Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tearing-My-Hair-Out Tuesday: More Information on My Brick Wall

Just kidding, this is actually Madness Monday, only late.

I previously posted information on my biggest brick wall, Susan Elizabeth “Lizzie” Smith Bonner Brinlee, here. This brick wall fits quite well into the Madness Monday theme, however, so I’d like to add some information to that. (The information that I do have on her is so tantalizing and the information that I am missing is so aggravating, that it really does almost drive me to distraction.) This also fits the criteria for Blogging Prompt #12, "Use your blog to break down a brick wall" (late, of course).

Here is some basic information on the Hiram Carroll Brinlee Jr.-Susan Elizabeth Smith family group:

Hiram Carroll “Dink” Brinlee Jr.
b. Sep 1844, Red River County, Texas
d. 20 Jan 1920, Collin County, Texas
& Susan Elizabeth “Lizzie” Smith
b. 4 Apr 1868, Tennessee
d. 29 Jul 1958
m. 3 Dec 1891, White Bead Hill, Chickasaw Nation, OK
|--Lawrence Carroll Brinlee
|----b. 29 Jan 1893, String Town, Atoka, OK
|----d. 9 Apr 1953, Bonham, Fannin, TX
|----& Sallie Frances Norman
|----b. 5 Sep 1892, Talladega Co., AL
|----d. 8 Dec 1984, Ivanhoe, Fannin County, Texas
|-----m. 6 May 1911, Greenville, Hunt Co., TX
|--Cordelia Lee “Cordie” Brinlee
|----b. 8 Jun 1895, Oklahoma
|----d. 23 May 1961, McKinney, Collin Co., Texas
|----& Kingsley Levington Clinton
|----b. 18 Feb 1894, Putnam Co., Tennessee
|----d. 2 Nov 1955, Anna, Collin, Texas
|----m. 1911
|--Austin Franklin Brinlee
|----b. 6 Apr 1904, Farmersville, Collin County, Texas
|----d. 17 Nov 1976, Allen, Collin County, Texas
|----& Mary Katherine Clinton
|----b. 3 Aug 1912, Fannin County, Texas
|----d. 25 Aug 1993, Allen, Collin County, Texas
|----m. 24 Jul 1928, Fannin County, Texas
|--Cecil Odell Brinlee
|----b. 23 Sep 1908, Collin County, Texas
|----d. 30 Oct 1994, Quitman, Wood, Texas
|----& Amy Lorene Kent
|---- b. 12 Dec 1913, Arkansas
|----d. 11 Apr 2000, McKinney, Collin Co., Texas

I have used the above information, the censuses, Lizzie’s Confederate Widow’s Pension application, and her death certificate to put together a sketchy timeline of where Lizzie was at various times in her life:

?1868 to 1889: Tennessee. This is pure speculation. However, since Lizzie and Hiram got married in Oklahoma and appear to have met there, I am guessing that Lizzie and her first husband, Mr. Bonner, might have come to Oklahoma in the big land rush in 1889. Because she stated on the 1930 that she first married at the age of 17, I am putting the year of that marriage at around 1885-86 and probably in Tennessee.

1889 to some time between 1900, when Hiram appears on the US Federal Census for Britton Township, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma Territory (my guess is that Lizzie and the children were with him, but not reported to the census-taker) and 1904, when Austin is reported to have been born in Farmersville, Collin County, Texas: Oklahoma. The year of the move was most likely 1902, as reported by Lizzie on her Confederate Widow’s Pension Application. On Lizzie and Hiram’s marriage license, which is dated 1 December 1891, Lizzie’s residence is listed as White Bead Hill, Chickasaw Nation, and Hiram’s residence is listed as Davis, Chickasaw Nation. Their certificate of marriage was certified by R. H. Grimstead, Minister of the Gospel, and dated 3 December 1891. My grandfather Lawrence Brinlee was reported to have been born in String Town, Atoka, Oklahoma on 29 January 1893; on his World War I Draft Registration card, he lists the location as Paul’s Valley, Oklahoma. My information on Cordelia’s place of birth does not include a specific location in Oklahoma.

6 April 1904: Austin born in Farmersville, Collin County, Texas

23 September 1908: Cecil Odell born in Collin County, Texas

4 May 1910: Hiram and Lizzie appear on the US Federal Census for Justice Precinct 2, Hunt County, Texas.

30 January 1920: Hiram and Lizzie appear on the US Federal Census for Farris, Atoka Co., Oklahoma. Hiram had died on 20 January, but the census-taker must have been following the instructions, which indicated that “individuals alive on 1 January but deceased when the enumerator arrived were to be counted.”

27 July 1925: Lizzie files her Confederate Widow’s Pension application from Collin County, Texas

10 Sep 1929: Lizzie writes a letter requesting assistance with her Pension application; the location is given as Leonard, Texas (Leonard is in Fannin County).

21 April 1930: Lizzie appears on the US Federal Census living with her son Austin in Fannin County, Texas.

29 July 1958: Lizzie dies in Plano, Collin County, Texas. She apparently had lived for some years with her youngest son, Cecil Odell, who signed the application for her mortuary warrant and her death certificate. Her death certificate indicates her stay in Plano as “several years.”

Much of this is guesswork and there are sure to be inaccuracies here; however, these would be the locations in Oklahoma and Texas where I would want to check local resources (courthouse records, newspaper archives, etc.). I have often wondered whether or not Lizzie had any siblings, and if she did, whether she was ever in contact with them. There are so many things I wonder about Lizzie.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Memory Monday: Mrs. Leeman

My transfer from Davidson Elementary to Warm Springs Elementary when my family and I moved from San Bernardino to Highland was the first of many I was to experience, though I did get to remain at Warm Springs through sixth grade.

I was lucky to land in Mrs. Leeman’s class, though I learned later that mixed-grade classes (her class consisted of second and third graders that year) are often not considered the more desirable ones in terms of the quality instruction time equation.

Mrs. Leeman was a motherly sort who must have been in her mid to late forties. She had a gentle way of speaking and wore tasteful dresses of the June Cleaver type. Her hair was gray and cut very short.

Joining a class midway through the school year presented a few challenges, not so much in how far through the material the class had progressed as in the different ways of doing things. I found the different kinds of paper for writing assignments (regular lined paper instead of large lines divided in half by a dashed line) and arithmetic assignments (unlined paper) a bit disorienting. On my first math assignment in my new class, with no guidelines for size or spacing, I scrunched all of my arithmetic problems into the upper left-hand corner. Mrs. Leeman’s approach to correcting this was simply to remark in a very matter-of-fact way: “You might want to put some space between those problems. It’s OK if you use the whole sheet of paper; we have plenty of them.” Thus was my first occasion for potential embarrassment successfully navigated.

I was extremely fortunate to be assigned to Mrs. Leeman’s third grade class the next year, and her gentle, low-key approach continued to succeed in keeping my classmates and me under control and even participating enthusiastically in class activities without strong disciplinary measures having to be used.

Except in the case of Alfred [not his real name]. Alfred was hyperactive. He was a cheerful and outgoing little boy, sometimes too much so, and that was the problem. Something – a little too much excitement or stimulation – would set him off, and then Alfred became a windup toy in reverse: sometimes running around, flapping his arms, shaking his head back and forth, and chattering rapid strings of words which eventually turned into nonsense sounds. He did not mean to lose control, but there was no denying that his behavior became extremely distracting and had to be stopped.

