When Your 2nd Cousin Is Also Your Great Grand Uncle

Dear Reader: Do you think you are related to the individuals listed in this post? Please drop me a note! I love hearing from cousins and others researching my family!

I spent yesterday staying out of the way of carpenters doing work in my house while I enjoyed a day off from work. I also took a break from my client projects for a personal genealogy day. I was excited to track down several more distant cousins on my Tennessee side of the family and discovered a branch with multiple connections.

My 3rd great-grandfather Alfred T. Gourley had a granddaughter, Ann Gourley. She married into the McKeehan clan and had a son, Walter, who was my 2nd cousin, 2x removed. He married Sina Hayes, my great grand aunt (her brother, Willam Edmond, was my great-grandfather). This then made Walter McKeehan not only a distant cousin, but my great grand uncle, by marriage!

Alfred Gourley’s daughter was Mary L. Gourley, who married Daniel B. Crow. Their daughter, Della, married William Edmond Hayes.

SNGF: Where Were They 100 Years Ago

Dear Reader: Do you think you are related to the individuals listed in this post? Please drop me a note! I love hearing from cousins and others researching my family!

Randy Seaver’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun has led me to a missing record! Tonight’s mission:

1)  Determine where your ancestral families were on 1 January 1913 – 100 years ago.

2)  List them, their family members, their birth years, and their residence location (as close as possible).  Do you have a photograph of their residence from about that time, and does the residence still exist?

3)  Tell us all about it in your own blog post, in a comment to this post, or in a Facebook Status or Google+ Stream post.

I was relatively certain that my dad and his family were living in Washington, D.C., but I was missing their 1910 census records. I knew they were living on Columbia Road in 1920. My grandparents were married in 1905 in Philadelphia and then my father was born in 1906 in Washington, D.C. I wasn’t certain where the family was living in 1910, but I was pretty sure they were in Washington.

I knew a good place to start would be to try and find their 1920 neighbors in the 1910 census. I’ve had success with this method before. I struck out with the first two families that I tried, but I hit paydirt on the third attempt.

My dad and his parents were living next door to a Mr. Story B. Ladd and his family in 1920. I found the Ladds again in 1910, still on Columbia Road. My ancestors were their neighbors then too, but their name was mistranscribed as Cortey, which is why they hadn’t turned up in previous census searches. I’ve since submitted a correction to Ancestry and saved the record to my father and grandparents. Yay!

Given that the census records show that the family was at the same address in 1910 and 1920, I can say that’s probably where they were on January 1, 1913.

I’m less certain when it comes to my great-grandfather on my mother’s side, William Edmond Hayes. His family was originally from Carter County, Tennessee. In 1910, however, Willie and his parents were in Umatilla County, Oregon, in what appears to have been a failed attempt to make a better living. In 1914, Willie is back in Tennessee, marrying my great-grandmother. And he wasn’t the only one to return — every single member of his family was back in Carter County again by 1920.

I’m still unclear as to the exact details about what the Hayeses were doing in Oregon, but I think they were trying to operate an orchard. I have found records that indicate that they went into debt regarding such a venture. The fact that the entire family returned to Tennessee leads me to believe that it didn’t work out, although I need to do more digging to find out the whole story.

Given the information I have so far, I can’t say for sure whether the Hayses were still in Oregon or back in Tennessee again by January 1. 2013.

Most of my other ancestors were where I expected them to be — elsewhere in Carter County, Tennessee, or in San Antonio, Texas. It’s dinner time now, otherwise I would go into more detail here.

Thanks, Randy, for prompting me to find that missing census record!

Grandma Was a Census Enumerator

Gold star for my cousin Daniel, who made an exciting discovery when studying the 1940 census page showing our great-grandparents and fam in Carter County, Tennessee (click on the images for larger versions):

The Hayeses in the 1940 census (image from Ancestry.com).

Nothing too unusual in the crop above — the census page lists my great-grandparents William E. and Della (Crow) Hayes, along with their children including my grandma, G. Alma.

Actually, one discovery does reveal itself in the information listed above — I never knew that my great aunt Ruth was born in Colorado until I saw this page — this was confirmed by relatives at a recent family gathering. There will be another blog post on that story later.

BUT, the really super-huge-big-deal discovery was made by Daniel at the top of the page. Check out the name of the enumerator:

Enumerator: Alma Hayes (image from Ancestry.com).

The enumerator was Alma Hayes a.k.a. Grandma! You think I would have recognized the handwriting. Kudos, cousin Daniel!

When Even Vital Records Can’t Be Trusted

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I was just notified by Ancestry.com that they found the death certificate for my 2nd great-grandfather Daniel B. Crow. I love finding vital records for any of my ancestors, but this one immediately raised some questions.

First of all, the  certificate lists his mother’s maiden name as Mary Crow. I am 95 percent sure that his mother’s actual name was Elizabeth Hart (based on census and marriage records). So where did Mary Crow come from? Well, Daniel was married to a Mary (nee Gourley). He also had a sister named Mary Crow. If his father Isaac Crow indeed married a woman named Mary, I certainly hope it wasn’t a relation of too close proximity.

