Sunday, May 4, 2014

SNGF: How Many Cousins Do You Know You Have?

Randy at Genea-Musings has challenged us to another Saturday night of genealogy fun. Tonight's mission is:

1)  Take both sets of your grandparents and figure out how many first cousins you have, and how many first cousins removed (a child or grandchild of a first cousin) you have.

2)  Extra Credit:  Take all four sets of your great-grandparents and figure out how many second cousins you have, and how many second cousins removed you have.

HINT:  Make a Descendants Chart with your genealogy software program!

3)  Tell us the grandparents and great-grandparents names, but don't give the name of living cousins unless you want to.  

4)  Are there any of those lines that you don't know all of the cousins names?  Do you care?  

5)  Tell us about them in your own blog post, in a comment to this blog post, or in a Facebook or Google+ post of your own.  Be sure to drop a comment to this post to link to your work.  

My paternal grandparents are Benford Maurice Trahan and Merlene Golda Mertena. They had four sons. 

My dad is the oldest. He has three children: myself, my sister, and my brother. My sister has 2 children, a daughter and a son. My brother and I do not have any children yet.

My Uncle D has 2 children, a son and a daughter. His son has one son. His daughter does not have any children yet.

My Uncle B does not have any children.

My Uncle T has two children, a son and a daughter. Neither of them has any children yet. 

All in all, I have four first cousins and one first cousin once removed on my paternal side.

My maternal grandparents were John Peter Pemberton and Violet Mae Currie. They had eight children.

My Uncle John (1950-2011) had one son. He has two children, a son and a daughter.

My Aunt D has three children, two daughters and one son. Her oldest daughter has one stepdaughter. Her son has two sons. Her youngest daughter has three sons.

My Uncle G has three children, a son and two daughters. His son has one daughter. His daughters do not have any children yet.

My Uncle S has four sons. His oldest son has two sons and a daughter. None of his other sons have children yet.

My Uncle B does not have any biological children. He has two stepchildren, one of whom is actually married to my Uncle S's oldest son (we like to keep it in the family). His stepson does not have any children yet.

My Uncle M does not have any biological children either. He has three stepchildren, one stepson and two stepdaughters. They have numerous children, but I am not sure how many.

My Aunt G has three daughters. Her oldest daughter has four children, one son and three daughters. Her middle daughter has three children, two daughters and one son.

All in all, on my maternal side, there are 14 biological first cousins and 5 first step-cousins. There are 18 first cousins once removed and one first step-cousin once removed.

Now just to confuse matters on my maternal side, after my grandfather died, my grandmother married my bonus grandpa (or what some people would call a step grandpa), Clifford Robert Drouillard. He had four children from a previous marriage, three daughters and one son.

His oldest daughter has two sons, but I am not sure how many children each of them have.

His second oldest daughter has three children, two daughters and a son. Her oldest daughter has three sons, her son has a daughter, and her youngest daughter has a son.

His son has two children, a daughter and a son. His daughter has two sons. I am not sure if his son has any children.

His youngest daughter has two children, a son and a daughter. Her son has a daughter. Her daughter has two children, a son and a daughter.

So that now makes 9 additional first step-cousins and 10 known first step-cousins once removed.

It does bother me that I don't have all the names of some of my first step-cousins once removed. All I need to do is ask questions!

My paternal grandfather's parents were Bienvenue Trahan and Beatrice Marie Boneaux. They only had one child, my grandfather, Benford. So I do not have any first cousins or first cousins once removed on this side.

My paternal grandmother's parents were Merlen Paris Mertena and Hassie Cora Proffitt. They had four children, two boys and two girls.

Their oldest son, William John Mertena (1931-2001), had four daughters and one son. His oldest daughter has one daughter. His second daughter has a son and a daughter. His third daughter has one daughter. His fourth daughter has two sons and one daughter. His son does not have any children.

The second child, was my grandmother, Merlene, who had four sons mentioned above.

The third child, Joseph Henry Mertena (1941-1998), had one daughter. She has two daughters.

The fourth child, Jill, does not have any children.

This results in six first cousins once removed and nine second cousins on my paternal side.

My maternal grandfather's parents were John Vital Pemberton and Mabel Ellen Crysler. They had 10 children, four sons and six daughters.

Their oldest son was my maternal grandather, John Peter Pemberton, mentioned above, who had eight children.

The second child is Eva Mae Pemberton (1930-2012). She had three children, two sons and a daughter. Her youngest son has two children, a son and a daughter. I do not know if they have any children. I don't think her daughter had any children. Her oldest son died in a motorbike accident at age 14.

The third child is Uncle B. He does not have any children.

The fourth child is Theodore Lewis Pemberton (1932-1935). He died at age 3 from whooping cough.

The fifth child is Franklin Mearl Pemberton (1931-2008). He had two children, a son and a daughter. His daughter has three children, two daughters and a son. I don't think his son has any biological children. He may have some stepchildren, but I do not know how many.

The sixth child is Evelyn Marie Pemberton (1936-1948). She died at the age of 11 from complications due to epilepsy.

