulty was the word "Fourteen" which really couldn't be anything else, but doesn't look too terribly much like Fourteen. It looks like Toyrteen. Or Toynteen. But I think there's an superfluous mark under the "u", so, Tourteen? In any case, the Reuben mentioned was actually 22.

I can't imagine under what circumstances he could have been declared a minor orphan.

Their actual ages in December 1844:

Reuben 22
Jane 23
Samuel 17
Robert 15
George W. abt. 12

There's an older daughter Mary who must have still been at home who isn't mentioned. She was 23 and unmarried.

The estate sale was in November 1844. All of the children but George bought things at this sale. So did the security Thomas Sayles and, of course, James N. Cullum who was also the estate administrator. Thomas Sayles is listed with Reuben as one of the early settlers of Obion County. Everett Verhines and Thomas Sayles both lived in the same district as the Jacksons.

They had to know that most of those children were not minors.

What the heck was going on?

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

An adventuresome relative

Meet Lewis Jasper Whittington Jefferson Powell.

Here's a nice piece I just found on his life:

"L. J. W. J. Powell, farmer, Booneville, Ark. One of the men who has contributed much to the development of Logan County is Mr. Powell, a prominent agriculturist of the same. His parents, Isaac and Sarah (Jones) Powell, were both natives of Georgia. They moved to Arkansas in 1844, bought land in Logan County, and there made their home. The father served in the Florida War, and was also in the War of 1812, fighting under Packinham at the battle of New Orleans. The educational advantages of our subject during his boyhood were limited, receiving only about ten months' schooling altogether, and in the spring of 1854 he went to California, where he was engaged in mining and farming for eleven years. He then returned home by way of the Isthmus, after stopping for some time in New York and five months in Illinois. He began work on a mill, and after-ward bought, in partnership with his brother, 120 acres of land, where he remained about six years. He improved about eighty acres, erected a house and other buildings, and made many other important changes. He then sold this land and bought 160 acres of Government land, having at the present time about sixty acres of this cleared. Aside from the large crops of cotton, corn and oats that he raises, he is also engaged in raising a good grade of cattle and hogs. Mr. Powell was married in December, 1868, to Miss Frances T. Lyons, a native of Arkansas, and the daughter of John and Rebecca Lyons. Mrs. Powell died in 1869, leaving one daughter, Rebecca Endora, now the wife of H. H. Ozier. In 1871 Mr. Powell was wedded to Miss Mary Jane Cox, a native of Missouri, born in 1847, and daughter of Joseph and Caroline Cox. The fruits of this union have been ten children, eight of whom are living: Alice May, Oceola Mark, Arthur Lee, Alberta, Louisa Ellen, Rosa Viola, Oscar Randolph and Ernest Lester. Mr. Powell is a member of the A. F. & A. M., Lodge No. 247, at Booneville, and he and his estimable wife are members of the Christian Church, of which he has been deacon."

After the long overland journey there, he made the same choice coming back from California that Mark Twain did: to take the boat.

The sad part of the story is his first wife dying so young. The really pleasing part about his mentioning it here is that, falling as their marriage did between censuses, I had no record of her name.

See Lewis's entry at Randall Powell's Powell Family Pages.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

WWI Draft Registration Cards

Well, ancestry has actually done something really, really fine.

They seem, in a lot of ways, to be rather clueless about proper genealogical research, but they sure do throw a lot of wonderful resources on the web (if you're willing to pay for them).

But these Draft registration cards take the cake.

I just wish they'd get Missouri up.

The great thing about them is that they cover about 95% of the adult male population in the US in the 1917-1918 time period. And they include birthdates and signatures. Sometimes the birthdates are wrong, but I'm using the signatures as best evidence of how these guys really spelled their names.


Monday, May 30, 2005

Statistics of Ancestry

So, just in case J. Brad DeLong's blog and entries ever go poof, I want to post this lovely story he wrote here.

December 08, 2003

One Hundred Interesting Mathematical Problems, Puzzles, Diversions, and Amusements: Number 21: Ancestors



"Were my ancestors... famous back in the Middle Ages?"

"Your ancestors? Which ancestors? You have a lot of them."

