Category Archives: Journal

Chronological posts of tracing my family roots

Newspaper Archives Great Source for Family History

In my last post I mentioned finding surprising news about my grandfather, James R West, in newspapers from New Mexico in the early 1900s.  I have done many newspaper searches before, but never using NewspaperArchive.com.

I found dozens of articles that I had not find searching other newspaper sites. Although there is a subscription fee, I am finding this source invaluable. So far, I have saved twelve articles about James West from the site with many more still to review and save.

Screen Shot 2017-12-04 at 12.08.07 PM

Interestingly, although I have never heard him referred to as Jim except by my cousin John, seeing his name as Jim West, as well as James West, in one of the articles that I found led me to start a new search under Jim West. Many more articles came up that were clearly about James. Remember to search in many ways for your ancestors in all document and newspaper searches.

Conducting more research on Newspaper Archive is my top genealogy goal at the moment. It is taking a lot of discipline to not start entering every ancestor’s name to see what I can find. However, I am determined to first pull every article about my grandfather that I can find and this in itself will take several sessions.

Happy searching!

Kathy

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James R West – Man of Many Complexities

Finding out more about James R West, my grandfather, was one of the reasons that I started my genealogy research. James married my Cherokee grandmother, Eliza Crittenden, in 1903. I knew only broad strokes about their life together.

They married in Oklahoma Indian Territory in 1903. Sometime shortly after that they moved to Roswell, New Mexico where they lived until about 1917. I knew that James left the family in 1922 and, except for a one day visit to Tulsa in 1929, he never contacted my grandmother or his children again.

James R West

James R West

Since starting my research I have found out more about their life together, but I still have so many holes in their story.

Based on some correspondence with the Dawes Commission regarding my grandmother’s land selection, I had a feeling that James was not in the household during their last years in Roswell. In October of this year,  I finally made my way to Roswell to see what I could find.

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Chaves County Court House – Roswell

I started with the Historical Society and their very helpful volunteer. Janice found a newspaper article that led me to do some research in the property file archives at the Chaves County Recorders Office. I found many land transactions in which James was involved, ending with charges being filed against him regarding some of those transactions. This mirrored activity by James that I had found several years ago in Wagoner, Oklahoma. Pages of land transactions concluding with him being sanctioned by a judge.

So, I went back to the newspaper archives. I found two more interesting articles about charges being filed against James for various crimes. My next stop would have been the court house to find out more about these charges and their resolution, but sadly I had to depart Roswell and my travel plans could not be changed. The wonderful Historical Society volunteer is going to see what she can find at the court house.

This week I decided to conduct a more intensive newspaper search and was overwhelmed by what I found, coverage of multiple charges and trials involving James R West, including horse smuggling, jury tampering, and attempted murder!

Clearly, my research will continue. I know that I will find out more facts, and hopefully find the court records regarding these cases. However, will I ever know the story surrounding the facts? What led James, who appeared to have a successful livery business at the time, to his actions? How did it impact my grandma, Eliza?

JamesRichard.4thfromleft.Roswell.NM.ca.1912 (2017_08_30 07_25_36 UTC)

James R West – second from right in black hat

Some of James’ story can be attributed to the fact that much of Oklahoma and New Mexico were still the Wild West in the early 1900s. Yet, that is not enough of an explanation for me.

I fear I will always be left wondering about so many details and nuances of my grandparents’ lives. It is the search and the uncovering of surprises that keep me going. I know that there will always be something else to find out.

This trip also reminded me that there is nothing like feet on the ground when following your family’s story in many diverse locations.

Do any of you have family that resided in New Mexico in the early 1900s? I would love to hear your stories. Who knows, maybe yours cross mine somewhere in Roswell.

 

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The West Family Cherokee Connections

When I started this blog I was aware that one of my West ancestors, Rufus Morgan West Jr (my great grandfather’s nephew), had married a Cherokee woman, Ellen Fain, and that my grandfather’s brother, David West, had married Rufus’s widow. What I found on my November 2016 trip to Guntersville, Alabama is that my West family’s Cherokee connection is deeper and more complex that I knew.

My great grandfather’s brother, Rufus Morgan West, married Nancy Merrill (interchangeably spelled as Merrell) in Alabama in 1843.

