Update on Photo Rehab May 21st, 2010
In this post, I showed you a quick peek at the start of my photo retouching project. It’s one of the only photos we have of my mother’s father. He died when my mother was pregnant with my older brother. So not many of his grandchildren ever really “met” him. A few were babies, I think. They might have all been in the womb still. I’d have to check my records, and I don’t have time for that right now. :p
L) Before | R) After
This is where my project stands right now. I don’t know if I’ll be able to save much more, but it’s certainly been worth the effort!
Another Mays Family Drama May 20th, 2010
I’ve posted twice already (01, 02) about trying to figure out about William and Anna Mays’ children. I’d link you to the main site, but I cleared it out so I could sync the ID numbers with my “Random Relative Project“. The last I researched this family, I was trying to figure out where some of the children came from and where the others went. I’m pretty sure the last I looked Anna Z Mays was up in the air because I couldn’t figure out who she married, and then I found someone matching her age, but with her younger sister’s name (Ellen). So I was thoroughly confused.
Today, I was trying to log in one of my Random Relatives in the 1880 census and low and behold, I was back to Anna Mays’ household in 1880. They were living almost next door to my Random Relative. So I decided to let myself get distracted and I was finally going to track down those grandchildren living with Anna.
The first one, James, was fairly easy because I noticed that I had Rebecca listed as having a son. I have him listed as James H Mays, born Oct 1864. I have his death certificate so his birthdate and parents are correct. Well, as correct as they’ll ever get. So he fits. Easy as pie.
The next grandchild, Willis, aged 2 was a little bit trickier. My mistake was assuming that because because they are listed with the Mays surname that they were children of one of Anna’s sons. For some reason I forgot that the Mays girls had quite a few illegitimate children. My next step was going to the Kentucky Birth Records, 1852-1910. It was spacey record keeping and the records are even spacier, but it was worth a shot.
You may not be able to see it because of the size but that shows Willis Maise born 22 Aug 1878. Parents are Jacson Conn and Anna Z Maise. Maise/Maize is a very common spelling for the Mays family of Kentucky in the old records. If this was just an index I probably wouldn’t even have looked through this as I’m becoming very careful about my sources (My momma would be proud! I should tell her ^.^) This has images to back things up though, so I can confirm details instead of relying on a transcriber who sometimes gets things wrong. I know how tough that job is so you won’t see me complaining!
Wow, okay, that wasn’t so bad either. Though the Conn last name brought me up short because Anna’s little sister Ellen married Hansford Conn in 1878. That doesn’t surprise me though because the Mays clan married like that a lot. Several siblings ended up marrying siblings. If that makes sense.
My next step was trying to find a Jackson Conn in Elliott County in the 1870 and 1880 census. Just to see if there was one close. Another tip I had was that the father’s birthplace was given as Virginia.
There was exactly one Jackson Conn living anywhere in Elliott County in 1870… and he was married. Yikes. Let’s look at 1880.
Still married in 1880, but looks like a different wife. I’m starting to think there’s a scandal here. Of course it’s nothing I can prove and who says the name was written correctly. So we’ll have to see where that takes us, but I at least feel safe in listing Willis as the son of Anna Z Mays. Now I just have to figure out the other two grand children. I’m going to “assume” for now (because I’m not researching them today), that at least the 8 month baby girl’s mother is another of the girls who is living with their mother. We just have to figure out which one. I’ll have to see if that year’s birth pages made it online.
The Mystery of Henry May 4th, 2010
There is always one person in your family file who frustrates you. Sometimes it’s because they show up out of nowhere. Or maybe they disappeared. How these mysteries are ever solved I don’t know. I usually just walk away from it for awhile and try again later with a clear brain. Sometimes it works, most times I have to lather, rinse, and repeat a few times.
One of those people in my family is Mr. Henry C Mays. He showed up in the household of John and Celia Mays in 1900. He’s listed as their son. When my Mom was researching this family, she was always suspicious about him. She thought maybe he was actually Nancy’s son but her parents were raising him. Who knows what the real story is. There isn’t much to verify that available to me right now. Especially since Henry was born in or around 1885. Well before Kentucky started regulating birth records in 1911.
Henry is still there in 1910, still listed as John and Celia’s son. So I’m going to go for broke and assume that he is their son. The problem is that I can’t seem to find a death record for him to verify this. There is a Henry Mays living in Rowan County, Kentucky in 1920 but I can’t be sure that is him and the family is gone again in 1930. 1920 is when John, Celia, and William Harmon moved to Ohio. Nancy married and stayed in Kentucky though. So Henry could have ended up anywhere. Eventually I hope to find him. I’ll keep trying until I find out where he went.
The even crazier part is we asked my Grandmother about William Harmon Mays’ family before she passed away. No one was even aware that William had a sister, let alone another brother somewhere. Who knows what we could have found out if my mother’s father had lived longer, but we may never know what happened to the Mays family. They seemed to have scattered and not spoken of each other.
Mays Family Update April 20th, 2010
After I made my Mays Family post yesterday, I went back through the Kentucky Death Records on Ancestry.com. 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 April 19th, 2010
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.
I 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.