The question was – how to stop it. Whether it was many years of experience in raising and teaching children or just natural instinct, Mrs. Leeman knew what to do. Alfred had to be physically stopped from moving and talking for just long enough so that he could regain his self-control. Usually this simply meant that Mrs. Leeman would sit him down in his chair and possibly also put her arms around him to keep him still. Once or twice this was not enough, and Mrs. Leeman resorted doing something that would be almost unheard of today: She tied him in his chair. She would quietly tell him what she was going to do and throughout the entire process retained her composure and her kind, calm manner: “Alfred, you must stop doing this and you must be still.” And in a minute or two Alfred would be back to normal and class could resume. Alfred never seemed to be hurt or offended, but actually appeared to be well aware that Mrs. Leeman was acting for his own good.

These days this type of discipline is controversial at the very least, but I think my third-grade classmates and I could see that it was not done in anger, but out of concern for Alfred and the rest of us. And I think most of us would have preferred this to the harsh tongue-lashing or the “casually” dropped cutting remark meant to put the miscreant in his or her place.

My grade school days dated to the early 1960s, when corporal punishment for misbehavior was accepted and even common. It’s strange, but even though I remember that “the belt” was kept in some classrooms and used as a deterrent, I cannot remember which classes these were, whether it was actually ever used, or which teachers used or threatened to use it. So “the belt” must not have caused much trauma to our tender psyches.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Spring Conference of the Fairfax Genealogical Society

For work and family reasons I have started to fall behind on various blogging prompts and planned articles; in addition, this weekend I attended the Spring Conference of the Fairfax Genealogical Society, held at the Fairfax Marriott at Fair Oaks Mall. I’ll tackle a report on that event first and hope to catch up on other posts later this week. (Madness Monday will probably be Wacko Wednesday, for instance.)

This year for the first time, Fairfax Genealogical Society sponsored a Friday evening session of the Conference, and selected a fabulous presentation to inaugurate the new feature: Google Earth for Genealogists by Pam and Rick Sayre. The conference room for this event was packed on a rainy Friday night, and attendees were bowled over by a spectacular presentation involving dual screens. Rick handled the PowerPoint screen describing the processes involved in various aspects of Google Earth that can be used for genealogy, while Pam did a live demonstration on Google Earth. It was fascinating to see how Google Earth has added certain features called “layers” (pictures, boundaries, etc.), while the individual user can add items (“overlays”) such as maps. If you ever have a chance to see this presentation at a genealogy conference, you must definitely go see what Google Earth has to offer by way of genealogy-related applications.

The Conference schedule indicated that on Saturday the vendor displays would be open for business at 8:00, an hour before the day’s presentations were to begin. This is the first genealogy conference I have ever attended and I live nearby, so I did not worry about getting there at 8:00 on the dot. I arrived at about 8:15, and attendees were already swarming the vendor tables. However, ample time was left open during the day in between presentations to examine the displays and wares. I headed for the first one to hit my eye, Heritage Books. Here again, as a newbie, I was not prepared. That is to say, my resistance was low. I bought. Lots. Of. Books. Next time, I hope to have a little more self-control. Make that a lot more self-control.

I chose to take a counterclockwise route around the displays, so that it was later in the day when I found the vendor table with items specifically for one of my high-priority areas, South Carolina. This was the table for Bruce Pruitt Books, which includes a number of materials and compilations by Dr. Pruitt as well as some by Brent Holcombe covering the Carolinas and Tennessee (if you do serious research in these areas, these guys are true celebrities). Dr. Pruitt was there himself, and was very courteous and helpful in finding the materials I needed and giving me advice on where to find other kinds of information relevant to my research. There were several other tables with books for sale, but a large proportion of the area-specific books covered Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.

Conference presentations on Saturday were divided into four tracks, with four presentations in each: Basic Research Techniques with Chuck Mason, Finding Germans in Germany with John Humphrey, Land Records at the National Archives with Claire Bettag, and Electronic Organization with Carole Magnuson, Liz Kerstens and Pam Sayre. I split my day, attending the Land Records at NARA lectures in the morning and the Electronic Organization lectures in the afternoon.

Each attendee was given 40 tickets to drop into bags around the vendor area to compete for a number of very nice door prizes (I did not win any). One of the prizes for which I dumped in a lot of tickets was three hours of lookups at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, which was sponsored by Dear Myrtle, who was one of our celebrity attendees.

The conference was very well organized, and the balance of time devoted to presentations relative to “down time” was just about perfect. This is an event that I will definitely put on my calendar every year.

(If I go this crazy at a local conference, I’m not sure anyone should let me near a national conference.)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Top Ten Reasons Why I Blog

When I started blogging last August, I had a short list of purposes for my blog which I enumerated in the first post, “Goals of this Blog.” That short list actually boiled down to one main reason: to share information with others researching (or at least interested in) the same families.

And then something interesting started to happen. The motivations for the blog have grown and evolved during its existence and now constitute a longer and more complex list, which I have boiled down into a Letterman formula of 10:

10. An outlet for the technogeek: I love all the widgets, gadgets, and other whizbang features. I am someone who is sadly lacking in technology talent, but for a few brief minutes now and then can indulge in the illusion (however unjustified) of technological competence through the wonders of Blogger and the fantastic advice of people like Thomas MacEntee.

9. An outlet for the visual artist (OK, pretty limited): picking the colors and frills (not too much done there) and even, thanks to Thomas’ virtually foolproof instructions, creating a banner for the blog.

8. An outlet for written expression: To provide a little bit of amusement, enjoyment, and information to my readers, and for myself, possibly a bit of venting, gloating, commiserating, or just a written form of the “happy dance.”

7. A way to keep my family (not just “distant” cousin researchers, but the cousins I grew up with, for instance) up to date on family research without having to send out repetitive e-mails. I can also share family pictures this way and perhaps prod my relatives’ memories.

6. A way to organize and evaluate my research and see the information gaps and logic lapses. The first time I wrote a couple of articles for one of those county genealogy society books, I realized I would have to do something similar for all of my “serious” research. Some of the problems I can see myself, while for other problems I rely on feedback and advice from readers.

5. A forum for recording memories, sharing and analyzing pictures, etc. that I would be too lazy or disorganized to do otherwise.

4. A way of sharing tips and techniques and soliciting help with brick walls. This is still a biggie. I often think of the genea-blogging community as an informal University of Genealogy: the learning can be intense, but it is always enjoyable.

3. A way to share in the community of genealogy people (and people in associated areas and “subcultures” – graveyard preservation & research, photographic restoration, and “living history,” to name just a few). Sometimes having fun, sometimes encouraging one another and spurring one another to dig just a little deeper in that research, but always participating in the camaraderie of people who share our obsession.

2. A way to get in touch with other researchers and share information. This is still high on my list, even though I know that I have to keep “investing” even when I can’t see any immediate “returns” on this investment. We have to remember that this is a long-term goal and not get discouraged. Just like the inquiries we post in various forums, we may not realize this goal until months and years after we have posted the relevant information.

