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Dear Emma, What should I call your oldest son? Love, Amberly

 

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A family record typed by Hope Estelle Maffit Duval.  Older data came from her mother Emma Esther Jerrain Maffit.  There are multiple copies of this record that all list Chesterfield Jerrain Maffit with these dates.

 

Dear Grandma Emma,

Thank you for leaving family records that your daughter Estelle, my great-grandmother, typed up.  They are so helpful!

But here’s the deal – your second child and first son?  You gave him two, sort of three, different names.  I don’t know what I should call him.

In all of the family records Estelle typed up, she listed him as Chesterfield Jerrain Maffit.  But there are no birth or death records for a Chesterfield Jerrain Maffit.  There is a birth record for an Orin Maffit and a death record for an Orrin Seth Maffit.  But guess what?  The dates on those records don’t match the dates you list for Chesterfield.  Not exactly.

Your daughter typed up a birthdate of 5 January 1905, and a death date of 21 March 1905, for Chesterfield.  (For a while, I was extra confused because a family member had mistyped from Estelle’s record and gave a death date for Chesterfield of 20 January 1905.)1  Orin’s birth date was 5 January 19062 and his death date was 23 March 19063.  Those dates are so similar that I really struggled with whether or not Chesterfield and Orrin were the same child.  I actually have both children in my tree because I did not want to leave out any of your precious children – and what if you really had two sons born on the same day a year apart who died one year and two days apart?

But just a few weeks ago, I found my first record for Chesterfield.  I was soooo excited!  The record is Chesterfield’s baptism record4.  It reads this way:

“350   Name: Chesterfield Seth Maffit    Parents: Seth and Emma    When Born: January 1st ” [ditto marks for 1906]    When Baptised: ” [ditto marks for Mch] 23rd ” [ditto marks for 190-, the last digit in the year is cut off, the index indicates 1906]”

This is the first record that ties the two boys together.  It brings the dates for Orrin with the name of Chesterfield, just with the middle name of Seth instead of Jerrain.  I think Orrin and Chesterfield are the same boy.  Am I right?

In the 1910 census5, you are listed as the mother of four with two living.  If you really had both Orrin and Chesterfield, those numbers should be five with two living.  You wouldn’t forget a baby that you buried, would you?

So, did you name your first son Orin, baptize him as Chesterfield Seth, then list his name as Orrin Seth on his death record, and then decide to call him Chesterfield Jerrain in your family record?  Or is there something else going on?  Did you name him Orin, decide to go with Chesterfield and then after he died, your brother-in-law William, who was a doctor and the informant for your son’s death (and birth), listed his name as Orrin Seth on the death record without consulting you?

The baptism record also brings up other questions for me.  The baptism record for Chesterfield lists his date of baptism as 23 March 1906.  He was the only child baptized that day, a Friday.  That is the very day that Orrin Seth died of acute fermental diarrhea.  Did you know that he was going to die?  Was this an emergency baptism?  What must that day have been like for you?  A cloth diaper disaster, the impending death of your second child, your second child to die… how did you get through that day?

Grandma Emma, I want to represent your story, and family, accurately.  I think I can merge Orrin Seth and Chesterfield Jerrain.  But am I right?

With Much Love,

Amberly, your 2nd great-granddaughter

 

 

Dear Readers,

Please feel free to share your thoughts on this one.  Merging those two boys will be mighty difficult for me.  I would hate to erase someone’s existence from my tree.  But on the other hand… it seems like they are the same person.  What do you think?

Love,

Amberly, the girl over here trying to sort everything out correctly

 

 

Happy Monday, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could figure out a way to send letters to the past through some special time-traveling-bank-style-pneumatic-tube?  And then get answers to our questions from that same magical tube?  I would sooooo get in line to do that!  😉

 

 

 

 


