LIVING ELSEWHERE BETWEEN THE CENSUS DECADES
APRIL 27, 2014
Researching in the 1980s was more difficult than it is today. At least, much is available on the Internet and we can search from home without traveling to other counties or states to finish with the generations. The disappearance of a couple after a census enumeration could be difficult. These types of incidences were harder before we had the online indexes and censuses online. Here is an example of what happened to me.
Lizzy Stibbens was born in Collin County and married there in 1900, and then she just disappeared. What happened to her? She was not on the 1910 census with neither her family nor her husband. A check at the McKinney Courthouse showed they did not own land, no children were born to the couple, they did not own any cattle brands, they had no death certificates, and a search of the newspapers gave no clue to what happened to the couple. I searched the censuses for the contiguous counties and found nothing. Searching the other 40 states was a long and laborious process with no result.
No, aliens did not abduct them. Fourteen years later, I received a phone call from Lizzy. She said a family member had told her I was searching for her to help complete her generation. I immediately asked her where she lived and she replied she was living in McKinney not far from where she lived with her first husband. Perplexed, I asked her to explain further about her other marriage or marriages. Seems she and her first husband moved to California where he died three years later. She remarried, but the second husband also died after about eight years. Both husband one and two are buried in California. The third husband wanted to move to Texas and she wanted to be back with her family in McKinney. So, she and her third husband returned about 15 years after she left. They had been living two blocks from where she was born, with a different husband, and they were on the census for years. But, I had no clue that she had returned.
When people talk about the good ol’ days, I remember these kinds of family research problems. People beginning genealogical research today have no idea how difficult it was just a couple of decades ago.
NEWSPAPER RESEARCH OFFERS MANY CLUES:
PUZZLE: From the April 19, 1956 copy of the Plano Star-Courier Newspaper, we find six clues to help future family historians. What are the clues? “Mary Katherine Carpenter observed another birthday at her job at Harrington Pharmacy Monday, and two days later she and her husband B. B. “Buddy” Carpenter celebrated their wedding anniversary.”
ANSWER: By checking the online virtual calendar, www.genuki.org.uk/big/easter/H.html?1956, Mrs. Carpenter’s birth month and day was Monday, April 16. Their anniversary is April 18. Her given name is Mary Katherine and her husband’s initials are B. B. and nickname, Buddy. She works at one of the two pharmacies in Plano. [The other pharmacy was Allen’s Drug Store.]
FURTHER RESEARCH: Although we do not know whether Mrs. Carpenter was born in Collin County, while we are searching the microfilm at the Genealogy Center for her marriage year, we might also find her birth record and a recording of any children born to the couple, land holdings and other investments.
Newspapers are an important resource in your family history pursuit. Furthermore, they are fun to read. You get a clue about the local environment of your ancestors’ communities.
PALATINES TO AMERICA CONFERENCE IN COLUMBUS, OHIO: The 2014 National Conference is June 25-28 at the Ramada Plaza Conference Center, 4000 Sinclair Road. This is four days of exceptional programs and activities including several presentations by featured speaker Roger Minert, Ph.D., A.G., renowned author and specialist in German genealogy research and translation. Enjoy a tour of the National Road on Wednesday, with time for research on Thursday in the Palatine collection and other resources at the Columbus Metropolitan Library. For additional information see http://www.palam.org, or write to Palatines to America, P.O. Box 141260, Columbus, Ohio 43214.
Brenda Kellow has a bachelor's degree in history, teaches, and lectures on genealogy. Before retiring to publish her family’s histories in 2007, Brenda held certification as a Certified Genealogist and as a Certified Genealogical Instructor. Send reunion announcements, books to review, and genealogy queries to: email@example.com.