Sunday, June 23, 2019

The Allen Sisters

In September 1996, I made my first genealogical research trip. It was to Ohio and my sister Holly accompanied me.

One of our stops was to visit our dad’s first cousin who lived in Columbus. Mildred Irvin was 80 years old at the time. I had a list of questions for her and she answered them all.

She had a stack of photos to show us. One was a photo of my grandmother and her 3 sisters. I had known about my grandmother’s sisters and had visited my Great-Aunt Lucille in San Antonio when I was a child. Her other 2 sisters had died before my birth.

When we were ready to leave, she said I could take the photos with me. I was not expecting that and was very thankful.

Back Left: Bertha Catherine Allen (1886-1953), married John Oral Irvin (1882-1945)
Ida Pearl Allen (1891-1955), married Orville Howard Campbell (1882-1964)

Front Left: Leona Myrtle Allen (my grandmother) (1896-1980), married Henry Clinton Campbell (1890-1939)
Anna Lucille Allen (1898-1977), married 1) Harry Raymond Brainard (1894-1976), married 2) Ambrose Franklin White (1893-1954), married 3) Chauncey M. Lyons (1890-1979)

Monday, February 11, 2019

Surprise #52Ancestors

A number of years ago I was at my mom’s house in Warner Robins, Georgia, and wanted to look in her cedar chest. I know she had saved all the cards from people who sent flowers for my dad’s funeral in 1969, as I had previously looked at them. I wanted to review them again for possible relatives and family friends. While looking in the chest, I found a divorce certificate for my dad. What?! I had known about my mom’s previous 2 marriages, but Dad? Why had no one told me about this?

The given name of wife #1 was Wilma (she is still living so I am not listing her maiden name). They were divorced in Clark County, Ohio, on 27 October 1958. I asked my mom if they had had any children, and she said no (that did not stop me from checking that out!).

Since I had Wilma’s maiden name, I did some research. I found out that she had remarried and still resided in Springfield, Ohio. I wrote her a letter explaining who I was, asked her how she met my dad, where and when were they married, and if she had any photos of him. It took a while for a response, but I did receive one. She met my dad while he was working for Dolly Madison. They married 30 September 1950, in Wayne County, Indiana. She said she did not keep any photos of my dad.

I was planning my next research trip to Ohio and wrote her again. I told her I was going to be in Springfield, and would like to meet her. I never received a reply. I am pretty sure she had her curtains closed and did not answer the door or telephone during that time period I was in Ohio.

Since then, a family friend has told me that Wilma was a friend and co-worker of an aunt (this aunt died in 1978 so I could not question her). From an answer to a Rootsweb query I posted a long time ago, I found out that Wilma’s brother took my dad to some of his first field trials (my dad was very active with beagle clubs in Ohio). Who knows, one day I may surprise her and show up at her front door.

Monday, January 28, 2019

At the Library #52Ancestors

One of the earliest of my genealogical treasures I discovered at the Clark County Public Library in Springfield, Ohio. It was my dad’s high school yearbook for his senior year.

The Wildcat, 1946, was the annual of Springfield High School.  Not only was I able to see my dad’s senior picture, I discovered his extracurricular activities.  He was listed as college prep. He was part of the Boys’ Council his senior year. He was involved with the Boosters’ in his junior and senior years as well as bowling.  In his sophomore year, he participated in the industrial club and baseball.

These activities make sense.  He attended Ohio State for a short period before joining the Marines (I need to do some research on his college days). My dad’s first job at the age of 14 was that of a pinsetter at the local bowling alley.  He was part of various bowling teams as an adult.  He must have liked what he learned in the industrial club as he was co-owner of a lumber yard with his brother-in-law at one point in his life.

I have also discovered photos and information about other family members in yearbooks.  If you have relatives that graduated from a high school in Ohio, you may want to check with the Ohio Genealogical Society as they have a very large yearbook collection.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

I'd Like to Meet #52Ancestors

The ancestor I would most like to meet would be my paternal 4th great-grandfather Philip Stoops. He is the reason I began my one-name study of the Stoops surname and sparked my interest in New Castle County, Delaware.

According to his Revolutionary War pension file, Philip was born 20 August 1754, in New Castle County, Delaware. He married Elizabeth McCormick, the daughter of Samuel and Grisel [--?--] McCormick, on 9 April 1789, in Rockbridge County, Virginia. Philip died ca 1835 in Highland County, Ohio.

He is listed on the Pension Roll of 1835 as residing in Highland County, aged 80 years.

Philip is listed on a plaque at the Highland County Courthouse in Hillsboro, Ohio, as being buried in Highland County. I have not located a burial location for him.

Questions I would like to ask Philip.

Who were your parents and siblings? I have found several possibilities for his parents throughout the years, but I have not yet found any documentation. I need to devote some time to solving this challenge.

Was Elizabeth McCormick your first wife? Some researchers state he was married to a Spence first. I have not found a marriage record to confirm it.

What prompted your move to Rockbridge County, Virginia? Did other individuals move there with you?

What did you know about your in-laws? Was your father-in-law the Samuel McCormick who was from Cumberland County, Pennsylvania? What was the maiden name of your mother-in-law?

When you moved to Highland County, Ohio, in the early 1800s, what other families traveled with you? I know about your in-laws, the Campbell, Sharp, and Spence families.

