Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Case of the Two Wives: Using Ancestry Suggested Documents to Sort Out Wives

I have had two cases of double wives lately that caused quite a bit of confusion: Both Ancestry and the family trees I was able to connect to indicated that two different wives of two men – George Arrington and Eldon Clide Clement – were one and the same person. Yet there was very strong evidence in both cases that there were definitely two separate wives.

 Case # 1 – George Washington Arrington (7 Oct 1895 (1,2) to 7 Dec 1977 (3,4)).

First wife – Freddie Gertrude Warren (born July 1898 in Tennessee (5), died before 1940).

According to the Collin County, Texas, Marriage Index, 1800-2010 Record, accessed on, they married in 1916.

They had three children:

Modine – born 5 Nov 1918 in Texas and died 29 Jul 1919 in Farmersville, Collin County, Texas from a fall. (6) The informant on the Death Certificate was W. H. Warren, and this would later give me a clue as to which Warren family Freddie belonged to.

James Weldon Arrington, born approximately 1927 in Texas (7), no further information.

Myra Jean Arrington, born approximately 1927 in Texas (same source as for her brother James Weldon), no further information. (Getting this Myra Jean Arrington sorted out from the daughter of George’s brother Eugene Grey Arrington, also named Myra Jean, also born 1927 in Texas (8), was another matter – Ancestry kept suggesting the wrong document (only one) for her.

Second wife – Mattie Niece Bratton, born 18 Jan 1898 in Missouri (9, 10)

Although Ancestry suggested and continues to suggest that Mattie Niece Bratton and Freddie Gertrude Warren were one and the same person, and they were born in the same year, there were some important differences. There were the names, to begin with, and places of birth also differed: Missouri for Mattie and Tennessee for Freddie.

It was the appearance of Jennie Hughes as the sister-in-law of George Washington Arrington that served as indirect proof and eventually led me to the discovery that Mattie Bratton was not only not Freddie Warren, but showed me who her family was – she was the daughter of Addison Lowery Bratton and Cora Charlotte Worley. When I clicked on the name of Jennie Hughes in the 1940 census, one of the suggested documents was the 1900 census, which showed both Jennie and Mattie as daughters of Addison and Cora Bratton. Both the 1920 (12) and 1930 (13) censuses showed Jennie with her then husband, Delbert E. Hughes, and the 1930 (13) census showed her with her son Neal, who appears with her on the 1940 census with George and Mattie Arrington.

Once I had Mattie in the right family, all sorts of information popped up for her, including the California Death Index, which showed that she died 20 Feb 1990 in Anaheim, Orange County, California. (14) It also provided her maiden name/father’s name Bratton and mother’s surname Worley. Moreover, a glance at the family trees on Ancestry revealed that Bratton researchers were aware of her marriage to George Arrington, and even had pictures of him that I had not seen. The 1920 (15) and 1930 (16) censuses revealed that Mattie had been married before, to an Isaac Nevit Barto and had children Lucille Fern Barto and Jack Barto from that marriage.

Meanwhile, I still had no date or place of death for Freddie Gertrude Warren. Searches in the Texas Death Index and Texas Death certificates turned up nothing. A glance at family trees on Ancestry indicated that all agreed that her father was John Bence Warren, but some had her mother as Lula J. Davidson and others gave Mary Tennessee “Tinnie” Hammons, though only Lula shows up on the 1900, 1910, and 1920 censuses. Freddie’s brother Wallace H. Warren also appears on the 1900 and 1910 censuses; since he must have been the informant W. H. Warren on Modine Arrington’s death certificate, this is how I knew which family was Freddie’s.

