The genealogy goes on. . . with negative findings

Review any death certificate and obituary.  In many cases, the person’s birth information, including names of parents, is correct. You can easily find more about the family from census and other records. What if the information is not that easy to find?  Negative evidence and information can still provide clues. In this post, I describe my frustrating search for C.W. Black, presumed father of Nellie Black Johnson, and one of my husband’s maternal great-great grandfathers.

According to Nellie’s death certificate[1], her parents were C.W. Black and Mary Bull. Nellie’s oldest daughter, Katie Jean Johnson Brannon, provided the information.  Nellie’s obituary[2] stated that she was born in Montague county, Texas and spent most of her life in Limestone county, Texas.  I begin an attempt to prove that the information is correct.  A DNA Match with Nellie’s granddaughter (my husband’s mother) led to the possible identification of Marianne Bull, born about 1855 and daughter of Isaac L. Bull and Sarah Neel, as Nellie’s mother.

Discovering C.W. Black has been more difficult. What can I expect to find? Start with the 1900 census.

  • Evidence for Nellie’s birth year of 1888:  Census records for 1920 through 1940 plus Nellie’s death certificate support this date, plus or minus one year.
  • Evidence for Nellie’s reported birth place: Nellie should be with one or both parents in either Montague county or Limestone county, Texas.  Search criteria:  families with Black surname, females 11 or 12 years old with first name of Nell, Nellie or Nettie.

NEGATIVE EVIDENCE or NEGATIVE FINDINGS?

Transcription errors are possible. Handwriting can be hard to read. Faded ink creates illegible entries. Online databases do not always capture the person or family that you are searching for.  I searched the 1900 census for selected Texas counties page-by-page.  So far, I found six families with surname of Black in Montague county and 19 families with surname of Black in Limestone county.  I recorded all individuals on blank census forms. [3] Results to date?  None that described Nellie or her reported family.

These are negative findings.  According to Elizabeth Shown Mills, negative findings are “the absence of information we hoped to find.” [4]  I hoped to find Nellie and at least one parent in either Montague or Limestone counties.  Negative evidence, as defined in Genealogy Standards, is “a type of evidence arising from the absence of a situation or information in extant records where that information might be expected.”[5]  My search is not complete so I cannot label it as negative evidence.

Example, 1900 census form, Montague county, Texas, families with Black Surname. Compiled by Susan Posten Ellerbee, March 2020.

One genealogical standard is termed “evidence mining”.[6]  We look for items to answer our research questions. In this instance, the findings are negative.  The standard encourages us to not ignore any potentially useful evidence or information even if it’s negative. Pay attention to all of the evidence not just evidence that is direct or indirect.

These preliminary negative findings suggest that Nellie and her parents did not live in either Montague or Limestone counties in 1900.  At this time, I cannot confirm where they lived in 1900.  Alternative hypotheses:

  1. Nellie and her parents (or at least one parent) lived in another county in Texas in 1900.
  2. Nellie and her parents (or at least one parent) did not live in Texas when the 1900 census was taken.
  3. Nellie and her parent/ parents were not counted in the 1900 census.
  4. Nellie’s father died before 1900 and her mother remarried. Nellie is listed with surname of her stepfather.
  5. Both of Nellie’s parents died before 1900. Nellie lived with another family.

My research question remains the same:  Where did Nellie and her parent/ parents live at the time of the 1900 census?  Where to next?  Search Falls county, Texas, home of many in the Bull family, and next door to Limestone county.

As my frustration mounts, I temporarily halt this search. Next post:  My continued search for C.W. Black.  

Reflection

This post is shorter than many. I am stumped and need to take a break. These negative findings take more time than expected as I process the information.  Searching census records page by page is not difficult but is tedious. Initially, I wrote a short post about genealogy during this Corona Virus crisis but decided not to post it. Others have done so. I just keep on working.

I questioned my mother-in-law about her dad’s mother’s family. She does not remember Nellie’s family ever being discussed or visited – no mention of aunts & uncles or cousins. Nellie died when mother-in-law was in her early 20s. I don’t remember if I knew the names of my great-grandparents when I was that age. But, my parents freely shared that information with me later.  And, I heard the names of cousins, aunts and uncles (such as Dad’s Uncle Frank, his mother’s brother) on both sides.  Tracing my parents’ families seems easy compared to this brick wall. Was there some scandal? Possible that Nellie was an only child? Possible that Nellie’s mother died in childbirth and Nellie was taken in by other family members? Possible that Nellie might be found in an orphanage in 1900? Is Nellie’s maiden name really Black? Given the DNA connection, I believe that Nellie’s mother was a Bull. The identity of her father remains a mystery.  

What helped:  Blank census forms from NARA, mostly legible handwriting on census records.

What didn’t help: feeling overwhelmed by this and our nation’s current health crisis.  

To-do: Search 1900 census in Falls county, Texas for families with Black surname. Complete page-by-page search of 1900 census in Limestone and Montague counties. If no relevant findings, expand searches to other counties. Write post about limited findings for C.W. Black as found in online databases.

©Susan Posten Ellerbee and Posting Your Roots blog, 2020.


SOURCES:

[1] “Texas, Death Certificates, 1903-1982,” digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : viewed & downloaded 27 February 2020), entry for Nell Johnson; citing Texas Department of State Health Services, Austin, Texas; certificate no. 37422.

[2] “Funeral services for Mrs. Johnson set for Wednesday,” obituary, Mexia Daily News, 3 May 1960; digital image, Newspapers.com (http://www.newspapers.com : accessed & printed 6 March 2020); citing Mexia Daily News (newspaper), Mexia, Texas.

[3] . “Resources for Genealogists, Charts and forms, Federal Census Forms, 1900 census,” The National Archives and Records Administration ( https://www.archives.gov/files/research/genealogy/charts-forms/1900-census.pdf  :  accessed 1 February 2020).

[4] Elizabeth Shown Mills, Evidence Explained, 3d ed. (Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Company, 2015), 25.

[5] Board for Certification of Genealogists, Genealogy Standards, 2d ed. (New York, New York: Turner Publishing Company, 2019), 81-82.

[6] Board for Certification of Genealogists, Genealogy Standards, 24-25.

Who is Mary Bull?

Mary is a common first name. Multiple generations of men in a given family  name their daughters Mary. Some of the men have two or three wives. The result? Several women named Mary, same surname, same place, all born within a 2 to 10 year time span.  Sorting the women requires a careful review of records. In this post, I describe my search for Mary Bull, mother of Nellie Black Johnson, and her ancestors.

Statue of mother and baby. Personal collection of Susan Posten Ellerbee. This was a gift from co-workers when I left one position.

Nellie Black Johnson is my husband’s great-grandmother on his mother’s side.  A DNA Match provided names of possible common ancestors. To review, Nellie reported her parents as being born in the U.S. A. on the 1920 census.  [1]   The names of Nell’s parents, C.W. Black and Mary Bull, appear on her death certificate. [2]  Mrs. Don Brannon (a.k.a Katie Jean Black), Nellie’s oldest child, provided information for the death certificate.

Nellie’s birth is reported as 16 January 1888 in Texas.  Many women are between 20 and 30 years old when they have children.  If true for Mary Bull, then consider a birth year between 1858 and 1868 for her.  This date range places her in the same generation as DNA Match’s known ancestor, Joseph Jackson Bull, born in 1867. [3] Mary Bull, mother of Nellie Black, could be sister or cousin of Joseph Jackson Bull.

Nellie’s obituary provides more specific information.  “A native of Montague County, Mrs. Johnson [Nell Black]. . . . had lived in Limestone County most of her life and had resided in the Point Enterprise and Mexia area for most of those years.”[4]

First, I searched for Nell Black and Nellie Black in 1900 and 1910.  Preliminary online searches revealed nothing for 1900.  However, the 1910 census showed promise. 22-year-old Nellie Black, boarder, born in Texas, living with Sarah J. Bull, a widow, and her 4 sons, age 9 to 21 at McLennan county, Texas. [5] Both of Nellie’s parents reported here as born in Texas.  Nellie’s age and birthplace are consistent with other records. Question:  Is Nellie Black related to Sarah J. Bull?  If so, how?  If this Nellie is our Nellie, then her parents’ birthplaces narrow to the state of Texas.  

Earlier census records for Sarah J Bull show her as wife of James H. Bull. [6] Sarah J [Armour] Bull married about 1885 to James Henry Bull (1849, Tennessee- 1903, Falls county, Texas).  James Henry Bull is presumed son of Reuben Bull & his 2nd wife, Mahala Runnells.[7]  Isaac Bull, acknowledged father of Joseph Jackson Bull (DNA Match’s ancestor) is presumed son of Reuben Bull and his 1st wife, Susannah Smith. These facts suggest that Nellie Black, boarder living with Sarah Bull in 1910, is related to Sarah’s husband, James Henry Bull and, therefore, also related to Isaac Bull.

Texas counties in Mary Bull and Nellie Black history. SOURCE: http://ontheworldmap.com/usa/state/texas/texas-county-map.html

To identify other women named Mary Bull, I started with daughters and granddaughters of Reuben Bull, known ancestor of DNA Match.  

  • Mary Elizabeth Bull (1853 – 1947) married Daniel J Cole. [8] According to Mary’s death certificate, [9]  she is the daughter of Reuben Bull & Mahala Ann Runnells. Mahala was Reuben’s 2nd wife.
  • Mary E Bull (1856-1921) married William Grimes in 1874.[10]  According to her death certificate, her parents were W.J.  Bull & [no name given] McDonald[11].  William Jackson Bull, born about 1826 in Mississippi, is presumed to be the son of Reuben Bull & 1st wife, Susannah Smith, according to online family trees. 
  • Conclusion:  Neither of these women – Mary Elizabeth Bull Cole or Mary E Bull Grimes- were Nellie Black’s mother.  It is unlikely that either one had a child with a man who was not their husband. 

