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What is a Genealogist to Do? Part 3

If you aren’t caught up on this saga, you can read Part 1 and Part 2.

Things went quiet again for a few years. Then in 2012 my Aunt went to the cemetery to visit Grandpa and to check on the graves. Unfortunately, it looks like in 2011 another baby was buried in our family lot. This one not by my 2nd cousin, but her ex-husband’s sister.


Where do you even go from there? What do you do? The second baby had been there at least a year before we were aware of it. I don’t even know the circumstances surrounding the second burial because this time, they stayed silent and didn’t come to us to “brag”. I hesitate to say the word, but that is what it felt like to our family at the time.

Again we called the cemetery, and this time they told us our information was in there, but there was no note. Then they told us they don’t require proof of ownership, that the funeral home tells them where they need to go and they open the grave. When we called the funeral home, they at first didn’t want to talk to us. Finally after we were persistent to have some kind of answers, we were told that grieving parents weren’t asked those kinds of questions.

The cemetery assured us that the middle plot is still able to hold my Grandma and that the babies were buried with the father of my 2nd cousin. Do we believe that though? I don’t know that we do. Every time we go to the cemetery now, we just can’t help but wonder. Every single family member who goes to visit now always analyzes the graves. There is a paranoia that exists with this now.

Let me just say at this point, I understand how we can be seen as the cold-hearted ones. I am sympathetic to the loss of life. It’s not the fault of the babies who are buried there. Drug addiction is a major problem in my family. We’ve dealt with it for a lot of years. I am sympathetic to all that comes with it but at what point do you say enough? My grandfather worked very hard in the short time he was here. He lost his 3 year old son to an illness he couldn’t help. He provided what his son needed to the very end, all the way to his final resting place.


I can’t even say we wouldn’t have let her bury the first baby there in the first place, because we most likely would have with no hesitation. It’s the sneaking around and the maliciousness towards our family. This second baby, I don’t even know where to start with that. The first time, you say it’s just a family argument and they wanted the baby with their family members. The second time, I don’t see any reason for that at all.

We were in contact with the cemetery again last month. Another new person is working there and again, there was no note saying there was a problem with this grave. There was a comment from the new caretaker that this wasn’t an isolated problem, that he was seeing quite a bit of weird things going on.

Is this something I’m just not thinking of in the right way? What would you do if you were faced with this?  Who do you get mad at? The cemetery? The funeral home? The family members? Do you just let it go or do you fight back? Is there even any cause to be mad, or are we just too sensitive?

If you even take the personal aspects out of it. How do I document the second burial in my family tree? Do I just ignore it?

There are so many questions and no answers.

What is a Genealogist to Do? Part 2

I’m sure by now you are curious as to what I was talking about on Friday. I know I said I was going to post the second part on Monday but I’m anxious to just get the story out and see what others might think.

To make a long story as short as possible, my Grandpa bought a 5 plot cemetery lot  in 1953 when his son passed away. When Grandpa died in 1976 he was buried next to his son. Over the years, members of my Grandma’s family had come to her and asked if they could use other spots in the lot. She agreed because it was her family and she was okay with it since there was still a spot there next to Grandpa and Willie for her.

Willie Mays Grave

We never even thought about the cemetery until 2008. We would visit over the years but we didn’t think there was anything to worry about with it. Then in 2008, we received word through my cousin one day that the cemetery deed was needed because someone had lost a baby and needed to bury it. We were a little taken aback because we didn’t even have anyone in the immediate family who was pregnant. When we called the cemetery they told us that the person who was burying the baby told them it was her cemetery lot and the funeral home was already on the way to the cemetery. As we didn’t have all the facts and it was an infant, we just told them to go ahead and bury the baby.

This is where I start to get a little hesitant about the details, but they are important to the story. The woman who lost the baby turned out to be the daughter/grand-daughter of the other two people buried in the family lot from Grandma’s side of the family. This woman was also a heroin addict and lost her baby due to her drug use. None of those details were important at first because at the end of the day, an infant needed a final resting place.

Something still didn’t sit right with my family. Why did my second cousin just walk into a cemetery and claim ownership and they believed her? I guess because her father and grandfather were buried there. However, we physically had the deed in Maryland that said Stanley Mays was the owner and his heirs would inherit it should he die.

My mother called the cemetery. She was just wanting to make sure that no one else tried to bury anyone else in that grave without permission. The man at the cemetery seemed bewildered but after explaining the circumstances to the man he assured us that this would not happen again. He was leaving a note in the computer that this was an issue for this particular site. He updated the contact information for the grave site, which was also part of the problem. We left it at that, despite the continued unrest knowing that it could happen again.

