Saturday, February 10, 2007

The First GeneaBlogie Challenge--Find This Relation and Win!!

Almost everybody has had the experience of wondering exactly how a cousin is related. Here's a chance to exercise some elementary research skills and WIN a cheap, possibly-suitable-
for refrigerator door certificate. Here's the challenge as I took it through the first several steps:

My dad speaks from time to time of his cousins, George Stafford and George's sister, Dorothy Stafford. They were about his age and they lived near him in Rockport, Texas. I had never heard the surname "Stafford" except in connection them. So I asked Dad one day just how was it that the Staffords were his cousins. He said he didn't know. Naturally, I had to find out!

I started, of course, with the 1930 census for Aransas County, Texas. On the 1930 census, one finds the household of George Stafford, age 36, and his wife, Martin Stafford, age 33, with children William and Lola. This George Stafford is too old to be the one who played with Dad. (And what's with that wife's name, Martin?).

Curiously enough, what appears to be the same household is enumerated a second time in the 1930 census, this time as lodgers in the household of Howard J. Mills. The first time the Staffords were counted was on April 9, 1930, when they lived in premises that they rented for $2.00 a month. George and Martin Stafford were each described as cooks at a "clubhouse."
The second time they were counted was on April 23, 1930, when, as noted above, they lived with the Howard J. Mills family. Mr. Mills was described as the manager of a "Hunting Club," and Mr. Stafford was said to be a cook at the Hunting Club. [I believe this to be the St Charles Bay Hunting Club. Another popular club in the area was the Port Bay Club.]

It's not surprising that the George Stafford we were seeking was not on the 1930 census. He likely was born after 1930. The next place to look would be the Aransas County Birth Records, which commence in 1926. Since George Stafford was about Dad's age and born after 1930, let's start in 1931. We don't find any Stafford in the 1931 birth records. But in 1932, we find a George Stafford, Jr., born to Martin Green and George Stafford.

Now we know George's mother's maiden name. But I've never heard the name "Green" in the family tree, either. So to figure out how George Stafford, Jr., is Dad's cousin, we'll have to look a little further.

Who is Martin Green? A reasonable place to go now is back to the census records. Let's start in 1910, since we know from the 1930 census that Martin was born around 1897. Let's assume that she was born in Aransas County. In the 1910 census for Aransas County, we find no Martin Green. Indeed, there's nobody named "Green" at all. Let's try the 1900 census. There's an Edward Green, but he's a single man living alone.

We know that Dad's relatives moved easily between Aransas County and the larger Nueces County. So let's try the 1910 and 1900 censuses for that county. In 1910, there were eight women enumerated in Nueces County with the surname Green, including one "M. Green." But none are anywhere close to Martin Green's reported and presumed age. In 1900, there were four women named Green in Nueces County; no Martins and none of the right age. It could be that Green is a first-married name.

Are we on a wild goose chase? Well, let's try something else. Let's search the census records for the first name Martin. Sounds a bit radical, but worth a try.

Let's continue to assume she'll be found in Aransas or Nueces counties. Let's start with the 1910 census, again, because we know she was born about 1897. And we discover a girl in Aransas County named Martin. She's in the household of a woman named Ida Cavanaugh, where there appear to be a total of seven children. Six of these children, including Martin, have a surname that appears to be "Stern" or "Stean" or maybe "Steen." Even "Stein" is a possibility.

So, now what? Well, let's stick with the census records for now. We quickly discover that there is no one named "Stern," "Stean," "Steen," or "Stein" in either Aransas or Nueces counties in 1910 or 1900. (Our theory now, of course, is that Martin's father bore one of those names and that Ida is her mother.) What about searching for Cavanaughs? We now find nobody named Cavanaugh in our two counties of interest on any available census except Ida and two of her children in 1910 and 1900.

We started out to find whether and how George Stafford might be related to my dad. It looks like we're way out on a limb that may lead nowhere. Wanna have a go at it? Any ideas about where to go now? (You have all the info you need to solve this puzzle. My father's surname is the same as mine. Although not necessary, other postings here at GeneaBlogie may be useful. First correct answerer --with a description of how you did it--gets an official GeneaBlogie Master Challenge certificate--that and $3.00 will get you a fancy cup of coffee.)

