Problems in Census Records

Do you sometimes have trouble reading census records? Census records are invaluable for genealogy research but sometimes they can be difficult to read, especially we the census taker had bad hand writing.  But we should remember the difficulties met by census takers.  I ran across the following and thought I’d share:

Census takers have a lot of trouble obtaining information – The Texas 1850 Federal Census schedule, Volume 3, written by H. Swaringen, Asst. Marshall, 23 October 1850 contains this note written by the census taker.
“I certify these to be sixty-four pages and a piece of the inhabitants and done as near in accordance with my oath as I could do it. The people was hard to get along with!”

Ever wonder why the census never makes sense??
Ocupayshun, cencus taker:
” I am a cencus taker for the city of Bufflow. our city has groan very fast in recent yeers & now in 1865, it has become a hard & time consuming job to count all the peephill. There are not many that con do this werk, as it is nesessaree to have an ejucation, wich a lot of pursons don not hav. Anuther atribeart needed for this job is gud speling, for meny of the peephill to be counted can hardle speek Inglish, let alon spel there names!”

Submitted by member Mark Reid

Query: McDowell

Jeannie Waggoner called on Jan 8, 2013, asking for information for a friend she had known about 8 years.  The friend’s name is Sandra Lee Mcdowell, a retired school teacher who doesn’t know when or where she was born.  Her sister, Vicki Lynn Mcdowell, was born in Finley, Ohio and never married.  “Sandy” thinks she may have been born in Michigan, but she doesn’t have a birth certificate.  Also, Sandy doesn’t do computers.  She apparently was married before, I don’t know if he died or they divorced, but she has 3 children, two daughters and one son.  Sandra’s current husband was Michael Taylor and they married in Midland-Odessa.  Jeannie never knew that Sandra had the son until Michael’s funeral in early December.  One daughter used to live in Longview.  The son’s name is David and lives on Oregon, Sandra went to college in Oregon.  Sandra’s father was John Mcdowell and her mother was Mariam Gertrude Bennett.  Someone was born Nov 4, 1941. With this information, I will attempt to find everything I can for Jeannie to help her friend.  I asked if it was possible since Sandra was a retired schoolteacher that there should have been some kind of documents when she got her teacher’s degree.  Jeannie (my friend) and I thought that not knowing any more about your early life is very unusual.  I asked could it have been possible that she had had a stroke.  I went to Ancestry and found an obituary on Michael from the Midland newspaper but my computer wouldn’t bring it up. I thought if nothing else it might have some names of survivors. We’ll see what we can find.     

            At the library and on Ancestry I found the obituary for Michael Taylor. The only survivors named were his wife, Sandra Taylor of Mineola, his mother Cleo Rae Taylor of Odessa, a son Ryan Taylor of Denver City, daughter, Myia Dale Scott of Odessa and 4 grandchildren.  He had died on Nov. 29 in Mineola and this obit was published in the Odessa American on December 1, 2012.

            Also on Ancestry I found Sandra Mcdowell in U.S. School Yearbooks along with a picture of her.  According to this report her estimated birth year was about 1939, and she was age 20 when this picture was made.  The school was Northern Pontiac High School in Pontiac, Michigan, and the year was 1959.  The title of the yearbook was “Avalanche”.  It’s possible that this picture is the Sandra Mcdowell we’re looking for and the approximate birth date is 1939.  With that information, assuming she was born in Michigan, we can write the Michigan state capital and (maybe) get a birth certificate. 

            I also found a 1930 U.S. Census placing John D. Mcdowell in Michigan.  He was single then, living with his father Thomas G. Mcdowell, who was born in Michigan, and his mother Katherine A. Mcdowell, who was born in Pennsylvania.  His siblings named were Thomas M., Lucile , John D. (Sandra’s father), Donald M. , Dorothy M., and 2 others who may have been boarders or relatives living with the family.  Their names were Helen J. Hamilton and Miles D. Hamilton.