One more person to consider– Marianne Bull, born 1855 in Texas[12] to Isaac L. Bull (1827, Mississippi – 1884, Texas) and Sarah Jane Neel (abt 1836 – Jan 1870, Texas). Isaac is presumed son of Reuben Bull and his 1st wife, Susannah Smith.  Isaac’s half-brother was James Henry Bull, whose widow took in Nellie Black as a boarder in 1910.  Marianne’s birth in 1855 or 1856 at Texas is consistent with suggested birth year of Nellie’s mother. She seems like the best candidate so far.

SUMMARY:

  • Nellie Black, born 1888 in Montague county, Texas. Parents named as C.W. Black and Mary Bull.
  • Nellie Black as boarder in 1910 with Sarah J. Bull, widow of James Henry Bull, in McLennan county, Texas.  Birthplace of Nellie’s parents recorded as Texas.
  • James Henry Bull and Isaac L. Bull, presumed half-brothers, sons of Reuben Bull. Isaac L. Bull is known ancestor of DNA Match.
  • Marianne Bull born about 1855/ 1856 in Texas to Isaac Bull and Sarah Neel. Similar birth year and place as suggested from Nell’s records.
  • Mary E. Bull, born 1853, (daughter of Reuben Bull) married Daniel Cole. Not Nellie’s mother.
  • Mary E. Bull, born 1856, (daughter of W. J.  Bull) married William Grimes.  W. J.  Bull and Isaac Bull presumed brothers, sons of Reuben Bull and his 1st wife. Not Nellie’s mother.
  • Falls county, Limestone county and McLennan county are next to each other.   

ASSERTION:  Marianne Bull, born about 1855 or 1856 to Isaac Bull and Sarah Neel, is most likely person to be mother of Nellie Black.  Her marriage to C.W. Black hasn’t yet been proven.  Did Marianne and C.W. die before 1910? I remain open to these and other possibilities. My search for C.W. Black is the subject of another post!

Reflection

This is one of the more difficult questions that I have encountered.  I ruled out some possibilities and discovered others.  I reviewed the same information multiple times.  Online hints, once connected to a specific person, never seem to change. Example:  Parents named on death certificate for Mary E. [Bull] Cole but same document is attached to another Mary Bull, daughter of different parents.  Similar to many of my posts, this one does not represent reasonably exhaustive research. It does show a partial unraveling of persons with common names.

What helped:  Information from DNA Match who shared names, dates and places. Availability of online sources. Remembering process for Genealogy Do-Over—information, charts, forms, evidence, analysis of evidence.

What didn’t help: Conflicting evidence posted online in family trees.  Shaky leaf hints not really helpful after finding them the first time.  Individual pieces of paper didn’t always find their way to the correct pile.  You don’t even want to see my desk at the moment!

To-Do:  Continue page-by-page search of 1900 census for Nellie Black in Montague and Limestone counties.  Search 1880 census for Nellie Black in Shackelford county. Compile information about C.W. Black and write summary.  


SOURCES:

[1] 1920 U.S. Census, Limestone county, Texas, population schedule, Pt Enterprise School District, enumeration district (ED) 81, p. 3A, dwelling 41, family 47, H.L. Johnson head, age 32; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : viewed & downloaded 1 March 2020); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication T625_1829.

[2]  “Texas, Death Certificates, 1903-1982,” digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com   : viewed & downloaded 2018), entry for Nell Johnson; citing Texas Department of State Health Services, Austin, Texas; certificate no. 37422.

[3] Find A Grave, database with images (http://www.findagrave.com   : accessed 10 March 2020), memorial 18325374, Joseph Jackson Bull (1867-1902), Pima Cemetery, Pima, Graham County, Arizona; gravestone photograph by Mike H; memorial created by Mike H.

[4] “Funeral services for Mrs. Johnson set for Wednesday,” obituary, Mexia Daily News, 3 May 1960; digital image, Newspapers.com (http://www.newspapers.com  : accessed & printed 6 March 2020); citing Mexia Daily News (newspaper), Mexia, Texas.

[5] 1910 census, Nellie Black. 1910 U.S. Census, McLennan county, Texas, population schedule, Waco, sheet 25B, dwelling 276, family 298, Nellie Black; Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed & printed, 26 February 2020); citing National Archives & Records Administration microfilm publication T624_1584.

[6] 1880 U.S. Census, Falls county, Texas, population schedule, Justice Precinct 4, sheet 10B, enumeration district (ED) 22, dwelling 181, family 186, James H. Bull and Sallie J. Bull; Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed & printed, 26 February 2020); citing National Archives & Records Administration microfilm publication T623.

[7] 1850 U.S. Census, Yazoo county, Mississippi, population schedule, sheet 508A, dwelling 541, family 553, James H. Bull, age 2; presumed son of Reuben Bull, age 50; (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed & printed, 13 March 2020); citing National Archives & Records Administration microfilm publication M432_382.  

[8] “Texas, County Marriage Index, 1837-1965,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed 5 March 2020), entry for Danie F. Cole and Mary E Bull, 23 Jan 1870, Falls county, Texas; citing “Texas, County Marriage Index, 1837-1977,” Salt Lake City, Utah: Family Search, 2013.

[9] “Texas, Death Certificates, 1903-1982,” digital images, Ancestry  (http://www.ancestry.com  : viewed & downloaded 6 March 2020), entry for Mary Elizabeth Cole; citing Texas Department of State Health Services, Austin, Texas; certificate no. 39642.

[10] “Texas, County Marriage Index, 1837-1965,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed 4 March 2020), entry for Wm Grimes and Mary E Bull, 4 Jan 1874, Falls county, Texas; citing “Texas, County Marriage Index, 1837-1977,” Salt Lake City, Utah: Family Search, 2013.

[11] Texas, Death Certificates, 1903-1982,” digital images, Ancestry  (http://www.ancestry.com  : viewed & downloaded 4 March 2020), entry for Mrs. M. E. Grimes; citing Texas Department of State Health Services, Austin, Texas; certificate no. 28652.

[12] 1860 U.S. Census, Falls county, Texas, population schedule, Marlin post office, sheet 149,  dwelling 84, family 84, Mary Black, age 4; Isaac Bull, age 28; Sarah bull, age 24; Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed & printed, 4 March 2020); citing National Archives & Records Administration microfilm publication M653_1293.

Nellie’s parents were born in USA

A brick wall without a hole or chink or a hurdle to hop over? Depends on your perspective and the status of your research.  In the case of Nellie Black Johnson’s parents, the wall has a tiny peephole. This post describes positive and negative evidence about Nellie’s parents and suggests next steps.

Nellie Black Johnson, my husband’s great-grandmother, married Henry Louis Johnson about 1910, likely at Limestone county, Texas [online tree with no source reported].  Her death certificate claims her race as White; birth date, place and parents as 16 January 1888 in Texas to C.W. Black and Mary Bull. [1]  The Johnson family was in Limestone county by the mid-1870s. Nell died on 2 May 1960 in Mexia, Limestone county, Texas and is buried in the Point Enterprise Cemetery. Informant was her oldest daughter, Katie Johnson Brannon.  Next steps: Determine place of birth for Nell’s parents using 1920 and 1930 census for Nell and Henry.  1940 census lists place of birth for the person but not parents.

Evidence:  

1930 census. Mexia, Limestone county, Texas. Henry L. Johnson, age 46; wife, Nellie Johnson, age 42; eight children:  Katie, 18; Luther C, 17; Horace C, 14; Alice P, 12; Annie R, 10; Edith N, 8; Mary L, 4; and Marie A, 1. [2]  Race, W [white] for all. Birthplace of Nellie’s father and mother recorded as “United States” and “United States”. Birthplace for both of Henry’s parents recorded as “Mississippi.”

1920 census. Enterprise, Limestone county, Texas. H.L. Johnson, age 35; wife, Kellie [per transcription] Johnson, age 32; 5 children:  Kate, 9; Clyde, 7; Horace, 5; Pauline, 2 7/12; Ruth, 2 months. [3] Race: W [white] for all. Birthplace of Nellie’s father and mother recorded as “USA” and “USA”. Birthplace for both of Henry’s parents recorded as “Mississippi.”

Analysis:   Listing parents as born in “United States” and “USA” seems odd. This is the first time that I encountered an entry like this. Perhaps she didn’t know or didn’t remember. Perhaps they said nothing more for a reason. Possible that Nellie knew but didn’t want to reveal that information? If not, why not?  

1920 census instructions for enumerators may shed some light (page 31, item 147, column 21)[4]:

“In case, however, a person does not know, the state or Territory of birth of his father, but knows that he was born in the United States, write United States rather than ” unknown.”

Enumerators for 1930 census received similar instructions (page 29, item 174, columns 19 and 20). [5]

According to a source at the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City[6],  USA was sometimes used to designate birth in Oklahoma Territory or Indian Territory before Oklahoma statehood in 1907. This leads to the possibility that Nellie’s parents were born in Oklahoma Territory, Indian Territory or another territory.

Nellie & Henry Johnson, date unknown, circa 1950-1955? Personal collection, Susan Posten Ellerbee [Yukon, Oklahoma]

My mother-in-law reported that her grandmother was Native American, according to oral family history. Mother-in-law sent DNA to two companies. Neither one reported any Native American ancestry.

