Archive for the ‘Genealogy’ Category

The (short) lives and times…

Sunday, August 16th, 2009

My good friend Lynne, who’s also a genealogist, was visiting this weekend and she’s also got Bremen ancestors, so we took a virtual walk through a Bremen website I looked at some time ago. Then I only found a few things of use to us on the website, but BOY have those Bremen folks been busy. They now have funeral records for 1875-1906 for two big Bremen cemeteries online… and those happen to be the right years and the right place for the family of Marie Nuckel Geissler, wife of Hugo Ernst and mother of Hugo Hermann Geissler. (Short form: grandmother of the old farts like me, great grandmother of the whippersnappers)

I knew her father’s and mother’s names from her 1924 visa application: he was Carsten Hinrich Wilhelm Nuckel, she was Juliane Margarethe Smidt. Handwritten notes suggest he lived from 1860-1940; she was dead before the Geisslers came to the US. And Marie had two sisters that I knew of, Adelheid and Gretel.

Now we know more.

Carsten and Juliane were married before 1889, because a son, Carsten Hinrich Wilhelm Nuckel [I] was born around March 1889. And he didn’t make it to the age of three. He died 24 Jan 1892.

Six months later, in July 1892, another son was born and given his brother’s (and father’s) name: Carsten Hinrich Wilhelm Nuckel [II] was born about 1 Jul 1892. His fate however was no different. He died 19 Aug 1893.

Henrietta Johanna Nuckel, born 16 Jul 1895, died 1 Mar 1896.

Johann Friedrich Nuckel, born about 10 May 1897, died 22 Apr 1898.

An unnamed infant girl, stillborn, 10 Dec 1904.

And Juliane herself, age 42 years and two months, dead on 27 Jan 1907.

I know Bremen was a big, dirty, ugly industrial city and shipping port, wet, cold, with lots of disease. But burying five children — babies and toddlers –  is simply incomprehensible to me.

We also picked up some broader info. Carsten was a crate maker (probably for shipping). He likely had brothers named Gerhard and Johann Friedrich, who also made crates, and their father was probably another Gerhard who was also a crate maker. They were all born, lived and died in the area of Bremen called Neustadt, just south of the Weser River within walking distance of the Friedhof Buntenthor (Buntenthor Cemetery) where so many of these babies were buried.

Working class folks with lives so very different and so much harder than ours…

Photo365: July 15, 2009

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

I am the family historian for my family, and every once in a while, something hits your desk that stops you in your tracks and makes you think about the past.

On 31 July 1906, my great grandfather Hermann Eduard Geissler witnessed the marriage of his daughter Martha Pauline Geissler to Paul Alfred Benschura in Gera, a town in Thüringen, Germany, then part of the principality of Reuss Jüngere Linie. I never met my great grandfather, or his daughter Martha, or even his son, my grandfather. They were all dead before I was born.

But today, just about 102 years after that ceremony, I received in the mail a copy of the record from the State Archives in Gera… with the signature of my great grandfather on it. It was as if he had reached out over the years to touch me.

Signature of H.E. Geissler

Signature of H.E. Geissler

Photo365: June 15, 2009

Monday, June 15th, 2009

This guy looked like he was asking me to make sure I got his good side in the photo…

Blue jay

Blue jay

The Battles Connection

Wednesday, April 21st, 2004

The Shew-Battles-Keener Connection

Contents:

Overview
The Shew Family

The Battles Family

The Keener Family
The Intertwinings
The Questions


Overview: There are three families from the area of Cherokee County, Alabama, who appear to intertwine over and over. Exactly what the connection is among them is difficult to discern from the available evidence and it would sure be nice to get help from others researching these lines.

THE SHEW FAMILY: Boston Shew was born around 1790, probably in Guilford County, North Carolina, married Elizabeth Brewer on September 18, 1817 in Wilkes County, NC, and died after the 1860 census and probably before the 1870 census, either in Cherokee County AL or Izard County AR. Elizabeth was born around 1790 in North Carolina and appears to have died after the November 1850 census but before the 1860 census, probably in Cherokee County AL. Boston and Elizabeth had at least three sons: Simon, born around 1821; Daniel, born around 1826; and John, born around 1833. They also had at least three daughters: Deborah Caroline, born around 1817, who married Lot Day; Mary, born around 1829, who married Lewis Day; and Elvira, born around 1830. It appears that all of the children were born in North Carolina.

