Notes from the past…


Monday Madness no more! (or, “…another one bites the dust…”) Part 4

Was James Ira Copeland the 6th (or 7th) and last husband of my great grandmother Dovie C McBurnett Hall Stanley Epperson (Epperson) Priddy Bailey Copeland?

Let’s examine the evidence:

My great grandmother was born Dovie C McBurnett, but over time her given name changed from Dovie C to Ruby Dovie

  1. 1900 Census- Dovie C McBurnett, age 8DovCMcburnett1 ca July 1948
  2. 1910 Census- Dovie Hall, age 19
  3. 1920 Census- Dovie Stanley, age 29
  4. 1930 Census- Ruby D Epperson
  5. Delayed birth certificate for son Delbert Eugene Hall, date unknown- Ruby Dovie McBurnett Hall
  6. 1942- Mrs Ruby Epperson marries John O Priddy
  7. Delayed birth certificate for son Victor Earl Hall, 1942- Ruby Hall Priddy
  8. Death certificate, obituary 1969- Ruby Dovie Copeland

Dovie C McBurnett was born in 1890 and for the last 60 years of her life lived in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area.


James Ira Copeland was born in 1897 and apparently lived his entire life in the North Texas area, much of that in Titus County, Texas.

A marriage license shows that James Ira Copeland married Ruby Priddy in Jan 1957 in Titus County.

A death certificate shows that James Ira Copeland was killed in an auto accident in Arlington, Texas in May 1957. He was married at the time of his death and was buried at Liberty Hill Cemetery in Titus County, Texas.


At this point, I believe James Ira Copeland was probably my great grandmother Dovie C McBurnett’s 6th (7th) and last husband. However, I’d still like more evidence to support this opinion.

My plans:

  1. Visit the downtown Fort Worth Public Library and hunt through the archived Fort Worth Star-Telegrams for an obituary and article about Copeland’s fatal car wreck
  2. Visit the local Family History Library to get a copy of the Copeland/Priddy marriage license

Looks like the schedule for my next day off is set!


Monday Madness no more! (or, “…another one bites the dust…”) Part 3

Would I be able to find the Texas death certificate for Celeste Davis Cline at the FamilySearch Record Search site? And did they have any pertinent new collections?

Oh, yeah!

Texas Marriages, 1837-1973

Dovie McBurnett and her many Texas marriages immediately came to mind!

Again, Copeland is the only one of Dovie’s husbands that I know nothing about. Absolutely nothing.

So I entered “Copeland” as a last name and “Ruby” as the spouse’s first name. Dovie had so many last names, but I was pretty certain that she went by “Ruby” as her first name.

And look what popped up:

Groom’s Name: James Ira Copeland
Groom’s Birth Date:
Groom’s Birthplace:
Groom’s Age:
Bride’s Name: Ruby Priddy
Bride’s Birth Date:
Bride’s Birthplace:
Bride’s Age:
Marriage Date: 05 Jan 1957
Marriage Place: , Titus, Texas
Groom’s Father’s Name:
Groom’s Mother’s Name:
Bride’s Father’s Name:
Bride’s Mother’s Name:
Groom’s Race:
Groom’s Marital Status:
Groom’s Previous Wife’s Name:
Bride’s Race:
Bride’s Marital Status:
Bride’s Previous Husband’s Name:
Indexing Project (Batch) Number: M59288-9
System Origin: Texas-VR
Source Film Number: 1403389
Reference Number: 2:NXXTPK
Collection: Texas Marriages, 1837-1973

Ruby Priddy

That was how Dovie had signed her name on the 1942 delayed birth certificate of her middle son, my grandfather Victor Hall:


Could this be my Ruby Priddy, aka Dovie C McBurnett?

The marriage date of 1957 was in line with her marriages, as she was a Priddy in 1942 and died a Copeland in 1969. And Titus County is a few counties east of Tarrant County, where she lived most of her adult life. About 200 or miles or less from Fort Worth.

I needed more data on James Ira Copeland.

Next stop was also on the FamilySearch Record Search site, this time Texas Deaths, 1890-1976. I quickly found the death certificate for James Ira Copeland:

Copeland dc

Oh, my! If this guy was Dovie’s last husband, he died in a car wreck only 4 months after he and Dovie were married!

Further inspection of this death certificate reveals that James Ira Copeland was about the same age as Dovie and was married. Unfortunately, the informant for Copeland’s personal data was Robert Copeland (son?) and not his wife. If Dovie had signed the document, that might have solved the puzzle immediately. Remember, I have Dovie’s signature from my grandfather’s delayed birth certificate and could compare the two.

And he was buried at Liberty Hill Cemetery in Liberty Hill, Texas.

Where in the world in Liberty Hill Cemetery? Seems there’s one in Titus County, Texas! Here’s James Ira Copeland’s data:

Copeland, James Ira

December 27, 1897

May 11, 1957


Plot 15-AA

Interesting that the birth date here differs from his death certificate, but agrees with his WWI Draft Registration:

copeland wwi

So, what to do next?

(to be continued)

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Monday Madness no more! (or, “…another one bites the dust…”) Part 2

So who was “Copeland”, the 6th (or 7th) husband of my great grandmother, Dovie C McBurnett?

To review, all I know about Copeland is that he was the last husband of Dovie, as evidenced by her death certificate, obituary and headstone:

RubDCopeland DC DovCMcburnett obit DovCMCburnett stone1

I don’t know when or where they were married or if she outlived him or just the opposite, or if she divorced him, as she had at least 2 of her previous husbands.

But I know there had to have been a Copeland. Musta been…


I haven’t done any research on Dovie lately, but my brick walls are always in the back of my mind. I keep my eyes open, just in case…


Last night, I was searching for info on one of the children of my third great-grandfather. Not in my direct line, but I had accidentally come across a mention of her, and subsequently him, while looking for yet another ancestor not related to either:


I reasoned that if I could find a death certificate for Celeste Cline, maybe it would list the names of her parents, John J Davis and Marcellon Lunsford. You see, the problem is with Lunsford’s first name. I have several census entries for her, both as Lunsford and Davis, and with each document, her first name is spelled differently. Considerably differently, in fact. So much so that I really don’t know what her first name was!

I read a few days ago from several genealogy blogs that the FamilySearch Record Search site has recently added a lot of new names and new sources. So that’s where I headed…

(to be continued)