Monday, July 30, 2012

Amanuensis Monday: In Search of the DAR

Amanuensis Monday is a daily prompt at Geneabloggers which encourages the family historian to transcribe family letters, journals, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts.

I did it.  Finally.  I contacted one of the many local chapters of the DAR about membership.  I’m not sure why I did that TODAY.  Maybe to fulfill my mother’s plan to join the DAR.  That’s why she started doing family research to begin with.  However, Momma never seemed to be much of a joiner in her younger years, certainly not pretentious or desirous of any prestigious status that DAR membership would imply.  So maybe she was just trying to figure out why her aunts had stopped working on the family tree.  Was there a really juicy story or dark secret?  Yeah, well, maybe a couple. At any rate, Momma never found the right patriot ancestor.

In truth, our patriot was not that hard to find.  It’s Leonard Davis who was born in Albemarle County, Virginia but lived the majority of his life in Rockingham County, Virginia.  His service has already been proven by others who trace their lineage through one of his daughters.  My line is through his son Leonard Jr.  Proving that Leonard Jr. was son of Leonard Davis sounds simple on the surface since there’s that “Junior” suffix that seems to speak for itself.  However, “Jr” was sometimes used simply to distinguish the older and younger person of the same name. 

Leonard Davis's service as a patriot is proved by his application for the pension due soldiers who had served during the Revolutionary War, but he had been denied on the grounds that two of his three witnesses were not considered credible.  So he tried again.  I have transcribed the second application.  (If you want the abbreviated version, click HERE.)  

Click to enlarge

State of Virginia
County of Rockingham

On this 17th day of June 1833, personally appeared in open Court, Leonard Davis, aged 71 years, a resident of Rockingham County, and State of Virginia, who being first duly sworn according to law, doth on his oath make the following declaration in order to obtain the benefit of the Act of Congress passed June 7th 1832.
                That he entered the service of the United States, under the following named officers, and served as herein stated.
                He was born in Albemarle County, Va, and has no record of his age, his father having carried it to N. Carolina but thinks he was nineteen in 1781.  About twenty years since he removed to Rockingham, where he has resided ever since. In January 1781 he was drafted into the militia service in Albemarle County under Capt. John Hunton and Lieut. Isaac Davis.  He marched early in January to York, and thence to Hampton and then to Williamsburg with some prisoners, and then to Richmond, and was discharged, but got no written discharge. There was another company belonging to the same detachment under Capt. John Harris.  He was not in any engagement during this time, and served two months and twenty-five days.
                He marched from the same County again, about the last of April in the militia service as a draft under Capt. Isaac Davis, joined the army in Virginia somewhere between Richmond and Fredericksburg, and was shortly afterwards transferred to another Company under Capt. Leake of the Albemarle Militia.  Among the officers under whom he served he recollects Majors Boyd and Hoffler, and Genls. Wayne

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and Porterfield.  He was in two engagements during this time, one at Hot Water, and the other at James Town, and the army embarked immediately after the last engagement.  This tour was also served entirely in Virginia and he was discharged at Morban’s Hills, about twenty miles below Richmond, after having served three months and seven days but got no written discharge.
                For proof of his service, he relies on the affidavit of Capt. Isaac Davis, herewith submitted to the Court. He is old and infirm, and could not conveniently attend the Rockingham Court, and of John Hall also submitted, who is also unable to attend Rockingham Court.
                There is no clergyman residing in his neighbourhood whose attendance he can procure to give the usual certificate, but as he has produced satisfactory proof of his service he hopes the certificate will be considered unnecessary in his case.  He never received any written discharge, or commission, and has no documentary proof of his service.
                He hereby relinquishes every claim whatever to a pension or annuity except the present and declares that his name is not on the pension roll of the agency of any State.
                For his character for veracity and the belief of his revolutionary service in his neighbourhood, he refers to Mr. Wm. Kite, George Baugher, and Nickolas Baugher.
                Sworn to and subscribed the day and year aforesaid.
Leonard Davis (his mark)

And the Court do hereby declare their opinion, after the investigation of the matter, and after putting the interrogator as prescribed by the War department, that the above named applicant was a revolutionary soldier, and served as he states, and the Court doth further

Click to enlarge

certify that it appears to them from the evidence, _____, that there was no clergyman residing in the neighbourhood of the said Leonard Davis, I Henry J. Gambill Clerk of the Court of Rockingham, do hereby certify that the foregoing contains the original proceedings of the said Court in the matter of the application of Leonard Davis the aforesaid.
{Seal} In Testimony, whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and seal of my Office this 21st day of June 1833, and in the 57th year of the Commonwealth.
H. J. Gambill, Clerk of
Rockingham County Va.

