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Saturday, October 31st, 2015 03:33 pm
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Burris clan in Russellville, Pope Co., AR, circa 1920/1921


There's a wall of photographs over my bed. I call it my dead relatives gallery, and I'm not really joking, although some of my family and friends laugh nervously when I say it.

I'm using this journal to share information I have acquired over the past several years for surnames in my family tree. The journal is "tag intensive" to make it easier to locate information and photos about specific surnames. (Tags list is in the left sidebar of the journal.)

They say you can choose your friends, but not your family. Personally, I find my family fascinating, and even more so the older I get. Sure, we have our share of archetypes - shrill, bossy women...strong "silent type" men...and the requisite number of "crazies." But hey, this is the deep South, and as Julia Sugarbaker said in Designing Women:

"...we're proud of our crazy people. We don't hide them up in the attic. We bring 'em right down to the living room and show 'em off. ...no one in the South ever asks if you have crazy people in your family. They just ask what side they're on." Like Julia, mine are on both sides.

Primary surnames researched include Ashmore, Balding, Burris, Callaway, Chapin, Darter, Duvall, Grooms, Harkey, Hayslip, Herrington, Hill, Holder, McBrayer, Meek, Parrish, Pettit, Shinn, Wharton, Williams.

All comments are welcome, including anonymous comments. You do not have to be a Dreamwidth member to comment, and may use Open ID, i.e., Google, WordPress, etc., to comment.

ETA: Most of the photos you will find in this journal were taken over 100 years ago. Regardless of their age, these photos were falling out of albums, or lying loose among family papers and I have scanned them to preserve them for posterity. Photos of gravestones appearing in this journal were taken by me.

I said all that to say this - if any of these photos are of your family members, just right click and save them to your computer. No one associated with this journal is going to chase you down to try and prosecute you for copyright infringement, as long as you don't claim you took the photo.

The written content of this journal is copyrighted. Don't use it without my written permission.


Email me at sharpchick13 at hotmail dot com.
dee_burris: (Default)
Sunday, June 1st, 2014 06:24 pm
Hi! Guest Blogger Cristi Broach Hendry here, GGG Granddaughter of James Littleton Burris. My paternal grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Burris “Nana” (1917-1998,) was born and raised in Atkins, Arkansas. Had it not been for the Depression, I might call Arkansas home rather than Riverside, California.
The Burris family home

JL Burris’ son James Franklin Burris, Postmaster of Atkins, built a family home in Atkins in about 1880 (See photo below. The house has been torn down). My dad was born in that house and I appreciate the fact that the Burris family home is the reason my sister and I have Burris family stuff - a quilt made by Mary’s maternal grandmother, Postmaster Burris’ desk and his Postmaster certificate, and a lovely bureau that may date to the 1800s.
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James Franklin Burris II about 1925 or 1930

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Frank Burris' service station in Atkins. The Burris home is on the left.

Introduction to Mary

Mary and her second husband Otis “Papau” moved to San Diego in 1940 with my dad (more on that later). Until 1969, we lived in San Diego too, and we spent a lot of time together - particularly since Mary and Otis had a pool. Mary worked at a clothing store called Walker Scott in the 60s -- a very good job for someone with a lifelong love of beautiful clothes. I can’t remember exactly how tall Mary was -- about 5’2” -- but she wore her clothes like a movie star. Think Rita Hayworth. Otis was 6’3”, and we always said, looked like Gregory Peck (see photo below).
 photo NanaandPapau.jpg

They built a good life in San Diego. My dad spent his teen years surfing and playing volleyball. In the 60s they acquired a charming home with that pool I mentioned - and Otis had Karmann Ghia in his driveway. No matter that the steering wheel became detached on a trip to Arkansas. It was a cool car!
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Mary gets married

