Thursday, May 4, 2017

Who are Annie Laura Wood's parents?

My 2nd Great Grandmother was Annie Laura Wood, she married John Guy Goodwin on 12 Jun 1893 in or around McKinney, Collin County, Texas.   She was born on 28 Feb 1874/1875 in Kentucky and passed  away on 24 Dec 1924 in Denver Colorado.  Annie had five children, only three of whom survived to adulthood.   She also had a brother named Sam E Wood.  

I had found these facts over a period of several years, some was gathered from the digital copies of records like the marriage record, census documents, her obituary/death announcement and some from family records/stories.   I have not yet ordered her death certificate from the State of Colorado, I just found the obituary this year confirming where she had died.  The family moved from Texas to Oklahoma to Texas to Colorado and finally back to Texas over several years.

When I first started this journey I knew only Annie's name.   My family has a tradition of naming their children after their grandparents.   My grandmother told me once that she was named Annie Laura after her grandmother, however her parents had decided to change her name to Faye Virginia sometime before she went to school.  She herself only found out about this after she was married and had to apply for a passport to move to Germany with my grandfather who was stationed there after WWII.  Her father provider her with her birth certificate and it had a different name on it, her father explained that after her grandmother had passed away they changed her name - she was around 3 years old at the time.  All other records were in the name she grew up with Faye Virginia.  Her mother, father and an aunt had to file affidavits attesting to the name change for her to get the passport.  My grandmother had a picture of Annie's headstone taken within days of her funeral.  So now I had a name and date.  It took several years of searching and putting a timeline together to locate where she had passed away.  I also was able to locate the marriage certificate between Annie and John by searching the areas where the couple had lived.   I found it in the town where John had grown up.

Annie's brother, Sam, was found living with John and Annie in the 1910 census, he was born in Texas in 1889.   But finding Annie and Sam's parents was even more difficult.  I found two different Annie/Anna Wood born around 1893 in Kentucky in the 1880 Census.   I also found another Annie Woods also born in Kentucky around the same time, also in the 1880 Census.  But which one, if any of them were my Annie.  None of these had a Sam in the family.   Sam was 15 years younger than Annie, so the 1880 Census would not have included Sam anyway.   By 1900 Annie was living with her husband, and would have been living with her husband had the 1890 Census survived.

On there were a couple of trees that linked Annie to one set of parents in Kentucky, however that family did not have a Sam in it.   Someone found Annie and assumed it was her without checking all the facts.

By researching John's side of the family tree, I was able to locate more clues to the Wood family.   One of John's brother Oliver D had also married a Wood girl.   Oliver and Margaret "Maggie" Wood were married on 13 Dec 1893 also in or around McKinney, Collin County, Texas.   This discovery got me wondering if it was possible that Maggie and Annie were related, perhaps cousins or even sisters. Maggie Wood on was linked to her parents with a few sources attached too.  

One of the families that I had research in the 1880 Census was Maggie's family.   There listed on the Census was Annie L Wood, this was indexed on Ancestry as "Anna L Wood".   But closer examination of the digital image of the census I could see the entry could have been either Anna or Annie as the a looked very sloppy and very well could have been "ie" written in a hurry.  But does this prove that Annie and Maggie were indeed sisters?

I thought I should keep looking, just in case.   I finally was able to locate Sam E. Wood's death certificate.   Sam died as a fairly young age of 37 in Houston, Harris County, Texas.   The informant on the death certificate was someone by the name of Bion Wood.   Sam was single at the time of his death, but had been married in 1910 (married less than a year at the time).  

I located a Bion Wood attached to another tree - this was also contained Margaret "Maggie" along with Sam and Anna.  

Now I am getting somewhere.   Although I am fairly certain I have the correct family, my next step is to order Annie's death certificate (if Colorado will accept my proof of relationship).    Hopefully that will confirm for me what I believe to be true.    Annie Laura Wood was born to Richard R "Dick" Wood and Mary Ann Richardson.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Research Plan ... What is a Research Plan anyway and why would I need to use one?

You may have heard from other researches that you should start with a research plan. However, you may not know what one is or what it looks like.

Put simply, a research plan is a list of resources that you want to look into while answering a specific question.   Using research plans help you focus your search, it keeps you on track, it also tells you what your ultimate goal is.

There are a few parts to a research plan including the goal you want to accomplish, the analysis of what you already know, and a list of sources and repositories that you want use to help you reach the goal, and even possible future research that may add to the list of sources.

