Notes from the past…


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…”)

Several years ago when I first got interested in genealogy, my Dad’s 2 grandmothers spurred my imagination. I had always heard tales of his “Cherokee Gramma” and his “Jewish Gramma”. “Cherokee Gramma” was responsible for our Native American heritage, and my Dad, then my brothers and I are Jewish because of “Jewish Gramma”.

Over the years, I have tried to “prove” those Cherokee and Jewish roots, with varying success.

I have yet to find any actual, factual connection of “Jewish Gramma” Ruth Carroll Carr to Judaism. No family Bibles or synagogue records, nothing. But a person can be Jewish without belonging to a synagogue or speaking Hebrew. It can be a state of the heart.

WilEHall wed3 As for “Cherokee Gramma” Dovie C McBurnett, I have found an indirect link, of sorts, to a Native American heritage. She and my great grandfather William Earl Hall were married in Cherokee Territory (now Oklahoma) in 1906 and their marriage is recorded in the Chickasaw Nation Marriages Index book located in the Ardmore, Ok courthouse. Does that make Dovie and/or William of Native American descent? Not necessarily. More research is definitely needed. William, however, is one of my brick walls. He is said to have died in some type of railroad accident sometime between 22 Jan 1906 (their marriage) and July 1913 (the date of Dovie’s marriage to Hubby #2 Ollie Stanley). The marriage certificate and a 1910 census entry are the only documentation I have of the existence of William Earl Hall. No death certificate, no headstone, nothing.

Dovie evidently believed herself to be a Native American. According to my Dad, she frequently dressed in Indian garb and her house was decorated in that fashion.

Dovie’s life after William Earl Hall was not dull, however. My Dad has told me that Dovie had several husbands. Well, so far, I have counted at least 6. Technically 7, as she may have married one man twice!

I have spent a lot of time documenting these men. For some, I have found quite a bit of data, for others, barely a name.DovCMCburnett stone1

But Husband No 6/7 has always been a mystery. Dovie’s last name on her death certificate and her headstone is Copeland. In fact her given name has morphed over the years from Dovie C to Ruby Dovie, but that is for another post…

But who was Copeland? Without a first name, date of marriage, date of death or headstone, he has been an enigma.

Until last night…

(to be continued)

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Women’s History Month, Day 12: My Mom & SORT

MarSStanley (41) The Colorado Department of Corrections has a special team that responds to emergency situations within the state prison system. S. O. R. T. (Special Operations Response Team) is the “SWAT” team for the state prison system. Its members are all specially trained in weapons, hostage situations, riots, etc. and on call to respond anywhere in the state as needed. They are the elite members of the Colorado Department of Corrections.

My Mom was a member of the S.O.R.T. team. She was a nurse practitioner and paramedic and was the Medical Officer of the team. Though she was usually at least 15 years older than other team members and one of the few female S.O.R.T. officers, she was required to pass the same physical tests and be certified in the different weapons and tactics the team used in these emergency situations. Everything! Automatic weapons, hand-to-hand combat, rappelling, the works.

For 2 weeks every summer, the S.O.R.T. team would train at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. Mom would pack her gear and depart, and Dad would worry for the next 2 weeks.

When Mom finally came home again, she’d be “black and blue” and sore all over, but… oh so HAPPY! She loved that job and working with “her boys”.

Mom and part of the S.O.R.T. team even acted as event security when Pope John Paul II visited Denver in August 1993. I remember she sent us some of the t-shirts that her team wore in Denver.

MarSStanley (43)

(Mom first row, far right)

MarSStanley (16)

(Mom getting ready to head off to the Air Force Academy)

MarSStanley (38)

(Plaque presented to Mom on her retirement in 1998)