dee_burris: (Default)
2011-01-06 17:10

Some things are just so sad...

Naturally, found this while I was looking for something else...

A page from the 1920 census for the Catholic Home for Destitute Children in Philadelphia...

A bunch of 9, 10, and 11 year old girls...look how many of them were born to foreign-born parents.

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dee_burris: (Default)
2011-01-05 20:44
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Musing on the world view of the women...

Even before I started digging into my family history, I've loved old things. (A couple of my husbands used to grimace when I would say that.)

Where other people would look at a table with scratches on it, and head for the sandpaper, I don't have to have everything pristine. A gently loved piece of furniture or quilt just has a feeling that money cannot buy. If it's come down through the family, so much the better.

I lived in a house during my third marriage that was built right after the turn of the century for the then-mayor of Argenta (now North Little Rock), Arkansas. We went to an estate sale at the house, and found out the home itself was for sale. We bought it on the spot.

I used to stand at various windows in the house, looking outside and wondering what the view held for the first woman who stood in that spot. Was the mighty oak tree I saw just an acorn then? Had she planted it? What did she think about as she stood at the kitchen sink, washing dishes and looking out the window?

As I gather information about the women in my family tree, those kind of questions sometimes take me off the main path on my journey onto a side road. Sometimes I stop in my research about *her* and take a look at the place in history where she was.

And I wonder all sorts of things. Didn't the women in the 19th century know - surely, they did - that every time they gave birth, it could be a moment of both life and death? What was it like to live in a home with a dirt floor? Which kid got in trouble if the firewood was wet?

For far too long, women's views of their living history were given short shrift by authors of history books. That's why I was so delighted to see the publication of Women's Diaries of the Westward Journey, by Lillian Schlissel, in 1982. I snagged a copy of it and devoured every page.

It was that book that gave me perspective on why on earth a woman would agree to pack up and ride, walk, bump, jolt and swim hundreds or thousands of miles west from home when she was pregnant. According to Schlissel, and borne out by the diarists themselves, although pregnancy during an overland voyage may have been a topic of discussion, it certainly didn't prevent women and their families from making the journey.

That was illustrated in my own family tree with Cynthia Ann Ashmore, whose husband, John Burris, decided that moving 400 miles from Lawrence Co., TN to Pope Co., AR in the fall of 1838 was a grand idea. Since child number 6 and daughter, Saba Ann, was born in February 1839 in Pope County, my guess is that Cynthia was either in her late first or early second trimester of pregnancy when the ox drawn wagon train started its trip.

Now I wonder about that trip - was there a ferry on which you could cross the Mississippi River? Or was that why you crossed in the fall, when the river was lower?

After I read Women's Diaries, I went in search of other "diary" books, and found Pioneer Women: Voices from the Kansas Frontier, by Joanna L Stratton, published in 1981.

More words from the mouths of women who lived it.

I have now discovered the trilogy of diaries edited and compiled by Kenneth L Holmes that comprise all three volumes of Covered Wagon Women. The series contains partial and complete diaries of women who traveled west during the years of 1840-1851.

How I would love to find a diary in my own family...Be still, my heart.
dee_burris: (Default)
2010-12-21 18:10

Wedding Wednesday: Marriage Bonds

It was a friend of my son's, looking over my shoulder one afternoon, who asked the questions.

Why were there so many sections to the old marriage licenses? And what was a marriage bond? Did people really have to post a cash bond to get married back then?

I used my 2X great grandmother's second as an example.


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There were four parts to a marriage record in 1878 in Arkansas - the bond, the license, the certificate of marriage, and the certificate of record.

The bond required a principal and his security - the principal's back-up if he had to pay the $100 and couldn't. ($100 in 1878 had the same buying power as $2190.75 does today.)

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The bond was required in the event it was later found that one or both parties could not legally contract for marriage. It was a penal bond, essentially a punishment for lying.