Since the deceased couldn’t possibly provide the information above, it was provided by a relative–in this case, someone by the name H. T. Crow. I believe this to be Daniel’s son, Hugh Taylor Crow. Is it possible he didn’t know or remember his grandmother’s name? I suppose. Is it possibly an entry error by whoever filled out the form? I find this more believable, especially given the other discrepancy I detail below.

The next fact that gives me pause is the burial date of 8 April 1921, which predates the death date of 27 April 1921 (which appears to be corrected on the certificate).

Death date as listed on Daniel B. Crow’s death certificate (Ancestry.com).

Burial information on Daniel B. Crow’s death certificate (Ancestry.com)

Another problem has arisen in trying to locate the cemetery listed here. There are two cemeteries, in Cannon County, Tenn., with the word Milligan in their names. Neither is in Johnson City, which isn’t in Cannon County. The closest match I found on FindaGrave in Carter County is a cemetery called Millington County Cemetery, but it only has one interment listed and I think that its information is in error too.

So, boys and girls, what have we learned here? Even with vital records, each bit of information must be considered carefully and discrepancies investigated. In this case, I need to find further evidence to support the information provided, especially regarding Daniel’s death and burial dates. Finding his grave might clear it up. An obituary may help as well. The undertaker’s name is given. I might be able to track down which funeral home he worked for and investigate any available records of theirs as well.

Christmas Babies in My Family Tree

Meet one of my fourth great-grandfathers, William Hatley (or Hateley), whose photo I found on another Ancestry.com member’s tree (and yes, I did introduce myself before adding this photo to my own tree).

The full photo is much bigger, showing William from the waist up, holding a book and looking rather scholarly. The caption of the photo, which obviously was taken from a book, reads:

“William Hatley, father of Riley B. Hatley, born December 25, 1809, in North Carolina, died January 9, 1893. Married about 1835 to Anna Ford, born 1813 in North Carolina, died July 1880, daughter of Jacob and Mary Ford. Both are buried in Whitehead Cemetery near Butler, Tennessee.”

After contacting the distant relative who found this photo, he revealed that members of the Hatley family eventually travelled to Oregon and Washington State. This is very interesting to me, because members of my Hayes line — direct descendants of William Hatley — also tried to move to Oregon (but ended up back in Tennessee within a decade). I need to investigate if they went together with the Hatleys.

I also need to try and learn more about William, who appeared to be learned and well-to-do. This wasn’t necessarily the case for his descendants a couple of generations later.

William isn’t the only ancestor/relative of mine with a Christmas birthday. One of my fourth great-grandmothers, Maria Jesusa Curbelo, was born on Christmas Day in 1815, apparently.

My cousin Shannon also was a Christmas baby! I remember going to see her in the hospital that day. She and all the other Christmas babies were dressed in Christmas stockings. Happy birthday, Shannon!

Dear Reader: Do you think you are related to the individuals listed in this post? Please drop me a note! I love hearing from cousins and others researching my family!

Happy 203rd Birthday, Isaac Crow

Dear Reader: Do you think you are related to the individuals listed in this post? Please drop me a note! I love hearing from cousins and others researching my family!

One of my third great-grandfathers was Isaac Crow, born 21 Oct 1808. There is some confusion as to his middle initial on various census records, but his FindaGrave memorial (sans photo) states his middle name was Lincoln.

Isaac married Elizabeth Hart(e) in 1832. They resided in Carter County, Tenn., where I still have relatives to this day. The 1860 census listed Isaac as a “Hammerman.” In 1850 and 1870, he was listed as a farmer.

Tuesday’s Tip: Local History News Alerts

This past weekend, there was a huge celebration in the town of Easton, Md., surrounding the placement of a sculpture of Frederick Douglass in front of the Talbot County Courthouse. Douglass once gave a very famous address on the steps of that courthouse.

The events this weekend got me thinking about the likelihood of similar events taking place in towns across the country. With all of the patriotic holidays during the summer, there are many celebrations of local and national history throughout the country during this season.

Local newspapers tend to preview such events with articles about area history. What a great way to learn about the hometowns of your ancestors! Might your ancestor get a mention? Here’s one way to find out: set up a Google News Alert for your ancestors’ hometowns and add keywords like ‘history’ to the search string.

Use the AROUND operator to make results more relevant. When I did a search for “San Antonio” and “history,” the results weren’t what I’d hoped for. I changed the search string to ‘”san antonio” AROUND(5) history’ (meaning where ‘history’ appears within five words of ‘San Antonio’) and got much better results.

You can add other keywords to the search string too. Were your ancestors farmers? Miners? Play around with other keywords to narrow your results.

I had trouble getting relevant results from one of my searches. You can click on Advanced Search to narrow the results by source location OR by coverage of a certain location.