            I called Jeannie on Jan. 16 and told her what I had found.  She said several people agreed that Sandra might have had a stroke but she didn’t want to do anything.  I suggested she have it checked because it might just be the first and doctors can use blood thinners and other drugs to prevent them.  I am sending Jeannie the information that I have found along with the picture and if this lady is the one in the picture she or one of us could contact the school or the state records department in Lansing, Michigan to get more information.  

            If this information is not correct, we can use any of these names to further our search.

Jeannie Waggoner’s email is jwaggon10@aol.com.

Submitted by Shirley Bates, Genealogy Research

Query: Wood

A new society member, Sharon Swindler, has furnished us with the following query about her Wood family:

My mother was born in Quitman and was the daughter of Alonzo Church Wood, Jr. and Catherine McReynolds Wood. I think I may have met Miss Ona Wood when I was a child. I am interested in getting copies of her written history of the Wood family and ancestors. I would want to include the McReynolds and Gunstream families. This week I checked the Wood County Genealogical Society’s web page and found some of Miss Ona Wood’s writing about the family. Is that available to members.
Sharon Swindler, 2678 Imperial Ridge Drive, Loveland, CO 80537, grandmasha@aol.com

Query: Bevel

I have recently acquired a metal box full of old papers dating back to 1938 through 1944. It includes letters, receipts, bills, and cotton books. It appears to have belonged to J. L. Bevel who lived in Odonnel, Texas and Seminole, Texas. My Dad recycled metal and acquired lots of items that would be inside things that he bought to recycle. This metal box containing these papers was in with my Dad’s things. I am wondering if  Mr Bevel or some of his family might have lived in this area and that’s how the box wound up with my Dad. I thought that maybe some of your genealogy members might have heard of or known someone in the Bevel family. Surely they would want this to come back to the family if they became aware of it’s existence. Hoping that someone can help find someone in the Bevel family.     Thanks,   Linda Martin
To contact Linda, you may email Shirley Patrick at  shp1945@gmail.com. Thanks to Shirley for sharing this query with the Bulletin.
Linda

Query: Coke, Little Hope

My name is Emily Stehr.  I currently live in Rhineland, Germany.  My husband works for the US Federal Government.  I am researching a book on interesting place names.  I am interested in the history of Coke and Little Hope in Wood County, TX.  My book’s focus is on the stories behind place names.  Any information you could provide on these place name births would be greatly appreciated.  Please feel free to forward this email to anyone who can assist me in my research.

Thx!  Emily Stehr emilystehr@hotmail.com
P.s.  My mailing address is CMR 469 Box 1504, APO, AE 09227, if you need to snail mail info to me.  Thx!
Ed: Thanks to Delene Allen for sharing this request for the Bulletin.

 

Y. M. B. L. Formed at Alba – 1922

Y. M. B. L. Formed at Alba.

Special to The News.

Alba, Texas, Aug. 10 – The young men of Alba have organized a Young Men’s Business League. The following officers were elected: Thurman Clayton, president; B. H. Wooten, first vice president; Roy Glazner, second vice president; Everette DeWitt, third vice president; T. M. Reavley, secretary; Ralph Hopkins, treasurer; L. W. Reavley, reporter; directors, F. R. McCollum, Wilbur Reneau, J. C. Patton, Troy Holmes, D. Brookshier and Payton McKnight. Dallas Morning News, Friday, August 11, 1922, Section: Two, Page: Twelve, GenealogyBank.com

WCGSTX February 2013 Calendar-of-Events

>18 (Monday)
5:00 p.m. — Social time at Peralta’s Mexican Restaurant, Quitman
6:00 p.m. — Time to offer or seek help with genealogy for members and the general public and/or to use the laptops to go online and search databases. We meet at the Quitman Public Library.
7:00 p.m. — Regular monthly meeting at the Quitman Public Library featuring another Wood County community.
>21 (Thursday)
10 a.m. – noonFREE genealogical research workshop at the Mineola Memorial Library at Mineola, Texas from 10 a.m. until noon. The workshop will provide an opportunity to use computers to aid in genealogical research. Researchers will be able to access Heritage Quest and Ancestry.com. Included in the workshop will be a short session on getting started with one’s research.

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