Thursday, October 21, 2010

Breaking through Brick Walls Part 6: Descendancy Research

Finding Current Descendants Part II

I am told quite often I am “lucky” when it comes to finding long lost cousins and those we do not know existed. Luck is not part of my life, I feel it comes from doing some good detective work and like anything else takes know how and practice. In genealogy we always start from what we know and that is what I have done. With finding both my THENNES and MAKOSKY cousins I started with what I knew; the surname and the hometown.

I had searched for the MAKOSKY’S before but could not find them on Facebook. I started with my four cousin’s names and they are not on Facebook, but one of the wives are. Did I know their wives names? No, but I was able to piece information together to find what I needed to find them.

The first place I went to was Zabasearch is not a database but a search engine that goes out looking for public record and compiles them into a list for you that may give you some additional info for your research. Not all the time, but sometimes it will list:

1. Middle initial

2. Birth month and year

3. Previous known addresses

4. Date of compiled report

When I looked for my cousins, I found three of the four here with middle initials. I knew approximate years and ages, but nothing exact until this info. Finding Jimmy with his middle initial was crucial for being able to find the right MAKOSKY.

With this information I then went to White pages are a more recent list of where people are and can also give you more information on the people. Here I found wives names and for Jimmy was able to verify it was the right one I was searching for because part of the household also listed his parents. A cool side note here, if you are searching on a nickname such as Jim but the person is listed as James, Whitepages is smart enough to detect that and search for the combination of Jim’s.

So from this simple detective work, I took this information back to Facebook, typed in MAKOSKY and 170 popped up. I had the names of the wives and on the second page there was Jimmy’s wife. I instantly emailed her and received a reply and now we are connected.

So is Facebook a Good Thing or Bad Thing? In many, many ways it is a good thing. It is a great tool to help people re-connect and stay connected from far away. The downside for me and so many others, just like genealogy it can become addicting. If you do not have a Facebook page due to worry about privacy issues, then don’t post your private information! I will be interested to see how many of you decide to connect with Facebook, or maybe already are and have found long lost cousins. I know I am not the only one!!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Breaking through Brick Walls Part 5: Descendancy Research

Finding Current Descendants

In the last year I have found TEN living families that are descendants from my Moore and Thennes line. I have found cousins I did not even know existed. How did I do it? By doing exactly what I have explained in the previous blogs on descendancy research. In the beginning it was cluster research where I sniffed out my grandfather’s brothers and sister in order to find out more about him. So cluster research and descendancy research go hand in hand.

Three branches of my family I found via their family trees. Remember I go searching for trees for my ancestors every few months or so. One branch of my tree came walking into my local Family History Center! No lie- we share the same third great grandparents, Nathaniel Jackson Moore and Rebecca Adams. Her great great grandmother was a sister to my great great grandfather.

The remainder five lines I found on ….Facebook! Yes Facebook!!! Let me tell you it does help to have “different” names to be able to search. Moore is a common name, but my Mom’s maiden name of THENNES is not. Shortly after my mom passed, I decided to go on a mission and learn about her father, my grandfather Fred Thennes. Now I know this has little to do with my Texas Moore History, but the concepts behind them are still the same.

With this line, I simply typed the name THENNES in to Facebook. I have been told any search under 1,000 is doable. Ha Ha This was under that number so I began to look at what had pulled up. The second name I clicked on did not have a THENNES last name but I figured her maiden name was Thennes. In looking at her profile, I saw that magical word of Michigan and the home town of my mom. I instantly emailed her, her reply to me was “How do you pronounce our name?” There are many different ways that people pronounce it, but only those in the family seem to know the right pronunciation. I passed the test and she accepted me as family. (Family branch 1) I had many questions because I had only met my grandfather once for just a few seconds and I truly wanted to get to know who he was. She told me she would ask her father my questions. When I did not hear anything from her in a couple of weeks, I posted on her wall. There her mother (Family branch 2) saw it and directed me towards her GRANDMOTHER (Family branch 3)!!! Her grandmother directed me to her first cousin and also sister in law (Family branch 4) who not only knew my Grandfather the best but took care of him. I learned a great deal about my grandfather. Not only did I come to love a man I never knew, but gained so much compassion and respect for him. I thought how sad how our remarks and judgments keeps us apart from people we would probably love if only given the chance.

