Monday, June 30, 2014

Uncle Floyd Everhart

I guess it is not too surprising that I am finding linked photos in my collection, considering that most of the photos that hit antique stores are purchased in lots at estate and garage sales.  Here is another example of discovering that my chosen photo for the day is connected to photos from three previous blog entries.

The photographer's stamp for this photo is Bryant, 103 Monroe St., Grand Rapids, Michigan.  I found two listings for W. D. Bryant at this address in the City Directories for Grand Rapids, in 1895 and 1897.

I had no problem finding Floyd Everhart in the census records and there were a few family trees that gave the vital statistics.  I found no scandal or dramatic stories and no military information or newspaper articles, so it appears that Floyd Everhart was just an average person who lived an average life.

Floyd Johnson Everhart was born April 11, 1855, in Wayland, Michigan, a twin to brother Ephraim about whom I could find nothing more than mention in a lineage book.  I suspect he may not have lived to maturity, for in 1870 I find the family living in Ottawa County, Michigan, with the following household members:  father Samuel, a wagon maker, age 40 and born in New York; mother Eliza (Child), age 32 and also born in New York; Floyd, age 15; Carrie, age 12; and George, age 6.

Floyd married twice, the first time on November 29, 1877, to Mary Josephine Gilbert.  (It is Mary Josephine who provides the connections to the other blog entries, see below.)  Some of the family trees submitted to Ancestry show a son George, but I found nothing to support this fact.  In 1880 Floyd's brother George is shown in the household with Floyd and Josephine and could have been confused for a child of the couple.  George is also enumerated in his father's household, but it is easy to see that the two Georges are the same person, being the same age and the same occupation of "varnisher".  Still, I was unable to locate Floyd in the 1900 census and by the time he reappears in 1910, any children could have been grown and out on their own, so it could very well be that he had a son he named for his younger brother.

The death records for Michigan reveal that Mary Josephine died on March 23, 1895, in Grand Rapids.  Four years later Floyd remarries on May 5, 1899, to Louisa Farr (who was entering her third marriage). Floyd and "Luella" are living in Grand Rapids in 1910, where Floyd is working as a grocer.  In 1920, Floyd and "Lula" have moved to Walker in the same county and Floyd has taken up farming.  Floyd died on August 2, 1928, in Wyoming, Kent County, Michigan.  I was not able to locate the cemetery where he was buried.

Now for the threads of connection within this blog.  Mary Josephine Gilbert was the daughter of Thomas and Deantha (Ackerman) Gilbert.   One of her brothers was Warren Joseph Gilbert, who was the first husband of Maude Bristol Gilbert Alexander Bush, whose story was told in Endurance.  It turns out that Julia Hunter, one of the photos discussed in Hunter Photos is also a Gilbert sibling.  There may be connections to the Haas Photos as well since as I mentioned elsewhere the handwriting on all of these photos is strikingly familiar.

Extraneous note and confession...I thought when I began to research Floyd's records that he  was going to prove to be connected with the preacher who ministered to the folks around McDade for years and years.  I dug out the pastor's obituary, confident that I was onto a solid connection, only to be reminded that the beloved minister was Eberhart and not Everhart.  Oh, well.


Friday, June 27, 2014

The Well Traveled Clergyman

I approached this photo with trepidation because I only had a surname and a Canadian location.  I had not done any research in Canadian records and wasn't sure when I began just what is online to work with.  I was relieved to discover there were plenty of records available to help me locate the correct gentleman.

I began by looking for information about the photographer, Wm. Craig, operating out of St. Catherines, Ontario.  I was able to pinpoint Mr. Craig's activity in St. Catharines to 1871.  Estimating that the gentleman pictured was about 40 years old, I began to search for a Rev. Brookman born about 1830.

The 1871 Canadian census listed a William Brookman, clergyman for the Church of England, residing in Ontario, age 42.  I felt like this was probably my man and further research made me even more confident.  In the Rev. Brookman's household was his wife Elizabeth, age 45, and five children.  Rev. Brookman and his wife were both born in England, as was their oldest daughter Ada, age 17.  The next two children, Catherine, age 15, and William, age 13, were born in India.  The youngest two, Helen, age 11, and Edith, age 9, were both in Canada.

I moved back to the 1861 census and found the family living in Dorchester in Southwestern Ontario.  I also found three members of the family listed again in Malahide Township.  I'm not sure of the rules for Canadian censuses, so I have no explanation for this odd occurrence.  The full family listing in the first instance adds the information that daughter Catherine was born in "Madrid" (which should have been Madras, India), son William, born in some completely illegible scrawl, and daughter Helen born in West Canada.  The second census entry gives only the father and daughters Ada and Catherine, with the notation that they normally reside in Dorchester.  I can only guess that the three were visiting or traveling and got caught by a census taker a second time.

At this point I went back to Ancestry and started looking for submitted family trees and found several.  The more I looked at these family trees, the more I was convinced that I had the right man.

William Brookman was born on May 20, 1829, in Hampshire, England, to parents William Sr. and Eliza Martha (Tate) Brookman.  William Jr. would marry three times.  His first marriage on October 20, 1853, occurred at St. Mary's in Lambeth, Surrey, England, to Elizabeth Jane Harvey.  It is the marriage to Elizabeth that produces all but one of his children.  Elizabeth was born November 21, 1824, in Dorset, England, gave birth to all the children listed above in the 1871 census, and died on June 25, 1872.  She is buried in the Trinity Anglican Cemetery in Morpeth, Ontario.

A few years later William married Julia Henrietta Ball on April 21, 1875, at St. Mark's in Niagara, Ontario.  Julia was 31 to William's 46 and was soon expecting Herbert.  Unfortunately both the baby and Julia died just days after his birth.  The baby, born on March 22, 1876, lived two days.  His mother died five days later on March 29th, a month before she would have celebrated her first wedding anniversary.

William married a third time on February 25, 1879, to Anna Cornwall at St. Andrew's in Grimsby, Ontario.  No one provided a death date for Anna but supposedly she is buried in St. Andrews Anglican Cemetery in Lincoln, Ontario.

Rev. Brookman's four daughters by Elizabeth all married, the two oldest at the Christ Church at St. Catherine's during his tenure there as rector.  Son William died in 1877 at the age of 18 or 19.  I was not able to find any information regarding his early death.

A short bio I found for Rev. Brookman states that he immigrated to Toronto in the late 1840s after a number of years in the East Indies.  He was an ordained minister in the Church of England, but left the Church to establish his own Church of the Baptized Believers.  Apparently he requested that his church be dissolved upon his death and his request was honored.

It appears that Rev. Brookman was a minister who was willing to lead his congregation in the building of new church buildings.  When he was rector of the St. John's Anglican Church (1858-1863), the construction of their building began in 1861 under his direction.  While Rev. Brookman was rector of the Christ Church at St. Catherines, a post he assumed in 1876 and left in 1880, the congregation began a new building which became the St. Thomas Church.

