Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Wedding Wednesday: Harry STROESSER and Mary CRAIG

My great-grandparents, Harry STROESSER and Mary Josephine CRAIG, were married in Omaha, Nebraska on 8 Sept 1915. Thus far I have been unable to find any newspaper account of the ceremony; quite possibly one was never published. (It seems a bit surprising, though, given that Harry's name was frequently in the newspaper during this era due to his activities with the Carpenter's Union. I would have thought that would make him prominent enough to merit an article.) However, I did run across an article celebrating their twenty-fifth anniversary.

Page 7 of the 8 Sept 1940 issue of Omaha's Sunday World-Herald:
Children Will Help Fete Anniversary
   Ten children will help Mr. and Mrs. Harry Stroesser, 417 North Fortieth street, celebrate their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary today.
   Ever since Stroesser and his wife, the former Mary Craig, were wed, they have lived in the same home. Nine of the children still live with them there.
   The sons and daughters, ranging in age from 24 to 6, are Mary, Clara, Catherine, Anna, Edward, Rose, Daniel, Joseph, Theresa, and Joan. Catherine has been Mrs. John Korman since November.
The marriage of Catherine STROESSER and John KORMAN appeared in last week's Wedding Wednesday post. Rose STROESSER was my grandmother.

The STROESSER home at 417 N. 40th St in Omaha

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sunday’s Obituary: Peter STROESSER

Page 23 of the 3 Nov 1927 issue of the Evening World-Herald:

STROSSER--Peter, infant son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Strosser, 417 N. 40th St.
   Services at 11:30 a. m. Thursday, Interment Holy Sepulcher.

Peter was the third (and, fortunately, the last) of Harry and Mary STROESSER’s sons to die in infancy. His brother Joseph George’s death notice appeared in last week’s “Sunday’s Obituary” post. I have not as yet found a notice for the death of the first of these unlucky infants, Francis. 

Two years after this loss, Harry and Mary were blessed with the birth of a son who managed to survive infancy. This child was apparently named in remembrance of his less fortunate brothers: Joseph Peter Francis. 

There were also two older boys who survived: Edward (“Ed”) and Daniel (“Dan”), as well as seven girls: Mary, Clara (or Clare), Catherine (“Kay”), Anna (or Anne), Rose, Therese (“Teri”), and Joan.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

After Elsie’s Manuscript

Aunt Elsie

If you have been following my Amanuensis Monday series transcribing the manuscript my great-aunt Elsie wrote, you know that it stopped before her family moved from Idaho to Oregon. However, I can continue (admittedly, in less detail) from there. Each time I visited her she told me other stories, which, thankfully, I recorded as soon as I got home.

I have before me the notes from two conversations with Elsie, one on 18 Apr 1999 and one that I unfortunately neglected to note the date, but it would have been in late 1998 or in 1999. Some of what she said repeats what is already written in her manuscript, so I will omit those parts. The rest I will sort more or less chronologically and present in the following paragraphs.

The day of one of our conversations. My “nephew’s” mom was also there, but apparently she was taking the picture.

Going back to the times that Elsie wrote about in her manuscript, she told me a couple things that she had not written about. She told me that when she was a little girl she used to sit on her dad’s lap and curl his moustache. She said he had some kind of special wax or cream that he would put on it.

She also remembered that her dad always said that tea should be the color of whiskey. Elsie told me that she was so young she didn’t know what whiskey was, but she always remembered that tea ought to be the color of it.

And now we arrive where the manuscript left off. The first world war has ended, and Walter Sr. (Elsie’s dad) has fallen in love with Oregon because berries and nuts grow on the sides of the road. He had been working in the shipyards in Portland during the war, while his family remained in Idaho. But now the war is over, and he has decided that the whole Underwood family will move to Oregon.

When they came, they took a train from Idaho to the Oregon town of Canby. That seems a remarkable stopping point to me, as Canby is a fair distance south of Portland, and a pretty small town. I wonder how they even heard of it. However, perhaps it was more prosperous at that time, or perhaps they knew someone there. Elsie said that they stayed with friends for a while, though she didn’t say whether those friends lived in Canby or Portland. And unfortunately, if she mentioned their names, I did not write them down. But after staying with those friends, whoever they were, the Underwood family got a house in the area of Portland known as Errol Heights.

Elsie left home at age 15; she didn’t get to finish high school. At that time she moved in with a prominent Portland family, the Banfields. There is now a freeway named after them. She looked after their little girl, Harriet. She also cooked for them. On Thanksgiving, she would prepare their Thanksgiving dinner before going home to her own family for the holiday.