I hope to find the answers to my questions in the near future.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Unusual Name #52Ancestors

The most unusual name I’ve come across in my family research is Amzar. Amzar Benjamin Campbell was a son of Samuel M. and Sarah Ann Roberts Campbell, and younger brother to my great-grandfather Daniel Harvey Campbell.

He was born 25 October 1852 in Ohio, and died 9 October 1926, Springfield, Clark County, Ohio. He married Emma Belle Dunham (daughter of Bowen Dunham and Julia Ann Shinkle) on 4 November 1882 in Highland County, Ohio. Emma Belle was of the sister of his brother Daniel’s wife Frances who also married in Highland County on 16 September 1882. They are just one example in my family of a set of sisters marrying a set of brothers. Sometimes it helps in my research and other times it gives me a headache (especially when their some of their children have the same names).

Some records have him listed as Amzar and others have him as Benjamin or Ben. In the 1870 census for Highland County, Ohio, he is enumerated as Amaziah.

I thought Amzar had to have been a family name, but I have not found any evidence of that so far. A search for the given name of Amzar on does not generate very many hits and I have found no connection between them and my Amzar. It seems the name stopped with him as I have found none of his descendants (or descendants of any of his siblings) having that as a given or middle name.

I wonder if his name may have been an acronym like the middle name (Rosebud) of Ritchie Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show?

Monday, January 14, 2019

Challenge #52Ancestors

I have decided to start thinking of my problem relatives as challenges instead of brick walls.

The Collins English Dictionary provides this definition, “A challenge is something new and difficult which requires great effort and determination.” Difficult, yes, that definitely describes some of my ancestors. Effort and determination is what I need to find my answers.

I have started a new way of working with these challenges. I have made a timeline and a research log for each problem individual. I will focus on at least one challenge a month. I will make sure I update my research logs for them and add any new information in their timelines.

My first challenge of 2019 is a maternal 2nd great-grandmother, Susan/Susie Box (b. ca 1879 Mississippi, died after 1910, probably Alabama). I have been researching her off and on over the years, but I do not have much information about her. She was listed on my great-grandfather’s (Howard Lester Butler) death certificate of 1922 as his mother. Not sure if she ever married his father John Butler as I have yet to locate a marriage record for them. She married John Thomas O’Mary, brother of my 2nd great-grandfather William Richard O’Mary, in 1902 in Lamar County, Alabama, and was enumerated with him in the 1910 U.S. census. John Thomas remarried in 1914. I just now found a reference to a death of a Mrs. O’Mery in Lamar County in 1913 so I will order that death certificate.

Many researchers have listed her as a daughter of George Carroll Box of Pontotoc County, Mississippi. George had at least 3 wives, but I have not yet found a document to link Susan/Susie to him.

In the 1910 census of Lamar County, Alabama, her son Howard Butler (age 14) is living in the household enumerated next to Susan/Susie. The head of the household is William C. Burton and Howard is listed as his nephew. The wife of Burton is a Mallie, aged 43. There is also a Lillie Box, age of 11, in this household and she is listed as a sister-in-law. Are Mallie and Lillie sisters of Susan? A W.C. Burton married a M.F. Box in Pontotoc County, Mississippi, on 23 Feb 1892.

In the 1900 census of Marion County, Alabama, there is a William C. Birton and his wife Mary F. listed. They had been married for 8 years. Mary was born Oct 1866 in Mississippi. Her father born in Mississippi and her mother was born in Virginia.

I found Mary F. enumerated in 1880 in Pontotoc County, Mississippi, and is listed as the daughter of George Box. She is also enumerated in his household in Lee County, Mississippi, in 1870.

There is a listing for a Mary Box Burton in one of’s databases. It states she died in 1957 in Lamar County, Alabama, and her parents were listed as G.C. Box and Nancy Jennings. Nancy was one of the wives of George Carroll Box. I think I may have Mary’s obituary from a previous research trip to Alabama and also one for Lillie (who also married an O’Mary). I need to go through my paper files (I’m working on my digitization), but I am sure they did not mention a sister named Susan/Susie.

I will order that Alabama death certificate this week (and probably ones for Mary Box Burton and Lillie Box O’Mary). It looks like I also need to work on all the children of George Carroll Box. I am hoping I will be able to resolve some of my challenges in 2019.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

First #52Ancestors

The first cemetery I visited for genealogical purposes was in September 1986. It was the Crispin Cemetery in Centerfield, Madison Township, Highland County, Ohio.

I had purchased the book Cemetery Inscriptions of Highland County, Ohio by David N. and Jane N. McBride, and found Campbells listed in that cemetery. I was hoping to find gravestones for my 2nd great-grandparents Samuel M. and Sarah Ann Roberts Campbell.

My sister Holly was with me and she was a little nervous about visiting the cemetery as the description stated it was located on Rattlesnake Creek. She said there must have been a reason to give the creek that name. She walked around the cemetery with a large umbrella in case she encountered some slithering creatures.

I found some Campbells there, but there were no stones for my Samuel and Sarah. After many visits and a number of years later, their stone surfaced. It must have been buried under several inches of soil. Unfortunately the years of death are incorrect for both of them (they both died in 1901).

This has become my favorite Ohio cemetery and one of my projects is writing a book about it and those buried in it.