Saturday, June 30, 2018

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - The Date Your Grandmother Was Born

Randy Seaver of Genea-Musing has another great challenge tonight:
1)  What day of the week was your Grandmother born (either one)? Tell us how you found out.
2)  What event was a headline in the newspapers on that date?  Tell us how you found out.
3) What has happened in recorded history on your Grandmother's birth date (day and month)? Tell us how you found out, and list five events.
4)  What famous people have been born on your Grandmother's birth date?  Tell us how you found out, and list five of them. 
5)  Put your responses in your own blog post, in a comment on this blog post, or in a status or comment on Facebook.
Day of the Week 
My grandmother, Pansy Louise Lancaster, was born on Wednesday, November 19, 1913 in Erath County, Texas to George Warren Lancaster and Lela Ann Loveless. I found out the day of the week by searching November 1913 in Wikipedia.

Headlines 
For headlines, I typed in the date into the search box at Newspaper.com:

A headline from the Pacific Commercial Advertiser, a paper in Honolulu, was “Huerta’s Hold in Mexico Weakens.” There were also images from Mexico City.

In Texas, where she was born, an Austin Statesman headline was “Grand Jury Reviews fatality of Strike.” A Southern Pacific engineer was killed by a striker.

To get a headline from her hometown paper, I turned to the Portal of Texas History where they have the digital newspapers from Erath County. The Stephenville Empire was a weekly paper, so the nearest one to her birth was November 21, 1913.

One headline was “George Knight Will Lick Your Stamps,” a story about the postmaster’s offer of his staff to lick the stamps for the holidays. Another headline stated “Births Reported” which had the births divided by boys and girls. At the bottom of the list was a girl for G.W. Lancaster, which was my grandmother!

Events
Events that happened on the November 19 (HistoryNet.com):
1620: Pilgrims sight Cape Cod
1861: Julia Ward Howe writes “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”
1863: Abraham Lincoln delivers the “Gettysburg Address”
1897: The Great “City Fire” in London breaks out
1969: Apollo 12 touches down on the moon

Famous Births
Famous persons born on November 19 (HistoryNet.com):
1600: Charles 1, King of England and Ireland
1797: Sojourner Truth
1831: James Garfield, 20th President of the U.S.
1917: Indira Gandhi, prime minister of India (1967-1977, 1978-1984)
1936: Dick Cavett, TV talk show host

Copyright © 2018 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

Saturday, June 16, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 24: Father’s Day: Life of Thomas Newton Johnston

I am working on this year-long prompt, hosted by Amy Johnson Crow. I will write each week in one of my two blogs, either Mam-ma’s Southern Family or at My Trails Into the Past. I’m looking forward to writing about my children’s ancestors in new and exciting ways.

My great-grandfather was Thomas Newton Johnston, born 25 July 1885 in Comanche Co, Texas to Reuben Mach Johnston and Olivia Jane Jones.[1] He was the fourth child of thirteen.

He married Nell L. Hutson, the daughter of Peter H. Hutson and Sarah H. Selman, on 6 June 1907 in Comanche Co, Texas. They had six children, five who lived to adulthood. Unfortunately, Nell died young in 1919 at the age of 31.[2]

Thomas started out a farmer, renting a general farm.[3] Later, he worked as a salesman at a lumberyard.[4]

He married Zilpha E. Burford on 12 Dec 1931 in Stephenville, Erath Co, Texas.[5] This was the only “grandmother” my mother knew.

Tom died 20 February 1951 at the age of 65. He did make a trip out to California to visit his son, Tom Jr. Unfortunately, he died before I was born.

"Daddy Tom" with my mother, Lela and her cousin, Sarilyn


[1] For birthdate: Tombstone photo for Thomas N. Johnston, West End Cemetery, Stephenville, Texas. For parent’s names: Texas Department of Health Bureau of Vital Statistics, death certificate, digital image, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org), Erath Co, No. 7051, Thomas Newton Johnston, 1951; citing FHL film 1845915.
[2] "Mrs. Tom Johnson Dead," Comanche Chief, 18 Jul 1919.
[3] Texas, Comanche Co, 1900 U.S. census, pop. sched, Justice Precinct 3 (part of), ED 7, sheet 1a, p. 168a, dwelling 8, family 8, Thomas N. Johnston, digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 23 Nov 2011), NARA T623, roll 1541.
[4] Texas, Comanche Co, 1920 U.S. census, Comanche, ED 70, sht 7a, p. 47 (stamped), dwelling 136, family 138, Thos N. Johnson household, digital images, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com).
[5] "Texas, County Marriage Records, 1837-1977," digital Images, FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org), 1931, Erath Co, Marriage Record Bk R, p. 150, T.N. Johnston to Mrs. Zilpha E. Burford; citing FHL 4820400.