When Mary was 16, she married Astor Pettit Broach, also an Atkins family -- son of Margarite Victoria Pettit and William Broach “Ma and Pa Broach”. My father, James William Broach, was born in 1935 when Mary was 17. The Depression was in full swing, Pettit had drinking issues and the marriage didn’t last long after my father’s birth. Mary’s high school classmate, Otis Lamar Hanks (1914-1994) of Russellville, had been carrying a torch for Mary, and was waiting in the wings. They married in 1937. Otis loved Mary truly and deeply his whole life.
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Mary Elizabeth's high school class, 1933

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Mary Elizabeth Burris, age 4


The Depression

The Depression sent Otis looking for copper mining work in Colorado and my dad, known as “Billy,” stayed with the Broaches in Atkins. By 1938, Mary and Otis returned to Atkins, collected Billy and joined the migration West with so many others. Otis got work in a copper mine in the strangely named Miami, Arizona, where the legs of Billy’s bed had to be set in buckets of water to prevent scorpions from getting him. The wind and blowing sand drove Mary crazy and after a vacation in San Diego in 1940, they said -- this is for us!

War years

In 1940, war was in the offing and defense jobs offered employment - but housing was tight because of the number of people moving to San Diego for the jobs. Otis got a job at Convair and they did find an apartment, but distressingly - the apartment didn’t allow children. Billy lived with another family for the first year, which was understandably very hard on a five year old. Eventually, they found an apartment that allowed children and, after the war, they settled into a paradisical life in San Diego.
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Billy in a suit Otis tailored, 1945

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James William Broach senior class photo 1952


The good life

Mary and Otis were good at making friends -- Mary had a lively and engaging personality. My impression is that they had a very active social life. One thing that didn’t go exactly right is that my dad eloped after knowing my mom for six weeks. That shocked and hurt Mary - but given that he was 19, perhaps it had more to do with hormones than anything else. When dad called to tell her the news, she told him to come over and my mother should stay in the car until they had talked. And then they welcomed my mother into the family as their daughter.
No story of Mary Burris could be complete without mentioning she was an artist. Each of her grandchildren has a large canvas she painted hanging in our homes. In later years she took up ceramics, which I have displayed in my garden. I often think about what I can leave artistically for my family. Having a visual reminder of your loved ones is a marvelous thing.
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Mary and Cristi, 1959

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Mary Elizabeth, Cristi and Vicki


Staying connected

Mary was close to her mother - even though Abigail “Abby” Bailey Burris, by many accounts had a difficult and demanding personality. Mary and her parents visited each other fairly regularly - and considering the distance - that’s somewhat remarkable at that time. Abby and Frank Burris (James Franklin Burris II) never quite got into the beach culture -- included here is a photo of them sitting on the beach at La Jolla in full dress clothes.
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In the mid-60s, Mary’s brother, James Franklin Burris III “Jimmy” (1921-1992) and his family visited San Diego. My dad’s cousins, Sharon and Randy, were teenagers and they were totally fascinating to me at 8 years old. Sharon was a cheerleader and actively missing her boyfriend (now her husband Winston) and Randy was a musician (still is). They came packing their own Dr. Pepper (not available in San Diego!) Also remarkable was the fact that Uncle Jimmy built their home AND airplanes. He had a lifelong passion for planes.

In 1973, my dad took us to Little Rock to visit Uncle Jimmy and Aunt Twila. That trip left a deep impression on me. The southern ways, manners, lifestyle -- all so different than California. Gracious, slower, more time for family -- in fact -- life was all about family. My sister, mother and I visited Aunt Twila in Little Rock in 2004 -- and I felt the tug of the south all over again. We visited Atkins too, and Otis’ sister Johnnie Marie was still living there. I recall that after mentioning at the restaurant that we wanted to visit with Johnnie, the word went out and reached her at the beauty salon within a half hour.
Southern DNA

I treasure the artifacts of southern-ness that our family has held on to after migrating to California -- my Nana was a fantastic southern cook. Once I gave Nana a dessert cookbook and she was shocked. I really should have known that she never used a recipe for a dessert in her life -- the recipes were in her head. Nana and Aunt Twila used to defer to each other on fried chicken -- each said the other was the best cooker of fried chicken. I could never make up my mind. I have picked up some southern-isms in my speech -- y’all just makes sense to me! My dad didn’t stay Billy -- he reclaimed his first name as a teen and became Jim but he is still crazy for the the Razorbacks. Woooooooo. Pig. Sooie!