Another line I found on Facebook also belongs to my Mom. I only knew one set of cousins growing up and that was my MAKOSKY cousins in Michigan. We spent many a summers in Michigan and they many a summers in Iowa. I had always wondered what became of them, especially Ricky. Tomorrow, I will tell you how I once again connected with this family on Facebook, but how it took a little bit of detective work to get to that point.

Facebook really is a great tool to connect with people. I know there are all the Privacy Issues, but my simple reasoning is if you don’t want people to have you phone and address DON’T LIST IT ON FACEBOOK. I have been on now for over two years with never a problem. I am actually very glad such a thing exists because it is a great way to gather long lost friends and family and connect with them!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Breaking through Brick Walls Part 4: Descendancy Research

Message Boards and Other Things

Have you discovered message boards yet for your research? Message boards are a great way to let others know who or what you are looking for. What are message boards? There are several different kinds, one of my favorites being the county message boards on

Go to Collaborate | Message Boards

Ancestry Message Boards:

There are two different types of Message Boards on They are LOCALITY and SURNAMES. What are locality message boards? Just what it says, the location of your research. Because I want to keep this as much to my Moore’s and Texas research as I can, I will refer to the United States link. But just know that there is a county board for all the United States. To get to the United States Message Board you can follow these directions

Click United States | States | Name of State (aka Texas)| Counties | Name of County (aka Williamson)


follow the link:

Ancestry State Message Boards:

Once on the Message Board you can do a search, browse through the messages for submissions and answers, or post a new message.

To SEARCH a Message Board type a name or key word in to the "Search Field"

To START a new message is called “Begin a New Thread”

To BROWSE through the Message Board simply use your mouse to scroll through the posts

This is only to get you started and make you aware of the message boards. You can set up notifications when ever anyone posts to the board, and also find other boards that may assist you in your search. As genealogist we have a mind set to find names, dates and places. Often times with the Message Boards someone will be looking for help on a line they are searching and it is from there you never know what or who will come across your post.

What would my blog be with out a great Message Board Story? Someone had posted an inquiry regarding the Forehand Family from Tennessee. I was somewhat familiar with this family because Richard N. Forehand was married to my second great grandmother Virginia. Remember, when I found my Grandfather in the 1900 census he was living with his grandparents Richard and Virginia Forehand. One of the first things I did in my research was look for a Minerva Forehand with a Father Richard and Virginia. I found some maybe’s but nothing concrete. I searched the Forehand line to see if I could find who Virginia was. Nothing. I ran in circles trying to discover who Minerva’s parents were and who was Richard and Virginia Forehand. So when I saw the post about the Forehand family from TN (which is where Richard was from) I typed a quick reply stating I tied into this line but I was in the process of moving to Texas and would get back to them regarding what I had. I also stated in that reply that my grandfather Vernon Moore was in the 1900 Census living with his grandparents Richard and Virginia MOORE FOREHAND. Virginia was never a MOORE I accidentally added the MOORE by mistake. Ten minutes later I had a reply from a gentleman who told me, “Laura I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw your post.” He went on to tell me that Richard was his Great Grandfather and he had been chasing Virginia MOORE for years. I thought MOORE where did he get that? I discovered my mistake and posted a reply with her real name. Virginia’s maiden name was LYONS from Indiana. She married Cornelius Cain and when he died, she eventually married Richard Forehand. Part of the 32 year puzzle it took me to find. I often think what would have happened had I not added the wrong last name for Virginia?

Now you are probably asking yourself, “Hello Laura!!! Marriage record!!” I searched for a marriage record, but never could find one. I finally found their marriage record located in Travis County, Texas; a neighboring county. What I have learned since moving to Texas is I believe my ancestors were closer to Austin rather than Georgetown. So when it came time to file records they went to Austin and not Georgetown. Needless to say, this man was thrilled to be able to break through this brick wall and to have a copy of my great grandmother’s will, to see pictures etc. Message boards…..another possible break through on those brick walls!!