“Anyone with even a single indigenous American ancestor has indigenous American ancestry, but not everyone with an indigenous American ancestor has indigenous American DNA.” [7] 

Could Nellie’s Native American roots be so far back that they don’t show up in the current generation?  Do other descendants of Nellie have Native American genes in their DNA?

Next step- 1910 census.  April 1910. Waco City, McLennan, Texas.[8] 22 year-old Nellie Black, boarder, birthplace Texas, living with Sarah J. Bull, 45, head of household and her 4 children.  Nellie’s parents recorded as born in Texas.  Is Sarah J Bull related to Nellie’s mother, Mary Bull?  No definitive information about Sarah J Bull yet. Is this even our Nellie?

At least two online trees identify a South Carolina family consisting of C.W. and Mary Black as Nellie’s parents.[9], [10] According to census records, William Caleb Black and wife, Mary, lived in South Carolina continuously from 1870 to 1920. 1900 Census[11] shows a child, Nellie Black, born 1886 in South Carolina. Family does not appear to have ever left South Carolina.  Conclusion:  William Caleb Black, South Carolina, is not C.W. Black, father of Nellie Black.

From the scant evidence, I make these propositions:

  1. Nellie’s parents did not tell her where in the United States they were born.
  2. Nellie did not want to reveal where her parents were born.  
  3. Nellie’s parents were born in one of the territories prior to statehood.  
  4. Nellie’s ancestry does not include Native Americans.
  5. Nellie’s Native American heritage was not passed on genetically to her granddaughter.

I contacted DNA matches who have surnames of Johnson, Black and Bull.  One person shared some leads that are now on my to-do list.  Late last night, I found two interesting census records and will follow those clues later.

Reflection

March is Women’s History Month. This post briefly outlines one woman- Nellie Kay Janet Black Johnson, my mother-in-law’s paternal grandmother- and our DNA dilemma. This year, I plan to look deeper into my mother-in-law’s family.   I continue to work on goals related to other families.  

I am somewhat discouraged by the status of family trees on my computer-based genealogy program. I thought that I was making such good progress with my Genealogy Do-Over! Dad’s tree, the first one used for Do-Over, still needs work. Rewriting Posten family history will certainly help there! Other trees are in various states of repair.  Thanks to the Do-Over, I made a back-up every time that I worked on a tree. I re-opened the latest version and re-named with 2020 in the title. Note to self –one person and one family at a time!

What I learned:  A little more about DNA testing.  

What helped:  Picture of Nellie. List of DNA relatives for mother-in-law. Response from one DNA relative. Remembering that a genetic cousin is always a genealogical cousin. Just need to find the genealogical relationship! Writing this post.

What didn’t help: Ineffective and late night searches. I need to try different strategies!  Work on the brick walls earlier in the day. Not tracking what I found.

To-do:  Create research logs for Sarah J. Bull and others as I search; document findings. If needed, set aside for a week or two.  Follow leads from DNA match and census records.

© Susan Posten Ellerbee and Posting Family Roots blog, 2020


SOURCES:

[1] “Texas, Death Certificates, 1903-1982,” digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : viewed & downloaded 27 February 2020), entry for Nell Johnson; citing Texas Department of State Health Services, Austin, Texas; certificate no. 37422.

[2]. 1930 U.S. Census, Limestone county, Texas, population schedule, Mexia, enumeration district (ED) 11, pg. 6B, dwelling 135, family 149, Johnson Nellie, wife, age 42; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed & downloaded 26 Feb  2020); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication T626, roll 2371.

[3]. 1920 U.S. Census, Limestone county, Texas, population schedule, Pt Enterprise School District, enumeration district (ED) 81, p. 3A, dwelling 41, family 47, H.L. Johnson head, age 32; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : viewed & downloaded 26 Feb  2020); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication T625_1829.

[4] Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Fourteenth Census of the United States, January 1, 1920, Instructions to Enumerators (Washington, D.C. Government Printing Office, 1919), digital image;  United States Census Bureau (. https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/programs-surveys/decennial/technical-documentation/questionnaires/1920instructions.pdf  : Accessed 26 Feb 2020).

[5] Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Fifteenth Census of the United States, January 1, 1920, Instructions to Enumerators, Population and Agriculture (Washington, D.C. Government Printing Office, 1930), digital image;  United States Census Bureau (. https://www.census.gov/history/pdf/1930instructions.pdf  : Accessed 26 Feb 2020).

[6]Susan M. Ellerbee,  handwritten notes, 27 July 2014, in vertical file for Henry Louis Johnson and Nellie Black.

[7] “Indigenous Americas Region, “ Ancestry Support (https://support.ancestry.com/s/article/Native-American-DNA  : accessed 27 Feb 2020).

[8]. 1910 U.S. Census, McLennan county, Texas, population schedule, Waco City, enumeration district (ED) 89, sheet 25B, dwelling 276, family 298, Nellie B. Black, age 22; Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com   : accessed 26 Feb 2020; citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. , microfilm publicationT624_1575.

[9] Camtrot, “Trotter Family Tree,” Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/20201602/person/943537300/facts  : accessed 26 Feb 2020), “C.W. Black,” born and died in South Carolina.

[10] GaryTaylor8958, “Lynda Jean Martin Family Tree,” Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/9918609/person/-693511314/facts   :  accessed 26 Feb 2020, “William Caleb Black,” born South Carolina; last census record 1920 in Garvin, Anderson, South Carolina.

[11] 1900 U.S. Census, Anderson county, South Carolina, population schedule, Garvin, enumeration district (ED) 52, sheet 20A, dwelling 217, family 225, Nellie Black, age 14; Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com   : accessed 26 Feb 2020). Nellie listed as born in South Carolina.

Grandma’s middle name

What makes genealogists smile?  Many things. Finding an elusive record online or in a dusty archive is one.  Discovering who has the old family Bible is another. Determining first and middle names often yields surprises.  Jack’s given name is James John and Jack is a nickname.  Betsy’s birth name of Elizabeth is found in an unexpected place.  We constantly search for records to prove or disprove facts.  In this post, I describe the search and discovery of my paternal grandmother’s middle name.

Jennie_copy2_with caption

MIDDLE INITIAL “A”. AMELIA? ASH? SOMETHING ELSE?

Jennie A. Richards is Dad’s mother. According to Dad, her middle name was Amelia. I vaguely recall him saying once that her middle name was Ash. Jennie was the youngest child of Ostrander Richards and Amelia Magdelenne LaCoe.  Jennie’s maternal grandmother was Sybil Rone Ash.  Either name makes sense. I don’t remember why I gravitated towards Amelia. Did Dad recite that name most often?

My husband and I attended the annual LaCoe family reunion in August 2017 at Clark’s Summit, Pennsylvania.  While there, a cousin asked about Jennie’s middle name. I related what Dad told me.  Older relatives thought that Jennie’s middle name was “Ash”.  Aunt Mary confirmed that her mother’s middle name could be “Ash.” I was sure that I had a record with Jennie’s middle name!

Back home, I went through my files and notes.  Nothing specific. Only “Jennie A. Richards” and “Jennie A. Posten.”  I emailed my cousin with those results. I added this item to my BSO (bright shiny object) list to be explored another day.

Two years go by and I complete multiple projects for other relatives.  I periodically check websites for information about the Posten family. I do not always search for anything specific. I prioritized another revision of the Posten family history (2012) [1] as a genealogy goal for 2020.  Five relatives have a copy of either the original or one of the three revisions.  I acquire more documents during the intervening years.  Through the Genealogy Do-Over process, my analytic skills improve.

I check hints, a.k.a. ‘shaky leaves’, on Ancestry. I start again with the most recent generation–Dad and his siblings.  A copy of  Uncle Lester’s birth certificate pops up. [2] Lester Joseph Posten was John and Jennie’s first child.  Not a transcript but a photocopy of the original document!  Imagine my surprise and delight when I see the following information on that document:

  • Full name of Child: Lester Joseph Posten
  • Date of birth: June 1, 1911
  • Father, full name: John Ray Posten
  • Mother, full name: Jennie Ash Richards
middlename2

Lester’s full name and date of birth are not in dispute. I now have primary, first-hand evidence of middle names for both John and Jennie. John and Jennie provided the information for their son’s birth certificate.  Mission accomplished! Remove item from BSO list.  Add birth certificate information and scan copy to RootsMagic program. Send information to cousin who is revising LaCoe family history.

Charlotte Tucker- my maternal grandmother. I briefly reported discovery of my maternal grandmother’s middle name in a 2017 post.  I remembered hearing that Charlotte’s (a.k.a Lottie, ak.a. Gram) middle name was either Anna or Amelia.  Gram’s mother was Anna Klee.  When I received a copy of Gram’s birth certificate, I discovered that her birth name was Amalie Charlotte Maurer.[3]  Gram’s grandparents immigrated to the U.S. from Germany in the late 1850s. German children were often called by their middle name, not their first name. My database entry now shows Amalie Charlotte [Maurer] Tucker instead of Charlotte A. [Maurer] Tucker.  Census and other records show her as Charlotte or Lottie.

reflection-swirl-green-color-hi

REFLECTION:

For some reason, I never doubted Grandpa Posten’s middle name. Dad told me that his father’s middle name was “Ray”.  I accepted Dad’s account without question. No one else asked about it. My cousin’s question at the reunion prompted a careful review of information.  Since then, I have been on the lookout for a document to confirm Jennie’s middle name. Searches have been sporadic. Similarly, I accepted mom’s explanation of her mother’s name.  I wonder if I just didn’t listen close enough!