1. The most important reason may be one we do not realize at the time we start our blogs. A few days ago, I was contacted via e-mail by someone who had read my post on my father’s Air Force unit … and realized that we might be related. That person was my younger half-brother, whom I have not seen nor been in contact with since he was a month old. This reason alone, even if all the other criteria I have listed had not been met, would be enough to justify the existence of this blog and all the time and effort I have put into it. I’m still floating.

The point of this post is this: we may start out with certain goals and purposes in writing our blogs, but I am convinced that these reasons will evolve and that what actually makes our blogs useful and worthwhile may surprise us in the end. We all have to take breaks from time to time and we cannot let the blogs get in the way of family time or regular research. However, no matter how many readers, comments, and responses we get or do not get, we derive a benefit from the writing itself.

From other bloggers I am learning how to write, how to approach analyzing pictures, how to focus my research, how to get my pathetic and messy genealogy files organized … you name it, some genea-blogger out there has some great advice on it. Someone mentioned that they do not get as many comments on pure research articles as on general-interest articles. While I may not always have a pertinent comment to make, I do look at other bloggers’ research reports, especially if we have a particular geographical area of research or type of research problem in common. I am getting decently competent at digging things up, but I can always learn more, and I definitely have a long way to go in learning how to present that research, in terms of both organization and readability. The genea-blogging community is full of people who are superbly talented in that area, not just among the “pros” and “old-timers,” but among the newer bloggers as well (one example I can cite just off the top of my head is Patti Browning’s Consanguinity – I just discovered this “newish” blog and am enjoying it immensely).

If this sounds like a lot of rah-rah for the genea-blogging community, well, it is. Not everyone is going to find a long-lost brother, but … you never know what you will find, whether it is today or five years from now.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Memory Monday: First and Second Grade

The transition from kindergarten to first grade was a big change, but I do not remember being particularly intimidated by it. It was time to learn how to read. We used the Dick and Jane books. We practiced writing using those sideways legal-sized (actually larger, I think) sheets with the dotted lines in between the solid lines and the empty area for drawing a picture. We filled in mimeographed worksheets (oh, that smell – it almost made up for missing the heavenly fragrance of liquid starch used in finger painting). We graduated from giant conical crayons (hated them) to regular crayons (more memories of pleasant fragrances). We drew pictures on cheap brownish paper and cut out shapes from construction paper.

Our teacher was Miss Christian. She was young, sweet, and to us, beautiful. We regarded her with a little bit of awe (think “Little Rascals”). I started out in the second reading group but was soon moved up into the first group. It gradually began to occur to me that I could do this “school stuff.”

Miss Christian got married over the summer; her married name sounded like “Rokay.” It was a huge piece of news to her former students. “Former students” – hah! We felt more like abandoned children who had been kicked out of their comfortable home in first grade into the more ordinary, less thrilling world of second grade.

Mrs. Lundgren was my first teacher in second grade. She was nice enough, but she did not have that special aura that Miss Christian had. She only terrified me once, and that was when she was teaching us to sing by ear and made us sing our names exactly as she sang them.

Halfway through the second grade my family moved from San Bernardino to nearby Highland and I switched schools from Davidson to Warm Springs. My new teacher was Mrs. Leeman. That year she was teaching a combination second and third grade class and I would have her again the next year for third grade. She was a very special teacher and I will write about her in a separate post.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Madness Monday: My "Bad Boys" - The Brinlee Brothers

I have a lot of ancestors who drive me crazy. How do they drive me crazy? Let me count the ways … no, better not. It would drive me crazy.

I’ll start will The Brinlee Brothers. The originals – Hiram Brinlee Sr., my great-great grandfather, and his brother, George Brinlee. (The spelling of the family name is believed to have changed from Brindley to Brinlee starting with these two brothers.) My Brinlee research began with the family legends: we are related to Collin McKinney (true), there is a strain of German in the Brinlees (true, via the McKinneys), there is a strain of Native American in the Hiram Brinlee Jr.-Susan Elizabeth Smith line (don’t know), and Legend Number Four, obliquely related by my father and his brothers: “Grandma started family research but got disgusted and quit when she kept finding criminals.”

After my initial research revealed that the first two items were true, I began to think the criminal part might be as well, but as I turned up what I could on George and Hiram Sr., they appeared to be ordinary farmers who had led an adventurous youth. In 1824 (or possibly 1823) they came to Texas (George serving as scout) with Collin and Daniel McKinney, and later married Daniel’s daughters. A search for the Brinlee brothers on the Texas State Archives website turned up a number of documents dating to Republic of Texas times; some of these revealed that George had fought with General Edward Tarrant, while others were receipts for serving subpoenas to witnesses and performing other services in connection with murder trials. So, I thought, George and Hiram must have served as officers of the court. Only they didn’t. Their names appeared following “Republic of Texas vs.” They were the accused. Oops. Legend Number 4 – proven.

The Brinlee Brothers have led researchers on some crazy chases: now you see them, now you don’t. They disappear in various ways, often through inconsistent spelling of the last name. George is reported to have died of cholera in the early 1850s while on a trip to New Orleans to sell cotton. He and Hiram Sr. were apparently born in that nebulous area where the dividing line between Kentucky and Tennessee was not firmly established in the early part of the 19th century (their father may have been a squatter on the Indian Lands). They are just plain old hard to pin down.

(This is the first in a new series introduced by Amy Crooks at Untangled Family Roots. I'll have no problem coming up with ancestors who drive me crazy, so you can expect to see more. Since I also post Memory Monday, this feature may be posted slightly earlier - as it is today - or slightly later. But I'll still call it Monday Madness because I don't pay much attention to the calendar, anyway.)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: My Paternal Grandmother's Patrilineal Line

Once again Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings: Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Your Paternal Grandmother's Patrilineal Line has come up with an interesting challenge:

Provide a list of your paternal grandmother's patrilineal line. Answer these questions:

* What was your father's mother's maiden name? Norman. (Sallie Frances Norman, 5 Sep 1892-8 Dec 1984, born Talladega Co., Alabama)

* What was your father's mother's father's name? William Henry “Jack” Norman (15 Mar 1858-19 Dec 1939, born in Alabama)

* What is your father's mother's father's patrilineal line? That is, his father's father's father's ... back to the most distant male ancestor in that line?

Jack Norman > Joseph Madison Carroll Norman > Thomas Norman (>Joseph Madison Norman>James Madison Norman>Joseph Norman>Isaac Norman)

* Can you identify male sibling(s) of your father's mother, and any living male descendants from those male sibling(s)? If so, you have a candidate to do a Y-DNA test on that patrilineal line. If not, you may have to find male siblings, and their descendants, of the next generation back, or even further.

Sallie Frances Norman had four brothers:

William Norman (1880-1881)
Thomas Franklin Norman (6 Mar 1882-16 Aug 1958): He had nine sons, and I’m fairly sure some of their descendants are still living.
Jessie Frederick Norman (1884-1895)
Obadiah “Oby” Norman (31 Mar 1895-Jun 1979): I believe he had one son who died as a child.

