Sunday, January 26, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: # 4 Thomas Merrill Allee of Pueblo County, Colorado

I never knew my great-grandfather Allee, as he died before my birth. One of the keepsakes held by a cousin is a hand-written memorial booklet from his funeral. I was fortunate to be able to scan it during a family reunion, and the obituary portion of it is transcribed here with a few punctuation changes.

Thomas Marrell [sic] Allee was born at Garner, Texas, January 5, 1877, and departed this world January 22, 1948. He was united in marriage to Laura Ann Pryor at Mineral Wells, Texas, August 31st, 1902, and to this union eight children were born.

Two have preceded in death -- Gilbert, July 7, 1919; Ura Maggie, June 16, 1907. Survivors are four sons, Fayette F., Tucson, Arizona; Willie G., Beulah, Colo.; Thomas M. Jr., Alhambra, Calif,; and Bert, Pueblo, Colo. Two daughters, Ima Hersinger, Lake City, Colo.; Cleda Blue, Cheyenne, Wyo. Three brothers, Andrew, Beulah, Colo.; Elbert, Riverside, Calif.; and Joe, Elk City, Okla. One sister, Mrs. Margaret Harwood, San Diego, Calif. and his widow Laura A.

In September, 1902, he and bride moved to Duncan, Oklahoma, and farmed in different parts of the state until February, 1928, when he and family moved to Colorado, farming in the Rye and Beulah districts until moving to Pueblo in March, 1942, where he was employed by the city of Pueblo, until he took ill October 20th, 1947.

He was converted at Buffalo, Okla., in Sept., 1926, and became a member of the church there. Membership was transferred to Rye Community and Beulah Methodist Church then to Bruner Park Church where he was a member until death.

Other tidbits:
Music selected was Jesus is Tenderly Calling and God Be With You Til We Meet Again.
Interment was at Brookside Cemetery in Rye, Colorado.

Quick page from Photographie kit by Joanne Brisebois, Digital Scrapper, October, 2012

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Gretna Green, American Style

Where's that marriage record?

You've searched everywhere you can think of and you can't find the marriage record for those family members. Based on the time and place where they lived, you know there must have been a license. But you're stuck! Today I'm going to suggest six places to look for a marriage record, including the nearest Gretna Green.

Don't head for your favorite map site just yet. If I told you that I live in Timbuktu, you wouldn't look at a map, but rather you would understand that I live away from the action.

Gretna Green is a place name that is used to express the concept of a place to elope or have a quickie wedding. Use your favorite search engine to read about the origin of the term -- it's really quite a fascinating look at marriage customs in Scotland and England.

When you're looking for an elusive marriage record, you need to understand the customs and laws of the time and place. Those laws may cause a couple to marry somewhere unexpected.

Six Places to Look

When searching for a marriage record, remember to also search jurisdictions surrounding each of these places:
  1. The bride's place of residence.
  2. The bride's parents place of residence.
  3. The groom's place of residence.
  4. The groom's parents place of residence.
  5. The nearest Gretna Green. Also, Nevada in recent history.
  6. Destination wedding spots. This is a new and difficult category.

Here are a few examples from my own family:
  • For Eastern Arizona and Southern Colorado, look in New Mexico
  • For Southern Michigan and Eastern Illinois, including Chicago, look in Indiana
  • For Washington, D.C., look in Maryland, Virginia counties and also Virginia independent cities
Figuring out where the nearest Gretna Green may have been is the hardest part of going to step five. Consider asking the local historical society or genealogical society whether there was a popular Gretna Green used by people in the area.

Having thought for a while about this post, I realized that I need to take my own advice.

I have an ancestral couple who married in the early 1800s and I can't find any record. He was born in Delaware, she was born in Maryland and the only known child was also born in Maryland. I assume the marriage took place on the Delmarva Peninsula.

Where have I forgotten to look? If you said Virginia, you are correct!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #3 George Vossler

Amy Johnson Crow is doing a wonderful service to the genealogy and blogging communities by compiling a weekly list of the many 52 Ancestor blog postings. Amy reports that connections have already been made between readers and it's barely week three.

When faced with a brick wall ancestor, making a connection may break down that wall. So I'm going to share some of my brick walls this year. I'll start with one that is familiar to my steady readers.

If you're as tired of George as I am, pop over to Amy's blog and see if you can find a connection of your own. Or check out this heritage scrapbook page showcasing only records -- no photos.