What I learned: Keep looking! Return to online databases regularly for documents and information added since your last search. Don’t assume that a person’s name on census records is actually their first name. Collect BMD records for siblings of your direct ancestors.

What helped: Availability of documents online. Updating of databases by online sources. Family tree already posted to Ancestry by me.

What didn’t help:  Copying Jennie’s obituary again—I already have a copy in both digital and paper files.

To-do:  Consult files before copying documents. Enter new information and scanned documents to Roots Magic – DONE.  Send information to Posten cousin – DONE.

SOURCES: 

[1] Susan M. Posten Ellerbee, The Posten Family of Northeastern Pennsylvania, 1st edition, (Yukon, Oklahoma: Published by author, 2012). Tentative title of future editions:  Descendants of Thomas Postens, New Jersey to Pennsylvania.

[2] “Pennsylvania, Birth Certificates, 1906-1911,” digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com     : accessed & printed 24 January 2020), entry for Lester Joseph Posten; citing Pennsylvania (State). Birth certificates, 1906-1911. Series 11.89. Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

[3] New York, New York City Department of Records and Information Services, birth certificate 5947 (28 May 1892), Amalie Charlotte Maurer; Municipal Archives, 31 Chambers Street, New York, N.Y. 10007. Photocopy of original certificate obtained in 2017 by Susan Mercedes Posten Ellerbee, Charlotte’s granddaughter.

Catherine Deborah Brown Powell Barker: Part 5. Blended family series-Powell, Brown, Barker

Twice wed, twice widowed, twice stepmother to another woman’s chlldren and mother of six.  Those words summarize the matrimonial life of Catherine D. [Brown] Powell Barker. This post is the fifth (and last) in this series about one blended family in my husband’s family tree.  Catherine was second wife of James Thomas Lafayette Powell; Catherine and James are my husband’s great-great-grandparents on his dad’s side.venn diagram_blended family_copy2

Briefly, James T.L. Powell fathered three children with his 1st wife, Deborah Daniel. His 2nd wife was Catherine Deborah Brown, the subject of this post. James died in 1890, leaving Catherine a widow with 3 living children aged 2 to 11 years. Elias Barker fathered six children with his 1st wife, Launa Barber. Elias and Catherine married in 1892 and brought three more children into the world. Catherine is the one person held in common by all of these children.

PROFILE: Catherine Deborah Brown

BORN:    19 November 1860, Mississippi (possibly Simpson county)

MARRIAGES:  1st–22 March 1877 to James T.L. Powell at Cherokee county, Texas. James died 1890 at De Soto, Louisiana. 2nd – 1 September 1892 to Elias Barker at Cherokee county, Texas. Elias died 20 August 1900 at Cherokee county, Texas.

DIED:     10 March 1944, Port Arthur, Jefferson county, Texas

BURIED: Mount Hope Cemetery, Wells, Cherokee county, Texas

PARENTS:  R.L. Brown & Marguerite Puckett (as named on Catherine’s death certificate)

PLACE IN HISTORY:

1861 – 1865:  Civil War. Catherine and her parents lived in Mississippi. Relatives fought on the side of the Confederacy.

30 March 1870 – Texas readmitted to the Union.

October 1870 – Brown family moved to Cherokee county, Texas.

1870s to 1930s – agricultural growth, especially cotton in Cherokee county. Railroad expansion meant that smaller towns disappeared. Sawmill towns proliferated in East Texas.

1930s- farming declined in the area although cotton is still a significant crop. Timber and cattle becoming more prominent.

CATHERINE’S STORY:

Catherine barely remembered her life before Texas. She called Cherokee county, Texas, her home for 60 years and that’s where she is buried. Married at 17 to a widower with 3 children,  life revolved around her husband, James Powell, children and step-children.  She loved them all.  She bore the loss of at least one child, possibly two. Then, unexpectedly, James died in 1890. Catherine, only 30 years old, became a widow with three young children to raise. The next years were difficult for the family.

Elias Barker’s family lived near James and Catherine. Remember, ‘near’ in the 1890s meant within a mile or two or on the next farm. When Elias’ wife, Launa, died in 1892, Catherine may have attended the funeral.  However they met, Elias and Catherine married in September 1892 and another blended family was born.  Three children were born to this union: Reba Barker in 1893; Ernest Emory Barker in 1896 and Alpha M. Barker in 1898. Their happiness was short-lived. Elias Barker died in August 1900, only months after the Twelfth Census of the United States.  Ten years after the death of her first husband, Catherine again found herself a widow with young children to raise.

During the next years, the family moved from place to place. 1910 found Catherine as head of household in Wildhurst, Cherokee county, “one of the many sawmill towns in East Texas,”  with her three children by Elias Barker.  Sometime after this, she became dependent on her children.  In 1920, Catherine lived with her son, William Powell, in Alto, Cherokee county,  Texas.  Between 1920 and 1930, she moved to Claiborne Parish, Louisiana, with her daughter, Reba Barker Dennis.  They moved back to Texas by 1935 and resided in Port Arthur, Jefferson county, Texas in 1940.

Children of Elias Barker and Catherine Brown Powell:

  1. Reba ‘Bertie’ Barker. (5 August 1893 – February 1990). Married Joe Mavert Dennis. Reba and Joe had two children: Lilly Kathryn Dennis (25 March 1915 – October 1993), married in 1935 to Alton G. Hall (1904 – 1985);  Joseph M. Dennis JR (12 September 1923 – 17 November 1999), married to  Betty F. Thomas ( 1924- 2016 ).
  2. Ernest Emory Barker (17 February 1896 – 23 October 1965). Married 4 May 1919 to Willie Etta Mae Chilcoat (1902-1944). Children of Ernest and Willie Etta: Norma Kathryn Barker Carlin (1921-2016); Clara Inez Barker Kelly (1924-2011); Edith Mae Barker Meadows (1926-1996); Billie Nell Barker Benoit (1928 – 1997); James Reginald Barker (1930-1992); Roy Milton Barker (1935 – 2006); Reba Sue Barker Tomplait (1939 – ? ).
  3. Alpha M. Barker (6 September 1898 – 19 March 1991). Married about 1921 to Sherman Albert McCoy (11 Dec 1895- 8 August 1966). Children of Alpha and Sherman: Albert Merle McCoy (1921-1968); Billy O. McCoy (1924 – 1925); Donald Ray McCoy (1938-2007).

Mrs. Catherine Barker died on March 8, 1944, in Port Arthur, Jefferson county, Texas at the age of 83 years, 3 months and 20 days. Cause of death? Uremia, an elevated level of waste products in the kidneys, usually the result of chronic kidney disease.  She is buried in the Mount Hope Cemetery at Wells, Cherokee county, Texas, near Elias Barker.  Interestingly, her gravestone shows her name as “Kathryn”.  She signed her name as “Mrs. Catherine Barker” on her Widow’s Pension Application and “Catherine” is the spelling that I use.

Journeys taken by Catherine Brown Powell Barker:

About 1870:  Simpson county, Mississippi to Cherokee County, Texas – about 360 miles

1870 to 1920:  Within Cherokee County, Texas – about 10 to 15 miles for each move

Between 1920 &  1930:  Alto, Cherokee County, Texas to Homer, Claiborne Parish, Louisiana—about 180 miles

Between 1930 & 1935:  Homer, Claiborne Parish, Louisiana to Port Arthur, Jefferson County, Texas – about 245 miles

1944:  Port Arthur, Jefferson County, Texas to Wells, Cherokee County, Texas – about 145 miles

Texas_LA_map_crop4_colors_counties_legend

 

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This series represents work that began in 2011. I added some details in 2017 and more as I wrote.  Confession time–I consulted more sources than are listed here. I was not as obsessive about listing each source separately. Why? No specific reason. I have the documents and references in my paper and digital files. If you want or need a more complete list, I will provide it to you.  Future posts will revert to  more comprehensive source lists.

What I learned:  There are multiple stories for each person. I enjoyed writing the stories as I tried to personalize the events in each person’s life.  Call the stories ‘historical fiction’ if you like. I don’t have evidence to support parts but the stories are based on real events.

What helped:  Previous work on the Ellerbee family. Semi-complete paper files. Entering information to Roots Magic. Catherine’s middle name from death certificate of daughter, Katherine Deborah Powell Ellerbee.

What didn’t help: Incomplete information about some of the children in each nuclear and blended family.

To-do:  Continue to follow collateral lines at some point in future.  Search for picture of Catherine Brown Powell Barker.  Consolidate all 5 parts into a cohesive document and send for publication in local or state journal.  Consider a ‘process’ post about how I put information together.  Explore Catherine’s connection (1910 census) to Wildhurst, Texas, a town that ceased to exist after the sawmill closed in 1944.

SOURCES: 

Jefferson county, Texas, death certificates, death certificate #14269 (1944), Mrs. Catherine Barker, 8 March 1944; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed & downloaded 9 November 2017); citing Texas Department of State Health Services, “Texas Death Certificates, 1903-1982”, Austin, Texas.

Catherine Brown & J T L Powell:  “Texas, Marriage Index, 1824-2014,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com   : accessed 1 February 2020), entry for J.T. L. Powell and Catherine Brown; citing Texas Department of State Health Services and county marriage records on microfilm located at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Catherine Barker widow’s pension: “Widow’s Application for Confederate Pension”, 8 February, 1932, Catherine Barker, widow’s pension application no. 50567,service of James Thomas Lafayette Powell (lieutenant, Co. C, 25th Regiment Georgia Infantry, Civil War); “U.S. Confederate Pensions, 1884-1958,”   Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com   : accessed,downloaded, printed 29 Nov 2012)  citing Texas, Confederate Pension Applications,1899-1975, Vol. 1-646 & 1-283, Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Austin, Texas.