There are many great resources on writing research plans available for free on the internet including the following:

Elizabeth Shown Mills 

Below is one of my research plans for my 2nd Great Grandfather John Guy Goodwin.


Sunday, February 5, 2017

Goodwin Family - John, Mary, Felix

I was able to break through one of my walls yesterday.    My 2g grandfather John Guy "Papa" Goodwin, even though I have had his death certificate for a while which listed his parents as Felix Goodwin and Mary Hedgcoxe, I had a hard time linking John to his parents and I could not figure out why.  

John was born 10 June 1872 in Texas and died 25 Dec 1953 in Sierra Blanco, Texas.   John married Annie Wood 12 June 1893.   Their wedding certificate only listed their names, the clerk and the Rev who performed the marriage, no witnesses listed, no parents or birth information.  I could not find John in the 1880 census, no matter where I looked.    I was able to locate John and Annie in 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930 (John as a widower), 1940 (John as a widower), but not before this.  

I wanted to confirm that his parents were indeed Felix and Mary as well as his birth location.  However, I could not find this family together at all, the only thing I had to go on was his death certificate which named them as his parents.   I was able to locate a brother Felix G who was living with John and Annie in the 1900 census in Hickory, Indian Territory (Oklahoma) - this gave me hope, perhaps Felix G was named after their father.   Or perhaps the person who filled the death certificate for John thought Felix was his father when they were brothers.

Trying to research Felix and Mary Goodwin proved to be a bit of an issue, you see this name combination is not all that uncommon as it turns out.   But which set of these Felix and Mary were my 3g grandparents?

I started to look more at the Felix G Goodwin that I did know.   His birthday from the 1900 was Sept 1863, he would have been 9 years old when John was born, so he definitely was not John's father.   The census also listed Felix G as being born in Indiana while John was born in Texas.  There is a start, the family moved at some point between 1863 and 1872 from Indiana to Texas.    I started to piece together a timeline.

Sept 1863 - Felix G Goodwin was born in Indiana
Between 1863-1872 Goodwin family moved to Texas
June 1872 - John Guy Goodwin was born in Texas
June 1893 - John Guy Goodwin and Annie Wood were married in Collin, Texas
April 1900 - John Guy Goodwin & Annie along with Felix G were listed as living in Hickory, Indian Territory, (Oklahoma)
April 1910 - John Guy Goodwin & Annie were listed as living in Tarrant, Texas
1920 - John Guy & Annie were listed as living in El Paso, Texas
1924 - Annie died and was buried in Denver (what is she doing in Denver - that is another story)
1930-1953 - John Guy was listed as living in Hudspeth, Texas, where he died and was buried.

I found Felix Goodwin and Mary Hedgcoxe had married 1 Jan 1849 in Floyd, Indiana.  With Mary's "unusual" family name I was fairly certain I have the correct couple.   But finding Felix and Mary together in census records was a little bit more complicated, I could not find a Felix and Mary in Floyd county but did find other Felix and Mary Goodwin families in various locations in Indiana.

I started by searching the major websites (FamilySearch, Ancestry, FindmyPast, MyHeritage) for Felix G (the brother) in Texas and Oklahoma.   After 1900 I could not find him, I found several Felix Goodwin's however I could not determine which was was him, I was able to find several that were not.   Felix was listed as single in 1900, I found a Felix in 1910 but he was married with 2 children who would have been born before 1900.   I found a Felix who died in Dec 1872, that wasn't him either.    I found a link to a memorial on Find a Grave for the Felix who died in Dec 1872, he was buried in Collin, Texas.   Wait - hold the phone - I know that location - that is the same county where John and Annie were married in.   His memorial listed him as Felix George Goodwin spouse of Mary Ann Hedgcoxe, who had died and buried next to Felix in March 1880.   Also linked to Felix George and Mary were two additional children Maggie Mary Goodwin Herndon and Leroy M Goodwin.

I thought to my self, that his John's father and mother.    Now just to prove it.    I started looking for Felix George, Mary and Felix in the 1870 census.   I found the family in both 1870 and 1860 in Jeffersonville, Clark, Indiana.    I also found that Felix registered for the Civil War Draft on 1 July 1863 in Clark, Indiana.   Although I was fairly sure that this was the correct Felix and Mary based on the location and the combination of Felix, Mary, and Felix, Maggie, Leroy, a new sister Fanny, and brother (in 1870) Oliver.    But John Guy was not born yet, so I started to think about what sources would link my John Guy to this family besides the death certificate and the one 1900 census with Felix G living with John.   Felix George had died when John Guy was less then 6 months old, then his mother died when he was 7, this means there must be guardianship papers for John Guy in Texas. Another search of Ancestry lead me to the Probate/Guardianship papers of Felix Goodwin who at the time was over 14 but not yet an adult when left as an orphan.