  1. Chesterfield Jerrain Maffit has an entry in the Family Tree on FamilySearch.  It shows my username as having submitted the data but my I am fairly certain that my sister did that.  I may have been the one to link him to his parents early on and that may be why my username shows there.  You can view him here:  https://www.familysearch.org/tree/person/details/MV9B-FTM 
  2. “Illinois, Cook County Birth Certificates, 1878-1922,” index, FamilySearch.org (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/NQRD-DLP : accessed 07 May 2014), Orin Maffit, 05 Jan 1906; citing Chicago, Cook, Illinois, reference 10380, Cook County Courthouse, Chicago; FHL microfilm 1,288,111 (film accessed 06 May 2014 at BYU). 
  3. “Illinois, Cook County Deaths, 1878-1922,” index, FamilySearch.org (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/N7WT-332 : accessed 07 May 2014), Orrin Seth Maffit, 23 Mar 1906; citing 2896 Archer Ave, Chicago, Cook, Illinois, Cemetery, cn, Cook County Courthouse, Chicago; FHL microfilm 1,239,737 (film accessed 06 May 2014 at BYU). 
  4. Presbyterian Historical Society; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; “U.S., Presbyterian Church Records, 1701-1907″; Book Title: Session/Register 1887-1923; Accession Number: Vault BX 9211 .I30608 I42, image for Chesterfield Seth Maffit, baptism 23 March 1906, image 170 of 228, line 350; accessed through “U.S., Presbyterian Church Records, 1701-1970,” database and images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 January 2016). 
  5. 1910 U.S. census, Cook County, Illinois, Chicago Ward 5, population schedule, enumeration district (ED) 286, page 3B (handwritten), dwelling 39, family 54, lines 93-96, Seth Moffit household, digital image, Ancestry.com, (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 11 May 2018); citing FHL microfilm 1,374,257, original source data NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 244. 


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Cousins All Around

Last week I had a very unexpected experience.  I met a cousin that I had never heard of before.  We were in the same place, I heard his last name, then where he was from and had to interrupt to ask if he was related to my GrandAunt Beth‘s husband, Uncle Darwin.  After all, they share the same last name, a last name I’ve only ever heard in my own family, and they are from the same city about 2 hours North of me.

He responded with, “Yes, I am related to Darwin and Beth.”  At first, I was thinking that he was acknowledging his relationship to Beth through marriage.  I was wrong.  As we talked it became clear that he is actually more closely related to Aunt Beth – and to me! – than to Uncle Darwin.  This man and I share the common ancestors of Frederick William Ellis & Susan Kaziah Davis, pictured above.  We are second cousins once removed!

As we talked, I mentioned that I have a few family treasures from Frederick & Susan and invited him to stop by my home the next day to have a look.  He was staying with his daughter who lives in the next town, just minutes from my home.

The very next day, my newly discovered cousin came to my home, so did my Uncle.  We looked at some family treasures, talked about our shared family members, and were in awe of some of the artifacts that have survived all these years.  He especially enjoyed going through the Family Record book kept by Frederick.  He lovingly stroked the pages as he saw the names of his mother, grandparents, and then his own name, and the names of some of his siblings handwritten by his great-grandfather.  It was a beautiful moment.  We had a mini-Ellis family reunion right in my piano room.  It was a wonderful two hours of sharing.

My cousin is in his upper 80s, yet he is a second cousin to my father who is in his mid-60s.  Despite the geographic distance, the age difference, and never having met before – nor even hearing of each other before, we discovered our connection at a very unexpected moment.

And now I can’t help but wonder, how many cousin connections are all around me as I go about my daily life?  How many cousins have I spoken with and not known they were my cousin?  How many treasures do I hold that would mean so much to my unknown loved ones if only I realized who they were, how we connect and invited them to stop by and spend a little time enjoying the treasures of our shared ancestors?

This wonderful cousin is the first one to ever take me up on an offer to stop by to see some family heirlooms.  I hope he won’t be the last.

And now, I fear, I will become that person who obsessively tries to analyze everyone’s tree in my head while I talk to them.  But that’s not a bad thing, right?  😉

Our visit has prompted me to review some treasures that I can’t wait any longer to share.  My next several posts will focus on this part of my tree.  I’ve already begun scanning.  Are you excited?!  I am.  ❤

 

ps – This means the several posts I have been working on for weeks are being pushed back again.  Do you ever find yourself experiencing genealogy ADHD?  That’s what I feel like this week.  So much to share – so little time!  Can’t focus or finish because of the wonderful interruptions.  And I suddenly feel even more sorry for my child with ADHD.  I feel it with genealogy, he feels it all the time.

 


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Treasures: Aunt Vera’s Scrapbook – A Perplexing Gem Riddled with Fact and Fiction

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In late April I wrote about Aunt Rosey and her girls and the crazy trip down the rabbit hole their story took me on.  Their story is complicated.  Very, very complicated.  One of the items I included in that post was this scan – including this very helpful wedding announcement – from Aunt Vera’s scrapbook.