Simon Shew married Sarah, probably in Cherokee County AL, around 1845-1846. They had eight known children, all born in AL (and probably in Cherokee County): Charlsey/Charlsie, born circa 1846; Emily, born circa 1847; Nancy, born circa 1849; John, born circa 1852; Elias Grogan (or Grogan Elias), born circa 1854; Adeline/Amanda, born circa 1855; Lucinda, born circa 1857 and Henry W., born circa 1859. Simon and Sarah lived at least through the 1880 census.

Daniel Shew married Margaret Battles, probably in Cherokee County AL, around 1848. They had three children: William W., born November 1849; Gilford C., born circa 1852; and Martha Louise, born February 1855 (possibly 1856). Daniel appears to have died after 1854 (when he bought land from the federal government) and before 1860 (he is not on the 1860 census and Margaret is listed as a widow thereafter). Margaret appears alone on the 1860 census with her three children and on the 1870 and 1880 censuses with her daughter Martha Louise and her family.

John Shew married Mary, probably in Cherokee County AL, around 1856. They had two children: a son, James L., born cir. 1857; and a daughter, Frances Eliza, born cir. 1859. John died before 1880; his widow remarried and she and her Shew children are shown in the household of her second husband, Barry (Crubs?) in Marion County AR on the 1880 census.

Both of the Day families also moved to Marion County AR; both Deborah Shew Day and Mary Shew Day are reportedly buried there in Marion County.

There is yet another Arkansas Shew link: on the 1860 federal census, Boston Shew himself was recorded in Izard County, AR, living with what appears to be a second family. The census listing shows Boston, at age 70, with Nancy Shew, age 33, born in GA, and a one-year-old boy, William B. Shew, born AR. It appears that there was another son born thereafter, Jefferson Davis Shew. It appears that both Boston and Nancy died between 1862 and 1870. Their two boys (“B. Shoe”, age 12, and “J.D. Shoe”, age eight) appeared in Cherokee County, AL, without either parent, on the 1870 census, living with the family of R.M. and Margaret Hale. The link to the Hales is unknown; they are on the same census page as the family of Boston’s oldest son Simon Shew and the family of William and Ann Jacobs Battles (see below).

THE BATTLES FAMILY: William Battles was born around 1790-1792 probably in Georgia and is believed to be the son of William Noel Battles, a Revolutionary War soldier who settled in St. Clair and Etowah Counties, AL. The younger William was married twice, first to Kiziah Wright in Oglethorpe County GA on December 12 1818 (note that William’s brother Samuel married Kiziah’s sister Nancy in Oglethorpe County on November 18 1805) and second to Ann Jacobs in St. Clair County AL on December 25, 1829. Interestingly, Kiziah petitioned for divorce from William in Blount County AL in February 1824 on the grounds that William was living with Ann Jacobs in Tennessee.

It is unknown whether William and Kiziah had any children, but there is good cause to believe they did not. In Kiziah’s petition for divorce from William, filed in 1824, she alleged that “for the last two years the said William Battles (having previously compelled your petitioner to leave him) hath lived and now is living in adultery with one Ann Jacobs with whom he has gone to the State of Tennessee”. That puts the beginning of William and Ann’s relationship back as early as 1822. Moreover, and more compellingly, Kiziah made no mention of children in the divorce petition. She claimed that she had been “reduced and compelled to apply to strangers & distant relatives for her sustenance” but made no mention of a need to support children. It is beyond imagination that, if Kiziah had children she needed to support, she would not have mentioned them in the divorce petition. Moreover, if she had had children with William that he had taken from her, it is again beyond imagination that she would not have petitioned to have them returned to her (they would have been “of tender years” at a time when the law presumed such children to be better off with their mothers) and to have support for them ordered as well.

In any event, William and Ann were shown with five children on the 1830 census: a boy age 5-10 (born 1820-25); a girl, age 5-10 (born 1820-25); a boy under the age of five (born 1825-30); and two girls under the age of five (born 1825-30). On the 1840 census, they were shown with six children, a boy 10-15 (born 1825-30); two boys ages 5-10 (born 1830-35); two boys under age 5 (born 1835-40) and a girl under age 5 (born 1835-40). On the 1850 census, William and Ann had seven children living at home: a boy Aserier (Azariah), age 20 (born 1830); Samanatha, age 18 (born 1832); Julia, age 16 (born 1834); William, age 14 (born 1836); Franklin, age 12 (born 1838); Lewis, 10 (born 1840); and a girl, Charlsey, age 8 (born 1842). While the names and ages do not match up perfectly from census to census, it appears that there are three children born before 1830 to be accounted for, and research shows three other persons named Battles in Cherokee County during the same time period: Margaret; Guilford; and George.

