It is possible to explore family history and understand it reasonably well, family, on the other hand, is always a mystery.

Alice, Ruth and Elinor

Alice, Ruth and Elinor

     The problem with trying to understand your own family is that you were a child when you first encountered these mysterious people.  Your views on each of them are colored by the nuclear family you grew up in and even that nuclear family had its secrets, lots of them.

      This is why family historians are always asking themselves, “Why didn’t I know this?’ or “Why didn’t I spend more time with this person?” or one of a thousand other questions usually accompanied by slapping the forehead and saying, “Duh!”

      I did some forehead smacking recently when I discovered a 1977 article from The Jewish Exponent of Philadelphia about my cousin Elinor Brown.  Elinor is my first cousin, once removed, or put in language I actually understand; she was my grandmother’s sister’s kid.

      I knew Elinor when I was growing up.  We weren’t as close to my grandmother’s family, but we saw them from time to time.  They came to our weddings and Bar Mitzvahs; we went to theirs.  There was no estrangement that I know of, there just didn’t seem to be a lot of communication, but what do I know, I was a dumb kid.

Elinor Brown (top right) with her father and sisters, Alice and Ruthe

Elinor Brown (top right) with her father and sisters,
Alice and Ruthe

Elinor was born in 1898, so she was about 50 years older than I am.  As a child I suppose she was just another old person to me, but I knew Elinor when I was an adult in my twenties and thirties.  Why then did I know so little about her?

      The article from The Jewish Exponent of Philadelphia is about Elinor’s career in the advertising business.  I knew she was in business of some kind and I knew she was successful, but I never thought about what it must have been like for a woman of her generation to be in business.

      Elinor began writing for the Yiddish newspaper, Der Tag, which was owned by her father.  After high school Elinor went to secretarial school in Syracuse.  Secretarial work, after all, was what women did until they got married.  Elinor came home for the summer and took a job in the secretarial pool at an ad agency.  She never returned to school and somehow made it from the secretarial pool to space and media buying.  She was the only woman in that area.

      She made the next big jump when she heard that the Contadina Company was looking for an ad agency.  She flew to Chicago and convinced Contadina’s parent company to hire the E.L.Brown Agency.  This was the birth of the agency.  When she arranged a banquet for Contadina dealers she ran into a bit of a problem.

      This from the Jewish Exponent, “I finished making the arrangements with the hotel management, went up to my suite to change, and decided to go down for a drink.  But they turned me away at the bar–unaccompanied women were not allowed in.

      I was furious!  Here I had just finished spending God knows how much money in that hotel, and I couldn’t go to the bar.  I grabbed the assistant manager and told him my story. He finally escorted me into the bar and sat with me while I had my drink.  But–imagine!”

      It was a problem that would persist so she dealt with it.  “I hired a man whose only function in the agency was to pick up the check.  He traveled with me wherever I went, all over the country, and that’s all he did.  Pick up the check.”

       What can I say, it’s brilliant, appalling, and yet awfully funny.

      There are a lot more stories I could tell about this interesting woman and her long and successful life.  She married twice, had children and grandchildren and worked into her 80′s.

      I am delighted to know more about this early feminist.  I’m just sorry I didn’t get to hear her stories from her.

 

 

 

Research
* Continue to look for birth, death, marriage records for Margaret, John, Tilford, William S., John Charles Earhart.
* Get the pension file for Tilford Earhart, filed by his mother Margaret.
* Send for more copies of original records found on familysearch.org from the list I am accumulating in Evernote.

Organization
October is going to be tricky for getting much done with any organization. I’m going to be gone for 12 days in the middle of the month. However, I will *try* to:
* Pick a group of records and really learn how to enter them in Clooz – a program which I really like my early experience with but which I need to learn to be more proficient using.
* Type notes from Maine trip and file information. Figure out next steps.

Education
* I caught several of the Legacy Family Tree webinars in September: I watched the recorded one by Mary Hill, Colonial Immigrants: Who They Were and Where They Came From; another recorded one by Linda Woodward Geiger, Getting the Most from Your Records: Putting Them Through the Wringer! and I attended the live on by Marion Pierre-Louis, Don’t Be an Audio Hog: Free and Easy Ways to Share Your Audio Files. Whew!! I will try to watch at least one in October. Perhaps it would be smart to watch the video tutorials that Clooz has published, in my quest to learn to use the program more easily and efficiently.

For our GRIP course we were asked to describe a research problem for discussion with the class.  I wrote up the basics of what I knew about Mary/Elizabeth Earhart (or Hockman) Boothby.  I included the information I have posted here before.

The fun part was having everyone in the class read my problem and then ask questions and make suggestions about what to do next in my search for Mary’s true parents.  At the time I wrote it up, I basically had all of the places she appeared in the Federal Census, the information about her marriage to Alex Boothby, the registration information for some of her children, and her death certificate information.  Her youngest daughter, my grandmother Carrie, was the informant on the death certificate so not a primary source for any of the information I was interested in (like her parents or her date of birth).

