Wednesday Fun!

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!

Make Your Own Family Pedigree

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?

Make your Family Crest.

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

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.

Tombstone Tuesday: The Mays Family

Mays Family Tombstone. Bethel, Ohio.

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?)

  1. Ralph (1924-1952): Everything here is correct.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Harmon (1872-1952): Everything here is correct too!
  5. 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.

Florence Redford-Moore's tombstone. July 2010

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.

Jacob Crisp

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.

Jacob Crisp Death Certificate

Mystery Monday: Henry Mays

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.

John Mays household, 1900. Devils Fork, Elliott County, Kentucky.

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.

Henry Mays, 1920 Census search

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.

FamilySearch Kentucky Marriage Records search

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.

1910 Census. Farmers, Rowan County, Kentucky.

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.

Donohew household, 1920.

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.

Tombstone Tuesday: William L Mays

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.

Tombstone Tuesday is a daily blogging topic from GeneaBloggers.