One of the earliest mentions I find for Rev. Brookman is in a history of a Canadian oil town named Petrolia.  During its early days, The Church of England first held services in Fletcher & Boswell's barroom.  The bar would be curtained off and the congregation would be seated facing away from it.  Rev. Brookman "the sailor preacher" would lead the services.

A Brooklyn, New York, newspaper mentions Rev. Brookman in a small article in September 1890, noting that he would be delivering a sermon on "The Resurrection Needful for Future Life" to a meeting of the Association For the Promotion of Christian Knowledge.  This would have been after he formed his own church, for the article also mentions that "Rev. William Brookman, pastor of an independent church at Toronto, Ontario, and for many years a Church of England clergyman" had stepped in as a substitute speaker, making an extemporaneous address to the group.

Rev. Brookman wrote at least two publications, one book sized and one booklet sized.  "The Destiny of Mankind" was published in 1899 and "The Future of the Non-Elect Dead, the Vast Majority of Mankind in All Ages" was published in 1906.

Rev. William Brookman died on April 5, 1907, in Toronto and is buried there in the Mount Pleasant Cemetery.  His tombstone includes a large carving of an anchor to symbolize his long tenure as Chaplain to the Navy Veterans.


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Chatting Over the Fence

Today's photo did not turn out to be one of those research efforts that produced a lot of information, although I think I did manage to identify the two subjects.

In my personal photography, I tend to go for the unposed, casual shots of family and friends.  You get some odd results with that approach, but sometimes some unusual and interesting results.  I think this photo falls into the unusual and interesting.

The man and woman seem to be visiting…I don't really get that there is a romantic thing going on here, but I guess there could be.  That huge bank of vines hides most of the detail of the woman, but I love her hair and the way she was caught hanging her arms across the greenery.  I love the man's straw hat and relaxed posture and the way his sleeves are rolled up in what you know was in reaction to the typical Texas heat.

The identification on the reverse includes a faded penciled "Luther and Nan" which has been over written with a typed "Mr. Luther Milstead and Miss Nan Simms, San Antonio Texas, Aug 09".

The most likely match for the man is Madison Luther Milstead, born February 18, 1883, in Madisonville, Texas, who by the time of the 1900 census is living in Tyler County, Texas, in central east Texas.  Luther's death certificate gives his parents as Allen Milstead and Martha Risinger, but apparently his father either died or is out of the picture when Luther is still quite young.  In 1900 his mother has remarried to Francis Marion Bass and the census tells us that they have been married since about 1886 and have at least five children of their own.

I was unable to find Luther in 1910, but I did find his WWI draft registration of 1918.  That shows him living in Kirbyville, Texas, and working as a drug clerk in Orange.  His nearest relative is given as Mrs. M. E. Bass (mother) and his description as medium height, medium build, brown eyes, black hair and with the history of a fractured arm.

Two years later, the 1920 census shows him living in Beaumont, Texas, still a drug salesman, boarding in the home of Joseph McKenzie.  Luther has with him a new wife, Louise Barbin, who he married on December 31, 1919.   In 1930 I was unable to find the couple, but in 1940 they are living in Port Arthur and Luther has become a collector for a retail clothing store.  I never find any mention of children born to the couple.  The last record I find for him before his death is his WWII draft registration, confirming his birthplace of Madisonville and showing his employment at that time with the Jefferson County Food Stamp Plan in Port Arthur.

Luther died on December 24, 1963, in Beaumont, after falling from his back porch, fracturing his left hip and ultimately dying from a pulmonary aneurysm.  His occupation is given as collector for White House Dry Goods, and the informant is his wife Louise.  He is buried in the City Cemetery in Kirbyville.

Louise survived her husband by nine years before dying on February 26, 1970.  She is buried in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Beaumont.

Shifting to Nan Simms, I think I may have found the right woman in a Nancy Simms who is living in San Antonio in 1910.  There is a photo of Nancy Simms attached to a public family tree in Ancestry, taken when she is middle-aged with grandchildren, and the eyes and cheeks are the same as the young woman in this photo.

Nancy Simms was born June 23, 1888, to parents Thomas and Josephine (Dunn) Simms.  Thomas was a traveling salesman, making me wonder if he was a colleague of Luther Milstead.  She married Lawrence Bartholomew Walker on June 5, 1912, and they had several children.  She died on April 27, 1962, in San Antonio, and is buried in Chapel Hill Memorial Garden.  Her obituary is found in the San Antonio Express-News and tells us she had one son and three daughters and at the time of her death 10 grandchildren.

This photo catches Luther and Nan in the prime of youth, before marriage and children and wars.  A happy couple on a summer's day in 1909 in San Antonio.


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Flapper Bride

This wedding portrait is particularly interesting to me.  I knew before I started searching that this had to have been taken in the 1920s.  The wedding dress is indicative of the flapper style of the time, with the dropped waistline.  I love the way the streamers from the bouquet hang down, looking like they are a part of the dress.  I love  the way her veil pools on the floor.  I love the little vase of flowers on the pedestal.  The composition of the entire photo is just so pleasing.

There is no photographer's mark on this photo, so I don't know who deserves the credit.

The identification on the reverse reads:  "_____? Richter, Minnie Pillack" and an additional note beneath reads:  "Minnie baked Martha Zschech's wedding cake 5/28".

There was plenty to work with here, so it did not take me long to identify the couple.  Clara Minna "Minnie" Pillack was born August 8, 1905, in Fedor, Lee County, Texas, to parents Carl Edward Andreas and Clara (Faske) Pillack.  On November 4, 1928, in Fedor, Minnie married Max John Christian Richter, born February 16, 1904, in Walburg, Williamson County, Texas, to parents Traugott and Minna Magdalene Hulda (Schneider) Richter.

Perhaps the name Pillack rings a bell?  This was another case of connecting to another photo in my collection.  Minnie's sister Bertha was featured in an earlier post, Photo Anomalies.

Minnie and Max seem to have lived an average life.  They relocated to Alice, Texas, where Max worked as a farmer.  I was able to locate evidence of several children born to the couple.  In the 1930 census they are brand new first time parents.  Max, age 26, and Minnie, age 25, have a one month old daughter, Doris.  By 1940 the family has grown considerably.  Daughter Doris is 10, daughter Joyce is 8, daughter Mary Ann is 6, daughter Elfrieda is 4 and Edward (shown as a daughter in the census, but I suspect is really a son) is seven months.  At least one more child is born, in 1941, son Lawrence Ray Richter who I found searching the Texas death records.  There may be others, but records are harder to dig out past 1940 due to privacy restrictions.

There was not much more to be found for this couple, but I did find a mention in the Corpus Christi Caller-Times on July 2, 1961.  Max Richter tied with another local farmer in Jim Wells County for the honor of "first bales" of cotton for the season.