The seventh child is Aunt N. She has seven children, four daughters and three sons. I don't know how many children they all have.

The eighth child is Aunt B #1. She has seven children, five daughters and two sons. Her oldest daughter, R.P. #1, has three children, two sons, D.P. and J.P., and one daughter, E.P. D.P. has one son, J.P. has two daughters and a son, and E.P. has two sons. Aunt B's second daughter, R.P. #2, has four children, one son, R.P. and three daughters, L.P., B.P. #1, B.P. #2. R.P. has two sons, L.P. has three sons and one daughter, and one of the B.P.'s has a daughter and two sons. The other B.P. does not have any children. Aunt B's oldest son, W.P., has one son, who has one son. Aunt B's third daughter, R.P. #3, has one son and one daughter. Her daughter has a daughter and a son. Her son does not have any children. Aunt B's fourth daughter, B.J.P., does not have any children. Aunt B's fifth daughter, D.P., has one daughter. Aunt B's youngest son, D.P., has two sons. Keep in mind I'm not sure if all this is 100% accurate. I interviewed Aunt B and one of her daughters back in 2007 when I was visiting, but there may have been more kids born since then.

The ninth child is Aunt B #2. She does not have any children.

The tenth child is Mary Margaret Pemberton, who died at the age of 23 from epilepsy. She was never married.

Then after John Vital Pemberton died in 1950, my great-grandmother, Mabel Ellen Crysler, married a second time to Daniel Robert Beedon. They had one son together, who has two children. I'm not sure how many children they both have.

All in all, that is 19 first cousins once removed, two half-first cousins once removed, 18 known second cousins (and lots of unknown), and 18 known second cousins once removed (and lots of unknown).

My maternal grandmother's parents were Archie Currie and Jennie Grace Christina Plaine. They only had one child, my grandmother, Violet Mae Currie, so there are no first cousins on this side.

Well, that was a fun exercise. Now I know who I need to interview (or re-interview).

Sunday, January 19, 2014

52 Ancestors: #3 Maurice BONEAUX

Amy Johnson Crow at No Story Too Small has challenged the genea-blogging community to blog about one ancestor per week in a series called 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. This week I will blog about my 2x great-grandfather, Maurice BONEAUX. He was the maternal grandfather and namesake of my paternal grandfather, Benford Maurice TRAHAN. He died just six months before Benford was born. Maurice has always intrigued me because of the family stories told about him and the fact that his paternal line was not Cajun French. Three out of the four 2x great-grandparents on my paternal grnadfather's side are Cajun French. Maurice is the only one who isn't.

The family story is that his father came over directly from France as a stowaway on a ship. I have not determined whether the stowaway part is true, but records do support the fact that his father was born in France. Maurice's son-in-law, my great-grandfather, Bienvenue TRAHAN, was very fond of Maurice. According to Bienvenue, Maurice never ceased to amaze him as he went from one business opportunity to another during the Great Depression, always making money. He told stories about Maurice selling gambling machines to various businesses. Bienvenue would be the lookout that stayed in the car to protect the money as Maurice went from business to business collecting his share of the gambling machine profits. He also told stories about Maurice selling cars. He would drive around until he saw a bunch of kids hanging out on the porch and then ask them if they wanted to see his car. Then he would tell the kids that they needed to help him get their dad to buy the car.

Here are the facts I know about Maurice:
  • According to a transcription of baptismal records from St. John's Cathedral in Lafayette, Louisiana, Maurice was born 13 Aug 1883 to Dominique BONEAUX and Marie Alida MOUTON.  He was the third and youngest child born to Dominique and Alida.
  • On 10 Sep 1908, 25-year-old Maurice married 17-year-old Marie Alice SONNIER, daughter of Numa SONNIER and Marie Edmonia DOMINGUE, at St. Peter's Catholic Church in Carencro, Lafayette, Louisiana. 
  • Marie Florine BONEAUX was born 11 months later to Maurice and Marie Alice on 7 Aug 1909 and baptized 2 Sep 1909 at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Scott, Lafayette, Louisiana. 
  • Sadly, Marie Florine died three weeks later and was buried on 19 Sep 1909. She was buried in the same church cemetery where she was baptized. 
  • Maurice and Marie Alice are found living in Police Jury Ward 1 of Lafayette Parish in the 1910 census. Funnily enough, the family stories about Maurice always trying new business opportunities is supported by his occupation on the census. He is listed as a barber, farmer, and salesman. They lived next door to Maurice's parents and his older brother, Joseph.
  • My great-grandmother, Beatrice Marie BONEAUX, was born to Maurice and Marie Alice on 26 Aug 1910. She was baptized on 1 Oct 1910 at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church.
  • In Sep 1918, Maurice registered for the WWI draft. He was living in Scott and listed his occupation as a self-employed farmer.
  • In 1920, Maurice, Marie Alice, and Beatrice are found in Police Jury Ward 1 of Lafayette Parish. Maurice's occupation was a self-employed farmer. There was a 15-year-old black male named Joe Green who was also living in the household. His occupation was given as servant for a private family. I presume he must have worked for the family, possibly helping out on the farm. 
  • In 1930, Maurice, Marie Alice, Beatrice, and now Bienvenue TRAHAN were found in Police Jury Ward 1. Beatrice and Bienvenue had married just a year earlier on 14 Sep 1929. Maurice had no occupation listed. Bienvenue was listed as an unemployed laborer of odd jobs. 
  • Maurice died at the age of 51 on 5 Sep 1934 in Scott, Lafayette, Louisiana, from tuberculosis. He was buried the following day in the Sts. Peter and Paul church cemetery. Sadly, he never got to meet his only grandchild who would be named for him 6 months later.
  • Maurice's wife, Marie Alice, continued to live on the family land for several more years. The land is still owned by my dad and his brothers today. It's about 40 acres of land just outside Scott. Maurice and Marie Alice's house is still standing (albeit in not so great condition). 
Maurice sounds like such an interesting person from the records and family stories. I would like to find some newspapers from the time period to see if he was ever mentioned. I imagine he would have made some good headlines.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

