Where’s Bessie?

Today I’m focusing on Bessie P Greenwell, my great grandmother. In the 1920 Census, we find her, together with her husband, Bryant Hays/Hayes. (1)

1920 Census: Bryant Hayes (head, 31), Bessie Hayes (wife, 31), and Evelyn Hayes (daughter, 2 4/12)

I believe they were married before 19920, because in 1910, Bryant is with his father (2). However, Bessie is not in her father’s household (3).

1910 Census: Charles W Hays (head, 50), Emma Hays (wife, 45), Bryant Hays (son, 22), Harrold Hays (son, 19), Edgar Hays (son, 17), Max Hays (son, 3), and Ruby Dockery (servant, 16)

1910 Census: Martin Greenwell (head, 58), Rebecca L Greenwell (wife, 58), Tim Greenwell (son, 28), William E Greenwell (son, 23), Robert T Greenwell (son, 19), and Clay Greenwell (son, 15).

In addition, there are no other Greenwell’s in Civil District 2, Washington County, Tennessee.

So, where is Bessie in 1910?

  • Is she living with a sibling, aunt, or uncle? The 1910 census indicates that Bessie’s mother, Rebecca Greenwell, has 10 living children, only four of whom live with them.
  • Is Bessie living with a relative of Bryant?
  • Does a Bessie P Greenwell exist elsewhere is the 1910 census or in a state census between 1900 and 1920?

I didn’t find Bessie with any known Greenwell siblings, aunts, or uncles nor any known Hays siblings, aunts, or uncles.

A Bessie Greenwell does appear in the 1905 Iowa State Census in Mason City, Cerro Gordo County. She is located at “Convent E Drummond” with 8 Sisters of the order and a “Veta Greenwell.” (4)

I have not found any other information about Veta, so I don’t yet know whether there is any relationship the two Greenwell girls. There is also no additional information in the 1905 digital image, except a reference to Card #622. Most likely the digital images are an index of 1905 census cards that had details of each individual.

I did not find the Convent in the 1910 census for Mason City, Iowa.

In trying to find where Bessie and Bryant came together, I found their marriage information (5) for 3 Jun 1916 in Clinton, Iowa. Their parents are included in the database, increasing my confidence in snatching up the right marriage record.

But, what took them both to Iowa and where is Bessie in 1910?

The only relation in Iowa is Bryant’s great aunt who is living in Lafayette, around 83 miles from Mason City. But, Bessie is not in her household in 1910.

Possible next steps include,

  • Find the cards for the 1905 Iowa State Census and see whether they offer more details about Bessie and Veta.
  • Find any archives or manuscripts for the Convent on E Drummond in Mason City.
  • Review newspapers in Mason City, Iowa, Washington County, Tennessee, and Ogle County, Illinois that mention the convent or Bessie.
  • Discover more about Veta Greenwell to see how or if Bessie and Veta are related.

Where else should I look?

 

SOURCES
(1) 1920 U.S. census, Ogle County, Illinois, population schedule, Pine Creek Township, enumeration district (ED) 104, Sheet. 7A-B (penned), line 50-52, dwelling #157, family #157, Bryant Hayes household; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 Mar 2017); citing National Archives microfilm publication T625, roll 398.

(2) 1910 U.S. census, Ogle County, Illinois, population schedule, Buffalo Township, enumeration district (ED) 65, Sheet. 3A (penned), line 31-37, dwelling #53, family #53, Charles W Hays household; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 Mar 2017); citing National Archives microfilm publication T624, roll 314.

(3) 1910 U.S. census, Washington County, Tennessee, population schedule, Civil District 2, enumeration district (ED) 190, Sheet. 7A (penned), line 1-6, dwelling #107, family #107, Martin Greenwell household; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 Mar 2017); citing National Archives microfilm publication T624, roll 1524.

(4) “Iowa, State Census Collection, 1836-1925,” digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 Mar 2017) Entry for Bessie Greenwell, Cerro Gordo County, Mason City, 1905

(5) “Iowa, Select Marriages Index,” database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 30 Mar 2017) Entry for Bryant Hays and Bessie Greenwell, 4 Jun 1916. Citing FHL Film #1840000.