I am not certain of the ancestors listed in parentheses in Jack Norman’s patrilineal line and will have to check this line myself. To find out if we are descended from Isaac Norman, I would have to get a descendant of Thomas Franklin Norman to take the DNA test.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Featured Family: Charles Augustus Floyd and Angeline Elizabeth Matlock

Shown in photo above:
Top row: Oscar Floyd ? ? ? (Two of the women may be daughters of Absalom Floyd)
Middle row: Elva, Lora, and Eula Floyd
Bottom row: Absalom Floyd, Lillie Barley Floyd, Dona Floyd, Myrtie Geisert Floyd, Finley Floyd, Maude Davis Floyd, King David Floyd

Charles Augustus Floyd
b. 28 Jun 1840, Greene Co., Illinois
d. 4 Mar 1894, Dallas County, TX
& Angeline Elizabeth Matlock
b. 18 Nov 1847, Bowling Green, Warren Co., Kentucky
d. 11 Oct 1916, Dallas County, TX
m. 13 Jan 1867, Home of T.H. Taylor, Texas
|--Oscar Matlock Floyd
|----b. 25 Apr 1869, Dallas County, TX
|----d. 27 Aug 1941, Dallas County, TX
|----& Arsana Irene Morris
|----b. 26 Apr 1876, Louisiana
|----d. 26 Mar 1926, Dallas County, TX
|----m. 28 Dec 1903, Waxahachie, Texas
|--Lora Etna Floyd
|----b. 1 Oct 1870, Hutchins, Dallas County, TX
|----d. 9 Aug 1951, Hopkinsville, Christian Co., Kentucky
|----& Joseph Boyd
|----b. Sep 1857, Kentucky
|----- m. 3 Nov 1889
|--Finley E. “Boss” Floyd
|----b. 1 Dec 1872, Dallas County, TX
|----d. 18 Aug 1936, Whitesboro, Grayson County, TX
|----& Myrtie Alice Geisert
|----b. 29 Nov 1874, Illinois
|----d. 17 Mar 1967, Irving, Dallas County, Texas
|----m. 27 Oct 1918
|--Augusta Melvina Floyd
|----b. 20 Sep 1874, Dallas County, TX
|----d. 18 Aug 1917, Denison, Grayson County, TX
|----& William R. Gifford
|----b. 1876, Arkansas
|----m. 3 Aug 1903, Waxahachie, Texas
|--Absalom Bryson Floyd
|----b. 24 Feb 1876, Dallas County, TX
|----d. 22 May 1942, Welsh Community Hospital, Collinsville, Texas
|----& Lillie Mae Barley
|----b. 16 Apr 1876, West Virginia
|----d. 30 May 1964, Collinsville, Grayson, Texas
|----m. 20 Sep 1906
|--Lannie Angelina Floyd
|----b. 13 Jul 1878, Dallas County, TX
|----d. 29 Sep 1901
|----& Henry Burden
|----b. Aug 1874, Sparta, White, Tennessee
|----m. 1900
|--King David Floyd
|----b. 16 Feb 1880, Lancaster, Dallas County, TX
|----d. 16 Mar 1947, Seymour, Baylor County, Texas
|----& Maude Francis Davis
|----b. 3 May 1884, Hill County, Texas
|----d. 27 Feb 1958, Seymour, Baylor County, Texas
|----m. 20 Sep 1903, Dallas, TX
|--Elva Ann Floyd
|----b. 2 Dec 1881, Dallas County, TX
|----d. 11 Mar 1954, Chester Clinic, Dallas, Texas
|----& William H. Cutler
|----b. 4 Aug 1873, St. Louis, Missouri
|----d. 8 Aug 1928
|----m. 29 Dec 1903
|--Eula Amanda Floyd
|----b. 3 Sep 1883, Lancaster, Dallas County, TX
|----d. 9 Jun 1972, Torrance, CA
|----& Kirby Runion Moore
|----b. 29 Apr 1880, Lancaster, Dallas County, TX
|----d. 1 Oct 1950, Baylor County Hospital, Seymour, TX
|----m. 14 Nov 1907, Oak Cliff, Texas
|--Dona Irene “Donie” Floyd
|----b. 26 May 1885, Dallas County, TX
|----d. 16 Jun 1964, Clay County, Texas
|----& Samuel Boon Slayback
|----b. 8 Aug 1880, Dallas County, Texas
|----d. 3 May 1957, Clay County, Texas
|----m. 11 May 1910
|--George Washington Floyd
|----b. 21 Mar 1889, Lancaster, Dallas County, TX
|----d. 30 Nov 1969, Gresham, Oregon
|----& Grace M.
|----b. 28 Jun 1894, Arkansas
|----d. 5 Nov 1979, Los Angeles, California
|----& Harriet Josephine Hanawalt
|----b. 6 Nov 1897, Johnstown, Cambria, Pennsylvania
|----d. 20 Dec 1975, Grass Valley, Nevada
|----m. 1925

This is the family of my mother’s maternal grandparents; in the banner for this blog, Charles is shown in the second picture from the right and Angeline is shown in the second picture from the left. Their ninth child, my grandmother Eula Amanda Floyd, is shown in the middle picture with my grandfather Kirby Runion Moore.

Charles Floyd was the son of George Floyd and Nancy Finley. The article on Charles Augustus Floyd in the Memorial and Biographical History of Dallas County, Texas (Illustrated), Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois, 1892 includes the following information:

“Charles A. Floyd was eight years old when he came to Texas, and on his father’s frontier farm he was reared, receiving his education in the common schools. He remained with his parents until the breaking out of the late war, and in July 1861, he enlisted in Company F, Sixth Texas Cavalry, and served in the western army until the Battle of Corinth. He participated in the battle of Pea Ridge, Iuka and Corinth, and was taken prisoner. He then took the oath of allegiance and returned to his home, after being absent four years. He at once engaged in farming, and that occupation has since claimed his attention.

“January 13, 1867, Mr. Floyd was united in marriage with Miss Angelina E. Metlock, a native of Kentucky and a daughter of Absalom and Nancy Malvina (Harris) Metlock [Matlock], of that State. The Metlock [Matlock] family came to Texas in 1852 and settled near where Mr. Floyd now lives.”

Charles Floyd’s descendants believe that he is one of the two brothers referred to in the Floyd Family legend; he is the only brother known to have fought in the Civil War, although either or both Henry Oscar Floyd and David Harriet Floyd may also have served.

Charles Floyd was counted among the prosperous farmers of Dallas County, but in the 1880s he suffered severe financial troubles and lost a great deal of land in connection with his inability to meet the mortgage payment in one of his land deals. These problems may have contributed to his early death.

Although Charles and Angeline had eleven children, only six of them had children who survived childhood. Descendants of three of the siblings – Oscar Matlock, King David, and Eula Amanda – are in contact and share research with one another. We would be happy to share information with other descendants and Floyd researchers.

The following information is missing:

- A possible first wife for Oscar Matlock Floyd (the census indicates that Arsana was his second wife, and there were rumors that he married a Native American woman when he lived in Oklahoma).
- Dates of death for Joseph Boyd, William Gifford, and Henry Burden.
- The maiden name for George Washington Floyd’s first wife, Grace, and the date of their marriage.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Memory Monday: Teachers – Mrs. Delgado

For my next Memory Monday subject I have chosen teachers. While I may cover several teachers in some posts, in this post I am going to limit myself to my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Delgado. This was at Davidson Elementary School in San Bernardino, California.

My memories of kindergarten are fairly limited. After all, I was only 5-6 years old and, as is often the case for children when they first start school (we didn’t have preschool in those days), I caught every bug that came through and missed a lot of days. One of the big events of the school year was the Big Guppy Give-Away, which I described in my Memory Monday post on Pets.

