My First Genealogy Conference – Ancestry Day in Raleigh, November 2015

Earlier this month, I attended my first genealogy conference, Ancestry Day in Raleigh. I also attended the Friday pre-conference sessions at the NC Archives. The event was sponsored by Ancestry.com, The Friends of the Archives, the North Carolina Genealogical Society, the State Archives, and State Library of North Carolina. I learned a lot about each of these organizations and what they have to offer.

I visited the State Library, and talked to some librarians, and met some archivists from the State Archives. I have a better understanding of what each has to offer. You go to the Archives to see the original public records (county records, state agency records, governor papers, veteran’s records) and also private records (journals, letters, academic records, family Bibles, church records, newspapers). Before visiting the Archives, you can search MARS (Manuscript and Archive Reference System) so you know what records they have that you want to see. You go to the library for indexes and abstracts, books, periodicals, newspapers, published family histories, and government publications. Someday I’ll be brave enough to go there and do some research. It seems overwhelming, but not as overwhelming as it did before the conference.

I’ve had years of experience with Ancestry.com, but moving forward I’ll be getting a LOT more out of that website. I learned that Ancestry hints pull only from the 10% most popular databases, so crafting your own searches is important. I learned about the card catalog, which I hadn’t explored before. I learned that then you start typing in a location, it’s best to click on the suggestion Ancestry.com gives you rather than keep typing it yourself. If you click on their suggestion, Ancestry knows the GPS location and your search results widen from that area.

I learned an easy way of looking at multiple search results to determine which relate to the person you are researching. When presented with a list of search results, “right click/open in new tab” each item you think may be what you are looking for. Then drag those tabs around until you have them in date order.

I learned how to use wildcards in searches. The “?” replaces a single letter. You can use this in places where you don’t know, for example if you ancestor is listed as Catherine or Katherine by searching for “?atherine”. You can also use it in place of letters that are often transcribed incorrectly. An example given was that the letter “L” can be confused for the letter “S”, so you can search “?awrence”.  The  *” replaces the ending of a word. The example given was if you are searching for Vincent, and he may be listed as Vinny or Vinnie, search for “Vin*”. You have to mark the “exact” box to activate a wildcard search.

I heard how records are acquired to be included at Ancestry.com, and now understand why there are duplications. For example, I’ve found Iowa marriages are recorded in numerous indexes. Two or more databases may contain the same information, but from different sources. People and organizations create indexes using their own criteria. For example, an individual may have indexed 3 counties, and another individual may have indexed 10 counties, but only certain last names in those counties. Ancestry acquired both record sets, and there could be overlap.

Ancestry.com offers so many learning opportunities that I didn’t know about. There’s a “Learning Center” which I had completely overlooked, including a long list of free research guides, and there’s even a research guide for each state. Also, Ancestry has a channel on YouTube. There’s a Family History Wiki includes two full genealogy books (The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy, and Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources), plus content from Ancestry.com and content from the public. Finally, I’m very interested in Ancestry Academy, which offers classes, some free and some by subscription.

I learned of so many online research opportunities, and I’ve updated my toolbox.

I learned about DNA testing from Ancestry.com. I hadn’t understood the value of testing all siblings. It was explained that siblings get 50% of their DNA from their mother and 50% from their father, but it’s random which pieces each sibling gets from each parent. For example, a person could do the test expecting to find they have Native American DNA because they’ve been told there are Native Americans in their family tree, but the results don’t show Native American DNA. There are two possibilities – there are no Native Americans in that person’s family tree, or that specific DNA didn’t trickle down to that person. Perhaps a sibling got some of it though. If you test all siblings, you get a better picture of ethnicity. One sibling could be 0% Irish and another could be 50% Irish, even if each parent is 50% Irish. It was also explained that if you test your DNA now, more and more information will become available to you over time as others are tested. When you link your DNA results to your family tree at Ancestry.com, you get notified of cousin matches. If you fill out a fan chart, and color in the sections where you have cousin matches, it verifies that you are tracking the correct line.

I learned about the North Carolina Genealogical Society and what it has to offer, and I joined. After looking through the vendor fair, I decided that the $40 registration fee would provide me with more learning opportunities than $40 spent at any other table at the vendor fair. I’ve already listened to two hour-long webinars that are free to members, Tarheels in Your Family Tree 1 & 2.

I also bought the HUGE book “North Carolina Research: Genealogy and Local History.” It was marketed as an excellent how-to book for any genealogist, with examples from North Carolina.

John Gillespie Cowan (1827-1915) & Elvira Hubbard Cowan (1829-1919)

John Gillespie Cowan was born August 29, 1827 in Tennessee. His parents are Robert Cowan and Elizabeth Colville. You can see Robert’s Find A Grave memorial here and Elizabeth’s here.