Margaret Battles was the wife of Daniel Shew. Her maiden name is reported in oral history from her granddaughter Eula (daughter of Margaret’s daughter Martha) to Eula’s daughter Opal to Opal’s children and grandchildren. Eula was clearly in a position to know her grandmother well: the census records show that Margaret Shew lived with her daughter Martha and her family for more than 10 years, from at least 1870 until at least 1880 and probably until Margaret’s death. Margaret’s date of birth is unclear; the census records wildly inconsistent (her age appears to have been reported as 38 in 1860, 1870 and 1880). In 1850, she was reported as 23 (birth year 1827).

Guilford Battles first appeared in the census in 1850, as “Tillford” Battles, a 21-year-old, born in AL, living with the family of Robert Mackey in Cherokee County. He married Anne Elizabeth Keener in Dekalb County in February 1854; Guilford, age 30, his wife and their three children were shown in Dekalb County AL with his wife’s family on the 1860 census. The family cannot be found in 1870; by 1880, Anna appeared as a widow in Cherokee County with her two younger children, living next to her oldest son. A birth year between 1828 and 1830 is likely for Guilford.

George W. Battles appears as a landholder in Cherokee County as early as 1847 but is not reported on any Cherokee County census. Assuming that he was of age by the time he filed his first land claim, George’s birth year would have to be as early as 1826.

THE KEENER FAMILY: Martin Keener was born March 7, 1798 in Lincoln Co., NC, and died August 22, 1871 in Etowah Co., AL. He married Sarey Martha “Patsy” Painter January 28, 1827 in Lincoln Co., NC. She was born August 31, 1807 in NC, and died in Etowah Co., AL. Their known children include Anne Elizabeth (or Elizabeth Anna), Susannah, Mary, Sarah, Martha, Jacob, Samuel, Thomas, Henry and Riley.

THE INTERTWININGS: The Battles, Keener and Shew families intertwine in many different ways over many years.

  • First, Daniel and Simon Shew were neighbors of the Battles’ in Cherokee County and owned land next to William, George W. and Guilford.
  • Second, Daniel Shew married Margaret Battles around 1848.
  • Third, Guilford Battles married Anne Elizabeth Keener in 1854.
  • Fourth, Henry Keener (a nephew of Anne Elizabeth and Guilford) married Adeline Shew, a daughter of Simon Shew, around 1877.
  • Fifth, members of the Shew, Keener and Battles families remained in the same neighborhood and often on the same census page through the 1880 census.
  • Sixth, the two young Shew boys from Arkansas ended up living with the Hale family on the 1870 census, George Battles married a Hale daughter, the Hales are related to the Mackeys at least by marriage, Guilford Battles lived with the Mackeys on the 1850 census — and they were all close neighbors at least from 1845 on in terms of land ownership as shown on this chart of land patents for a portion of Cherokee County, Township 10S, Range 8E.
  • Seventh, as early as 1860, members of the Shew and Battles families can also be found on the Izard County AR census (and moving back and forth between Izard County AR and Cherokee County AL thereafter).
  • After members of the Shew family moved to Texas, settling in the area of Paris (Lamar County), a least one member of the Battles family can be found with them on various census records. In 1930 Thomas Battles (presumably the son of Martin Battles and grandson of Guilford and Anne Keener Battles) is listed as a cousin in the household of Sidney W. Shew (son of Gilford Shew and grandson of Daniel and Margaret Battles Shew).

THE QUESTIONS: Key among the open questions is the parentage of Margaret, Guilford and George Battles. George Battles, born 1826 or earlier, Margaret Battles (Daniel Shew’s wife, born no earlier than 1827 and no later than 1832) and Guilford Battles, born around 1829, appear to be children of William Battles and, probably, of Ann Jacobs Battles, and probably before William and Ann were free to marry. Margaret named her first son William (and there is no William in the Shew family), her second son Gilford and her daughter Martha. Guilford named his first son William Martin (his wife’s father’s name was Martin) and his daughter Martha. William Battles is presumed to be a son of William Noel Battles, and one of Margaret’s grandsons (Martha Louise’s third son) was named Noel. The links between George and the other two are not so strong, yet his physical location in Cherokee County at a time when no other Battles family was there and his proximity to William and Guilford strongly supports an inference that he was William’s son.

