Sunday, October 30, 2011

Backward Glance - Barbara Lisette Debonneville

Gimel, Vaud, Switzerland (Wikipedia)
It is recorded in the International Genealogical Index (IGI, LDS) that Barbara Lisette Debonneville (French pronunciation is d'bun-vee') was born on June 29, 1806, in Gimel, Canton of Vaud, Switzerland. This record dates from at least 1982. Her parents were Jean David and Anette Lisette (Bauert) Debonneville. Her father was born in Gimel, and both parents died there. There is a conflict in the information, however. Hopefully, time will provide the records to clarify the dates and places.

Barbara's husband, Isaac Francois Marguerat, was the vital records clerk in Gimel from 1821 until 1829. On April 25, 1822, he created (all of the records were handwritten at that time) a delayed record of Barbara's baptism. He recorded that on 29 May 1806 in the Parish of Berthoud, Canton of Berne, Lisette Debonneville was baptized. Her godparents were Jean Bauert (a butcher), Barbara (Bauert) Vonarx and Lisette Bauert of Berthoud. Obviously, these two records are in conflict. I do know that Barbara's maternal grandparents, Samuel and Barbara (Staub) Bauert, were both born in Berthoud. Since Barbara and Isaac had not yet married, I presume her parents made the effort to have the event of her baptism officially recorded. Perhaps 1822 is when the family removed from Berthoud to Gimel.

On December 9, 1825, Isaac and Barbara were married in Gimel (Registre Etat Civil; Gimel, Vaud, Suisse.). They had at least four children: Louise Zora Wilhelmine (Sep. 12-29, 1826. Gimel), Louise Claire Caroline (Oct. 12, 1827. Gimel), and Eugene (Jun. 7, 1829. Lausanne), and Charles. Both Charles and their father were clergymen.

Coat of arms of Haute-Vienne (Wikipedia)
Barbara was of a Huguenot family of Savoy, De Bonneville. According to the book Memorials of the Huguenots in America by Ammon Stapleton, "the family of De Bonneville is one of the oldest and most honorable of the French nobility, and the reader will find many references to the Lords of Bonneville in the history of France. Their estates were situated near Limoges, the capitol of the Department of Haute-Vienna, and date back to the eleventh century."

There is a small city in France, not far from Gimel, called Bonneville. The population was just under 12,000 in 2004. The prefix 'de' means 'of.' A person with the surname De Bonneville would indicate they, or an ancestor, were literally of Bonneville.

View map of the area where the Marguerats lived.

**Update: Through newspaper research, I have located the death notice for "Barbara Elise Marguerat!" It was possible to positively identify is was her by the mention of her son, Euguene, who lived in Chicago. She death occurred on 11 November 1883. She was buried two days later in Rovray, Vaud, Switzerland. I am thrilled to be able to add this important information.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Atlanta Family History Expo - Coming Up!

Dick Eastman wrote a very complimentary article about the Family History Expos. The next expo is coming up November 11th & 12th in Duluth, Georgia. I'm so excited to have the opportunity to be a part of another Expo. Holly Hansen and her 'family' always put together a fabulous event. The presenters and vendors are professional and friendly.

This is a great time to be involved in family history research. Whether you're brand new, or you've been researching for years, there is something for you at a Family History Expo. All in all, these events are not to be missed!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Out and About - Aberdeen, Washington

I have a whole new stomping ground these days. Though I am a native of the beautiful Pacific Northwest, I lived nearly 18 years in Missouri, where I developed a love for spontaneous, on-site research in small towns. During that time, I discovered many more Midwest roots and relations than I expected. I also learned about many of the courageous families who traveled through on their way somewhere in the West, as well as those who settled down in Missouri. I loved it! Now, having returned to Washington, I want to do here what I did there.

