Hoyt Family Tree

I ran across Hayward and Lottie when I was working on a project to create a map of the enumeration districts on the 1930 Tucson Census.

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View 1930 Tucson Enumeration Districts in a larger map.

Unfortunately, for several districts, the descriptions were not helpful: “excluding the city.” Checking the pages provided street names and other identifying notes for some. The Hoyts were on the first page of ED 59–a district that had no data that allowed it to be mapped. I decided to “adopt” someone on the page. This couple was intriguing because based on their ages and the date they married; they likely had no children who would be interested in tracing their lineage. A quick check of records showed that there would be enough to build a family tree for this couple.

So, our starting point for this project is:

blockquoteHayward N. Hoyt was the head of household.* He owned a home which was worth $30,000. There was no radio set in the home, and it was not a farm. Hayward was a white male who was 51 years old. He was married and his first marriage had occurred at age 43. He had attended school within the year and could read and write. He was born in Michigan; his parents had both been born in New York. Hayward was employed at a manager at a building land co. He was an employer. He was not a veteran.
Lottie D. Hoyt was Hayward’s wife. She was a 55-year-old white female. She had first married at age 46. She hadn’t attended school during the year and could read and write. She had been born in Michigan; her father had been born in New Jersey; her mother had been born in Michigan.
In the home are also a Jeanette M. Scudder, a 68-year-old widowed boarder from Michigan, and Estella M. Crowe, a 25-year-old single servant from Indiana.

1930 Census for the Hoyts

Research Plan:

  1. Check death records in Arizona. Did the Hoyts die here?
  2. Check earlier censuses.

* 1930 U.S. census, Pima County, Arizona population schedule, Tucson, enumeration district (ED) 59, sheet 1A, p. 99 (stamped), dwelling 5, family 5, Hayward N. Hoyt household; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 15 Apr 2011); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T626, roll 62.


Hutcheson Case Study

My next project will be a case study. I did a quick preview of census and online sources and discovered that by just getting back one generation, one finds links to some previous research. However, what do you do when you only know a few things about an ancestor? And even worse, what if what do you find is confusing? This case study will focus on how to get back just one crucial generation.

I randomly chose Oril O. Hutcheson as I surfed through death certificates which are available online on the Arizona Department of Health Services website. I was looking up death certificates for a Hoyt project (which will be next) and incremented the numbers to read the certificates and other paperwork such as amendments which were interfiled.

Oril’s death certificate caught my eye. He committed suicide — and while it is a shameful and avoided subject, I find that there is always an untold story. The several suicides in my family tree have meant that I needed to dig deep enough to figure out what was causing stress in that person’s life. Additionally, Oril worked for Southern Pacific Railroad. My husband is a “train guy” and we have lots of “Espee” (SP) model trains.

The basics:*
Oril O. Hucheson was born 22 Jul 1879 in Iowa. His father was Thomas Hutcheson and the informant did not know where Thomas was born. Oril’s mother’s name and place of birth were unknown. He was married and the informant was Etta Mae Hutcheson. He died 18 Feb 1949 in Tucson, Pima, Arizona, and was buried in the Masonic section of Evergreen Cemetery. He was 69 years, 8 months, and 22 days old. His death was caused by a gunshot wound to the head and was attributed to suicide which occurred at home at 11am with death pronounced at 2pm. He was employed as a brakeman for So. Pac. R.R. and his social security number was 700-12-3070. He had lived in Tucson, Arizona, for 37 years.

*Arizona Department of Health Services, death certificate no. 1027 (1949), Oril O. Hutcheson; digital image, Arizona Genealogy Death Certificates (http://genealogy.az.gov : accessed 29 Aug 2010).


The Innis Family Tree

Making a list of all of the things I want to know when I first start work really helps me focus. Then I trim the list down to the absolute basics and determine whether they are questions I can answer and from those questions I create a list of goals. I have found that if I don’t have at least one short term and one long term goal written down it is easy to just wander off and lose track of the point. I also try to look at the goals frequently because they do change depending on where your research leads you.

Resisting the urge to jump right in, I sat down in front of the television (my favorite place to mull things over) and jotted down all the things I wanted to know. This is not my “To-Do List” – these are just the questions that come to mind as I think about the conversation with Sue.

1. Why did Eddie go to the orphanage? Was it just because he was the youngest? [I have the type of mind that wanders off to the worst – probably due to too much TV!]
2. Why was Thomas Roberts Innis in Denver if he was from Texas? When did he go there? Check for work, illness, other Innis family members.
3. Are Thomas Ballard Innis and Loula Roberts both from Tennessee, or were they from somewhere else in the south?

1. Did the family chart provided to Sue have it right? Is Arthur Kelly buried in Denver and is Lambert the maiden name of Annie Elizabeth Gruner’s mother?
2. Does Sue still have contact with the person that provided the chart and will they share their research? Is the research documented?