Within these 75+ pages there was one single paper that mentioned brothers John and Oliver.   Also within these pages was a request for guardian ship of Felix by a J.R. Herndon, but that was not the man married to their sister Maggie.   Additional reading found that the sisters refused guardianship of the three young boys Felix, Oliver and John.   J.R. Herndon turned out to be the brother of Maggie's husband Benjamin.    The older brother Leroy had actually died in Jan 1880 just 2 months prior to their mother.   J.R. Herndon's application for guardianship was denied, he did not meet the qualifications needed.    Guardianship of Felix was granted to J.W. Baines.   I next found the Probate/Guardianship papers of John Goodwin, age 7.   J.R. Herndon also applied to be guardian of John, but this request was denied too.   J.W. Baines was given guardianship of John as well.

I next found the Probate records of M.A. Goodwin, mother of Maggie, the late Fannie Goodwin-Gillespie (leaving her son Frank as heir), Felix, Oliver, and John.    M.A. Goodwin left an expansive farm of 2500+ acres spread across 5 counties in Texas, initially valued at $8000.   After Felix and John turned 21 years of age, each was given 320 acres of land which was held in Probate for them, 320 acres of land was given to Frank Gillespie held in Probate for him by his father W.C. Gillispie, and 320 acres of land was given to Maggie Goodwin Herndon and her husband Ben Herndon.   The rest of the estate was sold off and proceeds divided among the heirs.

My next research steps will include: searching for the guardianship papers of Oliver, the probate records of Felix George Goodwin, as well as tracking down what happened to the land passed onto John Guy, I also want to find out where Felix George and Mary were born - the 1870 census shows they were born in Indiana but the 1860 says they were born in Ireland.   But at least now I have the proof I needed linking my John Guy to his parents Felix George Goodwin and Mary Ann Hedgcoxe.

John Guy Goodwin
Born:  10 June 1872 in Collin, Texas
Died 25 Dec 1953 in Sierra Blanco, Texas

Sunday, January 29, 2017

My 1930 US Census Project

Last month (Dec 15th) I was trying to catch up on some of the facts that I had been locating the past several weeks.   This included several people whom I found in the 1940 and 1930 US Census records through FamilySearch and Ancestry.  

I loved looking at all the cousins and their family members on these records, finding out what occupation each person was doing that year.   I found several widowed mothers and fathers who were living with their grown children and grandchildren.   I still have not located my own grandfather in the 1930 census, I found him in the 1920 and 1940 but not 1930...yet.  I still hold out hope to find him soon.  I have a couple of leads that I need to follow, he was serving his first term in the Army at the time.  

I started to sync my RootsMagic tree to FamilySearch with all the residence information I had found so far.  I also added Census and Occupation facts for each person I had found.   I was making progress, but I soon realized that I needed a list of everyone that could have been found in the census to ensure that I had everyone.  So I pulled a "who was there" report out of my RootsMagic database, this report will query everyone in the database against those who were born before and do not have a death date before 1930.  

I soon started looking at each person listed on the report and eventually I found it easiest to put in report into Evernote.  I could then use this basic report as the start of a research log.   I started checking off each person that I found and adding the date I found the info.  

By whittling away at the report every day, even if I had just 10-15 minutes to work on it, I knew eventually I would get through the 1148 people listed.   After six weeks, I am beginning to really see some progress in my end goal of finding everyone in my database in the 1930 census that was alive at the time.  As of today I have found 141 of those listed on the report.   I also have added more than 50 new cousins to my database as well.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Are you sure you have all your Ancestor's artifacts documented?

For the past several weeks I have been busy scanning documents and photos that were given to me when my paternal grandmother, Virginia, passed away earlier this year.   Theses items, are carefully scanned and documented in my genealogy.   Photos are identified and the originals transferred into a archive box.  Other documents are scanned and filled into each person's file folder.  I have a treasure trove of information from these documents.   The types of documents vary from driver's licenses, to old passports used during a trip to the orient - along with pictures from that trip to several hundred military papers documenting everyday occurrences and daily orders, to a five page resume document that my grandfather typed up sometime between 1965 and 1977 when he passed away, to Mason membership cards.  This has kept me very busy and will keep me busy for the remainder of this year and possibly into next.   It actually surprised me on how much my grandmother decided to keep, like she knew it would bring me such joy to have some of these simple everyday items.   Why did it surprise me - because my grandmother was never into genealogy.   That side of me came from my maternal side.

