Notes from the past…

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The Ancestors’ Geneameme

This one sounds really fun, as well as a great way to assess your research progress. Thanks, Geniaus and Randy!

The Ancestors’ Geneameme

Things you have already done or found: bold face type
Things you would like to do or find: italicize (colour optional)
Things you haven’t done or found and don’t care to: plain type
You are encouraged to add extra comments in brackets after each item

Which of these apply to you?
  1.  Can name my 16 great-great-grandparents- 14 out of 16 documented
  2.  Can name over 50 direct ancestors- Yup!
  3.  Have photographs or portraits of my 8 great-grandparents- 5 (possibly 7) out of 8
  4.  Have an ancestor who was married more than three times- Oh, yeah! My great-grandmother Dovie McBurnett had 6 (and counting)!
  5.  Have an ancestor who was a bigamist- Not that I know of
  6.  Met all four of my grandparents- Yup
  7.  Met one or more of my great-grandparents- My 2 great-grandmothers, Mary Tennessee Turner and Marie Mistrot Carrico
  8.  Named a child after an ancestor- Not exactly…my oldest daughter is Sarah, because I like the name…later found out that there are several Sarah’s in the family tree, the closest is my 2nd GGM Sarah Sharpe Vance
  9.  Bear an ancestor’s given name/s- I am named after my great aunt Ruth Ann Starr
  10.  Have an ancestor from Great Britain or Ireland- Suspicions….
  11.  Have an ancestor from Asia- Not yet
  12.  Have an ancestor from Continental Europe- More suspicions…
  13.  Have an ancestor from Africa- Not yet
  14.  Have an ancestor who was an agricultural labourer- Most of my 19th century ancestors where farmers in Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky and Texas
  15.  Have an ancestor who had large land holdings- My Turner ancestors from DeKalb County, TN were prominent land-holders pre-Civil War
  16.  Have an ancestor who was a holy man – minister, priest, rabbi- My 2nd great-granduncle Daniel Brevard Vance was an ordained Baptist minister
  17.  Have an ancestor who was a midwife-?
  18.  Have an ancestor who was an author-Yes, my 3rd GGF Nathan Blunt Kennedy was a published poet!
  19.  Have an ancestor with the surname Smith, Murphy or Jones- Several Smiths
  20.  Have an ancestor with the surname Wong, Kim, Suzuki or Ng- Nope
  21.  Have an ancestor with a surname beginning with X-Nope
  22.  Have an ancestor with a forename beginnining with Z- My great-grandaunt Zora Belle Turner!
  23.  Have an ancestor born on 25th December- I actually have 4 ancestors born on Christmas Day!
  24. Have an ancestor born on New Year’s Day- None…
  25.  Have blue blood in your family lines- A couple of folks who seemed to think they were royalty… :)
  26.  Have a parent who was born in a country different from my country of birth- Nope
  27.  Have a grandparent who was born in a country different from my country of birth- Nope
  28.  Can trace a direct family line back to the eighteenth century- Yup, my earliest documented is 4th GGF Miles Chappell, born in 1790 in Amelia County, VA
  29.  Can trace a direct family line back to the seventeenth century or earlier- Working on that…
  30.  Have seen copies of the signatures of some of my great-grandparents- Yup, from GGF Charles Arthur Rogers and GGM Dovie McBurnett
  31.  Have ancestors who signed their marriage certificate with an X- Nope
  32.  Have a grandparent or earlier ancestor who went to university- Several physicians in the family, including 3 GGF Nathan Blunt Kennedy (Tulane University School of Medicine, Class of 1860) and 2GGU Thomas Joshua Bennett (Tulane University School of Medicine, Class of 1883)
  33.  Have an ancestor who was convicted of a criminal offense- If they ever caught him! My 2GGU James Bennett, Jr (brother of Thomas Joshua) was a documented murderer, horse thief and bank robber in 1880′s San Saba, TX and Wyoming and Montana.
  34.  Have an ancestor who was a victim of crime- My 2GGU Benjamin Bennett (James’ brother!) was murdered in Hobbs, New Mexico in 1930 and another 2GGU, Pat Carroll, was murdered in March, 1906 in San Saba, TX.
  35.  Have shared an ancestor’s story online or in a magazine (Tell us where)- Not yet…
  36.  Have published a family history online or in print (Details please)-Does this blog count?
  37.  Have visited an ancestor’s home from the 19th or earlier centuries- No
  38.  Still have an ancestor’s home from the 19th or earlier centuries in the family- No
  39.  Have a  family bible from the 19th Century- I wish!
  40.  Have a pre-19th century family bible- I really wish!


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Amanuensis Monday: Gene Hall’s VA record

Gene Hall was my granduncle, the brother of my grandfather Victor Earl Hall. Both are the sons of my eccentric great-grandmother Dovie C McBurnett and her first-of-six-husbands, my great-grandfather William Earl Hall.

William Earl Hall has always been a mystery man. He died when Gene and Victor were young boys and I have found very little documentation about him (1 census entry and the Hall-McBurnett marriage certificate only).

A few days ago, a cousin I met online a couple of years ago sent me a copy of Gene’s VA records. Thanks, Diane!

There is a wealth of information in these documents, but most importantly for me is a one-paragraph mention of William Earl Hall!

Father: Born in Topeka, Kansas, he was killed when patient was eleven or twelve years of age in a train wreck at the age of 34 (1917) while working as a locomotive engineer. He was a Methodist and regular church goer. He was a “red-headed Irishman, always smiling and happy.” Home atmosphere was a cheerful one.

This is a direct account from an immediate relative! Granted, that doesn’t make it gospel. But I had heard the story about the train accident from other, more distant relatives and this comes from William Earl Hall’s oldest son, so for now… I’ll take it! :)

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A clue!

According to my Dad, his “Cherokee Grammaw”, Dovie C McBurnett, frequently dressed in Native American garb and decorated her house in that fashion, too. Hence his nickname for her. In fact, Dovie was a main incentive for me in beginning my family history research.

For 8 years, I have searched for some factual evidence of her Native American heritage. I have found but 1 indication of this, and that is “circumstantial” at best. Dovie and my great-grandfather were married in Indian Territory (now Oklahoma) in 1906. I do have a copy of that marriage license.

But being wed in Indian Territory does make one an Indian!

So was Dovie truly of Native American descent? Or perhaps her husband William Earl Hall? Dovie seems to have been a rather eccentric character, having married 6 husbands. Perhaps one day she just decided she wanted to be a Cherokee Indian!

I have searched numerous online databases looking for Dovie’s or William’s Indian heritage with no success. Census enumerations, the Dawes Rolls, Cherokee muster rolls… the list goes on and on. Still no definitive proof.

A few days ago, I met a new online McBurnett “cousin” and last night we spoke on the phone. This very nice lady made one comment that perked my ears up! She said my grandfather (Lonzo McBurnett, an older brother of my great-grandmother Dovie McBurnett) would not let my grandmother sign up on the indian rolls because he called it charity and he didn’t need it.

This means that the Native American heritage did come from Dovie’s line! But was it through the McBurnetts or the Browns (my second great-grandmother) or maybe the Jollys (my 3GGM)? At this point, I have no idea.

But I do have a new lead, a new clue to follow!