COMING SOON: The Answer to the First GeneaBlogie Challenge


Randy Seaver said...


You have Ida Cavanaugh, 6 "Stern" and 1 Cavanaugh child in 1910 in Aransas County.

In the 1900 census, Ida "Otten" and 6 "Otten" children, including "son" Martin, age 3, resided in Aransas county TX. When I look at the surname, I see Steen or Stern, and the childrens names are similar to the 1910 list.

But that wasn't your problem statement. From the available data, and a two hour flight through the census records, I can't find a connection between your dad and his cousin George Stafford. I can get your dad back through Quentin and Jessie (Bowie?) Manson, and then to Otis and Betty (Sanford) Manson, and then to Matilda Manson.

Your data here says that Betty Sanford's parents were Billy and Emily (?) (--?--) Sanford. Their 4 children were Anna, Betty, Catherine and Addie. Addie and Ida might be the same person, but Addie White is with her folks in Milam county in 1900 when Ida is way down in Aransas County.

On the Bowie side, I can't find Jessie in the 1910 or 1920 census as a Bowie. I did find her as Jessie Walker in 1920, daughter of Hattie Bryant in Aransas County TX. And I think that Hattie is the daughter of Guy and Maria (--?--) Bryant - found in the 1900 and 1910 census. But I haven't found info on Guy and Maria parents in the census.

The only names you've provided on the Stafford side is George and Martin (Green?) Stafford, and Martin's mother Ida (--?--) (Steen?) Cavanaugh. There were two possible parents of George Stafford in the 1900 census, but I couldn't figure which one, or if either one, was the right George and parents.

I have tried to find out if Otis Manson, Betty Sanford, Jessie Bowie's dad, Hattie Bryant, Guy Bryant or Maria --?-- had a sister named Ida. That is the most logical connection, but from the info I've found so far, I don't see a sister named Ida.

From your cryptic note at the bottom of your post, it sounds like you're saying the answer is in the Manson line.

Have I missed something? You have researched this in much detail I know, and have the benefit of all of the family knowledge and research, so I may have missed something obvious (at least to you!).

I will await the answer to your puzzle hoping that I haven't embarrassed myself here.

Cheers -- Randy

Randy said...

* Isaac Martin
| |
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* Grandfather Manson Nelson Steen
* Ida Martin
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* Father Manson George Stafford
* Martin Steen
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* Harold Craig Manson * George Stafford Jr

Randy Seaver said...

A clue really helps. Once again, I limited myself to too few sources - there's a lesson there. I shoulda woulda coulda checked the Aransas County GenWeb site. It's a nice collection of marriage records, and in those records is the marriage of Ida Martin to Nelson Steen on 26 November 1885.

A "Find" search on your blog posts for "Martin" reveals the family of Isaac and Amanda Martin, with a daughter Ida and a daughter Amanda, that you are pretty sure is your Maria Martin (who married Guy Bryant), mother of Hattie Bryant (husband?), grandmother of Jessie Bowie(?) (who married Quentin Manson), and great-grandmother of your father.

Maria's sister, Ida Martin, is the mother of Martin Steen (who married George Stafford) and the grandmother of George Stafford, who your father "played with."

So your father and George Stafford are second cousins once removed, the common ancestors being Isaac and Amanda Martin.

Is that an adequate explanation, or do you want a descendants chart for the two lines? I have not copied all of the records, because you obviously have them.

Fun work, Craig. I do like mysteries.

Cheers -- Randy

CoreyG9667 said...

George Stafford Jr. is my grandpa. My mom is Joyce Elaine Stafford my aunt is Katherine, my grandma is Annie Katherine Bland, and my they all still live in Rockport TX. I remember walking into the room where my grandpa was lying dead in his bed. I was only 6 years old. He died May 13, 1985 and my little brother Chris was born May 13, 1986