Both Families:
What’s online for birth, marriage, and death in Texas and Colorado? I know that Washington has a great digital archive.

The goal of every genealogist is to follow the documented direct line back as far as possible. It is the only long term goal at the moment since I don’t know where the basic research will lead me. My primary short term goal is to establish the family line by name and location using online sources. The secondary goal of discovering why Eddie went to the orphanage may not be something I can establish with online records, but it remains on my goal list. I’m working off the principle of K-I-S-S, Keep It Simple Sharon!

My To-Do List for the moment is very simple – get on Ancestry and create a family tree with the information provided and start tracking the census records and seeing what else pops up. This will establish the names (including the spelling variants) and the location of birth and rough dates. I should be able to answer most of my basic questions fairly quickly.


Innis Family Tree

My husband Scotty collects model and toy cars. It is his passion and he meets a lot of people through the hobby. While I’m probably no more interested in toy cars than my husband is in genealogy, we do make an effort to spend time with each other in those pursuits. He pretends to be excited for me when I find documentation, and I respond in-kind when he finds a model he has been looking for. He does enjoy tromping cemeteries with me and I have spent many hours at toy shows with him – both of us understand the “thrill of the hunt.”

Recently, Scotty wanted to go look at the toy car collection of an acquaintance from one of his hobby clubs. He asked me to go along and needing a break from the computer I readily agreed. I had met the gentleman, but had never met his wife; however, most “toy widows” can find common ground and we usually get along quite well. When we arrived, Scotty promptly went off to look at the collection and I sat down in the living room with Sue (not her real name) and began chatting. She asked me about my hobbies and I told her about my work in genealogy and family history.

I asked her about her family (I can’t help it – I’m nosy) and she told me she knew little beyond the names of her grandparents. It’s always a little surprising to me when people don’t know more than that. Family historians usually know the names and dates of several generations – although we aren’t always so good with our living relatives. Sue mentioned that one of her favorite relatives ‘Uncle Eddie” had been placed in an orphanage during the depression because the family was so poor. Don’t ask me why, but I was hooked right then and there. Everyone has eras that interest them more than others and for me it is 1840-1870 and 1910-1930.

I decided that if Sue was willing to let me write about my research, then her family would be my next project on Find Your Dead. I asked her if she was willing and I explained the ground rules. The only thing she asked was that I change her name for privacy purposes and we don’t discuss the living online without their express permission. She immediately brought out the small amount of material she had and I scratched out a rudimentary family tree.

We will be looking at the ancestry of Thomas Roberts Innis and Mary Lou Kelly. The information Sue provided was pretty basic: Thomas Roberts Innis, born 1909, was the son of Thomas Ballard Innis and Loula Roberts. Sue stated that Thomas R. was born in Texas, but thinks his parents were originally from Tennessee. He had three sisters: Blanche, Edith (who married a man named Cowles,) and Pauline. Eddie was his only brother. She thought the girls were older than Thomas, but wasn’t sure. Sue was positive that Eddie was the youngest and she thought the family may have been in Denver when Eddie was placed in the orphanage by his mother and he died in California. Sue also told me that Loula Roberts had a twin named Bula.

Mary Lou Kelly was born about 1910 (possibly in Denver) and was the daughter of Arthur Leroy Kelly and Annie Elizabeth Gruner. Sue stated that Arthur was in the military and died in Denver and is buried in the National Cemetery there. She thought Annie was from Walla Walla, Washington and that Annie’s father was from Germany and her mother’s maiden name was Lambert. Sue had a rather confusing family color coded descendancy chart done by a relative several years ago that didn’t have much beyond the names. Mary Lou had two sisters: Alice and Patricia.

This is the starting point for the Innis and Kelly work that I will do. It is actually not a bad amount of information to start with. There are enough names and places to be able to distinguish between family groups on the census and having the siblings will help make the search easier. Sue has no computer or online access, but has agreed to dig through her papers and pictures, and has also promised to ask her family members for more information about earlier generations.

Part of the fun with this family is that I have never worked in most of the places that Sue mentioned. While I have researched Washington records, I have no experience in Texas, Colorado, or Tennessee. Part of doing Cold Genealogy is to hone our existing skills, but also to learn about areas that we may not normally research. It is after all about – “the thrill of the hunt!”


Govanstown Cemetery Project

My current work in Cold Genealogy began almost a year ago as an offshoot of research on my maternal line. I began searching for my 3rd great grandfather, Washington Harford, in Baltimore, Maryland. The search eventually yielded an obituary from the Baltimore Sun dated 29 Jun 1875 in which the funeral was cited as being “from the Presbyterian Church at Govanstown.” I tracked down the church online and happily emailed them my information and asked them about records concerning the interment of Washington Harford. The response was prompt and negative! “We have a transcription of our stones and we have no Harfords. The Church suffered a fire in the early 1900’s and there are no records.” The story of my life with this family – another dead end!