The most interesting part of the application is the mention of battles fought.  Hot Water and James Town (Jamestown) are a two-three hour drive from Albemarle County on the Interstate TODAY.  I can’t imagine marching there on foot.

Next Monday, I’ll post the affidavits of witnesses.

©2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Census Sunday: Lillie Killeen

I don’t know why I was surprised to see my great-aunt Lillie Killeen in the 1940 Portsmouth, Virginia census living alone as the owner of the family home on Charleston Avenue.  But it makes perfect sense because her mother had died the year before.  Her sisters and brother were all married and on their own. 

Lillie Killeen at her sister Helen Parker's house
about 1969 or 1970

As long as I knew Lillie, she lived in an apartment; it never occurred to me that she ever owned a house. Now I’m wondering whether she was THE owner or merely the only owner-occupant possibly sharing ownership with her brother and sisters as inheritors of the home, valued at $2800 in 1940.  And then when and why was the house later sold?  Just curious.  Maybe it was just too much house and too many expenses for a single lady with a meager income.

from the photo album of Helen Parker
about 1918-20

Lillie had completed only six years of school. She was fully employed and earned $700 in 1939, and she worked 40 hours the last week of March 1940 as a “nurse” in a doctor’s office.  She was really the secretary in charge of scheduling appointments and taking payments, but she wore a white uniform and accompanied the doctor when he was examining a female patient. Nothing like keeping it legit.

Click to enlarge

©2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Sepia Saturday: Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack

Sepia Saturday challenges bloggers to share family history through old photographs.

This post is dedicated to Kirk Comer of Shenandoah, Virginia. He took an interest in one of my earlier posts and helped me learn a heckuva lot more about the minor leagues and my great-uncle Woody.

This week’s Sepia Saturday photo prompt features two bat-and-ball games: cricket and baseball.  Do cricket fans rise to their feet to sing a great song like “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”? At ballparks across America, everyone knows the words, and no words get more emphasis than “One – Two – Three strikes, you’re out, at the ol’ ball game!”
Woody 1926
at the original stadium, Shenandoah, VA

That song was fifteen years old when my great-uncle Arthur Henry “Woody” Woodring played for the minors, so maybe he actually had the pleasure of being serenaded by baseball fans during his six-year run with the Martinsburg (West Virginia) Blue Sox.

Shenandoah shops team 1927
Woody is on the far right, back row
scanned from Shenandoah: A History of Our Team and Its People
Woody worked on the electrical force of the Norfolk & Western Railroad.  How fortunate for him that the N&W sponsored baseball teams up and down the line.  

Photo courtesy of Kirk Comer, Shenandoah, VA
The infield of the old stadium is obvious,
but you might have to work harder to see the fence and grandstand.

Woody was playing on the shops team even while he began his professional baseball career as a catcher in 1924, evidently playing both at the same time. 

The Blue Sox were part of the Blue Ridge League.  This league of six level D (Rookie) teams from Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Maryland formed in 1915, disbanded during World War I because of lack of players, but revived itself in 1920.

In those days, the team with the best record for the season became the league champions.  It was Woody’s first year on the team but the Martinsburg Blue Sox’s third straight championship title.  

1924 Martinsburg Blue Sox
Woody is on the front row, far right
Photo courtesy of

The play-off system didn’t start until 1928, the same year that some major league teams started affiliating with the minor teams.  Woody’s team was affiliated with what was then the Philadelphia Athletics.  Other teams were affiliated with the New York Yankees, Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, St. Louis Cardinals, and Washington Senators.

The story that we had a professional ballplayer in the family never seemed REAL until I saw Woody’s stats for the first time. His weakest year was 1926 when he played only 12 games in the season.  It appears that he fell to the number 3 spot of a 4-man squad of catchers, but still he recorded the best fielding percentage of the group.  However, I don’t know the full story.  It’s possible he was injured, or maybe the organization was grooming the latest phenom.  