This week, I had the chance to visit Aberdeen, a town with a population of just under 17,000. It is in Grays Harbor County on the western edge of the state. Two rivers, the Wishkah and the Chehalis, converge there. The city is called "The Gateway to the Olympic Peninsula." It is also the home of Kurt Cobain of the band 'Nirvana,' and carries the them "Come As You Are," the title of one of their songs. Aberdeen is also the home port of the tall ship "Lady Washington," which was used in the filming of The Curse of the Black Pearl, a Pirates of the Caribbean movie.

I drove around a bit in an effort to familiarize myself with the lay of the town. Then, I high-tailed it back to the Visitor's Center, where I was furnished with a map and plenty of directions! Thank you, to the friendly, helpful clerk there.

Most of the day afterward, I spent in the history and genealogy area of the Timberland Regional Library branch in Aberdeen. The librarian there gave me a brief tour of the facility. She took special care to introduce me to the research area and offered her help. Very nice!

Their collection is particularly dedicated to the history and families of the Grays Harbor region, of course. There are a number of books relative to the history of Washington, Oregon and Alaska, including westward migration trails and excursions. They also have many books on the peoples native to the area, as well as cemetery listings, obituaries and newspapers on microfilm. A glass-front, locked case contained rare and antique books that actually were awe-inspiring to me; but, I've never seen the two-volume set of the history of Seattle before. There were others; again, relative to western history. Two full bookcases contained many of the resources commonly found, including peerage books, Virginia histories and genealogies, how-to books, and others. With laptop at hand (and reading glasses!), I spent a very satisfying day doing what I love best!

There is much to be discovered in Aberdeen. It was well worth the visit, and would be worth a return trip. I've only skimmed the surface. Thank you, Aberdeen, for a friendly welcome and a delightful day!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Cowger

Gustavus Cowger
1825 - 1861

Cowger Cemetery
Burr Oak Township
Doniphan County, Kansas

Gustavus was the son of Gustavus and Barbara (Swadley) Cowger. He was born in Rush County, Indiana. He married Sarah Ann Wheeler on December 14, 1848, in Wapello County, Iowa. His sister, Susannah, was married to Gustavus C. Cowger. After Susannah's death in 1862, her husband and Sarah were married.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Backward Glance - Virginia Caroline Topping

Virginia (seated) w/cousin MargaretYates
Abraham Lincoln was the President of the United States of America when Virginia Caroline Topping was born in Almond, Portage County, Wisconsin, on April 12, 1862. This was exactly one year after the official beginning of the American Civil War. Because of this conflict, 'Ginny' was never acquainted with her father, John Topping. John enlisted as a Private from Grand Rapids, Wisconsin, August 18, 1861. After a visit home, Virginia said, he bid "my mother, brother and sister farewell ... never to return." He was killed at the Battle of Antietam near Sharpsburg, Maryland, on September 17, 1862, when Ginny was just five months old. John never met this daughter, but she wrote that in a letter to her mother, her father "suggested that she name me Virginia which she did." 

In her later years, Virginia wrote a brief family history. She had a great love and respect for her father, though she never knew him. She wrote the following lines as a tribute to him.

There in the field of Glory
Facing the soft Southern sky
Sleeps many an unknown hero
The world passed unheeding by.

From many an humble village
Or a little farm nearby
Giving up all for duty
They marched away to die.

To die for their home and Country
With no thought of glory or fame
As the clarion call resounded
For the cause of humanity came

For the ranks of the great are recruited
With many a common soul
Rising up at the call to service
Find their name on the martyr's roll.

Yes in many a Country village
Far away from the City's strife
A great soul climbs unaided
To the shining heights of life.

Then breathe softly southern breezes
O'er the grave of our honored dead
Moonlight touch with reverent fingers
The grass waving over his head.

Virginia's parents, John and Margaret Jane (Orr) (Wallace) Topping were married in 1859. Her sister, Ella Calista, was born in 1860. Their half-brother, Wilford Lincoln Wallace, was born in 1857. Their family lived in Grand Rapids, Michigan, when the census was taken in 1860. In 1870, Margaret (called Jane) and her children were living in Des Moines, Jackson County, Minnesota, next door to her parents, Edward and Margaret Orr. Maud Morgan, Virginia's daughter, wrote, "grandmother Topping who was a rather large woman as Virginia was also and a little cousin remarked Aunt Jane's got wide wegs (legs) and so had Ginny."