There was definitely drama between my 2nd cousin’s mother and our family after this incident. Basically, my mother let it be known she wasn’t happy with the way the situation unfolded and the way they seemed to brag about the “free stuff” that was donated. They weren’t happy with us and threatened to sue us, among other things.

You would think this is the end of this story. That I would just  tell you to make sure that you update your cemetery contact information because through a series of misunderstandings this happened to us. No, that’s not what happened here and it became very clear to us.

But I’ll get into that in the final part tomorrow.

What Is a Genealogist to Do?

For years, I have had a huge dilemma with my family tree research. It has to do with a family lot we own in a cemetery. What would you do if you went to your family cemetery lot and saw that there were strangers buried there? Not strangers from your past, but strangers from current times who were buried there recently.

I could write a book on the circumstances surrounding how this happened to us. I’ve been struggling with how to document this situation for future generations. There needs to be an explanation documented or there could be some very bad confusion later on. I’ve also been struggling with whether I should be saying anything about this at all. There are still living family members on both sides of this battle. I will try to be as unbiased as I can be about this. It wouldn’t feel right not saying anything though, because I wouldn’t want anyone to have this happen to them. For you to show up at your grandfather’s grave site, that he purchased for his family, and find there are people buried there that you don’t even know.

Stanley Mays Grave

I’m sure as my story progresses, any internet savvy person will be able to figure out where and who I am talking about to some extent. That’s not really my concern right now. My concern is to bring light to something everyone should be aware of if they have family cemetery lots.

Next part coming Monday. I didn’t want to make this post too long.

New Year, Old Search Terms

It’s time to dissect what sends people to my blog! This is always fun to see. Sometimes it’s so completely random what can bring someone to this blog.

newark evening news archives

Believe it or not, my transcriptions of some articles from the Newark Evening News is my most popular search term referrer. If you’re looking for actual Newark Evening News articles, you’ll need to head to the New Jersey Archives or the Newark Public Library.

bartholomew taylor

Bartholomew is one of my most popular searches and the most “famous” relative I have. He was a Revolutionary War veteran and moved from Somerset County, Maryland to Bracken County, Kentucky. You can read some of my entries that mention Bartholomew here on the blog until I get him added back into my website database.

moore family + florence redford

This is one of the new search terms this month. Florence Redford is my Grandmother. To see her ancestry, you can view my database on the website or read blog entries about the Redford Family.

taylor clan map

I haven’t posted anything about a clan map, but that’s because I haven’t looked for one yet either. Since I don’t have a clue where exactly my Taylor family originates from yet (England most likely, but no proof!), I can’t actually pinpoint where to look for a clan map at. There is a little bit of information on some Scottish Taylors, but even those mention that the name is very widespread.

newark evening news, oct 27 1923

Here’s where two worlds collide and send someone to my blog. I have a few transcriptions from the Newark Evening News on the blog but they are from 1890. I also have my “Diary of Llewellyn” series which chronicles my Great-Grandmother’s life in 1923 through to 1926. So I can’t help with whatever might have sent someone looking for that particular paper. I will however suggest you check out Newark is so close to New York City, if you’re looking for a specific mention of something it just might be able to be found in a New York City newspaper!

These are only a few of the search terms that have sent people to my blog. If you’re here for any of these reasons I hope I helped a little bit. If you need to contact me about more information on the families I feature, you can email me at leeny.moore[@] <– Just remember to remove the brackets! Sorry for the precaution, but spam drives me bonkers!

Researching Trip to Scotland

Hello everyone! Long time no blog post from me! Sorry about that, summer gets kind of crazy around the Moore household. I’m writing today because my long lost cousin Grace, is making a trip to Scotland this September and she wanted to know some pointers about research across the pond. She’s going with her husband and son, so this isn’t a complete research trip. She was just wondering if there was anything that she could look up while she was there. The only problem is, I’ve never researched in person anywhere but Ohio and Maryland. So I have no idea if there’s anything she can look up.

We know our Loves lived in Paisley, and we know the Menzies were in Morton by Thornhill before going to Liverpool and from there to America. Most of this we know only through FamilySearch databases, Scotland directories, and some family recollections. After the success I had with my last request for tips, I thought it was worth a try again!

If anything, maybe cousin Grace can get me a nice picture of Castle Menzies, I kind of obsess about it. Hopefully someone reading this can be as helpful for her as she’s been for me!

