Sunday, January 31, 2016

Sunday Drive: Neal

Jimmy Neal and his wife Jessie drove their 1948 Plymouth "Woodie" station wagon for a long time. This photograph was taken in 1949 and also affords a rear view of Jimmy's red work truck parked alongside.*

[From my personal collection]

Although they lived in the Los Angeles/Riverside area, they owned a cabin at Lake Morena, east of San Diego, and when I was little we would drive out to visit them** when they were in residence and I remember the wagon parked in front of their place.

*You can see Jimmy at the wheel of the truck here.
**Probably a few times on a Sunday in the blue Cadillac pictured here.

© 2016 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Fantastic Finds: Online Archive of California and Calisphere

During an online search to discover what gems of local history might be lurking in the special collections of San Diego State University's (SDSU's) library, I happened on this site. Here's what they have to say for themselves:
"The Online Archive of California (OAC) provides free public access to detailed descriptions of primary resource collections maintained by more than 200 contributing institutions including libraries, special collections, archives, historical societies, and museums throughout California and collections maintained by the 10 University of California (UC) campuses."

Because I'm a visual person, the question near the bottom of OAC's home page caught my eye: "Need to Find a Digital Image?" And that directed my attention to Calisphere.

[Home page of Calisphere]

The California Digital Library explains the relationship between the two sites:
"The content in Calisphere is drawn from the digital content in the Online Archive of California (OAC). These two websites exist because they serve two very different user needs. For research-oriented users who want to go beyond what is available online and locate the actual, physical item, the OAC is the best starting point. For users whose primary interest is to view digitized images and documents, Calisphere is a place to explore online content. In addition, Calisphere provides K-12 educators with a subset of content organized and aligned with California Content Standards."
By the way, according to the OAC, SDSU's library holds 373 special collections including 19th century San Diego newspapers, historical student body and alumni association records, Old Globe Theater photographs, and many different collections of family papers. Sadly, none of them are available online. Here is how to contact the department and a video from 2010 explaining basic rules for a visit.

© 2016 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Family Friday: Hayward/Head/Rogers

Today I'm sharing some family photos of an English friend of mine.

The first couple are her paternal great grandparents Emma Hayward (1839-1920) and Thomas Head (1842-1919), both of whose families had been farmers in and around Kintbury in Berkshire for generations.

[Courtesy of M. Arbaugh]

The young woman in the photo below is their daughter Caroline Head (1875-1948), probably taken while she was a housemaid in Penge, Kent,* before her marriage in 1903.

[Courtesy of M. Arbaugh]

And here is Caroline again with her husband Albert Henry Rogers (1882-1963) taken in the 1940s, probably in Hatherope in Gloucestershire where Albert had become the gamekeeper on a large estate. This is how my friend remembers her grandparents.

[Courtesy of M. Arbaugh]

*Sometimes in Surrey, other times in Kent; now part of Greater London.

© 2016 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Memento Mori: Alta Norville Dies on the Same Day the Challenger Blew Up in 1986

From Wiki Commons: "Challenger explosion" by Kennedy Space Center.
Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

I'll always remember January 28, 1986, the day my grandmother, Alta (Slater) Norville (1917-1986), died in Casa Grande, Arizona, but not for the reason you might think.

While I knew that a teacher named Altamae Slater had given my mother up for adoption, I didn't find out what happened to her until the late 1990's.  Yet I remember the day she died because it was the same day as the space shuttle Challenger disaster.

My memory is that I was just getting settled in my 9th grade English class for another day at Muirlands Junior High School (now Middle School) in La Jolla.   It was my first experience of a national tragedy where everyone remembered where they were when they heard the news.

I can only imagine that this must have been a terrible day for Alta's husband, Pete Norville, and for Alta's nieces, nephews, and extended family.

Photocopy of Alta's obituary sent to me from the Casa Grande Historical Society.  Notice that toward the end the article it notes that her husband was her only (immediate) survivor.  Of course, the reality is that she had a daughter (and granddaughter!) who survived her, but the article's author didn't know that and Alta was not known to have told anyone about the baby she gave up.  Oh, it's these little details that make genealogy so fun.  