Elvira Hubbard Cowan was born July 21, 1829 in Tennessee. Her parents are Robert Hubbard and Elizabeth Whitlock.

On 1860 US Census, John & Elvira farmed in Osage, Arkansas. Isabel was 8, Emily was 6, Thomas was 4 and Robert was 1.

On the 1870 US Census, John 42 and Elviry was 41, and they were still farming in Osage, Arkansas. Isabel was 18, Emily was 16, Thomas was 14, Robert was 11, Elizabeth was 8, Martha was 4, William was 7 months old. Also in the house is Elvira’s sister Manerva Hubbard, age 24, housekeeper.

On the 1880 US Census, John is 52, Elvira is 50, Elizabeth E is 18, Martha A is 13 and William is 10. A laborer named Quinton Drewery, age 18, is also in the house.

On the 1900 US Census, John is 73 and Elvira is 71. Granddaughter Maude Hicks, age 9, lives with them. They are farming in Washington, Arkansas.

On the 1910 US Census, they are still in Washington, Arkansas. John is 82 and farming. Elvira is 81. Living with them is son Thomas B, age 54, a carpenter.

John died January 6, 1915 in Bent, Arkansas. His Find A Grave memorial is here. Elvira died July 11, 1918. Her Find A Grave memorial is here.

Their children:

Isabell Cowan – Bell was born April 2, 1852 in Arkansas. She married Alfred Deal Baggett, a farmer, in Benton County, Arkansas on November 28, 1878. She died October 31, 1879 giving birth to twins who also died. Her Find A Grave memorial is here.

Emma Josephine Cowan – Emma was born 1854 in Benton County, Arkansas. She married Dr. Dodson Christian, M.D. in 1872 and they had 4 children, two of which died in infancy, and one which was adopted. She died in June 1899 in Washington County, Arkansas. Her Find A Grave memorial is here.

Thomas B. Cowan – Read more about my great great grandfather here.

Robert Cowan –  Robert was born in May 1859 in Arkansas according to the 1900 US Census. He married Nannie A. Sharp on May 10, 1893 in Benton County, Arkansas. They had 4 children. By the 1910 US Census, Nannie is a widow, and she died in August 1944. I haven’t found a death record for Robert and I can’t find either of them on Find A Grave.

I’m confused about something. There’s a “sister” named Sallie Cowan living with Robert and Nannie in 1900, and living with widowed Nannie in 1910 noted as “sister-in-law.” I have identified the 7 children John and Elvira Cowan say they have on the 1900 census, and there is no Sallie. I found that Sallie married Haislip Alonzo McGaugh on November 3, 1921. (To further confuse the situation, he was previously married to Sallie Sharp, who I think is Nannie A Sharp’s sister. Sallie Sharp died April 27, 1921 and he made fast work of finding himself another Sallie, who had been living with his sister-in-law!) Sallie Lou Cowan McGaugh died December 21, 1943 in Benton County, Arkansas. Her Find A Grave memorial is here. Haislip Alonzo McGaugh and both of his Sallie’s are buried in Barron Cemetery in Bentonville, Arkansas. But how is Sallie Lou Cowan related to Robert Cowan?

Also interesting to note, there’s a Nannie A. Cowan buried in Washington County, Arkansas who was born the same year as Robert’s wife Nannie, and died the same year as Robert’s Nannie. But she is buried with Richard G. Cowan, I found their marriage record, and I find them together on the census.

Elizabeth Elvira Cowan – Elizabeth was born October 24, 1861 in Arkansas. She married James Monroe Hicks on December 23, 1886 in Benton County, Arkansas. They had 2 children, but one died as a toddler. Elizabeth died on January 5, 1896. Her Find A Grave memorial is here. On the 1900 US Census their daughter Maude Hicks, age 9, is living with Elizabeth’s parents.

Martha Anna Cowan – Anna was born 1867 in Benton County, Arkansas. She married Robert Bennett Reed on December 22, 1887 in Washington County, Arkansas. They had 4 children. Robert was a farmer and then became a mail carrier for the United States Postal Service and then was a farmer again, in Benton County, Arkansas. He died in 1922. She died October 31, 1956. Her Find A Grave memorial is here.

William Hayden Cowan – William was born December 13, 1869 in Arkansas. He married Eva Jane Vaughn on August 3, 1893 in Washington County, Arkansas. They had 3 children. Eva died in 1913. William married Lizzie Martin by 1920 and had two stepchildren. He was a mail carrier in Lowell, Arkansas. His Find A Grave memorial is here.