By the time the 1880 census was taken, Margaret had moved to Colfax Township, Page County, Iowa, with Virginia (recorded as Jennie) and Wilford. A short time later, on February 24, 1881, Virginia married Charles Clark Morgan in College Springs, Page County, Iowa, where they were both attending school. Charles' parents were Edgar Lansing and Mary Jane (Clark) Morgan. They lived in Elmo, Nodaway County, Missouri. Virginia and Charles had five children: John Clyde (1882), Maud May (1884), Edgar Howard (1887), Wilford Charles (1890) and Francis Willard (1892). They moved their family, along with Charles' mother, to Gove County, Kansas, in 1893.

Sometime between 1900 and 1905, Virginia and Charles were divorced. Though she did quite a bit of writing, she doesn't seem to have left a record of this event. In 1910, she was enumerated on the census in Grinnell, Gove, Kansas. She was living with the William Beaugher family, and reported as divorced and called "County Charge."

According to her own record, Virginia left Grinnell in May of 1911. She traveled to Sulphur Spring,  Gravette, Berryville, and other small towns in Arkansas, working primarily in hotels. She then worked in Springfield, Missouri, leaving there in September 1915. She spent some time visiting her cousin and friends in Blanchard and College Springs, Iowa.

It appears she then went to visit her brother, Wilford, in Nebraska, but returned to College Springs in October to work for a Mrs. Martin, and others. She left for Nebraska again in May 1916 (her record says 1915, but chronology suggests 1916), where she says she worked at the Wise Memorial Hospital, different places "till I went to Wood Lake Nebr. where I worked in the laundry of a small hotel there and afterwards on two different ranches." She also worked at the Rome Hotel in Omaha.

On August 1, 1916, during what appears to have been a reflective time for Virginia, she wrote the following:

"I have lived in this old world for 54 years and have had my share of sickness and trouble and sometimes have become very much discouraged and almost thought it was of no use to try, and that I might as well give up the unequal struggle and drift down to eternity without an effort. I have been a dreamer from my early childhood and have always desired to write something worthwhile. Of late years have thought that as my education was deficient, it was of no use at my age to make an effort. But a new thought has come to me. I think this way now, that as I am only 54 I may live 20 years and not be very old so why not try to educate myself as much as possible and write the best I can and try to make [my] dreams come true. If we make up our minds we are too old to accomplish anything worth wile it is a bar to progress in any line. But if we try our very best if we don't live to finish all we set out to do we are the better for having tried, and our efforts will be an inspiration to those who come after. So I have resolved to do all I can from this time on to become as well educated as in me lies, and to write something that will make the world better for my having lived. I am going to believe that I have 20 years to accomplish this."

There is evidence that Virginia did do her best to accomplish her goal. She left numerous pieces of poetry and journal recordings, as well as the beginnings of a small novel, at least. 

With failing health, in October 1918, Virginia traveled from Omaha to Grinnell, Kansas. From there, she went to Burley, Idaho; Boise, Idaho; Teneburne, Oregon, and back to Boise. She even went to work in Seattle and "got work at Mrs. Branson's across Lake Washington at a little place called Bellevue." She then worked in Wenatchee, Washington, until her health worsened and she returned to Boise. In 1920, Virginia was living with her son, Edgar, in Kuna, Ada County, Idaho. What an amazing journey for a lone woman in that time period!

On December 22, 1921, Virginia "was operated on for appendicitis and a female trouble" at St. Alphons Hospital. Her total bill appears to have been $120.

