Grandfathers – An Update

With the release of the 1950 US Census recently, I have been taking another look at what records can be found that pertain to my American families. I last blogged about my grandfathers almost 10 years ago so I thought it a good opportunity to share what I’ve found since then!


Research Updates

Just a little update on a couple of ongoing pieces of research.

The first from Missouri, as first mentioned here. After my 3 or 4 week wait I received a response from the good people at the Missouri State Archives. Unfortunately it wasn’t great news:

We have searched Lawrence County Probate Record Reels C3794, C3781, C3791, C3788, C3790 for records on an adoption of an Adams and Jacob and George.  Nothing was found for an Adams during this time frame.

However, they did find a couple of references to other Adams’ and suggested I contact the Lawrence County Probate Court directly. Which I have done (after a bit of jiggery-pokery – what is it with American offices and incorrectly listed email addresses??), and received a response from the Circuit Clerk who is going to look into the references provided. More on that if / when I get a response.

Lawrence County Courthouse (from Missouri Marble, by Norman S. Hinchey)

Lawrence County Courthouse (from Missouri Marble, by Norman S. Hinchey)

Secondly, the Frenchies. You know, the postcard people.

My study of the online records continues – and I’ll admit to being somewhat obsessed by it. I think, possibly, its because its something new to me. I am no stranger to the fluidity of surname spelling, but it does fascinate me seeing how the French spellings change. For example, one branch of the family is Clergeau, but going back only a few generations it becomes Clairjault. Virtually the same pronunciation, yet quite different (and before you ask – yes, the same family!). It happens with others. Baranger becomes Barangé, Doublié becomes Doublet, Massé becomes Massais. Families also seem to move around between parishes more frequently than I am used to seeing in my own English researches. The vast majority are – what we’d call in the UK – Agricultural Labourers. Perhaps the reason for this difference is the way the French system is structured – communes, cantons, prefectures.

I was talking to my ‘cousin’ the other night online (he lives in Connecticut) and he asked if I was going to try and find any descendants of these people still living and make contact. It got me to thinking. Initially I said that I wouldn’t because there’s a bit of a gap between the years available online and the present day. Admittedly, Amelie only died in 1972 – but Louise would’ve been 102 this gone January.  The fact that all of these photographs and postcards were being sold at a marché aux puces suggests that there is no longer anybody around who cares for these people.

Whilst it would be nice to connect with this family, somehow I don’t think its going to happen. In the mean time, this is how the ancestral tree for Louise is looking.

Vertical Pedigree Chart for Louise Baranger

Not too shabby. Still a lot of deaths to fill in (like some kind of assassins day-planner), but I’m getting there!

The tree is also on Ancestry. I wanted to publish and publicize it a bit on the off-chance that somebody at some point decides to search for their family and gets in touch!

 L'antique Pont-Neuf,  Argenton-Château

L’antique Pont-Neuf, Argenton-Château

Jacob Calvin Adams

The Adams’ were first introduced via my grandfather, Ellis Howard Adams. In tracing him I learnt (rather quickly) that his parents were Jacob Calvin Adams and Dolly Clara Faulkner, and Ellis was the ninth of the 10 children born to Jacob and Dolly.

Descendant Chart for Jacob Calvin Adams

I was able to trace Jake back to the 1900 US census with no difficulty, but not before that. It also appeared that Jake had been married once before marrying my great-grandmother Dolly, and had a son called Roy.

Jake is also unusual in that, thanks to online trees being published, one of the first records I had of him was that of his obituary and the funeral notice in the local newspapers:

Jacob Adams' Obituary
Jacob Adams Funeral Notice

The obituary was key in picking out key details of Jacob’s life. That he died on his 73rd birthday, his exact birth and death dates and locations and names of his children and wife, including the date of their wedding. Genealogical gold! It also mentions a brother, George, and that the boys had been orphaned at a young age and subsequently adopted by the Reverend Mr. Keith c.1869.

However, Reverend Keith, George and Jacob remain elusive in the 1870, 1880 and 1890 US censuses (not so surprising for the 1890 census as what wasn’t destroyed in a fire in 1921 was destroyed by the Librarian of Congress in the 1930s).

I’ve emailed the State Archives to see if they can shed any light on the mysterious Reverend Mr Keith, or the birth records of Jacob and George. I did also email the Pierce City Branch Library but their email address seems to be null and void. This is the second time I’ve had a similar experience when emailing public offices in America.

In 1900 Jacob was living with his first wife in Washington Township, Missouri and gave his occupation as Farm Laborer.

Jake in 1900 US Census
Jake in 1900 US Census

He married Dollie Clara Faulkner on 3 April 1903 in Cassville, Barry, Missouri. Their first child, Mary, was born exactly 9 months later.

By 1910 the family is living in Sheridan Township, Jasper, Missouri. Mary has been joined by siblings Virgil and Vernon.

Jacob in 1910 US Census
Jacob in 1910 US Census

In 1920 the family had travelled almost 250 miles south to Quapaw, Ottawa, Oklahoma, where Jacob was employed at the water works. However, most of the later children (including my grandfather, Ellis) were born in Neosho, Newton, Missouri – less than 40 miles to the east.

jake 1920
Adams family in 1920 US Census

Jacob died – as we have seen already – on his 73rd birthday in 1938.

His death certificate lists cause of death as coronary thrombosis – aka myocardial infarction or heart attack. The informant was his wife Dollie, but no details are listed for his parents. Presumably whatever little information was known by the orphaned Jacob was not passed on to his wife.

Jacob Adams Death Certificate-page-001

Should I receive a response from the Missouri State Archives then his story will continue. However, for now at least, it seems as if my Adams line will remain a mystery.