Mrs. Delgado must have been a nice lady for the most part; at least, my mother liked her. Mom was especially happy when Mrs. Delgado made silhouettes of us to give our parents for Christmas. As I remember, I excelled at sitting still for that silhouette. Several of us had to go to speech class once or twice a week (I’m not sure, but I think in my case it was because my extreme shyness gave me a slight stutter and made it appear that my vocabulary was underdeveloped).

Naps rated low on the “like” list and finger-painting rated high. Painting with regular paints was somewhere in the middle range for popularity. It was soon to drop much lower than that in my estimation. Our class was split into groups and we rotated activities from day to day based on the group we were in. We were supposed to clean up after ourselves after each activity. One day, after cleaning up, we were getting ready to go outside when something suddenly seemed to be amiss. Mrs. Delgado was angry. What could be wrong? Apparently someone had knocked over a paint can in the trough by one of the easels and left a mess. Who had been painting at that easel? I had. But I knew that I had left it clean and hadn’t knocked anything over. If anything, I was overly fastidious about cleaning and believed that Mrs. Delgado knew this about me. She didn’t. She was heading my way. I made a quick scan of the room, trying to spot the guilty boy (in my 5-year-old girl mind, the culprit had to be a boy) who had turned the paint can over by accident (or possibly deliberately). Too late. Mrs. Delgado stopped in front of me, whipped out her accusatory finger, and started yelling at me. Her voice was shriller than I had ever heard it before and she seemed to loom over me; I felt very small. The other kids surrounded us, and the tongue-lashing seemed to last a long time. I do not remember what, if any, punishment followed; it was probably some sort of time-out.

My family moved to nearby Highland a couple of years later and I attended Warm Springs Elementary School there through sixth grade. When I was in sixth grade, some of us “big kids” were selected to help the kindergarten teachers wrangle the kindergartners during a school activity, possibly the May festival. The kindergarten classes were in a separate block of rooms and I had never paid attention to who the kindergarten teachers were. I was assigned to Mrs. Delgado’s class; she must have transferred to Warm Springs at some point. In sixth grade, at 5’3”, I was one of the tallest students in school. I walked into Mrs. Delgado’s class and noticed something I had never realized before: Mrs. Delgado was very short.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Our Donna

“My Donna.”

My 18-month-old daughter Bronwyn, nicknamed Bunny, was laying claim to her babysitter. She could be very possessive about some things, and about some people. This was one of those times.

Her dad and I tried to hide our smiles, which threatened to turn into laughter. When asked her name, she would reply firmly, “Bunny Moss-hoe-der” (her pronunciation of Mosholder, Donna’s last name). And we would laugh some more.

A couple of months after Bunny was born, I knew I had to do something that filled me with fear and dread: find a babysitter for my new baby daughter for when I had to return to work. I had no clue at first what I was looking for, but as I started to interview people it became clear to me what I hoped to find. Not someone with a spotless, sterile house and carefully organized activities, but a good, kind, generous, warm person with a genuine love of children. A person who was patient and loving and whose smile and laugh came from deep inside her.

When Donna welcomed us into her house that first time, she did not start the discussion with a list of rules, hours, and fees. She asked if she could hold Bunny. When I saw her holding and looking at Bunny, patiently trying different ways to soothe my colicky 3-month-old, I knew this was the one. As for the details, her house was neat and clean, but with just enough kid mess to show that real kids could and did live here and could do all the kid exploring and kid playing they wanted and needed to do. “We’re a family on the go,” she explained. “We go to school, to visit my parents, and to see friends and neighbors.” Donna did not refer to herself as a child-care provider but as a babysitter, so I followed her lead. Such an unpretentious title for a person who could be a wonder-worker when necessary.

Donna’s house was a hub of activity for her family, friends, and neighborhood. There was often a gaggle of teenaged girls who loved to hold babies, as well as another little girl that Donna took care of who became Bunny’s first playmate. There were Donna’s two sons Brian and Jason, who gave the little kids rides in their wagon and let them play with their Playmobil and Lego sets when they were old enough. There were her husband Butch, sister Vicki, and her parents who were the extended family that we did not have near us. This was not the frantic, pressured whirl of an overscheduled family, but a more relaxed, stop-visit-and-smell-the-flowers type of activity. It was this warm and affectionate environment that my daughter spent a good part of her early years in. I am convinced that this environment and especially Donna’s extraordinary character and personality shaped so many of the wonderful qualities that are evident in the young woman my daughter is today.

Donna remained a part of my daughter’s life as she grew up, although visits became less frequent when Donna and her family moved to West Virginia. Even then, she was one of the first people Bunny would notify about important events in her life. She would also seek her out when she was tired and stressed and just needed the comforting presence of Donna and her family. During her junior year in high school, she missed the first week of school when she came back from a summer program in Romania suffering from a severe bacterial infection. From the lingering physical effects, the extra efforts that had to be made to catch up, and the wear and tear of a grueling and rigorous academic schedule, Bunny was exhausted by the time Christmas vacation came around. “I have to go see Donna,” she told us. The days she spent at Donna’s house in West Virginia were the key to her final and complete recovery.

Donna died on March 3. I cannot begin to describe how this has affected her circle of family and friends. Donna lived life the way it is supposed to be lived, and she was so vibrant a personality and so full of life that it is impossible to imagine her otherwise. My daughter described her as “the most unselfish person I have ever known.” She has left a wonderful legacy with all the people she has touched, but it is still so hard for all of us to let her go. I do know that some day we will be able to truly celebrate her life without tears. I owe her more than I can ever say.

Good-bye, Donna. We love you.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Memory Monday: Pets, Part 2

When I was in kindergarten one of my classmates had some guppies, or at least they had a male and female guppy, because those guppies did what guppies do, and soon there were quite a few guppies. So, one day in class for those interested we had a drawing for the baby guppies. There were estimated to be about 20-25 guppies and there were about 28 kids in the class.

Everyone was interested. We drew numbers. My number was 26. I stood off to the side with the other “no luck” kids as those with numbers 1 through 25 lined up to get their guppies. After Number 25 got his guppy, I heard the teacher say, “Oops, there’s one more guppy in here.” My guppy!

I named him Sylvester. For a tiny guy, there was a lot of work involved in taking care of him. Feeding was easy enough, but his aquarium had to be cleaned often and thoroughly. It was of course my mother who took care of this. But when there was a death in her family she had to go stay with relatives for a few days, so my Dad, brother, and I were left to “batch it” alone. Mom left strict instructions on how to take care of ourselves, Trina, and Sylvester. Well, Dad and Don did pretty well on most counts. They fed Sylvester. But fish do not live by fish flakes alone, and … the inevitable happened.

When I was in sixth grade my parents came home with a little white kitten. They had gone to a party at a restaurant downtown and found the kitten scampering around outside. This was in a commercial district where there were no apartments or private homes nearby. My parents brought him home. I named him Robespierre, Robes for short. Robes, Trina, and Pierre ended up being playmates. Well, the play mostly amounted to play fighting, but it truly was play: the dogs did not clamp down with their teeth and Robes never extended his claws. They would simply grab hold of one another and roll around and around. And when any one of them had to spend some time at the vet, the other two would pine around for the missing one.