My thanks to Dee Burris Blakley for inviting me to do this guest blog -- it’s been wonderful revisiting the memories.

Cristi Broach Hendry
Cristi Broach Hendry is my third cousin, once removed.

If you are connected to the same branch of the Burris family as Cristi, and would like to contact her about this entry, you can either reply to the entry, or email her at:

cristihendry at gmail dot com
dee_burris: (Default)
Friday, May 23rd, 2014 05:06 pm
There is no intention of a slight to the members of my family whose stories do not appear here.

I have chosen to feature for this Memorial Day three members of my family - one a direct ancestor and the other two my cousins - who died far from home and family.
The first is probably the most poignant for me, for the location of my g-g-g grandfather's grave was unknown to any of his family for nearly a century and a half.

Nathaniel C Callaway (1819-1862) went off to fight for the Confederate States of America on 6 Mar 1862. He enlisted in his home town of Arkadelphia, in Clark County, AR. His youngest child had just celebrated his fourth birthday. Nathaniel and his wife, Julia Ann, had just buried their second child nine months earlier.

And he just never came back. Nathaniel died of typhoid fever on 7 May 1862 at Southern Mothers' Hospital in Memphis - an overburdened facility staffed by nurses who really were Southern mothers.

None of the descendants at the annual family reunion knew when or where he died or was buried. No one’s parents knew what happened to him.

It took me two years of looking off and on until I finally mis-spelled his surname badly enough for a Google search engine to give me some valid results.

And I finally found him at Elmwood Cemetery in Memphis, TN. Not only that, but one of his cousins. They were buried in the section called Confederate Soldiers Rest.

So I rounded up a Callaway cousin and we came to see.

We discovered that Nathaniel C and Levi A Callaway’s graves were not formally marked, but had the numbered concrete markers installed on all the Confederate graves in 1886. So we ordered their military markers from the VA.

And waited. The gravestones were delivered to my workplace and carefully loaded by the truck driver into the back of my SUV. Joe and I could have had them delivered to Elmwood, but after 149 years, we just couldn't stand the thought that something might happen to them.

Joe and I were finally able to travel to Elmwood on 19 Feb 2011 to watch the stones being set on the graves.
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Todd Fox, the cemetery superintendent, set the stones for us. It may sound hokey, but when Mr. Fox was preparing Nathaniel and Levi Callaway's gravesites to install their stones, and told me I could have the tops of the numbered concrete columns he took out to lay the markers...

Well...

I jumped on it. Nathaniel's was 102, Levi's 140.
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So family, those weathered pieces of concrete at the bottom of the steps in the east garden?

They are priceless.
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Woodrow L. Rainey, S. 1/c.
Woodrow L Rainey, S. 1/c., 28, was killed in action in the South Pacific, the Navy Department has advised his wife, Mrs. Myrtle Nolen Rainey. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. E.C. Rainey of the Griffin Flat community.


Woodrow's parents were Edgar Clarence Rainey and Millie Mae Burris, making him my 4th cousin.

Woodrow died aboard the USS Kimberly, a Fletcher-class destroyer, in World War II. Departing San Pedro Bay on 21 March 1945 for radar picket duty, the destroyer, off the Ryūkyūs, was attacked 26 March by two Aichi D3A "Vals," dive bombers of the Imperial Japanese Navy. Despite accurate antiaircraft fire and numerous hits, one enemy plane, trailing fire and smoke, crashed into the aft gun mounts, killing 4 men and wounding 57.

His parents placed this stone in Appleton Cemetery in Pope County, AR in memory of him, although they were unable to bury his remains. Woodrow was buried at sea.
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Woodrow Lyle Rainey, 1916-26 Mar 1945
Seaman, 1st Class USN


I knew there was a memorial wall - the memorial to veterans who died in World War II during the invasion of Pearl Harbor.

