Notes from the past…


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52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy Week #7: Historical Documents

Which historical document in your possession are you happy to have? How did you acquire this item? What does it reveal about your ancestors?

Are newspaper clippings considered to be historical documents? Hope so!

Crist Hayes CarricoMy 2GGF Crist Hayes Carrico was the black sheep of the family. When I first begin studying my family history, my late Aunt Jan brought a box out of her closet, a box full of old photographs. One in particular caught my eye: a well-dressed, handsome gentleman with a piercing stare. I immediately asked my aunt who this man was. She said he was MaMaw Stanley’s (my great-grandmother’s) father, and that he was a scoundrel! When I asked more questions of my aunt and then of other family members, including my grandmother, I basically got the same answer.

Wow! Who was Crist Hayes Carrico and why did the whole family dislike him so?

After several months of research, I had come to a dead end. I had that photo, and a couple of census reports, and that was my paper trail. My grandmother said she thought Carrico was buried in New Mexico, but didn’t know where.

That was it.

One day, I was reading through my Google Alerts, and happened upon a mention of a New Mexico Death Index. Maybe…

A quick check led to a listing for “Crist Carirco”, who died in Lea County, New Mexico on 1 Aug 1941. The surname was spelled wrong, but was this my guy?

I scratched my head for a few moments, then decided to send in a request to Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness. Almost immediately, I got a reply from David Minton, a RAOGK volunteer in Lea County. I sent David all the info I had on Carrico, including that photo. I was hoping for confirmation that the man in the index was my guy, and maybe a cemetery location. Anything at all would be more than I already had, right?

In only a couple of days, I got several emails from David, containing scanned newspaper images. As I read through these clippings, I gasped, my eyes got huge and my mouth dropped wide open! In only a few minutes a very sturdy brick wall in my genealogical research literally disintegrated before my eyes!

For contained in those clippings was the final chapter of the story of my second great-grandfather, Crist Hayes Carrico. And a very sad and gruesome ending it was:

C H Carrico deathDavid sent me a total 4 newspaper clippings dealing with Carrico’s death, and also a photo of his grave. Thanks to David and his diligent efforts, I was later able to get a death certificate and have even found newspaper announcements of his wedding to my 2GGM Sallie Hattie Lee Kennedy and another, earlier census entry. The flood gates were opened, it seems!

So why is Carrico so disliked by my family? I could suppose, from the newspaper articles, that he was an alcoholic, but I don’t know that to be true in his younger days. As Sallie Hattie Lee Kennedy later remarried, I could also suppose that she, a Catholic, and Carrico divorced. Strike 2. My aunt did comment once that Hattie’s mother, Susan William Lee Martin, never thought Carrico was “good enough” for her daughter. 3 strikes and you’re out!

Could these suppositions eventually influence Carrico to take that fatal walk home from the bar that night? I don’t know. More research is needed, and Carrico will be one of the first ancestors I search for on April 2nd when the 1940 Federal Census becomes available to the public.

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52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy by Amy Coffin is a series of weekly blogging prompts (one for each week of 2012) that invite genealogists and others to discuss resources in the genealogy community including websites, applications, libraries, archives, genealogical societies and more. You do not have to be a blogger to participate. If you do not have a genealogy blog, write down your thoughts on your computer, or simply record them on paper and keep them with your files.