“Texas Marriage Collection, 1814-1909 and 1966-2002,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com   : accessed and printed 29 November 2012), entry for E. Barker and Mrs. Catherine Powell, 25 September 1892; citing Texas Department of State Health Services and county marriage records on microfilm located at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

1900 U.S. Census, Cherokee county, Texas, population schedule, Justice Precinct 8, enumeration district (ED) 0030, p. 1B (ink pen) & p. 2A, dwelling 16, family 16, Catherine Booker [Barker]; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com   : accessed, downloaded 9 October 2019); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. , microfilm publication T 623, Roll 1619.

1910 U.S. Census, Cherokee county, Texas, population schedule, Wildhurst, enumeration district (ED) 24, p. 1A (ink pen), dwelling 5, family 5, Catherine Barker head, age 48; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com   : accessed, printed, downloaded 11 October 2019); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication T624_1538.

1920 U.S. Census, Cherokee county, Texas, population schedule, Alto town, Justice precinct 2, enumeration district (ED) 21, p. 6B (ink pen), dwelling 127, family 131, Barker Katherine, mother, age 62; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed, downloaded, printed   11 October 2019); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication T625_1786.

1930 U.S. Census, Claiborne Parish, Louisiana, population schedule, Homer City, enumeration district (ED) 14-16, p. 7B (ink pen), dwelling 145, family 146, Borker [Barker] Kathyrn, mother, age 69; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com   : accessed, printed, downloaded 11 October 2019); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication T626.

1940 U.S. Census, Jefferson county, Texas, population schedule, Port Arthur, enumeration district (ED) 123-100, p. 15A (ink pen), dwelling 331, Barker Catherine, age 79; digital images, Ancestry  (http://www.ancestry.com       : accessed, printed, downloaded 11 October 2019); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication T0627_04079.

Find A Grave memorials for Reba Barker Dennis, J.M. Dennis, Lilly Kathryn Dennis, Alton G. Hall, Joseph M. Dennis, JR ; Emory Ernest Barker, Billie Nell Barker Benoit; accessed November 2019 through January 2020.

Texas Birth Index entries for Reba Sue Barker, Lilly Kathryn Dennis; accessed January 2020.

John R. Ross, “Cherokee county”, no date, Texas State Historical Association (https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hcc10   :   accessed 15 Jan 2020).

“Wildhurst, Texas,” no date, Historic Texas (https://historictexas.net/cherokee-county/wildhurst-texas/  :   accessed 2 February 2020).

© Susan Posten Ellerbee and Posting Family Roots, 2020

 

Back to the Blended Families- Elias Barker and 1st wife, Euna Barber

With this post, I continue the story of one blended family in my husband’s family tree.  Briefly, I started with James T L Powell and his 1st wife, Deborah Daniel (nuclear family #1) then told about James T L Powell and his 2nd wife, Catherine Brown. James and Catherine are my husband’s great-great grandparents on his dad’s side.  Now, I turn to the other nuclear family—Elias I. Barker and his first wife, Launa/ Euna Barber.

Barker_barber family

To catch you up, three posts began the longer story:

  1. Blended family introduction 
  2. James T L Powell and Deborah A.C. Daniel
  3. James T L Powell and 2nd wife, Catherine Brown

PROFILE: Elias Barker

Born: September 1853 in Milam County, Texas.

Married: 13 August 1874 at Milam county, Texas to Launa Barber.  Launa Barber Barker died in 1892, presumably at Cherokee County, Texas.

Died:  20 August 1900 in Cherokee County, Texas.

Buried:  Mount Hope Cemetery, Wells, Cherokee county, Texas.

PLACE IN HISTORY

December 1845 –  Texas admitted to union as a state.

1 February 1861 – Texas seceded from the Federal Union.

October 1861- General H. H. Sibley marched troops west from San Antonio “to claim New Mexico and the American southwest for the Confederacy.”

1 January 1863 – Battle of Galveston. The seaport returned to Texas control.

13 May 1865- Last land engagement of the Civil War fought at Battle of Palmito Ranch in south Texas, more than a month after General Lee’s surrender.  Elias Barker was 12 years old.

1866- Beginning of Texas trail drives era, moving cattle from Texas to northern markets.

30 March 1870 – Texas readmitted to the Union.  Reconstruction continues until about 1874.

ELIAS’ STORY- PART 1

March 1861. From their bed, eight-year-old Elias Barker and his brothers tried to hear what their parents were whispering about.  But they couldn’t make out any of the words. Whispering adults only meant one thing—trouble or a new baby. The next morning, Papa, his gun and knapsack with some food were gone before the sun rose.  Elias’ mother answered his question before he could even ask- “Papa’s gone hunting. He’ll be gone for a while.  You children eat breakfast then go do your chores like usual.”   But, Momma wasn’t smiling today like usual.  Later that day, Elias heard his momma talking to Mrs. Edwards  about “secession” – whatever that meant.  Some men and older boys had already left their homes and families to join some kind of fight. Life would not be ‘usual’ for a long time.

Those years changed Elias’ life in myriad ways. Death visited the community on a regular basis.  The color of black was everywhere. People anxiously gathered to read, or listen to, the local newspaper each time it was put on the wall outside of the newspaper office.  The words ‘killed’, ‘injured’ and ‘missing’ became everyday part of the community’s vocabulary.  Elias longed for a time without so many hardships.  Life on the farm went on, pretty much as usual.  Some of the men and boys returned but not all.  Those who returned had both physical and emotional scars.  Did Elias’ family lose a father, brothers, cousins? I’m not sure but it is certainly possible.

Elias had his eye on Euna Barber since she was a girl.  When she turned 16, Elias asked her daddy for her hand in marriage.  They wed on August 13, 1874, in Milam county, Texas.  Children did not come easily to the young couple.  Elias and Euna moved to Lee County, Texas where their first surviving child, Tempie D. Barker, entered the world in February 1880. More children quickly followed:  Arthur in March 1882; Isaac in August 1884; James Milton in September 1886; Cora in January 1889; and Katie L. in February 1892.  Six children in twelve years, a typical pattern for many couples of that era.  They led a simple life as farmers in east central Texas. Life as usual as it could be in eastern Texas after the Civil War.

Tragedy struck, almost without warning. After Katie’s birth, Euna died, probably from complications of childbirth. At age 39, Elias found himself a widower with six children under the age of 12, including an infant. Elias’ usual life again turned upside down. Thirty-two year old Catherine Powell, widowed two years earlier, was raising three children of her own. A marriage of convenience to meet mutual needs? Perhaps. Whatever the reason, Elias and Catherine married on 1 September 1892 at Cherokee county, Texas. Catherine again became a tie joining two families.

Children of Elias Barker and Euna Barber:

  1. Tempie D. Barker (28 February 1880 – 13 April 1966). Married Albert Barthlomew Stokes (1873-1927). Tempie and Albert had 5 children:  Carrie E (1896-1979), married 1st to E.M. Moore; 2nd to  Joseph Lenoah Stinson; Ima Stokes (1899 -1917); Ethel Stokes (1902-1991), married to George Barham Spencer (1899-1980); Malcolm Stokes (1905-1979), married to Viola Julia Artlip (1908-2002); Myrtle Stokes (1909-1999), married to _____ Leach.
  2. Arthur Barker (22 March 1882 – 8 August 1956). Married Lou Etta Hill (1873-1930). Arthur and Lou Etta had 4 children: Una Mae Barker (1903-1990), married to Nolan V. Lawhorn (1885-1963; Vada Irene Barker (1905-1992), married to Curtis Baldwin (1891-1972); Elias Morris Barker (1916-1997), married to Emma Lou Rhodes (1920-1987); Esther Barker (1919-1998), married to Jessie H. Dunn (1918-1996).
  3. Isaac Barker (1884 – ? ). No records found beyond 1900 census.
  4. James Milton Barker (6 September 1886 – 13 July 1920).
  5. Cora Barker (January 1889 – 1906).
  6. Katie L. Barker (28 February 1892 – 8 September 1943). Married to John Bunion Stinson. Katie and John had 4 children:  Coy Stinson (15 April 1913- 10 July 1986); Muriel Stinson (1918 –  ?); Hazel Stinson (1922 –  ?); Milton Stinson (29 April 1929 – 20 November 1999).

Next post:  The rest of the story- Catherine Brown Powell and Elias Barker.

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Reflection:

Records for Elias and Euna/ Launa before their marriage elude me.  Typing in names and dates did not produce immediate results.  Family Search website identified Isaac Barber and Tabitha Gardner as her parents. 1870 census for Isaac and Tabitha showed an 11-year-old daughter named Rohda [Rhoda?].  No other hints or shaky leaves have presented themselves.  I manually searched the 1870 census for Milam county, Texas- all 230 pages of it- and ate only 2 cookies during that process. Neither Barker or Barber found on 1850 or 1860 slave schedules for Milam county, Texas.    Next step:  consult print copy of alphabetized census records at Oklahoma Historical Society Library in Oklahoma City.

What I learned:  Tracking children who aren’t on any census record is a challenge. I found Arthur only because he is buried in the same cemetery as his parents and stepmother, Knowing the names of Elias and Euna’s parents doesn’t really affect their story as a married couple but is a ‘nice to know’ item for me.

What helped: Searches done in 2016. Multiple online resources. I am using online newspaper sources for obituaries more.

What didn’t help: Frustration at not being able to find or confirm the parents of either Elias or Euna. Finally recognized that this is a BSO for another day.

