Notes from the past…

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Daily Journal 5 Nov 2009: Assumptions

Today I went to the downtown main Fort Worth Public Library. I arrived there shortly after it opened at noon and left at almost 3 o’clock. Why does the time matter. ‘Cuz I’m cheap, that’s why. You can park for free at a nearby parking garage, but only for 2 1/2 hours. This little research trip cost me $1.25! :)

So, how did my trip go?

Started out kinda slow & frustating. My first stop was the city directories section, looking for my grandfather (trying to figure out when he divorced my grandmother and trace his steps after that period).

  • 1928 living with mother
  • 1929 living with wife at her parents’ home (my Dad was born in 1929, so that puts the marriage at 1928-1929, which is what I had already decided on)
  • he is present in the 1932 directory, shown living in 2 different residences (with his mom and with his mother-in-law). Interesting…
  • doesn’t reappear in the Fort Worth directories until 1942, then is gone again until 1947. He married my step-grandmother in 1938 in Denton County (north of Fort Worth), so I’m guessing he lived there until his return to Fort Worth

Also looking for Dovie and all her husbands in the city directories. I found her several times with Hubbie #3, LW Epperson and then several instances of her living alone (with different last names). Didn’t really clarify or learn anything here. On my next library trip, I need to concentrate strictly on Dovie and The Boys, I think!

Next stop was the Tarrant County Marriage Index 1876-1945. This was a very frustrating and oh-my-head-hurts experience! The very nice Genealogy Library Lady gave me a USB drive containing the index. Cool, glad I brought my laptop!

Problem was, the index is in it’s original, huge-image form, saved in .tiff format. My Picasa won’t show a .tiff image, so I tried the Windows Picture and Fax Viewer. Since the images were so large, it was taking forever for them to open, then forever longer to zoom in enough to be able to read them. I ended up opening each image in my Paint Shop Pro. Here I could zoom them easily, but it was still taking forever and I only had 2 1/2 hours, remember?

I browsed for (oh yeah, no search capability either) my grandparents’ 1928-1929 marriage for an hour, until I thought my eyeballs were gonna fall out. Still haven’t found it. The solution? I copied the file to my hard drive so I can search it at home. I promise not to sell it or post it online or anything like that. I promise!

By now, it was almost time to go. So my last stop was the newspaper-archives-on-microfilm section. The last time I went to this library and needed the microfilm, all the rolls were back in a separate room and could only be provided by this not very nice library lady. I was dreading meeting her again!

Well, I guess it’s been awhile since my last trip, ‘cuz now all the microfilm is out in the main library in self-serve fashion. Wonderful! I quickly found the film I needed and almost as quickly found all 3 obits I was looking for. Snap, snap, snap with my Sony digital camera and I was done.

Time to go, my head was about to split in half and my stomach was growling…loudly.

When I got home, I went to the marriage index file and started looking for that elusive great-grandmother of mine again!

I finally found her with husband #4 Priddy, but… a different Priddy that I thought! John Otys Priddy, not Hugh Frank Priddy!


Oops, sorry Hugh Frank, if you’re up there looking down here!

I knew she had married a Priddy, as I have her 1942 signature as Ruby Hall Priddy, but I didn’t know his whole name. I hunted around and found a Priddy (Hugh Frank) that seemed to match the age and location and assumed he was my man. I had his death certificate, WWI registration and a couple of census entries and he seemed to fit pretty well. Oops again!

I have corrected my database with the correct Priddy and in the morning I’ll add in all the new data that I got today. And make a new list for my next library trip!

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Daily Journal 31 Oct 2009: Dovie needs a timeline!

I spent most of the day looking at my great-grandmother Dovie C (Ruby) McBurnett Hall Stanley Epperson Priddy Bailey Copeland. Can you see my problem here? She wasn’t born with all those names, folks!

“Everyone needs a hobby” and Dovie’s hobby seems to have been collecting husbands! I have definitively documented the existence of 5 of these six husbands, and the order of these marriages. What I haven’t totally figured out was how they all became unhusbands. Did they all die mysteriously? Was she a “Black Widow”? Wouldn’t that be exciting! Now that would be a Black Sheep Sunday post!

But apparently that wasn’t the case, at least for 2 of the husbands. I spent several hours yesterday searching the old Fort Worth Star-Telegrams issues that are available at GenealogyBank, and was rewarded for my efforts:

this on page 23 of the 26 May 1920 edition:

Stanley divorce

I also found a similar article from 19 Sep 1920 for 3rd husband LW Epperson. These articles are only 4 months apart!

Dovie was a busy lady and some lawyer was getting rich!

Interestingly, Dovie is still living with Epperson in the 1930 census, so I guess they musta made up.

Want something even better than that? In the 1920 census, LW Epperson was Ollie and Ruby Stanley’s next-door neighbor! He is enumerated as the next person on the sheet after Ollie and Ruby…

Ok, by now all these name and dates are swirling around in my poor little Dr Pepper-nourished brain and I’m getting really confused! What I need is…

A timeline of Dovie’s marriages! All the names and dates on one piece of paper (or computer screen) in front of me, all together.

My RootsMagic program can create a timeline, but I don’t like it. I have also tried TimeToast and a couple of other online apps, but they’re not quite right, either. Too fancy. I just need something simple to clarify names and dates.

Some time ago, I read an article online about creating a genealogy timeline using Microsoft Excel. As I recall, I tried that, but never could get it to work right. It wouldn’t work with OpenOffice, which is what I use instead of Excel.

So last night I searched for a satisfactory timeline program, but still wasn’t happy with what I found. Kinda picky, ya know?

Ok, maybe I’ll try the Excel thing again. It’s been awhile, maybe it’ll work this time.

I got the directions from the Microsoft site, and tried it again with OpenOffice. And this time…it worked great!

Dovie's Marriages Timeline(click on it for larger view, please)

Nothing fancy, but it does exactly what I want: a direct and simple view of Dovie and all her husbands! Much easier now to figure out when and where to look for records on all these ex’s!