Thursday, October 17, 2013

Monday, October 14, 2013

A Return to the Blog

I feel bad. Really bad. I started this blog over a year ago, made a few posts, and stopped. It was not my intention to stop. Life just got busy. I manage two blogs, this one and Adventures of a Jayhawk Mommy. The latter is my primary focus so it deserves a little more attention. And, it needed it at the time. Also, I was expecting my second child at the time of my last post. Exhaustion was overtaking me as I entered my last trimester. It took a lot just to manage my oldest daughter, much less a blog, any blog. Then, the baby arrived. Her arrival meant I didn't have time for any genealogy research, much less a genealogy blog.

My baby is now 11 months old. Her birthday is less than a month away. She depends on me less. I have a little more time to accomplish other things. That being said, my other blog, Adventures, has been taking up more time. I'm pushing to monetize it. It takes a lot of time and effort. Yet, I feel the need to get back to researching and exploring my history. Once a genealogist, always one.

I think part of my inspiration to get back to it was watching the recent episodes of Who Do You Think You Are?. The show has even given me a new focus to my research. I want to learn more about each person in my line. I know it won't always be possible. It would be nice if I could learn more about their histories than just where they lived and when.

My next blogs will be focused on that very issue. I have several of my Great-Grandmother's diaries. I need to transcribe them. I will be doing that through my blog. While doing so, I hope to explore the history of her area at the time so I can put her diaries in context. We'll see how it goes.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Carrie Alice Williams (1883-1967)

Great-Grandma Carrie on her wedding day to her first husband,
my Great-Grandpa John William Scott, 14 Jan 1905.
My Great-Grandmother Carrie Alice Williams was born in Miller County, Missouri on 5 February 1883 to Napoleon Preston Williams (1846-1922) and Eleanor Elizabeth White (1853-1926).  She was their fifth child. She married at the age of 21 to my Great-Grandfather John William Scott (1881-1936), and they had six children: Edward Arnold (1907-1908), Ines Lorraine (1910-1994), Grace (1911-1917), twins Leslie Clyde (1913-2004) and my Grandfather, Wesley Clarence (1913-1986), and Bonnie Louise (1915-1994).

From the stories I have heard, the marriage between John and Carrie was not a happy one.  It was full of struggles.  It has become clear that my Great-Grandpa likely suffered from depression, and quite possibly, bipolar disorder. Carrie likely also had some sort of mental illness.  The descriptions I received from my Grandma Scott of Carrie were not very nice.  She described Carrie as being a hateful woman that she did not like one bit.  Apparently, my Great-Grandmother wanted things her way and if it didn't go that way, she was not happy about it.

Around 1924, she and my Great-Grandfather divorced.  She was remarried soon after to a man by the name of John Piedmont Smith. I have not found much information on him. I know he was born around 1894 in Oklahoma.  That is about all I know about his history. It has come out, over the years, that it is likely that he abused my Grand-Aunt Bonnie.  We don't know that for positive, but something he did to Bonnie led to my Grandpa Wesley Scott, around 14 at the time (circa 1927), confronting John Smith. The confrontation turned into a physical altercation resulting in my Grandpa leaving home and going it on his own.  Carrie Williams ended up divorcing him sometime before 1940.  She never married again.

My Great-Grandmother was by no means a perfect woman. She had a lot of anger. I can only imagine what led to that. Right now I am reading and transcribing some of her diaries in the hopes of better understanding who she was and why she was they way she was.  I have 7 diaries to go through.  I am currently working on the earliest dated one, from 1921, the only one written while she was married to my Great-Grandfather.  The others are dated in the 1940s.They are proving interesting reading, and I plan to include them in the blog in the near future.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Searching Crawford County, Missouri

In 1832, Allen Davis (1809-1886), my 3rd great-grandfather, bought land and settled in Crawford County, Missouri. The land he bought was on Whittenburg Creek on Dobkins farm.  Three years later, he married my 3rd great-grandmother, Missouri Scott (1821-1890), who was likely born in Crawford County, Missouri (still looking for proof).

Since that time, my family has lived in Crawford County. My great-great grandfather, Moses Henry Davis (1842-1915) was the postmaster of a town that ended up becoming named Davisville because of him.  Additionally, I still have some first cousins there (once removed, mind you).  In fact, my mom's first cousin, Lyle, is the police chief of Steelville, the county seat. It is strange when you think about your family living in an area for at least 180 years.  Other families married into the Davis line, like the Martins and Deweeses, who all settled there by 1850.  Some family members left, but often not to far. Most remained in Missouri over the years, quite a few in St. Louis.

Crawford County is not particularly large.  It has a population of around 25,000.  I am probably related, in some way, to a good portion of that population.  So, it is not particularly surprising that I spend a lot of time doing research on the inhabitants of that county.  I am working on my family tree going down. One of my best resources in recent years has been the Steelville Star-Crawford Mirror, the local paper.  I find some family gossip on occasion, but mainly look to it for obituaries which help me flush out my line.

Currently, I have been going through the 1940 U.S. Federal Census, township by township.  I look for the surnames I have become familiar with over the years and see if they match up with people in my tree; names such as, Davis, Martin, Deweese, Setzer, Britton, England, Worley, and Turnbough, just to name a few.  It has been taking me a while to get through just one township because I am related to so many people.  However, I do love that I have a place that I know is rich with my family history.  You can't beat that.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Looking for the Dead

Lately, I have been quite busy going obituaries. Lots and lots of obituaries.