The real question is, who was the mother of George, Margaret and Guilford? As noted, William Battles was married twice, first to Kiziah Wright and second to Ann Jacobs. As early as 1824, Kiziah claimed William was cohabiting with Ann. George was born around 1824 or 1825. He certainly could be the boy born 1820-25 living with William and Ann in 1830. Given the weaker ties of George to Margaret and Guilford, he may be a child of William and Kiziah. Yet his birthplace of Tennessee suggests not — that is where (according to Kiziah’s divorce petition) William was living with Ann.

Margaret was born no earlier than 1827 and no later than 1832. Guilford was born around 1829 or 1830. Each of them could be one of the children otherwise missing from the William Battles family as of the 1830 census. Shoehorning the two of them in among William and Ann’s legitimate children is realistically possible only if both had a twin. The 1850 census shows seven children, ages 20 (boy), 18 (girl), 16 (girl), 14 (boy), 12 (boy), 10 (boy) and eight (girl). If a 1832 birthdate is correct, Margaret could have been a twin to the girl Simantha on the 1850 census. If the 1830 date is correct for Guilford, he could have been a twin to the 20-year-old boy on the 1850 census. (The boy’s name is very hard to decipher.) But the census reports do not support the idea of twins.

One major indicator that both Margaret and Guilford are Ann’s children is the fact that they lived close to William and Ann for more than 20 years — through the 1850 (Margaret and Guilford), 1860 (Margaret), 1870 (Margaret), and 1880 censuses (Margaret, Guilford’s widow and children). The whereabouts of Kiziah Wright Battles after her divorce in Blount County are unknown, but one would think at least a female child — and Margaret would have been very very young at the time of the divorce — would have stayed with her mother and not been found with her father thereafter.

Can anybody add to this puzzle? If you can, please e-mail me.

We’re FAMOUS!

Monday, October 27th, 2003

I got an email last night from a cousin on the Battles side who said our family tree web pages are being featured by Dick Eastman in his October 27th weekly newsletter. This is really very exciting! Dick is an expert on genealogy and has been doing web stuff for practically ever, so having him say the website is a good one is … welll… WOW! It’s terrific!

I just wish I’d known about it in advance. I could at least have swept under the beds, done the dishes and hidden the empty beer bottles…

Wee bit of Irish…

Saturday, February 22nd, 2003

One of my cousins really wants to be Irish… somewhere… somehow. She’s been to Ireland (as have I — see the photo gallery here) and wants badly to have some tie to that lovely land and people.

And I think maybe… just maybe… I can come up with that link. And it turns out it supports a family story I’ve heard all my life — that we did have just a wee drop of Irish blood in our veins, that of an Orangeman, a Protestant from the North.

It looks like one of our GGGG grandfathers was an Ulsterman by the name of William Killen, who settled in Mississippi around 1810 or thereabouts. It’s not definite, but my working hypothesis is that Wilmoth Killen Gentry (b. circa 1795 NC, d. aft. 1870 Neshoba County, MS), wife of the Rev. Elijah Gentry of MS, was the daughter of that William Killen Sr. and younger sister to William Jr. and Henry Killen.

Gentry family history is consistent in identifying Wilmoth’s maiden name as Killen; indeed, her first son was named Elijah Killen Gentry. In their history of her husband, Rev. Elijah Gentry, Clarence Wilson and Maxine Wilson Smith (descendants of her son John Wesley Gentry) identified Wilmoth’s father as a neighbor in Wayne County, MS.

The only Killen family in Wayne County around the time Elijah and Wilmoth married was that of William Killen, Sr. William Sr. and Henry were on the poll tax rolls of Wayne County in 1813 and 1815. Elijah Gentry and William Killen Jr. are on the same page (page 111) of the 1820 Wayne County census, one right after the other. William Sr. is on the next page (page 112). (Henry is also reported by Ancestry.com to be on the next page; it is hard to see that name if it is there.) In 1830, the Gentrys, William Sr., William Jr. and Henry were all on the Rankin County census. Rankin County was divided into different counties by 1840; the Gentrys were in Winston County and Henry Killen in Neshoba County. (There is a William in Kemper County; it is not clear if this is the right William.) The 1850 census continues to show Henry Killen in Neshoba County and by then the Gentrys had moved to Neshoba County as well. The census shows the birthplace for both Wilmoth Killen Gentry (shown as age 56) and Henry Killen (shown as age 58) was North Carolina.