Martinsburg Blue Sox 1925
Woody is in the middle, front row, right behind the young boy
Photo courtesy of

Woody’s best season was definitely his last, 1929. He played in 95 of at least 112 games (based on the highest number of games played by others on his team).  In his 327 times at bat, he hit 103 singles, 19 doubles, 5 triples, and 4 homeruns, earning his highest Batting Average of .315%.  His Slugging Percentage of .440% put him as the fifth best hitter on his team.

Reading baseball statistics can be mind-numbing, but a simplified list of career totals might be easy to handle.  They are neither impressive nor unimpressive since there is nothing to compare them to, but here they are:

Career BATTING stats (total for all 6 years)
438 games
1519 plate appearances
1489 at bats
24 runs
409 hits
71 doubles
9 triples
8 homeruns
5 stolen bases
20 walks
2 hit by pitch
8 sacrifice bunts

Career FIELDING stats (total for 1924-1927) (not sure why other years are not available)
273 games as catcher
1465 Defensive Chances (put outs + assists + errors)
1232 put outs
203 assists
30 errors
.980% fielding percentage

The Blue Ridge League died a slow death in 1930 when some teams went bankrupt after the stock market crashed.  Woody’s team was one of them that didn’t survive into the 1930 season, and his career died with it.  Whether Woody just wasn’t good enough to be called up to The Show or whether his young bride, my great-aunt Velma, told him to come home and stay home will probably never be known.

It's too bad Woody died so young (age 47 in 1951).  It would have been fun to go with him to a game and share some peanuts and cracker jack. I bet he could tell some stories.

Join the team over at Sepia Saturday where there is surely something to cheer about.

“Blue Ridge League.” Baseball-Reference. Sports Reference, LLC. 2000-2011. Web.  22 July 2012.
“Blue Ridge League.” Wikipedia. Web. 22 July 2012.
“Woody Woodring.” Baseball-Reference. Sports Reference, LLC. 2000-2011. Web.  22 July 2012.
Zeigler, Mark C.  Blue Ridge League.  Boys of the Blue Ridge, 2012. Web.  22 July 2012.

©2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Actors

Wordless Wednesday is a daily prompt at Geneabloggers that asks family historians to create a post in which the main focus is a photograph or image. 

This is another picture of my great-aunt Helen Killeen Parker’s friends at Ocean View, sometime between 1918 and 1920.  This one is captioned “Actors,” but don’t ask me why.  Do they look theatrical?

©2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Amanuensis Monday: Civil War Widow Application

Amanuensis Monday is a daily prompt at Geneabloggers which encourages the family historian to transcribe family letters, journals, audiotapes, and other historical artifacts.

The Virginia General Assembly passed Confederate pension acts in 1888, 1900, and 1902, plus supplementary acts between 1903 and 1934. At first the act provided pensions only to Confederate soldiers, sailors, and marines disabled in action and to the widows of those killed in action. But later the act was broadened to include all veterans, their widows and their unmarried or widowed daughters. The acts required that applicants be residents of Virginia.

Here is the application of my great-great grandmother Martha Ann Wilson Davis.
Click to enlarge