I have been so excited to receive and go through these partly because I have very few of these types of items from my maternal grandmother, Florence.   And she was starting to dive into genealogy a few years before she passed away.  I got into genealogy when my mother was given my grandmother's genealogy papers - I was 11-12 years old at the time and my mom although she found it kinda interesting she was never interested in expanding on what my grandmother had.  There were a few printouts and extracts from records, a few citations, but mostly it was family group sheets and pedigree charts that were filled out and filed with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints a long time before FamilySearch was around.   I have a few cards and letters neatly tucked away that my grandmother kept.   But no diaries, no family bibles, no birth or death certificates.

But today I realized that I was missing a few things in my documentation.   Isn't it funny how you can be going along and then all of a sudden WHAM!   You have one of the "Well Duh..." moments.

One of these moments happened to me, while cooking dinner tonight.   I sat there stirring the ground beef that soon would be tacos for the family and it dawned on me.   I have artifacts from both of my grandmothers that really should be documented in my genealogy - at least somewhere.   Now these items are not birth certificates, or a precious family bible, or even that elusive diary.    It is a simple but very useful .... skillet.    Yes a skillet.

I have my great grandma's, Florence Bunce, cast iron skillet.   And it is still being used today.  I am at least the 4th generation to use the thing, and it will be passed down to one of my daughters when I no longer need it.    Such a simple thing, it never occurred to me to document this artifact, but yet it tells me about the women in my family who have used it countless times before me.

I got the skillet this year when my mother, Velleda, had to move into a nursing home.   She has had it since 1986 when her mother, Florence, passed away.   Florence received the skillet when her mother, Florence, passed away in 1967.   It is unknown at this point when or where she received the skillet.

This new "enlightenment" got me thinking of the other precious items that I have of my mother's, grandmothers, and grandfathers.  I have some of her most priced possessions, like her china and some of her most common possessions too, like a cane she used and of course this skillet that got me thinking outside the paper lines.

Now I have more items on my to-do list to take photos of and document.

Just remember not all artifacts of our ancestor's are paper and/or pictures.   They are also some of the simple and elegant things that they have left us too.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Revisit old information

You should go back and revisit old information, for example I have a copy of my grandmother's birth certificate.  

For years I have known that her parents had named her after her grandmother and then for some unknown reason decided after the grandmother had died to change her name.    They started calling her by her "new" name around the time she was three years old, it was only when my grandmother had to get a passport after marrying my grandfather (he was career Army) that she learned that she was born with a different name.  

Her father had to go to court and swear in front of a Judge that they had changed her name without going to court to do so.   Today I looked at the birth certificate again and noticed that she did not have a middle name - I had always heard that her birth name was "Annie Laura" when in fact it was simply "Annie".  

I also noticed that both her parents were listed as residence of Denver Colorado, however she was born in El Paso, Texas.   Now I knew that my great grandparents actually hopped back and forth between Denver and El Paso, however until I took a look at this birth certificate again did I notice that at the time of my grandmother's birth they actually were living in Denver at the time.   Time to go and update some records.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

City Directories can tear down walls

I've decided to use this blog a more of as my family history journal, to document what I'm looking for and what and where I have found information.  As my own children are growing up, more online resources become available as well as a change in the industry I work for (not the career itself) I now find that I can spend more time researching and documenting our family and their histories.

In the past few months I have been very fortunate to finally find some information on my husband's family.   Despite having a few pictures of his paternal grandfather and great grandfather, both named Peter Joseph Horvath, we knew little to nothing about them.

Even though the last name was not that common, it wasn't very unique either.   Actually there are quite a few Horvath's in the US especially in the central part of the country where they were supposed to be from after migrating from Hungary.   What is even more I think the majority of the men were named Joseph Peter, but this just made searching for them harder in my opinion there were a lot of dead ends and climbing up the wrong trees.  I only had what little information from Peter's ex-wife - my husband's grandmother to go on.

Here is what we did know:   My husband's grandfather Peter Jr was a drinker, he died 24 Dec 1971 in Illinois, his mother was Irene and father was Peter Joseph Horvath.   According to my husband's grandmother (his wife), he drank every night after work to the point he would leave his entire paycheck at the bar.   For a while the bar would return the paycheck to the grandmother knowing that they had several young boys to raise.   However, after a while the paychecks stopped being returned, they were soon divorced  and she set about raising the boys on her own.    She had two pictures of his father, Peter, and two pictures of his mother, Irene.   Peter Sr was an ominous looking man, certainly a business man in the 1930s/1940s with a ganster type of look, in my opinion anyway.   And of course what family doesn't have family rumors.   Ours:   The family business was "Bootlegging" and their circle of friends "Al Capone".   Yes, the Al Capone!