Rufus West and Nancy Merrll Licensce from Archives Office in Guntersville, Marshall County, Alabama

Rufus West and Nancy Merrell Marry in Alabama

My time in Alabama was full of discoveries, many of which I will share in future posts. The major finding was how deep my family’s Cherokee connections are in my West lineage. When I started this quest into my family’s history, I had compartmentalized my family’s Cherokee heritage on my mother’s side in her mother’s Crittenden line, not her father’s West line. But, of course, as we all know, tracing family lines is much more complex than we think when we start.

One of the most intriguing explorations for me has been studying the history of Oklahoma, Arkansas and Alabama in the 1800s and early 1900s and finding out how often my West and Crittenden families’ histories were a part of some of the key events of that time, in both pioneer and Cherokee history.

I would love to hear from any West, Ferguson, Pollston, Merrill (Merrell), Stephens or other families who were residing in Marshall County in the general Guntersville area in the 1800s.

For more information on Alabama’s Cherokee history:

http://www.encyclopediaofalabama.org/article/h-1087

History of Merrill Mountain:

history-of-merrill-mountain

 

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Descendants of Moses Crittenden -Where Are They?

Moses Crittenden, my great grandfather, had 17 children.

His children with Edith Quinton were:
James Washington Crittenden 1849–1922
Malinda Jane Crittenden 1850–1932
Clara Crittenden 1851–1881
William Crittenden 1852 –
Perry Crittenden 1854–
Martha Elizabeth Crittenden 1854–1892
Elizabeth Crittenden 1859–
Edith Elizabeth Crittenden 1861–1945

Great Aunt Edith Elizabeth Crittenden

His children with Margaret Howell were:
Mary Ann Crittenden 1868–1945
Palmira Vianna Crittenden 1871–1939
Sidney Crittenden 1873–1925
Nancy Alice Crittenden 1875–1941
Eliza Jane Crittenden 1876–1970 (my grandmother)

GrandmaElizaJaneCrittendenWest.ca.1950

Dora B Crittenden 1880–1968
Margaret Rebecca Crittenden 1882
Isaac Moses Crittenden 1888-1957

IsaacCrittenden

One child with Emily Crittenden Weaver:
Anthony Crittenden 1854-1909

I know there are hundreds of Moses Crittenden descendants. My hope is that eventually we will all  find each other online and share family stories, photos and missing genealogy facts.

Meantime, I will continue to post my discoveries about my grandparents’ ancestors; the Crittendens, the Wests, the Moores and the Cartmills.

With this post goes a big hug to all of my cousins out there, known and unknown.

 

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The Crittenden Photo Hunt Continues

Thank you to those who helped identify some of the photos that I posted last month.

Here is an update on the new information that I have.

Emily Crittenden Weaver and Joe Weaver

Emily Crittenden Weaver and Joe Weaver, her son

I am in agreement with the input that I have had from other Crittenden descendants that the woman pictured here is not Emily Crittenden. Any readers know who she might be? Joe Weaver, on the right, was Emily’s son and the father of Mary Weaver Crittenden and Lewis Weaver.

Emily Weaver Family 1.3.7.6.10.11 photos

Current consensus is that # 1 is Lewis (Bullet) Weaver. Number 3 is Anthony Crittenden, Lewis’ older brother and Moses Crittenden’s only child with Emily Crittenden. The Albertys are in photo number 7. I need to do more research on the Albertys. Number 11 may be Emily’s youngest son, Sam King who passed away at a young age.

Emily Weaver Family 8.5.9.12.4.2

Emily Weaver Crittenden and other Family Members

Top row, left to right: Rachel Woodall (one of Emily’s daughters), middle photo is an Alberty, top row right is Emily Crittenden Weaver. Bottom row, left to right: Possibly Rachel Woodall as a toddler, middle is an Alberty, on the right is Anthony Crittenden.

I will keep you posted when I get more clarification.

 

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Crittenden Weaver Photos – Need Help Identifying

I have mentioned here before what a treasure family photos are to me. I was surprised and thrilled when I received a comment in this blog from another Crittenden relative that I did not know about. Our connection is through Moses Crittenden and his relationship with Emily Crittenden Weaver.  The biggest thrill was that she had photos to share!

She was very generous in immediately sending me scans of her photos and her best guesses as to who they are. Some are scans of photos that were taken of original photographs in a photo album. There are also some scans of treasured original tin types.

I am going to attach the scans in this post with our combined best info about who is actually in the photos. I am hoping that someone who reads this will be able to provide more information and/or add to our growing collection of photos.

Charlotte and Lottie Robbins.Emily Crittenden Weaver Daughters

Photos of Charlotte and Lottie Robbins. Daughters of Emily Crittenden Weaver.