Form No. 3
Application of Widow

I,__ Martha A. Davis__, do hereby apply for aid under the act of the General Assembly of Virginia, approved April 9, 1902, entitled an act to aid the citizens of Virginia, who were disabled by wounds received during the war between the States while serving as soldiers, sailors, or marines, and such as served during the said war as soldiers, sailors, or marines of Virginia who lost their lives in said service, or whose death resulted from wounds received or disease contracted in paid service, and providing penalties for violating the provisions of this act, and I do solemnly swear that I am a citizen of the State of Virginia resident at  __Yancey__, in the __County of Rockingham__  in the said state, and that I have been an actual resident of the said State for __70 years__, and of the said city (or county) for one year next preceding the date of this application, and that I am the widow of __Mitchell Davis__ who was a soldier (sailor or marine) in the service of the State of Virginia in the war between the States, and who was a member of  (here state specifically the command and branch of the service to which the husband of the applicant belonged, and, if possible, the names of his immediate superior officers) __[illegible but possibly Gen’r Milne’s Command]  Col. Maupin and Captain H.A. Kite Militia__ and who, while in the discharge of his duty in the military or naval service of the State of Virginia, or of the Confederate States, during the said war, lost his life (if the husband of such widow was killed or died during the war as the result of wounds received, state the facts of the case as near as possible, giving the date of the husband's death.________________________(If the husband died after the war, strike out all relating to his death during the war, and then proceed as follows), and who has since the said war died (here state specifically the cause of the death of the husband of the applicant and the date thereof)__of heart disease in April 1892­­__ and that to the best of my knowledge, during the said war my said husband was loyal and true to his duty, and never, at any time, deserted his command or voluntarily abandoned his post of duty in the said service, and that I was never divorced from my husband, and that I never voluntarily abandoned him during his life, but remained his true, faithful and lawful wife up to the date of his death, and that I have never married after his death, and that I am now entitled to receive, under the said act, the sum of __25__ dollars annually.  And I do further swear that I do not hold any position or office at either national, State, city, or county, which pays me in salary or fees one hundred and fifty dollars per annum; nor have I an income from any other employment or other source whatever which amounts to one hundred and fifty dollars per annum; nor do I receive from any source whatever money or other means of support amounting in value to the sum of one hundred and fifty dollars per annum; nor do I own in my own right, nor does anyone hold in trust for my benefit or use estate or property, either real, personal, or mixed, either in fee or for life, of the assessed value of five hundred dollars; nor do I receive any aid or pension from any other State, or from the United States, or from any other source, and that I am not an inmate of any public institution and that I am without means of support, direct or indirect; and I do further swear that the answers given to the following questions are true:
 1. What is your age:  Ans. __70 years__
 2. Where were you born:  Ans. __Rockbridge County, Va__
 3. How long have you resided in Virginia?  Ans. __70 years__
 5. How long have you resided in the city or county of your present residence?  Ans. __Fifty-seven years__
 6. What is your husband's full name?  Ans. __Mitchell Davis__
 7. When and where were you married, and by whom?  Ans. __Aug. 24, 1856, Rockbridge Co., Rev. Ralph Thompson__
 8. When and where, as near as you can state, did your husband die, and from what cause?
    Ans. __1892 Rockingham Co., heart trouble__
 9. Have you been married since the death of your said husband?  Ans.__No__
10. Where and with whom do you now reside?  Ans. __Rockingham County with Nathaniel Davis__
11. What property --real, personal or mixed-- do you own?  Ans. __personal property $50__
12. What assistance do you receive, and what income have you from any source? 
    Ans. __none__
13. If your husband died since the war, please state where he died, and, if possible, the name and address of the attending physician?  Ans. __Rockingham County Simmons Gap Dr. ?? Coffman
14. Give the names and addresses, if possible, of two comrades in arms of your deceased husband.  Ans.  __J.W. Baugher   Beldor, Va    Frank Michle Yancey, Va__
15. Give the names and addresses of two persons who are familiar with the circumstances of your husband's death.  Ans. __Wm Wyant  Roadside, Va   J.W. Baugher  Beldor, Rockingham Co, Va__
16. If your husband died since the war, please state whether his death resulted from wounds received in the war or from disease.  Ans.  __Disease__
17. Give, as near as you can, the nature of the wound or the character of the disease from which your husband died.  Ans. __heart trouble__
18. Give here any other information you may provide relating to the service of your husband or of his death that will support the position of your claim for aid.  Ans. ___________
19. Is there any camp of Confederate veterans in the city or county of your residence?  Ans. __Yes __
20. Is there anyone living, the residence and address of whom is known to you, either comrade or otherwise, who has knowledge of your husband's service and of the cause of his death? If so or not, state.  Ans. __Yes, J.W. Baugher  Beldor, Va, H. A. Kite  Elkton, Va___
Given under my hand this 18th day of March 1903
Martha A. Davis(her mark)

I, __A. E. Wyant, a notary public__, in and for the county of __Rockingham__, in the State of Virginia,
do certify that __Martha A. Davis__, whose name is signed to the foregoing application, personally appeared before me in my county aforesaid and having the aforesaid application read to her and fully explained, as well as the statements and answered therein, made, the said __Martha A. Davis__made oath before me that the said statements and answers are true.
Given under my hand this 18th day of March 1903    A.E. Wyant [signature] Notary Public

Click to enlarge
The next page is simply a list of affidavits of people vouching for Martha Davis and supporting her claim.  I have summarized the contents. 