Book Review

I had a wonderful surprise when I visited my local library and checked out the non-fiction new releases. There were several new genealogy books.

W. Daniel Quillen’s Troubleshooter’s Guide To Do-It-Yourself Genealogy (1) was released late summer of 2016 as a 4th edition. Quillen wrote this book for intermediate level genealogists and focusedf other books beginner-level information or specialized areas.

The different chapters offer close looks at collection types with brief overviews and quick actionable tips for how to use online and onsite collections. For researcher’s who understand the basics, the tips provide next steps. More experienced researchers can review what they’ve already found and consider where to look further.

General themes that are woven through the chapters and demonstrated by the author’s own research stories, include:
* Extract information exactly, even names with different spellings
* Move from indexes and summaries to the original records to verify accuracy and identify additional information
* Use the hints to pursue additional leads
* Check out the local libraries near you and near where you are researching
* List items of “genealogical value,” and develop further research items

Chapter 7 on Land Records offers a great example of the analysis of a land deed, a list of items of genealogical value, and the research action steps that were developed. (2)

The book doesn’t have to be read cover to cover, but can be consulted when developing research plans or encountering a specific research challenge. Quillen also curated additional books and websites that supplement his advice related to the different collection types.

#WorldBookDay #ThursdayThoughts #ReadingMakesMe #Genealogy

Sources
(1) W. Daniel Quillen, The Troubleshooter’s Guide To Do-It-Yourself Genealogy, 4th Edition (New York: Cold Spring Press).

(2) Ibid., 116-119.

Ancestors Live On Through Our Stories

Inspiration comes from the strangest places.

Over the weekend, I was reading a mystery book that had nothing to do with genealogy. I then read the line, “People live on in the stories we tell about them.”(1)

I stopped. And, thought, “This was it. This is the reason I do genealogy.”

Our Ancestors live through our stories. Family stories are selective and many times don’t tell the full story. Genealogical research helps us build the true stories of our ancestors and find those ancestors that are missing.

Through collecting and analyzing information we can remember all our ancestors, from the famous to the farmers.

(1) Cleland, Jane K. 2016. Glow of Death. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press. p 43

#ThursdayThoughts #AncestorStories

Innovation Keeps Us Fresh

I was inspired yesterday by Liz Wiseman’s RootsTech talk for integrating two of my passions: helping rookies grow in their careers and working towards professional genealogist status.

I’m comfortable with research and
technology and am building good citation habits. I love that resources like RootsTech and my local society (DuPage County Genealogical Society) exist to help me right start and develop mastery in this profession.

I also love the innovation shared at RootsTech. With these new developments, trends, and tools, I’ll never have to worry about the becoming bored.

If you missed her RootsTech session, you can purchase her session or read her book.

If you want to learn a little more about the Career S Curve she discussed, read my other blog.

Finding Henry’s Father

One of my biggest genealogical discoveries last year was a hopeful clue to the parentage of my 4th great grandfather, Henry Hays (1808-1888). I’ve believed that his father’s name is John, but this belief stems from early research I conducted that was not documented at all. (Sham on me.)

To find some leads in Washington County, Maryland, the county of his birth, I searched FamilySearch’s Will Index to the “Maryland Register of Wills Records, 1629-1999” (1a) for Hays or Hayes in Washington County and found 10 matches for the last name.

One record for John Hays in 1833 with John D Eakle as executor seemed interesting because Henry Hays married Sarah Eakle. Even though the “Administration accounts 1833-1836 vol. 10” on pp. 159-161 list a Henry Hays without specifying the relationship, other details in probate records lead me to believe this John Hays is not Henry’s father, but is instead the John Hays listed in the 18 Jan 1825 announcement of the marriage between John Hays and Catherine Eakle listed in the Torch Light and Public Advertiser (2). This background and these relationships will be explored in a future blog post.

Back to the Wills…

After considering the other Washington County Hays entries, I looked through the records for Frederick County (1b) and found an exciting entry for a John Hays in 1811. In John Hays’ Will (1c), a wife, Syellany, is listed with her “three youngest sons, ” Samuel, Barney, and Henry indicating that “my wife Syellany Hayes should continue my youngest son Henry Hayes to school until he learns the art of book keeping and surveying.” Since my Henry Hays would have been 2 and a half, this instruction could fit his timeline.