Case # 2 – Eldon Clide Clement, born 21 Feb 1911 in Bonham, Fannin County, Texas; died 1 Sep 1968 in Brownwood, Brown County, Texas. (17)

First wife – Deltha Faye Martin, born 11 Apr 1915 in Milano, Milam County, Texas; died 17 Mar 1937 in Telephone, Fannin County, Texas (18)

Second Wife – Mary A. “Annie,” born 1902 in Oklahoma , no further information. (19)

As in the first case, family trees and Ancestry treated (and continue to treat) these two women as though they were the same person. Despite the difference in ages and states of birth, they could in theory have been the same person – perhaps the “Fay Martin” shown on the Texas Birth Index and in the U.S. Social Security Applications and Claim Index, 1936-2007 on as the mother of Franklin Don Clement was actually the “Annie M. Clement” shown on the 1940 census – her name could have been Fay Ann Mary Clement or Fay Ann Martin Clement, right?

But the 1940 census showed a curious thing. It showed that the Annie M. Clement on the 1940 census (and in numerous U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 on lived in two different counties in 1935: Snyder, Scurry County, Texas for Eldon, and Cross Plains, Callahan County, Texas for Annie M. Five years is not much time to meet, court, get married, and have a four-year-old child (Franklin Don Clement). Although at one point I was convinced that Mary A./Annie M. was not a different person and even deleted her from my Reunion database (because, curiously, a 1930 census popped up that showed a Faye Martin born in 1902 in Oklahoma!), I was now certain that there was no way that these two women could be the same person. When I was able to find a Texas Death Certificate using “Fay Martin” in the search parameters, I was even able to get an Ancestry family tree that gave her correct maiden name: Deltha Fae Martin. She may be the Fay Clement who shows up with spouse E. Clement in the 1933 Fort Worth, Texas, City Directory in the U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 on

So I think I’ve learned my lesson. All the evidence has to be lined up for and against the hypothesis that what everyone else treats as one person may actually be two different people. Ancestry often suggests the same records for two different people, but eventually you may be able to sort them out using those same suggested records.

1 World War I Draft Card of George Washington Arrington, accessed at

2 Certificate of Death 89492 of George Washington Arrington, Texas Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics, accessed at

3 Certificate of Death 89492 of George Washington Arrington, Texas Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics, accessed at

4 Social Security Death Index, accessed at

5 1900 US Federal Census, District 6, Lewis County, Tennessee, taken 19 Jun 1900, accessed on 26 Jan 2016

6 Both dates and cause of death were found in the Certificate of Death of Modine Arrington, Texas Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics, accessed on, as was the name of the informant, W. H. Warren.

7 1930 US Federal Census, Tulsa, Tulsa County, Oklahoma, taken 8 Apr 1930, accessed on on 14 Feb 2007

8 1940 US Federal Census, Grand Island City, Hall County, Nebraska, taken 10 Apr 1940, accessed on 28 Jan 2016.

9 Social Security Death Index Record, accessed on

10 1940 US Federal Census, Tulsa, Tulsa County, Oklahoma, taken on 4 Apr 1940, accessed on 27 Jan 2016.

11 1900 US Federal Census, North Salem, Linn County, Missouri, taken on 13-14 Jun 1900, accessed on 26 Jan 2016.

12 1920 US Federal Census, Tulsa, Tulsa County, Oklahoma, taken on 19 Jan 1920, accessed on 1 May 2016.

13 1930 US Federal Census, Tulsa, Tulsa County, Oklahoma, taken 22 Apr 1930, accessed 1 May 2016 on

14 California Death Index, 1940-1997, accessed on 26 Jan 2016.

15 1920 US Federal Census, Precinct 12, Tulsa County, Oklahoma, taken on 5 Jan 1920, accessed 27 Jan 2016 on

16 1930 US Federal Census, El Centro Township, Imperial County, California, taken on 4 Apr 1930, accessed 27 Jan 2016 on

17 Certificate of Death 61494 of Eldon Clide Clement, Texas Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics, accessed on 20 Apr 2016 on

18 Standard Certificate of Death 14664 of Deltha Fae Martin Clement, Texas State Department of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics, accessed on

19 Apr 2016 19 1940 US Federal Census, Vincent, Howard County, Texas, taken on 2 May 1940, accessed on 19 Apr 2016.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Musical Sunday

I have started to build a new Pinterest Board, Music I Like, based on and adding to my YouTube favorites.  The range of music is quite wide:  Eastern European (Hungarian, Russian, Ukrainian, Hutsul, Gypsy, and many more), Scandinavian, Cajun and Zydeco, bluegrass, classical, Acadian, Celtic, classics and standards from movies, and many more.

