Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Is Grandma Tossing and Turning?

Lorena Grace Sanford - age 18
As I prepared to enter high school here in Memphis back in the early 60s, I remember my Mother telling me one day that my Dad would be rolling in his grave if he knew that I was going to Central High School and not Tech High, his alma mater. I was horrified!
Not knowing much about my Dad or his family anyway, I will always remember that ‘visual’ scenario in my head, and I honestly felt as though I might be betraying him. It was, of course, the first time I had ever heard that particular phrase. Mother assured me that I was making the right choice, since the school I was attending had a college-focused curriculum, and that my Dad would have been proud of me. I gave a sigh of relief, but I've always remembered that vivid phrase and have used it a few times myself since then.
I think my Grandmother might be rolling in her grave today. In fact, I’m pretty sure she is!
Lorena Grace Sanford Wallace Werkhoven was born on 5 Aug 1896. So on 4 June 1919, when the Senate confirmed the amendment to the constitution that would give women the right to vote, she would soon be twenty-three years old and had just given birth to my Mother on January 10th of that same year.  She would be twenty-four the following year when the amendment was fully ratified. 1
Naturally, she rushed right out to vote. Right?
Wrong! My Grandmother was a firm believer that a woman’s place was in the home and had no business whatsoever involving themselves in politics. It went completely against her personal faith. So did drinking, dancing and other “tools of the devil.”
Yep. She was a strict Southern Baptist, and so were all of her friends. But I loved her dearly and just learned to live with her distinct beliefs, even if I didn’t always agree with them.
Thankfully, my Mother did not follow her mother’s belief about voting and took the first opportunity to show her duty to her country by voting for the first time in the 1940 election. She turned twenty-one the previous January and always told me about her first time voting. She even took me with her a few times when I was a child.
Obviously, I did the same. The first election I was eligible to vote in was the exciting, but controversial 1968 election. I turned twenty-one the 5th of June that year - the same day that Robert F. Kennedy was shot. He died the next day. The times were so turbulent that I knew it was my obligation to vote to try to make a difference.
When I became a mother myself, I also took my children with me to vote and always preached the importance of voting to each of them.
My Mother tried so many times to get Grandmother to register to vote, but she could never persuade her to do so. Grandmother lived to the age of 89 without ever setting foot in a voting booth.
That old phrase came back to me like a flash last night when the first woman in history was placed into position by one of the major political parties to run for the office of President of the United States.
Wow, I thought as I watched the confirmation occur. I’ll bet Grandmother is rolling in her grave. Seriously, she may be tossing and turning.
I think I’d better go to her gravesite soon and check to see if the earth has been moved. If anyone could do that, it would be her!


@2016 Copyright by Carla Love Maitland

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Breaking Down a Major Brick Wall – for Someone Else!

Sometimes I help others begin their ancestry research. When I do that, I usually create a private tree on to help guide me. I build a tree with my friend as the “home person” and look for clues from that point forward. If I’m lucky, the friend has at least some information on ancestors for at least two generations back to help me begin.

Since I’ve not worked on my own tree (or even written on my blog) in a while, I decided to step back into genealogy research by going back to work on a friend’s tree. I had begun developing the tree before Christmas and worked on it quite often until around January or February. 

I had gotten a couple of his lines “across the pond” and had even provided documentation to help him qualify for the SAR and his daughter for the DAR if they so desired.

Nevertheless, I had gotten completely stuck on who the parents of his paternal great grandfather were! It was odd that there appeared to be no information on someone whose relationship was that close. So back to the drawing board I went, adding other research tools - and still coming to a complete standstill.

Then I remembered a recent blog post written by the Legal Genealogist, Judy R. Russell. Judy sensibly reminded us to read every word.  

Well, heck, I know that, and I most certainly do that…don’t I? Well, heck, I guess not!

In going back through the same records that I had looked at before, I actually stopped and read the hint information on one that I hadn’t really looked at before. The reason I hadn’t was because the gentleman I was researching had been married for 48 years to the same woman. This was a marriage record and the woman’s name was different.

What I failed to realize in my first perusal was that the gentleman in this record matched every single thing I knew about the man I was researching: approximate age and exact place where he lived. I had forgotten  that his wife had passed away in 1928. He was 65 years old at that time, so it never occurred to me that he might have remarried.

So I decided to open the record anyway and received a pleasant surprise. He had decided to marry again at the wonderful age of 71 years old! And not only that, the marriage record asked for his parents’ names and their places of birth! Hallelujah!

I couldn’t believe it. Jackpot. I found his father’s name and that he was born in Virginia. I also obtained his mother’s name and the fact that she was born in Ohio.

As I plugged that information into the tree on Ancestry, I was able to find them in various census records. There was only one problem: in every one of those records, his mother gave her place of birth as Kentucky.  Well, her son was 71, after all, when he gave out that information. Maybe he just got confused.

