Saturday, June 22, 2019

My bachelor uncle -- Arthur Brown

One of the stories I was often told when I was growing up is that when I was a baby my Uncle Arthur would put my diapers in one pocket, my bottles in another pocket and take me when he visited his girlfriend.  I always loved hearing that but couldn't quite picture it --  my uncle was a BIG man, both in height and weight.  I just could not envision him holding, much less traveling with something as small as a baby.

When my Uncle Arthur made transition and I requested time off for his funeral and to be with family, my supervisor asked if he had had any children.  My immediate response was "Yes, me and my brothers."  One thing my brothers and I knew with certainty was that Uncle Arthur loved us.

I started this post on March 7, 2019 but put it aside, saving it as a draft.  My intention was to post it by March 23 which is Uncle Arthur's birth date.  In all of my family history posts I try to listen to the ancestors --  I firmly believe that they guide us.

As with each ancestor, I know that what I post isn't the whole story.  I was certain that Uncle Arthur never married and never had children.  After all, I grew up knowing him and if either were the case I would have known.  And so I noted in his records that he never married and had no descendants.  On Father's Day weekend 2019, I was happily proved wrong --  at least about his having no descendants.

I manage my mother's dna results on 23andMe -- my mother, Evelyn, is Uncle Arthur's baby sister.  On June 14th my mother's account received an invitation to connect from someone who is her niece!

I quickly responded.  My new-found first cousin and I established that she is the daughter of my Uncle Arthur, born while he was stationed in Germany during World War II. 

On February 21, 1946 Arthur Brown was enlisted into the U.S. Army, Quartermaster Corps. His enlistment was from February 21, 1946 to August 22, 1949. (Source: U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946)  

In 2015, I had requested his military records from the National Archives National Personnel Records Center and received the form letter that "The complete Official Military Personnel File for the veteran named above is not in our files. If the record were here on July 12, 1973, it would have been in the area that suffered the most damage in the fire on that date and may have been destroyed. The fire destroyed the major portion of records of Army personnel who separated from the service between 1912 through 1959 . . ."

"We have located a file created during our reconstruction attempts for the veteran named in your request." From that file I able to confirm that his unit was the 511th Military Police Platoon.  At some point he was stationed at the Heidelberg Military Post in Weddewarden Germany.  Unfortunately the file I received was both limited in information and the copies were of poor condition.
From the military scrapbook of Arthur Brown, circa 1947
This post took a slightly different turn, but it's okay --  actually more than okay.  Thank you, Uncle Arthur, for the belated family gift of your daughter!

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Putting Together the Family Unit of William Turner and Mary Jane Williams

Recently I have been on a mission to locate, verify and place on a timeline the children of a paternal set of grandparents, William Turner Williams and Mary Jane Brown of Georgia. These are the parents and siblings of my father's father's (his first name William or Willie or Willis, middle name Frances) .

The 1900 U.S. census is first one I have for the family (darn that 1890 census!).  They are living in Ethridge, Jones, Georgia. Turner and Jane were married in 1882 and have five children listed as their sons and daughters:
Year: 1900; Census Place: Ethridge, Jones, Georgia; Roll: T623_207;
Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 61.

Hester, 10
John Tom, 9
William, 4
Fannie, 2
Maggie, newborn

This census also lists that Mary Jane gave birth to eight children of which seven were living.  Where were the other three children?  Since their parents were married for 18 years, could the other children be older and on their own.

The 1910 U.S. census again has Turner and Jane with five children but one from the previous census is gone (Hester) and one is added (Edna).   It is also recorded on the census that Mary Jane gave birth to 10 children and seven were living.
Year: 1910; Census Place: Ethridge, Jones, Georgia; Roll: T624_200;
Page: 12B; Enumeration District: 0080; FHL microfilm: 1374213

John T., 18
*Fanny, 16
*Maggie, 14
*Willie, 12 Transcribed as daughter but this is William (male) from previous census
Edna,  (?) The transcription has Ed but I think this should be Edna who was born in 1908 and chronologically would have been the last child listed.

*Ages not consistent with previous census.  The birth order and ages on some the the children are different, but understandable since initial birth years were listed as "about".

The 1920 U.S. census has W.T. and Mary Jane and the family living in Lesters, Jones, Georgia.  I have found no information on Lesters, other than it being Militia District 305. There are ten children in the household, some additions and others from previous census records are gone --  probably on their own.

Year: 1920; Census Place: Lesters, Jones, Georgia; Roll: T625_265;
Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 127

W.F., 23
G.W., 16 (George,b 1902; where was he in 1910?)
Daisy, 14
Edna, 11
Carl, 10
Mary, 11
Herman, 5
Harris, 3
Louise, 4
Maggie, 20
Not only were there initials for the names of the father and two sons, but the transcription of this census was terrible; Herman was Hem*, Harris was Homer, and Maggie was Maygi --  so I really had to analyze this census. And then there was the Lesters factor.

The 1930 U.S. census has W.T. and Mary J. back in Ethridge, Jones, Georgia with three children.  Did they ever leave Ethridge or was it renamed for this census?
Year: 1930; Census Place: Ethridge, Jones, Georgia; Roll: 372;
Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 0013; Image: 146.0; FHL microfilm: 2340107

Herman, 15
Louise Vinson, 15
Harris 13

It's been fun --  okay challenging -- searching for this family in the census with the slight variations in the parents names and the additions, subtractions and name variations of their children.  By the same token, I feel a bit out of place trying to put together my family who lived in a different time and space.

Copyright © 2019 by Sandra Williams Bush, Ancestor Callings: Georgia and Mississippi Roots. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

No "Brick Walls" For Me

Although I've been doing genealogy for a number of years, it's basically only been online research --  getting records and documents via the Internet.  I know this is why I haven't hit any brick walls yet.

In additional to using Ancestry and Family Search, I have been able to get information by calling, writing, or sending an email to places.  Below is a sample of some of the information I have received:

  • The Social Security application of my maternal grandmother, Lucy Washington Brown and a paternal great aunt, Elizabeth Brown Mason through the Social Security Administration website.  Fortunately this was before the heavy redaction process that is now in place for those records.  In both instances I was able to verify where they were born and the names of their parents.

  • Military service records from the National Archives (Military Personnel Records, SF-180) for my father, Willis B. Williams and two uncles, Arthur Brown and Alexander Burkette.  In each case I received letters that original records were destroyed in a fire so I had to submit another form requesting reconstructed files. 

  • Books on the county histories provide me with insight on how my ancestors may have lived. I have also found information on specific family members. (I love Interlibrary Loan!)

  • Death information and documents by contacting cemeteries and funeral homes.

  • Obituaries in newspapers by contacting public libraries and historical societies.

  • Death certificates from various county offices in different states.

As more and more is added to online sites, I've been able to access more genealogy information.  However, I know that I haven't even hit the tip of the iceberg in researching my family history.

I subtitled my blog Georgia and Mississippi Roots because both sets of my grandparents and their families came from those states.  So I know that before I can claim to have hit any brick wall, I must visit those states.  I have to do that reasonable exhaustive search --  which means going to state libraries, state archives, court houses, and the places where my ancestors lived.

Road trips . . .

Copyright © 2019 by Sandra Williams Bush, Ancestor Callings: Georgia and Mississippi Roots. All Rights Reserved.