The little Banfield girl picked out a set of dishes for Elsie. They were a buttercup pattern because she said that Elsie was just like a buttercup. Mrs. Banfield told Elsie to go to a particular store and look at this particular set of dishes. She knew that Elsie loved to set the table. So Elsie went to the store and looked. She liked them, but, she protested to Mrs. Banfield, they were so expensive, and she had such a large family. (Her “family” at this time is, naturally, referring to her parents and siblings. She had not yet married.) But Mrs. Banfield wanted her to have these dishes. So she had the store do a table setting display with them for Elsie and told her to go look at them again on her day off. Elsie felt very awkward about it, but Mrs. Banfield’s word was law, so she went. She nervously entered the store. The salesgirl asked if she could help her.

“I’m supposed to look at a table setting,” said Elsie.

“Oh! You must be Elsie,” said the salesgirl, and showed her to the table setting.

It was beautiful, but once again Elsie protested the price to Mrs. Banfield. It was no use: Mrs. Banfield wanted her to have the dishes, so she bought them for her. She also insisted to Elsie that they be used for everyday, not saved for special occasions.

At the time of my visit, Elsie proudly showed me the dishes, and told me that she still had the entire set. She was just shy of her 92nd birthday.

She said that one time they had duck for dinner, and it tasted like fish.

Sometime after all the Underwood girls were out of grammar school, Walter and Flora Underwood (the parents) moved to Netarts, on the Oregon coast. Walter’s sister and her husband, known as Aunt Sadie and Uncle Alvy, lived next door. Walter built both houses. He preferred living at the beach to living in Portland. He sold flower bulbs there.

Here I must interject a story of my own. The houses in Netarts are no longer in the family, but when my Dad was a child he used to visit his grandparents there. When I go with him for a drive in that area it is like a guided tour: he points out the house that belonged to his grandparents and comments on the changes that have been made in the neighborhood, he shows me where the dump was where his cousins used to shoot rats, he tells about the dune that was behind the Schooner Restaurant and how the kids used to run down it until one day a boy was covered by sand and died. I have accompanied him on enough of these excursions that I can almost tell some of the stories myself, although Dad tells them best. He is an excellent storyteller. Like a little child, I beg him to tell them again and again.

One day, my parents and I were on such a drive, and we saw a garage sale sign. Not one of us can resist a garage sale. And then we realized that the sale was at Walter Underwood’s old house! We definitely had to stop. Among the other items displayed in the front yard were a large number of gladiolas. “The man who used to live here ran a nursery,” explained the woman running the sale. “That was my granddad,” my dad said. These were flowers descended from those originally planted by my great-grandfather. So naturally we bought as many gladiolas as we could carry—not only were they lovely to look at, but they were family heirlooms!

A gladiola resembling those we got from Walter Underwood, Sr.’s former garden.  
By 3268zauber (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
But we must go back in time again, and return to the stories that Elsie told me. There is little left; the rest is more like snippets of information than stories, but they are still worth telling.

During WWII, there was a scare at Netarts Bay. Walter Sr. and two other men watched on the ground all night, but fortunately nothing happened.

When V-J Day came along, people swarmed into Safeway, the grocery store where Elsie worked.

Elsie’s sisters Aileen (my grandma) and Inez worked for Jantzen Knitting Mills. Aileen was the floor manager, and Inez was a spinner.

My grandma, Aileen, is the last woman from the right in the second row. Her sister Inez is directly behind her.

Elsie also said that she remembered going back to Idaho and visiting her sister Vida’s grave with her mom. If you recall, Vida was the baby who died of typhoid fever, apparently when the Underwoods were living in Burley, Idaho. “Mom allways thought she could have saved Vida,” Elsie wrote in her manuscript. She told me that Vida had been the only one of the children who had brown eyes.

That is the end of the notes I took on the two visits I mentioned. There were many more visits and many more notes, but I was just beginning to become serious about genealogy and still had a lot to learn about organization. The other notes are scattered amongst my papers, yet to be sorted into any sort of identifiable structure. I often, when going through old paperwork, run across a stray piece of scratch paper or even an envelope covered in genealogical notes from those early days.

However, since you have already spent so much time getting to know Aunt Elsie, I suspect you may be interested to learn about the rest of her life.

She married a man named Ferris Jones on 21 July 1928 in Portland, Oregon. I don’t know much about their marriage, as Elsie seldom talked about it except when saying something like, “That was when I was with my first husband, Ferris.” I once asked her about Ferris, but all she would say was, “He wasn’t good to me.” They divorced sometime before 1960, but I have not yet been able to find the record.