I hope he wasn’t confused on her name, though, because I’ve found nothing on her – yet. That’s okay. I’ve only just begun. And I’m most assuredly reading every word!

As to my own family tree? Watch out brick walls. I’m coming after you next!

@2016 Copyright by Carla Love Maitland

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Carr Brothers. Maybe You Know Them?

A number of years ago, I found a treasure trove of postcards that belonged to my Grandmother. My Mother had saved them, and I came across them in her cedar chest after she passed away. I remember seeing them when I was a little girl in my Grandmother’s own chest, but I hadn’t thought about them in a long while. After finding them amongst my Mother’s belongings, I promptly put them away…forgotten, as usually happens with things that get “put away.”

I found them again a few years ago. I had put them in a special box where they would be safe. So safe, in fact, that it was a lovely surprise when I re-discovered them. What fun it was to go through them again. And what insights I gained into the life of my Grandmother when she was a teenager and then a young, unmarried lady. Grandmother (Lorena Grace Sanford Wallace Werkhoven) was born in 1896, so the time period we are looking at falls between about 1911 and 1918.

Those insights must be saved, however, for another time. Today I’m going to concentrate on the postcard that had a photo on it of two brothers. I thought they might be twins. The fashion of the day was to have photos made in postcard form so that they could be mailed to friends and family members. This one had obviously been given to my Grandmother because only their names were written on the back: Cleades Carr and Claudus Carr. Who in the world were they?

One of the insights I learned about my Grandmother was that she had received quite a few postcards from various friends who were males. (Really?My Grandmother?) Naturally, I wondered about these two whose faces I had before me. Her other friends were faceless, made real only by their words and obvious devotion to her. These two simply left her a photo of themselves – one she kept as a memento all of her life.

After finding them again, I did place a post on the Carr surname message boards hoping that someone would come forward who knew them. They never did.  But recently, I began to research them again and actually found them on Ancestry and on Find A Grave. They were indeed twins, born in 1893 in Kentucky. It seems that they lived their whole lives in Kentucky, so I’m not sure exactly how, when, or where they met my Grandmother. It was probably on a trip to Memphis, or perhaps Mississippi, where she lived for a couple of years during that time period.

According to information I found on both of the aforementioned sites, Claudus was killed in a traffic accident in 1931. I can only imagine how much that must have devastated his twin, Cletus. In fact, the tombstone photo I saw on Find A Grave showed Cletus buried in the middle, with his wife on his right and, yes, his twin brother on his left. Cletus lived until 1965, married and had children. Claudus never married.

Shown below is the postcard with the photo of the two brothers dressed in cowboy attire. Someone (probably my Grandmother) had written their names on the back of the card. Cletus’ name was misspelled, evidently written out as it sounded and spelled closer to the spelling of Claudus.

Do you know these twins? Are you a relative? If so, let me know. I have a wonderful piece of history to give you to cherish.

Back of the postcard showing the names of the Carr brothers - with Cletus' name misspelled.
Cletus and Claudus Carr (Not sure which is which)

@2015 Copyright by Carla Love Maitland 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

A Tribute to the Women in My History (International Women’s Day – March 8, 2015)

"Being a woman is a terribly difficult task, since it consists principally in dealing with men." ~ Joseph Conrad
When pursuing our ancestors, most of us begin by concentrating on those male surnames. However, we eventually understand that in order to know ourselves completely, we must also cherchez les femmes!   (Follow the women!)

In this post, on this important day of celebrating International Women’s Day, I want to honor as many of the women in my ancestry as I can. I wish I had a photo for every one of them, but I don’t. Some of the photos I do have aren’t very good, but they are all that I have as visual representations of what they looked like.

Here are the Women in My History:

My Maternal Grandmother, Lorena Grace Sanford Wallace Werkhoven  (3 Aug 1896 – 21 Aug 1985)      

My Paternal Grandmother, Huldah Norma Akers Love (1 Jan 1893 – 13 Oct 1972)

Maternal Great Grandmother, Elizabeth Dorothy Zeigler Sanford (Jun 1872 – 11 Mar 1938)

Maternal Great Grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Marvel Wallace (29 Nov 1852 -1933)

Paternal Great Grandmother, Nancy Emeline Gardner Pounds Akers (8 Mar 1863 – 20 Jul 1939)

Paternal Great Grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Roberts Love (12 Jun 1861 – 30 Apr 1923)

Maternal 2nd Great Grandmother, Margaret Elizabeth Turner Zeigler (24 Mar 1841 - 13 May 1911)


Maternal 2nd Great Grandmother, Mary Prudence Clark Sanford (May 1841 – bef 1920)


Maternal 2nd Great Grandmother, Mary Young Marvel (20 Mar 1833 – 2 May 1909)

My Mother, Evelyne Francis Wallace Love (10 Jan 1919 – 18 Mar 1991)

@2015 Copyright by Carla Love Maitland