Monday, July 30, 2012

Newspapers: Selling the Hopkins Farm - Part 2

The full page ad featured in Selling the Hopkins Farm - Part 1 wasn't the only information published in the Mt. Vernon Signal about the sell of my Hopkins great-grandparents' farm.

The auction was scheduled for 15 Oct 1919 but, according to this little blurb from the Oct. 24th issue of the Signal, it was rained out.

This ad appeared in that same issue of the newspaper. The sale would happen on Oct. 28th regardless of the weather.

The sale was held on the 28th and the Signal reported the details in the Oct. 31st issue of the newspaper.

It appears Jim made a nice profit on the farm. According to this clip and the actual deed, the property sold for $10,055.75. Jim paid $2,000.00 for the house and first 100 acres in 1904. He added six acres in 1912 for $60.00 but I haven't found the deed(s) where he purchased the remaining 30 or so acres. (The real estate ad said the farm was 140 acres.) 

W. B. Sigmon was the buyer. He paid $7,055.75 cash at the time of the sale and signed 2 promissory notes for $1,500 each, one due in one year and the other in two years, for the balance of the purchase price.

Chronicling America, Mt. Vernon Signal.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Newspapers: Selling the Hopkins Farm - Part 1

Almost every time my grandfather visited us in Mt. Vernon, Kentucky when I was growing up (which was weekly after he retired in 1960), he took a drive out to the old farm where he'd spent most of his childhood. This is that farm! 

I knew James Arton and Lucinda Howard Hopkins sold this farm and moved to the Gum Sulphur area of Rockcastle County in 1919 but I had no idea they held an auction to sell the property.

I love the real estate company's glowing description of the property but the explanation of why my great-grandfather was selling the farm is my favorite part of the ad. 
"Its location and general character make it a most desirable place and the only reason why Mr. Hopkins has consented to sell is because his years and health are such that he cannot work it himself; his boys have all grown to manhood and gone out into the world to do for themselves and outside labor is too high to hire."
I'm not sure about his health at that time but at age 57, Jim wasn't quite as old as this makes it sound. It seems the biggest problem was that all of his free or cheap labor (in the form of his eight sons) was gone.

It's interesting that the Willing Workers (which was the ladies group at the Christian Church) furnished dinner. My Taylor great grandparents attended the Christian Church and that great-grandmother was a member of the Willing Workers but it wasn't the Hopkins family's church. Maybe the Rockcastle Real Estate Company had some connection and the ladies provided food for all of their auctions. 

Part 2

An easier to read PDF copy of this ad is here.

Chronicling America added several years to their Mt. Vernon Signal collection some time ago but I haven't taken time to start exploring them until now. The Signal images available include all surviving issues from 11 Dec 1896 to 15 Dec 1922. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Aunt Lois' Birthday

Sisters, Katie and Lois

Lois Marie McCauley was born 94 years ago today in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Analyzing My Grandparents 1940 Census Record

My maternal grandparents were the first people I looked for in the 1940 census because I knew I could find them in Harlan County, Kentucky pretty quickly without an index. I didn't expect to find any surprises but I didn't expect to find anything wrong either. News flash - records aren't always accurate, especially census records.

The record says my grandfather was a brakeman for the railroad. That's true. He worked for L & N from 1918 until 1960 with a couple of breaks for service in the U. S. Army. I remember the day he retired. He was a conductor on a line hauling coal out of the mountains in Harlan County by that time. Don't tell the L & N but his grandchildren rode in the caboose with him on part of his last run. (Yes, at eight years old, I jumped a freight train. On and off - we couldn't ride into the station.)

The record says my grandmother was a postmaster. That's true. She was the Postmaster at the Loyall Post Office in Harlan County from 1937 to 1941.

The record says my grandfather made $1,500 in 1939. Wouldn't you know - my grandmother's salary is blank. That could have been an interesting comparison.

The record says my grandfather completed the 5th grade and my grandmother one year of high school. I can't argue with the 5th grade for Papaw. From things he told, that's probably fairly accurate but Mamaw graduated from Mt. Vernon High School in 1917. Not only did she graduate, she was the youngest person (at 16 years old) in her graduating class because she had skipped a grade or two along the way. Because she was just 16, she had to wait a year to take the exam to become a school teacher so she worked at the Post Office in Mt. Vernon for several months in the meantime.

