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!!


  1. Interesting story. Especially Rebecca Burleson's connection to an historic figure.

  2. I love to read about your discoveries! You have inspired me to jump back into my family history and keep digging. Thanks Laura!