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Sunday, November 27, 2011

A November Genealogy Birthday

This year, my mother's 77th birthday was the day before Thanksgiving. In August, I gave my father a book that I compiled of his family's genealogy for his birthday. So It was not a surprise to my parents that when my mother's birthday came around, that I would be bringing a book for her.

My mother still enjoys hosting the family Thanksgiving dinner and I went to my parents home to help her get things ready on the day before Thanksgiving, which also happened to be her birthday. When I had arrived, she had just put her pumpkin pie in the oven. I interrupted her Holiday preparations with her birthday present, but she was happy to take time for her present. My father was there and his brother was also there visiting.

Of course, it started with reading the birthday card.

Here you can see my father is coming over to also look at the card.

Now time for the birthday present!

I used the same design on my mother's book as on my father's book and just modified the family name.
It is just a crest style design with the family name, not an official crest.

I printed documents for my mother's paternal direct line. I was able to trace not only her grandparents but also her great grandparents who immigrated from Russia to Kansas.

I also printed out her direct line on her maternal side of the family. I can go back several generations, but still have not found a connection to Jefferson Davis. We do have 2 Jefferson Davis's in our family, just not the famous one. He was suppose to have been a distant cousin to my grandmother. I may never know for sure.

She eagerly paged through the book and I talked about a few things that I had discovered while researching the documents.

It was common knowledge in her family, that in Oct. 1886, her grandfather, Andrew Bahl, jumped the ship in New York and the rest of the Bahl family went on to Argentina. He was told he either needed a sponsor or a job to stay in New York and he immediately got a job.

The family said Andrew met his wife on the ship, it was love at first sight and they got married. My mother said his wife Kathryn, taught him English. I found this curious since she was also an immigrant from Russia. Digging through the census data and the immigration records and passenger lists, I found that my mother's grandmother, immigrated to the US when she was about 4 years old in Jul of 1876. She was raised in Hays, Kansas. My guess is, that she was a young woman on that ship returning from a visit to Europe, most likely to visit family. I need to see if I can find the ship data that will help me prove this idea.

Hays, Kansas, is the town my mother said that her father was born in 1892. The first census that I have found both Kathryn and Andrew is 1900, in Spiro, Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory. I need to find more data between 1876 and 1892.

Here my mother is looking at some historical photos I printed up for her of Kansas in the 1800's and early 1900's.  She is really enjoying the book. I think I will have many volumes by the time I have all our family documented. It is really a joy to do this kind of work and give it as a gift to my family.

Thanksgiving to me is always about being thankful for the family I have. I can't think of a better gift for a birthday this time of year.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Where Oh Where Is Her Maiden Name?

My second great grandmother married my second great grandfather, Jefferson Davis, as Mrs. Mary Hubbard.

It appears back in 1846, you didn't need your maiden name on your marriage license.

Mary is a very common first name and guess what, Hubbard is a very common last name. I'm finding a lot of dead ends trying to trace down which Hubbard she was married to.  She was born in Virginia and her second marriage was in Illinois. Was her first marriage Virginia? Or was it also Illinois? I don't have an exact date for her first marriage but based on the first child being born in 1837, I estimate she was married about 1835 or 36.  She married her second husband, Jefferson Davis, in 1846. Both the Hubbard children were born in Illinois.

I was able to trace through census data that her daughter Julia Esther Hubbard, born in 1835, married Richard Dunham in 1861. Her last appearance on a census is 1900 and according to the Pike County ILGenweb site, she died in 1904.  None of Julia's census records ask to record her father's name or mother's maiden name. (Just my luck!)
Now this could lead to my answer! If I can find Julia's death certificate, will it have her mother's maiden name?

Mary's son, John Hubbard was born about 1837. (groan...another common name). He appears in a census with the name John Hubbard Davis, then the following census as John Hubbard. I found a Civil War Draft record in 1863 for John H. Davis from Illinois and I cannot find any more data on him. Was he killed in the civil war?

In 1860 Mary Hubbard was in Illinois, her husband is missing from the census, was he serving in the Civil War?  He shows up again in an 1870 census in Kansas with a couple of kids and no wife. So it looks like somewhere between 1860 and 1870 Mary Davis died. Davis is almost as common as Smith when it comes to last names and a 10 year range of Mary Davis deaths to investigate can lead to a ton of records.

I think Julia's death record may be my key! I will post an update when I find it.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

It's a Genealogy Birthday

Saturday my father will be 86 years old!
That is quite an accomplishment.

My father has supplied me with a ton of material for my family history research.

I thought it would be fitting to do something with the data I have been gathering for him on his birthday.

I'm no where near being able to publish my family history book, but I do have quite a bit of data on our direct lines, so that' where I focused.

I chose my father's direct paternal line, which included 4 generations, starting with his parents and ending with his 2nd great grandfather.

Since my father does not use a computer, I printed out the family trees, census reports and all other sources I found and put them in a book.

I made a cute little graphic for the front of the book resembling a family crest.

Today I visited my parents and gave my Father his present. He took to the book like it was the best thing ever. He sat there and went through all 160+ pages in one sitting! Of course he said that this was his first overview, he will go back and look at everything closely later.

Unfortunately the census sheets are almost impossible to read when they are printed on 8 1/2 x 11, but that is all I have, and he won't read them on the computer screen.

I included a few photos and family tree charts and even found some newspaper articles with a few of the ancestors in it.

Now I need to do the same thing with his maternal line and repeat the process on my mother's family lines. It's a great joy to see him enjoy my research.

Happy Birthday Dad!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

My Uncle Sent Me Some Treasures

I previously posted about writing a letter to my uncle, asking if he had any stories or photos of our family's history that he could share and then speaking to him on the phone.