To-Do:  Add ‘find parents of Elias Barker’ and ‘find parents of Euna Barber’ to BSO list.  Add information about Elias’ children with his first wife to Ancestry tree.

SOURCES:

“Texas, County Marriage Records, 1817-1965,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed 10 October 2019), entry for Elias Barker and Launa Barker; citing “Marriage Records, Texas Marriages,” Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Austin, Texas.

“Widow’s Application for Confederate Pension”, 8 February, 1932, Catherine Barker, widow’s pension application no. 50567,service of James Thomas Lafayette Powell (lieutenant, Co. C, 25th Regiment Georgia Infantry, Civil War); “U.S. Confederate Pensions, 1884-1958,”   Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed,downloaded, printed 29 Nov 2012)  citing Texas, Confederate Pension Applications,1899-1975, Vol. 1-646 & 1-283, Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Austin, Texas.

1880 U.S. Census, Lee county, Texas, population schedule, , enumeration district (ED) 094, p. 79A (stamp); p. 49 (ink pen), dwelling 316, family 319, Elias Barker age 26; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed, printed, downloaded 10 October 2019); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication T9, roll 1316.

1900 U.S. Census, Cherokee county, Texas, population schedule, Justice Precinct 8, enumeration district (ED) 0030, p. 1B (ink pen) & p. 2A, dwelling 16, family 16, Catherine Booker [Barker]; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed, downloaded 9 October 2019); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. , microfilm publication T 623, Roll 1619.

Find A Grave, database and images (http://www.findagrave.com  : viewed & printed 10 January 2020), memorial page for Elias Isaiah Barker, Find A Grave Memorial # 79869838, citing Mount Hope Cemetery (Wells, Cherokee, Texas), memorial created by seemore, photograph by Deb.

Find A Grave (http://www.findagrave.com) entries for Elias Isaiah Barker, Euna Barker, Arthur Barker, James Milton Barker, Cora Barker (buried in Mount Hope Cemetery, Wells, Cherokee county, Texas);  Tempie D. [Barker] Stokes and Katie L. [Barker] Stinson (buried in Eden Cemetery, Douglass, Nacogdoches, Texas).

© Susan Posten Ellerbee and Posting Family Roots blog

 

 

My first post (for 2020): Genealogy Goals

Time to make resolutions for the new year. So, I share my genealogy goals for 2020.   Last year, I referred to a specific blog post that I found helpful:  Setting Genealogy Goals by Jennifer Patterson Dondero. [1]  She offered five steps:

  1. Previous year review
  2. Broad interest or goal identification
  3. Refining your interests/ goals
  4. Correlating your previous year review with your refinements
  5. Finalizing your resolutions/ goals

2020 Genealogy Goals for blog

I reviewed 2019 in my last post. Now, I set my 2020 goals starting with broad interest areas:

Posten-Richards family (dad’s family)

  1. Copy paper BMD certificates from Posten relative to digital files. Place originals in Posten BMD notebook. (continued from 2018 & 2019).
  2. Revise at least 4 chapters of Posten family history book. Explore publication options. (One chapter done in 2018; rewritten in December 2019).
  3. Send in my DNA to a third company.  Reason:  A Posten descendant with Pennsylvania ties contacted me in 2019. This person is a known descendant of a ‘possibly related’ Posten family that I identified circa 2015.
  4. Follow-up on at least one BSO generated from previous searches.
  5. Continue paper & digital file clean-up as needed.

Tucker-Maurer family (mom’s family):

  1. Anticipate receipt of at least one death certificate (Margaret Tucker, wife of Jeremiah Tucker). Scan document and enter information when document received.
  2. Respond to cousin requests for copies of information (Maurer & Jones) and pictures (Tucker).
  3. Follow-up on at least one BSO generated from previous searches.

Ellerbee-Simmons/ Johnson-Reed (husband’s family)

  1. Continue review of paper files for documents to be scanned and placed in notebooks for Ellerbee-Simmons & Johnson-Reed families.
  2. Continue paper & digital file clean-up for these family groups.
  3. Plan field trip to Alabama and Georgia to trace Ellerbee family migration. If time and geography permit, follow migration of Johnson-Reed family.
  4. Begin to trace descendants of slaves owned by husband’s ancestors. Use templates and directions from the Beyond Kin project.
  5. Follow-up on at least two BSOs generated from previous searches (one from each family group).
  6. Complete family group records (11 done, 18 to do) with citations as addendum to scrapbook given Christmas 2019.

Genealogy Blog:

  1. Post on regular basis, optimally every 2 weeks.
  2. Post at least 2 stories about each family—Posten-Richards (dad), Tucker-Maurer (mom), Ellerbee-Simmons (father-in-law), Johnson-Reed (mother-in-law).
  3. Limit each post to about 1500 words or less.
  4. Purchase or download software to post GEDCOM family tree. Post at least 2 family trees to blog. (continued from 2019).
  5. Continue to address Genealogical Proof Standard in reports.

General items:

  1. Continue to place To-Do/ BSO items and questions for each family on color-coded file cards.
  2. Send for at least 6 BMD certificates. If budget permits, request one certificate per month.
  3. Submit at least one article to a local genealogical society for publication in their newsletter.  Specific family/ person TBA.
  4. Begin research for another family member- person of interest TBA.
  5. Add to Research Toolbox: books “Dating Vintage Photographs” ; possibly Dragon software.
  6. Continue volunteer genealogy work with Daughters of the American Revolution.
  7. Enroll in at least one genealogy-related webinar or online class, topic to be determined.
  8. Complete Family Recipe Book started in 2019. Planned distribution- Christmas, 2020.

2020 Budget:  reflects additional expenses from 2019 and changes in subscription plans.

2020 budget_ver2

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Reflection:

As I read these goals, I wonder if I am being too ambitious. In general, I spend about 40+ hours per week on genealogy. My family thinks that it has become an obsession. Maybe, it has! But, what a wonderful obsession! Gratifying most of the time because I can see definite results. Sometimes frustrating and time to step away from the computer and files. I believe that I am better organized now than when I started the Genealogy Do-Over three years ago.  Writing these blog posts has helped me step away from just gathering facts and learning to tell the stories. I will keep you posted.

© Susan Posten Ellerbee and Posting Family Roots  blog, 2020

Sources:

[1] Jennifer Patterson Dondero, “Setting Genealogy Goals”, The Occasional Genealogist, December 2017 (https://www.theoccasionalgenealogist.com/2017/12/genealogy-goals-new-year.html  : accessed 27 December 2019).

The last post (for 2019)

December –the last month of our calendar year.  Short days and long nights.  Holidays include Christmas (honoring birth of Jesus Christ), Kwanzaa (celebrating family, community and culture, primarily in African-American families) and Boxing Day (celebrating the giving of boxes to public and private servants, primarily in the United Kingdom).  For me, December signals a time to reflect on my genealogy goals for the previous 12 months.  How well did I do?

Last January 1, my stated genealogy goals seemed mostly achievable. I did not anticipate any major issues.  My father-in-law’s death on February 17, 2019,  although not totally unexpected, impacted me more than I expected.  My father died in 1998 and my mother in 2007.  My in-laws have been my surrogate parents for the past 12 years. For weeks after his death, I felt mired down. I went through the motions on genealogy projects.  I barely managed to post regularly on my blog. The quality of some posts probably suffered.  Even simple tasks requiring minimal thought, i.e. scanning certificates from a cousin on dad’s side, overwhelmed me.

FYI. My mother-in-law is doing OK. We made it through the summer and winter holidays.  There were tears and happy moments.

Genealogy presented a coping mechanism. Using lessons and skills from the Genealogy Do-Over, I have a well-defined, specific process for reviewing, cataloguing and saving information.  These specific steps help me stay on-target, at least most of the time! Did I occasionally veer off and follow those bright shiny objects that detract from a specific goal?  Oh, yes! But, then, routine took over and I was back on track.sticky note_test

A new project especially helped with grieving. In July 2019, I presented Papa’s sister with copies of the Simmons and Ellerbee scrapbooks. The Simmons scrapbook, presented to Papa in 2013, traced his maternal lineage. The Ellerbee scrapbook, presented to Papa in January 2018, traced his paternal lineage.  I cleaned up source lists and included new information.  The tactile work of cutting and pasting proved therapeutic.

I became more aware of placing ancestors within historical and other perspectives.  For example, I reacted emotionally to the removal of Native Americans from Georgia to make room for my husband’s white ancestors.  I read two books on the topic and one book about the Federal Road between Georgia and Texas. Looking beyond dates and places, I gained a broader view of ancestors’ lives within the context of time periods and places in which they lived.  Consider the impact of local events, such as opening or closing a factory or a major weather storm, on individuals and their community.

I found the “Beyond Kin” project (https://beyondkin.org/ ).  The project helps descendants of slaveholders identify and trace their family’s former slaves. My husband’s paternal and maternal ancestors hail from various Southern states and most were slaveholders.  I downloaded the templates and began by entering slaves held by John E. Ellerbee (1808, Georgia – 1877, Louisiana) in 1850 and 1860.  I haven’t done anything beyond these initial steps. Reports to follow!

Overall, I feel like the fog has  lifted and I am again on semi-solid ground.

Death of my laptop computer caused a major, although temporary, setback. Fortunately, we knew the laptop’s end was near.  I had hoped to have a new computer before the old one’s demise. My computer savvy son built me a new desktop computer. What saved me?  Purchase of notebook computer in 2017 and regular, frequent backups to the Cloud and an external hard drive!

Two maternal cousins found my blog in 2018. We stay in contact. We regularly share information and family heirlooms such as pictures.   An unexpected result and blessing!