All in all, it appears they lived a normal farming life in Alice.  Minnie died in 1984 and Max in 1991.  Both are buried in Zion Cemetery in Walburg.

I had one more tiny mystery to solve before I left this couple.  I wanted to see if I could find Martha Zschech, whose wedding cake was baked by Minnie Pillack in May of 1928.  It did not take me long to find her, and when I did I was astonished to find a photo that is very reminiscent of the photo here.

Martha Zschech married Edwin Wagner on May 20, 1928.  Martha and Edwin are buried in the Trinity Lutheran Church Cemetery in Fedor and their burial information and wedding photo is posted on Find a Grave.  I hope that Minnie baked Martha's wedding cake because they were close friends, although I realize that Minnie might just have been a gifted baker who was hired for the job.  But my gut tells me that these two girls had grown up together and were close friends who both just happened to get married in the same year.


Monday, June 23, 2014


When I start a new research project, I flip through the pile of photos in my rescue box and look for something to pull me to a particular photo for that day.  Today this photo caught my eye because of the necklace draped over the collar of this lady's blouse.  I thought at first it was a locket, but when I pulled out a magnifying glass and studied it closely, I think it is instead a coin or medallion of some kind that is suspended not from a necklace chain but from a chain attached to a pin at the collar.

The young lady's profile looks so serene, her hair tucked back into a chignon looking so elegant.  The photograph was taken at Swarthout Studio in Ludington, Michigan, I'm guessing about 1890.  The identification on the reverse reads "Maude Bristol Gilbert, Warren's wife".

Elegant and serene is not what I found as began digging in the records.

Maude Eleanor Bristol was born July 1, 1876, in Ludington, to parents Peter M. and Rebecca Jane (Fuller) Bristol.  When she was 18, she married a local saloon keeper, Warren Joseph Gilbert, seven years her senior, on March 6, 1895.  Ten months later, Maude gave birth to their only child, Norman Jay Gilbert.

The marriage did not last very long.  On April 28, 1899, Maude was granted a divorce on the grounds of desertion and non support.  Ironically, her ex-husband died a few months later, on August 9, 1899, of "congestion of liver" (cirrhosis) and "hemorrhage of bowels".

Maude did not let grass grow under her feet, because before the year was out she married a mill worker, William Alexander, on November 30, 1899.  She and her new husband and her 4 year old son are living in Lake Ann, Benzie County, Michigan, when the census was taken in 1900.  Again she married an older man, ten years her senior.  She and William had two daughters, Margaret Jane and Helen Irene.

Maude's second marriage was also brief.  By the 1910 census she had been widowed and is shown as head of a household including 13-year-old son Norman, 9-year-old daughter Margaret, 6-year-old daughter Helen and her mother, Rebecca Bristol.  Maude is employed as a factory laborer.  This census records gives us the information that Maude had given birth four times and 3 of the children were still living.  A check of the Michigan death records reveals that Maude gave birth to a son, Luther Alexander, in 1902, who died at the age of 1 on September 17, 1903.

Maude married yet again, on December 9, 1910, to retired farmer William H. Bush.  This time there was a 30 year age difference and she was again widowed by the time of the 1920 census.  Another daughter, Ruby, had joined the family about 1913.  At the time of the 1920 census, Maude is living with her 3 daughters, ranging in age from 19 to 7.  Son Norman had married in 1917.

Maude seems to have remained unmarried the remainder of her life.  In 1930, she and her youngest daughter Ruby, then 17, are living with the family of her son Norman.  Maude is working as a practical private nurse.

The last mention I find of Maude is a newspaper item, found in a personals column, which mentions that Mrs. Maud Bush of Traverse City had spent the previous 10 days visiting her daughters, Mrs. Lloyd Schumaker and Mrs. Russel Bluckner, before leaving for Ann Arbor to receive medical treatment at University Hospital.  This item was printed on March 12, 1934, and somewhat a foreshadowing.  Maude died on January 27, 1935, and is buried in the Lakeview Cemetery of Ludington, Michigan.


Friday, June 20, 2014

Unexpected Links

This badly damaged photograph was purchased in Smithville, Texas.  It presented a bit of a challenge to identify because the original photographer's mark has had a label pasted over it that I did not want to remove.  The label includes a town, but the state had either worn off or been torn off at some point.  Still, I had several clues to work with, so I set to work.  About an hour later, I had a bit of a surprise when I realized this photo was connected to another in my rescue collection.  If not for these research exercises I've assigned myself, I might never had made that connection because the connection was buried a couple of generations down.  

The complete identification notes for this photo read "The uncle who loved and helped me" "Aunt Marys husband" "Papa's sister" "Uncle Robert" "R. E. Gutherie, Guthriesville," and faintly at the bottom "helped me through school".  Obviously the notations were made at different times.  Some are in pencil and there is at least 3 different colors of ink, plus a typed label.  The handwriting varies.  Lots of clues, but common names that might appear anywhere in the country.

The obvious beginning point was to find Guthriesville.  Only one popped up with a Google search, a town in Pennsylvania.  I moved over to Ancestry and tried to find a census record from 1850-1880 for a Robert Guthrie in Pennsylvania.  No match.  There were two possibilities in 1870, a Robert Guthrie with wife Mary in Missouri and a Robert Guthrie with wife Mary in South Carolina.  I moved to the public family trees and found a tree for both of these Robert Guthries and picked up the maiden names for their respective wives.

I went back to Google and tried Guthriesville in combination with Missouri - no match.  But, when I ran a search on Guthriesville in combination with South Carolina, I got a hit.  A gazetteer website pinpointed a Guthriesville in York County, South Carolina, but had no other information.  Back to Ancestry and the census I went.

Concentrating on the Robert and Mary Guthrie I had located in South Carolina, I began to chase them from census to census and in 1860 they are listed in Guthriesville, York County, South Carolina.  Bingo.  Robert is a farmer in every census I find him.  In 1850 he and a Sarah J. Guthrie are living in the home of a Francis Irvine in York County.  No relationship is given to the head of household, but I suspect a little digging might prove a family connection.  Robert is shown as a laborer, but no occupation is given for Sarah.  My gut reaction was that Robert and Sarah were siblings who had lost their parents and were living with relatives, as they are shown intermingled with the Irvine family according to age.  My experience has been that lodgers/workers are generally enumerated after all family members in the household.

Moving to 1860, Robert is 31 years old and has married Mary, age 26.  There are no children.  In 1870, Robert E. and Mary J. have an apparent daughter, Ailcy, age 10.  In 1880, the household now consists of Robert, Mary and Robert's sister Jane S. (and I'm betting this is the same woman as the Sarah J. back in 1850).  Robert and Mary are in York County in all of the censuses and Robert is shown as a farmer.  In 1880, the sister Sarah is shown as postmistress.