Thomas Macklin “Mack” Hinson

 

updated February 2019

Thomas Macklin Hinson is my grandfather Wallace Paul Cowan’s uncle, brother to his mother Myrtle Bertie Hinson (1879-1971). He was the 2nd of 10 children of Isaac Newton Hinson (1849-1925) and Louisa Cumi Harp (1852-1918). You can read about their family here.

On the 1880 US Census, Mack was 7. He lived in Prairie, Madison, Arkansas with his parents and 4 siblings.

In 1884, Mack’s brother Zimri died. In 1887, his brother Polk died.

In 1892, Mack married Emily Jane Seitz. Both were 20 years old. Their daughter Murriel was born in 1894, and their son Dock was born in 1898.

On the 1900 US Census, Mack was 28 and Emily was 27. They had been married 8 years and had two children. Daughter Murriel was 6 and and son Dock was 2. They lived in Prairie, Madison, Arkansas and Mack was a horse trader.

I think the older gentleman is his father Isaac Newton Hinson. On the 1910 US Census Newton was listed as a driver at a livery barn. I think the boy on the horse is Mack’s son Dock.

On the 1910 US Census, Mack was 37 and Emily was 36. They were in Springdale, Arkansas. Their daughter Muriel was 16, and Dock was 12. Mack was working as a Liveryman.

“Mack at Vernon Brook’s barn in Mill Street, 1918”

In 1918, Mack’s mother died. In 1920, his sister Vernie died.

On the 1920 US Census, Mack was 47 and Emily was 46, and they lived alone. Mack’s occupation was horse dealer.

In 1925, Mack’s father died. I can’t find Mack on the 1930 US Census. It’s the Great Depression so he could be anywhere looking for work. Emily was listed on the census in Springdale, age 57, married, boarding with Chace and Lottie Hannah.

I can’t find Mack on the 1940 US Census either, but Emily was listed as a widow living alone in Springdale. That is very curious, because Mack wasn’t dead.

Mack died October 18, 1945 at age 73. His Find A Grave memorial is here. Emily died in July of 1959 in Dade County, Florida. Her Find A Grave memorial is here. They are buried next to each other in Bluff Cemetery in Springdale.

Mack, his son Dock, and his daughter Murriel

The children of Thomas Macklin Hinson & Emily Jane Seitz:

Murriel H. Hinson – Muriel was born in August of 1894. She married Frank Leslie Farrar in Washington County, Arkansas on April 29, 1914. She was 20 and Frank was 25. On the 1920 US Census, they lived in Springdale with 4 year old daughter Francis. Frank was a “dealer in apples, traveling salesman.” They divorced May 21, 1925. By 1926 Murriel was listed in the Pasadena, California directory as a widow of F L Farrar. On the 1930 US Census, Murriel and Frances were in Los Angeles, California. She had cut 5 years off her age and was listed as being 30 years old. Frances was 14. Murriel was a saleswoman at a dry goods store. (Her ex-husband Frank was also in Los Angeles, listed as divorced, lodging, and working as a carpenter.)

On the 1940 US Census, Murriel had gained back those 5 years. She was 46 and lived with married daughter Frances and her husband Joe Rollins in Los Angeles.  Joe’s occupation was “clerical, general office” and Frances was a “typist, collection office.” Murriel wasn’t working. (Ex-husband Frank was still in Los Angeles, lodging, with no occupation listed. Frank died January 31, 1949.)

I know from her obituary (Northwest Arkansas Times, October 24, 1950) that Murriel married Sam Pine. She died October 10, 1950 in Los Angeles, and according to her obituary it was following a major operation. Her Find A Grave memorial is here. Her name is misspelled and her birth year is incorrect on her memorial page, and on the California Death Index. Murriel, Frank, and Sam are all buried in the very large Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.

Dock Newton Hinson – Read about Dock here.

Dora Ada Hinson (1875-1959)

updated January 2019

Dora Ada Hinson was my grandfather Wallace Paul Cowan’s aunt, sister to his mother Myrtle Bertie Hinson (1879-1971). She was the 3rd of 10 children of Isaac Newton Hinson (1849-1925) and Louisa Cumi Harp (1852-1918). You can read about their family here.

Ada was born May 7, 1875 in Whitener, Arkansas. She grew up in Madison County, Arkansas. Two of her brothers died during her childhood, Zimri in 1884 and Polk in 1887.

She married Andrew Jackson Sanders on February 28, 1893 in Madison County, Arkansas. She was 17 and Andrew was 19. They had son Carnel in 1894 and he died in 1896. They had son Utah in 1896 and son Sam in 1898.