I looked for Woodrow's name, and found it.

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(You can search for names of your family members on "The Wall" by clicking this link, but you will have to be a member of Ancestry.com to see the images from the free index.)
John Elbert Burris was the son of Thomas Frank Burris and Winifred Brashear. He was only 20 years old when he was declared missing and presumed dead by the United States Navy on 1 Dec 1943. He was later classified as killed in action.

John was awarded the Purple Heart posthumously.

He is memorialized on The Tablets of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery and Memorial. The names of those whose remains were recovered and identified afterwards are punctuated with rosettes.
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I do not know if John's remains were ever recovered. He was my third cousin, once removed.
I created memorials for each of my relatives at Find a Grave. You can leave virtual flowers on those memorials by clicking the links below:
Private Nathaniel C Callaway, CSA
Seaman First Class Woodrow Lyle Rainey
Seaman Second Class John Elbert Burris
dee_burris: (Default)
Sunday, April 20th, 2014 08:47 am
I got death certificates in the mail Friday - four of them - for a great grandfather, great grandmother, and two great-great grandparents.

Fred and Eada Parrish Chapin, Victor Claude Balding, and Mary Mathilda, "Tildie" Wharton Burris.

They were related to each other not by blood but by marriage, so I can only use any similarities in causes of death as they apply to me, and other common descendants of the multiple blended families.

The years of death are 1938 (Fred Chapin and Tildie Burris), 1944 (Eada Chapin), and 1945 (Pop Balding).

And as I laid them out side by side, I noticed something else.

Three of the four of them died at home - or at the home of a child, where they had been living. (That's the multi-generational family living under one roof thing that was the rule instead of the exception until after World War II.) They were surrounded by people and things that were familiar, and even if in a small way, comforting.

And it struck me.

What a grand way to die...
The aftermath of World War II not only saw a change in the way American families lived, but also how - and where - they died.

Prior to World War II, only in exceptional circumstances did people die in hospital beds instead of in their own beds, in their own homes, or a home of relatives (frequently their children) that had become their home.

My paternal great grandmother, Tildie Burris, died on 26 May 1938 at the home of her daughter, Emma Burris Crites. Her death certificate notes that she died of chronic nephritis, or kidney disease as we would say now. It also says the doctor saw her for three days leading up to her death and she was in a partial coma. As has been noted by memories of her grandchildren, some of whom said she got "mean" in her later years, the certificate says she had senility.

The next death in the chronology was my great-great grandfather, Fred Chapin, on 29 Dec 1938. He died at Baptist Hospital of prostatic hypertrophy - a condition in which the prostate gland becomes enlarged. He also had kidney disease - a combination of which we recognize today as dangerous for older men. His doctor attended him (Fred was also diagnosed with senility) from 28 Nov 1938 to the date of his death. I'm going to guess that he was only hospitalized for part of the 32 days his doctor cared for him.

On 2 Dec 1944, my great great grandmother, Eada Chapin, died at the home of her daughter, Hattie Chapin Balding, of a heart attack. There is no note on the certificate of senility, but it does say she had arteriosclerosis.

Only a little more than a month later, my great grandmother, Hattie Chapin Balding, was present at the death of her husband, Victor Claude "Pop" Balding, when he died at home - in the same house - of a cerebral hemorrhage.
Some of those deaths were sudden, some weren't.

But I am sure now - whether I leave suddenly, or because of a lingering illness - if at all possible, I'd like to die at home.
dee_burris: (Default)
Wednesday, March 19th, 2014 06:22 pm
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Jean (far right) with her brother and sisters on the occasion of her parents' 40th wedding anniversary in 1969

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Jean with her mother at her family home, 808 Crittenden Street Arkadelphia

I try not to claim any of my relatives as mine, because they also belong to the rest of my family.

But at the request of one of her daughters, I am remembering my Aunt Jean.