The consensus of the GRIP class was that I needed to do a timeline of some sort to help me decide whether there was truly a second Elizabeth Hockman of about the same age (as it appears at first blush on the census records I had).  This turned out to be quite easy once I was back home and had access to all my documents and saved records.  The first census I found Elizabeth Hockman on, in the John Arehart family, was the 1860 census and she was listed as 4 years old.  This census was taken on 28 June 1860.  The one showing a David Hockman family which included an Elizabeth Hockman aged 5 was taken on 9 June 1860.  So they could have been the same child in two different places at two different times.  The 1870 census, however,  showed the two families on the same page 5 households apart, one Elizabeth M. Earhart and one Elizabeth Hockman.  This argues that there were two different girls.  Lastly, on the 1880 census, Elizabeth E. Hockman was still living in her mother’s household (census taken 4 & 5 June 1880) while Mary E. Boothby was married and living with her husband and three sons (census taken 7 & 8 June 1880).  It seems unlikely that first Elizabeth was at the Hockman’s using the last name of Hockman and 3 days later at home using her married name of Boothby.

The next set of suggestions were ways to look for who this Elizabeth Hockman of mine might be.  Did her father have sisters who might have left a daughter?  Did her mother?  Was her older brother married when he died?  This wouldn’t really explain the Hockman name.  Then there is the possibility of finding probate records showing a guardianship or the death and will of a possible father.  Once home, I also decided that I need to look into the death of Tilford Earhart, her older brother, who served in the Civil War.  Margaret Earhart, their mother, applied for and seems to have been granted a pension based on Tilford’s service and death.  I am now trying to find out if this pension file has been digitized by Fold3 and if I can get the pension file that way.  I also need to add Tilford to the list of probates to search for.

At this point I come to several conclusions.  The David Hockman family that had an Elizabeth was not the family that Mary/Elizabeth Hockman Earhart was born into.  Although the two families lived in the same small area of Brown County, Ohio, for much of their lives, making it more confusing to figure out, Elizabeth daughter of David and Delitha Hockman was not the same person as Elizabeth/Mary Hockman Earhart.   The John and Margaret Earhart family seems to have included 2 biological children and 2 “adopted” children.  Since the censuses did not list relation to head of household until 1880, it is difficult to be sure which of the children were which.  Tilford was born within a little more than a year of their marriage, suggesting to me that he was a biological child.  William S. Earhart and Elizabeth Mary were born within a couple of years of each other, and John Charles followed 8-10 years after them.  The only clue so far is the 1900 censusEarhart, Margaret - 1900crop which shows Margaret Earhart living with John C. and his wife Emma, listed as mother of head of household, and reporting that she was the mother of 2 children, 1 of them living.  Since we know that Tilford was dead by 1900 and that Elizabeth Mary was still alive, and William S. was also still alive (at least based on later censuses showing him in Wyoming), this suggests that John C. was her son and that the middle two children were adoptees.

It seems like I didn’t accomplish much of my goals in August. I think I got distracted by my trip to Maine and everything else fell by the wayside last month. I am determined to get back on track this month.

Research
* Do a timeline for Mary Elizabeth Hockman Earhart. Get all the census records for the Earhart families, her Boothby family, and any Hockman families. Also get all possible birth, marriage, and death records. (I have some of these records but need to be sure I have all of them.) [This one didn't get done in August and seems like an important place to start in going back to my exploration of just who Mary Earhart was.]

Organization
* Pick a group of records and really learn how to enter them in Clooz1 – a program which I really like my early experience with but which I need to learn to be more proficient using.
* I may also try to create my own version of a spreadsheet to track digital files and note the basics of the sources they come from, as described by Josh Taylor in one of the sessions he taught in our GRIP course.
* Continuing to organize the various files on my hard drive.
* Back up the blog! Plug-ins found so far to automate this task don’t meet my needs However I just saw a review of another one, that looked worth investigating. There is always hope – in the meantime I must remember to do it by hand.

Education
* I did not get a webinar watched in August, although I had a couple I intended to attend or watch after original presentation.  I will do better this month.
* I did learn some things about researching in person in Maine (see my recent post about my trip).

**********

  1. http://www.clooz.com

As I said I was going to in my August To-Do list, I went on a short road trip with my sister to Maine.  My main goal was to begin to explore the resources available in Maine for researching family history and genealogy.  Before we left I developed a tentative itinerary and time-table.

Based on scraps of information about our Boothby line and where they likely had been in Maine, I wanted to see what we could see or find in the Scarborough area.  From my online searching I knew that there is a Scarborough Historical Society and Museum that I wanted to explore.  A short phone call to the Scarborough Town Hall confirmed that the Historical Society was the place for me to look for information.  I was told that for vital records created after 1892 the Town Hall should have the record and will search it and copy it for you.  Before 1892  they have some of the records but not all.  Since I am interested in the early 1700s to about 1800, and I wanted to see the records for myself, the Historical Society it was to be.  I also hoped to find an old cemetery to wander.

