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.
Thanks for your opinions on my dilemma yesterday! Both on twitter and in the comments. I decided to have a little fun today before I got started on work and last minute wrapping for Christmas.
I’ve been catching up on The Generations Project. I’ve been recording it on my DVR for the last few weeks and I’ve finally found some time to catch up. While I was watching, I realized I’d like to see if there were previous episodes available to view online (there is!). While I was there, I decided to do some of the fun activities they have on their site. I usually skip by those things but for some reason I decided to do them this time. As a website designer I really want to make more of an effort to view bells and whistles on other websites so I can learn more!
The first activity was to make your own family photo tree! This was really fun for me. The only thing I wanted was one more generation because I actually have photos that far back! Very fun, In fact, I might even try printing this out at some point and framing it for my wall! Why not, right?
The second activity was to make your own family crest. I chose the cell phone and book as our symbols because that’s what we usually talk about. Books and gadgets! The rest were picked as personal preferences by me.
There was also a lookalike activity that I did not do. I have phobias about people looking at my picture and judging it. You should try it if you don’t have that phobia though! The activities were definitely fun to play with though! Try it yourself at The Generations Project on byu.tv.
Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with BYU or The Generations Project. I was just wanting to play with stuff and their stuff was there for the taking. I don’t own any of the images except my own personal family photos.
There are a few reasons that I chose to highlight this tombstone. In all my hijinks into my family history, I have stumbled onto learning how to do certain things. One of the first things I realized is that even official records can be wrong. I’ve also learned that spelling doesn’t matter in the early and late 1800s.
An important thing to remember about tombstones is that they aren’t always accurate. Take the example above. The names are mostly right, spelling mistakes aside. I also need to state that the death years are all correct (hard to get that wrong, right?)
John (1853-1927): His death certificate states his birth year as 1842. Since John is living in the 1850 census and listed as age 5, either date could be wrong but 1853 is more wrong then 1842.
Cecilia (1842-1914): I’ve only seen her referred to as Celia or Cela. That could be a shortened nickname but I might never know unless I find her birth record. Her death record also lists her birth date differently. I have 1840 and her age in censuses always matches that.
Harmon (1872-1952): Everything here is correct too!
Ivah (1897-1949): Iva’s name has been spelled a million different ways and that’s not including her maiden name (Moyer/Meyer/Myers). Once again I have her death certificate and her birth date is listed as 1894 and not 1897. The 1900 census actually gives her birth date as Sep 1894 too, which is spot on with her death certificate!
So basically what I’m saying is don’t always trust the tombstone. You never know who was giving the information at the time of your ancestor’s burial. In fact, it’s usually the same person giving the information for the death certificate. That’s why I’m so surprised the death certificates and tombstone varies so much here.
In fact, even newer tombstones can be a bit wrong. This is my grandmother’s tombstone inscription. Everything is spot on except the fact that she was actually born on April 13 and not April 15. Oops! Be sure your family knows that they can come to you for correct dates!
Tombstone Tuesday is a blogging theme used by many GeneaBloggers.
I’m chugging along in my Mays family research. That is, if chugging along means I work on it about half an hour every few days? That’s all my brain can take of these nomads. I’ve lucked out recently though.
Last week I was playing around with search terms on Ancestry and I hit a goldmine.
By goldmine, I mean I didn’t have to look through the whole page to find what I was looking for. Jacob Crisp’s name was the first thing I saw on the page. Jacob is the son of Sarilda Mays, the Mays ancestor I’m currently trying to research for the website. Apparently Jacob’s family moved to Mansfield, Ohio. I know this because their family history is all over the Mansfield newspapers. I’m sure there’s more then what I found in the day I searched. That’s saying a lot because I saved seven different newspaper pages that day.
Among a lot of the results were hospital admittances and releases for Jacob’s wife. Eventually, she would pass away from a long illness. I would have known that even if the obituary didn’t tell me because she must have been in and out of the hospital a dozen times in a year.
Jacob’s obituary/article in the Mansfield News Journal; May 7, 1968:
Jacob Crisp, 79, of 673 Fairfax Ave died Monday morning in Mansfield General Hospital following a five month illness.
He was born June 7, 1888 in Elliott County, Ky., and lived here since 1937. Mr. Crisp was a retired farmer.
Survivors are six sons, Walter Crisp of Newark O., Vester Crisp of Plain City, O., Sanford Crisp of Chillicothe, Tennison Crisp of Ontario, Estel Crisp of Irwin, O., and Vernon Crisp with the U.S. Air Force in Wichita Falls, Kan.; five daughters, Mrs. Gladys Sydnor of Lima, Mrs. Nannie McFarland of Springfield, Mrs. Onae Caudill of Mansfield, Mrs. Louie Minzler of Orlando, Fla., Mrs Arzona Huff, with whom Mr. Crisp made his home, a number of grandchilden and great-grandchildren, and one sister, Mrs. Jennie Fultz of Mansfield.
The body is at the Wappner Funeral Home where services will be held Thursday at 3pm by Rev. Thomas Leatherwood of the Mansfield Baptist Temple. Burial will be in Mansfield Memorial Park. Friends may call at the funeral home starting Tuesday evening.