PS Sorry for the delay in posting this, but I tried very hard to get a screen shot to show you what I was talking about and it would not work! So please let me know if something does not make sense and I will do my best to help guide you to the message boards! Laura

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Breaking through Brick Walls Part 3: Descendancy Research

Finding Uncle Claude

Part of the process I have learned when looking for descendants of my ancestors, is that you never know where they will pop up. Uncle Claude is a good example of that. I knew Uncle Claude existed. But I did not have any connection with his family and felt very hesitant to contact him. Plus I know he was born before 1930 as he was listed in the census and didn’t know how much help he could really be if he was still alive. Don’t every underestimate what an older relative can tell you!

One of the tasks I do with my Moore line is that I will do a “search” for my grandfather and his siblings. I know the word “search” takes in a variety of ways to go searching. Are you talking about Ancestry? Google? What are you talking about Laura? I search a few places for them about every four to six months.

One of the first places I search is Go to Family Trees | Search Family Trees. That easy, type in your names and see if you get any hits. This is a free site.

The second place I went to was You need an account on Ancestry, even if it is a free account. What I like to do for my favorite pay subscription sites is to join for a month at a time and rotate between my favorite sites. Go to Search | Public Family Trees and type in the names you are searching. I like searching for family trees because I can possibly find other cousins who have been bitten by the genealogy bug and have posted a tree. This is how I found Uncle Claude.

Every 4-6 months, I will type in my grandfather and his siblings to see if there is a tree that someone has posted and/or working on. I had done this a couple of times before and I admit it was frustrating not finding any strong leads. So imagine my surprise when I typed in Ellen Moore’s name, (yes my dear Aunt Ellen to the rescue again) and a tree pops up. The tree had three names, Ellen’s, her husband Claude, and their son Claude. There were some dates, but other than that, that was the tree. After doing my Snoopy Dance I emailed the owner of the tree. Her response to me was, “Who do you belong to?” I got a chuckle out of that line! We share the same Great Grandparents, Nathaniel Jackson and Minerva Cain Moore. Her father is Claude, and to me the cutest 93 year great uncle ever- Uncle Claude!

I immediately sent her what I had and we drew up plans to meet a day in June 2010. I admit I was nervous. I did not know if they would accept me or reject me as I feel I had been my entire life. Looking at Uncle Claude I could see the Moore in him, and I teared up. I never thought in a million years I would ever get to this point in my life where I would meet someone who could help me with my Moore Genealogy. Uncle Claude had stories, and names, and places. I could go back to look for the records and he was right on. What a great blessing to have an older relative that could pass on these stories to me and others so we can preserve them.

It was interesting talking to Uncle Claude because there were things I was able to tell him that he did not know. One was about my grandparents, his Uncle Vernon and Aunt Grace Moore. I asked him if he knew there were actually four children, he did not. I told him the story of how I came about Baby Grace’s death certificate and the story behind her death. He lightly wiped his eye and said, “I am sorry to hear that.”

Even though I had a good handle I felt on my grandfather and his siblings, Uncle Claude was able to fill me in on small details like Grady. Grady died young in Minnesota and I learned he was beaten to death for refusing to join a union. Uncle Jack (Jr) had a liking to the bottle, and he was found in his room dead. Bell had joined the Marines or Navy and ended up in Portsmouth, NH where he stayed. I was glad to know his name was “Bell” and not “Bill” as all the obituaries seemed to list him as. Lee ended up in Santa Barbara, CA following his in-laws from MN to CA in the 1940’s I believe. Ellen was the glue of the family. In Jack (Jr’s) obituary it stated they were waiting on her arrival for the funeral. One of the highlights of the day with Claude was a letter from his mother Ellen to my Grandparents. They had a great time reading the letter and the history that was contained in it. That was only one of the highlights! When he told me he had contact with all my grandfather’s siblings’ descendants, I once again welled up. Not only did he have contacts with their descendants, he has pictures!!! I have not gotten copies yet, but I know I will.