Despite how well I thought I knew Elsie, I learned only last year that she was married on 9 July 1960 to a man named Donald Peterson. They probably met at work, since I know that Elsie worked at Safeway, and he was a meat cutter at Safeway. There are, of course, a number of different Safeway locations, and I don’t know at this time whether they were both at the same location, but it does seem the likeliest scenario. Their marriage, however, was very short-lived. Even my dad, who was a child at the time, was surprised to hear of this marriage, having no recollection of it, and I could not find a single picture of Donald in the family album.

Marriage record for Elsie and her second husband Donald. Two of the witnesses are Elsie’s sister and brother-in-law.

She married a third time on 20 April 1963 to Lee Crocker. This was the uncle that I knew, and the marriage that lasted. Elsie once told me how they met, and I know that I recently saw those notes, but evidently I did not put them where they belonged, because I don’t see them now. However, I do remember that the story involved square dancing and seeing Lee walking around with his three children.

Lee, as I knew him, was a quiet, but very kind man. Elsie, in contrasting him to her first husband, said, “He’s good to me.” Elsie never had any biological children, but she took in Lee’s as her own. Their mother had passed away in 1960. I know that Elsie loved those children very much. Every time I visited she was sure to show me the latest pictures of her kids and grandkids and to tell me what each one was up to. Unfortunately, I never got to know them personally very well, though we did meet a few times, but Elsie always made sure to tell me the latest news. (I suspect she kept them apprised of the latest news about me, as well.)

When my own grandmother, Aileen, passed away in 1989, Elsie and Lee took over as sort of my surrogate grandparents. It is difficult to put into words what they meant to me. It was shortly after my grandma died—memory makes me want to say the day after, but I’m not sure that is correct—that I spent a very special day with Lee and Elsie. I think it was the first time that I had stayed with them without my parents, and it might even have been a sleepover. But after that day, although I still missed my grandma, I didn’t feel quite so much like she was gone. And I knew that whenever I needed Grandma Aileen, I could always call on Elsie.

Lee passed away on 11 April 1992. After that, Elsie moved into a smaller apartment. I remember “helping” her move. (I doubt if I was much help!) We explored many treasures hidden in her huge closet. She did not have to move far; they had lived at an upscale retirement home called Willamette View Manor, and she stayed within the manor, just in a different hallway.

Elsie remained lively and spry into her 90s. She kept some rosebushes in the manor’s garden and made a habit of leaving roses at her neighbors’ doors in the morning so they would have fresh flowers for their rooms.

And then one day she fell. I have never understood how a broken bone can completely destroy a person’s health, and I probably never will. But Elsie spent the rest of her days in the hospital. She passed away on 20 June 2001.

I think her life was well summed up by one of her friends at the funeral. I don’t know who it was, only that she lived at the manor. She told my mom and me that, having no family of her own, she had never quite understood why Elsie was always talking about hers. Sometimes it would rather annoy her that Elsie was always talking about others. But, seeing how many people were at the funeral and how much love there was, “Now I understand.”

Wedding Wednesday: Catherine STROESSER and John KORMAN

Page 16 of the 21 Sept 1939 issue of Omaha’s Evening World-Herald:
   Mr. and Mrs. Harry Stroesser announce the engagement of their daughter, Miss Catherine Stroesser, to John J. Korman of Omaha, son of Mrs. Veronica Korman of Philadelphia. No date has been set for the wedding.
This was the third daughter of Harry and Mary STROESSER, and my grandmother’s older sister. It would seem that Catherine (better known to us as “Kay”) and her fiance soon set a date, because they were married three months later.

Page 10 of the 11 Dec 1939 issue of the Evening World-Herald:
Rites Performed
   Rites performed November 6 at St. Cecilia’s cathedral by Msgr. E. J. Hunkeler united in marriage Miss Catherine Stroesser, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Stroesser of Omaha and John Korman, son of Mrs. Veronica Korman of Philadelphia.
   The bride’s attendant was her sister, Miss Clara Stroesser, and best man was David Keegan. A reception was held at the home of the bride’s parents the afternoon of the wedding. The couple, who are now living in Omaha, will leave shortly to make their home in Philadelphia.
A number of the STROESSER children were married at St. Cecilia’s cathedral, including my grandparents. The happy couple did indeed move to Philadelphia, and lived the rest of their lives in that area.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunday’s Obituary: Joseph George STROESSER (1925-1925)

Page 19 of the 12 May 1925 issue of the Omaha World Herald:
STROESSER--Joseph George, 417 N. 40th St., May 10; infant son of Mr. and Mrs. Harry Stroesser.
   Services at Hoffman-Crosby funeral home, Tuesday, 2 p. m. Interment, Holy Sepulcher.
This Joseph George STROESSER was my grandmother, Rose Edith STROESSER's younger brother, in fact, the very next child born. He was one of three boys in the family who died in infancy. The other two were Francis, who died in 1918, and Peter, who was born in 1927 and died soon thereafter.

