Chaotic Genealogy

Here’s an example of how genealogy research can lead a person into unplanned directions.

Yesterday, I was searching the website of the Sikeston Standard Democrat for news on Grahams and related families living in the area. There’s a lot of family in that part of Missouri! I saved several obituaries to be added to my tree.

Today, I sat down with the intention of adding yesterday’s findings to my file in Family Tree Maker, but the program flashed one of those little green leaf icons on the entry for Alvin Graham. The leaf icon indicates that Family Tree Maker has found possible matching records at Ancestry.com. So, I clicked on the icon and found matches in the U.S. Public Records Index for Alvin’s residence in Yuba City, California.

The entry for Dora McClung, Alvin’s wife, also was sprouting a green leaf. Clicking on that, I found a matching record in the Arkansas County Marriages Index. “Interesting,” I thought, “that Ancestry has an index to those records, since the actual images can be found on FamilySearch.org.” While I was importing the source, I noticed that at some point I had left myself a note that Nona Graham Lathum was recorded as a witness at Alvin and Dora’s wedding. I looked at the scan I had previously acquired from FamilySearch to confirm it again, then opened up my article on Nona here at Graham Ancestry. I decided to update her article to add in the wedding detail and, while I was at it, to include new information from the recently released 1940 census.

The problem with the 1940 census is that, at present, it isn’t indexed. That means you can’t simply type a name into a search engine and get results. You have to do the search manually by knowing where to look and what you’re looking for, then flipping through the images one at a time until you find it.

To find Frankie and Nona Lathum, I started with the last place I found them in 1930, Red River Township, Searcy County, Arkansas. I didn’t find them, but I found lots of other relations. I tried next in Shady Grove Township, knowing that some Grahams had settled there, with no luck again. So, they had moved, but to where? I looked at where Nona was buried, thinking that she was probably buried near where she last lived. She is buried in Chinquapin Cemetery in Searcy County. I jumped over to Find A Grave to view a map of where Chinquapin Cemetery is located, then compared the location to the map of Searcy County Townships I have here at Graham Ancestry. It is in Sulphur Springs Township. I opened up the census records of Sulphur Springs Township at the National Archives site and found Frankie and Nona there on the second page of enumeration district 65-20.

Which leads us into the next exciting episode of…

Tidying Up The Gray Home

Today’s tidying was done on the article for Nona Elizabeth Graham. The following tidying took place:

  • Added newly-released data and an image from the 1940 Census
  • Added section headings by decade to make the article easier to follow
  • Added information from Mary Matilda Bohannon’s obituary
  • Added information from Irene Polk’s obituary
  • Added information from the John Henry Graham Family Group Sheet
  • Added information from the marriage certificate of Alvin Graham
  • Updated section on name variations
  • Updated sources.

Read the new version now!

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About Byron

Widower, father, student, USA Retired. View all posts by Byron

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