I am just grateful to know there is someone out there who knew our history. This leads me to believe I am not alone. When I hear of those who say they have hit brickwalls, there is no one alive to help them I say “Don’t Give Up!!” Tomorrow I will talk about other places to look and other searches you might want to try in searching for those ever elusive cousins.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Breaking through Brick Walls Part 2: Descendancy Research

Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!

Yesterday I spoke of how beginning to search my grandfather’s siblings I came across a few surprises.

Surprise #1: Ellen Erving was living with her brother A L Moore in 1920 in Minnesota. My first reaction was that I had the wrong Ellen Erving but in checking the data it all matched what I had already gathered for Ellen; her birth year, place of birth and parents birthplace. What didn’t match up was her brother. Her brother A L Moore was also born in Texas, his father’s birthplace was correct but not his mother’s. Then it dawned on me. Was there another marriage?

Now to make everything a bit more confusing, I will speak of two Jack Moore's. One is my great grandfather (Sr.) and the other is Jack Sr's son and my great uncle (Jr.)I went back to the 1880 Williamson County census and sure enough, I found a Jack (Sr.) and Rebecca who had two children, Arthur and John. The birth dates matched up and I was 99.9% sure this was my great grandfather and his first wife Rebecca. In finding the first marriage, I needed to know who Rebecca was. It took some looking but I finally found their marriage record in Travis County, Texas not Williamson County where they resided. I have actually found several marriage records in Travis County rather than Williamson County. With finding the marriage record, I learned that Rebecca’s last name was Burleson and was a niece to Texas hero General Edward Burleson. All this from finding Ellen living with a brother I didn’t know existed.

Surprise #2: Jack Moore (Jr.) (Ellen’s brother) in the 1930 census stated that he had a “sister” named Georgia Martin. A sister? Had I overlooked another sibling? I felt I had found all the census records I could find on my great grandfather Jack (Sr.) and the two families. The 1880 census Jack (Sr.) was married to Rebecca, and there was not 1890 census. So my next choice was to go through court records in Williamson County, TX and see if I could find Georgia listed as a sibling. Luckily, the Williamson County land records are online Williamson County Texas land records online, so I started there.

There are hundred’s of land records for Moore’s in Williamson County because they were some of the early settlers and had around 3600 acres of land in the Taylor area. I started with Jack (Sr. and Jr.) and searched the records again but found no inkling of a Georgia Martin as a sister. I then began to search each of the children starting with Arthur Lee Moore as the oldest and figured if Georgia was a sister he would be from my great grandfather's first marriage to Rebecca Burleson. Imagine my surprise to find a record for A L Moore that stated, “Here comes Arthur Lee Moore and his wife Lizzie”. I thought Lizzie? Who is Lizze? Arthur’s wife’s name is Florence. Could it be another marriage? So you see how this kept leading to more mysteries. Now I am searching for a Georgia Martin and a Lizzie Moore.

I have contact with someone who connects into Arthur’s line and I asked her if she knew about another marriage for Arthur, she did not. At the Georgetown Public Library is an index to Marriage Records for Williamson County. I picked up the book, laid it on the table, the book plopped open to the page where I saw A. L Moore and Lizzie Westbrook. “I’ll be danged!” I murmured out loud. Another patron in the Genealogy room asked, “Find something good?” “Oh yeah”, I said. “I just found a marriage record I did not know existed.” Then I told her about the book just plopping open to the right page. She said, “Okay that just gave me goosebumps!” All I could think of was I had searched this family for over 30 years, and all of a sudden I felt Lizzie was saying, “Wait don’t forget about me!!” Okay Lizzie, I found you, now what do I do with you!!!

Interesting enough I asked my Uncle Claude if he knew about the marriage. He just grinned and said, “Yes I did, but I want to know how you know about it?” I chuckled and said, “I am a pretty good little detective aren’t I?” Uncle Claude said he had overheard his mother and Uncle Lee (Arthur went by his middle name Lee) talking one day, but when his mother realized he was listening, the conversation ended.