A search of the public family trees on Ancestry produced one match.   In this tree, Robert E. Guthrie is shown as born in 1829 and died on December 4, 1891.  He married September 9, 1851, to Mary Jane Williamson, born November 24, 1834, and died March 10, 1909.  No children are shown and no information for Robert's parents or siblings is included.

I decided to check FamilySearch, not really expecting to find anything as the records for South Carolina are limited and always sketchy.  I did find Robert's will dated December 14, 1881, in which he leaves all property to his wife Mary Jane and appoints her as co-executor with a Jos. F. Wallace.  No property and no specific bequests are made.  The will is a brief paragraph leaving everything to his wife.

As a last ditch effort to find out anything more about this couple, I decided to go back and search the Ancestry family trees for Mary Jane Williamson with the dates obtained from the one family tree I had unearthed for Robert.  It was this last effort that surprised me with a link to another photograph I discussed here previously.

My intention was to try and identify who the photograph belonged to.  Did Mary Jane Williamson have a brother who might be "Papa"?  When I moved the focus of my search to Mary Jane, I found a detailed family tree that gave her parents (William Lewis Williamson and Sarah Jane Jeffrey) and her two brothers, William and John.  William Augustus Williamson lived his life in Tennessee, but John Jeffrey Williamson moved to Texas, living in Brazos and Hays counties.  I think "Papa" was John Jeffrey, also known as "JJ", Williamson.

So then I moved down to John Jeffrey's family to see who the possibilities were for the niece or nephew who was loved by Uncle Robert and who had been helped through school.  John Jeffrey Williamson married Mary Virginia Carlley and had several children.

A light went off in my head.  I remembered running into Mary Virginia Carlley before.  I did a quick search back through the photographs already discussed here and yes, she and son C. J. were the subjects of the photo discussed in the entry Genealogists Love Puzzles.  That photo was also purchased in Smithville, so I'm sure it probably came from the same source.  There are several possibilities for the person who made the notations on this photograph.  I want to think it might have been CJ himself, who became a lawyer, but there's no way to know for sure.

What I do know is that whoever wrote the words on this photograph, there was affection between that person and this Uncle Robert back in South Carolina.  It is unfortunate that this photo is so damaged, but I think the eyes show kindness.

And that white beard.  Uncle Robert would have been a great Santa Claus.


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Shadows Behind the Light

When I first acquired this photo, I just assumed it was a wedding portrait with a pair of parents alongside the happy couple.  I did not pay all that much attention to the identifications on the reverse; just confirmed that there was an ID for each of the persons in the photo.  When I finally paid attention, I realized that we had a much different situation here.  I'm now of the opinion that this is some kind of confirmation photograph.  

Before we get into the details of what I have learned about these folks, let's talk a bit about the photographer.  The photo was taken by John Trlica, who maintained a photography studio in Granger, Texas, from 1924 to the mid 1950s.  I was surprised to find an article about him on the Texas Escapes website, which linked to a book of his photographs that was compiled and published a few years ago and which book I found on eBay and am now waiting for it to arrive.  It turns out that John Trlica was an unusual man for his time and documented his hometown with photographs not only of the usual middle class white folks, but also of the poor folks, the Hispanics, the African Americans and other ethnic people of the area who were pretty much ignored in that day and age.  He took photos of scenery in and around Granger as well.  His legacy was the photo documentation of a small Texas town.  He drove around town with advertising covers on his spare wheel which carried slogans like "Photographs Live Forever" and "Photographs Tell the Story".   He must have been quite a character and I look forward to adding the book of his photographs to my collection of Williamson County history books.

Trlica was especially busy taking photographs of the Czech families in the area.  The subjects in this particular photograph were some of those first and second generation Czech citizens of Granger.

The identifications on the reverse read "Annie Naizer Rosipal", "Martha Bartosh Bigon (aunt)", "Henry F. Naizer" and "William Bartosh (uncle)".   It did not take me long to discover that we had here two sets of brother and sister:  Henry and Annie and Martha and William.

Annie and Henry were children of John Rudolph and Marcellina (Bartosh) Naizer.  Henry was the oldest of nine children in the 1930 census of Williamson County and Annie was the second oldest.

Records for Henry were difficult to find, but his death certificate gives the cold vital particulars:  born May 4, 1909, in Fayette County, Texas, and died October 8, 1980, buried in Calvary Cemetery in Granger.  He was married to a Mary Lee Mann and she is buried beside him.  His death certificate also tells us he was co-owner of a furniture and hardware store in Granger.

Annie's story is a short one.  She was born July 12, 1912, and married a Louis James Rosipal/Rozypal after 1930 (when she is still shown in her father's household).   Although there are numerous Rosipals buried in Granger cemeteries,  Louis and his parents were living in Sinton, Texas, for most of the available records.  So either they relocated shortly after Annie and Louis married or possibly they lived in Sinton all along and Louis knew Annie through relatives in Granger.  However they knew each other, their marriage was not a long one. Annie died on March 3, 1934, in Beeville, from a "toxic growth" resulting from toxemia during pregnancy.  She was 22 years old.  Her death certificate says burial took place in Granger, but I was unable to find where.  I suspect she was buried in Calvary Cemetery, since there is an "Unknown" Rosipal buried in an unmarked grave.

I tracked her widower for a bit.  Louis remarried and is buried beside his second wife in Sinton Cemetery.  None of the public family trees mention his first marriage, so I assume there were no surviving children of Louis' marriage to Annie to clue in the few genealogists who name him in their trees to the fact that there was even another marriage.  It turned out that Louis had his own tragic ending.  In July 1950, he and his wife were killed in a car collision west of Sinton.

William Bartosh and Martha Bigon were younger siblings of Annie's and Henry's mother Marcellina.  Their parents were Valentin and Filomena (Vacek) Bartosh.   Valentin and Filomena and most of their children are buried in Holy Cross Cemetery in Granger.   William and Martha fell in the middle of the Bartosh children, William being born July 3, 1889, and Martha being born February 2, 1901.

Martha married Joe E. Bigon and in 1930 they are shown as the owner and saleslady of a bakery in Granger.  Joe Bigon died in 1937 and is buried in Holy Cross Cemetery.  Martha's life took an apparently tragic turn and she died in 1946 in the Austin State Hospital of unknown natural causes with a note on her death certificate that an inquest was performed.  A notice in the Taylor newspaper a few months later issues a notice of final settlement to persons having a claim against her estate and that William Bartosh is guardian of the estate of Martha Bigon, a person of unsound mind.

William Bartosh married and worked as a bank cashier.  He died in 1968 from a heart attack and is buried in Holy Cross Cemetery.

What I took for a photograph with happy connotations (and hopefully at the time it was a happy occasion) ended up overladen with sadness.  I still wonder if this is a confirmation photograph of Annie or if it might be part of a photographic package done at the time of her wedding.  And why these particular 4 people when there were so many siblings of both generations in the area?  I would like to know if other photographs were taken that day and might tell the rest of the story.


