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 Ancestry.com’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.