So in looking for Georgia Martin, I came across a marriage I did not expect, but what about Georgia? Who was she? I had traced Jack (Jr.) through the Great Falls directories listed on I had a general idea of when Georgia died as she was no longer listed in the directory after 1944 and before 1947. But in my searches I could not find a marriage record. I asked a friend if I was missing something and she found Georgia had been married to a Joe Martin but we could find no record of Georgia and Jack being married, and in the 1930 census it stated they were brother and sister. I presumed from the beginning they were not brother and sister and had never married. However when I spoke with Uncle Claude he told me they had married. So I went back to the drawing board and finally found they were married on 06 Nov 1937 Townsend, Broadwater, Montana. Notice the date of 1937, seven years after the 1930 Census where someone claimed they were brother and sister and also out of the county where they resided.

So by simply finding Ellen living with her brother, A L Moore (Lee) I found another marriage for my great grandfather. By looking at the second child Jack, I found yet a second marriage for Lee, and eventually a first marriage for Jack. This was all becoming quite confusing to me as a very mixed up family!! Also notice how two of these marriage records were found outside the counties in which the families resided. Tomorrow I will tell you how I found Uncle Claude and how he helped fill in more pieces of the puzzle as well as bring more mystery!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Breaking through Brick walls Part 1: Descendancy Research

A few years ago when I was very frustrated and thought I would never learn my Great Grandparents names I felt the only way was to come forward. But in a Genealogy chat room when I began asking questions of how I would go about finding living descendants, the gentleman said, “Please don’t tell me you are thinking of searching forward? It is a waste of time!!” They told me to keep looking for my records, and eventually I would find them. So I did.

In August 2009, I heard a presentation titled “Hit a Brickwall Searching Backwards? Search Forward”. I was interested in what Crista had to say and when I heard her story, I knew that was my answer!! And so the journey began.

First of all you need to pick a married couple to work with. For me it was my elusive great grandparents I only knew as Jack and Minerva Moore. I started with what I knew. I knew when their first child was born, Ellen in 1882. Their marriage must have happened before this but I had no date and no record. I took Ellen and begin to trace her through the census and build a time line.

1900 Taylor, Texas living with Grandparents Richard and Virginia Forehand

1910 Chicago, Illinois - Attending Nursing School

1920 Washington Co., Minnesota living with Brother A L Moore Brother?

1930 Santa Barbara, California

It took me a third try to find Ellen in the 1910 Census. I had searched in Texas, South Dakota, and Minnesota with no luck. I just knew she was in one of those states. After talking to Uncle Claude, I did a nation wide search and finally found her in Nursing School in Chicago. Knowing she was a nurse, helped me to pinpoint her in the many Ellen Moore's I found. One of the things I did know and am not sure how I knew it, was that Ellen was married to a Claude Erving. So in 1920 when Ellen Erving was in MN living with A L Moore I didn’t know who the A L Moore was, it was not one of the brothers I had found. It turned out there were TWO Marriages for my Great Grandfather, the first being to Rebecca Burleson, and 2nd to Minerva Cain.

From just tracing Ellen I learned of a second marriage, who her children were, and they had moved from Texas. But why? And where was her husband? I did this with each of the children, tracing them through each of the census trying to find children and the area they had gone to.

All I saw was a family that was never connected, gypsies like myself. In meeting with my great uncle Claude he filled in some of the pieces of the puzzle. Ellen was the oldest of the children and the only girl. When she became of age, they as a family decided to sell all their property in Taylor (but one acre) and move to South Dakota to homestead. Ellen was 11 when both parents had died, Jack Jr. 10, my grandfather Vernon 8, Bell 6, and little Grady was 4. By the 1910 Census, my grandfather was with his grandparents as well as Grady, but all the other children were gone. Through my Uncle I learned my Grandfather took one winter in South Dakota and decided it was too cold and came back to Texas. We are unsure of why Grady came back, but he is also listed on the census that year. Had it not been for Uncle Claude clueing me into this, I would have never found the Homestead grants for them I did in South Dakota!!!

I eventually found Ellen in the 1910 census living in Chicago, IL going to Nursing School. I did not know she was a nurse till I met up with Uncle Claude. However, I could have been more aware of it had I noticed on the 1930 Census when Ellen was in Santa Barbara that she was a “visiting nurse”. So through each sibling, I did this same process, tracking them through the census, and creating a timeline.

