Monday, August 13, 2012

Mystery Monday: A "Ben" in the road to the DAR


Mystery Monday is a daily prompt at Geneabloggers that asks us to share mystery ancestors or mystery records – anything in our family history research which is currently unsolved.  With any luck fellow genealogy bloggers will lend their eyes to what has been found so far and possibly help solve the mystery.


























“Ben’s” – that’s the only clue to the identities of these five children.  Are these Ben’s children?  And who is Ben anyway? 

The two photos are glued fast in the photo album belonging to my great-aunt Velma Davis Woodring who amused herself by writing clever captions like “Just us” and “Being lazy” instead of people’s names.  Ordinarily Velma’s album offers lots of inspiration for a family historian; however, these little faces were not familiar to me at all.  My database contained no Ben who might have had children much younger than Velma.  Census records didn’t reveal any neighbor named Ben.  Fiddlesticks.  I give up.  On to other concerns.

One of my other concerns has been gathering pieces of the paper trail back to Leonard Davis for membership into the DAR.  I created a spreadsheet recording names; dates of birth, death, and marriage; where to find that information; a notation for ordering and receiving acceptable proof.  Whenever I need a death date or location, I like to check Findagrave.com.   Just this week I typed “Davis” and selected “Virginia” and “Rockingham County.”  The Elk Run Cemetery in Elkton has lots of Davises, so I started looking at each one. 

One of the helpful features of Findagrave is the link to other family members.  In the Elk Run Cemetery I found Josiah Davis, son of Mitchell Davis, who was the grandson of my patriot ancestor.  Josiah is linked to three children, one of them named BENJAMIN. {I'm starting to hear the "Twilight Zone" tune.

I clicked on Benjamin whose page links to a daughter named Sarah Elizabeth Davis Monger.  {The "Twilight Zone" tune is getting louder!}

I clicked on Sarah.  Some nice person had posted her obituary with the names of six sisters and one brother.  BINGO!

Velma had dated enough of the photos for me to conclude most were taken between 1923 and 1928. Looking at the census records for 1920 and 1930, I am confident that these are the daughters of Benjamin Harrison and Fleeta Berry Davis.  In searching for DAR-quality proof for my patriot, I had found the names of the five children in Velma’s album.

Edith (age 2)
Back: Sarah Elizabeth (11),
 Ruby (1), Thelma (7)
Front: Edith (2), Anna (4)



























I rather like the little detours on the road to the DAR. 

What discoveries have you made when looking for something else?





©2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

15 comments:

  1. You da Man, girl! This is too exciting!

    ReplyDelete
  2. How wonderful when an unexpected route turned out to be the right one. I bet you were very pleased to be able to name who they were and where they belonged in your family history.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am! I didn't even have Ben in my database, so to find him, a wife, and a busload of kids is terrific. It also gives me some insight into which branches of the family were close. Too cool.

      Delete
  3. Great find! It's amazing what you can discover when you follow all the little clues and leads.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do get energized when that happens.

      Delete
  4. You give a whole new meaning to 'Digger', 'Clueless', 'LinkClicker'...LOL!!! FAGrave is an amazing source for the ultimate Grave Digger...you go girl! It is so much fun and rewarding to take an itty bitty clue and turn it into a wealth of information. Looks like your Aunt's clever captions were not so 'Clueless' afterall. Thanks for sharing your search for the DAR. I should do the same, but I'm almost 'Clueless' as where to start. Great post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right - sometimes those clueless clues have turned out to be pretty helpful if I just slow down and pay better attention.

      Delete
  5. Congratulations on your awesome find Wendy! Great work!

    Isn't Findagrave amazing? I love it. Oh, and your blog post title is very clever. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for saying something about my title. I have nearly broken my arm patting myself on the back for reaching such heights of creativity.

      Delete
  6. Great detective work! I have many photos that have nothing written on them but unfortunately no album or anything date to help. I made sure to write on all photos I gave away of my own children, including date and location. happy Wednesday here!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are smart to include that info. People will love you for it if they don't already.

      Delete
  7. This is best thrill of the treasure hunters. Looking for gold and finding diamonds instead. But we also know that finding one correct piece of the puzzle only creates a need for yet another piece.

    ReplyDelete