The other location I decided I needed to explore was the Maine State Library and the Maine State Archives .  These are located in the same building in Augusta.  Based on the time we had available and the driving times, it seemed that Scarborough and then Augusta were about all we could do in this trip.  Plus there were things my sister wanted to see and do that weren’t genealogy-related.

I have to admit that I was not fully (or anywhere near fully) prepared for this trip in terms of knowing what specific records or information I wanted to look for.  So, for example, just before we left I found a Find A Grave entry that may be our ancestor Samuel Boothby in an old cemetery in Portland.  Did I know where it was or how to find the stone that is pictured on Find A Grave?  Did I know anything about where the records, if they exist, for this cemetery might be found?  No!  I also found a family tree for this Samuel on Ancestry.com, so I printed out the family group sheet to take along as possible hints about our family.

Here is what we did – from the genealogical perspective.  We drove up to Scarborough and found the Scarborough Historical Society.  Luckily our planning had allowed for a visit there on the one morning a week they are normally open (which is Tuesday for anyone who is interested).  It was easy to find, right on Route 1 next to and slightly behind the IMGP4257Dunstan Fire House as they describe on the website.  The building is a neat old place and there is stuff everywhere.  The Museum is connected (the white building to the left and also had lots of stuff.  I was so taken by the people and the resources in the Society, however, that I never really got a good look at the Museum.  I definitely need to return.   The collection of what the Society has is not really catalogued formally (i.e., there is no online catalog and I don’t think there is a paper one in the building) but the group of people who were there working that morning were all very knowledgeable and helpful.  A lovely woman named Sarah took us in hand and started providing folders of papers and books and pictures for us to explore.  They don’t have the original vital records there, but they do have microfilm and books of transcriptions from the microfilms that go back to the earliest days (some into the late 1600s and more from the early 1700s).  I was able to find the transcriptions of the baptisms of the children born to Samuel and Esther Boothby and the transcriptions showing my Josiah Boothby’s two marriages, first to Betty Beard and then to Sarah Stuart.  I did not find records of any of Josiah’s children, nor of the death of his first wife (presumed to have died).  I found the burial of Esther, wife of Samuel Boothby.  I did not find any record of Samuel and Esther’s marriage.

When the Society folks finally started closing up for the day, they directed us to the Saco public library and the museum next door to it.  IMGP4338The Dyer Library in Saco has a Maine History Room which is a repository for more historical and genealogical resources.  The Saco Museum in the York Institute building had a well-done exhibit on the Civil War from the perspective of a local man who served in it.  The Roy P. Fitzgerald Maine History Room is staffed by a group of volunteers who are both very knowledgeable about local history and families and also very helpful to researchers who wander in.  I was very excited to find books that collected deeds for York County, and found a couple involving a Henry Boothby and a Richard Boothby in Wells.  It is not clear at this point exactly who these Boothbys are.

In between repositories and lunch and walking and coffee with a niece we did find time to wander through the old Dunstan Cemetery in Scarborough and locate a number of Boothby stones.  None of these are our direct ancestors and I don’t yet know who they all are, but I got pictures and a listing of all the Boothbys from a work that had transcribed all the headstones.  There were also a number of Snows (another family line for us), so I took some pictures of some of them too.  I don’t know of any of our line of Snows who migrated to Maine so these may not be relatives.

Then we headed for Augusta.  Even though I was not as organized as usual about knowing exactly where we were going, we found our way with little trouble or backtracking.  IMGP4359My photo shows the front of the building both the Archives and the State Library are housed in, and the convenience of the parking lot.  I was impressed.  The Archives requires a Research Room Privileges card so we both filled out the short form and provided picture ID to establish our credentials.  I spent a couple of hours browsing through microfilm looking for our Boothbys in the Kittery vital records – hoping for the marriage of Samuel and Esther but not finding it.  I now wish I had spent some time with the Scarborough films since it was very easy to make printed copies of pages.  I did look quickly at a film of some Saco records as well, though didn’t find anything.  My sister, in the meantime, had gone up to the Library and was browsing the collections there.  (There may also have been a short nap involved.)  My two finds were the record of Thomas Boothby and Lydia Cane’s intention to marry, in 1725, and Thomas’s will in a book of Maine wills.  No will for Samuel.

2013-08-16 12.02.22Our last day in Maine was spent doing a leisurely drive over to the coast from Augusta to Boothbay Harbor and then a lovely morning of wandering in Boothbay and having lunch where we had a great view of the waterside.  We watched kayakers and paddle boarders go out and come in, and enjoyed the beautiful sunny summer day.

© 2009-2014 The Genealogy Gals All Rights Reserved -- Copyright notice by Blog Copyright