Sunday, February 11, 2007

UPDATE III: The First GeneaBlogie Challenge--And The Winner Is . . . .

We have a winner in The First GeneaBlogie Challenge!

The most popular feature ever in this space, The First GeneaBlogie Challenge was a test of genealogical research skills. It required the ability to draw reasonable inferences, make reasonable assumptions and to use various records available on the Internet. I hope it was a learning experience for all. It was a learning experience for me--it's hard to put together a good problem!
This problem involved a misspelled name and a few other anomalies.

Recall the problem was to find the relationship between George Stafford and my father. Dad vaguely referred to George as his "cousin," but doesn't really know how they were cousins. Here's how to get to the answer from where we left off.

We knew that George's mother's given name was Martin and that her maiden name was Green, or Stern, Stean, Stein, or Steen. So we need to find her maiden name and that will lead us to how she (and therefore her son George) is related to my father. We also knew that Martin's mother's given name was Ida. Our winner searched my blog posts (I had said that the posts might contain some useful information) for the name "Martin." This was similar to my earlier suggestion that we look through the census records for the first name Martin. Searching the blog for information is analagous to searching our family memory for some bit of known information that might be a clue.

The winner noticed that I had written before about the family of Isaac and Amanda Martin. (Martin? Ahhhh. . .) They had two daughters, Amanda and Ida. Amanda I believe to be Amanda Maria Martin who married Guy Bryant, my dad's great-grandfather. In the Aransas County Marriage Records, volume 1, Ida Martin is shown having married Nelson Steen on March 26, 1885. So now we know to a fair degree of certainty that Martin's maiden name is likely Steen and that she is probably the daughter of Nelson Steen and Ida Martin. That would make George Stafford the grandson of Ida Martin and the great-grandson of Isaac Martin.

We know Maria Martin married Guy Bryant, that Guy Bryant and Maria Martin were the parents of Hattie Bryant, that Hattie Bryant was the mother of Jessie Bowie, and that Jessie Bowie was my father's mother. (All of this is supported by records I have in my possession). The winner tracked all of this through census records and Aransas County birth and marriage records available online. Congratulations to our winner for such diligent work!

And now it's time to announce the winner of The First GeneaBlogie Challenge and recipient of the possibly-suitable-for-a-refrigerator-door certificate . . . (drrrumrrrollll!). . . . Randy Seaver!

[Martin Steen Stafford died in Rockport, Texas, on April 25, 1951 at the age of 53. Her son, George Stafford, Jr., died in Rockport, Texas, on May 13, 1985, at the age of 52.]

See Randy's solution in the comments to the original post. Thanks to all who played!

[EDIT- 2/11/07 11:02 pm-Spelling of winner's last name corrected.]


Randy Seaver said...


Thanks for the award...would you please spell my name right on it - it is Seaver, not Seavers.

Thanks -- Randy

PS. This was fun - I'll have to post one of my semi-mysteries that is findable online.

Craig Manson said...

Yes, and I did know how to spell your name! Sorry about that. If you send me a current e-mail address ( I'll get it to you right away.

Randy Seaver said...


Can you explain the Jessie Bowie situation? Do you know the name of her father? Did he marry Hattie Bryant?

Why is Jessie surnamed Walker in the 1920 census?

Thanks -- Randy

Craig Manson said...

To understand that matter, it's necessary to see the context of the life of Jessie's mother Hattie Bryant.

Hattie Bryant was first married in 1903 to a man in Rockport, Texas. His name was Christie [Christopher] Morales. He was about her age (born in 1886) and was the son of Albert and Maria Morales. [see 1900 and 1910 censuses, Nueces County, Texas; see Aransas County Marriage Records, vol. 1.] This is the only marriage of Hattie Bryant that I can document. What became of that marriage legally, I do not know. I do know that at some point after 1903, Hattie met Toby Walker. In 1906, Hattie and Toby had a son, Herman. [My great-uncle Herman Walker was born in Taft, San Patricio County, Texas. He had a celebrated career as a chef at one of the best-known establishments in Houston, and died in March, 2002, at age 96]. Sometime after Herman was born, Hattie and Toby broke up and Hattie headed to San Antonio (a not uncommon migration for folks on the Gulf Coast).

In San Antonio, Hattie met Elias Bowie. Whether they were married or not, I do not know. They had two children, my grandmother, Jessie (born 1909) and my great-uncle, Elias Bowie, Jr. (born 1910). The 1910 census of Bexar County, Texas, was taken about a month before Elias, Jr., was born. That census shows Hattie Bryant with two children, Herman and Jessie. The children seem to be surnamed "Bryant." They do not live with Elias Bowie, Sr, who is shown on that census as a single man in a boarding house. Elias, Sr., later moved to St Louis, where he married another woman and had another son also named Elias.

Sometime after Elias, Jr., was born, Hattie left San Antonio and returned to Rockport. In 1913, she gave birth to a child she named Evaline Cavanaugh. I don't know who Mr. Cavanaugh was and I was quite surprised to see that Ida Martin Steen had the surname Cavanaugh later in her life.

Hattie's last child was born in 1924. His name was Leroy Goins. His father was also named Leroy Goins (1887-1946).

In the 1920 census, all four of Hattie's then-known children are seemingly surnamed "Walker." Only the oldest, Herman, should have been surnamed Walker. There are two possibilities: (1) the enumerator, who listed Herman first. assumed that the other children had the same father and hence the same surname; (2) Hattie, for what ever reason, used "Walker" as the surname for all the children. At various times, Hattie used various surnames for her children. See for example the 1930 census of Rockport, Texas, where Jessie and Leroy Goins ("Leo") are seemingly surnamed "Bryant."

There is some speculation that Hattie was the mother of another child, a girl named Maria (after Hattie's mother) born in about 1905.

Hattie died in 1944 at age 58.