I'll occasionally feature items from this board on this blog.  Below, Peter Éri plays the "Pe Loc" on flute, Zoltán Farkas and Ildikó Tóth dance. The melody is known from the Rumanian Folk Dances of Bartók.


Saturday, September 12, 2015

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun

Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings has issued his latest Saturday night Genealogy Fun challenge:  go to Image Chef and create a genealogy-related image or item.

Here's mine:

Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Lost Weekend

My eyes are bleary, my mouth dry, and there is a throbbing in my head. I’ve lost track of time. I resisted all of yesterday evening, and even into the afternoon today, but then I lost it and made the plunge. And since then it has just been one after another, with no letup.  And tomorrow will be the same – I won’t stop.

The last time it was this bad (and it was worse then, actually) was back in September 2008.

That was when Family Search made the Texas Death Certificates available.

Hello. My name is Greta, and I’m a geneaholic.

This is the weekend that FindMyPast searches are free.

I thought I’d just put in a few terms, check out the website, maybe find a few things.  Didn’t really need the censuses; thought I’d try newspapers.  Some names yielded hits; others gave bupkus.

Then I discovered filters.  So I filtered for the state of Texas and input “Brinlee.”


3030 articles.

OK, so 85% of them are on Rex Garland Brinlee, aka the notorious “Bristow Bomber.”  (Google it – not a pretty story.)

But when you get to the Bonham Daily Favorite and the McKinney Daily Courier Gazette – that’s MY family’s part of the state.  And Genealogy Bank does not have those papers.

And those papers contain my geneaholic’s liquor of choice.  So far:

- Obituaries for most of my father’s family members.
- A story about a Brinlee family reunion (be still my heart!).
- A story about the Norman and Brinlee families in and around Fannin County throwing a big Christmas party for my grandmother and her sister.
- A long article on my father’s eccentric cousins, Bun and Square Brinlee.
- An article on a Brinlee who is an artist.
- Miscellaneous other Brinlee obituaries.
- And an article on my brickwall great-grandmother Elizabeth Brinlee celebrating her 98th birthday (it was actually probably closer to her 90th birthday).  It does not mention parents or even siblings, but at least it’s something.

So I’ll binge on as long as I can last.  And then Monday will come.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Featured Family: Family of Freeman Manson Moore and Clarissa Abbott

Freeman Manson Moore
-b. ca 1809, Greenville District, South Carolina
-d. aft 1864
& Clarissa Abbott
-b. 1803, Georgia
-m. 5 Oct 1826, Newton County, Georgia
---William S. Moore
-----b. ca 1828, Georgia
-----d. aft 1870
---& Nancy A. Dulin
-----b. ca 1833, Georgia
-----m. 14 Aug 1850, Henry County, Georgia
---J. A. E. Moore
-----b. ca 1835, Georgia
---Sarah Clarissa Moore
-----b. 7 Jan 1832, Georgia
-----d. 8 Oct 1912, New Salem, Rusk County, Texas
---& Houston J. Skinner
-----b. 12 Sep 1829, Newton County, Georgia
-----d. 20 Oct 1904, New Salem, Rusk County, Texas
-----m. 4 Dec 1853, DeKalb County, Georgia

This is the family of one of the older brothers of my great-great grandfather, William Spencer Moore.  The gaps in my knowledge of this family are so big that you could drive a truck through them. With the exception of the youngest daughter and her husband, I know no dates of death and only approximate dates of birth.  Most of my information is based on the 1850 census, when this family was in Henry County, Georgia.  I know absolutely nothing about the subsequent history of J.A.E. Moore, a daughter.  F.M. Moore appears in Henry County on an 1864 Census for Re-Organizing the Georgia Militia; he may also appear on an 1865 tax list and in an 1867 voter and reconstruction oath book, but I cannot be certain that he is the F.M. Moore in question in either case.