One family researcher, Harold B. Killen, reports (Killen Surname Board, Ancestry.com Dec 2001) that the first William Killen was an Irish immigrant from Ulster whose first four children (William Jr., Henry, Jacob and, presumably, Wilmoth) were born in North Carolina. He further reports that William Killen Sr. was born around 1772 and died in Rankin County in about 1834. There is a census report on the 1800 Richmond County NC census for a “William Killin” with three sons under age 10 and one daughter under age 10. Other family researchers (Jim Hardy and Roy Traster) report (Neshoba County Rootsweb site) that Henry Killen’s father was a William Killen, born in Ireland before 1775, who died about 1834 in Mississippi. Family tradition reported by Jim Hardy, Roy Traster and Tom Branning is that the first Killen in Mississippi was one of three brothers who came to American together from Ulster. Still other family researchers (see various messages on Ancestry.com and Genealogy.com) confirm that the first Killen in Mississippi was a William, born in Ulster around 1775, who died in MS around 1834.

Putting all these facts together, the likelihood that these Killens are Wilmoth’s family is quite strong: the lives of the Gentrys and the Killens overlapped and were intertwined to a degree that powerfully suggests kinship.

And that gives us our wee drop of Irish…

Paydirt!

Monday, December 30th, 2002

One of the earliest essays I have written in this series was my argument for concluding that Isabella Gentry Robertson, my great great grandmother, was the daughter of Rev. Elijah Gentry and his wife Wilmoth Killen Gentry of Mississippi. I think we’ve just hit paydirt in nailing down this relationship, and many thanks go to the Wilsons of Oregon and California for their help.

One of the key elements of my conclusion was research done by Clarence Wilson and his sister Maxine Wilson Smith (great grandchildren to Rev. Gentry) which resulted in a report for the Rankin County MS Historical Society that listed one of the children of Elijah and Wilmoth as “G.B. (daughter) [who] married I.R. Robertson.” Given the circumstantial evidence, I was pretty sure that was going to turn out to be a transposition of names and that the daughter would be I.R. (Isabella) who married G.B. Robertson (Gustavus Boone Robertson, to be precise). But we couldn’t find out what the source was for the report listing the identities of the Gentry children.

Initially, I wasn’t able to find any of the Wilsons, but finally located an email address for Jim Wilson in Oregon. He’s a younger brother to Clarence and Maxine. He told me of Maxine’s loss, but was able to put me in touch with Clarence, now more than 90 years old, through Clarence’s daughter Nancy in California. Nancy told me that her father wasn’t in a position to track back his research to find the source of that one line in the history report, but she offered to send me some of his notes to see if I could find the information myself.

I’m delighted to report that not only was Nancy true to her word but that the meticulous research of her father and aunt has pointed us directly to an old deed that had to be executed when Wilmoth, as Elijah’s widow, wanted to sell 320 acres in Neshoba County MS in the late 1860s. The deed required signatures of all of Elijah’s heirs (and, for daughters who were married, their husbands). And on that deed we can find “I.R. Robertson” and “G.B. Robertson.” There’s only one couple in Mississippi in the 1860s where one spouse is G.B. Robertson and the other has a first name beginning with the letter I: Gustavus Boone Robertson and his wife Isabella.

Paydirt.

I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of the document itself.

… and Bakers and candlestickmakers…!

Thursday, December 5th, 2002

Well… maybe not candlestickmakers. But Bakers… lots and lots and lots of Bakers! All the way back to 1635 for sure and who knows how much farther back than that???

Turns out that Louisa Baker Cottrell, my great great grandmother, is descended from a long and marvelous line that we can trace back at least to 1607 when Alexander Baker was born in London. He was a ropemaker in England and came to America in 1635 at the age of 28, with his wife Elizabeth, age 23, and daughters Elizabeth, age 3, and Christian, age 1, on the ship the Elizabeth and Ann. His son Samuel was born in 1638 in Massachusetts; Samuel’s son William was born in 1675 in Massachusetts; William’s son Thomas was born in 1710 or 1711 in Pennsylvania (and is reported to have died when the gunpowder he was making for the Americans for the Revolutionary War exploded in 1777); Thomas’s son David was born in 1749, probably in Virginia — he was a corporal in the Revolutionary War and fought in the Battles of Brandywine, White Plains, Princeton, and Trenton (where his brother was killed), and was mustered out in 1778 from Valley Forge; David’s son Martin was born in 1797 in North Carolina (probably in the town now called Bakersville after David Baker); and Martin’s daughter Louisa was born around 1826 in North Carolina.