A – Oath of Resident Witnesses
D.C. Davis and A.T. Powell swear that they are residents of Rockingham County, Virginia, have known Martha Davis for five years, that she is a resident of the county, that she is truthful and is entitled to aid.

B – Affidavit of Comrades
J.W. Baugher and H.A. Kite swear that they know Martha A. Davis as the widow of Mitchell Davis, that they have known her for 30 years, and that they served with Mitchell Davis under H.A. Kite’s Militia, and 2 others whose names are illegible (Murris? Milne’s? Command and Col. ?? Regiment)

C – Affidavit of Witnesses, not Comrades, as to Wounds
J.L. Marshall and E.C. Monger, both of Rockingham County, Virginia, swear that they have known Martha A. Davis for 20 years, and that she lived with Mitchell Davis up to the date of his death, and that they have no personal interest in the claim.

D – Certificate of Physician
C.S.Wyant and Wm. Wyant of Rockingham County, Virginia, swear that they know Martha A. Davis, and that they visited Mitchell Davis during his last illness, that Mitchell Davis had been attended by Dr. Coffman during his last illness, that the doctor is nowhere to be found, and that they believe Mitchell Davis died from heart disease.

E – Certificate of Camp of Confederate Veterans
S. B. Gibbons of the Camp of Confederate Veterans of Rockingham County, Virginia, swears that he examined the application and recommends that Martha A. Davis be granted aid.

F – Certificate of Ex-Confederate Soldiers
Jesse Wyant and J.W. Baugher of Rockingham County, Virginia swear that they were soldiers in the war between the States, that they examined the application, and recommend that Martha A. Davis be granted aid.

G – Certificate of the Commissioner of the Revenue
J. W. Churchie (?) swears that Martha A. Davis is a citizen of Rockingham County, Virginia.

I need to do some more research to learn about Mitchell Davis's service.  The names of the men who led the command and regiment are not easy to read.

©2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Census Sunday: Helen Parker

Helen Parker
about 1969 or 1970

In 1940, my great-aunt Helen Killeen Parker (age 36) and her husband Herbert Webb Parker (age 39) celebrated twelve years of marriage.  They also marked twelve years of living with Herbert’s parents Ephraim and Margaret Parker at 1616 Atlanta Avenue in Portsmouth, Virginia.

1616 Atlanta Avenue, Portsmouth, Virginia
from Google Maps

Helen must have gotten along well with her in-laws.

Between 1930 and 1940, Helen changed jobs leaving her position as a stenographer for a plumbing company to become a clerk for the railroad.  Herbert was also a clerk for the railroad.  He was employed all 52 weeks of 1939 and earned $2100. He worked 44 hours the last week of March 1940.  Helen must have joined the railroad in late 1939 as she worked only 13 weeks and earned $195. She worked 45 hours the last week of March. 

Click to enlarge

So both Herbert and Helen were clerks for the railroad.  Obviously Herbert had some seniority, and maybe there were all kinds of clerks with varying degrees of responsibility, but the difference in pay is staggering.  Herbert’s pay was about $40 per week.  Helen’s was $15 a week.  Education must not have been a factor as Herbert had completed nine years of school to Helen’s two years of high school. 

©2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Sepia Saturday: Attention, Please!

Sepia Saturday challenges bloggers to share family history through old photographs.

This week’s Sepia Saturday photo prompt is the health fairy capturing the full attention of a group of eager children.  It’s probably pretty easy to keep children focused when you’re sporting wings and carrying an enchanted wand.  It’s a little tougher when you’re sporting chalk dust on your backside and carrying a red pen. 

But my mother Mary Eleanor Davis Slade managed to engage groups of children for 33.5 years, well, most of the time anyway.  With a BA in Education from Madison College, she spent most of her teaching career in Portsmouth, Virginia.  She was primarily an English teacher but for brief periods she taught upper elementary school and even Spanish. 

Here she is with one of her first classes, the 4th graders of Cradock Elementary.  The class size far exceeds today’s standards for student-teacher ratio.  (I wonder what that boy at the far left is pointing at.)