The next addition to our menagerie was our parakeet George. We inherited George when his elderly owner, a friend of our family, died. George loved to talk and he loved to snuggle up to his alter ego in the mirror. Robes never took any real interest in George, and for that we were grateful.

My final childhood animal friend was another cat. I was in high school and my mother and I were living in Seymour, Texas. One cold and rainy night I heard meowing outside, and when I looked out our front door, I saw a little black kitten huddled up on our porch, trying to keep out of the rain. It was one of those “I just want to bring him in out of the rain and maybe feed him tonight” moments with my mother, but of course that was not the end of it. We named him Rebus; I can’t remember why, but perhaps it was because it sounded like Robes. He was my buddy and my confidante and helped me get through various episodes of high school angst, even when I became indignant at his brazen attempt to eat all the icing on my birthday cake one year.

A house does not feel like a home to me without animal family members. My husband feels the same way, although he was raised in an animal-free household due to severe family allergies, not the least of all his own. Our daughters have mild to medium allergies where animals with fur are concerned; I alone have none. However, cats do not seem to cause too severe a reaction in anyone here, so that is what we have and have had for some years. Our younger daughter in particular has always had a bad case of “Can I bring it home?” Neither daughter minds the idea of having furry siblings. We all understand that while we dearly love our human family, it is always great to have someone to come home to who will never judge you. And that is a family member who just happens to be an animal.

Brothers and Sisters: Louis Boone, Elizabeth Anne “Doll,” and Ambert Hatler Brinlee

The word prompt for the 11th Edition of Smile For The Camera is brothers & sisters? Were they battling brothers, shy little sisters, or was it brother & sister against the world? Our ancestors often had only their siblings for company. Were they best friends or not? Show us that picture that you found with your family photographs or in your collection that shows your rendition of brothers & sisters. Bring them to the carnival and share. Admission is free with every photograph!

Pictured above are three of my grandfather Lawrence Carroll Brinlee’s older half-siblings: from left to right, Louis Boone Brinlee (1882-1957), Elizabeth Anne “Doll” Brinlee (1866-1950), and Ambert Hatler Brinlee (1878-1964). You may remember “Doll” from my last Smile for the Camera entry; she was one of the two lovely young ladies in enormous hats in Smile for the Camera: Doll Brinlee and Nina Pounds. Doll, Bert, and Louis were three of the eight children of my great-grandfather Hiram Carroll “Dink” Brinlee, Jr. and his first wife, Diza Caroline Boone, a great-granddaughter of Daniel Boone. My grandfather was the oldest child of Hiram and Susan Elizabeth “Lizzie” Smith Bonner Brinlee. My uncle says that he was always very fond of his half-brother Louis.

I love the smiles on the three siblings’ faces in this photograph, the somewhat self-conscious stance of the two men, the disparity in height between Louis and Ambert, and most of all the family resemblance – you did notice those ears, didn’t you?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Saturday Night Fun: Confessions of a True Genealogy Junkie

Check out Randy Seaver’s latest at Genea-Musings: Saturday Night Fun - True Confessions of a Genealogy Junkie and some of the fascinating responses on Geneabloggers.

1. When did you start genealogy research?

In 2005, like the header says.

2. Why did you start doing research?

The process is described in my series Getting Hooked on Genealogy, but in a nutshell: I googled my maiden name Brinlee, found out that that the old family legends on that side were true; took out a family genealogy on my mother’s side and had success in searching those names; made some new discoveries and there was no turning back.

3. What was your first big success in research?

Finding my great-grandfather Harlston Perrin Moore.

4. What is your biggest genealogy regret?

Not listening to stories and asking questions when my grandmothers, parents, aunts, and uncles were alive.

5. What are you best known for in the genealogy world?


6. What is your professional status in genealogy?


7. What is your biggest genealogy achievement?

Umm, finding my great-great-great grandfather Samuel Moore and my great-grandmother Martha Lewis’ family. And on the Moore side getting Moore researchers together from both the Bud Mathis Moore and William Spencer Moore lines (Samuel’s two sons).

8. What is the most FUN you've had doing genealogy?

The social aspect: e-mailing, Facebooking, and talking on the telephone with 1st through 5th cousins and my Uncle Bill, and all the genea-blogging fun. The discoveries are a close second, though.

9. What is your favorite genealogy how-to book?

Whatever the latest one I’ve bought but not read yet happens to be.

10. What notable genealogist would you like to meet someday?

I’d love to get together with any and all of the Geneabloggers, but would especially like to meet Ernie Margheim of Ernie’s Journeys.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Celebrate Your Name Week: My Name Badge

I have sort of been trying to participate in Celebrate Your Name Week this week but have been only partially successful. Today as I was reading GenBlog by Julie, I was admiring her virtual name tag and it suddenly occurred to me - I have at least a couple of really neat name tags that I could scan. I am featuring my favorite one of all time; it was done by an artist friend of mine, Hannah Shapero, for me to wear at a science fiction convention (the venerable Boskone, for anyone out there who follows science fiction conventions) waaaay back in the days when we were in grad school together. The cat is my cat Fred, who lived in my dorm room with me and looked exactly as he is depicted on the badge. I never got in trouble because the RA had her own pet, a lovely rabbit in the same beautiful orange and white colors as Fred. The building custodian, Archie, never turned me in, either, even though he would see Fred in my window from time to time; I think he also got a kick out of Fred and besides, I bribed him with Hershey's Candy Kisses. My other really nifty name tag also features Fred, but in a Dr. Who motif: the Tardis is in the background and Fred is wearing a Dr. Who scarf. Fred was a master of the Silent Meow, and when he did talk, it sounded like "Meep, meep!"

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Fairfax Genealogical Society: Surname Distribution

This week’s blogging prompt is: Talk about highlights and events from your local genealogy society. I had hoped to address this subject by writing about my visit on Tuesday, arranged and sponsored by the Fairfax Genealogical Society, to the National Archives and Records Administration. Unfortunately, snow and cold happened in the Washington, D.C. area and so the field trip did not happen.

So, I decided to write instead about the presentation given at our last Society meeting on 26 February: Surname Distribution, delivered by Leslie Dalley Bouvier. (And this is another twofer, since this is also Celebrate Your Name Week, which I am using as an excuse to talk about names in general.) Leslie spoke about how to use surname distribution in our research and provided some names and locations of both ready-made surname distribution maps and fee-based services. These include Ancestry, which will fill in the maps based on federal censuses if you input the name (the different services use different databases to compile the maps). In Ancestry, you can do these maps in the Learning Center section under Facts About Your Surname: Name Distribution. I did find, however, that they appear to be available only for the 1840, 1880, and 1920 censuses.

Leslie suggested two main uses for these maps: (1) An interesting illustration to add to reports on family research, and (2) a way to get ideas for where to start searching for a difficult family line, adding the caveat that the maps’ usefulness for number (2) would depend on how many different data points were used and the accuracy of the transcription of the names. She also suggests that a researcher compare surnames, including those of ancestors’ neighbors, over time to ascertain whether they might have followed similar migration paths.

This in turn brought up an issue that I have been aware of since getting heavily involved in family research: common names versus uncommon names. For my own research, I have found that the less common names in my family lines have tended to be the ones that have been the subject of the most research/most intensive research, and I think this is because their uniqueness makes it easier to track them and distinguish related versus unrelated lines. And since I choose to research the least researched lines, this means that the main names I am researching are Moore and Lewis, with Smith as my great brick wall. This does not mean that I neglect my Brinlee and Highsmith lines, but I know that a lot of good research has already been done on them and I’ll be filling in the holes (such as the Brinlee trials for murder). So this somewhat limits the usefulness of surname distribution maps in my research.