The record says nine-year-old June Taylor (relationship - sister) lived with them. Huh? Who? My grandmother's maiden name was Taylor and I expected to see to see her older sister, Gracie Taylor, living with them in 1940. Gracie moved in during the time Mamaw worked at the Post Office to help keep house and take care of the girls. But she wasn't nine years old in 1940, she was 53. And no one in the family was named June. This surely was supposed to be Gracie although she was also enumerated in Rockcastle County in her father's household where she normally lived. If I didn't know that this June Taylor did not exist, I could waste lots of time looking for her.

Oh, BTW, that redacted information was the names and ages of my mother and her sisters. I'm not stupid - they know where to find me.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Twins Separated and Adopted by Sisters - How Did I Miss This?

This post could be titled "You Can't See Everything in a Genealogy Database." Even though that is true, I'm still amazed that I didn't put this story together or even realized it was a story - until someone who knew the story e-mailed me.

First a little background:
Isabella Jane Goodloe, my 2nd great-grandmother, was married three times and lived her entire life in Hopkins County, Kentucky. She and first husband, Albert Hankins, had four children (including my great-grandfather, Lee) before Albert met an untimely death between 1863-1870. The facts about that are a little sketchy but that's another story. Janie had a brief second marriage to Thomas Yates before marrying her third husband, Thomas K. DeVault in 1879. Janie and Albert's children were mostly grown by the time she married DeVault. Two of her sons married that same year. 

I was always a little puzzled by the 1900 census record for Janie and Thomas. There was a 16-year-old girl named Bessie Walker living with them. Bessie was born in March 1884 in Kentucky and her relationship was adopted daughter. I had no idea if they adopted her as an infant or took her in much later. It seemed odd that she was listed as Walker instead of DeVault if they really adopted her but I confess to never really looking for answers to my questions. The only other mention I'd found of Bessie was in Janie's obituary in 1905 which mentioned her four Hankins children and "an adopted daughter, Miss Bessie DeVault." 

Here's the part I didn't connect:
Janie had a younger half-sister named Virginia who married William Henry Moore in 1878. Virginia and William had a daughter named Jessie Walker Moore. (That's how she is listed in my database.) Just like Bessie, Jessie was living with the Moore's by the time of the 1900 census. Her relationship was listed as "adp daut" and she was born in March, 1884 in Kentucky. (Oh sure, it's easy to see now that I laid it out for you. Bessie and Jessie. March, 1884. Walker. But in a database, in separate households, one of which got very little attention from me - not so obvious.)

A few months ago, I received an e-mail from a man who found Bessie and Jessie on my website. He told me they were the younger sisters of his grandfather and he wondered if I was interested in more information about them. Well, of course.

And this is the story:
On 13 Aug 1879, John Lewis M. Walker married Nancy E. Price in Hopkins County. It was Nancy's third marriage and she had four children from the second one. John and Nancy had a son, Eldred, born in 1881 and twin daughters, Jessie and Bessie, born on 15 Mar 1884. Nancy died of childbirth complications five days after the twins were born. John, probably with the help of relatives, cared for the three children until he died three years later in 1887.

Jessie and Bessie were adopted by the DeVaults and Moores but Eldred lived with several different families and was never adopted. From family stories, it appears that Eldred didn't have much contact with his sisters or, at least, didn't recall much about them. But you have to believe that the girls spent lots of time together growing up in the same extended family. Their brother's grandson said "These wonderful Goodloe sisters surely saved my great aunts from a life of orphanages or foster homes." The unsaid part of that sentence seems to be that his grandfather was not saved from that life.

Jessie married Will Fugate, raised a family and lived to the age of 75. Jessie and Will are buried in Grapevine Cemetery in Hopkins County - the same cemetery where Janie and Thomas DeVault and Virginia and William Moore are buried. 

Bessie's fate is unknown. 

Yes, I have some research to do starting with looking for some kind of adoption records.  