Cradock Elem
Grade 4
Room 8
Portsmouth, VA
Oct 24, 1956

Look how happy the children are on Picture Day.  They probably were not that happy learning their multiplication tables though.  Momma required them to learn to multiply by 11 and by 12.  The other teachers were a tad miffed when her students excelled on the standardized math tests.  Probably jealous.  It’s no fun when a colleague makes you look bad.

A few years later, Momma had a student who became the subject of one of her favorite stories about teaching:  Peter Bastinelli.  Without wings or magic wand, she kept students’ attention by calling on them randomly to answer questions.  When she called on Peter, other students began answering out of turn.  Ever the disciplinarian, Momma glared at the students and asked, “How many Peters are in this class?”  From the back of the room came a small voice, “Thirteen, I think.”  Of course, she could not laugh in front of those students, but she laughed the rest of her life over it.  [DISCLAIMER:  This is only funny if you understand the slang.  I haven’t heard anyone use this term in years, so I could possibly be laughing alone.]

In 1962, Momma must have worked some magic on her sixth graders at Cradock Junior High.  After completing a unit on newspapers and magazines, the class voted to write and publish a class newspaper. 

Click to enlarge
Grade 6 Room 6

This little 3-page mimeographed newspaper was probably considered highly creative and innovative in its day.  Today Momma would have to coordinate a class website or blog to generate such enthusiasm.

               A Newspaper’s Beginning

After discussing the parts of magazines and newspapers in English class, it was suggested by Johnny Grant that Room 6 have its own newspaper.  This idea was quickly accepted by everyone.  A committee was appointed by the class president, Elizabeth Carter, to select a staff.  The staff was chosen and work then began.

When Momma decided to hang up her red pen in 1990, she was teaching English at Norcom High School.  The school newspaper interviewed the three retirees.   

Click to enlarge

She said that the biggest change she had seen over the years was the “decline in dedication to learning,” but that her years at Norcom were her happiest.  What a fine demonstration of diplomacy. 

Among the things my sister and I threw away when we cleaned out our parents’ home were scores of school pictures of students we didn’t know.  But one slipped by, stuck between more prized photos, I guess.  The message on the back is typical of the affection many students felt toward “Mizz Slade.”

To Mrs. Mary Slade
The best teacher I have ever had, one who is fair, friendly, and very nice.  I hope you have a very nice future.  Don’t ever forget me, ‘cause I will never forget you.
Love you
Reneta Abbott
c/o ‘88

Momma captured their attention, all right. And she didn’t even need a wand.

Go to Sepia Saturday where some captivating stories await.

©2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Chucks

Wordless Wednesday is a daily prompt at Geneabloggers that asks family historians to create a post in which the main focus is a photograph or image.

Helen is on the right.

My great-aunt Helen Killeen Parker must have had a wonderful summer at Ocean View in Norfolk, Virginia.  Her photo album is full of pictures of her and her friends enjoying the sea and sand. Based on other dated photos, the pictures were taken sometime between 1918 and 1920.

The photo is captioned “Chucks.”  What does that mean? I have Googled slang, flapper slang, 1920s slang, etc. but without success. Helen used that same caption for other group photos too, so my best guess is that it means friends.

©2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

1940 US Census Index Comparison: Who will be America’s Next Index Star?

Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings has proposed a methodology for comparing how and are doing at compiling an index for the 1940 US Census.  You can read the full description at his website HERE, but basically the steps are these:
1.       Select one name and one state.
2.       Create a chart and list all the names from Ancestry.  Note the birth year and state.
3.       In a new column on the same chart, record findings from FamilySearch noting whether the information is the same or different.  If a name does not appear at all, put an X.
4.       If names from one index do not appear on the other, then your next step is to find them.  Likely the name is entered in a different form.

Randy’s latest project piqued my interest right away because I just recently experienced the kind of problem presented in #4.  I had looked on Ancestry for my great-aunt Mae Holland in order to feature her family for my Census Sunday series.  She wasn’t there.  When I looked in FamilySearch’s index, I found her right away. 

As soon as I saw the enumerator’s handwriting, I guessed correctly that Ancestry had her indexed as Halland rather than Holland. 