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If, for example, one or the other parties was underage, was married to someone else, or had been coerced, the marriage could be set aside.

And someone had to pay the piper, as it were...
dee_burris: (Default)
2010-12-21 09:04
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Musing on looking for one thing, and finding another

Isn't that the way it always is? You go looking for one thing, and find another instead?

I went to see my folks yesterday. While I was there, we were talking about how it can sometimes be difficult to separate family lore from family history.

My step-mom mentioned that her family had disagreed on the occupation of one of her great grand uncles, George Washington Hayslip. Some said he had owned a cannery in Adams Co., OH. I told her I would do some digging around and look through some of the historic newspaper databases to see if I could find advertising for a cannery there.

Imagine my surprise when my search for Hayslip in Adams Co., OH brought up several articles like this one, which ran in the 10 Aug 1897 edition of the Maysville KY, Evening Bulletin:



So now, I am on a quest to see how that ended. Found another article in the 18 Oct 1897 Marietta (GA) Democrat that said the trial had been postponed to the January 1898 session of the court.

John Hayslip was George Washington Hayslip's brother.

And as far as I can tell, George was a farmer until he died in 1924.

ETA: I have now found an article that says the victim's name was Mac E Gordley. Source: 11 Aug 1897 edition of the Elkhart Weekly Review.
dee_burris: (Default)
2010-12-18 17:05

Sunday's Obituary, but where's the grave?

This afternoon, I found the old news clipping that describes the death of Ward Chapin on 18 Sep 1894 at Fort Brown, Texas. It's pretty graphic, as I have come to expect from older obituaries.

FORT BROWN ITEMS
The Sad Death of Private Chapin
Other items

The funeral of Ward Chapin a private of Troop K, 5th Cavalry who was drowned at the post yesterday afternoon took place this morning at 11 o clock a m. He was buried with military honors. The entire garrison attended the funeral. His grave was covered by many and beautiful floral offerings sent by his comrades and friends.

Ward Chapin was born at Olean New York state. He enlisted in the service of the United States at Fort Scott Kansas on Jan 23 1893 and was 22 years of age. The circumstances of his sad death is deeply regretted by his comrades who used every means in their power to save him but were unfortunately unsuccessful. There is every reason to believe that he was seriously injured if not fatally before he disappeared from the surface of the water, as there are the imprints of the horse's hoofs on his chest where his horse must have struck him in his struggle to free himself from the drowning man. One of these imprints is directly over the heart which if not fatal must have rendered him unconscious.

This young man was a faithful soldier and his character and morals wore of the highest standards, an example to his comrades and all who were thrown in contact with him. His memory will be long cherished by his comrades and their deepest sympathy is extended to his bereaved relatives.

As a result of yesterday's sad accident there will be no more swimming of horses in the lagoon excepting under the direct supervision of the troop commanders.


Okay, that tells me he was buried at the fort. So I went looking for that cemetery, and found this instead.


This Military cemetery, once located on the "island" of Ft. Brown, held the remains of the military soldiers stationed at the fort. Their remains were removed and moved to Alexandria, Louisiana and reinterred in the National Cemetery there in 1911. The contractor for this removal was N.E. Rendall. The headstones were not moved with the bodies. Mr. Rendall sold the headstones and some of these headstones are the foundations for some of the buildings in Brownsville. One of these buildings was the Nebraska Apartments that was located between 13th and 14th streets on Jefferson street.
(The link in that article for the cemetery at Pineville is dead.)

So I went looking in Rapides Parish, LA. There is no record of him there, and the VA's Nationwide Gravesite Locator doesn't have him either.

So I wonder - what happened to my second great grand uncle's remains?
dee_burris: (Default)
2010-12-07 21:03
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The price of a bastard child...

He was first generation off the boat.

If her year of birth is accurate, she was 15 years old. They lived in Somerset County, Maryland, when Maryland was still an English colony. She was the daughter of John and Susanna (MNU) Johnson.

