Because I don’t know a) what’s good for me, and b) when to quit, I decided to research all of those pesky Ethelbert Neals to see how – or if – they all connected when added into my tree. As it happened, all of them tied back into ‘my’ Neal lines and did so quite nicely … for the most part.
Until, that is, a transatlantic voyage cropped up.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.