I found Jack Jr. in Montana. He was listed in several City Directories for Great Falls, but in 1930 he eluded me for quite some time. I finally discovered him as Cack Moore in the index. Always be aggressive when searching through an index or soundex. If you knew they were there, don’t just take the answer “they were probably missed.” Interesting find was on the 1930 Census I found him with a Georgia Martin who was listed as a “Sister”. Did I miss a sibling? Stay tuned tomorrow as I clear up that mystery.

Vernon is my grandfather and I had him pretty well documented.

Bell I found in Portsmouth, NH. I not only found him in the census, but also found newspaper articles on him in the local newspaper. One article gave an account of his nephew Claude coming to NH with his boy scout troop and the two meeting for the first time. Another article spoke of his retirement with a picture of Bell! And these articles I found all because I went in search of his obituary.

Grady, the baby of the family I found in St. Paul, MN. I learned Grady died at a very young age, but could never find much more on him other than a WWI Draft Registration and a death certificate. Grady’s name was always listed as W Grady Moore and I “assumed” W meant William as we had Williams in our line. But according to his Draft Registration card it stood for Woodfren. No idea where that name came from, but I would have gone by Grady too! Uncle Claude knew his story. Another tragedy for this family in that Grady refused to join the Union at a meat packing house where he worked and was beaten to death. Still looking for the obituary and newspaper articles on Grady.

So just by searching my Grandfather’s siblings I learned a lot about the family. Tomorrow I will tell you how doing this research, clued me into some surprise marriages.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

How I Have Broken Through Brickwalls

It has been quite some time since I have written on my blog and decided I needed to make the commitment to get back with it. Since the last time I have written much has happened with my Moore’s and I feel that I need to pass what I have learned along to all of you! It is my hopes that it will help others who are searching their Moore lines as well.

One of my biggest breakthroughs I feel is being able to talk with the cutest 93 year old great uncle ever! I knew he existed, but had reservations about contacting him. Now, I am on a mission to find descendants of my ancestors and I feel I have been very successful. I have spoken of my elusive Moore Family here before, and how after 32 years I learned the names of my Great Grandparents.That information came from a letter my Great Aunt Ellen wrote to my grandparents (her brother) in April of 1963. The letter ended up with my Aunt Carrie, who passed away in February 2005. How did I end up with the letter?

I have never had a bond or connection with my family. My parents divorced in 1966 when I was 7 and my mom moved us from Texas to Iowa. The family link there was with family in Texas pretty much was gone when we left for Iowa. In 1999 my dad passed away and I reconnected with my cousin Jennie. Through the next few years, I had a greater desire more than anything to learn about our family history; but no one knew anything! Not even a name! The only information they knew was what I would feed them. I needed more, I wanted to place a name and a face together and I wanted to know who my great grandparents were. I begged for pictures and received a few and Jennie suggested I write our other cousins. She had the addresses, so I got brave and wrote.

Through the reaching out to family I had not seen in over 40 years, I found my answer. My cousin Missie told me her dad would send me some genealogy. I thought it would be a few pages but instead it was a huge box of certificates, death records, marriage records, pictures and the list goes on. In the midst of it all was a letter from Aunt Ellen to my grandparents with my Great Grandparents names. The letter also stated they were part of Austin’s Old 300, a picture of our Great Great Grandmother existed in a book of the early Texas settlers and our Great Great Grandfather Thomas A Moore was one who was captured in Goliad and drew a white bean and was set free.

Although there was a lot of information in this letter, I wanted more. Ellen became my main focus and because of following her, I found additional information on my Moore family including her son and my Great Uncle Claude. It was Claude who filled in many missing pieces of the Moore Family, as well as provides more mystery. In the coming days, I will share the process of what I have done in hopes it will help others in their search as well.

In coming weeks, I will show you how to come forward and find cousins who may have your answers. Are you on Facebook? It is a great way to connect and find cousins. Are you making your self “Findable” so that others who are searching your line will be able to connect? What if you remember a cousin from years ago but have lost contact with them? Can you really find them again? Come learn how to do it all!