Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Research Reveals Marriage - William A. SMITH to Katie G. McELROY

        It was sixteen years ago that I put my research into a PDF file and began the process of saving what I had discovered.  Several upgrades later, I'm having to reenter my names again because of two huge mistakes.  One - not backing up my software program and two - I inadvertently deleted around 2,500 names.  This time around I'm doing all the things I didn't do to begin with all those years back; prove my information by sourcing and than backing it up!  The other mistake that I continue to do is not note where I'm doing my research.  So today in commemoration of Thanksgiving I wanted to look up the family genealogy belief that an ancestor married a descendant of the pilgrim Edward DOTY.  
        I had been researching this information a couple of days earlier and without access to some paid sites I was running into dead ends.  So I pulled out my library cards to see what was available to me that way.  The Denver Public Library has some great databases to access, so I start perusing through them.  Sadly, none of them provide any information to the colonial period.  Curiosity pinches me and I start looking at information for my Colorado family lines.  An index of Colorado marriages from 1859-1935 that the Colorado Genealogical Society put together reveals a clue for my blocked SMITH line.  William A. SMITH to Katie?  I think I found them, I'm almost positive it's them, but I must get more information to meet genealogy standards.  I'm stunned that it was so easy.  I think it is them because the date is close to what was reported in the 1900 US Federal Census, the place is somewhere I know they lived and it's a single listing for a William A. SMITH and Katie G. McELROY married 7 Dec 1890 in Otero County, Colorado.   How exciting, I can't wait to prove this information is correct and mine.

Friday, September 27, 2013

A crack in Lola's wall

       An outing to the library today created a crack in my brick wall for Lola E. GUSTAFSON (1886-).  Since the kids were working on school projects I jumped onto  Not having my research material with me I wonder who to look up and Lola's name popped into my head.
          A search using approximate birth year and place was done, than the family tree section was chosen.  I found my aunt's family tree and a few others, but there was one I didn't recognize and with a click the crack began to form.  At first glance this family tree has no significant differences.  Going to the 1940 federal census source, I know this is my Lola, as the family matches.  Under suggested records I notice an Iowa Births Index and 3 city directories and wonder if this could be her.  The birth index doesn't give a first name and has a different birth date than what I have.  The parents names are given as Charles and Anna GUSTAFSON.  I wonder if this crack will bring down the wall, more information is needed on Charles and Anna.
          Using Charles' name I do a search in the Federal census and Iowa census, nothing concrete is found.  Scrolling down the All Results list I come across an Illinois Death Index that gives the death location for a Charles in a familiar location the family is known to reside in.  By george I think I've found it.  I strongly believe that Charles and Anna are her parents; but my time ran out so I'll have to go to NARA next week and do more research to confirm this.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Lois Abigail EARLY 1891-196

       My goal for the year was to post about my research on brick walls hoping to further those illusive lines.  While Lois isn't a direct line, she is my first cousin, and is someone I hadn't been able to find previously.  So, while correcting data from my Gedcom import into my new MacFamily tree software program and looking at the features, one of them being able to click on WebSearch from a person's name, and telling you if a source is available for them.  For whatever reason, Lois' name was present when clicking on the WebSearch and I get 4 hits in  Actually 9 hits - 4 are marked most likely and 5 are less likely, but I strongly believe these are her due to the locations listed on the census - 3 Kansas state census, 4 federal census, a California death index and the SSDI.  My attention is piqued by this, since I view finding my family as a sort of treasure hunt, first I must be off to print copies of her information,  It does appear that she did remain single for her life given the social norm of that time, but that doesn't seem so uncommon for my female or male relatives.
       Lois Abigail EARLY was born 28 Sep 1891 in the state of Wyoming one and a half years after it gained statehood.  Nothing came up as to why her parents, Samuel and Celestia EARLY, were in Wyoming or when they relocated there.  Were they homesteading or gold hunting?  Since federal census records are gone for 1890, I'm not sure if I'll know the where, when, why, how, and what, of their move.  Yet, they do return to Kansas where her father farms land the census says he owns.  Another interesting tidbit about her birth is that her mother was 40 years old at her birth, not a usual age of that time to give birth, but maybe not impossible.  Is it possible that Lois was adopted by the Early's considering the mother's age?  Or, being a childless couple, she was an orphan they took in from someone they had known?
       By March 1, 1895, the family is back in Kansas.  They take up a farm in Clay county and Lois is living there until the 1910 federal census when when they are in Cloud county, Kansas.  The Kansas State Census of 1915 shows mother and daughter living in Concordia, Cloud, Kansas, in a home owned free of a mortgage.  Her father had passed away in 1913 and a short year later the mother passes away in July, 1916.  What happened to the farm and house owned by her parents?  She had a job as a clerk in Concordia and could have stayed considering she should have inherited anything of value being the only child.  Did she sale and get money that allowed her to travel?  
       Estes Park, Colorado is where the 1920 federal census shows her residence and working as an operator for the local telephone company.  She is a boarder in the home of a couple who may be related to her, but that is not proven yet.  The surname is familiar to the family, that is where the assumption comes in.  Ten years later, in the 1930 federal census, she's rooming in Denver, Colorado.  As no occupation is given for her I wonder how she is supporting herself, and also wonder if she is furthering her education?  The 1940 federal census states she only completed the 1st year of high school, and yet, in 1940 her occupation is as a practical nurse.  
       Working as a private nurse in Glendale, California, she also lives with the family whom she cares for.  Again, according the 1940 census, she has been there since 1935.  Googling the house address, it's quite a nice house and seems roomy for the three people living there.  Considering she worked 49 weeks out of the previous year and made $490 ($8,245 in today's dollars), add her room and board to that, she seems to be doing well for herself.  When she passes at 74 years, 5 months young in Long Beach, California, I wonder what other adventures she has taken.  I'll now need to find newspaper clippings to get more of her story and hope to be around for the 1950 census release to see if she's still working or retired.