I pinned a print copy of 2019 goals to the bulletin board in my office. I tried to review these goals at least once a month. As I completed, added or deferred goals, I wrote the information down. These notes provide quick reminders of progress.

Here are my refined 2019 goals and actions taken during the year:

Tucker-Maurer family (mom’s family):

  1. Continue paper & digital file clean-up. Timeline:  January 2019.  Met- ended major work at end of February 2019.
  2. Defer remainder of work as needed. Some work continued throughout the year, usually to answer a question posed by one of maternal cousins. Goal met.

Ellerbee-Simmons/ Johnson-Reed (husband’s family)

  1. Purchase notebooks for Ellerbee-Simmons & Johnson-Reed certificates, photographs and other memorabilia. DONE.  Purchased dividers for notebooks. Documents placed in appropriate notebook when found  online or in paper files.
  2. Send in husband’s DNA test. NOT DONE.  Purchased kit but did not use.
  3. Continue paper & digital file clean-up for father-in-law’s and/or mother-in-law’s family. Goal MET. More work done on Ellerbee files than Johnson files. 
  4. Plan field trip to Alabama and Georgia to trace Ellerbee family migration. If time and geography permit, follow migration of Johnson-Reed family. DEFERRED – Maybe 2020??

Added in 2019:

  1. Copy Ellerbee and Simmons scrapbooks for father-in-law’s sister. COMPLETED
  2. Resume work on scrapbook for extended family member. Work resumed in Summer 2019. Completed and given as Christmas present.

Posten-Richards family (dad’s family)

  1. Copy paper BMD certificates from Posten relative to digital files. Place originals in Posten BMD notebook. NOT DONE.  Continue in 2020.
  2. Submit at least one article to a local genealogical society for publication in their newsletter.  Priority: Use information from 2010 Posten family history (continued from 2018). NOT DONE. Same goal for  2020 without priority.
  3. Assist nephew to combine family trees of his parents (continued from 2018). Partially  met. Discussed his family tree during visits. Nephew loaned some documents to me. I scanned, copied then returned the documents to him. 
  4. Revise at least 4 chapters of Posten family history book. Explore publication options for  2020.  (One chapter done in 2018). NOT DONE.  Continue in 2020. Contacted by person from a ‘possibly related’ branch.

Genealogy Blog:

  1. Post on regular basis, optimally every 2 weeks. Posted 26 times in 2019.
  2. Post at least 2 stories about each family—Posten-Richards (dad), Tucker-Maurer (mom), Ellerbee-Simmons (father-in-law), Johnson-Reed (mother-in-law). GOAL PARTIALLY MET. Posten-Richards: 0 stories; Tucker-Maurer:  3 stories; Ellerbee-Simmons: 12 stories; Johnson-Reed: 2 stories. Two posts discussed members of all families. Seven posts with no specific family group.
  3. Limit each post to about 1500 words or less. GOAL MET.
  4. Purchase or download software to post GEDCOM family tree. Post at least 2 family trees to blog. NOT MET. Defer to 2020.  
  5. Address Genealogical Proof Standard in reports. PARTIALLY MET. Addressed in 75-90% of posts. In some posts, I discussed one or two criteria. Most of my blog posts are not meant to be the final report on a person or family. In those posts, I acknowledge that the ‘reasonably exhaustive research’ criterion has not been met. However, other criteria are likely to have been met. 

General items:

  1. Create master lists of To-Do/ BSO items and questions for each family. Begin with Tucker-Maurer and Ellerbee families. Partially met. Began using a color-coded file card system.
  2. Send for at least 6 BMD certificates. If budget permits, request one certificate per month. Partially met. Requested death certificates for Anna Klee Maurer, Anna Katharina Korzelius Maurer and Margaret Tucker (mom’s ancestors). Received first two. All from New York and take 6-9 months.
  3. Add to Research Toolbox: books “Dating Vintage Photographs” ; possibly Dragon software.   Not Done. Keep same goal for  2020.
  4.  Continue volunteer genealogy work with Daughters of the American Revolution. GOAL MET.
  5. Enroll in at least one genealogy-related webinar or online class, topic to be determined.  Attended one free webinar on various topics.
  6.  Review Genealogy Proof Standard. Buy book on this topic.   DONE.  Used book as reference. 

BUDGET: 

Budget Spent (Over)/ Under 2020 Proposal
Archival materials $60.00 $279.37 $ (219.37) $200.00
BMD Records $100.00 $59.00 $      41.00 $120.00
Books $75.00 $34.95 $      40.05 $75.00
Copying $10.00 $25.45 $   (15.45) $25.00
Education $150.00 $0.00 $   150.00 $100.00
Ink/ Printing $50.00 $131.68   (81.68) $180.00
Paper $25.00 $55.45   (30.45) $50.00
Subscriptions- annual $50.00 $288.80 $ (238.80) $290.00
Subscriptions-monthly $560.00 $550.80 $        9.20 $560.00
$1,320.00 $1,425.50 $ (361.50) $1600.00

Average cost per month:  about $118.00.

SUMMARY:

Met or partially met 14 of 21 goals set for 2019. Seven goals deferred to 2020. Two additional projects completed in 2019.  Overall, I may have been a bit over-ambitious with goals but am satisfied with progress. Over budget by $361.00.  Added two subscription services, paid annually, in 2019.  Two scrapbook projects were not anticipated when preparing 2019 budget.  Increase budget in these areas for 2020.

Next post:   My personal genealogy goals for 2020

© Susan Posten Ellerbee and Posting Family Roots blog, 2019

Catherine D. Brown Ellerbee Barker: The tie that binds

Ellerbee-Powell-Barker Blended families: Part 3

Blended families are not new or unique to the 20th century.  Genealogists regularly encounter men with sequential, multiple wives and women with sequential, multiple husbands.  Widows and widowers often married men and women with children from a previous marriage.  This series began with a  summary of one blended family in the Ellerbee family tree. Next, I told about James T.L. Powell and his 1st wife, Deborah A.C. Daniel. Now comes Catherine Brown, 2nd wife of James T.L. Powell and the tie that binds the Ellerbee and Barker families together.

red scarf bow

Tied Red Scarf.  Original photo by Susan Posten Ellerbee

PROFILE: Catherine Deborah Brown

Born:     19 November 1860, Mississippi (possibly Simpson county)[1]

Married:  22 March 1877 to James T.L. Powell at Cherokee county, Texas[2]

Died:     10 March 1944, Port Arthur, Jefferson county, Texas[3]

Buried: Mount Hope Cemetery, Wells, Cherokee county, Texas

Parents:  R.L. Brown & Marguerite Puckett (as named on her death certificate)

Children:

  1. Katherine Deborah Powell (18 August 1879, Cherokee county, Texas – 9 July 1959, Wells, Cherokee county, Texas)[4]. Married 27 January 1895[5] at Cherokee county, Texas to James Walter Ellerbee (7 December 1872 – 9 September 1942)[6], son of James John Ellerbee and his 2nd wife, Elizabeth Hays. Katie and Walter are my husband’s paternal great-grandparents. 6 children: Odie Lesley (1896-1958), Ernest Aver (1897-1951), Evie (1901-1994), Aver I (1906-1928), Ordra (1907-1987), and James Dreebon (1915-1973).  James Dreebon Ellerbee is my husband’s grandfather.  Their stories are for a later post.
  2. William Ball Powell. (19 February 1882, Cherokee county, Texas – 25 January 1960, Cherokee county, Texas).[7] Married about 1905 in Cherokee county, Texas to Maude F. Chumley (18 October 1888 – 22 March 1958), daughter of Tom Chumley and Frances Hagood. [8] William and Maude apparently divorced and Maude remarried to _____________ Conway.   William and Maude had 4 children: Thomas Otis (1906-      ); Madaline (28 March 1908 at Nacogdoches, Texas -27 May 1909)[9]; Muriel (1912 –      ) and Margaret Nancy (7 October 1915 – 25 October 1977), married  to Tommy Ford.[10]
  3. Jessie Powell (27 January 1889 -26 November 1959), [11]. Married 1st on 24 December 1905 at Cherokee county, Texas[12] to John Thomas Beasley (20 October 1873 – 29 March 1918)[13] . Married 2nd on 29 September 1918 to Robert C. Thames. [14] * ( 1873 – before 1930). Married 3rd between 1930 & 1940 to Gust Karl Beyers (25 November 1880, Germany – 25 October 1967,  Lufkin, Texas)[15].  Children: Mattie Beasley (1907 –      ); Alma Beasley (1909 –    ); Thomas Layfeet Beasley (1910 –     ); Homer Beasley (1912 –    ); Nettie Beasley (1914    –     ); Buford Beasley ( 1919 –     ); Harold Thames (1920 –     ).

PLACE IN HISTORY:

Catherine’s life spans two centuries and eight decades. Modes of transportation changed from horse-drawn buggies  and wagons to motor cars. Wide availability of electricity markedly changed lives from candles to electric lights and wood stoves to ones powered by gas or electricity.  In-door plumbing generally made life easier.

June, 1870: 10-year-old Catherine Brown in Simpson county, Mississippi with presumed parents, W.P. and Mary J.  Brown.[16]  Her father probably fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War.

Between June 1870 & December 1872: Brown family relocated to Cherokee county, Texas.

March 1877:  17-year-old Catherine D. Brown married James T.L. Powell at Cherokee county, Texas. Her parents apparently moved to Texas.

August 1879: Birth of daughter, Katherine Deborah, in Cherokee county, Texas.

June 1880: James & 20-year-old Catherine in Cherokee county, Texas, with her stepsons, Alvey, 14;  J.M, age 12, and Peter, age 9 plus 9 month old daughter, D.C.