Wow, now why can't I find anything about this side of the family then?   Until last fall I had resigned to believe that due to the nature of their business they were very good at hiding from most records.

My husband and I have been married for almost 26 years and throughout that time I have been researching both his side and my side of the family sometimes take a few years off for various reasons.    I found very little on my husband's side of his paternal family - well let me rephrase that in 26 years of searching I found these things items:

  • the death certificate for his grandfather from the State of Illinois, 
  • where the grandfather was buried through website, 
  • the SSDI record for the great grandmother indicating she died in California from - but was this our Irene Horvath - I believe so based on the date of death but it could be a coincidence too.
    • the death certificate for the great grandmother in California, and 
      • the existence of a daughter also named Irene as taken from the death certificate 
      • occupation of the great grandmother - owner of a restaurant
  • Application of Peter and Irene's marriage in South Bend, Indiana from  - was this really our Peter and Irene - I still am not sure.
Then finally in the fall last year, actually it was after a Christmas shopping trip that I started to look again into this side of the family.  During that trip, I had a conversation with my father-in-law, he told me a few stories regarding his father and grandparents.   Like how they were "Bootleggers" and were friends with Al Capone, they used their grocery store as a front for selling the illegal alcohol.   When he was still a very young is father wanted him to come and help work at the family bar (a business...can you say flakes of gold...I should be able to find something there...), but his mother refused to send him.  He also told us that his grandmother was a force of nature, what she said went!  During a storm their roof was leaking, she told her husband that he needed to fix the out into the storm he went and out onto the roof.   He apparently fell off the roof and died sometime after the fall but not right away.  I was also informed that there was another sister, one who was kidnapped as a young girl but found later however mentally she never recovered.

After this conversation with my father-in-law I just knew that I needed to start researching again.  I started with someone I knew I could find...Al Capone.   I read various articles and searched for the names and faces of his "gang" thinking that maybe the reason I couldn't find their records was because the father changed his name, maybe he was arrested in connection to Capone and his men.  And I still came up short, I found nothing not a mention of the family not a picture that would match the faces.  

So I took a step back and looked at what I did know and what I had heard to be true.   I knew that Peter Jr had 5 sons, I started looking more at records of the grandmother (ex-wife) of Peter.   Opal, now that is a name combination that isn't too prevalent, Opal Horvath.   I got a hit on a newly indexed set of records, City Directories.   There she was along with her husband in 1938 Joliet, Illinois.   Wait when was she in Joliet - this came as a surprise to me actually I'm not sure why but it did surprise me nonetheless.   I have her obit which states she moved to Joliet but by the time her and Peter were married they were in another Illinois town not Joliet.   This city directory was after their marriage date and actually after two of their five children were born.   But there it was in black and white Opal and Peter in Joliet, but that was not all.  In the same address I found Irene, Peter Sr, the unnamed sister "Elizabeth" and an unknown brother John and the family tavern.  This was the first record that I found listing Peter Sr.  I was thrilled to say the least.

I started looking at the other information I had on the children of Peter and Opal, there it was the entire time!  One of their children (my husband's uncle) was born in Joliet.   I can't believe I missed that!   But I was too thrilled with the discovery to be too hard on myself.   Then the flood gates opened.   I was able to track the family between 1925 and 1942 through city directories, the business went from a grocery to a beer distributor to a bar and finally to a tavern.  The change from grocery to bar happened at the time that prohibition ended.   I guess that part of the family stories sure appears to be true.  Based on the address in 1925, I was finally able to find the family in the 1920 census under an incorrectly indexed name.  I am still locating more information on this branch of the tree all the time.   I still don't have on record much but at least it is a start and a lot more than what I had just 4 months ago.   I still have yet to find a death record or date for Peter Sr, but what I did find was interesting to say the least, more possibilities and my wheels are turning too.

In the 1940 census Peter Sr was not listed, or was he?   I did find Irene at the same address listed as the head of the house, but the next line down was crossed out, through the line you can make out "Peter" above the line are the words "In Sanitarium 10 years".   Another lead to follow!

A big thank you goes out to for those initial city directories, without those I don't think I would have this information today.