Harry and Mary STROESSER headed a large family, even with these three sad occurrences. Ten of their children survived to adulthood.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Searching for the family of Angeline EVANS

Angeline (EVANS) WADE, surrounded by her husband and children
She was part Injun, see. Us kids was close to Grandma. And when she’d get through eating, she had a clay pipe and a little sack of tobacco. And she’d get up and go out in the backyard under a big old oak tree... 
-Ormond Brosius, Aug 1979

That is the only oral history about Angeline (EVANS) WADE that has been passed down to my generation. I have heard it all my life, but have yet to see any documentation to support the idea that my great-great grandmother had any Native American heritage.

After years of vain search, I finally stumbled upon a clue that led to the probable discovery of her antecedents.

Up to that point, I had a half-dozen census records, a marriage record, a xeroxed page from the Family Bible (which has, unfortunately, since been misplaced), and a family group sheet from a cousin. The only clue to her parents contained in these records was the recording of her maiden name: EVANS. Her birth was variously given as Kentucky, Indiana, or Illinois. In one place, her first name was recorded as Evangeline, and in another simply as Anna. She also appeared as Angelina or just A. Given all those possibilities—and the commonness of the names—searching for her by name in the three possible states of her birth was not very effective. I was at a dead end.

Here I must pause and give thanks to the good people at GenealogyBank, for scanning the Sedan, Kansas newspapers and putting them online, and to my local library, for having a subscription to said service. For it was in the Sedan Times-Star that I found the article that gave me the first clue. On page four of the 6 Jan 1910 edition, to be precise:

Dr. and Mrs. M.T. Evans gave a very enjoyable Christmas dinner entertaining Mrs. Angeline Wade, D.K. Wade, Miss Artie Evans and Mr. and Mrs. A. Evans. All are relatives and the occasion was a very pleasant one.

I almost hate to admit it, but this was the first time it had occurred to me that Angeline might have some relatives of her own nearby. I knew that the area was full of her husband Allen’s relations, so I had figured they went with his family to Kansas, leaving hers behind. But here was proof that some of hers had come, too!

The question, of course, was how they were related to one another. D.K. Wade, I knew, was Angeline’s son, and a very little research showed that Dr. M.T. Evans and Artie Evans were siblings, their parents being Mr. and Mrs. A. Evans, who turned out to be Alfred and Matilda EVANS.

I found an obituary for Alfred EVANS on page four of the 3 Nov 1910 Sedan Lance:

Obituary of Mr. Evans
A Long and Useful Life Was Ended Here Last Week.

Alfred Evans, one of the pioneers of Sedan, died October 26, 1910, at his home in Sedan, after an illness of several weeks, the cause of his death being old age and heart trouble.

He was one of the good men of Sedan, having no enemies and esteemed by all who knew him. Quiet, unassuming, always attending strictly to his own concerns, and never interfering with others in matters in which he was not concerned, his whole life was an exemplary one. He was a devoted member of the Christian church, and when not prevented by sickness, or some unavoidable occurrence was always in his place at the church services.

He was born in Indiana, principally raised in Kentucky, and when 18 years of age moved with his parents to Illinois, and in 1865, he moved to Nebraska. He removed to Kansas and to Sedan in 1873, where he lived till the date of his death.

He had been a member of the church for forty-two years, and was one of the most consistent and faithful members of the congregation.

At the time of his death he was 77 years, 5 months and 22 days old. He had always been a hard working man, industrious, sober and a peaceable citizen.

The funeral services were held at the residence in Sedan Oct. 28 at 10 o'clock, conducted by the Rev. J.D. McBrian, and the funeral sermon was delivered from second Timothy, 4th chapters, 6th, 7th and 8th verses. A large number of the people of the community accompanied the remains to Greenwood cemetery where the body was buried.

He leaves a widow and three children surviving him: the children being Dr. M.T. Evans of Sedan, Mrs. Laura Waters of Elk City, and Miss Artie Evans of Macon, Missouri.

Although this obituary does not explicitly state the relationship between Alfred and Angeline, it is a valuable document. I already had Angeline’s birth date: 8 Sept 1834; and with a little math, I arrived at a birth date of 4 May 1833 for Alfred. The two are clearly around the same age. Perhaps they were brother and sister? The movements described in the article align with Angeline’s three claimed birth places and would explain the confusion of whoever reported her place of birth to the census in the various years. Furthermore, according to the obit, Alfred moved to Nebraska in 1865 and Kansas in 1873. This also roughly coincides with Angeline’s movements. I continued combing the newspapers for clues.

