Sunday, April 02, 2006

Happy Birthday, Aunt Myrtle . . .

. . . What I found in Salt Lake City

I had decided that my trip to the Family History Library would focus on the Mansons in Milam County, Texas. So before I left, I had studied the Library's online catalog to locate useful resources about Milam County. I found a number of things that looked good, so I printed out a list to take with me.

In the first ten minutes I was in the Library, I found the book Milam County Death Records, which was on my list. I learned that my dad's aunt, Mattie Manson [named for her grandmother Matilda Manson], died in June 1912 of tuberculosis. She was twelve years old. That's contrary to a story that I'd heard that perhaps she had absconded back to Georgia in search of the Birdsong family. I also learned that her second name was "Julia." Her funeral was handled by Henne & Meyer Hardware store in Rockdale, Texas. [Apparently, it was not uncommon that hardware stores and other businesses were in the undertaker trade at that time and place. The book identified one firm that did hardware, groceries, furniture and funerals. It's still in business today, but they now do funerals only!].

From the same book, I discovered that my great-great-grandfather, Billy Sanford, lived to age 106. The book 170 Years of Cemetery Records in Milam County, Texas, told me that he's buried in the old City Cemetery in Rockdale.

On microfilm, I found the Milam County school census records from 1899 through 1950. These records consisted of cards that parents had to sign every year giving the names and ages of their school-age children. In the early years there was a single record per family; later, there were individual cards for each child. From these records, I found the names and birthdates of my grandfather's siblings. I discovered a name I had not heard before: that of my grandfather's sister, Myrtle. She would have turned 100 years old today. Unfortunately, the school census is the only record of Aunt Myrtle that I could find.

I spent a considerable amount of time looking for the petitions and court orders from 1930 and 1932 that declared my great-grandmother, Bettie Sanford Manson, non compos mentis. I knew about the court action thanks to the folks who maintain Milam County GenWeb page. I wanted to know who filed a petition with the court and why. Despite having the case numbers, I couldn't find the actual papers. It's fair to point out that I did find the volumes in which these cases should appear and that finding the cases involves reading the microfilmed court minutes page by page. It's entirely possible that I just missed them.

In the time I had remaining, I did a bit of general Bowie research but found nothing new. Next trip, I'll focus on the Bowies and the Gines family. I did find several Gines ancestors that were new to my research, but I don't know how they fit in.

Again, it was time well spent.

1 comment:

Nita said...

What a wonderful post. I've learned a great deal along with learning a few new search techniques.

Here's a belated Happy Birthday to your late Aunt Myrtle.

Thank you for sharing your skill.