To strengthen the connection between this John Hays and my Henry Hays, I’ve started looking for other records of the family. However, so far, the only record I’ve found is the baptism record for Barney. (3, 4) A Barnabas Hays born to John and Silana on 1 Apr 1793 was christened at Jacob’s Lutheran Church in Washington County, Maryland.

The hunt continues…

If you are a descendant of John Hays or Henry Hays, I would love to hear from you and discuss any research or DNA testing that you’re working on.

Sources

(1) “Maryland Register of Wills Records, 1629-1999.” Images. FamilySearch. (http://FamilySearch.org : accessed 24 Feb 2016.) Citing Prerogative Court. Hall of Records, Annapolis.
(1a) Washington County, Will index 1777-1850; H Index (Images 88-102)
(1b) Frederick County, Will index 1747-1930 (Image 102 of 236)
(1c) Frederick County, Wills 1809-1815 vol. 1 (Image 86 of 310)

(2) “The Torch Light And Public Advertiser (Hagerstown, Maryland)” digital images. Newspapers.com (https://www.newspapers.com/clip/8296479/marriage_announcement_of_john_hays_and/: accessed 11 Jan 2017) Marriage announcement for John Hays and Catherine Eakle, 18 Jan 1825, p.4.

(3) “Maryland Births and Christenings, 1650-1995,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V2WR-VD9 : accessed 27 February 2016), Entry for Barnabas Hays, 01 Apr 1793.

(4) Wright, F. Edward. 1988. Washington County, Maryland church records of the 18th century. Westminster, MD: Family Line Publications. p. 61.

Naturalization numbers, index, and petitions on FamilySearch

Does anyone have any idea why the naturalization numbers and names mentioned in an index wouldn’t match with the names and numbers on the naturalization petition images? Are there different numbering systems?

I started with the tip sheet (1) that Rosanna Hogarty posted to the Chicago Genealogy page on Facebook. The tip sheet was clear and organized well. And, I was excited to jump right into the search.

But, I was puzzled that for two out of three of my Polish great grandparents that I found in the index, the numbers listed on the index card led me to a petition for a different person.

Match

First, the one that matched. Louisa Smasz’ record in the index (2) did match the record the petition (3). It was also easy to find using the tips provided by Hogarty.

Ludwika Smarz Naturalization Index image snippet
Louisa Smasz in index (record P. 234127) (2)

Ludwika Smarz Petition image snippet
Louisa Smasz petition (record P.234127) (3)

First Mismatch

While I found an index record for Louisa Smasz’ husband, Piotr, the name on the petition did not match. Piotr’s index card (4) listed number P.56992, but the application with number P. 56992 (5) belonged to someone named John Silinskas. The doubly strange part of this is that I have a copy of Piotr Smasz’ petition number P. 56992 (6) that was included in a packet from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services FOIA request response. The “best reproducible copy” may not be the best, but the petition number and name are readable in the paper copy and match Peter Smasz’ index card. Unfortunately, I couldn’t produce a readable image to share in the blog.

Piotr Smarz Naturalization Index image snippet
Piotr Smasz in index (record P. 56992) (4)

Silinskas Petition image snippet
John Silinskas petition (record P.56992) (5)

Second Mismatch

Similarly, Vincent Szubinski’s index card (7) listed number P.69199, but the application with number P.69199 (8) belonged to a person named Erik Hugo Peterson. I also have a copy of Vincent Szubinski’s petition from the USCIS Genealogy Program (9) that does match his index card and is clear enough to share here.

Wincenty Szubinski Index image snippet
Vincent Szubinki in index (record P.69199) (7)

Peterson Petition image snippet
Erik Hugo Peterson’s petition (record P.69199) (8)

Wincenty Szubinski Petition image snippet
Vincent Szubinski Naturalization Petition from USCIS Genealogy Program (9)

I did try browsing the petition images by the petition date instead of petition number, but didn’t find Piotr’s or Vincent’s peitions in the online images.

Notes

I noticed when comparing the FamilySearch images to the USCIS copies that the image of the naturalization petitions available through FamilySearch are original copies while the copies of naturalization petitions available from the USCIS Genealogy Program are duplicate copies.