© 2016 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Working on Wednesday: Jesse Thomas Simeon Warren (1825 - 1894), Slave Owner

Since my daughter Christine brought up the subject of this paternal great great grandfather's slaves as listed in the 1850 and 1860 U.S. Census - Slave Schedules in her post last week, I've decided to take a closer look at his holdings here.

J.T.S. (as he was generally known) owned slaves from the time of his father's death in early 1826* until Emancipation came to Texas in 1865. (Besides the enslaved persons from his father's estate, J.T.S. inherited "one negro boy named Matt" from his uncle Jeremiah in 1832 although he was not to take possession of Matt until he was 21.)

His step-father John P. Phillips acted as his legal guardian during his minority. Below is one of John Phillips' annual accounts filed with the Troup County, Georgia, Probate Court in 1841.

["Georgia Probate Records, 1742-1990," images, <i>FamilySearch</i> ( : accessed 28 January 2016), Troup &gt; Returns 1839-1847 vol C and E &gt; image 195 of 588; county probate courthouses, Georgia.]

In 1846, the year that J.T.S. attained his majority, the Phillips family moved to Macon County, Alabama, where he married Martha Heath Hardy three years later. On the 1850 U.S. Census - Slave Schedule J.T.S. was listed as the owner of 12 slaves; perhaps Matt was one of the adult males on that list.

1850 U.S. census, Macon County, Alabama, slave schedule, District 21, p. 183 (penned), Jesse Warren, owner; NARA microfilm publication M432; digital image, ( : accessed 21 Jan 2016).

The next record of slave ownership for J.T.S. is an 1855 Cass County, Texas, Tax Assessment listing 17 enslaved persons valued at $1,200.** At this point he had been a resident of Texas for about three years.

["Texas, County Tax Rolls, 1846-1910," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 28 Jan 2016), Cass county > 1855 > image 31 of 37; citing State Archives, Austin.]

Subsequent tax records leading up to the 1860 U.S. Census - Slave Schedule with its 19 individuals show that J.T.S. owned that number as early as 1858. Note that no children are listed in the 1860 enumeration.

["Texas, County Tax Rolls, 1846-1910," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 28 Jan 2016), Cass county > 1858 > image 38 of 45; citing State Archives, Austin.]

[1860 U.S. census, Cass County, Texas, slave schedule, Beat No. 4, p. 33 (penned), J.T.S. Warren, owner; NARA microfilm publication M653; digital image, ( : accessed 21 Jan 2016).]

And here's the 1860 U.S. Census enumeration for J.T.S. and his household which included an overseer. His personal property, most of which would have represented the value of his slaves, was $12,000.

[Year: 1860; Census Place: Beat 4, Cass, Texas; Roll: M653_1290; Page: 392; Image: 97; Family History Library Film: 805290. 1860 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Original data: 1860 U.S. census, population schedule. NARA microfilm publication M653, 1,438 rolls. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.]

On the 1860 U.S. Federal Census Schedule for agriculture the output of the Warren farm was 40-400 pound bales of cotton.*** (J.T.S. is listed on the last line.)

[Census Year: 1860; Census Place: Beat 4, Cass, Texas. Selected U.S. Federal Census Non-Population Schedules, 1850-1880 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010.]

Cass County tax records survive for 1861, 1862 and 1864 which show that J.T.S. continued to add to his human property during the Civil War finally owning 25 persons by 1862.

["Texas, County Tax Rolls, 1846-1910," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 21 Jan 2016), Cass county > 1861 > image 25 of 31; citing State Archives, Austin.]

["Texas, County Tax Rolls, 1846-1910," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 28 Jan 2016), Davis county > 1862 > image 52 of 57; citing State Archives, Austin.]

