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.
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.