If you are a descendant of this family or know anything about them, please contact me!  Just click on the link “View my complete profile” in the “About Me” section on the left side of this blog.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Temptation Is Great, But

… resist it, anyway. The lure of the Ancestry hint.  The hint you have to shoehorn in to fit the established data.  You find “confirmation” elsewhere for the veracity of the hint, and if you just make a couple of "minor" assumptions (or maybe three or four … or seven) about the (lack of) accuracy of census-takers, then…

I have been doing some basic research on the children of Wiley Franklin Moore and Mary Hood Busby, or actually filling in some missing pieces in previous research on this collateral line (the line of Freeman Manson Moore, a brother of my great-great grandfather William Spencer Moore).  This has included filling out one of my Ancestry trees with data on this family.

I was working on Arthur Elton Moore, the sixth known child of Wiley Franklin Moore and Mary Hood Busby.  I examined the various hints suggested by Ancestry.  According to my previous research, Arthur appears with his siblings on the 1910 US Federal Census, then next on the 1930 census, plus there was SSDI information and a World War I Draft Registration Card.  He was missing from the 1920 census, as were some other Moores from this line. 

But Ancestry gave me a hint for the 1920 census:

1920 US Federal Census, Justice Precinct 1, Hopkins County, Texas, ED 65, p. 7A, 7 Jan 1920

Line 25 232 Infirmary Street 138 161

Moore, Elton A. Head R M W 30 M Yes Yes TX TX TX Yes Mail carrier Rural
            Neeley Wife F W 24 M Yes Yes TX TN TX Yes Shoe making At home W
            Hoyal Son M W 6 S No TX TX TX None
            Alleen Dau F W 3-3/12 S TX TX TX None

However, I didn’t trust it, so I decided to review the other hints first.  The hints included a couple of links to Findagrave.  There I found two children listed for Arthur Elton and Ruby McClain Moore:  Harley E. Moore and Vida Aleen Moore Handley.

This looked pretty good.  But there were discrepancies:

1. Instead of Arthur E. Moore (according the 1900 and 1940 censuses, and on the 1910 and 1930 censuses he is Arthur and Arthur L.), the name given is Elton A.

2.  His age is somewhat off.

3.  His occupation is listed as mail carrier rather than farmer (as it is in the other censuses).

4.  His wife’s name was Ruby, not Neeley.

5.  His son’s name was Harley, not Hoyal.

6.  According to the 1930 census, his second child’s name is Jewel B. Moore, not Alleen Moore.

7. There is no mention of third child Berney Elbert Moore who, according to the 1930 census, was born around 1919.

Here were my explanations:

1.  I have often seen ancestors’ first and middle names used alternately, especially in this family line.  Besides – Arthur E. vs. Elton A. – still basically the same initials.

2.  Census-taker or information provider error.

3.  The census did say “Rural” after mail carrier, so the change in occupation was possible.

4.  Ruby’s middle initial was given as “N” in the 1930 and 1940 censuses – that could be Neeley.

5.  Census-taker error – and the approximate year of birth – 1914 – did match.

6.  Hm, this one was a head-scratcher.  But the approximate year of birth – 1916 – did match.

7.  This one was also a head-scratcher, and I actually forgot it in my excitement at seeing Aleen Moore listed as one of Arthur Elton’s children on Findagrave.

OK, so I blew it. 

But I didn’t let things stand at that.  After changing “Jewel B. Moore” to “Vida Aleen Moore” on my Ancestry tree, I started to examine the hints for her.  One was the California Death Index.  One item on it gave rise to a gnawing unease:  her mother’s maiden name – Blunt.

So my next step was to see what I could come up with for a search on Neeley Blunt.

And then my little house of straw started to collapse.

Among the items for Neely Blunt Moore were a picture of her with her children, Vida Aleen Moore and Hoyal Moore. 