I say unashamedly she was my favorite aunt.
Her full name was Emma Jean Burris Lensing. She was born at home in Arkadelphia, AR on Friday, 12 May 1933.

She was named for her daddy’s favorite sister, the only one of his sisters who survived to become an adult. It’s the name she shared with one of her granddaughters.

When she found out I was delving deeply into our family history, she helped me out with tidbits of information and photographs. She took the news of our philandering forbear without skipping a beat, and readily agreed to take a DNA test to settle the matter of the ethnicity of another.

I asked her about her own childhood in Arkadelphia. Among other things, she told me she grew up knowing she was not “the pretty one.”

I was shocked and told her so. Aunt Jean was always beautiful to me - inside and out.

She was genuinely appreciative of the smallest act of kindness. When she loved you, you knew it, because she told you so. And showed you in some tangible way- like a little card out of the blue, just to say she was thinking of you.

Aunt Jean was all about family. One day,I asked her to tell me about how she and Uncle Tommy met. As she talked, her eyes lit up with love and memories. I always saw the same look on her face when she showed me pictures of her kids and grandkids. And her kids also included her daughters-in-law and son-in-law. She was so proud of all of her family.

She made The. Best. Christmas cookies.

One of my favorite photos of her was taken in the kitchen of her parents’ home at 9th and Crittenden in Arkadelphia on Mother's Day in 1967. Aunt Jean was goofing around with her sisters as they did the dishes after one of those HUGE meals. I’ll always think of that photo as the Burris sisters chorus line.

 photo MaryAnnRutherfordJeanLensingandWandaNeumaninkitchenonCrittendenMay1967.jpg

Aunt Jean was my go-to person for “the rest of the story” about our Burris family history. My Dad had told me about the time as a kid when he got bitten by a rattlesnake while he was fishing. Aunt Jean rode him to the hospital on her bike. When I asked her about it, she furnished a little detail Dad left out. Turns out Dad and his buddy were fishing on a Sunday, strictly forbidden in the G W Burris home.

I can only recall one instance in which Aunt Jean was visibly annoyed with me. It was a few years ago when she and I wrestled for the check at US Pizza. I thought it was a draw - that we had split the check. Imagine my surprise when I looked at my bank statement and saw that in the end, she had won that match. She had US Pizza credit back what I thought they had charged to my card.

We talked about that later. She told me then that if there were such an occasion again, I was to let her buy, and drop the matter.

There really wasn't anything else to say then but yes ma'am.

She smiled and reminded me that both she and I had inherited that mile wide streak of stubbornness known to anyone who is a Burris, marries a Burris,or happens to more than casually cross paths with a Burris. The “Burris bullhead.”
My Aunt Jean finished this part of her journey on 13 Dec 2013.

She was dearly loved,and will be sorely missed. I hope I honor her memory by remembering the past, but living in the present, by being truly appreciative of small things, and always taking the time to say,“I love you.”
She’s left us the legacy of a life well lived.

And we’ll see her on the other side.

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Jean with her youngest granddaughter, Ava
dee_burris: (Default)
Thursday, November 21st, 2013 10:03 am
My mother and father married on 19 May 1956.

These photos were taken in the home of my maternal grandparents, Joe Duffie Williams and Doris Geneva Balding.

.

.

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Judith Ann Williams, 1937-2004

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I cropped this one. It shows a happy young couple, envisioning a wonderful life together.
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Sadly, that wonderful life did not materialize in the 23 years of their marriage, although there certainly were happy moments.

That, however, as well as my complex relationship with my parents - both highly complex people - is a subject for future posts.
dee_burris: (Default)
Sunday, November 10th, 2013 12:00 pm
Unlike some of my ancestresses undoubtedly did, we don't have a specific wash day here at the cottage.

For the most part, I just eye the sky and look at what is in two laundry baskets. Some days I just feel led to bring some fresh air and sunshine indoors, and sleep under my quilts scented with nature.

Today, I washed the quilts and hung them to dry.