Alfred EVANS appeared in another obituary, surprisingly not belonging to one of his immediate family. Rather, it belonged to a Mrs. Henrietta DAVIS:

Mrs. Davis Dead.

Mrs. Henrietta Davis, wife of M. V. Davis, died at the home of the family at Leeds Sunday, August 2. Her death followed a sudden attack of sickness lasting three or four days. The funeral was held Monday, short service being held at the grave by Rev. J. I. Smallwood. The remains were buried in Greenwood cemetery.

Mrs Davis was well know in Sedan where the family has lived for many years, Mr. Davis, during most of the time being engaged in the blacksmith business. Several months ago he took charge of the blacksmith shop at Leeds and moved to that place.

Mrs. Davis was a half sister of Alfred Evans of Sedan and had other distant relatives here. Two sons and a daughter are left to mourn the loss of a kind and loving mother, namely Mrs. Clayton McGill and Nelson and Ben Davis, all of Sedan.

Here was an explicit statement of relationship between Henrietta DAVIS and Alfred EVANS! If Alfred EVANS was Angeline’s brother and Henrietta was his half-sister, then clearly Henrietta was also Angeline’s half-sister. (One of the times when the mathematical property of transitivity applies to human relations!) However, Angeline also was living in Sedan, and Henrietta’s obituary, apart from her immediate family, mentions only Alfred and “other distant relatives.” If she had more than one sibling in the town, it seems odd that her obituary would mention only one by name.

Another previously unknown relative popped up in two brief items in the Sedan Times-Star, both in June of 1910:

Mrs. A.C. Wade went to Niotaze Monday to visit her niece, Mrs. Anna Kilpatrick.


Mrs. A.C. Wade of Sedan is visiting her niece, Mrs. Kilpatrick.

Since I already had a pretty extensive family tree drawn up for her husband, Allen WADE, I knew that this was not a niece by marriage. It had to be a niece from Angeline’s side of the family. Figuring that she must, therefore, have been born an EVANS, I was quickly able to discover a marriage record for an Anna J. EVANS and a William K. KILPATRICK, who were married on 24 Nov 1902.

Anna KILPATRICK was residing in the 1905 Kansas state census in the home of Dick M. and Henrietta DAVIS. This census unfortunately does not identify relationships within a household, but the evidence tying together the various members of the EVANS family was mounting.

Even more exciting, on the line just below Anna KILPATRICK was an Ella EVANS. Looking at other census records of the DAVIS household, Ella also appeared (as Ella B. DAVIS) in 1900, listed as a “neice,” and in 1895 as Ella IVANS. I also found a newpaper article announcing her marriage in 1909:

William Ziegler of Dewey, Okla., and Miss Allie B. Evans of Niotaze were married here Saturday at the home of Alfred Evans. Rev. Cummings officiated and only relatives were present. The young couple will make their home at Dewey.

Their marriage license is reported on the same page:

William Ziegler, Dewey........25
Ollie B. Evans, Niotaze........18

When I looked up their marriage record, her name was recorded, probably more accurately, as Ella B. EVANS. The marriage record I found was a secondary source: a list of all the marriages listed in Book J of the county clerk’s marriage certificate books. Often I am able to use the transcribed record books at this Kansas Trails website as a starting point, and look up the original document on FamilySearch, but in this case, the marriage record books at FamilySearch only go up through 1906. So until I am able to view the original, this secondary source will have to suffice.

Ella and her husband William ZIEGLER appear in the 1920 census living in Neodesha Twp, Wilson, Kansas. What is most enlightening about this census record is that the household also contains a father-in-law. Alva EVANS, we learn from this, is Ella’s father. Since Ella is Henrietta DAVIS’ and Alfred EVANS’ niece, and her father shares the EVANS surname, Alva EVANS must be a brother to Henrietta and Alfred. But I still didn’t know if I could extend that relationship to Angeline (EVANS) WADE.

I found the answer when I found Alva EVANS in the 1885 Kansas census. He appears with his wife, Lottie, and daughters Myrtle and Annie. The circumstances all added up to this Annie EVANS being Anna J. (EVANS) KILPATRICK. Therefore, she and Ella were sisters. Plus, since she had been explicitly identified as Angeline’s niece, her father must have been Angeline’s brother. I doubt if this line of reasoning would quite stand up to the Genealogical Proof Standard (I haven’t managed to get my hands on the BCC GenealogicalStandards Manual yet), but it is reasonably satisfactory for the time being.