"Well, most of them."

"There is a tradition that your Ridgeway ancestors--part of the English wave of conquest of Ireland under the Angevin kings--were descended from an illegitimate daughter of William the Conquerer, and that they were also descended from Earl Leofric and his wife Godiva, of the well-known story about Coventry. This was possibly the first supply-side tax policy in history: she asked her husband to lower taxes, and he replied 'Sure, I'll lower taxes when you ride naked through the streets on a white horse'."

"Nobody knows that story, Dad."


"I asked people in my class. They all agreed that Lady Godiva was the inventor of a kind of chocolate."


"But what was my typical ancestor like?"

"Well, first let's calculate how many ancestors you had. You were born in the 1990s. Let's suppose that there is a generation born every twenty-five years. That means that a century ago you had 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 ancestors born in the 1890s. How many is that?"


"In exponential notation: you're studying exponents in math this week."


"And a century before that? Another four generations, with your number of ancestors doubling as we go back each additional generation?"

"You'd multiply by two four more times."

"Which would give you?"

"28, two multiplied by itself eight times."

"That's 1790. How about 1690?"


"And what is 212, approximately?"


"Well, 212 is 210 times 22, and 210 is about 1,000--1024 exactly, but we'll say 1000."

"1000 times 4 equals 4000."

"Yep. About 4000 ancestors born in 1690. Now let's take it back to 1490--eight more generations. 212 times 2 eight more times is?"


"And back to 1240--another 2 1/2 centuries, another ten generations?"


"And that is? Remember, 230 is 210 x 210 x 210."

"1000 x 1000 x 1000... is a billion."

"Excellent! Now consider that there were only 400 million people alive on the earth in 1240. What does that mean?"


"Well, it means that you must be descended from a lot of people by a lot of different lines of inheritance--a lot of distant cousins marrying each other. I mean, there are a billion ancestral slots that have to be filled, and only 400 million people back in 1240 to fill them. So a lot of people have to be filling multiple slots on your ancestral family tree."

"So does that mean I'm descended from everybody alive in the world in 1240? That they are all my ancestors?"

"Not quite. There were a number of people alive in 1240 who have no descendants living today. And mixing between European populations and the Amerind, sub-Saharan African, Indian, southeast Asian, Chinese, and Japanese populations over the past millennium has been very slow. But if they (a) have any living descendants at all, (b) were alive in 1240, and (c) lived in Europe, on the south or eastern shore of the Mediterranean, or in Mongolia, odds are that you're probably descended from them."


"Your mother's maternal grandfather had Tartar eyes. Mongolia. Chingis Khan. The Mongol Empire."

"So when I read about the history of Medieval Europe, I should think that everyone's my ancestor?"

"Yep. The Holy Roman Emperor Friedrich I Barbarossa of the House of Hohenstaufen, and also the peasant Ludovico il Pazzo from Caserta outside Napoli. Pope Innocent III, or at least one of his close relatives. William the Conqueror and a number of his knights, but also Aethelraed Illraed and Harald Hardrada. Lady Godiva, but also Brunhilde the washerwoman, and Thraxa the house slave back after the Roman and before the Saxon conquest of Britain. Rich and poor, noble and serf, pretty and ugly, smart and dumb--all of them, at least all of them who have any living descendants at all today."

"Kind of stupid that they spent so much time fighting each other, isn't it?"


Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Website problems

I've having problems with my beautiful new website - I have to change the way I've done my sources to get them to be fully visible. Right now most of them are truncated to the point they are useless. Fortunately once I've made the adjustments (one by one!) they will be even more useful because you can look at all people who are linked to any given source.

A nice thing to be able to do.

But I have a LOT of sources.


At least it'll be amazing when I'm done!

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Meet Augusta S. White McNeely

I don't know much about Augusta yet.

I finally have proof that she was the third wife of my ancestor William V. McNeely

I know that she was born in November of 1845 in Onondaga County, New York to Truman and Phebe Harris White.

I know that in every census from her first (1850) to 1880 she was living there with her parents and her brother Jonas.

What I don't know is how she ended up in Christian County, Missouri to marry W.V. McNeely on Christmas Day 1889.