Martin and several of his children, including Louisa and her brother Josiah, moved to Parker County, Texas in the 1850s. We just located the record of Louisa’s marriage to George W. Cottrell (also spelled Cotrell) in Johnson County, Texas. They were married on January 29, 1855, and their firstborn was my great grandfather, Martin Gilbert Cottrell, born in Parker County on September 30, 1855. When George made his claim for 160 acres in Parker County in 1861, one of his witnesses was his brother-in-law Josiah A. Baker.

There are scores and scores of Baker descendants out there who claim descent from David or Alexander. Lots and lots of new cousins to touch base with. What fun!

Regiments of Robertsons!

Tuesday, November 19th, 2002

Not even a month ago I was frustrated and disheartened at the idea that we would never find Michael Robertson, my mother’s cousin (his father Ray was my grandmother Opal’s brother). He had posted a message on a genealogy message board some time ago, but by the time we saw it, his email address wasn’t good any more and we didn’t know where he or his family might live.

My cousin Paula and I had done everything we could think of — checked the Internet for old school information, sent letters out to people we thought might have been cousins of his on his mother’s side, posted messages on the various genealogy boards.

And today I’m sitting here grinning from ear to ear! I have messages in my email in-box from both Michael and his brother Phillip and I know that their brother Bobby Joe and sister Susan are alive and kicking as well. There are at least seven Robertson children scattered among them (I’m not sure I was always following who was the parent of whom, I was grinning too much!) and two of them are boys to carry on the Robertson name (hello Brian! hello Nathan!). (Don’t get me wrong, Michelle, Mary Elizabeth, Noelle, Dory, Lauren — it’s not that we ladies aren’t worth our weight in gold as the glue that holds any family together — it’s just that the boys have to be good for SOMETHING!) (Uh… they won’t read this, will they…?)

And if that weren’t enough, we’ve also just recently made contact with yet another Robertson descendant — Mary, daughter of Birt Ray, son of Albert Byrd, son of Bird Alexander (brother of my great grandfather Jasper Carlton Robertson).

What fun this all is! Robertsons galore!

The joy and frustration of names

Saturday, November 2nd, 2002

Names in family research can be a joy and a frustration. A joy, because they often tell a story and often provide links from generation to generation. A frustration, because often the records and/or legal names don’t match the names used day to day and tracking people can be difficult.

Examples of the joy: my grandmother, Opal Robertson Cottrell, named her ninth child and fourth son Jerry LaStone. Spell it out. That’s L-A-S-T O-N-E. (He wasn’t — he has a younger brother and two younger sisters.) And she named her last child Patricia Ensign, in the expectation that her oldest son was about to accept an ensign’s commission in the U.S. Navy. (He didn’t; family legend is that he discovered he would have to pay for his own uniforms as an ensign and so accepted a warrant officer’s commission instead).

Examples of the frustration: My great great grandfather Gustavus Boone Robertson is Robinson on the 1850 census and Robertson on the 1860 census. His son, my great grandfather Jasper, is Robinson in 1900 and Robertson in 1910. His widow was Robinson again in 1920. (The name is common enough that it’s hard to track people even when it’s spelled consistently, doggone it!)

My grandfather’s family is just as bad. His family name was spelled Cotrell on the 1880 census, Cattrell in 1900, Cottrell in 1910, Cotterell in 1920, and so it goes.

And then there’s the first-name-middle-name issue. My grandmother named one of her sons Fred after her brother Fred, except he was never called Fred; he’s called David. My eldest aunt was named after her grandmother Eula, but
has always been called by her middle name Cladyne (after her father Clay). Her daughter Bobette is named after a cousin Bobette Gottlieb, except that her real name is Michaela (something I only recently discovered!). Her sister Betsy is really Monte Beth; her sister Kay is really Mary Kay; her brother Tony is really Clay Anthony. My great great grandfather Gustavus Boone Robertson was always called Boone; one of his sons was Alex. B. on the 1860 census and Bird A. in 1870; another son was Elijah in 1850, Elijha in 1860 and John E. in 1870. My great grandfather Martin Gilbert Cottrell was M.G. or Gilbert or Bert, but apparently never Martin. And nobody is even sure what my grandmother’s middle name was. Some say Eula, some say Eileen, and some say it was something weird that started with an O and she
hated it so she simply changed it.

At least my brothers and sisters and I are breaking the mold. Yessirree. My sister Diana is called Diana. My name is Judy and I’m called Judy. Of course my brother Paul was Butch for the first 12 years of his life and my sister Kathryn Cladyne has always been called Kacy (K.C.), and Fred was sometimes Fritz, and Warren sometimes Wallace, and … well… what was I saying about names again?