Virginia moved to a house about 14 miles west of Boise, Idaho, owned by George Ferrins. On July 30, 1927, she lunched with a farmhand, Earl Ferrins. Afterward, it seems she went out on her porch to knit. Earl found her lying dead on the porch in the afternoon, apparently having suffered a heart attack. She was 65. She was buried in the Morris Hill Cemetery in Boise on August 2nd.

It is difficult to express the legacy left by this woman, whose life was unusual for her time, and the impact on generations of her family. She had a granddaughter whose middle name was Virginia, as well as a great-great-granddaughter.  She has a great-granddaughter who carries her name - Virginia Gayle (Avery) Hoyle, and a great-great-granddaughter whose middle name is Caroline. Perhaps because she left such a prolific written record of her own, along with a verbal and written record from her daughter, Maud, it is easier to feel close to her. Her family feels an honor and love for her akin to that which she felt for her father. While Virginia Caroline (Topping) Morgan did not realize a full 20 years to fulfill her goals, her life was worthwhile, inspirational, and did make the world a better place.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Duckworth

Waitetell Duckworth
b. Aug. 12, 1832
d. Sep. 14, 1885
Sarah A. His wife
b. Nov. 6, 1843
d. Nov. 21, 1906

Buried in the Shull/Culp/Davidson Cemetery near Albany, Gentry County, Missouri.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Backward Glance - Henri Debonneville Marguerat

Born into an upper-class family in Chicago, Illinois, Henri Debonneville Marguerat was the son of Eugene Francois and Grace Eliza (Coryell) Marguerat. He was born on October 16, 1873, the sixth of seven children: Claire, William, Charles, Eugene, George and John. His family lived on Adams Street when he was two years old. He was enumerated as Harry in 1900 in his brother William's household, and seems to have preferred this name most of his adult life.

Harry was married to Mabel Ament on June 25, 1902, in Chicago. Mabel was the daughter of Joseph and Abigail (Martin) Ament. She was living in Chicago with her mother and brother when the 1900 census was taken. Harry and Mabel were the parents of two daughters: Claire Elise, born May 14, 1903; and Helen Amelia, born August 15, 1905. Their marriage ended in divorce, being finalized on November 24, 1908. Harry and the girls were living with his mother in Chicago in 1910. However, in about 1911, Claire and Helen went to live with their mother in Montana.

As far as occupation goes, Harry was listed in different records as a salesman, a grocer and a farmer. Family members owned various businesses in Chicago, including a wholesale grocery and Union School Furnishing Company. He was employed by them until at least 1915, and is still listed as a salesman in the Chicago directory in 1917, though he seems to have moved to Michigan by then.

In 1913, Grace purchased some land from Abel Tatro in Chikaming Township, Berrien County, Michigan. The description was reported in The News-Palladium (Benton Harbor, Michigan) on November 28th as 15 acres SE 1/4 of NW 1/4, section 21. Then, in March 1915, Grace died.
1860 Chikaming Township. Michigan USGenWeb.
On September 1, 1915, Harry married Celia (Gill) Bremner in Lake County, Indiana. She was born in Clinton County, Iowa, in 1878 to Daniel and Celia Gill. I know nothing more of this marriage except that Harry recorded her as his nearest relation on his World War I Draft Registration. He registered from Berrien County, Michigan, but reported Celia as living at 208 S. Hoyne Avenue, Chicago, just four numbers from his mother's last residence, 212 S. Hoyne. Celia, however, was enumerated in Chicago in the 1920 census, reporting herself a widow. It wasn't uncommon to report as widowed rather than divorced. Celia continued to reside in Chicago, passing away in 1965.

In 1930, Harry was enumerated in Chikaming Township, Berrien County, Michigan, presumably on the property his mother had purchased in 1913. His brother, Charles, was recorded as the head of the household. Their brother, John, was also living with them.