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The 1940 Census Knows When Aunt Lillie Lived in NOLA

I didn't expect to find much new information in the 1940 U. S. Census. Sure, there are people I have questions about - like these five - but for the most part, I already know a great deal about people who were alive in 1940 because I know or knew many of them. It turns out that doesn't mean there isn't some interesting stuff to discover. Over the next few weeks, I'll highlight some of the things I've learned starting now with Aunt Lillie. She is one of those five that I hoped to learn more about. Sometimes you get your wish.

My grandfather's sister, Lillie Vashti Lanier, was married at least four times. In 1910, she lived in Atlanta, Georgia with husband #1, Jesse Walls. After Jesse, Lillie married Jack Young and someone named Roberts but I don't know in what order. Her last name was Roberts in 1926 at the time of her mother's death (based on the obituary) but there are no clues about Mr. Roberts' first name. I haven't found her in the 1920 or 1930 census as a Walls, Roberts or Young. 

I was optimistic about finding Lillie in the 1940 census since she married husband #4, James Henry Dixon, on 2 Mar 1935 (somewhere). Lillie lived most of her adult life in Atlanta but a second cousin remembers that she lived in New Orleans and ran a dress shop at some point. She just doesn't remember a time frame. 

When Ancestry announced last Friday that their version of the 1940 census index for Georgia was ready, I knew Aunt Lillie would be my first search.

And I found her! 

James H. and Lillie V. Dixon lived at 523 Lee Street in Atlanta and paid $25 a month rent. Lillie had an 8th grade education but James completed four years of college. James was born in New York and his age of 48 matches up with the 9 Mar 1892 birth date on his headstone. He was a traveling salesman for an automobile supply company and made $1,500 in 1939.

It seems Lillie shaved a few years off her age. She was born in Alabama but 43 years old is questionable to say the least. She was eight years old (born in Nov 1891) in the 1900 census with her parents and her birth year on her death certificate (provided by her grandniece) is 1893. I will give her that in the picture above she looked several years younger than James even if she was probably slightly older. 

But the BIG news here is that they lived in New Orleans in 1935! Since that is the year they were married, maybe that explains why I haven't found a marriage record in Georgia. As usual, answers just create more to do list items but that is progress.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Daddy's Birthday

David Hankins McCauley was born 86 years ago today in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Autosomal DNA Can Be Frustrating But . . .

In early 2011, I took autosomal DNA tests at both 23&Me and FamilyTree DNA (before you could pay a fee and transfer your 23&Me results to FTDNA) and also had my mother tested at FTDNA. In the 18 months since the initial results came in, I've been able to figure out the relationship to a very small number of the hundreds of matches. (I'm talking less than 10.) I became so frustrated with the whole process that I threw in the towel for months and just quit looking at them.

Last month I received a message from a new 23&Me match wanting to compare information. We quickly realized that we have Bennett families in Troup County, Georgia in common even though any relationship between the two families is undeterminedThe next week I received an e-mail from a FTDNA match with a Bennett line in a different location. The possibility of finding a relationship between these Bennett families was enough to draw me back into DNA.

Last week I looked at a few other matches and, this time, I had some luck. Both companies allow users to upload a GedCom to create a pedigree chart but it seems like most people don't take advantage of that feature - at least most of my matches haven't. Of the pedigree charts I've checked, I had never come across one that had a match until a few days ago. And I found three in a row!

Stephen Hopkins and Rachel McFarland were my 3rd great-grandparents. There they were in a pedigree chart for one of Mom's matches at FTDNA. I fired off an e-mail and received a quick response from a cousin of the actual match who manages the account. He introduced me to another cousin in their branch of the family who has mtDNA results for Rachel's maternal line.

John Howard and Mary Risner were also my 3rd great-grandparents. The next two matches I checked, after the Hopkins cousin, had John and Mary in their pedigree charts. It's interesting that I found more Howard matches because two of the four 23&Me matches that I've figured out share John Howard's parents and one also shares Mary Risner's parents. (Mary's brother married one of John's nieces.)

So, autosomal DNA can be frustrating but maybe it isn't as hopeless as I thought. I may never work through all of our matches but I'm going to start spending some time on them again. Before I start digging too far, I really need a system for tracking all of this information. Everything up to this point is scattered through e-mails, messages at 23&Me, research notes in my database, a couple of not-up-to-date spreadsheets and who knows where else. Any suggestions?

Image from OpenClipArt.