Monday, July 29, 2013

William M. SMITH (1832 - 1905)

       Entering into rest 11 Aug 1905, a husband of 54 years, father of 12 children (10 surviving at the time of his passing) with approximately 16 gandchildren (to date document supported information), other family (still to discover) and  undoubtedly numerous friends; a William M SMITH of Capron, Boone, Illinois was interned at Capron Cemetery.  That's just the glimpse into this 2nd great-grandfather's life.  How I got there is the fun of genealogy research.
       As I stated in my blog for Charles E. SMITH, William's youngest son, I had just got a new laptop and started perusing through my research and stumbled upon the FindAGrave website.  A query on Charles and Mattie brought up his memorial and those of his parents, William and Jane, and links to some of their children.  What elation to learn more about this family line and even more excitement after Internet discoveries gave me more information on this family.  With all the difficulties I had in finding information on this family, I wondered if they were just invisible, but they weren't - I just needed patience.  Here's what I know so far.
      William was born in Scotland, the exact location is not confirmed yet.  I have him in Moonzie, Perth and Angus County.  He got married in Scotland to Jane.  There first child, a son John, was born in Forfar, Scotland.  Three years later, William, Jane, and John are leaving on the ship Westpoint from Liverpool, England to New York City.  Finding work in Forfar at that time appears to be difficult, but what did William see to bring him to America?  Did he have family?  On the passenger list it says that he paid for his passage.  So where did he get the money?  He had to travel from Scotland to England and stay and wait for a ship to go, he would need money for all that, right?  There are other SMITH's and MELVILLE's listed on the ship, are they related?  Leaving around 30 Jun 1855 their arrival to Castle Garden Immigration Center, NYC on 11 Aug 1855 must have been muggy considering the time of year.  I don't know where they went once they left the center, but they might have stayed around New York city for awhile, because they don't arrive in Chicago until 1856, I deduce this since his next son William is born in Cook County, Illinois, in 1857.
       The 1870 federal census places him in Cook County, Illinois farming and Helen, James, George, Jennie, Alexander, and Robert are part of the family.  In 1880 federal census the family has relocated to Boone County, Illinois, and William is still farming.  Two more children have come along, Albert and Charles.  While John, George and Jennie have gotten married and started families of their own.  At the turn of the century, the 1900 federal census, no relocation has occurred.  The Smith family is still living on their farm in Boone County, Illinois.  This aligns with what Uncle Dale told me about the Smith family owning farmland in the northern part of the state.
       Five years later, William entered into rest at 73 years of age.  There is no obituary attached to his FindAGrave memorial and nothing was found at  I know there is more to discover on William - why he came, what did he do in New York, how did they get to Chicago, where is he in 1860, what kind of farmer was he, how much land did he have, who are his parents and siblings.  I could go on, but I think that's good for now.

Friday, July 26, 2013

John Harm DECKER's parents

       So in trying to find more material for John I did come across a family tree on ancestry that provided some clues to who John's parents might be, but I want to find the material that provides the same information before I put anything into a blog.  So that's the next step for that line, I'll put together and verify that the information before me is correct and than share the experience on the blog.  Signing off to write the next blog.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Mattie J. HASKINS 1888-1926