So I now had a list of four siblings to look for in a household. Henrietta had been identified as a half-sister, but was she a daughter of the same father, therefore having the surname EVANS, or by the same mother, therefore with an unknown surname? That question was easy to solve. The “Nebraska, Marriages, 1855-1995index at FamilySearch included a marriage for Martin V. DAVIS and Henrietta E. EVANS on 5 Jan 1868. She was an EVANS.

Finding the proper family in a census turned out to be much more challenging than I had anticipated. When all was said and done, I had come up with only two good possibilities, neither of which contained all four children. The first was the 1850 household of James EVANS in Wayne, Clinton, Ohio, and the second was the 1860 household of David P. EVANS in Mt. Auburn, Christian, Illinois.

The James EVANS household caught my attention first, because it contained an Alfred, an Angeline, and a Henryetta. Their ages didn’t match up perfectly with the ages I had, but they were fairly close. Comparison with Alfred’s obituary created problem, though. This family was in Ohio, while his obituary placed them in Kentucky at this point in time. The birth places for the children, when compared to the birth places I had on record, also didn’t seem quite right.

Tracing the James EVANS family farther forward in time revealed more inconsistencies, and eventually proved that this was not my EVANS family.

I moved on to the David P. EVANS household. By the time of this census, Angeline and Alfred were both married, so of the four known children, this household contained only Henrietta and Alva. But their ages and birth places did make sense. Moreover, this family was living in Christian county, Illinois, and both Angeline and Alfred had married in Christian county just a few years before.

However, I could not trace this family in the census records in either direction. It seemed that David P. WADE had somehow managed to be enumerated in only a single census in his entire life. I knew, though, that Angeline, Alfred, and Henrietta had all made their way to Richardson county, Nebraska by 1870, so I focused my search there. Richardson county genealogy has only a small presence on the internet, which rather hampered my efforts, and continues to hamper them, but I was able to make some discoveries.

The David P. EVANS household of 1860 included, in addition to Henrietta and Alva, three other children: Polly A, Bluford, and one that is indexed as Aurinda J, but on personal inspection, the “Aurinda” might also be read “Amanda.”

In the 1880 census I found an Amanda J. EVANS, identified as a sister-in-law, residing with the family of Joshua KINSEY in Falls City, Richardson county. Joshua’s wife is Mary A. KINSEY. Amanda and Mary’s ages and birthplaces fit perfectly to make the Amanda J. EVANS of 1880 coincide with the Aurinda F. EVANS of 1860 and the Mary A. KINSEY of 1880 coincide with the Polly A. EVANS of 1860. (Most genealogists know that “Polly” was a common nickname for “Mary.”)

Returning to the Nebraska, Marriages, 1855-1995 index at FamilySearch, I found a record for the marriage of Joshua KINSEY and Mary Ann EVANS on 25 Sept 1870. The 1880 household also contained a stepson named Townley B. RAMSEY, which would seem to imply that Mary had previously been married to a RAMSEY, but I was unable to find a record for such a marriage in Nebraska. In the Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, however, I found an 1865 marriage for a Mary EVANS and a William RAMEY in Piatt county, which is not immediately adjacent to, but not far from, Christian county. The date fits Mary’s age and Townley’s birth well. It’s not conclusive, but it is a possibility.

The 1885 Nebraska census finds this family still in Falls City. Amanda is no longer living with them, and, as one would expect, the oldest child has moved out and a younger one has been born. Most interesting to me, though, is that the stepson is now named as Bluford RANEY. Presumably the B in Townley B. RAMSEY stood for Bluford. This is more circumstantial evidence for this family being the family of the Polly EVANS in David P. EVANS’ 1860 household. The coincidence of the name Bluford helps to suggest a family relationship. Incidentally, I have been unable to trace with any certainty Mary’s brother, the Bluford EVANS who appeared in 1860.

I could not trace Mary (EVANS) KINSEY any farther forward. I have seen some assertions that she next married an Ephraim STANDIFORD, but have found no evidence to prove the two Marys to be the same person.

Likewise, Amanda disappears after 1880, Bluford disappears after 1860, and the later records I have found for Henrietta, Alva, Alfred, and Angeline have shed no light on the matter of their parents. Therefore, it was time to again try to work my way backwards. I had already searched the census indices and discovered nil. In the “Indiana, Marriage Collection, 1800-1941” on Ancestry I found a marriage record for a David P. EVANS and Rosana PENNELL in Harrison county, Indiana. If this were the right couple, the date of marriage—30 July 1840—matched up correctly to make Angeline and Alfred children from an earlier marriage and Henrietta and Alva their stepsiblings. (You can view the original document here.)