Copyright © 2018 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

Friday, June 8, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 23: Going to the Chapel

I am working on this year-long prompt, hosted by Amy Johnson Crow. I will write each week in one of my two blogs, either Mam-ma’s Southern Family or at My Trails Into the Past. I’m looking forward to writing about my children’s ancestors in new and exciting ways.

Two of my ancestors were ministers.

Nathan H. O. Polly, my four times great-grandfather, was a circuit rider. He was born 27 June 1820 in Kentucky and died 2 November 1902 in Rockwall County, Texas. He was 82 years old.

He was part of the evangelical movement of Churches of Christ or Disciples of Christ. According to his obituary, he baptized about 3000 people and preached for 50 years all over northern Texas.

I found articles about Brother NHO Polly in several newspapers, such as The Christian Messenger. In the 1880s his health was failing and he had cut back on the preaching.


Ebenezer Loveless, my two times great-grandfather, was a Baptist minister in Faulkner County, Arkansas. His ministry was more part-time. He was always listed in census records as a farmer.

To the right, he is shown in the Cadron River with those who have been baptized.


Copyright © 2018 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

Saturday, May 12, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 19: Mother’s Day

I am working on this year-long prompt, hosted by Amy Johnson Crow. I will write each week in one of my two blogs, either Mam-ma’s Southern Family or at My Trails Into the Past. I’m looking forward to writing about my children’s ancestors in new and exciting ways.

I searched for photos of Mother’s Day with my mother or with my own children and couldn’t find any. Instead, I’m sharing instead some multi-generational photos I found.

This is a four-generation photo taken at Christmas 1988. My grandmother, Pansy Louise Lancaster Johnston (age 75); my mother, Lela Nell Johnston Hork (age 54); myself, Lisa Suzanne Hork Gorrell (age 34);and my daughter, Elizabeth Ann Gorrell (age 1 month).


 A three-generation photo taken in Los Angeles, 1923. My great-grandmother, Julia Ann Sievert Hork (age 69); my grandmother, Anna Marie Sullivan Hork (age 31); and my aunt, Lorene Ethel Hork (age 5 or 6 months).


 Another three-generation photo taken in Stephenville, Texas, about 1935. Left to right: my great-grandmother, Lela Ann Loveless Lancaster (age 39); great-grandfather, George Warren Lancaster; my grand-uncle Wayne Lancaster; my mother, Lela Nell Johnston (age about 6 months); and my grandmother, Pansy Louise Lancaster Johnston (age 22).

A lot of wonderful mothers in these photos.

Copyright © 2018 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

Thursday, May 3, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 18: Close-up of the Jones & Johnston Family in Comanche Co, Texas

I am working on this year-long prompt, hosted by Amy Johnson Crow. I will write each week in one of my two blogs, either Mam-ma’s Southern Family or at My Trails Into the Past. I’m looking forward to writing about my children’s ancestors in new and exciting ways.

When we first find our ancestors in a census record, we tend to just focus on that one family on the page. We carefully record the head of household, his wife, and children into our genealogy program or into a word processing document. There might be others in the household such as one of the parents or in-laws, or perhaps a sibling or servant.

It is a good practice to at least look at the census entries before and after the targeted family. I try to look a page or two before and after the family and record the head of household’s first and last names. At first glance, we may not know whether any of these people are kin, especially if they are not of the same surname.

I have a family on a page in Comanche County, Texas, where nearly everyone on the page were kin.[1] But I didn’t know this at first glance because I was focused on my family, listed as M. Reubin Johnston. Next door was J. Marian Johnston, a likely brother and in his household, Elizabeth Johnston, their likely mother.


However, above Marion was Henry Wright and Mary Wright, his wife. 


And above him was George Knox and Bettie Knox, his wife. In his household were several Joneses: Amanda Jones, his mother-in-law and two sisters-in-law, Laura and Mattie Jones



And above George was Thomas W. Jones.



Below Reubin was James McDonald and Sarah McDonald, his wife.


  
What was common with all of the wives of these men was their birthplace of Mississippi. Every woman except Sarah were sisters. They were the daughters of Amanda Jones and the sister to Thomas W. Jones. Sarah was the sister of Reuben and Marion Johnston.

In this close proximity were seven families living next door to each other who were interrelated. The common thread was the family of Reuben's wife, Olivia: her mother, Amanda Jones and her siblings.This is a real close-up of a tight knit family.




[1] 1880 U.S. census, Comanche Co, Texas, ED 30, p 95a, fam 173, M. Reubin Johnston, digital image, Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com), citing NARA T9, roll 1297.