On March 13, 1933, Henri Marguerat died in his home in Harbert, Berrien County. He was 56 years old. His obituary was published in the The News-Palladium on March 14th. He is buried at the Riverside Cemetery in Berrien County.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Wilkinson

Robert Wilkinson

September 30, 1893
64 Ys 24 Ds

Cowger Cemetery
Burr Oak Township
Doniphan County, Kansas

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Backward Glance - Joseph Pettus Ament

Photo courtesy Wikipedia
Not to be confused with his uncle, Joseph Ament, to whom Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) was apprenticed in 1848; Joseph Pettus Ament, Jr. was born to William Dudley and Amelia M. (Robbins) Ament on June 6, 1852, in Muscatine, Muscatine County, Iowa. He was the first of seven children born to the couple. 

On March 24, 1875, Joseph was married to Abigail C. Martin, also in Muscatine. Abigail was the daughter of Elijah Cody and Elizabeth (Tingley) Martin. Joseph and Abbie had six children: Grace A., Mabel Elizabeth, William Dudley, Bessie, Helen and Vernon. In 1894, Abbie petitioned for a divorce. On January 16, 1898, Abbie received absolute control of the children. By 1900, Abbie and two of her children were living in Chicago, Illinois.

Throughout much his life, Joseph's occupation was that of a carriage and wagon manufacturer, as well as a dealer in farm machinery. In 1876, he was a buggy box maker with Ament & Bro. On the 1880 census, he was listed as a carriage maker. His business was listed in the Muscatine, Iowa Directory in 1891, 1892 and 1893. It was located at 412 to 418 E. Third Street

Joseph remarried on July 8, 1896, to Mrs. Nina E. (Knox) Walker in Knox County, Illinois. After his marriage to Nina, Joseph was found enumerated on the 1915 Iowa State Census in Davenport, Scott County. His occupation was recorded as a second hand dealer. In 1925, he and Nina were still living in Davenport. There was no occupation recorded.

On January 30, 1927, Joseph died in Davenport. Nina outlived him. Joseph was buried on February 1st in the Greenwood Cemetery in Muscatine, Muscatine, Iowa.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Backward Glance - Ruth Caroline Coleman

"Grandma Willes" was the mother of Austin Sawyer Avery. She was born Ruth Caroline Coleman on August 29, 1817, presumably in Connecticut. On the 1855 Kansas State census her birth place is recorded as New York, but all other records, as well as the migration of her family, indicate that Connecticut is accurate. Ruth's parents were Joseph and Sarah "Sally" (Bishop) Coleman, who had ten other children, Ruth being the fourth. According to a biography written by Ruth's brother, Chester, their family moved from Connecticut to New York in 1824; then, to Ohio in 1831. Ruth's father died in 1844 in New Orleans.

On July 16, 1835, Ruth was married to James Christopher Avery in Medina County, Ohio. He was the son of James and Mercy (Baker) Avery and a descendant of Christopher Avery (b. abt. 1590), the original Avery emigrant from England by April 1642, evidenced in court of Gloucester, Massachusetts. Much of the Avery family history is recorded in the tw0-volume The Groton Avery Clan.

(James) Christopher and Ruth were enumerated in Bath Township, Summit County, Ohio in both 1840 and 1850. Ruth's husband seems to have died shortly after 1850, as her son, Edwin, recorded that he accompanied his mother to Illinois in about 1851 or 1852. Their children were Edwin A., William Hugh, Austin Sawyer and Myron Emery.

In 1860, Edwin and Austin were living with Ruth's brother, Joseph Coleman, in Richmond Township, Nemaha County, Kansas Territory. Also enumerated in the household was a Rust Willis. I haven't located Ruth in 1860, but sometime after 1851 she married someone with the last name Willis. By 1865, she was living with Edwin in Nemaha, Nemaha County, Kansas, recorded as a widow. 

Ruth lived with her mother in 1870 in Bath, Ohio. In 1880, she was back in Kansas next door to her son, Austin, and his family in Lowell Township, Rooks County. By 1885, she lived in Rock Creek Township, Nemaha County with Edwin, where she remained until at least 1905. Ruth died on May 10, 1909, in Sabetha, Nemaha County, Kansas, and is buried in the Sabetha City Cemetery.