A couple weeks later he sent me this great envelope full of treasures.
There were several photos, some that my mother had copies of, and some that she did not.
He also included some obituary data, a list of relatives and some brief data of the towns my great grandparents lived in.

I brought the package down to my parents house to look at all the goodies.
My mother really enjoyed seeing the photos that she did not have copies of.

There was a partial photo that was colorized of my grandmother from the shoulders up wearing a huge hat. My mother said she could remember the photo framed in their home when she was a young child. The full photo was her mother from the waist up. I can't wait to scan it. There was also a black and white photo of my grandmother in another large hat that my mother said she cannot ever remember seeing before.

I had my laptop go on the blink just after getting the package in the mail. Now I finally have my new laptop up and running and I can get back to scanning and put these photos in my online photo album. You can check here in a few days for the new photos:

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Family Ties

One of the guidelines for new family historians is to contact older family members for information. I constantly tap my parents for information and recently wrote a letter to my mother's brother who is in his late 80's.

I was so excited last night to receive a phone call from my uncle. Some of the things he told me about the family I had also been told by my mother but there were other stories that I had never heard. He is going to send me some photos and information on our Russian side of the family. He said he has the names of the towns that they were from in Russia. Unfortunately he does not have any information on the Jefferson Davis possible relation, so my search continues for that.

It was really great to hear my uncle's voice on the phone. I have not seen him in about 10 years and we spoke for about 30 minutes. Families just don't stay in one place as much as they did years ago. Looking at the census data, I find the families all clustered around each other, including the obituaries which showed them passing in their home town. There were also families that were on the move to survive and explore as well.

My uncle had just returned from visiting his home town in Parsons, Kansas. He said the city is about half the size it was pre WWII. The main industry was the railroad and farming and today there is very little industry in the area. West Mineral, Kansas, another childhood town of my mother and her family, was a small town and is even smaller now.

Now I can't wait to get the information package from my uncle in the mail.

My grandmother, Olive Davis, photo taken at the time of her engagement.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

In Search of Jefferson Davis

When my mother was a small child, she opened her history book at school and thought she saw a picture of her Uncle John. She was quite surprised to see this and could not wait to get home from school to ask her mother why Uncle John was in the history book.

Her mother took one look and said "Oh, yes, that is not Uncle John, but we are related to the man in the picture, that is Jefferson Davis, the President of the Confederate States of America". Her mother explained that they were not proud of him and did not to speak of him. He was some sort of second cousin or something.

So now I am searching to see if I can find the trail from my Davis family to the famous Jefferson Davis.

This is a photo I compiled of my Great Grandfather, Jefferson Bluford Davis on the left, top & bottom and the famous Jefferson Davis, in photos close to the age of the photos I have of my grandfather, on the right, top and bottom.

Maybe it is just wishful thinking, but it looks to me like there is some family resemblance between the two of them.

I have not had any luck finding a path on ancestry with the data that I have. Then looking on ebay, I found 2 older genealogy books on Jefferson Davis. I bought them both and I am going to put the data into a new family tree on Ancestry. Maybe I can find that missing link through this?

One book is "Davis Family Records, by J. Montgomey Seaver, 1929" and the other book is "Genealogy of Jefferson Davis and Samuel Davis by William H. Whitsitt, 1910".

I will post here in a few months with the results.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Who Are We and Where Did We Come From?

I am still in the beginning stages of my research, but here are the basics for anyone who may be interested.

Our family is made from the following Iowa families:


The Hall family was said to have come from England, although I have not traced it that far yet. 
I don't know about the origin of the Brubaker family, but they are also part of the Blakeslee family.

The areas of Iowa were: Waterloo, Denver, Waverly.

The Bentroth and Bast families immigrated from Germany.

Our family is made from the following Kansas families:


The Bahl and Vogel families both immigrated from Kamenka, Russia.

The Davis and Burdette families are old southern state families.
I have not yet found their origins of immigration.
The Simmons family so far are from Kansas.

The Kansas families mainly resided in Parsons, Kansas.

This photo is an unknown Kansas woman in our box of family photos.

Our family is made from the following Pennsylvania families:


The Gagliano and Falcone families immigrated from Italy to Pennsylvania.
The White and McCormick families were also in Pennsylvania, but I have not traced their immigration yet.


The Toole family is from Texas and Alabama.
The Rash family is from Missouri.
I have not traced the immigration of these families yet.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

In The Beginning....

In the Beginning there was family, and after that many generations of family.

Somewhere the individuals get lost and fade with time.

Our lives are like meandering lace, entwined, twisted together, yet turning and wandering down different paths.

Some attempt to find those who have faded with time, and reconstruct the family that was and is for generations to come.

I am one of those people who have been exploring my family history. 

I have fallen in love with the family and enjoy the hunt. 

I hope that those who visit my blog also enjoy what I have to share.

 To some this is a disaster, 
to me it is a treasure.
Hidden gems and clues to our past.
And here is the beginning of organization.
Endless scanning of photos and placing into archival boxes.
Then sleeves? do I need to put them in sleeves?
How many?  
And names....almost no names written on the back of the photos.
Almost 600 photos are scanned, yet the mountain of boxes remain.
I get to spend time with my parents, identifying and writing down stories for many of the photos.
What a privilege and blessing this whole process is.

Today I am thankful that my father was somewhat of a packrat, a casual family historian.

I am new to family history and genealogy. I learn more every day. I have made 3 family connections through that I didn't know existed.
I have made contact to a couple family members through my parents. Everyone has been so wonderful and helpful.

Thank you all for your help, I hope you enjoy the journey with me.


Kathy, the current generation Hall family historian.