I've been re-reading Walter Johnson's Soul by Soul: Life Inside the Antebellum Slave Market **** and a quote there caught my eye: Edward Russell, a northerner traveling on the Red River of Texas in 1854 was told by a southerner,
"Planters care for nothing but to buy Negroes to raise cotton & raise cotton to buy Negroes."
I think that this sentiment was one that J.T.S. would have understood. I also think it's significant that we've found no evidence that any of his former slaves adopted his surname as was common practice after emancipation.

*When J.T.S. was less than six months old; he turned 40 in 1865.
**These tax records only list the number and value without including a breakdown by sex and/or age.
***Totaling 16,000 pounds and cotton sold that year for 10 cents a pound.
 ****Kindle version location 1072.

© 2016 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Cousin Matches Help Make My Genealogy Seem Plausible

Tiny snapshot of my Tibbetts pedigree through my dad.  Is this true?
My "emerging" DNA circle for Henry Charles Tibbetts.
My dad and I are considered a family group, and we definitely match other people who think they are descended from ol' Ben Tibbetts.  Either we are all delusional, or we actually are descendants.

I don't know about you, but I constantly struggle to view my ancestors as real people.  I lack photographs and voices for the vast majority of my ancestors and, to be honest, I often wonder if half the information I have on my tree is true.  Am I actually related to these people?  I can only get a real sense of confidence of my ancestry from the late 19th century on.

For this reason, I am thrilled whenever I get a cousin match, even if it is for ancestors I am confident about.  Even more so when it is for ancestors for whom I have little more than a source or two.  While not foolproof, Ancestry's cousin matches can be incredibly useful, especially if both cousins have well-done, well-sourced Ancestry trees.

© 2016 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Monday Is for Mothers: Mary Ann "Polly" Capell (1782 - After 1840)

The only daughter of Patty (Roberson?) and Sterling Capell, this paternal fourth great grandmother was born in Southampton County, Virginia.

[Detail from The State of Virginia from the best Authorities, By Samuel Lewis. Smither Sculpt. Engraved for Carey's American Edition of Guthrie's Geography improved. (1794-1795) Source: David Rumsey Historical Map Collection]

With the consent of her father, in 1799 Polly married Benjamin Bittle (Biddle), the son of Kirby Bittle and his wife Lucy Westbrook, and the young couple settled in Southampton County.

When Sterling Capell died in 1803 he left all of his estate to his wife for her lifetime and thereafter to be equally divided among his children.

When Kirby Bittle died in 1809 Benjamin, as his oldest son, acted as administrator of his estate.*

In the 1810 U.S. Census Benjamin's household in Southampton County included himself, his wife, their four children** and four enslaved persons.

[ 1810 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Original data: Third Census of the United States, 1810. (NARA microfilm publication M252, 71 rolls). Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29. National Archives, Washington, D.C.]

By the 1820 U.S. Census the family had moved east to Amhurst County, Virginia, and there are no longer any slaves in their household.

[Detail from Virginia. Drawn & Published by F. Lucas Jr., Baltimore. Sam Harrison, Scl. Philada. (1822).
Source: David Rumsey Historical Map Collection]

And the 1830 U.S. Census found them living in Grainger County, Tennessee.

[Detail from Tennessee. Published by A. Finley Philada. Young & Delleker Sc. (1831) Source: David Rumsey Historical Map Collection]

The final U.S. Census where Polly and Benjamin appear was in 1840 in Illinois in Maucopin County Benjamin died in 1848 but we haven't been able to find a date of death for Polly.

[Detail from A New Map of Illinois with Its Roads & Distances from place to place along the Stage & Steam Boat Routes by H.S. Tanner (1842). Source: David Rumsey Historical Map Collection]

And that's all the official records we have for Polly but we're fortunate to know more about her through stories passed down to a descendant through her daughter-in-law Maria Evans Biddle*** who doesn't appear to have been her biggest fan.

[Page 29 from the online copy of "And This is Our Heritage", courtesy of the Hathi Trust Digital Library (original from University of Wisconsin).  Accessed 25 Jan 2016.]