On the other hand, I have to admit that there are exceptions to this “rule,” which is not really a rule but simply a general trend in the anecdotal evidence that I have. For instance, on my husband’s lines, which are all mid- to late nineteenth century immigrant lines, European surname distribution maps would probably be helpful. One of the brick walls I am having trouble with for his family is Fichtelman(n), which isn’t a common name. This may be a common occurrence for more recent European immigrants, since tracking ancestors back to Europe is usually more difficult, no matter how common or uncommon the name is. And the likelihood of these names being misspelled, especially the uncommon ones, increases that difficulty. So I will probably be using this tool for some of the names in my husband’s family: Koehl, Fichtelmann, Lochner, Terrana, Davi, D’Arco, and Terzo, though perhaps not for Greenberg. And I’ll give Leslie’s tip on the neighbor names a try for my “common name” ancestors.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Celebrate Your Name Week: Most and Least Poetic Names

I’m going to stray a little bit from the schedule for Celebrate Your Name Week. (And thanks to Janet the Researcher for finding this!) Later I’ll get around to my name, but since this is a genealogy blog I thought I would introduce a little game I’ve played mentally since I started genealogy: What is the most poetic sounding name (or most beautiful or most impressive, if you wish) in your genealogy database and what is the least poetic sounding (ugliest, silliest, etc.) name?

This was inspired by my reaction to new names I would encounter as I discovered new ancestors and families. Men’s names particularly intrigued me since so many of them now seem old-fashioned: Hiram, Absalom, Micajah (“Cage”), Elmore, Josephus (“Seaf”), Algernon, Lycurgus, Buford (wait, that’s a living cousin – oops), and also more recently, Girlie. And how many of you smile in recognition when you see the initials “MDL” in the slot for the first name on the census – that’s Marquis de Lafayette, thank you very much. The name may assume a different incarnation on other censuses: Marcus, Fayette, or Fate. And then there are odd spellings based on pronunciation: my great-grandfather Hiram shows up a couple of times as “Harm.”

Finally, there is my nominee for most amusing combination of names in my database: Pauline Martha Goodnight married Clarence Clifton Knight and became Pauline Goodnight Knight.

So what do I consider the most and least poetic names in my database so far? Most poetic so far I would say is Hopestill Hathaway – alliterative, rhythmic, and intriguing. Least? Ebenezer Blatchley (with William Sugg a runner-up – my apologies to all Suggs).

Who was I named for? My mother, sort of – my names were chosen to give me the same initials. I was given the same middle name as she had and the pool of possible first names was limited to “G” names, since her real first name was Grace (though she was usually called “Mandy”). My parents made no final decision until I was born, when it was decided that I looked like a Greta.

Greta was not a great name to have as a child (I’ll confess that I like it just fine as an adult, though). There always had to be at least one brilliant rhymester who would come up with the same rhyme: “Greta, spaghetta, your meatballs are redda.”

So of course I spared my daughters from unusual names. Not. Their names are even less common than Greta. I’m with the Guy Named Sue – it builds character!

(Note added later - Greta comes from Margaret/Margarita/Margarete, which is supposed to mean "pearl," I think.]

Monday, March 2, 2009

Memory Monday: Pets, Part 1

I had to think a bit about the subject of this week’s Memory Monday, the animal companions of my childhood. As an adult, I have had cats since graduate school (I used to smuggle my cat Fred out of my graduate dorm room in Conant Hall when I would go to visit the family of a friend on the weekends). And yet, my husband and I have had a total of only eight cats (he is too allergic to dogs for us to have one) and one lizard, and three of the cats are still alive, so that’s easy enough to remember. Remembering all of the pets of my childhood takes a little more work.

I know when I was very young my older brother Don had a dog named Buster; he had yellowish-colored fur and may have been a shepherd-retriever mix. Buster must have been with us when we lived on Lankershim Street in Highland, California for the first time (age two to four for me). Then we moved to Pico Street in San Bernardino for about three years (ages four to seven) and we did not have him then, so he must have died. Some time directly before or after the move Trina came into our lives.

Trina was one of the sweetest-natured dogs I have ever known. That was not always the first impression she made on new acquaintances, however, or even on people such as the mailman on her 2nd or 3rd or 354th encounter with him. Trina needed to be introduced, not formally, but she needed to get to know a person in our presence. If we were relaxed, so was she. Similarly, while she would bark (never growl) at people who came to our door, as soon as we opened the door and said hello the barking stopped. No need to say, “Hush, Trina.” Until that point, however, I guess she looked pretty fierce to people. She was a German shepherd, and was pure white until she was about two years old, when a black spot appeared on her tail.

We all adored Trina to pieces, but Trina was my brother’s dog. She listened with one ear always cocked to hear his approach. During family time – conversations, TV watching, arguments, or whatever – she always watched to see what his reaction would be. She decided at one point that she was going to help out with the family chores, and her chore was to bring the laundry hanging on the line out back to dry into the house. Everyone else’s laundry got dragged through whatever was on the ground in the back yard, but my brother’s jeans were always brought up the concrete walk in pristine condition.

Trina was an “only dog” for about two years, when my brother informed my mother that the family a friend of his had adopted an adorable poodle and there were still littermates available. I don’t know what penetrated my mother’s usually strong defenses against undertaking the additional responsibility of another pet, but she and my brother returned one day with Pierre. I think it may have been that my mother wanted a “prestige” dog. His full registered name was Brinlee’s Count Yves Pierre. My father, brother, and I all snickered in secret over this unwieldy and pretentious monicker. In fact, my father bestowed on Pierre the nickname he would end up answering to – “Hounddog.” “Come on, Hounddog, it’s time to go to work” – and Pierre would joyously follow my father out to his pickup truck and go with my father to whatever construction site he was work at that day (my father was a carpenter and later a general contractor). Often on the way home the two would stop for ice cream; my dad would buy Pierre his own scoop of vanilla ice cream to lick. Pierre could have been a pampered and prissy pooch, but he was not. He was my father’s Hounddog.

Pierre loved to go anywhere in the car, and he knew what he had to get first before he could go – his leash. Whenever he heard the drawer open in which his leash was kept, he came running, his tail wagging so hard that he looked as though he were doing some sort of crazy poodle version of the Twist. “Get your leash!” we would laugh, and he would jump up, put his paws on the side of the drawer, get the leash out with his mouth and then force it into our hands. He could travel short distances quite well, but when we tried a longer distance – the trip to visit Grandma Brinlee in Texas – the results were disastrous at first. We learned that he needed to sit in the front seat, and then all was well.

I remember when Pierre would come back from the groomer, all clean and clipped in that poodle way, even with the little pom on the tail, and how fast that little pom-topped tail could wag – a sight that would wipe the sad or mad right out of you. When he was shaggy and dirty, he knew he could not jump on the furniture and he wouldn’t. When he had just come from the groomer, he knew he could and he would.