Copyright © 2018 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

Saturday, April 14, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 15: Taxes–Evidence Found About Samuel Johnston--MSF


I am working on this year-long prompt, hosted by Amy Johnson Crow. I will write each week in one of my two blogs, either Mam-ma’s Southern Family or at My Trails Into the Past. I’m looking forward to writing about my children’s ancestors in new and exciting ways.

I am still trying to discover more about Samuel Johnston so I can discover his origins in South Carolina. This week I’m looking at tax records.

There are tax records digitized at the Mississippi State Archives and the images are available on FamilySearch.[1] I could search the database, but instead I browsed the records specifically from Yalobusha County, where the Johnston family was living in 1850 and 1860.

The earliest tax record was for 1853.[2] There are 47 images for the county and the names are listed in loose alphabetical order (i.e. all the J surnames are together). There were no “Johnston” names, but five “Johnson” names listed together, including a Samuel.



There are additional Johnsons on the previous page: Benj F., David, Willis, and Robert were listed together, along with John, B.F., William, James, Littleton, another William, and Peter. There are fifteen Johnson men altogether. Sometimes Johnston and Johnson can get mixed up.

To analyze this document, one must make note that the names are written in alphabetical order. The clerk who created the document either placed the names on the page as the taxpayer came to pay, or rewrote the list onto a new sheet.  The previous page had J surnames but also surnames that began with “I.” These names were probably copied onto this form. An error could occur with the rewriting of the names. Any of these “Johnsons” could have been “Johnston.”

There were many columns in the tax record.  The only columns marked for Samuel “Johnson” were 1 poll marked for 31 cents, 31 cents for county & special tax, and $1.25 for railroad tax, for a total of $1.87. He had no slaves.

In 1854, the tax book was different. The listings were land owners and they were listed by section, township, and range. Samuel Johnson was listed in Township 25, Range 6, in Section 12. He was listed at the SW¼ of Section 12. This 160 acres was valued at $2 per acre for a total of $320.

The amount of state tax on land was 57 cents. The county & special tax was 56 cents. And the railroad tax was 56 cents. The total tax was $1.53.

Because of the way this was written out, it is possible to plot out his neighbors.

Platting this out opens up questions. Who was R.H. Johnson, and was he related to Samuel? What possible relationship might Samuel Johnson have with these other men in Sections 12, 11, 14, and 13?

To answer these questions, I might study again the 1850 census for each of these landowners. I would also obtain the deeds for each of these pieces of land to determine its history of purchases and sales. I would also check to see if there are probate records for any of these men, especially the one for L.G. Philips.



1857 tax list listed Samuel Johnston. He had one clock, valued at $5, 1 poll, and no slaves. There were other “Johnston” names listed:
  • John had 3 slaves, no poll
  • T.S. Johnston had no slaves, 1 poll
  • RH Johnston had 1 watch ($40),  30 cattle over 20 head, 11 slaves, 1 poll
  • Mary had 3 slaves, no poll




There are also “Johnson” names. Making a spreadsheet to keep track of all of the Johnson and Johnston names will be very useful.


[1] “Mississippi, State Archives, Various Records, 1820-1951,” database & images, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/1919687 : accessed 13 Apr 2018).
[2] "Mississippi, State Archives, Various Records, 1820-1951," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org : 13 Apr 2018), Yalobusha > County tax rolls 1853, Box 3778 > image 22 of 49; Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Jackson.

Copyright © 2018 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

Saturday, April 7, 2018

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 13: Homestead: A Cabin in Boulder Creek--MSF

I am working on this year-long prompt, hosted by Amy Johnson Crow. I will write each week in one of my two blogs, either Mam-ma’s Southern Family or at My Trails Into the Past. I’m looking forward to writing about my children’s ancestors in new and exciting ways.

Boulder Creek is a small community in Santa Cruz County, California. The creek served as a flume in the logging days.

In the 1950s, my grandparents had a cabin in Boulder Creek.  I don’t know if they owned the property or rented it. There was a very nice painting of the cabin but at the moment, the location of the painting is unknown. The last time I saw the painting was before my grandmother passed away in 2013.

However, I do have a photograph. 

I don’t know how long they used the cabin, but later they had a cabin (really a trailer) in Nice at Clear Lake.

The Clear Lake cabin I had visited. One week us four older children spent some time with Mam-ma at this cabin. I remember the big ants (or spider) that bit my brother in the night to swell up us legs. I remember wading in the lake and my brothers trying to swim to the end of the pier. The water had a fishy smell, as if every fisherman dumped fish carcasses in the lake.

The cabin wasn’t too far from town, as we walked there. My siblings might have more members (or better ones). It was just nice getting away on a vacation during summer. It probably gave my mother a few days break, so she only had to deal with the two youngest children. Our family never had a cabin for vacationing.

Copyright © 2018 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family