One is a twin sized quilt, hand pieced and hand quilted by my paternal grandmother, Louise Herrington. It is the most recent one of two quilts she made for me before she died. I got it when I was in my early 20s.

It's a split rail fence quilt.
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Earlier this morning, I took the quilt out of the washer and hung it on the line.

And then stood back and looked at it. Some of the pieces have torn in the 35 years or so I've had it. I'm not sure how to repair them, or if I should. The quilting is holding up very well.

As I looked it over, conveniently opened full so I could really see it, I wondered.

Where did she get the pieces she used?
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I know she didn't use new fabric. That would have been scandalous on so many levels - a slap in the face of the frugality that so many of our female ancestors had to practice to run their households.

So I wonder...are Granddaddy's pajamas in there? One or more of her old aprons? Did she ask some of her friends to save scraps for her to use? How long did it take her to lay out these pieces in a way that pleased her eye?
Missing you, Grandma.

I'll see you on the other side.
dee_burris: (Default)
Friday, November 1st, 2013 08:58 am
Three years ago, my dad took a DNA test to see if we could resolve the "who's-the-daddy" issue for our most distant Burris ancestor, William Burris, born about 1782 in North Carolina (we think North Carolina was his birth place, as our oral family history for the past four generations has told us that.)

When we got the results, Dad also consented to me entering his results in the Burris surname project at Family Tree DNA.
From time to time, I get emails noting matches to Dad's DNA on 12, 25 or 37 markers. I have already identified two other men who have 37 marker matches to Dad, and have corresponded with them by email. It seems we are all stuck in the same generation with our earliest known Burris ancestor.

I think the guys back one more generation must have been brothers or first cousins.

Today I took a look at a new feature on FTDNA. The DNA test results maps for Dad.

12 marker matches
 photo DadsDNAmap12markers.jpg


25 marker matches
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37 marker matches
 photo DadsDNAmap37markers.jpg

So what am I going to do with this information?

Starting with the 37 marker matches, I am going to contact one man - the one in Somerset England. The guy in Ireland has his information marked private, which irks me, because the main point of all this is to find relatives.

Our family lore says William Burris' ancestors were Scotch-Irish.

Oh well. Gotta start somewhere.
Tags:
dee_burris: (Default)
Thursday, October 31st, 2013 01:06 pm
Jasper and Julia Herrington house, Clark Co., AR
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George W Burris Jr. house, 8th and Crittenden, Arkadelphia, Clark Co., AR
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Jo Desha and Maxie Williams house, Russellville, Pope Co., AR. Original construction.
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First addition
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Last addition
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George W Burris Sr house, Russellville, Pope Co., AR. 500 Glenwood, after the family moved to town from the farm.
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This is a Sepia Saturday post.

Head over there for more wonderful sepia memories.
dee_burris: (Default)
Sunday, August 25th, 2013 11:11 am
Have spent a lot of time the past two weeks on several family trees.

For the ones unrelated to my own family, there are friends looking for answers.

They didn't even know there were questions, because - well, every family has some secrets. If not created in recent generations, then the secrets of the ancestors can be startling and unwelcome surprises to their descendants.
I have no farther to look for evidence of family secrets than my own great great grandfather, who had an entire second family a half mile away from his farm.

For at least 14 years, James Littleton Burris had a relationship with a woman young enough to be his daughter. They had at least 5 children together, possibly more.

You can't really call that a fling. So I wonder...did my great great grandparents have some sort of understanding? Our family lore says Elizabeth Adeline Ashmore walked beside James Littleton Burris on almost the entire journey from Lawrence Co., TN to Arkansas in 1838, and fell deeply in love with him. So, did she just look the other way when he left to go see his other family three decades later? Was my great great grandpa polyamorous, and his wife accepted that?
Then, there are the other families...

The yearning and pain I see in the eyes of two half-brothers, who desperately want to find the body of their half-sister who just disappeared one day, and whom they fear was murdered by her own parents...