 *And something he did in this capacity appears to have caused his mother Lucy to leave his younger brother the bulk of her estate upon her death in 1816.
**My three times great grandfather B.R. Biddle was their second son.
***Esther Moreland Leithold (1872-1959), author of  the saga of her maternal grandparents, Maria Evans (1814-1899) and Benjamin "B.R." Biddle (1808-1882) ""..And This Is Our Heritage"

© 2016 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Sunday Drive: Curreys

When Mother and Dad (Currey) took 3-day-old me home from the hospital and into their lives in 1947 they were in their mid-forties and still recovering from the loss of their son in World War II. Before the war they led a very active life filled with camping/trailer trips, boats, crafts (like basket making, and leather and bead work) and urban farming. They also amassed a significant collection of Native American textiles, baskets and pottery.

After my arrival they cast about for a new hobby and found it in rock hounding, attending meetings of the local mineral and gem society in Balboa Park to learn what to look for (and what to do with what they collected afterwards).

Sometime in the early 1950s we went on a field trip to the Chocolate Mountains in Imperial Valley sponsored by the society. I remember the ride through this wash as we followed other cars and I think we were all there to look for geodes.*

I'm glad we weren't the ones to get stuck like that brown car did. 

[From my personal collection]

And I have no explanation for why we brought the boat.

*Geode definition here. You can see a BLM publication covering the Chocolate Mountain area here (PDF).

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

A Background Look at How a Recent Atlas of Maine Was Made

Title Page of my copy of the atlas.
One of my favorite atlases is The Times Atlas of World History (Revised Edition), edited by historian Geoffrey Barraclough (New York Times obituary for him in 1985 here).  Over the years I've spent many years browsing through the pages, learning about migrations around the world and the various eras.

I use maps almost as much as I use records in my genealogy research.  Like records, it is good to know why and how these atlases are created.  They didn't just write themselves.  What does it take to compile such a work, and what are the decisions for inclusion and exclusion of information?

The following is a lecture that was given at the Schoodic Institute in Maine by scholar Richard W. Judd, who recently published "Historical Atlas of Maine" (available here and here) with Stephen Hornsby and Michael J. Hermann.  Although very much in the weeds, I found it fascinating to see a discussion of what lead up to the creation of the atlas, plus some sneak peeks into it (it's about $75, which is reasonable for a book like this).

BTW, I had to laugh when they got to 41:16 in the video when he shows "Village of Lock's Mills."  Look closely and you will see among the landowners someone named J.G. Tibbetts, a distant Tibbetts cousin of mine, no doubt.  Tibbetts seem to be all over Maine.

© 2016 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Family Friday: Webb/Siemsen

One of my maternal grandmother's five sisters, Mildred was born in Knox County, Nebraska,* just before Christmas, 1900.

[Courtesy of Olive Slater-Kennedy]

According to Webb family records, Mildred married Louis Otto Siemsen (1897-1975) on September 21, 1921, in the village of Center, Nebraska.

[Courtesy of Olive Slater-Kennedy]

Through census records and their five children's birthplaces we can follow the family's moves from Nebraska to Wyoming, back to Nebraska, then on to Kansas City, Kansas, before finally settling in Texas by 1934 where Mildred and Louis resided for the rest of their lives.

[Mildred and Louis (on left) in family photo, 1955. Courtesy of Olive Slater-Kennedy]

*As were all of her siblings except for the oldest brother Herbert who was born in Jones County, Iowa.

© 2016 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Fantastic Find: NYPL Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture's "In Motion: The African-American Migration Experience"

One of Randy Seaver's Best of the Genea-Blogs (10 to 16 January 2016) included Robyn N. Smith's informative post "How Were Slaves Sold?" at her Reclaiming Kin blog (Robyn reviewed the site in 2013 in her post "The Schomburg and Black Migrations").  Robyn used a source I had not seen before, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (a research unit of the New York Public Library), and their incredibly rich 2005 website "In Motion: The African-American Migration Experience."

In particular, she used this map:
From the NYPL Schomburg Center "In Motion" website.