Peter Callaway - Peter I, as we Callaway descendants affectionately refer to him - was my 8th great grandfather.

His parents, Edmund and his unnamed wife, sailed from England to Virginia Colony, landing on 11 May 1639. Peter was born about 1640.

They married on 26 March 1667 in Somerset County - probably in a hurry.

But not quick enough.

On 28 May 1667, they were called before the County Commissioners to answer to their charges.

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Yeah, I have trouble reading it, too. So we'll let the Maryland State Archives transcribe, at pages 671-672.

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Think of it. Those were the days when tobacco was used for currency.

That wasn't the end of it for Elyzabeth. She was indentured to a man named Thomas Ball as part of her "punishment," which meant she would not have been able to live with Peter as his wife until her time of indentured servitude was over. (This is noted in the Somerset County Judicial Records of 1671-1675.)

So it makes sense that their recorded children are:
Sarah Callaway, born 4 Nov 1676;
Anne Callaway, born 23 Jan 1678;
Peter Callaway II, born 15 Apr 1681; (my 7th great grandfather)
John Callaway, born 1685;
Jane Callaway, born 1686; and
William Callaway, born 14 Mar 1689.

And what of the bastard child? No one knows. It would have been customary to give the child born in those circumstances to Thomas Ball also - who would have been at liberty to keep him/her until the child reached adulthood. Or not.

In any event, Callaway researchers have not been able to locate that child in any historic records.

Maybe that's why it was also reported that Elyzabeth exhibited some strange behavior, notably wandering in the marshes where the Indians lived.

I have my own thoughts about that.
dee_burris: (Default)
2010-12-06 11:51
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Now Ancestry has the Sears catalogs...

You can do a search from here.

I have always had a fascination for the cottages and bungalows they sold.

Natch, that was my first search. (I searched all catalogs on the word bungalow.)

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1911 Fall Catalog


The 3 houses for $676 each in the lower left corner? $676 in 1911 works out to $16,511.28 today, which is still a bargain. Of course, you'd have to add some more for wiring, but still...

The materials for a five room bungalow (sans bathroom) in the Spring 1915 catalog cost $541.

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Today's equivalent price - $11,715.11.

That price included cedar shingles.

Some of those houses are still standing today...
dee_burris: (Default)
2010-12-04 13:21
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Sticking with your convictions...

All the preachers in my family have had that characteristic booming voice.

I could hear the voice of Rev. Edwin Hubbell Chapin in my head, as I read the lengthy article published on 28 Dec 1880 by the New York Times on the occasion of his death.

This time, he lowered his voice.

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He never was troubled again with signs of dissent...

I just bet not.
dee_burris: (Default)
2010-11-30 17:46

We are storytellers...

Since I have been reading other genealogy blogs, I've noticed a pattern.

If you go very far through the archives, you nearly always find an entry where the blogger talks about someone contacting them about a blog entry or an entry in an online family tree. Or, that they fear it will happen if they publish the information.

You know, one of those entries that shows that the parents weren't married when the child was conceived, or that the grand aunt died in an insane asylum after spending the last 30 years of her life there, or the upstanding patriarch of a specific branch of the tree was getting horizontal with someone else's wife, sister, or daughter...

The purpose of the contact is to clean the poster's clock, and shame them into hiding, changing or deleting accurate historic information.

I don't get those kind of contacts often - maybe three or four times a year - but when I do, they are doozies - all full of righteous indignation.

They make me shake my head and laugh out loud.

And I reply to all of them.

What I tell them is this...

If you are serious about genealogy, you naturally become an historian. Even amateur genealogists have to do historic research to understand the context of what we are seeing.

But we are more than historians and genealogists.

We are storytellers.

Every single person we document in our family trees has a story, down to the very youngest who may not even have drawn breath at their birth.

And the stories are their stories - not ours to spin to make them more palatable to someone else, not even ourselves.

I refuse to become part of writing revisionist history.

I am a storyteller.