Obituaries are a great resource of information, whether going up the tree or down.  A good obit lists the birth date, death date, parents' names, and, if it is really fabulous, even a marriage date. 

When I am looking at an obituary, I try to pull every piece of information I can from it, from sibling names, to children and sometimes, if I am lucky, grandchildren.  

The obituaries I am focusing on now all come from Crawford County, Missouri.  My maternal grandfather's family has lived there for many generations.  In fact, the Andrews family (from North Carolina), the Martins (from Casey County, Kentucky and before that Albemarle, Virginia), and the DeWeeese family (from Cumberland County, Kentucky) all settled in Crawford County at some point before 1850.  The Davis family, though, has been there the longest. They first settled in Crawford County on Whittenburg Creek in 1832.

Generation after generation of these families have stayed. I still have first cousins (granted, once removed) who still live in Crawford.  So, when I go through the obituaries, I merely do a search of my tree to see if I'm related to any of the people listed in the obituaries. More times than not, I am. 

Currently I have gone through all the obits from 2000 through half of 2001. My plan is to catch up and go through all of the obits, including the current ones. Luckily for me, the GenWeb site for Crawford County has all of these obituaries online. What a fantastic resource!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Tapley Daniel, 1785-1874

Tapley Daniel is my 4th great-grandfather. He has also been a challenge to research. You would think that with a name like Tapley, he would be easy to find. It hasn't been easy, but I am slowly gathering more and more information.

Tapley was likely born in Wake County, North Carolina at some point around 1785.  I know he was born in North Carolina from the census information I have gathered. Wake County is my best guess because his father, Benjamin Woodson, was from that part of North Carolina.  However, I don't yet have solid evidence that Benjamin was his father. I will get back to that later.

What I find most confusing is his date of birth. That may sound strange, but it seems that in almost every census, he was recorded as being born in a different year.  For example, in the 1850 census, he was listed as being 65. This age would place his birth sometime around 1785.  However, in the 1870 census, he was listed as being 90, placing his birth around 1780. 

I am not quite sure as to when he got married. The census didn't record that. Based on his age, and that of his wife, Keziah "Kizzy" Thornhill (1800-1870), it is likely they married between 1820 and 1830.  Kizzy was born in Tennessee.  It is likely that is where they got married.  My grandmother recorded their daughter Martha's birth as being in Sumner County, Tennessee in 1830. This information is backed up by the 1830 U.S. Federal Census has them living in that county at that time.  Ten years later, they were living in Perry County, Tennessee.  

Tapley and Kizzy had at least 3 children: Martha C. (my 3rd great-grandmother), John, and Lucinda. All three were born in Tennessee.  It is possible there were 2 more children, based on the 1830 Census, but I have not found any detailed information on them.  

From Tennessee, Tapley and his family moved to Missouri.  The earliest recorded information I can find, online, is a land record where he purchased 40 acres of land on 1 January 1849 in Greene County, Missouri.  Tapley remained there for the rest of his life, dying only a few years after his wife.

One of these days, I plan on going down to Greene County, Missouri to dig at the courthouse. I hope to find more information on Tapley, like an exact date of death, land records, and a will.  I would also love to go to Sumner County , Tennessee to dig for information on his life there.  

As I wrote in my last blog entry, I am missing source information. In this case, I obtained my information on this line from my Grandma Scott.  My father has done more research going back from Benjamin, Tapley's father, but I want to confirm, first, that Benjamin is his father.  There are some hints that it is correct. They lived in the same geographic areas around the same time. The dates fit. It is quite plausible that Tapley was Benjamin's son. What I would like to find is something more solid than conjecture.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Finding Sources

When I started working on my family genealogy, I inherited quite a bit of information from my Grandma Scott who had researched for many years. I was very blessed in that. Unfortunately, I did not know the importance of documenting my sources of information. I would find something and just plug it into my tree then move on. I will admit that I did this for about 5 years until the light finally went on. It finally hit me that knowing where I got the information was EXTREMELY important. How did I miss that? It seems inconceivable to me that I didn't automatically know this, especially when you consider I have a Master's in psychology and did a thesis.

For the last several years, I have slowly been going through my tree trying to find all my sources for my family history. I have gotten quite a bit. In fact, I would guess that I have found the sources for 95% of the research I did. However, the stumbling block I am running into is in finding the documentation for the research my Grandma did.

You see, when I started researching, my grandmother was no longer researching. In fact, she seemed hostile to the idea in many ways. I remember asking her for some information. I was quite frankly told that she was no longer investigating the tree and didn't want to look at it again. To say the least, my disappointment was immense. Here was a woman who knew so much and could be a huge help, but she did not want to assist me in any way on our family tree.

My Grandma Scott passed away over 10 years ago. When my parents went through her belongings, they found very little genealogy research. It seems that my grandma got rid of the vast majority of her research. Devastating.

The stuff that is missing is likely her sources of information. I have lots of birth dates, death dates, marriage dates for ancestors, but no source of where it was found. I trust my grandma's research, for the most part, but would love to know where she found it all. I would like to appropriately document the research with the appropriate sources. Eventually, I am sure I will find it all, but until then, I will just focus on providing the proper documentation as I do my research.