Sunday, February 22, 2015

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Four Degrees of Ancestral Separation

This theme from Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings has a weekly fun post we can all join in. This week we're to find:
"Using your ancestral lines, how far back in time can you go with four degrees of separation? That means "you knew an ancestor, who knew another ancestor, who knew another ancestor, who knew another ancestor." When was that fourth ancestor born?"
This is an interesting project. As you can see, this gets me back to an ancestor who was born in 1734 or maybe even earlier!

My maternal mother’s line:
1.    Me. I was born in 1954 and knew my grandmother, Pansy Louise Lancaster (1913-2013).

2.    Pansy Louise Lancaster (1913-2013) certainly knew her grandfather, William Carlton Lancaster (1873-1946) and probably her great grandfather, George Wilson Lancaster (1839-1919).

3.    George Wilson Lancaster (1839-1919) knew his father, Ellis Wilson Lancaster (1808-1866) and possibly his grandfather, Robert Lancaster (1734-1809) though he’d only be one years old, but they lived in the same place.

4.    Robert Lancaster (1734-1809) would have known his father, Nathaniel Lancaster (1734-1809) but I don’t know enough about his grandfather, John Lancaster (??-1770) to know whether they ever lived in the same place.

Note to self: Need to find when John Lancaster was born!

Copyright © 2015 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

Thursday, January 15, 2015

4th Anniversary!

I have been busy in Salt Lake City this week attending a course called "From Confusion to Conclusion," given by Harold Henderson and Kimberly Powell. It's a course about writing proof summaries and proof arguments. It's been a great class so far with lots of in-class exercises and discussions.

I nearly forgot about the anniversary of this blog until I saw Dick Eastman's post on his 19 year anniversary. I remembered our anniversaries were on the same day!

I've been lax in writing in this blog on my grandmother's family but plan to write about the Lancaster Family soon. I'm currently doing some land research and will write something soon.

So Happy Blogiversary to "Mam-ma's Southern Family!"

Copyright © 2015 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

Monday, November 24, 2014

Mam-ma was a Tomboy

Mam-ma was a tomboy.
1930s One of Mam-mas dresses she made
A dress she made

You wouldn’t know it by the fact she was also a lover of clothes. When she was young, she sewed her own clothes. She also loved shopping for new clothes and she loved looking nice. For many years, turquoise was her favorite color, but in later life pinks and purples also became part of her color palette.

But she told me she was really a tomboy. She was named Pansy Louise but she hated her name, feeling it sounded too sissy. She liked sports and played softball as a young woman. But as the only girl in a household of boys and her mother being ill with Parkinson’s disease, she had to do a lot of housework and taking care of her younger brothers. So she learned to cook, clean, and sew.

Clothes Horse box
One of the stores where she worked.
This is an old box from the store.

She married at 19 and had my mother at 20. She worked as a seamstress, mending and altering men’s clothing and as a saleslady in women’s and men’s clothing stores. She worked at Goldman’s and for many years at The Clothes Horse, working at both the Walnut Creek and Concord stores. The Concord store was first at Sun Valley Mall and later moved to the Willows Shopping Center.

1979-03_Fat Farm-Tecote Mex - Mam-ma with tennis racket-crop
Mam-ma with her racket at a resort
After the death of Tom-Tom, she became active with sports again. She played tennis first. Not only playing tennis with her best friend, Eveline, but also going to pro tennis tournaments and watching matches on television. I played against Mam-ma once and my sister, Renee said they played together once, too.

At Dublin Bowl

When she couldn’t play tennis anymore, she took up bowling and continued to play into her nineties. She won tournaments and was proud to reach 90 and receive free games.

Bowling in Dublin, Calif.

She especially enjoyed bowling with her grandchildren and great-grandkids. It was always great fun. The youngsters would have a lane with the bumpers set up and us grownup would then have two adjacent lanes. Afterwards, we would all go out to lunch in a local Pleasanton restaurant. It was always such great fun!

Finally back pain prevented her from playing anymore. Instead, we had get-togethers in other ways from visits to her house to outings in restaurants.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun (SNGF) – Grandfather’s Birthdate

Randy Seaver’s SNGF this week is to pick one of my grandfathers, find out the date of birth, day of week, what famous events happened on that day in history, and what famous people were born on that day.  Here are my answers.