And a picture of Aleen’s father, Elton Alexander Moore.


Though one interesting item was that Aleen’s mother’s name was actually Ruby Neely Blunt (or Blount).  No wonder people are so confused about these two families.

On my Ancestry tree, the damage was already done.  Now I had to figure out how to remove the 1920 census from the list of sources (it took me a while).  And even then, the “fact” – residence in Hopkins, Texas in 1920 – had to be removed separately. 

And I should have known to be more skeptical, because I had just gone through something like this with Arthur’s brother, Wiley A(u)gustus Moore, and with his uncle, Samuel Alexander Napoleon Moore. 

A lot of people want Wiley to be Wiley William Moore.  After all, as one researcher has pointed out, his name on the 1900 census is “clearly” given as Wiley W. Moore.  I guess you just never know when to be skeptical of census-takers.  And this is another case where Findagrave duplicates the assumptions made by some readers:  He is listed as Wiley W. Moore and is linked to the Wiley Franklin Moore family. 

The two census hints given by Ancestry are the right guy:  even if he is Wiley W. on the 1900 census, he is with the right family, and since he is listed as being in the Kansas State Reformatory in 1910, I’m pretty sure that’s right, too.

But the next two hints are not so hot.  The World War I Draft registration card for Wiley William Moore lists his mother and father as dependents (Mary Hood Busby Moore died in 1905) and the California Death Index information for this same Wiley William Moore (the date of birth for both is 20 April 1889) lists his mother’s maiden name as Smith.

Then there is Samuel Alexander Napoleon Moore.  I have 11 rejected Findagrave hints for him, starting with the Findagrave hint for an Alexander Nepolin Moore.  It lists his father as Israel Moore (my guy’s father was William S. Moore), although it does have Nancy “Dublin” (= Dulin) Moore as his mother.  The death certificate for this guy also indicates that Isrial Moore was his father.  But on the 1860 census there is an Alex N.B. Moore of about the right age – and his father is Israel Moore. The woman who appears to be his mother/his father’s wife is named Caroline, however.   And this Alexander Moore eventually married a Mary Delaney Cheeves.  And a lot of other Ancestry family trees, probably following the lead of Findagrave and ignoring that inconvenient bit about Israel Moore being the father, have Mary Delaney Cheeves as “our” Wiley Moore’s wife.

In other words, these families are totally confused with one another.

So even when Ancestry hints “seem” to be confirmed by information found elsewhere, when there any sort of conflicting information, it pays to be super-cautious.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

My Research Week: 25 Jan 2015

Despite some Short Attention Span Theater – flitting from one family to another – in my research, I can call this a productive and interesting research week. 

Though I am not participating in the Geneabloggers’ “Do Over,” I did go back to revisit my research (hence the flitting) on closer generations (grandparents, aunts, and uncles) and found quite a few “new to me” things:

- One of my aunts by marriage committed suicide
- I finally learned the maiden name of the second wife of one of my uncles
- I learned more about the German background of an uncle’s wife
- Discovered that my paternal grandfather had filled out a World War II registration form.
- Found a picture of an aunt for whom I had no pictures showing her as an adult; the picture also included her second husband and two sons.
- Entered a lot of 1940 census information.

Although I am continuing to build up my 23andMe family tree on My Heritage, I have decided not to subscribe to My Heritage, since at this point it does not look like there is a lot I can get out of the documents they have.  I have to admit I was tempted when I saw that one item was a death notice for my paternal grandfather (I do not have an obituary or death notice for him), but I suspect it was just a brief notice.

Two of my favorite blog posts this week are:

“Does this couple in Missouri own your relatives on Find aGrave, too?” on the Young and Savvy Genealogists blog (it includes a hilarious and alarming story about David Tennant in the shower – knew that would get your attention!).

Also this one on the Personal Past Meditations blog on “link rot” and “citation rot”:  “Going,Going…Saved.”

And here is a new blog that I have been enjoying – this author definitely has some colorful ancestors! -  Leaves on my Family Tree.