February 1882: Birth of son, William B. Powell in Cherokee county, Texas.

January 1889: Birth of daughter, Jessie Powell in Cherokee county, Texas

September 1890: James T.L. Powell dies at DeSoto Parish, Louisiana. He was probably visiting his son, Peter.  Catherine was now a widow with 3 young children.

September, 1892: Angelina county, Texas. Catherine Brown Powell married Elias Barker, a widower with six children.

CATHERINE’S STORY:

Catherine Brown was a Southern girl through and through. Moving to Texas when she was 12 years old, she barely remembered Mississippi before the Civil War. Her daddy followed an oft traveled route from the devastated South to the promise of a better life in Texas.  They possibly lived close to James T.L. Powell, Deborah and their 3 children. In rural Texas, ‘close’ could mean within a mile or two. When she was 16 years old, Catherine married 41-year-old James, now a widower, and assumed care of his sons, now  6, 9 and 11 years old. James had given up teaching school to become a farmer.  The older boys married, began their own families and eventually moved to Louisiana. Three children of her own (Katherine, born 1879; William, born 1882; Jessie, born 1889) enriched Catherine’s life.  An event in Louisiana in 1890 had unforeseen consequences. Alvey Monroe Powell, James’ 1st grandchild, was born to Peter and his wife, Evelyn Spinks. A visit was certainly in order. Whether Catherine and their young children accompanied James is unknown. In September 1890, 65 year old James died in DeSoto Parish, Louisiana, where he is buried.  Catherine, now 30 years old, became a widow with three young children. She endured for two years before marrying Elias Barker, a widower with 6 children.

Next in the series:   Elias Barker &  Catherine Brown Powell or Elias Barker & his first wife. To be published in January, 2020.

reflection-swirl-green-color-hi

Reflection

This is the 3rd  installment of my series about one set of blended families. I followed the outline started with the 2nd  installment – person profile, place in history, narrative story. I found this format on a webpage with scrapbooking ideas. The format helps me to be more concise and to write a more interesting story.

Earlier this year, a Brown family descendant contacted me. The person is a DNA match with my father—in-law. We traded ideas and information about the names of Catherine’s parents.

What I learned:  Writing a narrative that isn’t just reciting facts is challenging. I like the finished result.

What helped:  Previous completed research on the family.

What didn’t help:  Waiting until the last minute to begin the post.  Incomplete research logs and copying of information to RootsMagic tree on my computer.

To-do:  Update information about William Ball Powell and Jessie Powell on home computer.  Create research logs.  BSO for later—follow descendants of William Ball Powell and Jessie Powell.

SOURCES: 

[1] Jefferson county, Texas, death certificates, death certificate #14269 (1944), Mrs. Catherine Barker, 8 March 1944; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed & downloaded 9 November 2017); citing Texas Department of State Health Services, “Texas Death Certificates, 1903-1982”, Austin, Texas.

[2] “Texas Marriage Index, 1824-2014,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed 9 December 2019); entry for J.T.L. Powell and Catherine Brown, 19 April 1877, Cherokee county, Texas; citing Texas Department of State Health Services, Austin, Texas.

[3] Jefferson county, Texas, death certificates, death certificate #14269 (1944), Mrs. Catherine Barker, 8 March 1944.

[4] Cherokee county, Texas, certificate no. 36955, Katherine Deborah Ellerbee, 9 July 1959; digital images, Fold 3 (http://www.fold3.com  : viewed, printed, downloaded 4 October 2019); citing Texas Department of Health, Austin, Texas.

[5]. Texas Marriage Index, 1824-2014,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed 9 December 2019); entry for Katie Powell  and Walter Ellerbee, 27 Jan 1895,  Cherokee county, Texas; citing Texas Department of State Health Services, Austin, Texas.

[6]. Cherokee county, Texas, Texas, Death certificates,1903-1982, certificate no. 39161, J.W. Ellerbee, 9 September 1942; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : viewed & downloaded 26 September 2019); citing Texas Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics, Austin, Texas.

[7] Find A Grave, database and images (http://www.findagrave.com  : viewed 12 November 2019), memorial page for William B. Powell, Find A Grave Memorial # 91355097, citing Mount Hope Cemetery (Wells, Cherokee, Texas), memorial created by Wanda Karr Ellerbee, photograph by Wanda Karr Ellerbee.

[8] Bexar county, Texas, Texas, Death Certificates, 1903-1982, certificate no. 13386, Maude Chumley Conway, 22 March 1958; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : viewed & printed 12 November 2019); Texas Department of State Health Services, Austin, Texas.

[9] Find A Grave, database and images (http://www.findagrave.com  : accessed & printed 11 October 2019), memorial page for Madaline Powell, Find A Grave Memorial # 103081400, citing Mount Hope Cemetery (Wells, Cherokee, Texas).

[10] “U.S. Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007,” database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed & printed 12 November 2019), entry for Margaret Nancy Powell Ford; citing Social Security Applications and Claims, 1936-2007.

[11]  “Texas Deaths, 1890-1976,” digital images, Family Search (http://www.familysearch.org     : accessed, printed, downloaded 11 October 2019), entry for Jessie Byers, daughter of Tom Powell and Kathryn Brown; citing State Registrar Office, Austin, Texas; Vol. 132, certificates 065501-066000,Nov-Dec, Wheeler_-Bexar counties.

[12]  “Texas, Select County Marriage Index, 1837-1965,”  database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed 12 November 2019; entry for J.T. Beasley and Jessie Powell, Cherokee county, Texas.

[13]  “Texas, Death Certificates, 1903-1982,” database with images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed 12 November 2019); entry for John Thomas Beasley, died 29 March 1918, Wells, Cherokee, Texas; citing Texas Department of State Health Services, Austin, Texas.

[14]  “Texas, Select County Marriage Index, 1837-1965,”  database, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed 12 November 2019; entry for Jessie Beasley and R.C. Thomes,  Cherokee county, Texas.

[15]  Find A Grave, database and images (http://www.findagrave.com  : accessed and printed 11 October  2019), memorial page for Gust Karl Beyers, Find A Grave memorial no.69403504, citing IOOF Lufkin Cemetery, Lufkin, Angelina, Texas.

[16] 1870 census Catherine. 1870 U.S. Census, Simpson county, Mississippi, population schedule, Beat 1, p. 266A, family 486, Catherine Brown age 10; digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com  : accessed & printed 23 January 2016); citing National Archives & Records Administration, Washington, D.C. microfilm publication M593_748.

© Susan Posten Ellerbee and Posting Family Roots blog, 2019

Thinking of Thanksgiving

Sharing of my genealogy journey needs a short break. In my next post, I  resume telling the stories of 4 blended families- James T.L. Powell and his 1st wife, Deborah Daniel; James T.L. Powell and his 2nd wife, Catherine Brown; Catherine Brown Powell and her 2nd husband, Elias Barker; Elias Barker and his 1st wife, Euna Barber. 

Thanksgiving in America is generally viewed as a time for family. Many have Pilgrim and /or Native American ancestors in their family trees. Our American holiday originated with a specific event – English immigrants in Massachusetts sharing a harvest celebration with Native Americans. However, one part of the story is often forgotten. The Native Americans taught the  newcomers basic survival skills such as planting crops, caring for plants and eventually, harvesting food. 

The Puritan/ Pilgrim settlement in Massachusetts was not the first European settlement on the North American continent.  Jamestown, Virginia was founded in 1607, thirteen years before the Pilgrims landed.  Early settlements included, but were not limited to:

1565: Saint Augustine, Florida, founded by the Spanish

1608: Quebec, Canada, founded by the French

1615:  Fort Nassau (New York), founded by the Dutch

Some Native Americans do not view our American Thanksgiving Day favorably. Since Europeans first landed here, we pushed Native Americans from their traditional homes. Some Native American tribes were decimated by illnesses brought by the Europeans. Other tribes were removed to make way for growing numbers of white settlers. Native American rights were largely ignored in treaties.

So, on this day, enjoy time with your family and celebrate the harvest. Give thanks for the sacrifices of all. Oh, yes, one more thing. These holidays are great for seeking help to answer those burning genealogy questions you’ve discovered.  Share your findings.  Print a 1 or 2-page summary for people to take home. Ask if anyone has great-grandma’s death certificate or obituary. Who has the oldest family Bible? Take notes when your uncle tells about an ancestor, especially if he heard the story from one of his grandparents or one of his grandpa’s brothers or  an elderly aunt.  You may be pleasantly surprised by what you learn! Remember, too, every family has saints and sinners, scoundrels and heroes.   

To read more about Native American views of Thanksgiving, start with these articles:

“Do Native Americans celebrate Thanksgiving?” Powwows.com, 19 November2019 (https://www.powwows.com/do-native-americans-celebrate-thanksgiving/    : accessed 27 November 2019).

Kisha James.  “For me, Thanksgiving is a ‘Day of  Mourning’” Refinery29, 21 November 2016 (https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2016/11/130572/day-of-mourning-thanksgiving-protest-native-americans    : accessed 21 November 2019.

Nadra Kareem Nittle, “Should we celebrate thanksgiving and the Pilgrims?”.  ThoughtCo, updated 29 July 2019  (https://www.thoughtco.com/do-native-americans-celebrate-thanksgiving-2834597  : accessed 23 November 2019).

“What does Thanksgiving mean to Native Americans?” Native Hope (https://blog.nativehope.org/what-does-thanksgiving-mean-to-native-americans    : accessed 22 November 2019). Blog post, undated.

Have a blessed and happy day!