Anyone have any other photos of Charlotte and Lottie?

Emily Crittenden Weaver and Joe Weaver

Emily Crittenden Weaver and Joe Weaver, her son

Although this is identified as Emily, based on another photo that I have of her, I do not think that this is Emily Crittenden Weaver.

 

Ben and Mary Crittenden - Dave Crittenden

Ben and Mary Crittenden – Dave Crittenden

Emily Weaver Family 1.3.7.6.10.11 photos.jpg

Here are some thoughts as to who the people in these photos might be.

1.Maybe Ben Crittenden
3.Don’t know
6. David Crittenden
7. Don’t know
10. Mary and her sisters and David Crittenden
11. David Crittenden

Emily Weaver Family 8.5.9.12.4.2

More photos with needing identifying.

Top row left – Emily Crittenden Weaver possibly – I do not think so.
Top row middle – Do not know
Top row right – I have had this photo identified by two people as Emily Crittenden Weaver. If so, then I do not see the resemblance to the photo above, next to Joe Weaver, identified as Emily Weaver. I was told that might be Emily, but she looks nothing like the woman top row, right, in this photo.
Bottom row left – Possibly David Crittenden’s sister who was blinded when she was young.
Bottom row middle – Do not know
Bottom row right – Do not know

Hoping this is read by someone who can help us shed more light on these treasured photos, or add some photos of their own of anyone connected to Moses Crittenden and his descendants.

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Patience is the Key When Researching Family History

In Ireland researching my Moore family history from the 1600s I was reminded again that there are no shortcuts in discovering your genealogy and family history.

On my father’s side I am very fortunate to have an 850 page resource researched and written by a cousin, Timothy J. O’Rourke, in 1973.  “Maryland Catholics on the Frontier”, traces my Moore family lineage up the paternal line starting with Nicholas Moore born in Maryland in 1712. His father is listed as “possibly” William Moore.

This very complete and well documented history amazes me every time I go back to it. In 1973 there were no quick answers via the internet and digital images. The book represents years of on the ground research and document searches.

Since I started my quest to find more about my mother’s ancestors, Crittenden and West, I have also been able to add to my knowledge of the Moore family with online digitalized copies of birth and death certificates, marriage licenses and other documents verifying the research already done.

Our family’s oral history tells me that our ancestors immigrated to the United States in the Maryland area from Ireland in the 1600s. Not finding any definitive information online I got it into my head that a visit to Dublin (I was going to be in Europe already) and the genealogy department of the National Library of Ireland might provide some clues.

I was blown away by the antiquities available to research in their manuscripts sections, land documents from the 1500s and 16oos and even earlier.

1622 Mortgage Ireland.JPG

!5th and 16th Century deeds.JPG

However, I quickly realized that I was trying to make a very difficult leap from Maryland back to Ireland without enough information. I had thought maybe studying manuscripts with Irish Moore genealogies from the 1600s would provide me the clues that I needed. I did indeed find some genealogies with similar family naming patterns but none that mentioned family members moving to the United States in the correct time period.

I found documents with given and family names that could be a match to my family, but without enough detail to make a connection.

It this one of my ancestors - 1675.JPG

I met with a genealogist in at the National Library. She reminded me of what I really already knew. I was trying to skip a step. If I could not find what I needed about my Maryland ancestors online I needed to start in Maryland, on the ground, visiting libraries, court houses, churches and scouring documents in person.

In my quests for more information in both my Crittenden and West lines I already knew that my key links, when I was stuck, were found by going to Oklahoma and Arkansas and spending weeks examining papers that I could only access in person. Hours, sometimes days, spent finding nothing only made the reward that much greater when I would find a key piece of the puzzle of my family’s history when I was least expecting. Often when I was on the last piece of paper after four to five hours in a library or court house I would find my great reward.

I am already scheduled to go to Oklahoma, Arkansas and Alabama in the fall of 2016 for the next step in Crittenden and West research. I now know that what I need to schedule next is a trip to Maryland to immerse myself in the Moore history of the 1600s and early 1700s.

I am confident that by remembering that I have to go back one step at a time, and that skipping a generation can lead to false assumptions, I will find the next missing piece in the link from Maryland to Ireland for my Moore ancestors.

Once I find that link I will go back to Ireland and search once more through hand written Moore family trees and land documents, like the one below with its awesome seal. When I do, I hope to be able to piece together the story of my family in Ireland.

Look at this seal from the 1600s.JPG

 

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