The photo I was going to post today will have to wait. I was entering the Mays family into my family file yesterday. The Mays family is always a frustration for me because the sheer amount of them. They also loved to name their kids the same 10 names. It wasn’t uncommon to have 3 cousins, named William, and they were all born within a year of each other. That’s not what I’m writing about today though. My mystery is with Henry Mays.
He first shows up in 1900 with John and Celia Mays. He is listed as their son, with a birth date of 1885. This was always a little sketchy for my Mom because this puts him at 13 years younger then his nearest sibling. I did find another male child that was still born in 1875, so that pushes it to 10. Still, that is quite a leap. Mom always suspected that Henry might have been John and Celia’s grandson, born to their daughter Nancy. Nancy was 15 at the time of Henry’s birth. There is absolutely no evidence of this though so he’s John and Celia’s son in my mind.
All is well with the family through the 1910 census. It’s in 1920 that things get complicated. John and Celia moved to Clermont County, Ohio between 1910 and 1914, when Celia dies there. Their son William Harmon Mays, also moves to Clermont County with his young daughter after the death of his first wife. His second wife will give birth to my grandfather there in 1923. Nancy was a mystery for a while. She didn’t move to Ohio with her family. I eventually found a death record for her under the name Nancy Ann Sparks. This led me to her household in 1920. She was married to Andy J Sparks and lived in Rowan County until her death. (I’m still missing her in 1930 though, she died in 1938.) Henry disappears. There are two Henry Mays’ in 1920 living in Rowan County, Kentucky.
Funny enough, both of these households have wives named Martha. They are definitely two different households. I checked to be sure. My next step was to check on FamilySearch to see if there was a marriage listing for Henry.
The only thing I don’t like about this record is that it doesn’t give Celia’s maiden name but otherwise everything fits. I’m more than a little disturbed by a 31 year old marrying a 13 year old but maybe the age is wrong.
Oh, maybe the age wasn’t wrong. My next step was to sort out where the family was in 1920. The problem is neither Henry Mays from above fits at all. So instead I looked for Cordie’s family to see if Henry and Cordie were living with them. It’s a logical move since most of Henry’s family moved to Ohio.
Now I’m confused. Cordie is still living at home, her age is still aged 13 (should be 16 by this time), and she’s listed as widowed? So now I have no idea what happened to Henry Mays. Your guess is as good as mine. I haven’t been to find any death record for Henry anywhere. Even a check of Elliott County came up blank.
This is the tombstone of my mom’s brother. He passed away when he was just 2 years old. He left a big impact in the family. Until her dying day, my grandmother was still mourning for the little boy she lost so early in life. I always found it kind of surreal that both of my parents lost brothers so young.
This is my first Saturday Night Genealogy Fun post! This is a prompt put forth by Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings. I thought this one would be particularly fun since a lot of my Mays relatives had a great many children.
Determine who is one of the most prolific fathers in your genealogy database or in your ancestry. By prolific, I mean the one who fathered the most children.
Tell us about him in your own blog post.
I didn’t need to go far to find one of the most prolific fathers in my tree. There may be one with more children, but they aren’t confirmed by me yet.
The children count for William’s children may be subject to change. I haven’t finished researching them all yet.
William Mays married Anna Click
born: About 1813, Kentucky
James Mays; born Oct 1836, married Margaret Slusher; had 8 children.
Frances Susan Mays; born May 1837, never married (not sure); had 5 illegitimate children.
Nancy L Mays; born about 1839, married William Flannery; not sure of children yet.
Rebecca Mays; born about 1841, not married; had 1 illegitimate child.
John Harmon Mays (my 2nd great grandfather); born Sep 1842, married Celia Slusher; had 4 children (1 was stillborn).
William D Mays; born about 1843, married Lilly; had 4 children.
Elizabeth J Mays; born about 1847, married ? Gray; not sure of children yet.
Thomas Lindsey Mays; born about 1849, married Sarah Elizabeth Whitt; had 6 children.
Anna Z Mays; born about 1852, not married; had 1 illegitimate child.
Arminda Mays; born about 1853, one illegitimate child. married James Shelton, had 2 children. married Joseph Slusher, had 3 children.
Jane Mays, born May 1853, no known spouse or children. (Shoot, she could be Arminda for all I know right now. This family confuses me.)
Jurena Mays, born Mar 1855, married ? Adkins. No known children.
Green Mays, born Jun 1857, married Susannah Gillium; had 11 children.
Sarah Mays, born Jun 1860, no known spouse or children.
Nancy Ellen Mays, born about 1862, married Hansford Conn; had 5 children.
As I stated by Jane’s information this family confuses me too much on the census. The children’s information is always fluctuating. Rebecca has been known to jump around in age by 10 years. I really don’t like to base anything for the Mays’ on any census information if I don’t have to. As you can see they were VERY prolific. It wasn’t just William. His brother Nathan also had 16 or so children. I can’t be sure of Nathan’s though because he was taking care of grandchildren by time the 1880 census came along, so I got very confused about who were children and who were grandchildren. Eventually I’ll sort it all out. They really could have helped out by varying the names of their children but all the Mays’ rotated the same 20 names or so. With each one having children numbering in the teens, well you can see how it would get confusing!