1. My maternal grandfather, Tom J. Johnston, was born 7 Oct 1912.  This was a Monday.

2. Important events on that day (from Wikipedia)

3. Famous people born on 7 October:
Copyright © 2014 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

Monday, August 18, 2014

Matrilineal Monday : Marriages of Melissa Ann Welch

Matrilineal Monday is a blogging theme to celebrate or share something of your mother’s line.

This week I have been cleaning up files from my to-do list and found some COOR, WELCH, and KETHLEY marriages from Copiah County, Mississippi. I had the dates of these marriages from marriage indexes but not the images of the actual marriage record page from the county clerk. I found these records from films at the Family History Library.

Today I’ll share the two marriage records for my third great-grandmother, Melissa Ann Welch. Melissa was born 8 May 1840 to Dempsey Welch and Elizabeth Rebecca Young.[1] She married first to J. T. Pittman on 31 Oct 1855 in Copiah County, Mississippi.[2]

Marriage for J.T. Pittman & Melissa Ann Welch in 1855

There is not much information given in these marriage records and lots of blanks spaces left blank. So would have been nice if the clerk had filled in the parent’s names! The bondsman, Thomas G. Welch was her brother, Thomas Griffin Welch (1831-1875). They were married by the Justice of the Peace, John Terry. Although there were no ages given, from cemetery records, her birthdate of 8 May 1840 would have made her 15 years old at the time of the marriage.

I know nothing else about Mr. Pittman. All I know is he either left her or died. She was found again marrying my third great-grandfather, James Madison Coor on 9 Oct 1856, barely a year after her first marriage.[3]

Marriage of Mellisa Ann Pittman to James Madison Coor in 1856

Again, most of the blanks were not filled in. The bondsman, D.P. Welch was probably her brother, Dempsey Perry Welch (1822-1902). They were married by the Judge of Probate Court, J. Millsaps.

Melissa and James had 10 known children, but their life together lasted just 20 years. Melissa died 20 Sep 1876 in Copiah County and she was buried at the Coor Cemetery near Crystal Springs.[4] There were two children under the age of five in the household. James never remarried and later moved to Erath County, Texas.

[1] Mississippi Genealogical Society, editor, Cemetery & Bible Records Vol 1 (Mississippi: n.p., 1954.), 1.
[2] Copiah County, Mississippi Marriage License Record Bk C, p 382, Pittman-Welch, 1855, FHL film 904433.
[3] Copiah County, Mississippi Marriage License Record Bk C, p 444, Coor-Pittman, 1856, FHL film 904433.
[4] Mississippi Genealogical Society, editor, Cemetery & Bible Records Vol 1 (Mississippi: n.p., 1954.), 1.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Where Were They 100 Years Ago?

Our assignment this week from Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings is:

1)  Determine where your ancestral families were on 19 July 1914 - 100 years ago.

2)  List them, their family members, their birth years, and their residence location (as close as possible).  Do you have a photograph of their residence from about that time, and does the residence still exist?

3)  Tell us all about it in your own blog post, in a comment to this post, or in a Facebook Status or Google+ Stream post.

I’ll start with my maternal line:
My great grandparents, Thomas Newton Johnston (1885-1951) and Nell L. Hutson (1888-1919) were living in Gustine, Comanche County, Texas. Their eldest son, my grandfather, Tom J. Johnston Jr, (1912-1973) was living with them.

Thomas Newton Johnston’s parents, Reuben Mack Johnston (1841-1924) and Olivia Jane Jones (1859-1914) were also living in Gustine, Comanche County, Texas. Olivia died later that year on 11 Dec.

Nell L. Hutson’s parents, Peter Hayden Hutson (1853-1930) and Sarah Helena “Sallie” Selman (1858-1916) were probably living in Gustine, Comanche County, Texas.

My great grandparents, George Warren Lancaster (1893-1964) and Lela Ann Loveless (1896-1951) were living in Erath County, Texas, probably not far from the county seat, Stephenville. Their daughter, my grandmother, Pansy Louise Lancaster (1913-2013) lived with them.

George Warren Lancaster’s parents, William Carl Lancaster (1873-1946) and Martha Jane “Doll” Coor (1873-1942) were living in Stephenville, Erath County, Texas.

William Carl Lancaster’s parents were George Wilson Lancaster (1839-1919) and Martha Jane “Mattie” Polly (1855-1932). George W. was probably living in Dublin, Erath County, Texas. Mattie had remarried Noah Park and was living in Imperial County, California.