Quick page from Count the Ways, Joanne Brisebois for Scrapper's Guide (now Digital Scrapper), Feb, 2012

A handful of records are the only evidence that my great-great-grandfather ever existed. George Vossler or Vosseler or Vosseller is one of those ancestors who suddenly appears full-grown and then suddenly disappears. I have only the following records for George :
  • 1862 Marriage to Elizabeth Breitwacher/Breitweiser/Breitsprecher, Macon County, Illinois
  • 1864 Naturalization, Macon County, Illinois
  • 1866 Marriage to Elizabeth M Childers Wilson, Macon County, Illinois
  • 1870 Census, Decatur Township, Macon County, Illinois
  • 1875 Newspaper articles, Decatur, Macon County, Illinois

In the 1870 census, George Fassler is listed as 60 years old, born in Wuerttemberg. His two young children are John, age 2, and Mary, 4 months. The 1875 articles about the children finding gold refer to George as an old German tenant farmer with poor English skills.

His stepsons, the children of Elizabeth Childers Wilson, passed down a family legend that George and Elizabeth went to Missouri and disappeared. The Wilson boys went to relatives in Arkansas in January, 1875. John and Mary Ellen supposedly were taken in by family in southern Illinois, but I can't find them in the census of 1880.

If this sounds like your family members, please leave a comment or send me an email! Also, please check the tag cloud for other posts on this family.

When I visited Macon County, I was unable to accomplish the tasks I had planned. Next steps are to contact the genealogical society and arrange for some research hours. Record sets to look at include naturalization, school records, guardianship and probate.

Monday, January 13, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #2 Susanah Maddox Alkire

I had picked out an ancestor to write about for week two -- until I burned my hand working with my glass kiln! As I tended the second-degree burn and wallowed in self-pity, it struck me how fortunate I was compared to Susanah Maddox Alkire.

The eighth and last child of my 4th-great-grandparents Lazarus Maddox and Elizabeth Greaton (Gratton), Susanah Maddox was born in Pickaway County, Ohio, on July 11, 1837. Her father died shortly before her 13th birthday and all reference to her mother's dower portion disappeared from the land records when she sold her one-eighth share shortly before her 17th birthday, in 1854.

She was married on September 24, 1857, to the farmer John W. Alkire of Madison County, Ohio. Their lives were briefly disrupted when John joined the Union Army in 1862. After his return, they went on to raise four children, burying two others in childhood.

By 1880, John had become a sewing machine salesman and the family had moved from the farm to the town of Circleville, the seat of Pickaway County. John died in 1899, leaving Susanah a widow at age 62. She subsequently lost a son in 1916 -- a heart-rending event for any parent.

Early on the morning of July 3, 1917, a young man on his way to work spotted a fire at Susanah's home at 513 East Mound Street. The newspaper reported that he used a fire alarm box to call in the fire, but the firemen were too late to save her. She was found lying on the dining room floor, with a broken coal oil lamp nearby. Her body was badly burned and much of the house was destroyed.

Susanah Maddox Alkire was survived by three children and several grandchildren. She was laid to rest next to her husband in Pleasant Cemetery, near Mt. Sterling, in Madison County.

Susanah's death record is important to all descendants of Lazarus Maddox. Her death certificate clarifies her mother's maiden name -- a name that is hard to read in the original 1816 marriage record and has been transcribed and published incorrectly. This layout shows the remnants of the torn death certificate and the marker for the couple in Pleasant Cemetery.

Elements from ClubScrap Fire and Ice digital kit, template also from ClubScrap

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #1 Margaret Elizabeth McFarlane

Thanks to a lovely challenge from the blog No Story Too Small, I'm joining a lot of others committed to blogging about one ancestor a week during 2014. I want to also use this challenge to do more scrapbooking, so I plan to include a new heritage layout each week.

This week I present my great-aunt Peggy, whose middle name I share. My father thought of his Aunt Margaret Elizabeth McFarlane as a mother figure.

Her comfortable childhood was disrupted by her father's brain injury when she was about four years old. Leaving school early to help support the struggling family, one of her proudest moments was the day she graduated from Moody Bible Institute. She worked in a needle factory and as a telephone operator, as well as doing secretarial work for many years.

After her older sister died, she proposed to her brother-in-law that they marry, so she could help raise her niece and four nephews. He was not interested, instead marrying another woman. He died four years later, leaving the five orphans to be raised by relatives and in boarding school. Aunt Peggy stepped in to help guide and raise the children, never marrying. Her niece and nephews saw her as the nearest thing to a mother in their turbulent young lives.

Aunt Peggy never learned to drive and never owned a car, depending instead on Chicago's mass transit. Born on August 2, 1900, in Chicago, she died in a Florida retirement center on July 16, 1992.

Quick drop page, Bookshelves digital kit from ClubScrap