Friday, February 23, 2018

Where's the Proof: 52 Ancestors

This game of Clue starts in a Wichita attic in 1949.

The first topic of discussion between cousins old and new in one branch of my family is whether any proof of our Native American ancestry has been found. We have a strong family legend and a rumor that there was proof, last seen in 1949 by my grandmother's first cousin. This blog post is shameless cousin bait to see if someday, someone, somewhere knows what that proof is and where it is now.

Where do you share your knowledge, your private proofs, in a way that you know will persist?

One of the challenges of blogging and of the many family history sites is that web sites come and go.

I would lean toward Family Search as the one web site that will exist in perpetuity. It's not a commercial site, but rather a church-sponsored site. However, the ability for anyone to edit the master tree does make for a mess. I shudder each time I look at my family branches in that tree.

Ancestry and MyHeritage and similar sites are commercial. They could cease operation at any time and all the data could just vanish.

WikiTree was non-commercial and may still be. Someone has to pay for and support it. It also is at risk of vanishing. And of course comments posted to this blog are moderated by me. When I leave this earth, the blog may remain, but no new comments would be visible to anyone.

So if you have private proofs for any part of your family tree (or mine), please share them online somehow. Please place a copy, or the originals, with a local archive. Your family will be grateful.

Who Has the Proof? Spelling Doesn't Count!

Here are the surnames involved in this puzzle. If you've arrived at this post from a web search, take a moment to look at the list because you may be distracted by spelling later.
  • Maddix, Maddox, Maddux
  • Greaton, Guaton, Gratan, Gratton (many variations)
  • Knoles, Knowles
  • Long, Neff, Alkire
  • Davis, Schroeder

This branch of my family has as the current root couple Lazarus Maddox and Elizabeth Greaton of Pickaway County, Ohio. Due to an unclear name in the marriage book, her name was listed as Elizabeth Guaton in an important Ohio marriage index. Her father signed a marriage consent for her with the signature David Greaton, so that is the spelling that I use.

They had eight children, four sons and four daughters. The daughters married men named Knoles, Long, Neff and Alkire. The proofs for this family are in the Pickaway County land and marriage records at the courthouse and at the Pickaway County Historical and Genealogical Library.

The supposed proof of the Maddox family Native American ancestry was found in the Wichita, Kansas, attic of their great-grandson, William Aaron Maddix (Wid Maddix), at the time of his death in 1949. Wid's ancestral story was told in the post telling how he got the nickname Wid. But it is to his descendants and siblings that we need to look to find the private proofs. So today I'm describing what I know of Wid's extended family.

Wid Maddix had two younger brothers and four children. Four of those six branches have died out, leaving two branches that may hold the answer.

Brother Pearl Edwin Maddix married Jeannette Moore in 1903. They had one son, Edwin, and soon divorced. Pearl moved away and Jeannette remarried to Bret Hart. Young Edwin took the Hart name. He died in Texas, without issue. Pearl died before Wid. It seems unlikely that any family documents would have come to this branch.

Brother Gerald Embry Maddix married twice and appears to have had two children, based on census records. He died in Barton County, Kansas, in 1952. There is a slim possibility that this branch holds the family documents.

Son Harold Thomas Maddix never married and left no known issue. He died in Kansas in 1978.

Son Ralph Ellis Maddix married, but had no children, He died in Orange County, California, in 1988.

Daughter Grace Evelyn Maddix never married. She was very likely to have taken the proof. She lived and worked in the Washington D.C. area, so might have deposited documents in one of the many archives in that area. After retirement, Grace returned to Kansas, dying there in 1986. So Kansas archives also might hold the documents. Her burial arrangements were made by a nephew, Tom Davis, which leads to the most likely branch.

Daughter Edna Lucile Maddix married twice, first to Elbert W Davis. They had two children: Patricia A Davis and Thomas A Davis, both of whom are now deceased. Lucile second married Preston E Diehm, but there were no children from that marriage.

Patricia Davis married Virgil D Schroeder and had at least one son.

Thomas Davis retired as a Lieutenant from the Wichita Police Department. His marital history is unclear. His 2016 obituary lists two sons: Roy T Davis and Michael W Davis. Three grandchildren are also listed.

So the question goes to my distant Davis, Schroeder and Maddix cousins: do you know where the proof is of the Maddox (Maddix) family Native American ancestry?

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