The female line can be difficult to further along, such is the case with Mattie Josephine HASKINS and several other female relatives.  The first I knew of Mattie being my relative occurred with finding the 1920 census.  From their I gleaned Mier HASKINS, her father, living with them.  So Mattie HASKINS was my great-great grandmother, but that’s as far as I got.  Never finding her father, mother or her in any prior year census’ with the last name HASKINS.  
What I have found out about Mattie in the last few years comes from or  I did learn that she had passed on from pneumonia in 1926.  That explained why I didn’t find her on the 1930 census with Charles.  The 1885 Nebraska census shows a discrepancy in the birth year versus the 1888 engraved on her tombstone.  Her mother is listed as Harriot WEAVER in the Illinois death certificate, so that’s another clue, one that I missed at first.  A few family trees have Maude AURINGER listed as her mother.  So I spent useless hours trying to figure out who her mother was, when I had the document right before me, and when I finally did stop and read it, I felt silly.  Mattie does have a sister Maudie, that’s from the 1885 Nebraska census, and I do find a Mattie HASKINS listed living close to Charles, but the mother’s name is Clara, so is it the same Mattie?  Also, where is the family in 1900?  You would think that the unique spelling of Mier’s name would bring you luck, but it hasn't due to the lack of a common spelling of names in that time period.  
With Mattie I’m going to have to implement the project based steps, as Midge Frazel discussed in her blog: Granite-in-my-Blood, to further discoveries of her.  So for now I put Mattie aside and forge ahead with organizing, analyzing, and blogging.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Charles E. SMITH (1878-1953)

Searching for family surnames is great, unless you have a very common one like Smith, Johnson, or Williams, than the task can be overwhelming.  Throw in the first name of John, Charles or William and you can get families crossed.  Such is the case with grandma’s father, he has a common name Charles SMITH.  I know this because I found her on the 1920 census with her father and mother, Mattie.  After she passed I developed my love of genealogy and had no way of getting her family information from her, so I took to the census.
Going back in the census years Charles and his family are found in 1910, and 1900.  Going back further than 1900 was futile because there were five Charles SMITH’s in Illinois and I couldn’t ask anyone who Charles’ parents were to make identifying him easier.  Even the Social Security Index wasn’t helpful because of the seven possibilities there.  When the 1930 census came out I jumped on to see if it would reveal any new information about Papa Charles, what I found only gave me more puzzlement.  He was listed as a widow with four children, where did Nana Mattie go?  And where did the older kids move to?  I only knew where my grandma was but what of her siblings and with a name like SMITH that’s no easy task to work out.  Once I did develop a possible identity to a Charles in Illinois, but that proved to be a false lead.
In 2011, a laptop is purchased for exclusive genealogy use.  My desktop had crashed so I had to re-enter information that I couldn’t transfer out to a gedcom file.  The software that I had been using was outdated so I also learned a new family software program.  So sitting on my new laptop I began to explore and bookmark some websites and made my first search on  Typically when I search either my SMITH or DECKER surnames I get no hits, but I figure why not, it’s worth a try.  I enter grandma’s name and there is her headstone with grandpa’s.  There is a link to her parents.  I take a deep breath and exhale.  Is it possible, I anticipate as the page downloads, that I’ve broken through my wall?  That brick wall crumbled in milliseconds, there before my eyes is the tombstone of Papa Charles and Mattie SMITH.  Papa Charles has links to his parents and the parents have links to other children.  Copies of obituaries are there too and I’ve increased my family tree from a sapling to an oak.  Now knowing the names of Papa Charles’ parents, I find him in the 1880 census.
Here’s a little bit about Charles SMITH.  He was born 28 Sep 1878 to William and Jean SMITH, the youngest of ten children, growing up with five of the ten.  He lived his life in Boone County, Illinois only moving from LeRoy to Capron in 1930.  He helped his father farm the land and upon being married around 1906 he owned his own farm, where his family grew to seven kids.  In 1900 a KAZONE family lives near Charles, what’s interesting is that a Hattie HASKINS is the stepdaughter of the head of household, John.  Could this be Mattie whom he marries in 1906, or is it her sister?  Is Clara, the mother, also Harriet C.?  These are all questions to be explored later.  In 1920 Charles’ widowed father-in-law, Mier HASKINS, is living with the family and six of the kids.  In 1925 Mattie has passed away from illness, but it doesn’t explain why widowed Charles is renting a house for $7 month in 1930, what happened to the farm?  Only four children remain in the house at that point and he seems to be supporting the family as a Chauffer in the Transfer industry, meaning he was a driver.  His obituary says he died in the hospital, after suffering a stroke at home.  There are questions still needing to be answered:  Where did he marry Mattie?  Where is he living in 1940?  What happened to the farm?
Through my aunt’s site at I find additional information on this SMITH family and fill in gaps and click through information that gives a better picture of my family.  I even confirmed a few of Charles and Mattie’s children from a trip in 2008 to the LDS Family History Library, a surprise birthday trip my husband had planned.  He even sat in the library while I rummaged among the shelves.  Definetly a trip worth taking again!