Monday, June 16, 2014

Solemn Little Boy

It's been a couple of days since my last posting - I just took a break; no chance of running out of rescues  any time soon.

This photo was purchased in Elgin, Texas.  I couldn't resist this serious little boy in his dapper outfit.  This photo dates to the 1920s and the reverse has the familiar postcard markings.

The little gentleman is identified as Billy Hugh Simmons.  I wasn't able to dig out much information on Billy aside from the vital statistics.

Billy Hugh Simmons was born on April 7, 1921, in Dallas, to parents William Leander and Viona (Murley) Simmons.  In 1940 William was a night operator in the concrete operations of what I believe was a construction company.  The family was living in Greenville, Hunt County at the time of the 1930 and 1940 censuses.

On September 21, 1942, Billy Hugh Simmons enlisted to serve in World War II.  From what I could find, it appears he served in the Medical Administrative Corps of the Army.  I was unable to find a marriage record, but it appears that he married to Eva Francis Loftis after his service stint.  I found four birth records with parents Billy Simmons and Eva Loftis:  Billy Wayne Simmons, Eva Sandra Simmons, Robert Lee Simmons and Craig Allen Simmons.

Billy Hugh Simmons died on April 7, 1989, in Dallas, and is buried in Grove Hill Memorial Park.

It is always a little hard to find information for those whose lives extend into recent history, so we don't know much more about Billy Hugh except the basic vital statistics.

But I found it interesting to look into the eyes of this unsmiling little boy.  Can one see the hint of a soldier and father to be?


Thursday, June 12, 2014

From Mother to Son

Today's rescued ancestor led me down some interesting paths as I ran the normal searches through census and vital records databases.  The photo is in a tri-fold cover and was taken by Bryant Studios in Fort Worth, Texas.  On the lowest cover fold is inscribed "To Otto E. Wollner from Mother".

The Wollner family was quite well known in the Fort Worth area, so Otto was not difficult to find.  He was born in 1914, a twin, and died in 1975 in Fort Worth.  The 1930 census shows the family living in Fort Worth and consisting of father Carl, age 40, born in Germany and immigrated in 1909, mother Erica G., age 48, born in Germany and immigrated in 1912, and children Helen E., age 17, Charles E. and Otto E., twins age 15, Johanna M., age 9, and Chrystene, age 5.  All the children were born in Texas.  Carl's occupation is given as manager of the Panther Oil Company.

In 1940 the family is still all together, none of the children married, and Carl, age 50, is now shown as owner of his oil business.

A little digging produced the information that Carl Wollner, in partnership with a Mr. A. M. Pate, was a founding partner in the Panther Oil and Grease Manufacturing Company begun in 1922 in a tin barn on NE 20th Street in Fort Worth.  The company grew into Texas Refinery Corporation, one of Fort Worth's oldest businesses.   Apparently Mr. Wollner was an accomplished speaker as there are many newspaper mentions of his appearances at various churches and organizations to deliver motivational talks.  I was unable to find an obituary for him, but I did find several passing references to his death while on a trip in 1945.

The first newspaper mention I find for Carl and Erica Wollner is in the Galveston Daily News on February 6, 1912, where notice of a marriage license was issued to the couple.  I'm guessing that this was soon after Erica arrived in 1912.  Vital records tell us that daughter Helen was born on February 11, 1913, followed by the twin boys Charles and Otto on September 11, 1914, a stillborn son on June 26, 1918, daughter Johnanna on March 16, 1921, and finally daughter Patricia Christine on May 9, 1924.

From the various birth and death records available, plus a few family trees posted to Ancestry, I learned that mother Erica was born Gertrude Ida Erica zur Nedden in Altoona, Germany, on February 28, 1882, to parents Otto Carl Friedrich zur Nedden and Antoine Alwine Kruger.  She died on November 20, 1973, in Fort Worth.

To this point, all is fairly cut and dried facts.  I kept scanning about, hoping to find out something interesting about this family other than their connection to the oil business.  For fairly prominent citizens, I was not finding helpful obituaries or intriguing news articles (with one exception to be discussed later).  So I looked a few places that I really did not expect to find anything, just on the odd chance.

Fold3 is a subscription database of primarily military and government records.  Since Carl was an immigrant with a family, I didn't expect to find any military records, but I thought I might find a draft registration since he had been naturalized as a United States Citizen.  I really wasn't expecting to find an FBI file.  The contents were rather tame as those things go, but it was interesting nevertheless and something new to my research experience.  It dated to 1917 at a time when the government was keeping an eye on German sympathizers.

The first item in the file is dated December 13, 1917, and states that "at 4 o'clock Wednesday afternoon…one Carl Wollner…had a German flag flying over his home and that his wife had been making some very strong Pro-German remarks, one especially as follows:  'I have only one country, and that is Germany'. "  A Special Agent was dispatched to the Oriental Oil Company where Carl was employed as a credit man and he was brought in for an interview.  In addition to this incident, the office also had a report of a telegram that had been mis-delivered, intended to be delivered to Carl Wollner and which had raised the suspicions of the accidental recipient and subsequently reported to authorities.  In the telegram a Mr. Fisher had sent a message to Carl which read "For my sake please get out OK".   The telegram turned out to be in reference to an advertising pamphlet called O. K. Copy that the sender of the telegram was working on with Mr. Wollner.  The Special Agent closed this matter with the comment that Wollner has satisfied him as to his loyalty.

The last item in the file regards the failure of Mrs. Wollner to register under the Alien Enemy Act.  A letter had been received at the office from Mr. Wollner to explain her failure to register.  "For fear you would miss my wife's name in checking up the lists of German women registered here, I thought it best to notify you, as I did the Detective Department verbally, that Mrs. Wollner has been confined to the house for several weeks which prevented her from registering.  She will not be able to leave the house for several weeks because of the fact that she gave birth to a dead child today and she herself is in a rather precarious condition."  He goes on to say that she will register as soon as her condition will permit and provides the name of Dr. Jewel F. Daughety who is treating his wife.   The Agent in Dallas notes that he has verified the statement and will arrange for her registration when her condition will permit it.

The final item of interest I was able to find through newspaper searches was printed both in the Mexia Weekly Herald and in the Corpus Christi Caller-Times.  Carl Wollner had acquired an old Bible, one of the oldest and still legible Bibles in the United States, dating to 1665 and weighing 25 pounds.  It was a Lutheran Bible, printed in ancient German, with elaborate frontispiece and several pages of fine wood block prints.  It also contained an ancient map of the Holy Land.  The leather cover was embossed with a presentation date of 1670 in gold leaf.  The corners of the book were bound in brass work and a fine clasp lock.  The Corpus Christi article noted that it was a shame that the Wollner family, although German, could not read the ancient German, but that it was a prized possession.