William died in 1899 and in 1900 there she is in Christian County, Augusta S. McNeely, widow, with her brother Jonas T. White.

Somehow I think that's a story I'd like to know.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Today in Sivils family history

31 March 1863

102 years ago today, Solomon W. Sivels, son of Absalom Sivils and Sarah Trotter Sivils, died during his service for the Union in the Civil War.

There is some discrepancy in his service unit. His online Civil War record says that he served in the 2nd Tennessee Infantry and his burial record that he served in the 2nd Tennessee Cavalry (Union). If he served in the Cavalry, it is possible that he was killed during their "Operations against Pegram March 22-April 2", though of course disease was the big killer. In this unit, 16 men were killed in action and 208 died of disease. His wife's 1890 Special Veterans and Widows Census record confirms that his service was in the Infantry. In the 2nd Tennessee Infantry 27 men were killed in action and 613 were killed by disease. Both units were serving near Murfreesboro, Tennessee in early 1863, but the Infantry was ordered to Lexington, KY on March 11. If this was his unit, one can be fairly sure that he was already ill and in hospital when they were ordered out and he was left behind.

Obviously I haven't obtained his Civil War record yet. It would answer all of these questions.

See his Civil War Record notes online:
Solomon W. Sivils

See the Record of Interments in the National Cemetery at Murfreesboro, TN, noted 24 August 2004
SIVELS, S. W., Co. A 2nd Tenn Cav March 31, 1863, Grave Mark: O 6104.

1890 Union Veterans Census, 13th District (Rockwood), compiled by Robert L. Bailey.
SIVILS, Mahala (widow of Solomon W.). Pvt. 2 TN Inf. Post Office: Rockwood, Tennessee.

Solomon's widow Mahala never remarried and she and their son lived in Jefferson County, Tennessee from the War until they moved to Roane Co., TN just before 1890. She died there sometime before 1900.

Joseph M. Sivels married Lena Headrick the 22nd of September 1877 in Morgan County, Tennessee, where she was raised.

Joseph died in Roane County, Tn in 1919 and Lena moved in with her sister. They had no children. Lena died in Morgan Co., TN in 1920.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005


I've never seen anything quite like this in a census record, so I thought I'd share:

Berrien County, Michigan
City of St Joseph, Ward 2, St Joseph Township, S.D. 4, E.D. 77, Sheet No. 17A/205A
14 June 1900 by Grant C. Bort
Broad Street

line 18, 345/371 DOUNY John Head-Hobo WM Aug 1876 23 S Illinois Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Berry Picker 9 months unemployed in the last year
THOMSON John Hobo WM June 1866 33 S Kentucky Virginia Virginia Day Laborer 9 months unemployed in the last year
JOHNSON Charles Hobo WM Dec 1879 20 S Illinois Illinois Illinois Laborer 9 months unemployed in the last year
DRUMMOND Frank Hobo WM Mar 1874 26 S England England England 1872/23 Painter 4 months unemployed in the last year
STEVENSON Walter Hobo WM Nov 1884 15 Texas Scotland Scotland Tragier? 6 months unemployed in the last year
KISSANE Richard Hobo WM May 1880 20 S Illinois Illinois Illinois Berry Picker 9 months unemployed in the last year
HANKS Thomas Hobo WM Nov 1864 35 S Ohio Ohio Ohio Stationary ???????? 7 months unemployed in the last year
SNYDER William Hobo WM Mar 1884 16 S Indiana Indiana Indiana Varsman? 4 months unemployed in the last year
ELMRIS? John Hobo WM Dec 1864 35 S Maryland Germany Germany Butcher 3 months unemployed in the last year
HEITZ William Hobo WM Feb 1871 27 S Pennsylvania Germany Germany Shoemaker 0 months unemployed in the last year
SNYDER Fred Hobo WM Oct 1885 14 S Texas Missouri Iowa Boot Black 5 months unemployed in the last year
SAWYER Thomas Hobo WM Jan 1865 35 S Ohio Ohio OhioCigar Maker 2 months unemployed in the last year
KAMP Claud Hobo WM Apr 1883 17 S Indiana Ohio Ohio Labor in mill 6 months unemployed in the last year
WELCH James Hobo WM July 1849 50 S Virginia Ireland Virginia Labor 4 months unemployed in the last year
QUIN Peter Hobo WM Dec 1839 60 Wd England England England Labor 8 months unemployed in the last year

Monday, March 07, 2005


Ahhhh, the lovely surname Smith. I suppose we all have one: a very common name hard to trace. I have some Browns as well, but my Smith research was hampered by the untimely death and far too common name of "William A. Smith".