For a while, this was as far as I got. I included my findings in my Ancestry tree, and then moved on to another branch of the family. A few months ago I revisited this branch and found that another Ancestry member had been able to take it farther. Janine Eller Porter had pulled together and compiled a large number of sources. Her compiled research pointed me to a number of primary records, some of which can be viewed on FamilySearch. I am still in the process of accessing and evaluating these records, so I am not yet ready to lay it all before you. The research is still greatly circumstantial, but the circumstances are piling atop one another so neatly that it is rather convincing.

I will not go into much detail, but I will tell you that it seems that David P. EVANS’ first wife, Alfred and Angeline’s mother, was Rosana PENNELL’s older sister Elizabeth. Their parents were John PENNELL and Amelia HUNTER, and it may be possible to trace even farther back. The parents of David P. EVANS remain a mystery.

Citations and Selected Sources:

1850 U.S. census, Clinton, Ohio, population schedule, p. 394B, dwelling 1065, family 1065, Household of James Evans; digital images, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 Mar 2012); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M432, roll M432_668.

1860 U.S. census, Bates, Missouri, population schedule, Spruce Township, p. 158 or 206, dwelling 1090, family 1100, Household of Alen C. Wade; digital images, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 Oct 2007); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M653, roll M653_607.

1860 U.S. census, Christian, Illinois, population schedule, Mount Auburn, p. 244, dwelling 1862, family 1755, Household of David P. Evans; digital images, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 14 Jul 2013); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M653, roll M653_161.

1870 U.S. census, Richardson, Nebraska, population schedule, Salem, p. 5 (handwritten) or 113 (stamped), dwelling 35, family 36, Household of Allen C. Wade; digital images, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 22 Dec 2006); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M593, roll M593_832.

1880 U.S. census, Chautauqua, Kansas, population schedule, Summit, enumeration district (ED) 076, p. 3 (handwritten) or 400 (stamped), dwelling 42, family 42, Household of Allen S. Wade; digital images, Ancestry (ancestry.com : accessed 11 Nov 2006); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T9, roll 375.

1880 U.S. census, Richardson, Nebraska, population schedule, Falls City, enumeration district (ED) 314, p. 12 (handritten) and 430 (stamped), dwelling 117, family 119, Family of Joshua Kinsey residing in the George W. Battreall household; digital images, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 13 Jul 2014); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T9, roll 754.

1885 Kansas state census, Elk, Kansas, population schedule, Elk Falls, p. 15, dwelling 1, family 1, line 1-4, Household of Alva R. Evans; digital images, Ancestry, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 23 Feb 2014); citing Roll KS1885_43; Microfilm reels K-1 – K-146, Kansas State Historical Society.

1895 Kansas state census, Chautauqua, Kansas, population schedule, Sedan, p. 3 (handwritten), dwelling 5, family 5, line 18-19, Household of A. C. Wade; digital images, Ancestry, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 Mar 2012); citing Roll v115_17; Microfilm reels K-1 – K-169, Kansas State Historical Society.

1895 Kansas state census, Chautauqua, Kansas, population schedule, Sedan, p. 6, dwelling 4, family 4, line 18-23, Household of D. M. Davis; digital images, Ancestry, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 23 Feb 2014); citing Microfilm reels K-1 – K-169, Kansas State Historical Society.

1900 U.S. census, Chautauqua, Kansas, population schedule, Sedan, enumeration district (ED) 11, sheet 6B, p. 292 (handwritten), dwelling 115, family 116, Household of Dick M. Davis; digital images, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 23 Feb 2014); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T623, roll 473.

1900 U.S. census, Chautauqua, Kansas, population schedule, Sedan, enumeration district (ED) 0011, sheet 14, p. 108 (stamped), dwelling 295, family 298, Household of John S. Brosius; digital images, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 22 Oct 2006); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T623, roll 473.

1905 Kansas state census, Chautauqua, Kansas, population schedule, Sedan, p. 55, dwelling 2, family 2, line 6-10, Household of Buchanan Wade; digital images, Ancestry, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 23 Feb 2014); citing Microfilm reels K-1 - K-181, Kansas State Historical Society.

1905 Kansas state census, Chautauqua, Kansas, population schedule, Sedan, p. 66, dwelling 8, family 8, line 22-26, Household of Dick M. Davis; digital images, Ancestry, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 Mar 2012); citing Microfilm reels K-1 - K-181, Kansas State Historical Society.