One cannot help but wonder where that Bible is today.  All of the immediate family is now gone.  Daughter Johnanna was the last to die in 2012 in Poughkeepsie, New York.  The parents, daughter Helen and both sons are buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Fort Worth.


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Game is Afoot

Yesterday while browsing through the Antique Mall in Elgin, I flipped through a collection of antique photos and found several that were identified, a few that were priced too high for me to consider.  I ended up rescuing four of them. 

These were the first rescues in awhile.  I had toyed with the idea of dropping the whole endeavor, feeling sometimes like it is a futile effort, but this blog and the mini research exercises that it is providing me has rekindled the flame.

I had picked up a half dozen possibilities yesterday and was about to stop and decide who was going to make the cut to be rescued, when I picked up the following photo and it immediately went into the purchase pile.

Those who know me well know that I am a long term aficionado of Sherlock Holmes, having discovered the stories when I was in my teens and devouring them with gusto.  The love of the world of Sherlock Holmes has stayed with me throughout my life and at the moment I have a collection of Holmesian material that almost fills an entire bookcase.

So naturally when I turned this photo over and discovered it to be Mr. and Mrs. John Moriarty, I knew it had to come home with me.  (If you are not a Sherlock Holmes fan, Moriarty was his arch-nemesis.) I was confident there would be no problem chasing this couple down with a "rare" name like Moriarty and a photographer's stamp to work with.

Alas, Moriarty is not an uncommon name to be found in Massachusetts in the early 1900s and there were so many John Moriartys as to make me reel back in horror on my first census search.  There were John Moriartys everywhere and quite a number of them in the area of Holyoke where the photograph was taken.  Quite a few of the Johns had similar birth dates.  With no name for the wife, I was at a loss where to start.

I decided this could very well be a wedding portrait, probably in the 1890-1910 time frame, so I began looking in 1910 for a John Moriarty who had been married during that period.  Only one of the potential Johns fit the criteria and was living in Holyoke in 1910.  He is listed with wife Katherine and children Mary, age 7, John, age 5, Julia, age 4, and Edward, age 2.  The couple had been married 8 years, both born in Ireland, and John is working as a delivery clerk in a freight house.  

Looking for Johns and Katherines kept me busy for a little while, but it turned out that at least three of the John Moriartys in the area married a Catherine or Katherine.  So, I turned to the children.  Familysearch provided some birth indexes for Massachusetts and I found Julia Moriarty, born in Holyoke on March 14, 1906, to parents John Moriarty and Kate Maloney.  Moving on to Edward, I found him with parents John and Katie, born in Boston on January 18, 1908.  Switching to a search of the birth records based on parents John Moriarty and Katherine Maloney, I was able to find Mary V. Moriarty, born April 24, 1903, and John Moriarty, born July 23, 1904.  

I was feeling pretty good about things at this point.  It's not definitive enough to say that I had the right John Moriarty out of all the possibles in Massachusetts, but I felt like there was a pretty good chance I was on the right track.

With all this additional information, I went back to Ancestry and made a try for some public family trees that might fill out the picture (pun intended) for this couple.  I found ONE family tree, and got myself another puzzle when I did.

Keeping in mind that submitted family trees are only as good as the researchers behind them and with only one to use as a source so there's no way to find any corroboration between researchers, the following should be taken with a grain of salt.  However, the information does fit in with the scant records available.

John Moriarty is shown as born August 19, 1871, in Kilorglin, County Kerry, Ireland, to parents Patrick and Julia (Conner) Moriarty.  He died February 23, 1934, in Holyoke, Massachusetts.  (I was unable to confirm the death date in any of the online databases for Massachusetts.) 

This researcher shows that John was married twice, both times to a Catherine.  His first marriage took place in Holyoke on September 21, 1896, to Catherine Sweeney.  His second marriage took place on July 22, 1902, in Springfield, to Catherine Maloney.

Both marriages fit the time frame of the date I estimated for the photo, so this could conceivably be John with either of his wives.  (If it is this same John Moriarty at all.)

I went back to the 1900 census to see if I could find John with his first wife.  I was curious what had happened to her.  All the children in 1910 fit in with his second marriage, so if there were children of the first marriage, where were they?

In 1900, John and first wife Catherine are living in Holyoke, married 4 years, and John is a freight handler, which matches up to the information in 1910.  Catherine is shown as the mother of 2, but no child living.  That immediately made me wonder if her early death might have been in childbirth, but of course if could have been anything.  In any case, it appeared there were issues with her carrying a child to term, which would explain why there were no children of a previous marriage in 1910.  Also in the same household were two sisters-in-law, Annie and Julia Sweeney, and a brother-in-law, James Sweeney.

I guess it is only fitting that I bought the photo because of my affinity for Sherlock Holmes and at the end of this research exercise I still have a mystery on my hands.  


Sunday, June 8, 2014

Photo Anomalies

Today the puzzle is one of conflicting dates.  These are two photos that I have no doubt were taken by the same person.  The composition, the identical printing stamps on the reverse, the fact that the dresses worn by the two women look enough alike to possibly be the same dress.  It wasn't so unusual in the time period that one dress might get multiple uses, especially a pricey wedding outfit.  The veils, too, look identical.

In the first photo, we also have a ring bearer and flower girl.  In the second photo, it appears that there were two flower girls.  Unfortunately, the identifications on the reverse do not name the children, only the brides and grooms.

Both photos are stamped as being developed by the Fox Co. in San Antonio, Texas.  There is a copyright date of 1927, which I would expect to correspond with the happy nuptial events.  

And herein lies the anomaly.  Both couples appear in the 1930 census of Lee County, Texas, both couples listed as married 1 year.  All I can surmise is that for some reason the photo stamp was not current when the snapshots were developed.

Although I was able to find both couples in the 1930 and 1940 census records, I was unable to find much else in the way of background.

The first happy couple (I hope they were happy, they don't seem to be too happy about having their picture taken), is identified as Richard Noack and Bertha Pillack.  Richard Paul Noack was born January 2, 1903 and died June 30, 1991.  There were a lot of Noacks in the Lee, Bastrop and Fayette County area and I have not been able to definitively tie him to any particular Noack family.

Bertha Anna Pillack was born August 27, 1903, to Carl Andreas "Ed"  and Clara (Faske) Pillack.  She died January 26, 1975, in Giddings, Texas.  

The couple had a stillborn daughter on December 17, 1929.  Another daughter, Helen Ruth, was born on February 12, 1932.

Both Richard and Bertha are buried in St. John's Lutheran Cemetery in Lincoln, Texas.

Do I blame the photographer or the couples?  This couple, too, looks like they are lined up in front of a firing squad.  Maybe one photo too many that day?