So, I decided to follow Randy’s lead and look at some more names.  I started with Jollett in Virginia because I knew there would not be very many.  Here is my chart:

Both FamilySearch and Ancestry listed the same names, but not in the same order.  Ancestry lists by birthdate while FamilySearch lists by county or enumeration district.  There are only 2 differences.  

Ancestry indexed Nannie V but FamilySearch says Nancy V.  Actually, Nannie V is correct.  But had I been indexing this page and not been a descendent, I would probably have said Nancy too.  I have to give my vote to Ancestry knowing it IS correct even though it doesn’t LOOK correct.

The other difference is Ann from Ancestry and Anne from FamilySearch.  It looks like Anne to me.  My vote goes to FamilySearch.

But what really surprises me – in a GOOD way – is that Ancestry and FamilySearch were both able to get Jollett from the poor handwriting of Mrs. Kate McLean, the enumerator. 

She didn’t do anybody any favors.

Based on this one search, the vote for the Next Index Star is tied.

©2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Census Sunday: Mae Holland

Mae Holland
about 1969 or 1970
at Helen Parker's house

My great-aunt on my father's side Mary Agnes "Mae" Killeen was married to Clifton Maynard Holland.  For awhile they lived with her mother Mary Theresa Walsh, but by 1930 Mae and Cliff had their own home just a couple streets away.

And that’s where they still were in 1940:  2016 Richmond Avenue in Portsmouth, Virginia, a home valued at $3500.

2016 Richmond Avenue
Portsmouth,  Virginia
from Google Maps

Cliff (age 42) had only a 6th grade education.  Mae (age 41) completed one year of high school. Their son John (age 23) likewise had completed one year of high school while daughter Jean (age 14) had completed six years of school.

Cliff was a salesman for an automobile garage.  He worked all of 1939 earning only $720.  He worked 60 hours the last week of March 1940.  Good grief!  That sounds like a lot of work for little pay. Thank goodness their son John was still at home earning a good living as a welder for the Navy shipyard; he made $1100 in 1939. 

John as a baby probably 1918 or 1919

Their other daughter Mary Evelyn “Ebbie” was no longer living there, so I’m guessing she had married and moved away by then.  As of today, I have not found her in the 1940 census, so it is possible she moved to a state that has not yet been indexed. 

Mae and Ebbie 1920

But it’s also possible the enumerator’s handwriting was misread resulting in the indexer recording the name wrong.  On Ancestry, my Holland family is indexed as “Halland.”  Thankfully, on FamilySearch the names are correct. 

Click to enlarge

©2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

 Sisters Anne, Mary and Peggy, and MOI in dress-ups 1961
I was inspired by a movie star who was wearing
short shorts with a long flowing top.
I'm sure Peggy and I were in high heels.

I’m the guest blogger today (and all week, I think) over at Wrote by Rote, Arlee Bird’s blog dedicated to memoir writing.  I’ve never done this before.   It would be comforting to see some familiar faces, so please come visit me there. 

©2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Sepia Saturday: And here comes Wendy with a baby carriage

Sepia Saturday challenges bloggers to share family history through old photographs.

This week’s Sepia Saturday photo prompt features a baby carriage. 

I was an only child for almost 8 years.  I wanted a baby sister.  So I wished on every wishbone.

from Google Images

I wished on every birthday candle.

I said it out loud.  (I’m sure my parents were embarrassed.  But I’m sure they embarrassed me plenty, so we’ll just call it even.)

Eventually it happened.

Wendy and Mary Jollette
August 1959

And Momma made sure that baby sister was MINE.  I fed her.  I changed her diapers.  I dressed her.  When she was getting too old for that second nap, which kept her up at all hours, I had to play with her and walk her around and make darn sure she didn’t go to sleep.  It was not easy. 

Sometimes I wished I hadn’t wished for that sister.

Like when I had to help with birthday parties and sleep-overs.  

And when I had to keep playing “Chopsticks” and “Heart and Soul.” 

I even played house when I was much too old for that.  

(I was on my knees!) 

And this is the thanks I get.  

But fast forward many years …

I'm the tall one.
She's the pretty one.

Today we're the best of friends.  Just what I wished for.

Stroll over to Sepia Saturday for more babies and buggies.  

©2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.