1910 U.S. census, Chautauqua, Kansas, population schedule, Sedan, enumeration district (ED) 10, sheet 8A, p. 223 (stamped), dwelling 124, family 125, Angeline Wade; digital images, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 23 Feb 2014); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T624, roll T624_433.

1920 U.S. census, Wilson, Kansas, population schedule, Neodesha, enumeration district (ED) 235, sheet 3A, p. 220 (stamped), dwelling 53, family 55, Household of W. M. Ziegler; digital images, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 23 Feb 2014); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T625, roll T625_554.

Billie and Smoke”: a recording of family reminiscing during the visit of Ormond “Smoke” Brosius and Billie Gardner to Portland, Oregon, in Aug 1979; recorded by “Sugar” Brosius at the home of Vinis and Aileen Brosius, cassette tape and partial transcription in the possession of Amber Brosius.

Clerk of the District Court. Chautauqua County, Kansas. Marriage Records, Book J. 9 Jan 1909-12 Mar 1914. Chautauqua County Marriage Records. Kansas Trails, 2011. Web. 19 March 2012. <http://ksgennet.org/ks/cq/marr/cqmarrj.html>.

County News: Niotaze.” Sedan Times-Star 16 June 1910:5. America’s GenealogyBank. NewsBank Inc. Web. Accessed 15 Aug 2011.

General News.” Sedan Times-Star 9 June 1910:5. America’s GenealogyBank. NewsBank Inc. Web. Accessed 15 Aug 2011.

Illinois State Archives and the Illinois State Genealogical Society, “Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, 1763-1900,” database, Cyber Drive Illinois (http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com : accessed 13 Jul 2014), entry for the 1865 marriage of William Ramey and Mary Evans; citing original county clerks' marriage records.

Illinois State Archives and the Illinois State Genealogical Society, “Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, 1763-1900,” database, Cyber Drive Illinois (http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com : accessed 13 Jul 2014), entry for the 1857 marriage of Alfred Ivins and Matilda Hollingsworth; citing original county clerks' marriage records.

Indiana, Marriages, 1811-1959,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XXLD-RZP : accessed 13 Jul 2014), David P Evans and Rosanna Pennell, 30 Jul 1840; citing Harrison County; FHL microfilm 001404750.

Jordan Dodd and Liahona Research, comp., “Illinois, Marriages, 1851-1900,” database, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 24 Feb 2014), entry for marriage of Alfred Ivins and Matilda Hollingsworth, 31 Dec 1856; Film # 0987611.

Jordan Dodd and Liahona Research, comp., “Illinois, Marriages, 1851-1900,” database, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 24 Feb 2014), entry for the marriage of Allen C. Wade and Angeline Evans, 22 Sept 1855; Film # 0987611.

Kansas, County Marriages, 1855-1911.” Index and Images FamilySearch. [https://www.familysearch.org]: accessed 19 Nov 2011. Entry for William K. Kilpatrick and Anna J. Evans, married 24 Nov 1902; citing Marriage records, Chautauqua, Marriage licenses, 1902-1906, image 45.

Marriage License.” Sedan Lance 19 Mar 1909:1. America’s GenealogyBank. NewsBank Inc. Web. Accessed 12 July 2014.

Mrs. Davis Dead.” Sedan Lance 7 Aug 1908:1. America’s GenealogyBank. NewsBank Inc. Web. Accessed 20 Nov 2011.

Nebraska, Marriages, 1855-1995,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/X583-12B : accessed 13 Jul 2014), Joshua Kinsey and Mary Ann Evans, 25 Sep 1870; citing Richardson, Nebraska, reference cn448; FHL microfilm 1705172.

Nebraska, Marriages, 1855-1995,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/X583-B4T : accessed 12 Jul 2014), Martin V. Davis and Henrietta E. Evans, 05 Jan 1868; citing Richardson, Nebraska, reference cn252; FHL microfilm 1705172.

Obituary of Mr. Evans.” Sedan Times-Star 3 Nov 1910:4. America’s GenealogyBank. NewsBank Inc. Web. Accessed 20 Nov 2011.

Social Affairs.” Sedan Times-Star 6 Jan 1910:4. America’s GenealogyBank. NewsBank Inc. Web. Accessed 15 Aug 2011.

Works Progress Administration; Jordan Dodd, Liahona Research, "Indiana, Marriage Collection, 1800-1941," database, Ancestry (www.ancestry.com : accessed 23 Feb 2014), entry for David P. Evans and Rosanna Pennell, married 30 July 1840.

Ziegler—Evans.” Sedan Lance 19 Mar 1909:1. America’s GenealogyBank. NewsBank Inc. Web. Accessed 12 July 2014.