They Hate Me, I Know It

I’m pretty sure my ancestors hate me. This may be going out on a limb, but I really think that the Mays family did everything they could think of to be very deceptive about who they were and what they were doing. I’m not going to feel guilty about all the attention I was giving my Dad’s side of the family now. I’ll probably annoy you with the amount of rants I’ll end up posting here while trying to figure out the Mays line of my family tree. In fact, I’m debating setting up an Elliott/Rowan County genealogy file. I’m tempted to just go through all the available records and map out the major surnames. They’re all in my tree somewhere so it may even help me later down the line. It’s just so confusing trying to find the right people when they were all named the same thing at the same time. Last night, I had a first for me though.

That’s two death certificates for the same person. Here’s where things go squirrelly. The death certificates give different birth dates. I actually had recorded the May 28th date into my database as the preferred date because that’s the date that Walker gave on his WWI Draft Card. I’m confused that there are completely different causes of death on each certificate. If that wasn’t enough, there are even different dates of death. I’m wondering why his hometown would have a death certificate done when he most likely died at the hospital in Boyd County.

So here’s yet another reason why I am beyond frustrated trying to sort out the Mays family.

Did I find him?

Today is a glorious day. We’re having a girls day. In our pajamas, watching movies (Avatar right now), and I’m doing genealogy on my laptop. I couldn’t ask for a better day. Except of course if I might have finally found George Thorward in 1870.

George is the first known Thorward I have in America. He lived in Caldwell, New Jersey until he died in 1940. I have him in censuses from 1880 through 1930. One bone of contention I’ve always had is that I can’t find him in 1870, even though in all the censuses he puts his arrival sometime in the 1860s. In his obituary it states that he was born in Obberstetten, Germany. Unfortunately, that is my only hint for where George comes from. Even worse is that there is more than one Oberstetten in Germany. So I’m going to need a better clue.

His obituary is actually a really good source. It gives his age, when he celebrated his wedding anniversary, the church he was a member of, and about when he entered the country. It also verifies the census information of him being a cigar maker/manufacturer his whole career. All good hints.

I always thought I was stalled with George. I didn’t hold out much hope on getting much further until I learned more about the great divide of researching in other countries. That is until I was re-entering his wife’s 1870 census information. She was only 15 but she was living in the household of Samuel Bond as a domestic servant. It makes sense for me, since her father died in 1862 (Civil War maybe?). Today I noticed something on the census page I’d never noticed before.

As you can see, Josephine is there on line 18. What I noticed is actually on line 9. George John/Yohn. He is age 18 (it fits perfectly with my George Thorward). His occupation is listed as a cigar maker’s apprentice. The family George is living with is another Bond family. What really caught my eye is the birth place of Wurtemburg.  I can’t find much, but I do know there is an Oberstetten in Wurtemburg, Germany.

Is this my George?

It can’t be a coincidence that Josephine is living with a cigar manufacturer and George would later become a cigar maker. All these things just keep adding up, but I still can’t find where George entered the country. I do feel as if I’ve found him in 1870 now though.

Mays Family Update


After I made my Mays Family post yesterday, I went back through the Kentucky Death Records on I decided to just put random details in there and see what came up. You may not be able to tell from the size of that death certificate but that is Jurena Mays‘ death certificate. It shows her married name as Adkins. So that was a nice little hint. It also showed her parents as William Mays and Anna Click. That answered the questions about whose family she belonged to, but not my questions about why she showed up out of the blue in 1870.

Having the tip of the married name of Adkins, and the Informant name of Milburn Adkins, I set about finding Census records for Jurena. What happens next is why I took a two day break from the Mays family. I just couldn’t take it anymore.

1900 was the first census I tried to find. I couldn’t find Jurena anywhere. I tried all the combinations I could, but I couldn’t find her. So I jumped to Milburn Adkins. In all the remaining census years Milburn has a wife whose name varies. The birthday never various. The birthday matches up with Ellen Mays, but her name is mostly listed as Eliza, except for one year when she was known as Eliza Ellen. So my immediate next thought was that this must be Ellen’s husband and he acted as informant for his sister-in-law. Only when I started relaying this information to my Mom. She broke out her old notes, she had a complete different husband for Ellen.

It’s about that moment, I threw my hands in the air. Put on my fluffy pajamas, and grabbed myself a cold drink. I was done. So now I’m going to take a break from the Mays family and focus for a bit on the Taylor side. They are so much easier to locate!

Now I Remember

I remember now why I allowed my Mom to have control over the Mays Line of our tree for so long. It gets very confusing. With that many different people I guess it’s only a matter of time. Since I’m determined to do things right this time, I found that I was trying to ignore big discrepancies between Census years.