Lela Ann Loveless’ father was A. Ebenezer “Ebbie” Loveless (1851-1929) and he lived in Erath County, Texas on a farm. Her mother had previously passed away.

I have no photos of the farm houses in Texas.

My paternal line:
My great grandmother, Julia Ann Sievert (1854-1928) lived in Hamilton, Ravalli County, Montana. My grandfather, William Cyril Hork (1899-1967) lived with her. They lived at 601 South 5th Street. Cyril’s father, John A. Hork had died in 1906. I have a photo.
601 South 5th, Hamilton, Montana
My great grandfather, John H. Sullivan (1854-1932) lived in Anaconda, Deer Lodge County, Montana, probably at 1016 East 3rd (the address from the 1915 city directory). His daughter, my grandmother, Anna Marie Sullivan (1892-1979) graduated from Montana State Normal College in June 1914 so might have stay there or moved back to Anaconda and lived with her father. Her mother, Anna Marie Gleeson died in 1912.

My great-great grandparents, John Gleeson (1835-1915) and Margaret Tierney (1835-1920) lived in Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon at 410 Ross Street. There are tall city buildings there now but I have a photo of the house!
410 Ross Street, Portland, Oregon

So I had 21 direct line ancestors living on 19 July 1914!

Copyright © 2014 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – Random Search: William T Lancaster & Julia A Cannon

Here’s another great challenge from Randy Seaver of Genea-musing.  You can see his blog post here.
1) We're going to do a little bit of Semi-Random Research tonight...
2) Go to your family tree database of choice (you know, like RootsMagic, Reunion, Ancestry Member Tree), and determine who the very first person on your list of C surnames is. Or the first person on your list of J surnames. Or P surnames. Or any other name you need to research. Your choice!
3) What do you know (or not know) about this person based on your research? It's OK to do more research if you need to - in fact, it's encouraged!
4) How are you related to this person, and why is s/he in your family tree?
5) Tell us about it in a blog post of your own, in a comment to this blog post, or in a Facebook Status post or Google+ Stream post.
This seemed like fun. I tried picking some letters in my RootsMagic program but kept coming up with people who were still alive, which I don’t want to write about here.

Earlier today I was working on entering tax records for my Lancaster families in Kaufman County, Texas, and I realized I didn’t have death dates for William T. Lancaster and his wife, Julia A. Cannon. What a perfect pair to work on with this challenge.

William T. Lancaster was the third child of Ellis W. Lancaster and Elizabeth S. Neel, born about 1837 in Missouri. Sometime after 1850, the family moved to Kaufman County, Texas and the family was found in the 1860 census, taken on the 5th of July 1860, as abstracted here:[1]
Lancaster, E.W., 50, born in VA, a farmer, land worth $3000, personal property $830. 
      Elizabeth S., 58, female, white, b. KY
      Wm T, 22, male, white, farming, personal value 500, b. MO
      Geo W, 21, male, white, farming, personal value 500, b. MO
      Linace, 18, female, b. MO
      Catharine, 14, female, b. MO
      Martha J, 12, female, b. MO
      Hannah, 10, female, b. MO
Olds, Ben, 19 male, Mas Carpenter, personal value 750, b. MO
Boystone, R, 25, male, Mas Carpenter, b. KY
Neil, Wm, 17, male, farm laborer, personal value 4000, b. TN

Here you see William T as a 22 year-old male with personal wealth of $500. This personal wealth could be the ownership of horses, wagons, or cash.

A few months later, William married Julia A. Cannon on 25 Oct 1860.[2]  Julia’s family also lived in Kaufman County, not far from William. Julia was born about 1845-46 to Emberry and Minervia Cannon.
Kaufman Co, Texas Marriages Bk 1a, p 68, Lancaster-Cannon
By the 1870 census, William and Julia were living in Milam County, Texas.[3] William’s occupation was retail merchant with $2000 worth of real estate and $5000 worth of personal property. He lived with Raymond S. Porter, also a retail merchant, his wife, Julia, child Ella, and possibly sister-in-law, Callie Cannon. A Mullatto nine year-old male named Marion Graham also lived with them as a servant.
1870 Milam Co TX - William Lancaster in the Raymond S. Porter household
In transcribing the Kaufman County tax records, W.T. Lancaster appeared twice, 1872 and 1879. But was he in the Milam County tax rolls? I went to to search the “Texas, County Tax rolls, 1846-1910” database and images. Putting “Lancaster” and “Milam” in the search boxes came back with no records. Then I tested the database and entered only Milam for the county with no names and it came back with no records. So Milam County has not yet been indexed.