On the 1900 US Census, Ada was 25, and she had been married to Andrew, a farmer, age 26, for 7 years. She had given birth to 3 children, two of whom were living: Utah, age 3; Sam, age 2. They lived in Madison County, Arkansas.

HINSON Isaac HARP Louisa, HINSON Bertie HINSON Dora Ada SANDERS Andrew Jackson

Sonny Sanders (son of Albert Utah Sanders) sent me the portraits above and this group photo.  Ada and Andrew are mismarked as Mr. & Mrs. A. G. Sanders. I think the photo was taken around 1905-06. I haven’t identified all the siblings in the photo but Ada’s mother Cumi is in the center and her father Newton is marked G. Father Hinson.

(Update: Shiloh Museum of Ozark History has this photo in their archives and provided me with more information. It was taken at the Baggett residence in Springdale around 1904. The man in the middle row to the left of Cumi is Blake Baggett. Based on this identification, think he’s holding his daughter Winnie, who was born in 1900, and I believe that is his wife Belle standing behind him to the left.)

In 1901, they had son Ottis.

On the 1910 US Census, Ada and Andrew were both listed as being 35. They were still farming in Springdale. Utah was 13, Sam was 12, and Ott was 9.

“at their farm in Texas”

Utah’s Find A Grave memorial I know the family moved to Washington state in about 1911, and then to Texas in 1913. Ada’s mother died in 1918, and her sister Vernie died in 1920. I can’t find them on the 1920 US Census. Ada’s father died in 1925.

On the 1930 US Census, Ada and Andrew were listed as 55 & 56 years old. In the 1940 US Census, Ada was 65 and Andrew was 66. They were farming in Crosby, Texas.

Ada’s brother Mack died in 1945, her sister Cleopie died in 1946, her brother Dan died in 1949, and her brother Lin died in 1952.

Ada and Andrew both died at Poplar Grove Convalescent Home in Lubbock, Texas. Ada died on December 28, 1959 at age 84 and Andrew died June 30, 1962 at age 88. Find A Grave has memorials for Ada and Andrew are here and here. They are buried in Lorenzo Cemetery in Crosby County, Texas.

The children of Dora Ada Hinson & Andrew Jackson Sanders:

Carnel O. Sanders – Carnel was born April 11, 1894 and died March 20, 1896. His Find A Grave memorial is here.

SANDERS Utah

Albert Utah Sanders

Albert Utah Sanders – Utah was born August 22, 1896. He married Anna Gladys Woodward in 1921 and they had 6 children. Utah was farming in Lubbock, Texas in 1930 and by 1940 was a contractor is Los Angeles, California. Utah died April 29, 1985. His Find A Grave memorial is here.

Samuel Newton Sanders – Sam was born March 27, 1898. He married Jo B. Fugitt on June 29, 1921 and they had 3 children. He farmed in Lubbock, Texas (1930 and 1940). Sam died November 12, 1989. His Find A Grave memorial is here.

SANDERS Ottis Lee black and white

Ottis Lee Sanders

Ottis Lee Sanders – Ott was born April 16, 1901. He married Mallie McCall on June 5, 1927. They didn’t have children. They lived in Crosby, Texas. He worked as a teacher (1930) and a superintendent (1940). Ott died His Find A Grave memorial is here.

May Belle Hinson (1877-1970)

updated January 2019

May Belle Hinson is my grandfather Wallace Paul Cowan’s aunt, sister to his mother Myrtle Bertie Hinson (1879-1971). She was the 4th of 10 children of Isaac Newton Hinson (1849-1925) and Louisa Cumi Harp (1852-1918). You can read about their family here.

Belle was born September 24, 1977 in Whitener, Arkansas. On the 1880 US Census Belle was listed as Emily M Hinson, age 3.

In 1884, Belle’s brother Zimri died. In 1887, her brother Polk died.

She married Robert Blake Baggett in Washington County, Arkansas on December 24, 1897. She was 20 and he was 26. Their daughter Winnie was born in 1901, their son Ray was born in 1904, and their daughter Theda was born in 1907.

HINSON Isaac HARP Louisa, HINSON Bertie HINSON Dora Ada SANDERS Andrew Jackson

Shiloh Museum of Ozark History has this photo in their archives and provided me with information. It was taken at the Baggett residence in Springdale around 1904. The man in the middle row to the left of Cumi is Blake Baggett. With this identify confirmed, I think he’s holding his daughter Winnie, who was born in 1900, and I believe that is his wife Belle standing behind him to the left. Ada and her husband Andrew are mismarked as Mr. & Mrs. A. G. Sanders. I haven’t identified all the people in the photo but Ada’s mother Cumi is in the center and her father Newton is marked G. Father Hinson.