A dear friend who didn't find out until he was in his 30s that his grandmother stabbed his grandfather to death with a kitchen knife. Had she finally decided, after leaving him and moving to Memphis with their daughters, that she just wasn't going to take one more beating after he arrived drunk at her house that Saturday?
Sometimes the answers died with them.

But it doesn't make me stop wondering. And if nothing else, I'll ask them on the other side...
dee_burris: (Default)
Sunday, August 4th, 2013 07:13 am
There may or may not have been an obituary for John Donald Burris. He died the day before his fourth birthday in Lubbock, TX of laryngeal diphtheria. He was the son of Ira Herbert Burris and Etta Minnie Price.

I found his death certificate while researching the children and grandchildren of William Andrew Burris and Maria Isabell Wharton.

 photo JohnDonaldBurrisdeathcert.jpg
Laryngeal diphtheria can cause a membrane to form in the throat, cutting off the supply of oxygen. That's why this death certificate notes that John Burris had a tracheotomy.

The combination diphtheria and tetanus toxoids for pediatric use was first licensed in the U.S. in 1947 - too late to have saved John Donald Burris.

He was buried in Becton Cemetery, in Lubbock County, TX.
dee_burris: (Default)
Friday, January 11th, 2013 07:15 am
He found me through my Find a Grave entries.

We've been corresponding for the past few days, and made an interesting discovery.

One of my Burris cousins was his first grade teacher in a little one room schoolhouse at Gumlog in Pope Co., AR.

I love it when this happens.
dee_burris: (Default)
Wednesday, November 21st, 2012 08:27 am
I started this blog to share - photos, memories, documents, places and people - with other people.

Freely sharing was important to me because of the sharing of information I experienced in the early years of this journey when I asked for information.

On surname message boards. Hard to believe, but I still find posts of my own from 1999 on some of those boards.

Distant cousins found the blog in Google searches. I correspond with several of them still. All the other bloggers were right.

If you build it, they will come.
In the last few months, I've started getting emails that go something like this:
I am making sure that this e-mail doesn't bounce. I am researching a possible family connection in Arkansas. (That's the actual text of a message I found in my inbox this morning.)

I always reply to those, to let them know the email address is still good. Sometimes, there is a distant family connection.

Sometimes, people have seen how Arkansas-intensive my tracks are on the internet, and they just need help with their own trees.

What can I say? I'm a Scorpio, and always intrigued by a mystery.

Even when it doesn't have one of my own surnames on it.
You know how people say that they hope they don't find out they unwittingly married their own cousin?

I've always figured that somewhere downline - closer to my generation - I'd find out someone was a cousin of their spouse.

I decided last week to start looking at my nephews' and niece's families on the *other* sides of their families.

I started with my niece. Her father's surname is Rankin.

Started with her dad and went backward.

After about 3 hours, I sat here grinning like a fool.

Her dad is my 4th cousin, twice removed. The connection starts in 1877, when John James Rankin married Margaret Ann Lemley in Pope County.

Margaret Ann was the daughter of Ephraim Lemley, Jr. and Cynthia Elvira Burris.

So my niece is also my 4th cousin, three times removed.
Of course, I didn't stop with the pedigree.

I'm looking for bits and pieces of information that give the third dimension to the names, dates and places.

Turns out the Rankins (and their allied families) were quite the movers and shakers in Perry County, AR.

And some of its earliest settlers.

The Rankin family will have blog posts of its own.
dee_burris: (Default)
Tuesday, November 6th, 2012 04:52 pm
She's telling stories from her mom and dad's families.

Click here to go take a look.
dee_burris: (Default)
Thursday, October 25th, 2012 07:54 am
Nancy, who publishes My Ancestors and Me, has a post up about The Photos Not Taken for her Wishful Wednesday post.

In it, she said she wished that folks had taken photos of the way their kitchens were set up back in the day. She also opined that our ancestors probably felt film was too dear to waste on a shot of something so mundane as the old Frigidaire.
That got me to thinking about one of the only photos I can recall having of a kitchen. My Burris aunts taking a moment to goof off on KP duty on Mother's Day, 1967 at my grandparents' house.