I had an awful lot to go on to begin with. Family tradition was that his name was "William Alexander Smith" and he was born 11 December 1874 in Tennessee. He married Eva Anna Keeney 24 June 1903. They quickly had three children: Della Mae, Myrtle Marie and Floyd R. Smith. Then on the 4 of December 1909 in Willard, Missouri, William passed away. He was 35. No one has mentioned what he died of and Missouri didn't start issuing death certificates until 1910.

A cousin I was in touch with who descends from Eva's second marriage told me Floyd's name was William R. Simeron Floyd Smith. Quite a name. One guesses that the "R" stands for "Richard", Eva's father's name. But I expect we'll never know.

A very nice researcher named Gail Erickson sent me Eva's family's 1900 census record (this was before I was on I was shocked they were in Greene County (they'd lived near Kansas City in every other census both before and after 1900) but that was a bit silly of me, since Willard is in Greene County. I'd rather imagined William and Eva took off to the mines in that part of Missouri, but actually both of their fathers farmed there.:
Cass Twp., S.D. 8, E.D. 45, Sheet No. 7B
16 June 1900 W.A. McGuin
line 64 124/125 KEENEY, R.B. Head WM Mar 1849 51 M 19 MO Pen Pen Farmer
Louanna Wife WF Nov 1863 36 M 19 9/8 MO Ky MO
Eva A. Daughter WF Aug 1883 16 S Kan MO MO
Elmer R. Son WM Mar 1885 15 S Kan MO MO
Edward F. Son WM Feb 1887 13 S Kan MO MO
Clarence H. Son MW May 1889 11 S Kan MO MO
Clide Son WM June 1891 8 S Kan MO MO
Claud Son WM June 1891 8 S Kan MO MO
Roy V. Son WM Dec 1893 6 S Kan MO MO
Fred Son WM Jan 1895 5 S MO MO MO

Gail also pointed me to a Smith family nearby with a son "William A.", but he was traced and found alive and married in 1910. So, not my William.

Then yesterday I noticed that the 1900 index on ancestry had been updated (I've had a long hiatus from genealogy, moving will do that to you). So I stuck in Smiths in Greene Co., MO born in TN. Quite a list. And one was:
William E Smith Cass, Greene, Missouri abt 1875 Tennessee White Son

So I had a gander:
1900 Greene Co., MO Census, Cass Township
S.D. 8, E.D. 45, Sheet No. 15A/48A
2 and 3 July 1900 by W A McGuire
line 29, 272/272 SMITH Semyen P. Head WM April 1848 52 M 29 Ten Ten Ten Farmer Owns Farm Free of mortgage
Margaret Wife WF Deb 1857 43 M 29 11/7 Ten Ten Ten
William E Son WM Dec 1874 25 S Ten Ten Ten Farm Laborer
Luiza T Daughter WF Mar 1880 20 S MO Ten Ten
Elven B Son WM July 1882 17 S MO Ten Ten at school
Charles E. Son WM Sept 1884 15 S MO Ten Ten at school
Dollie J. Daughter FW Oct 1886 13 S MO Ten Ten at school
Bennie H Son WM Aug 1892 7 S MO Ten Ten

Dec 1874. Boy, did I get excited.

The "E" bothered me not at all. Lots of A/E names get 'misheard' for census: Albert/Elbert, etc. Of course family tradition had it that William's middle name was "Alexander", so, "Elexander?!". But, too, I knew Alexander was an unusual name that the time.