I regret to say that my family was not enlightened (at least not at the beginning) about spaying and neutering pets, and so Trina and Pierre “got married” a couple of times before we took the proper measure to prevent it. So there were two litters of German poodles/French shepherds, nine pups in the first and seven in the second, all born in my playhouse. We found homes for all but one of the female puppies from the second litter, so we kept her and named her Butch. Butch was with us for three years, but became ill and had to be put to sleep. This was my first experience with the death of a pet.

Trina and her pups

Trina and Pierre watch as I take care of the pups

We moved back to our house on Lankershim Street when I was about seven. Lankershim was a street of many dogs. And those dogs had two vocal times of day: late at night before bedtime and early in the morning when things were starting up for the day and dogs were being let out of their houses and going for walks. It was a communal thing; they had to talk for about half an hour, then all would be quiet again. But we had one neighbor (the father of the boy who took my Halloween candy) who worked until late at night, and the morning round of barking drove him crazy. At first he would knock on the doors of the dog families and yell at them. The usual response was to bring the dog in, but of course the barking would continue because there were still so many dogs outside. Then dogs started to die; they had all been poisoned. One day my mother found Pierre having convulsions. She got him into the vet just in time and he was saved. He was found to have swallowed a piece of poisoned meat. Months later, Trina disappeared. We found her after a couple of days; she had crawled under some old machinery in our back yard. My father knew immediately what had happened. He stalked off to the house of the suspected poisoner. He would not talk when he returned home. Desperate to find out what had happened, I eavesdropped on my parents’ whispered conversation later that evening. That was the first time I heard the expression “punched his lights out.”

Part 2 next week (I hope).

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Henry Oscar Floyd

Henry Oscar Floyd, my great-grandfather Charles Augustus Floyd’s younger brother, was the middle son of George Floyd and Nancy Finley. Of their five sons, I know the least about Henry Oscar (though David comes close, but at least I have some information on his wife and descendants). The sum total of information that I and other researchers have on him amounts to the following:

1. Two census records:

1850 US Census, Dallas County, Texas, 27 Nov 1850

268 274 George Floid 39 M Farmer $500 VT
Nancy 34 F Ill
David H. 13 M Ill
Charles 9 M Ill
Henry O. 7 M Ill
Biankin 4 M Ill
Alford 1 M Ill

1860 US Federal Census Precinct No. 7, Dallas County, Texas, 26 Jun 1860

369 369 George Floyd 52 M Farmer $2160 $1185 Vermont
Nancy 46 F Ill
Chas C. 20 M Ill
Henry O. 19 M Ill
Caswell 15 M Ill
Alford 12 Ill

2. One family Bible entry; according to Eunice Sandling: “The family bible lists his birth in Greene County, Illinois and death spring of 1862 in Scott County Illinois.”

3. One line from the Memorial and Biographical History of Dallas County, Texas (Chicago, Illinois: 1892, Lewis Publishing Company): “Oscar, who died in Illinois during the war, aged nineteen.”

And that’s it. Now the big question is: What was he doing in Scott County, Illinois, in 1862? Henry was the right age to have joined up to fight in the war. I tend to go with 1843 as the year of birth, which is indicated by the 1850 census and the Memorial and Biographical History of Dallas County blurb. I do not think that he is in the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System; there are a number of Henry Floyds (no Oscar Floyds), but they do not appear to be from the right states. There was one Henry S. Floyd who served from Illinois, but if I remember correctly, he did not match up with my guy (Henry S. was born in Kentucky, I believe – this is a good argument for carefully recording all negative search results and putting them in a place where you can find them). To completely rule all the other Henry Floyds out, I will probably have to look each one up (as well as the O. Floyds and H. Floyds) in Footnote.

Henry Oscar Floyd was born in Greene County, Illinois (near or actually in the part that is now Jersey County) and I know there were still Floyd relatives living there at the time in question (at the least, the family of his uncle Henry Floyd, the brother of his father George Floyd, and most likely Finley relatives as well). Did Henry go north to join up with Union forces, something which might have had a part in the formation of the Floyd Family Legend? Or did he fight as a Confederate and end up in a prisoner of war camp? The nearest one was in Alton, Madison County, which is in the general vicinity of Greene, Jersey, and Scott counties, and I am not taking Scott County as the location where he died as an irrefutable truth. Did he go up to stay with relatives in the area? The interesting thing is that neither the Bible entry nor the article mentions that he fought for either side; perhaps if he was on the Union side or left to avoid having to fight, this was a matter of shame in the family?

Charles Augustus Floyd named his first son Oscar. I have noticed a relevant naming pattern among my ancestors during the period following the Civil War: the oldest surviving brother who had sons born after the war would name them after brothers who died in the war. This pattern appears in the Moore, Lewis, and Floyd branches (no Brinlee brothers died in the war). So whatever Henry Oscar did during the war, he appears to have remained in his family’s affections.

Some day I plan to take a genealogy field trip out to Greene County, Illinois and visit one or two of the adjacent counties while I’m there to do some Floyd and Finley research. I hope that between Footnote (and possibly other online resources) and that field trip I will find out more about Henry Oscar Floyd.

A Paradox, a Paradox, a Most Ingenious Paradox

Randy Seaver's latest Saturday night/Sunday morning fun at Genea-Musings is to find ancestors who were born or married on 29 February, Leap Year day. I ran a search for 29 Feb in my genealogy program, Reunion, using the "Find Anything" option under the Find menu (Reunion does not appear to have a separate find function for dates), and it came up with a list of five hits: one date of birth, three dates of death, and one date of burial:

Last Name First & Mid Name Birth Date Birth Place Death Date

Hodson Vera Louise 29 Feb 1992
Lewis William B. 31 Aug 1875 South Carolina 27 Feb 1928
(buried on 29 Feb 1928)
Osborne Florence Belzora 29 Feb 1884 Callihan, McMullen Co., Texas
Rice George Washington 14 Oct 1870 Arkansas 29 Feb 1948
Sullivan Haskell Clayton 3 Aug 1907 29 Feb 1996

(All of the above persons married into my family lines except for William B. Lewis, who is a first cousin twice removed.)

I am still in the process of inputting research into my genealogy program, so it does not include nearly all the family lines that I am aware of and I did not expect to get any hits, so before running the search, I looked up the lyrics to "A Paradox" from Gilbert and Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance:


For some ridiculous reason, to which, however, I’ve no desire to be disloyal,
Some person in authority, I don’t know who, very likely the Astronomer Royal,
Has decided that, although for such a beastly month as February,
twenty-eight days as a rule are plenty,
One year in every four his days shall be reckoned as nine and twenty.
Through some singular coincidence – I shouldn’t be surprised if it were owing to the
agency of an ill-natured fairy –
You are the victim of this clumsy arrangement, having been born in leap-year,
on the twenty-ninth of February;
And so, by a simple arithmetical process, you’ll easily discover,
That though you’ve lived twenty-one years, yet, if we go by birthdays,
you’re only five and a little bit over!

Ruth and King:

Ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha!
Ho! ho! ho! ho!


Dear me!
Let’s see! (counting on fingers)
Yes, yes; with yours my figures do agree!

Ruth and King:

Ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha! ha!


How quaint the ways of Paradox!
At common sense she gaily mocks!
Though counting in the usual way,
Years twenty-one I’ve been alive.
Yet, reckoning by my natal day,
Yet, reckoning by my natal day,
I am a little boy of five!