was he just a farmer?
march 16, 2014
My parents’ and several aunts, uncles and cousins were married in the Presbyterian Church shortly after the turn of the 20th century. Often, when visiting family we drove by the little white church and one or the other would say, “That’s where we were married.”
Their marriage license did not give the name of the church, but the minister’s name who married them was on it. I wanted to find out more about him so I searched the church’s session books for a list of ministers. I found the listing, but their minister was not on it. When I visited the church, with Mother in tow, the secretary told me they did not have the session books for several years. Naturally, the books I needed were in the missing years.
Without the church record of their marriage, I turned to the census to find him. He was there but listed as a farmer, not a minister. Decade after decade on the census, he was listed only as a farmer. He married many couples including my mother’s sister and my father’s brother and several cousins. Although a minister for the congregation, he is not listed as one of their ministers.
In many rural areas like Parker, Texas was at the time, ministers had other occupations to support their families. Never discount the fact that although listed in another occupation at the time on the census, he could have also been the pastor of the rural congregation.
I would like to see the church historian add his name to the church listing of pastors. I am going to add this to my “To Do” list and work to get that done.
HUNTING OBITS AND DEATH RECORDS: New researchers to family history often forego hunting for these important records because they think they are morbid or something. I have to admit, I felt the same way until I discovered that these held facts and clues to the history of the deceased. Death records offer dates, cause, burial place, the doctor and funeral home, and maybe the full name of the deceased and that of the spouse. However, obituaries give the history of the person such as the occupation, church affiliation, military history, children and sometimes former spouses if that person died earlier, to name just a few items of interest. The next item on your ‘To Do’ list should be to search court records to find the will, inventory of his estate, witnesses and its closing, etc. It is not unusual for some estates to close only after the youngest child has reached a certain age, which might be several years if the departed person was wealthy. I have found multi-page inventories of items and some that only list the dire necessities of life. To calculate the deceased’s worth in today’s dollars, see the internet site www.westegg.com/inflation/.
WOMEN’S MEDICAL HYGIENE IN THE 1800'S. Our ancestors’ were strong people but without the modern hygiene products we have today. If you have ever wondered about this subject, you ladies might want to take a look at the following website: http://news.discovery.com/history/us-history/200-year-old-douche-found-under-new-yorks-city-hall-140224.htm=. I found it interesting.
SHARE YOUR MEMORIES: Are you sharing your early history with family and town historians? If you answer “no”, I would like to encourage you to do so. I’ve tried to share my personal history with our kids, and I hope they appreciate that I am. In fact, I am sharing them with readers of my Genealogy Research site, www.GenealogyResearch.com. I file them under Memories of Early Childhood in Plano.
In these, I have written about church hayrides, early mass transit in Plano, favorite books grown up, an antique I own of my parents’ one-room schoolhouse, baby pictures, the delicious meals my aunt cooked for me and even a love story and proposal. Currently, I am writing about inventions, new products, etc., that I experienced during my growing up years. This will soon be finished and added to the other memories on my Research link above.
FIND A GRAVE MOBILE APP: FindAGrave.com just released its new mobile app for iPhones and iPads. Note that it is for those with iOS7. It has over 100 million graves in half a million cemeteries. Download it and use it to meet my December challenge to add a few graves each month to help others find their ancestors without going to the location in person.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.