Quick refresher:  Alice Hyde is my 2nd great grandmother.  Vera Duval is Alice’s daughter.  Rosey is Alice’s sister, and Vera’s aunt.  Plus – Rosey has a daughter named Elvera too.  (Just for fun I’ll also add that Alice and Rosey’s step-mother/aunt was also named Alice.)

So back to the scrapbook.  When I first shared this invitation, I wrote this:

At this point I reviewed a few old family notes and letters.  Now be careful not to get lost here.  I found a letter written by Vera, daughter of Alice Hyde Duval who is the sister of Rosey Hyde.  Yes that’s right, both sisters named a daughter Elvera.  This letter written by Vera to my Grandma, mentions an old scrapbook that Vera kept.  She asked my Grandma if she wanted to have it.

I had a lightbulb moment and remembered that my mom’s cousin Heather had emailed me a few scans of an old scrapbook she had.  I dug through my emails and found those scans.  Among them was this page.

When Heather sent this to me all those years ago, I had NO EARTHLY IDEA who Mr. and Mrs. Peter Williamson were.  I did some basic searching but came up empty.  I figured they were important to someone in my family so I went ahead and added them to FamilySearch and uploaded the announcement.  But now?  The minute that image opened, I knew exactly who they were – this was a marriage invitation for the daughter of Rose Elvera Hyde and Peter Williamson.

Rosey was a Grandma!

After writing this post, I contacted my mom’s 1st cousin Heather, and asked if she would be willing to scan the rest of the scrapbook so I could look for other clues.  She did me one better and mailed it to me so I could scan it.

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This is the cover of Vera’s scrapbook.  It’s a 3-ring binder filled with letters, cards, announcements, invitations, certificates, and tons of newspaper clippings.  TONS of newspaper clippings.

I’m about 2/3 of the way through scanning right now.  There are so many helpful items.  But the real fun comes when there are seemingly helpful items that I get to decided if they are fact or fiction.  Case in point:

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This scrapbook page has several parts to it:

  • Folded certificate (that we will ignore for the purposes of this post).
  • Torn newspaper clipping attached to the back of the folded certificate.
  • Newspaper photo with three print items taped to it and handwritten notes in pencil.
  • The name Duval in what appears to be my Grandma’s handwriting.  (Vera’s niece.)

Let’s start with the torn newspaper clipping.  It reads:

“-The candy had a bitter- ———- (ch)ocolate cover with flakes of (cocan)ut, and a marshmallow center.  No one asked me, but I finally took a piece.  I was chewing when a beautiful woman walked through the archway.

“I’m Dolores Hope,” she said.  “Are you waiting for Bob?”  My tongue pushed the candy frantically over into one cheek.  “Yes,” I said.  “My name is Bishop, Mrs. Hope.  This is Mrs. Bishop.”  We chatted a ——— Mrs. Hope, with a gold-leaf…”

Well, here is the fun part.  Vera had a sister named Dolores.  Dolores was married to a man with the last name of Hope.  This seems to be a piece of fiction included in the newspaper that struck Vera’s fancy because of the coincidental name use.  But, the album is full of these, so it starts to mess with my head a bit and I feel like I need to spend more time sorting fact and fiction.

Now on to the photo.

Above the photo is handwritten in pencil, “I opened the paper & there you were same Gay Grin & all”.  At the bottom of the photo is written in the same hand, “& you —– to ice skate”.

The caption of the photo is “Propriety On Ice”.

Taped to the photo are two different print items that read, “Elvera Duval”.

The photo itself looks very much like Vera, the scrapbook’s creator.  But just like the fictional stories make me question, the seemingly factual ones make me doubt a bit too.

The last item on the photo is the sideways bit of newsprint that reads:

“-efore Ike and Mamie arrived in —- Springs, Dolores Hope asked if she and the children could —- note and ask to call.”

I have no idea what that bit of news has to do with the photo.  Maybe they occurred close together?  Maybe Dolores sent the photo of Vera and she was the one who taped the bit about (possibly) herself to the side?

Oy!  Aunt Vera, you have created a lengthy and masterful puzzle in this wondrous scrapbook of yours.

 

I still have more scanning to do, but the scanning is the super easy part.  The study of each item is going to be complicated for sure.

 

What do you think?  Which items on this page are fact and which are fiction?

 

 

Many thanks to Heather for the kind use of this family treasure.  Once it’s fully scanned, it’s headed back to her care.