Tuesday, January 21, 2014

52 Ancestor's week 3 - Martha Elizabeth King

I wasn't going to post week 3 so quickly after I posted week 2, but then I got to Martha Elizabeth King and knew I wanted to post about her next.  Martha is my 2nd great grandmother on my father's side.  On my father's side I'm very fortunate as the family line travels far back in the United States and some of my family were the first settlers in Austin!  More about them in another post.

Martha Elizabeth King was born on March 24th 1876 in Austin, Texas to James Lowery King and Mary Jane Gillman.  Martha married George Washington Williams in 1895 at the age of 19.  George was considerably older than her and was 35 when they married.  Together they had 5 children.  George passed away in 1921.  Martha passed away in 1935, at the age of 58, but the cause of her death is what prompted me to find out more information and thus write about her.  The death certificate stated that she died due to drinking carbolic acid (suicide).  This news really devastated me.  I first went to the internet to see what carbolic acid is and found that apparently it's used in making plastics.  This lead to two questions, one where on earth does one get carbolic acid, was it sold at the corner drug store in 1935?  The second, why would she want to kill herself.  The latter question I am having a hard time coming up with answers.  I can't find any type of documentation to suggest that perhaps she was ill and wanted to decide when she would die or perhaps she was depressed or perhaps it was an accident.  I just can't figure it out.  I hope that someone out there has more information on Martha Elizabeth King and would be able to help me solve the mystery.

I did find out what carbolic acid would have been used for in the 1930s.  It would have been used for swollen throat glands.  So perhaps Martha accidentally took to much and it killed her?  This is the first mystery I have encountered in really researching my family tree.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

52 Ancestors - Bigger Head

For my next installment of profiling an ancestor I chose the one with the funniest name.  Bigger Head.  That was  his name on every deed or census I have found.  I'm not quite sure who the prankster was in the family and decided on that name, but for the chuckle it has brought me everytime I see it, I am grateful!

Bigger Head is my 6x great grandfather and was born in Prince George's, Maryland in 1754 to William Head and Lucy Beckwith. Unfortunately I do not have much information about him.  I do know that he appears in deed documents in 1800 in Washington, Kentucky. He did in 1823 in Owensboro, Kentucky.  His wife, Lucy Sarah Livers preceded his death by 23 years, which is the time he moved to Kentucky.  That could have been the reason he left Maryland in the first place since Lucy died in Maryland.  I have a hard time deciphering the censuses from that far back and do not like that there are no names listed.  I know Bigger and Lucy had at least 1 son, my 5th great grandfather Richard G. Head, who was only 2 years old when his mother died. In the Maryland 1790 census there are 3 males under 16 and 3 females listed which means there are 2 more brothers and 2 sisters that I have yet to find, but perhaps someone out there has that missing piece of information?

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Week 1 of 52 weeks Ancestor Challenge

This is my very first blog post and I'm a bit nervous about it.  I've never had a blog before, nor had I any reason to create one.  I saw this challenge on my Facebook page, from nostorytosmall.com, and since I'm having so much fun figuring out my ancestors I wanted to share it with others and hopefully I can get some help along the way or meet some family members.

The first ancestor I am going to highlight is the one that is giving me the most trouble.  This would be my great-grandfather (gg for short) on my mother's side. The reason why I have so much trouble is that the rumor in the family is that the father of my gg, might actually be his grandfather making my gg illegitimate.

Samuel Robert Oates was born in 1903 in Penzance, Cornwall, England. He migrated to the Massachusetts in 1913 with who my family believes is his grandfather and grandmother.  The records of his travel state that he traveled with his father, mother and possibly either a sister or a servant. The part that makes me believe that the rumors are true is that before 1903, his "father", James Oates, was living in Massachusetts, right up until at least 1900 with his wife Honor Chellew. Watching a previous episode of "Who do you think you are" it was mentioned that it was not uncommon for foreigners to travel back home for a few years at a time to fight in wars or take care of families, so I'm not sure if this happened and during that time James and Honor had a child?

I will put more effort into this, including signing up for Ancestry.com international to see if I can get birth records or perhaps more information as to why James and Honor would go back to England.  But that will have to wait until March when I'm done with my last semester at school and can devote more time to it.