On the 1910 US Census in Springdale, Arkansas, Belle was 32, Blake was 39, and they had three children: Winnie was 9, Ray was 6, and Theda was 3. Robert’s occupation was “Teaming” and industry was “freight.”

COWAN Wallace Paul

Seated in buggy is Ada and her mother Cumi. Standing, right to left are Belle, probably her daughter Theda, then my grandfather Wallace Paul Cowan and Mrs. Gramblin and Faye. I thought Mrs. Gramblin and Faye were neighbors but I can’t find them on a census.

In 1912, their daughter Ada was born. In 1918, Belle’s mother died. In 1919, her son Ray died. In 1920, her sister Vernie died.

On the 1920 US Census, Belle was 42 and Blake was 48. Blake’s occupation was farmer and industry was “home farm.” They lived in Springdale. Theda was 12 and Ada was 8.

In 1925, Belle’s father died.

On the 1930 US Census, Belle was 53 and Blake was 59, living in Springdale, Arkansas. Ada was 18. Blake was a Laborer at the gas company and Ada was a Saleslady at a variety store.

On the 1940 US Census, Belle was 61 and Blake was 68. They were still in Springdale. A granddaughter, Maxine Moore, age 11, lived with them. Blake was a “common laborer” and industry was “odd farm work.”

In 1945, Belle’s brother Mack died. In 1946, her sister Cleopie died. In 1949, her brother Dan died. In 1952, her brother Lin died. In 1959, her sister Ada died. At this point, her only living sibling was her sister Bertie, and they are pictured below.

Thanksgiving 1959, Belleand her sister Bertie

Blake died February 13, 1969 and Belle followed on October 26, 1970. They are buried in Bluff Cemetery in Springdale. Their Find A Grave memorials are here.

The children of May Belle Hinson & Robert Blake Baggett:

Winnie G. Baggett – Winnie was born October 12, 1900. She married John L. Main of Sebastian County, Arkansas on July 27, 1919 in Washington County, Arkansas. They had 4 children. She died January 14, 1983. Her Find A Grave memorial is here.

Andy Ray Baggett – Ray was born July 10, 1904 and died January 17, 1919. His Find A Grave Memorial is here.

Theda Gail Baggett – Theda was born April 25, 1907. She married Fern Eugene Moore in Washington County, Arkansas on August 20, 1927. They had a child in 1929. On the 1940 US Census she was divorced, lodging with a family and working as a waitress. Her daughter Maxine was 11 and living with her grandparents. Theda married Calvin Thomas Collins in Washington County on April 14, 1940. She died December 2, 2004 and is buried in bluff Cemetery in Springdale. Her Find A Grave memorial is here. (Maxine’s Find a Grave memorial is here, and it says she is the daughter of Theda and Calvin.)

Ada Catherine Baggett

Ada Catherine Baggett – Ada was born August 16, 1912. She married Harold Jenkins in Springdale, Arkansas on November 23, 1932. They had 2 children. She died February 15, 2010. Her Find A Grave memorial is here.

Update – Albert Gibson Cowan (1884-1963) is my Great Grandfather

Without a doubt, Albert Gibson Cowan (born in Arkansas in 1884 and died in Missouri in 1963) is my great grandfather!

In July I posted about my detective work here.

I requested Albert’s medical records from Nevada State Hospital after reading how to do so here. I sent the letter of request in late July, and received letter saying my request had been approved by the court in August, and received a copy of the records yesterday.

The Court Order states and I must keep the records confidential, so I can’t share the information. I thought I’d say what information is included in these records that confirm that this Albert is the right Albert.

First, there is a photo of 78 year old Albert upon admission to the hospital, and the resemblance is so strong it could be a picture of his son, my grandfather Wallace Paul Cowan.

Second, there are notes about him discussing his marital history, and it matches what I believed to be true.

Finally, the woman my grandmother Bertie thought was her ex-husband’s daughter was actually his caregiver, which was my theory.

I thought it was interesting that notes made about Albert’s personality and some general health issues are things that could have been written about his son too.

It’s good to know that my Cowan branch of the family tree is following the right path!

Postcard – “I wish to thank you for all past favors” 1910

Postmarked: 2 February 1910, San Antonio TX
Addressed to: Alex Gray Craig MO

Feb’y 2 1910
I received my deed
from Heaton Bank, so
all is OK & I wish to
thank you for all past
favors. We are having a
good time but it is
very hot & dry here.
Best wishes to all. I
am yours truly [RA Simon?]

Heaton Bank was in Craig, Missouri. Is it signed R. A. Simon? That is my best guess.