In the 1850 and 1860 census years, the children of William and Anna Mays were very easy to match up. The birth years weren’t off by more than a year or so. I was able to figure out who everyone was by name and age. It was glorious… Then I went to 1870. Things just got complicated.


At first I couldn’t find them in Morgan County, KY where they had been in 1860 and 1870. Then I found William and Anna in Elliott County, KY. After a quick peek at the history of Elliott County, I found that it was formed in 1869 from parts of  Morgan, Lawrence, and Carter counties. So that little mystery was solved. They most likely didn’t move, the county border did!

Things didn’t improve after that little nugget of information though. It’s when I started to try and match up the kids that I ran into more troubles. Thomas Lindsey Mays wasn’t an issue. He matched up perfectly. Besides that weird stuff at the end of her name Anna Mays lined up pretty well also. I think I was almost too confident at this point. I had to be, because what else could I have done to deserve this.

Rebecca Mays threw me for the big loop. The problem she threw at me started because I can’t decide what to believe about her. You can see in the image her age is shown as 18. However, I know she is older than that. In fact, my dates put her at 10 years older than that. What on earth went wrong here! I certainly can’t take the age of 18 as fact, because she was in both the 1850 and 1860 censuses as 8 and 18 respectively. So I just scratch my head and put a little note in the file about this discrepancy.

I then moved on to Arminda, age 17 from the image. I’m going to assume that she is Amanda Mays, (born. about 1854). I’m finding that Arminda and Amanda were basically the same name back in those days. It’s like Sally and Sarah. They are a bit interchangeable.

Jane, age 15 is my big frustration here. Her age shows that she should have been in the last census. I promise you there wasn’t a Jane. There was an Elizabeth J though. Jane was a very common middle name for Elizabeths in my family. Very very common. It wouldn’t be an issue if my Elizabeth wasn’t supposed to be 23 in this census. Of course they were off by 10 years on Rebecca, so could this be another case? Or is this a niece/cousin/relation staying with the family. It wasn’t until 1880 that they even started adding relationships onto the census.

blog-144I had to look at the 1880 census before I made any decision about who Jane was. Maybe I’d get lucky and she’d be there. So I looked. Luckily Rebecca was back to her rightful age. My Jane from the last census is now in the form of Jurena I think… This is all really confusing to me. If Jurena is another daughter. She should have been on the 1860 census, aged 5 years old. There was no Jurena, just Amanda/Arminda who was close enough in age, but she’s accounted for in the 1870 census.

So my final conclusion is I have to add Jurena as a separate child, but I have no idea where she could have been in 1860 census, but maybe when I check in with all the other families, I will find her. I’ll just have to make note of her special circumstances.

What does this mean? Anyone know.

I’ve been going through person by person, census by census. I’m trying to do this all correctly which means if something comes up, then I have to ask questions. I’m currently trying to cite all the census information for William Harmon Mays and his family. He and his young daughter moved to Ohio after his first wife died. In Ohio, he then met and married my Grandfather’s mother, Iva Belle Moyer, when she was hired to look after his daughter. This is all per my Grandma.

So now I’m left with getting all the factual evidence. I may never get “evidence” for the nanny part, but I can at least document the marriages and death of the first wife, right? Maybe not. We’ll see.

There are some trees out there that give the marriage date of William and Sarah Elizabeth McDaniels. Until I find the documentation, I’m going to leave that off, but the date sounds right. So at least I have a place to look. The not promising part of the picture is that Kentucky didn’t regulate recording marriages until 1958. So I may be out of luck, but hopefully there will be something on a local level.

My next step was trying to actually confirm with the census records the places William would have been at anyway. That’s when I ran into this.


Hard to read, I know. Maybe a local visit will turn up a better copy too. Basically what I’m seeing is that Elizabeth is marked as William H’s wife, with daughter Mary J. All the ages fit perfectly. William’s parents are living next door. So this is the right family. However Elizabeth is crossed out. So I’ve always assumed this means that she died before the census day. However, I want an official answer on why she would be crossed off. This could be a clue as to what happened.

So I went to Ancestry’s 1910 census main page and started reading everything they give about the census.


What I gather from this instruction is that the enumerators were to still count people who died between April 15, 1910 and when the enumerator showed up. This is the most logical explanation I could find for why Elizabeth would be crossed out. This family was counted by the enumerator on May 3, 1910. It’s a little sad knowing that Elizabeth would have died within the month, heck it could have been that week!

If there is anyone out there reading this that knows for sure this is why Elizabeth would have been crossed out, please let me know! I will make a note of it so I can try and search death records for her.


That is if it was recorded. Hopefully a trip to Kentucky can solve this problem.

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