Friday, March 12, 2010

Williamson County Archive Photos and other Bunny Trails

WOW! Has it really been over a month since I have blogged this? I don't know if it is a good reason, but I do have reason. I have been learning much about Texas Resources and where to go looking for records. When you do genealogy for over 30 years, you think you have been down all the paths and then some. But as evident this past weekend I am still finding paths I have not been down.

So let me me give you some background on my Moore family that has escaped me for 30 years. In 1977 I began my search for my ancestors. At 18 I had just moved to Salt Lake City, and one of my roommates was a genealogist which I had no clue what that meant. She said, "I'll show you" and took me to work with her the day next and turned me over to a volunteer at the then Genealogy Library now Family History Library. I was given a Pedigree and all I knew on my Moore line was my father and grandfather's names and they were both born in Texas. They had the same name and were a Jr. and Sr. I started by looking in the 1880 census and my grandfather was not there as I would learn he was born in 1884 in Texas. When the 1900 census became available, I found my grandfather with his four siblings living with their grandparents. Thus the confusion couldn't be that Richard Forehand was the father of the children's mother, he was a step grandfather. It would be thirty years to figure out this family. I was grateful to learn I was not the only one tripped up by my mysterious Virginia Forehand.

I would learn that the parents, Jack and Minverva Moore, died when the oldest child was 11 and the youngest was 4 years old. As the children became of age they all went North one by one and then went their separate ways. One by one I was able to find the five children, which brings me to this past weekend. Nathaniel Jackson Moore, Jack to family and friends, was the second of the five children, but the last one to be researched because he had the most common name.

My research led me to his WWI Draft Registration card in Montana. 1920 found him in a logging camp and then he seemed to have disappeared. A kind lady in the FHC in Round Rock found a death record for him in the Montana Death Index. Then things got interesting. Jack died in Great Falls, Montana and so then I began to search the city directories. First of all his name was varied, sometimes listed as Jack Moore, N Jackson Moore, Jack N Moore, Nathaniel Moore....take your pick. But in 1944 there was Georgia in the same household. Prior to this I had only found him as single. Once again I searched for Jack in the 1930 census and finally found him listed as Cack N Moore. There with him was Georgia, listed as HIS SISTER! He had one sister, Ellen and I had never seen any Georgia before. But I was determined to figure out who Georgia was. Panic attack 1!

I went back to the probate and land records of Williamson County to see if maybe I missed something somewhere. In my searching the land records, I found another brother (half brother) with a wife named Lizzie. LIZZIE!! Who the heck is Lizzie and where did she come from? Panic attack 2! At this point I became very overwhelmed and broke down a bit. For over thirty years I have searched this family and was ready to tie them up and all of a sudden here were two more people I had to figure out who they were. It was almost like these two ancestors said "Oh no don't forget about us!!" They couldn't have shown up 30 years ago? Man talk about procrastination!

On Monday in the Georgetown Texas Library, I went in search of marriage records for Williamson County Texas. Honestly I doubted I was going to find anything, but picked up a Marriage Record book, sat it on the table and it opened to the page that read Arthur L Moore and Lizzie Westbrook. I'll be danged! He did have a first marriage to Lizzie before moving north and settling in Minnesota.

I sent the information on Georgia to my genealogy friend, and she did a bit more basic research. Then on Tuesday in the FHC we got together and three of us discussed Georgia. Georgia had been married to a Joseph Martin and had two children. But for whatever reason, we think Georgia was never divorced and therefore could not marry Jack. So when the census taker came around, she answered the questions and said she was his sister. SHE LIED!! One day her and I are going to have a heart to heart talk about this and the tailspin she sent me on.

I also put a message on the Ancestry board for Cascade County, Montana and a nice lady Kathie found his obituary and posted it for me. When I read it, my heart so ached for this family. The children grew up on a cotton plantation in Taylor, Texas. They were very much the socialites of Taylor as they were always listed as a guest at someone's party. But with each child as I have learned more about them, they also suffered many hardships. Ellen was the oldest and was responsible for the siblings and also buried 2 of her 4 brothers. Jack who was the second oldest was found dead in his room. This broke my heart, as he had been there at least a day before he was found. His beloved Georgia preceded him in death. My grandfather Vernon, lost his oldest daughter when his wife Grace's raincoat was caught in the bus door, and she fell with her 12 day old daughter. She died soon after. Bell, had moved to NH early in his life, never to see him brothers again. He was able to see his nephew Claude who was coming for a boy scout trip, and that was the first time he had ever see his nephew or any of his family. Grady the baby of the family, died at young age in his 30's. Still searching for his obituary and some details of his life.

Through this all I have gained such a respect and love for my family. Nothing was known about this family, and somehow I have managed to find pictures and records so we can learn who they all were. Which brings me to today at the Georgetown Library. The nice librarian that was here and I were talking about photographs when I mentioned I would need to make plans to go to the Williamson County Historical Society and he said, "Have you checked our photos?" He was so gracious to show me where the link is to the photos online! Thank you Robert and Georgetown Library!!! I bet you all want the link too don't you? Okay here you go!

So with that, I wish you all Good Luck and hope you find a picture of your ancestor! I found a Professor Moore at Southwestern University. Now I need to see who Professor Moore is!

Photo courtesy of Georgetown Public Libary.

Happy Hunting Fellow Genealogy Sleuthers.....POOF! Gone till next time!

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