Two days later I received an email from a Dr. Anderson, who runs the Cemetery Project for Govanstown Cemetery of the Govans Presbyterian Church. Apparently, even though she had sent me a negative response, the young lady in the office had forwarded my email to Dr. Anderson as he is collecting information on people that may be buried in the Govans Cemetery. He is trying to reconstruct the interment records from family histories and documents that people might have at home. He had a book from 1917 stating that an annual payment was received by the church through 1931 for perpetual care of Lot 90 with the lot being owned originally by Washington Harford. There are no headstones, but there is space for eight graves in the lot and it appears from what few records remain that he purchased all eight. I was able to figure out who most of those eight might be and emailed him copies of the obituaries and a family chart for his files.

In the course of doing the research on Washington Harford, I of course looked for other family members in Govans, I passed several names to Dr. Anderson and he in turn passed back plot information on people with the same surname. I did the research to see if any of them were related to my people and each time came up empty. While I could not prove a relationship to my family, I sent my basic results to Dr. Anderson for his files as each time I was able to come up with a funeral notice or obituary. At the same time, I noticed how much I enjoyed the whole basic search process. So much of what I do now on my lines is the in depth searching for wills and land records to try to prove relationships. This was like the early days when it was just the fun of seeing how far and how fast you could go.

I did not want the fun to end, so one day I emailed Dr. Anderson and offered my assistance. As he found lots with no stones or information, he should email me the name and whatever he knew and I would see what I could do. He had been very helpful to me and I wanted to return the favor. About a week after making my offer to look for his unknown dead, Dr. Anderson sent me the following email,

blockquote If you are still willing, I could use some help on the following: George W. Moses owner of lot 93 where James Moses was interred March 1925. Samuel Whittle. Julia Millard. James Sherndon. All are names that are unusual enough, I hope, and all were buried before 1917. Take your time and thank you for whatever help you can give.

That’s it – all the information that I have to work with. I went first with George Moses and spent four days banging my head against a wall. I was able to construct a family group from the census records because I had two names to work with. I was never able to find any concrete tie to Govanstown, beyond what Dr. Anderson had provided, and that was my primary objective. I also had jumped in with both feet and not kept any real documentation of my research beyond the results – not one of my best moments!!!!


Scholefield Family Tree 

My first cold case for the internet:

How random can you get? Instead of just randomly clicking in an Ancestry.com window, I decided to be a bit less random. I wanted to begin by working with a family that had a local connection. However, there were few people who lived in the area of town where I currently live, so I decided to pick someone from the Vail-Helvetia area which is south of us. We recently visited a friend down in Vail — and came home with two ferrets — so it seemed like a decent “random” location to pick.

There is only one page with a total of 32 people in the precinct in the 1930 Census. To make sure that I would have a chance of finding the family, I “randomly” (you see how this random thing is going already!) picked the following couple:

1930 Scholefield Household

1930 Scholefield Household

Geo. P. Scholefield was the head of this household which included only one other person, his wife Clara A.1 The enumerator reported that Geo. was 69 at his last birthday and was therefore born about 1861 in New York, the same location as both of his parents. He was working on his own account as a rancher on his general ranch which was valued at $500. The ranch was valued lower than others in the area and was farm number three of six in the area (the farm schedules no longer exist).

Clara A. was reported to be a 66 year old homemaker who was born about 1864 in California. Her father was born in New York; her mother was born in South Dakota.

The couple was married when Geo. was 21 and Clara was 19. The year would have been about 1882. Both could read and write and spoke English. They also owned a radio set, one of four in the area (nine households reported no radio).

Looking at the other families in the area (a good thing to check since sometimes families and friends move together) there are no obvious siblings. I say that because no one else shares their surname; additionally, there is only one other person born in New York who is about the same age as Geo. and Clara and none were born in California. No children, including possible married daughters, are evident since there are no persons of an appropriate age whose parents are reportely born in New York and California. The one person who was born in New York is Mike Hiner; his wife was born in Wisconsin. Since he is a driller in a lode mine, he likely is not a friend who would have migrated with Geo.

Geo. is likely an abbreviation for George, but additional sources are needed to confirm. It could even be an abbreviation for Geoffrey or any number of alternate forms of Geoff or George. (Hint: Behind the Name lists 14 male names that begin with Geo.)

Research Plan:

  1. Check 1930 Census for Scholefields (and variants) in Pima County, Arizona.
  2. Check online Arizona birth and death certificates for Scholefields.
  3. Check online family trees for Geo. and Clara.

1. 1930 U.S. census, Pima County, Arizona, population schedule, Vail-Helvetia Election District, enumeration district (ED) 62, sheet 1A, p. 108 (stamped), dwelling 9, family 9, Geo. P. Scholefield household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 16 Aug 2008); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T626, roll 62.