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They are standing in front of the enameled double cast iron sink that was the only "dishwasher" my grandma ever had - aside from my granddad, of course.

And there are the old Venetian blinds covering the window that looked out into the side yard and detached, one-car garage...

Sadly, I cannot remember the color of the countertop, or the pattern and color of the lineoleum floor. But I do still remember the bacon cooking fork.

Thanks for the trip down memory lane, Nancy.
dee_burris: (Default)
Saturday, October 13th, 2012 07:30 am
For most of my younger life, my dad owned his own business. He was a masonry contractor here in Arkansas - mostly commercial construction.

I got this photo yesterday in my email.

I had never seen it before.

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Photo taken September 1958


I had no idea he had the same type of business when he and my mom lived in Florida, where I and my middle sister were born.

That's my 22 year old dad in the driver's seat. The photo was taken in 1958, the same year I was born.

Here's that street address today.

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Dad will be 76 years old tomorrow.

Happy birthday, Dad.

I love you.



This is a Sepia Saturday post. Head over there for more interesting old photos and postcards.
dee_burris: (Default)
Thursday, October 11th, 2012 09:48 pm
And marveling at the clues thrown out to the poster, who is looking for her father's family.

She hasn't done anything with the tips except say they lead nowhere.

So I started following them myself. I used the mortuary notice for her father's death as my beginning.

And in four hours this evening, created another Burris family tree.
Nope, as far as I can tell, we are not related.

But I have to look at any Burris clue.

Now, off to bed. It's a "school night" for me.
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dee_burris: (Default)
Saturday, September 8th, 2012 07:45 am
I have a fair number of photos of my family decked out in their hats.

I even have an ancestress who made them.

The millinery shop of my g-g-grandmother, Mary Emily Conner, in Grenada Co., MS, about 1870-1875.

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My grand-aunts, Ocie (left) and Arkie Burris, photo about 1909.

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My grandfather, his brother and their double cousins, Elbert and Earl. Photo about 1905.

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Left to right - Elbert Burris, Homer and George Burris,Jr. (brothers) and Earl Burris (brother of Elbert)



This is a Sepia Saturday post. Head over there for more cool old photos and postcards.
dee_burris: (Default)
Monday, August 27th, 2012 01:17 pm
Yes, I know it's not Thursday, but I am planning ahead...so go with it, please...

I went to my dad's house last week, and took my aunt (his "big" sister) along for the ride.

Along the way, I asked her how she met her husband, and got a new little tidbit of information for the family archives.

Went graving at St. Joe Cemetery, which I refer to as the Burris burying ground. Found Aunt Margaret Jane Burris Moore's stone and photographed it.

After lunch at Dad's, we wandered downstairs and I spied a couple of photos I didn't have in our electronic archives.

A photo of my step-mom's dad in 1956 with his dog, Lonesome.
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Paul Pettit, with Lonesome


There was one of Aunt Emma, and her husband, Tom Crites, taken about 1935. They don't look 50 years old to me.
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Dora Emma Burris and Walter Thomas "Tommy" Crites


I asked my step-mom to scan and email the pics.

Got them today.
And a bonus.
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When I called to thank her, dad answered the phone. I asked him about this last one, which is a photo of my dear step-mom on her 60th birthday.

He said he had been out and about and just ran by a store that made birthday cakes.

When he got it home, my step-mom told him it was the first birthday cake she ever had.

Ever.

So this one is precious to all of us...
dee_burris: (Default)
Saturday, July 7th, 2012 11:08 am
She posted in a thread with requests for information about William Burris, born 1782, and any descendants.

She thinks her g-g-grandfather, John Crockett Burris, died in Texas...if she's talking about John Crockett Burris who was the grandson of our brick wall William, then...

That's not exactly the way it went. See this entry for photos of his gravestone, and that of your g-g-grandmother, Sarah Ann Harrelson.

They are buried, with three of their children, in Ford Cemetery in Pope Co., AR.

And none of John's siblings died in Morgan Co., AL.