I could also browse though, so I selected Milam County and then 1870. There were 48 images and they were listed by rough alphabetical order. The “L” names would be a bit half way so I selected page 20 and then worked my way through the L names until I found W.T. Lancaster.[4] He had 1 town lot in Duvilla worth 400. That was all besides the poll tax that he paid tax on.

1871 tax list had the taxpayers listed by address and there were 80 pages. I decided not to look for W.T. I do have him in the 1872 Kaufman County and his tax basis was for two pieces of property totaling 85 acres and worth $1121.[5] He also had 2 wagons or carriages worth $50, 3 horses worth $150, 2 cattle worth $10, and a $100 worth of miscellaneous items for a total of $1381.  Now the discrepancy between the census value and the tax value could be that he didn’t have to report “everything” he owned, only those items requested. 

There was also an 1879 tax list in Rockwall County (Kaufman Co split into two and this part was now Rockwall Co) and his total worth for tax purposes was $1277.[6]

In 1880, the family was found in the census.[7] William and Julia were hotel keepers. They had four children. Here is the abstract without all of the boarders:
Lancaster, Wm, w, m, 44, mar, hotel keeper, Missouri, VA/KY
                Julia, w, f, 33, wife, mar, keeper hotel, Alabama, TN/AL
                Ella, w, f, 17, daughter, single, Divorced, TX, MO/AL
                Ollie, w, m, 7, son, single, at school, TX, MO/AL
                Mark, w, m, 3, son, single, TX, MO/AL
                Carl, w, m, 1, son, single, TX, MO/AL

Now the trail was cold and it is time to do some research. has Texas death certificates in a database and images called “Texas Deaths 1890-1976.” It was time to see if I could find William or Julia in the death records.

Well, I struck out there. No record came close to either William T or WT Lancaster, nor for Julia Lancaster. It was time to look for some hints. I went to the family trees in and poked around. Several trees had William T and Julia but the last record sourced was the 1880 census. Some trees listed death date for both as “bef 1900” indicating that they were not found in the 1900 census.

FamilySearch Family Tree has one William Thomas Lancaster, born 1837, son of Ellis Lancaster and Elizabeth Neel, husband of Julia A.Cannon.  He is LC5S-MRH. This is probably the right person but again, no hints to the death date or place.

I decided to look at for any memorials for this family. The only ones I found were for one of their children: Ollie Edgar Lancaster (1871-1947).[8]

Back to and I found census records for Ollie, his wife, Bessie, and son, Cohn for 1910, 1920, 1930, and for Ollie and his son in 1940. I will download these and enter them into the database.

So I have extended the family a bit but still no death date or place for William T. and Julia A. Lancaster. Newspapers would be a good place to search but will have to be done by microfilm as there are few Texas papers online. There are also other children to search besides Ollie and maybe their obituaries might give some clues.

More for another day!

[1] Texas, Kaufman, 1860 U.S. census, pop. sched., Kaufman, p. 41, dwelling 338, family 340, E. W. Lancaster household, digital images,  ( accessed 20 Jan 2011), citing National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), M653.
[2] Kaufman Co, Texas, Marriage Bk 1a: 68, Lancaster-Cannon; FHL microfilm 1302500.
[3] Texas, Miram, 1870 U.S. census, pop sched, Devilla, p. 304A (stamped), dwelling 1535, family 1543, Raymond S Porter, digital images,  ( accessed 7 Mar 2011), citing National Archives and Records Administration, n.d., M593, roll 1598.
[4] “Texas, County Tax rolls, 1846-1910,”Milam Co, 1871, p 22, W.T. Lancaster.
[5] Ibid, Kaufman Co, 1872, p 34, W.T. Lancaster.
[6] Ibid, Rockwall Co, 1879, p 13, W.T. Lancaster.
[7] Texas, Kaufman, 1880 U.S. census, pop. sched., Terrill, enumeration district (ED) 38, p. 114 C & D (stamped), dwelling 66, family 67, Wm Lancaster; digital images  ( accessed 7 Mar 2011), citing National Archives and Records Administration, n.d., T9, roll 1315.
[8] "Find A Grave," database and digital images, Find A Grave (, Memorial# 57268107, Mission Burial Park South, San Antonio TX, Ollie Edgar Lancaster.

Copyright © 2014 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family