I tried out a Google News search for one of my ancestral hometowns, Elizabethton, Tenn. I typed ‘Elizabethton Tennessee history’ into the search bar. The results varied from calendar items for workshops at local history landmarks to an article on local sports history. I set up a news alert so that future articles about the area come to my attention.

When you set up the news alert, you are presented with a number of options that will affect the results you receive. You can have the alert cover everything from blogs to video. I usually select “Everything” from the Type drop-down menu. Likewise, I also select “All Results” under Volume.

I have dozens of news alerts set up for my day job, and I find it can be overwhelming to receive all of those emails. Since I already have Google Reader set up for keeping track of genealogy blogs, I elected to receive these local history updates in my feed there, rather than receiving still more email.

Don’t forget to navigate around the Google News results using the menu on the left. I hit Archives and found articles about presidential candidate Herbert Hoover visiting Elizabethton in 1928. Another article, from 1957, detailed the homecoming of conjoined twins (joined at the head, no less), who had been successfully separated just in time to return home for Christmas that year. Note that some of the archive hits may require payment to view the full article, depending on the publication.

None of these stories involve my ancestors, but what great snapshots of local happenings over the years.

It also pays to search for county names and not just town names. I found this article on a flood that swept through Elizabethton (spelled ‘Elizabethtown’ in this article, which is why it didn’t show up in my previous search) in 1901 by searching for “Carter County.” Surely my ancestors were affected by this flood.

Another interesting find was this reprint of a letter by Abraham Lincoln.

Another bonus to performing these searches is you may discover newspapers you didn’t know existed. This could lead to more fruitful searching later on.

Dear Mr. Lincoln, I Think We May Be Related…

In preparing a blog post involving Carter County, Tenn., I found this fascinating reprint of a letter by Abraham Lincoln, to a relative who had written him inquiring as to whether they may be related. The article, which originally appeared in The New York Times, can be downloaded as a PDF at no charge.

Stay tuned on Tuesday to see how I found this little treasure!

Elizabeth HART Crow

Dear Reader: Do you think you are related to the individuals listed in this post? Please drop me a note! I love hearing from cousins and others researching my family!

On May 1, 1902, my third great-grandmother Elizabeth HART Crow passed away. At least according to her FindaGrave memorial. Alas, there is no photo of her gravestone (I’ve requested one), nor have I been able to find an obituary or other record confirming this information. Yet.

Elizabeth and her husband Isaac D. CROW had no less than 12 children together, including my second great-grandfather Daniel B. Crow. The family lived in Carter County, Tennessee, where I still have distant relatives to this day.

I need to spend more time on Elizabeth and her family. All I have on her so far are census records and the FindaGrave link.

Treasure Chest Thursday: Destination, West!

While in the Portland, Ore., area for the AIIP11 conference, I visited Powell’s Books. I usually hit the local interest section of a bookstore when I’m traveling because you can find great mementos there. I had another motive on this trip since I have a family mystery involving Oregon — back in the early 1900s, my great-great grandfather Joseph Smith Hayes moved his entire family, including seven children, from East Tennessee to Umatilla, Oregon. I found them there in the 1910 census. By 1920, the entire family was back in East Tennessee. I was looking for local history books that might explain why my ancestors made such a move (and then had to move back).

I found and purchased a book on the Oregon Trail. It might not even be related to my family’s journey, but it looked like a good read. I’m also drawn to old books and I found a doozy:

Destination, West! by Agnes Ruth Sengstacken.

This book drew me in because it still had the original cover. When I opened it, I was in for a treat:

A letter from the author to the book’s one-time owner! Here is page two:

Here is a transcription of the letter:

ARS

Stockton, California.
January 19th, 1944.

My dear Mrs. Mccully;-

It is always a pleasure to me to hear from someone who has read my book and has found some interest or enjoyment in it. It is a very simple little story, simply told, but it has the merit of being true. I believe that this is the first published account of a woman’s trip across the plains, told in detaul [sic], though many men have written of their experiences in those dim and distant days.

It is interesting to me to know that some of your relatives are mentioned in this stoey [sic], for I have often heard my mother speak of them. She always spoke of your great grandfather, Tom McF Patton, and thus, I wrote it in my … [end of page one; I suspect a page may be missing]

…MS. this mistake is one of many made by the publishers of the book.

Many years after my mother was located at Empire City, she paid a visit to Salem, where she was the guest of her old friend, Mrs. Sam Garke, the former Harriet Buckingham. While there she also visited with Mrs. Garke, whom I believe she called Belle – though I am rather hazy on this point. I especially recall that she always spoke in glowing terms of your grandfather, Tom MCF Patton, whom she regarded as a very brilliant man.

Thank you for ypur [sic] very interesting letter, -and believe me to be

Sincerely yours.

[Signed] Agnes R. Sengstacken

Kindly pardon this wretched typing.

————————————

I found quite a bit of information on Agnes Sengstacken. She died in 1948, only a few years after this letter was written.

In addition to the clues to the provenance of the book and this letter by the author, the book also sounds like it will be a fascinating read! Who knows, maybe I’ll find a clue or two to my family mystery too.