So, I sprinted to the lds 1880:, 1880 United States Census
S. Perry SMITH Self M Male W 32 TN Farmer TN TN
Margaret SMITH Wife M Female W 23 TN Keeping House VA NC
Jas. C. SMITH Son S Male W 9 TN TN TN
Wm. A. SMITH Son S Male W 4 TN TN TN
Sarah E. SMITH Dau S Female W 2 TN TN TN
Louise T. SMITH Dau S Female W 3M MO TN TN
Source Information:
Census Place: Cass, Greene, Missouri
Family History Library Film: 1254687
NA Film Number: T9-0687
Page Number: 24D

"Wm. A." Well, I'm totally convinced. But still, no proof.

Looks like Floyd's name might be William R(ichard) Simeon Floyd Smith. But still, not proof.

Then I found Betty Miller. This is her 1998 query on the Greene Co., MO website:
Smith; Baker, Allen
Searching for information on Semyen Perry Smith, b. 6 Apr. 1848, in Sevier, TN, m. 1st. Margaret Elizabeth Baker then m. 2nd. Margaret Jane Allen on 15 Jan 1875, d., 3 Feb. 1930, Cass Township, Greene Co., MO. and buried at Willard, MO (Wesley Chapel Cemetery). Three childen by 1st. wife: William Alexander, John Gilbert, Sarah Elizabeth and eight children by 2nd wife: Louisa Theodocia, Elvin Beecher, Charley Edward, Dollie Jane, Roy, Julia, Benjamin Harrison, Mary.
Betty Miller--Tue Dec 15 14:54:58 1998

"William Alexander". I consider that independent confirmation.

And it was always likely that the Smith family living near Eva in 1900 (she and William married in 1902) would be related to her husband. Even if Smith is a very, very common name.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Tracking down Reuben Jackson's first wife

The identification of Reuben's wife as Barbara Dice is entirely circumstantial. I had a lot of fun doing it, so I thought I would recount the current state of affairs here.

Let me lay out my "evidence" as it stands:

First of all, the Jackson family bible lists a "Barbara Jackson" who died 20 Oct. 1821. This is the only woman listed as "Jackson" who wasn't listed as a child of Reuben in the "births" and this timing works with both James Madison Jackson's 1819 birth and Reuben's 1822 remarriage. So I started there: what if she were his first wife?

Secondly, I wondered about the birth of William Harpole b. 1 December 1800 appearing in the Jackson family bible. His lineage is clear and established: he is brother to the John Harpole who was Captain of Reuben Jackson's regiment and this whole family, too, moved to Obion County, TN. His parents were Solomon and Anna Christina Dice Harpole. Why was he there? So, guess No. 2: this boy could have been Reuben Jackson's first wife's nephew.

So I began looking into the Harpole and Dice families, which are well documented on the internet. No luck with the Harpoles, but the Dices had a plum: Anna Christina had a sister named Barbara who married a "Joseph Jackson" in 1797 in Pendleton Co., (W)VA. But there was a funny note attached to some peoples notes on this marriage: he may have been named "Reuben Jackson". None of these people list any sources for their materials, so I have wrote them for clarification. I received no responses.

Later, I found this gem on message boards:

>Reuben Jackson - late 1700s-early 1800s
>Author: Julia Clay Date: 30 Jul 2002 9:10 PM GMT
>Surnames: Dice, Jackson
>Classification: Query
>Reuben Jackson married unknown Dice. Thier daughter Phoebe
>Deborah was born near Staunton VA in 1802 and raised in Wilson
>Co TN. If you have information on this family please contact
>Thank you,

This Phoebe Jackson married Hugh Curlin (appears in Wilson Co. 1820 census), his line, too, is well-documented and though he moved on to Texas, his brothers all ended up in Obion Co., TN.

Further research has comfortably linked Phoebe Jackson Curlin and Reuben Jackson of Wilson Co., TN.

The Curlin's and Harpole's both migrated to Obion County, Tennessee at the same time that Reuben did.

I have since been contacted by another family member whose family had recorded their relationship with Phoebe Jackson Curlin - they descend from Reuben's son Jesse Harper Jackson - the 'Harper' seeming to be another possible connection with the Dice family, since Anna Christina's mother was Catherine Herber/Harper.

There is my evidence in a nutshell.

Please see Experience's Children if you would like to see more.