The couple here are identified as Carl Symmank and Lena Walters.  This turned out to be slightly in error, unless Carl was a nickname.  The groom was, in fact, Charlie Friedrich Symmank, born February 5, 1907, in Lincoln, Texas, to August and Augusta (Werner) Symmank.  He died on January 6, 1968.  (All of this information from his death certificate.)

Lena Frieda Walters Symmank's parents could not be identified.  She was born on March 22, 1907, and died on December 26, 1998.

Both are buried in the Ebenezer Cemetery in Manheim, Texas.

Carl and Lena had at least 3 children, listed on the 1940 census as Earl, age 10, Ruby, age 6, and Eddie, age 1.


Friday, June 6, 2014

Surprises in the Hunt

You really never know where your genealogy searches will lead you.  I've had some jaw-dropping surprises pop up in my own family's research - a divorce with incredibly juicy accusations being flung about and a pension application that led me to tales of Indian fighting with Custer, among others.  You just never know when you will walk around a corner and run into one of those pieces of information that turns a normal family into one touched by scandal or intrigue.

Today's research exercise ended up with a twist I wasn't anticipating when I picked this photo of a nice-looking young couple out of the rescue box.  The photograph was taken by Garrison Bros. in Rifle, Colorado.  On the reverse is hand-written Mr. and Mrs. C. H. Butler, taken April 10th, 1909.

This looks a little bit like a wedding photo to me, so I started my search with the 1910 census in Garfield County, Colorado.  The date and the location gave me hope that I would be able to find a couple that fit, since initials can sometimes take awhile to tie down.  Sure enough, in the town of Cache Creek, near Rifle, I found Cassius H. Butler and wife Ethel J., married 1 year, and with a brand new baby Walter, aged 2 months.

With a little more information to go on, I began digging in the public family trees.  While none of them were very helpful, I was able to establish that Cassius Harrison Butler married Jennie Ethel Ridge on March 31, 1909, so this photo dates to just over a week after the wedding.  Cassius was born on December 23, 1889, in Nebraska, to parents Lafayette and Francis (Parnell) Butler.  Lafayette and Francis were also living in Garfield County, Colorado, in 1910 and FindAGrave lists their burial there.  Jennie Ethel or Ethel Jennie Ridge (the various records show the name in both formats) was born June 25, 1888, also in Nebraska.  No one had any information regarding her parents.  The public trees also gave me a death date for Cassius of February 24, 1967, in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Social Security Death Index and FindAGrave supplied a death date for Jennie/Ethel of November 19, 1970, in Fort Collins, Colorado.

My first inclination was to think that the family had eventually moved to Phoenix, Arizona, and that Jennie had gone back to family in Colorado after Cassius' death.   I almost stopped there in my research, but for some reason I decided to go back and take another look at the available census records.  I think I had in mind to see if I could find out how many children the couple had.  I had no idea I was about to run into a bit of a surprise.

In 1920 the couple is still in Cache Creek, Colorado, with three more children:  joining Walter (now age 9) was brother Lafayette, age 8, and sisters Ethel, age 3-10/12, and Elsie, age 1-4/12.

In 1930 the couple remains in Cache Creek and two more little girls have joined the family.  Now the family picture is Cassius, age 40; Ethel R, age 41; Walter, age 20; John L., age 18; Ethel M., age 14; Elsie R., age 11; Ellen F., age 10; and Genevieve E., age 8.

I figured at this point I might as well check 1940 and I'm glad I followed through to all available censuses, because it was in 1940 that the story gets interesting.

I had no trouble finding Cassius.  In 1940, he is listed as an inmate in the Colorado State Penitentiary in Fort Collins, Colorado.  Ethel J. Butler is also living in Fort Collins, running a private boarding house, as head of household and divorced.  In addition to an unrelated family who are apparently boarders, living with Ethel are her daughters Elsie and Genevieve as well as daughter Ethel Mae and husband Craig Morton.

Well.  No way was I going to stop here without trying to find out just what landed Cassius in prison.  It took awhile, but the answer finally surfaced as I searched through the archival papers at

On January 10, 1940, in the Greeley (Colorado) Daily Tribune, it was reported that three men had been sentenced to prison for high-grading gold concentrates from two Colorado mines.  One of these was Cassius Butler.

"At Fairplay, C. H. Butler of Fort Collins and D. W. Webster of Leadville were sentenced to two to three years for high grading from London Mines, Inc., at Alma.   ….Butler, Fort Collins grain dealer, and former shift boss at the London mine, and Webster, Leadville trucking contractor, were taken to the state penitentiary today by Sheriff S. H. Law of Fairplay.   …Butler was accused of taking (unreadable number) pounds of gold concentrates from the London mine.  Webster was charged with taking concentrates to Denver and selling them to the smelting company."

On February 19, 1940, in the Daily Inter Lake (Kalispell, Montana), a report appeared that was headlined "Four More Nabbed in Colorado High-Grading Inquiry".  Toward the end of the article is a little more information regarding Cassius.

"Earlier Ellis Webster, Fairplay trucker, and Cassius H. Butler, former foreman of the London mine and later a grain and feed dealer at Fort Collins, were convicted of high-grading $25,000 worth of ore from the London and were sentenced to from two to three years each in the penitentiary."

I never expected to find that the pleasant looking fellow in this rescued photo would turn out to be a gold thief.

You just never know where a genealogy research trail will take you and the last thing I expected was that I would end up in a gold mine in Colorado.  Along the way in my searching of the newspapers, I ran into a similar report about gold ore theft from the Mollie Kathleen mine in Cripple Creek, the same mine that Mother, David and I toured on a long ago trip.  The tour involved riding a tiny miner's elevator down thousands of feet below the surface, 9 of us crammed up against each other for the ride, and then walking in tunnels barely tall enough for a medium height person like myself to stand straight. How one would make off with raw gold ore in such conditions has me completely mystified.


Thursday, June 5, 2014

Baby to Manhood

When I began the research session for this photo of a young boy, I did not have high hopes that I would find much.  The identification on the reverse is "Ruffell Hathaway" and I was convinced that someone had misinterpreted the old-fashioned cursive "s" and this would turn out to be Russell.   In fact, the name of his young child was indeed Ruffell Hathaway and there were numerous records to be found to flesh out his story, including additional photos at other stages of his life.

The photographer was E. J. Covey of Stansberry, Missouri, and helpfully the stamp included the year of the photo, 1892.  Stansberry is in Gentry County, Missouri, and Ruffell was found living in Gentry County in 1900 with his parents, two brothers and two sisters.  There is some discrepancy in the records regarding the name of his mother, which the census shows as Sarah and the public trees submitted to Ancestry shows as Laura.  All of them agree his father is Elijah Elwood Hathaway.

The next census record I found was 1930, and by that point Ruffell was married with 3 children and living in Newcastle, Wyoming, working as a foreman for the railroad.  His wife, Mecia, was teaching school.  Ten years later in 1940, the family is still in Newcastle, with Ruffell working on a WPA project and Mecia working as a hotel maid.