I have a question about my 3rd great grandfather Jesse T S "JTS" Warren (1825-1894), who moved from Macon County, Alabama to Cass County, Texas in 1852.

Notice  the demographic makeup of the nameless enslaved people in the 1850 Federal Slave Schedule from Macon County looked like at least one or more family units (men, women, and children):

1850 U.S. census, Macon County, Alabama, slave schedule, District 21, p. 183 (penned), Jesse Warren, owner; NARA microfilm publication M432; digital image, ( : accessed 21 Jan 2016).

Notice the strangely consistent ages of the men and women in the 1860 Federal Slave Schedule in Cass County, Texas:

1860 U.S. census, Cass County, Texas, slave schedule, Beat No. 4, p. 33 (penned), J.T.S. Warren, owner; NARA microfilm publication M653; digital image, ( : accessed 21 Jan 2016).

Was the census taker in 1860 just winging it, or were the slaves actually those ages, and therefore where had JTS bought them?  Maybe the Schomburg map could hold clues?

© 2016 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Gone for Soldiers: Frederick Benjamin Webb (1890 - 1941), and Johnathan Wayne Webb (1894 - 1955)

Besides her brother-in-law Pete Slater, two of my maternal grandmother's brothers served in the military during World War I, perhaps inspired by a poster like this.

[Uphold our honor--Fight for us Join Army-Navy-Marines. New York : Hegeman Print[ing Company], [1917].
Forms part of: Willard and Dorothy Straight Collection. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA]

According to his World War I Draft Registration Card, Frederick 27-year-old Benjamin Webb was still unmarried and working as a self-employed well-driller in Knox County, Nebraska, when he enlisted in Company D of the 109th Engineers* on September 22, 1917.

[Courtesy of Olive Slater-Kennedy]

[Courtesy of Olive Slater-Kennedy]

The 109th was part of the 34th Army Division, nicknamed the Sandstone or Red Bull Division, and trained at Gila Forest Camp in New Mexico. The panoramic photography below shows how the camp looked in June of 1918 (horses and all). Since the division didn't arrive in France until October of 1918 it's possible that Fred is one of the soldiers pictured.

[Gila Forest Camp, N. Mex., 109th Engr's., 34th Div., June 1918, Col. F. E. Downing, C.O. Photographer: Almeron Newman.
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA]

From the headstone application filed with the War Department after Fred's death in 1941 we learn that he made corporal during his time in the army.

[ U.S., Headstone Applications for Military Veterans, 1925-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012. Original data: Applications for Headstones for U.S. Military Veterans, 1925-1941. Microfilm publication M1916, 134 rolls. ARC ID: 596118. Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, Record Group 92. National Archives at Washington, D.C.Applications for Headstones, compiled 01/01/1925 - 06/30/1970, documenting the period ca. 1776 - 1970 ARC: 596118. Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, 1774–1985, Record Group 92. National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.]

I haven't been able to find the military record for Johnathan Wayne Webb in the usual places, however we have photos of him in uniform and know what John's role was from the August 6, 1918, army casualty list as printed in that day's Wichita Beacon.**

[Courtesy of Olive Slater-Kennedy]

[Courtesy of Olive Slater-Kennedy]

[The Wichita Beacon » 1918 » August » 6 Aug 1918, Tue.]

John's registration card for the "old man's draft" in 1942 lists his injuries.

[ U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010. Original data: United States, Selective Service System. Selective Service Registration Cards, World War II: Fourth Registration. Records of the Selective Service System, Record Group Number 147. National Archives and Records Administration. Full Source Citation.]

*Composed of men from the Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, South Dakota National Guards.
**Someone (perhaps my grandmother?) has written on the back of the first photo: "From Uncle John. Taken [during the] war of 1918. Was wounded July 14, 1918." Another note accompanying the photograph adds: "Killed car hit 1955 New York City."

© 2015 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Little Red Car, Still Going Strong in 2016

Circa 1949.

The little red car my mom posted about is still around.

Little red car, January 2016.

© 2016 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.