Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A to Z April Challenge: I is for Imogene


This is Day 9 of the A to Z April Challenge.  My theme is women with unusual names although I must cheat now and then or I’ll have a name and no story.


is for Imogene T. Davis.  She is my second cousin once removed on my mother’s side.  I have no personal stories to share about her, nor any startling discoveries through online research.  But I am proud of my detective work in fleshing out the family tree.

The first part of her life was easy to document.  Imogene was born in 1912, daughter of my maternal grandfather’s cousin, Benjamin and Fleeta Talmadge Berry Davis.  In 1920 and 1930, she was living with her parents along with seven sisters and brother.  But in 1940, there was no sign of her.  Probably married, I figured.

Ancestry linked me to some family trees with a husband for Imogene:  Walter H. Kesterson.  So I searched for them in 1940.  Nothing.

However, there was an obituary online for ol’ Walter in which Imogene was listed as his widow.  Also listed were a number of children and STEP-children.  Ah ha!  Imogene had been married before.   Maybe Walter had too.

I focused on the four stepchildren.  All girls.  All married.  No maiden names.  Drat!  But I went with those names anyway.  In my Ancestry Family Tree Maker program, I entered another husband for Imogene, Mr. UNKNOWN.  I entered the four daughters UNKNOWN:  Margaret, Vera, Burnell, and Faye.  Then I entered their spouses as Unknown COMFORT, Unknown GOOD, Unknown COMER, and Unknown CROWE.

And suddenly there was Ancestry’s famous “shaky leaf” alerting me to a possible match with someone’s family tree.  Faye Meadows Crowe.  Cha-ching!

So I searched “Imogene Meadows” in the 1940 census, and there she was with her four daughters in Elkton, Virginia.  No husband though.  In the marital status box she was marked “M” for married, but it was crossed out in pencil with a “7” written over it signaling she was separated and/or in the process of getting a divorce.  She was working as a seamstress at the overalls factory in Elkton.

Interestingly enough, the household ahead of her was the widowed Ella Meadows.  Could that be her mother-in-law?

Of course, it could! 

The digging continued with a backwards journey to the 1930, 1920, and 1910 census records where 3 possible sons emerged:  Everett, Lloyd, and Odis.  Based on the age, my first guess was Everett.  His obituary and tombstone on Findagrave.com lead me to believe he is the ex-husband of my Imogene Davis Kesterson because he was survived by some stepchildren and FOUR DAUGHTERS.  

The proof is not absolute, but the coincidence is too great to ignore.

 
Tombstone of Imogene Davis Kesterson 1912-2003, Virginia
from Findagrave.com
photo by JAC


To Inspect other Interesting and Innovative blogs, take a look at the A to Z April Challenge.

27 comments:

  1. Very interesting account of ancestral journey.

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  2. I love your research - it must be so interesting to do. Being married, divorced, children and step children is a story in itself.

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  3. You really do leave 'No ShakeyLeaf Unturned'. Thanks for the 'Unknown' Tip entry into ancestry.com. So far, my several times removed cousins are on the back burner. Yikes, that's not a good place to be when your talking about dried up old leaves.
    You are INVITED to a Quilt Show...by INVITATION only...click on CITexasGal Link.
    Sue CollectInTexasGal
    AtoZ LoneStar Quilting Bee

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    1. Yeah, being on the back burner can sometimes put you in the hot seat.

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  4. I agree with Sally. What a great feeling it must be to solve a mystery!

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    1. Sometimes I nearly break my arm patting myself on the back.

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  5. Wow! You are good, Wendy! Your detective work is quite the task! Simply wonderful and amazing! Imogene sounds like she had an interesting life too.

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    1. I wonder how that worked out for her - renting from her ex- mother-in-law.

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  6. What great detective work! You have more of a story for Imogene that you give yourself credit for.

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  7. Amazing!

    Blogging from A to Z April Challenge
    http://www.shellygoodmanwright.com/apps/blog/show/25551594-inspiration

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    1. Thanks for visiting. I'll repay the favor.

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  8. Great detective work there, Wendy! I know how it is...sometimes you just can't stop til you find the answer!

    Ever since our family read Barbara Robinson's book, "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever," the name Imogene has never been the same for me :)

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    1. I didn't think of that one -- I keep picturing Imogene Coca.

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  9. I am amazed at all the people you find. We are indeed related to the Meadows families a couple of times.

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    1. Yeah, somebody's not going to be happy.

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  10. I have such respect for people who undertake genealogical research. I am blessed to have had some inlaws who cared deeply about it and who put together some good background on my husband's family. I enjoyed reading about your process of solving the mystery, which is especially satisfying considering that you were dealing with people who were way, way, way pre-internet.

    I have an interesting name in my ancestry. Rhoda Milear [last name]. Don't know where or why, but I was always rather taken with that name.

    #AtoZChallenge

    SiouxsiesMusings

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    1. I get that. I fall in love with the sound of names too. My current favorites are some patriotic names in my family: Columbia and America.

      Thanks for visiting. I'll repay the favor.

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  11. still so impressed and intrigued by your research!

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  12. Sounds like you found her! I don't know how popular the name Imogene was but too many coincidences if it wasn't her.
    Happy A-Z April!

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  13. Great Work Wendy. I was really interested to read about the "M" being crossed out and the number 7 recorded instead.

    This is new knowledge to me. Does the number 7 align to something? Is there are 1-6?

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    1. In the 1940 US Federal census, every column had a corresponding list of numeric codes. The marital status column had 4 codes: 1 for single, 2 for married, 3 for widowed, 4 for divorced, then 7 for married but spouse not present.

      You can see the full list here: http://stevemorse.org/census/mcodes1940.htm

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  14. Interesting story but even more, thanks for the research hints. I never considered unknown as a search term. To be honest, I may not be the brightest bulb. I kept trying to figure out what nationality the last name Lnu was. Duh!

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