I am thankful that the FOIA request yielded the response that I received. One explanation is one the USCIS Genealogy Program website (10):

The USCIS Genealogy Program uses indices unlike any immigration or naturalization index available to the public. Our unique Master Index system is a combination of index tools—partially automated and partially manual—that work together to identify and locate old agency files and records. 

I’m am very curious why a person would be indexed in “Illinois, Northern District Naturalization Index, 1840-1950,” when their petition doesn’t appear in “Illinois, Northern District Petitions for Naturalization, 1906-1994.”

I would love to hear from anyone who knows why this discrepancy is happening or from anyone experiencing similar challenges.

The lesson is to not give up, even if you don’t find the records where you think you should.

References

(1) Rosanna Hogarty; Chicago Genealogy group on Facebook; uploaded file; 20 Oct 2015: https://www.facebook.com/groups/45933825528/: accessed 24 Mar 2016; “How to use the Illinois District Court Records Naturalization files on www.familysearch.org” file

(2) “Illinois, Northern District Naturalization Index, 1840-1950,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XKPS-4HT : accessed 7 April 2016), Ludwika Smarz, 1941; citing Chicago, Illinois, NARA microfilm publication M1285 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 164; FHL microfilm 1,432,164.

(3) “Illinois, Northern District Petitions for Naturalization, 1906-1994,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-44405-52448-81?cc=2212212 : accessed 25 April 2016), Cook County > Petitions, 1941, v. 965, no. 233901-234250 > image 708 of 1079, Ludwika Smarz, P.234127; citing NARA NAID 593882, National Archives at Chicago, Illinois.

(4) “Illinois, Northern District Naturalization Index, 1840-1950,” database with images,FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XKPS-4ZK : accessed 7 April 2016), Piotr Smarz, 1924; citing Illinois, NARA microfilm publication M1285 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 164; FHL microfilm 1,432,164.

(5) “Illinois, Northern District Petitions for Naturalization, 1906-1994,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-909-55385-1161-59?cc=2212212 : accessed 25 April 2016), Cook County > Petitions, 1928, v. 326, no. 56801-57050 > image 708 of 926, John Silinskas, P.56992; citing NARA NAID 593882, National Archives at Chicago, Illinois.

(6) U.S. Department of Homeland Security. C-File. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Washington, D.C., C-1784133, Piotr Smarz, age 35, Superior Court, Chicago, IL, 7 March 1924, FOIA request fulfilled 15 Feb 2015

(7) “Illinois, Northern District Naturalization Index, 1840-1950,” database with images,FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XKGY-HP2 : accessed 7 April 2016), Wincenty Szubinski, 1926; citing Illinois, NARA microfilm publication M1285 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 151; FHL microfilm 1,432,151.

(8) “Illinois, Northern District Petitions for Naturalization, 1906-1994,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-909-55876-27502-14?cc=2212212 : accessed 25 April 2016), Cook County > Petitions, 1929, v. 375 no. 69051-69300 > image 575 of 963, Erik Hugo Peterson, P.69199; citing NARA NAID 593882, National Archives at Chicago, Illinois.

(9) U.S. Department of Homeland Security. C-File. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Washington, D.C., C-2337865, Wincenty Szinbinski, b 15 Jul 1884, Superior Court, Chicago, IL, 30 Apr 1926, FOIA request fulfilled 30 Nov 2010

(10) U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services; “USCIS Genealogy Program – Searching the Index” https://www.uscis.gov/history-and-genealogy/genealogy/searching-index: accessed 25 April 2016

SSA Form SS-5 Leads

It was very exciting when I received the Form SS-5 copies of the social security applications for Vincent Szubinski and Peter Anthony Smasz.

For Peter (1), the form supplied a middle name that I had never found before. The names of his parents were the same as recorded previously except for his mother’s last name. Sophia Wojcik was listed in the Form SS-5, while Sophia Blizniak was listed in Peter’s death certificate. Since the Form SS-5 was completed 30 years earlier and by Peter instead of by another person, as in the death certificate, I set Wojcik as the preferred name in FTM.

Continue reading SSA Form SS-5 Leads