Ruffell registered for the WWI draft in 1917, giving his full name as Ruffell Vanburen Hathaway, born on April 30, 1890, living in Roget, Wyoming, farming with a wife and three children to support.  He is described as short, medium build, brown eyes and black hair.  Under possible disability, he writes that he has suffered a broken ankle.

The family moved to California and are listed in the Los Angeles City Directory in 1949.  The California death index tells us that Ruffell died on March 19, 1956, in Los Angeles.  I was not able to uncover where he is buried, nor did I find Mecia's death record.  Ruffell's mother's name is still in question, as his death record indicates her maiden name is Pettit, while the family trees on Ancestry all show her as Laura Etta Neal.

Ruffell turns up in a number of family trees on Ancestry and several of them include photographs of Ruffell.  The following is a picture I would guess at somewhere in the neighborhood of age 12 and you can see a lot of similarity to the 2 year old in the photo I have in my possession.

A later photograph (I believe this is cropped from a larger photo with his brother that is also frequently present in these family trees) shows Ruffell much later in life.  I can still see a resemblance to the younger Ruffell.

I can think of only a couple of other instances in which I've found other photos online of the folks whose photos I've rescued.  This is the first time I've seen photos from 3 different ages.


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Gone Too Soon

Another young married couple is the focus for today.  The photographer was Sproul of Taylor, Texas, which dates the photograph to the general time frame of 1896 to 1900, the period of time that Sproul was definitely in operation in Taylor.

The identification is "Uncle Ernest & Aunt Jessie" and "Churchill Price's mother & father" and a third notation of "Mayme Williams Brother".

Information available was scant, but I did identify this couple as Ernest Churchill Price and his wife Jessie R. (Williamson), who had a son Churchill Price, born February 27, 1913 and died February 14, 1995, in Hays County, Texas.  I was also able to find a marriage date of April 17, 1894, in Hays County, Texas.

The only census I could find for the couple was 1920, Bexar County, Texas, with 6 year old son Churchill.  By 1930 Churchill was living with an aunt and uncle, George and Willie Rogers, in San Marcos.  My first question was immediately "Where are his parents?".  Churchill was 17 at the time of the census and I recognized that he might be living with them as work help of some kind, but no occupation was given for him.  My immediate hunch following that was that perhaps he was an orphan, and that hunch proved correct.

Ernest Churchill Price's death certificate does not give a birthdate but instead an estimate of his age at death as 55 years.  He died on September 24, 1922, in San Antonio, Texas, of a perforated ulcer and was shown as widowed.  His parents are named as Churchill Price and Mary V.  Carley. Searching the death index again, I found Jessie Williamson Price's death certificate.  She had died earlier in the same year on April 15, 1922, of encephalitis and influenza.  She was 49 years old, with a birth date given of February 7, 1873, her parents named as John R. Williamson and Carrie Harris.

I was not able to determine where Mayme Williams fit into the picture.  From the identification I could not be certain whether she was the sister of Ernest Price or the sister of Churchill Price.  There was no pubic family tree available on Ancestry that gave any information of possible siblings of either and the usual searches for census and marriage matches were not fruitful.  It is worth noting, however, that Ernest and Jessie were rather advanced in years when son Churchill was born.  Jessie would have given birth around the age of 40.  The couple would have been married closed to 20 years at the time of  Churchill's birth, so it seems likely there might have been younger children who were already gone from home at the time of the 1920 census.

What we do know is that the lives of this couple were tragically cut short before their son entered his teens.


Monday, June 2, 2014

Young and In Love

I'm sure that a photo forensic specialist could place the time of this photo exactly from the clothing and hair styles.  I am going to hazard a guess that this was taken about 1911, just before their marriage.  The photographer was Williams of Fairfield, Jefferson County, Iowa.

The couple is identified on the reverse as Mr. and Mrs. Pearl Kirkhart.

Pearl Kirkhart is first seen in census records in 1900, living with his parents W. J. (Wyatt Jackson) and Maggie C. (Margaret Johnston) Kirkhart.  Wyatt and Margaret Kirkhart are parents of a number of children in addition to their son Pearl:  Rose, Roy, Effie Bell, Mary Etta, Ada May, John, William (not shown in the census, but included in an Ancestry family tree) and Robert.  In 1900 the family is living in Jackson, Van Buren County, Iowa.

In 1910, Pearl is a boarding and working as farm labor for a couple in Liberty, Jefferson County, Iowa.  Pearl took root in Jefferson County, Iowa, and all other records found for him show him residing there.

Pearl Kirkhart and Nora McKee were married in Jefferson County on February 21, 1911.  Nora was the daughter of Greer and Mary Ann (Tedrow) McKee.  Pearl and Nora had one child, Ethel Margaret, who lived only a few months, born on January 29, 1912, and died on May 1st of the same year.  Ethel is buried in Bethel Cemetery, Van Buren County, Iowa.

Pearl registered for the WWI draft, from which we get his birthdate of January 8, 1883,  that he lives in Libertyville, Iowa, married to wife Nora, and of medium height, medium build, blue eyes and brown hair.

From Ancestry public family trees, we confirm Pearl's birthdate and learn that he died on January 7, 1966.  Nora was born December 12, 1885, and died September 17, 1966.  Both are buried in Fell Cemetery, Libertyville, Iowa.

I find this young couple very attractive.  Nora reminds me a tiny bit of Eleanor Roosevelt here.  They look like nice folks.  I think this is a wedding portrait, although Nora is not wearing a ring on her left hand.  She does have what appears to be a band on the middle finger of her right hand.  Perhaps this is just prior to the wedding, perhaps the ring was too big, perhaps that band on her right hand is just a sentimental piece of jewelry.

They look so content here.  I feel bad that their only child did not live, and I hope that their lives were otherwise an enjoyable partnership.


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Twin Zanders

When I first acquired these 2 photos, I assumed they were a young married couple.  I have similar photos of my great-great grandparents at the time they were married.

But, it took one look at the census to set me straight.  Ida and Otto Zander were twins, born on January 19, 1878, in Washington County, Texas, to Carl and Wilhelmina "Minnie" (Walbruck) Zander.  They were the 4th and 5th children of six.

Ida Zander married Dr. August Kuhn on January 20, 1901, and the couple made their home in Pflugerville, Travis County, Texas.  I find them with three children:  Lester, Lorine and Donald.  Ida died November 17, 1932, at the early age of 54 from a gangrenous appendix and peritonitis.    She is buried in the Lutheran Cemetery in Pflugerville.

Otto Zander married on January 4, 1903 to Sophie Anne "Annie" Braun.  They settled in Williamson County and had one son, Leon.  In 1910 Otto owns a saloon and is working as a bartender.  He died on January 20, 1953 one day after his 75th birthday.  He is buried in the St. Peter Lutheran Cemetery in Walburg, Texas.