52 Ancestors: #2 Virginia PREJEAN

Amy Johnson Crow at No Story Too Small has challenged the genea-blogging community to blog about one ancestor per week in a series called 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.This week I will blog about my great-great-grandmother, Virginia PREJEAN. She was my paternal grandfather's paternal grandmother.

For the first ten years or so of my research, I did not know what happened to Virginia after she and my great-great-grandfather, Oscar TRAHAN, divorced. I found her on the 1920 census living with her parents and she seemed to disappear after that. I had gotten all of my information on her from my paternal grandmother, and I had no death date/place. She said that after the divorce, my great-grandfather was raised in several different homes, including those of his grandparents, so I guess I just assumed that Virginia abandoned the family.

One day while looking through the SSDI for all Virginia's born on her birth date, I found one named Virginia SCHENKEL. Her last benefit address was in the same part of Louisiana as my Virginia. I asked for some help on a local message board for Acadia Parish, and someone transcribed her obit for me. Sure enough, my great-grandfather, Bienvenue TRAHAN, was listed as a surviving son. To my surprise, there were other children listed as well. I even found a former neighbor of her's on the message board who told me some stories about her. She said that she never wore a bra and lived in a little old shack in Crowley. She said that they called her T-Mom and she only spoke Cajun French.

These are the facts that I know about Virginia:
  • According to transcriptions of baptismal records, she was baptized at St. Peter's Catholic Church in Carencro, Lafayette, Louisiana, and she was born 12 Jul 1889 to Lucien (aka Paul Lucius) PREJEAN and Alicia BERNARD. She was the third of twelve known children. I need to order a copy of the actual baptismal record from the Diocesan Archives. 
  • At the age of 18, she married Oscar TRAHAN on 18 Jan 1908 at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Scott, Lafayette, Louisiana. I need to order a copy of the civil marriage record.
  • She gave birth to my great-grandfather 9 months later on 26 Oct 1908.
  • In 1910, she and Oscar and Bienvenue are found on the census in Police Jury Ward 2 of St. Landry Parish. They lived just two doors down from her parents. She was listed as a field hand.
  • According to Oscar's WWI draft registration in 1917, he was supporting a wife and child and lived in Vatican, Lafayette, Louisiana.
  • In 1920, Virginia is found alone with her parents in Police Jury Ward 2 of St. Landry Parish. The family story is that Oscar and Virginia divorced, so I assume they must have divorced between 1917 and 1920. I need to find a copy of their divorce record, if there really was a divorce.
  • According to an online index for marriages in Acadia Parish, Virginia Prejean Trahan married Louis SCHENKEL on 04 Nov 1932. I need to order a copy of the actual record. I have not found Louis or Virginia in the 1930 census. 
  • In 1940, Louis and Virginia are found living in Gray Addition in Crowley, Acadia, Louisiana. Louis was a construction worker. They had three children in the household: daughter, Dorley Schenkel, age 16; son, Claude Schenkel, age 13; and son, Louis Schenkel, age 7. Interestingly, Louis (Sr) was 10 years younger than Virginia.
  • Louis SCHENKEL (Sr.) died in Feb 1973, according to the SSDI. I need to order a copy of his obit.
  • Virginia died 3 Mar 1977 at the age of 87 from a heart attack at her home in Crowley. She was buried in Old Crowley Cemetery.  
The missing piece of the puzzle for me is the period between 1920 and 1932. What was Virginia up to in those years? She obviously was having children. I found out from the former neighbor that her son Claude's name was actually Claude DOMINGUE. According to the SSDI and a WWII draft card, he was born 11 May 1926 in Scott, Lafayette, Louisiana, and died 17 Aug 1994. I'm not sure who Claude's father, Mr. Domingue, was. I doubt Virginia was ever married to him because she still had the last name Trahan when she married Louis SCHENKEL.

I also found out that her youngest son, Louis SCHENKEL, had a skin disease and died in Mar 1993. According to the SSDI, he was born 06 Nov 1932, just two days after her marriage to his father.

I found out the daughter's married name and contact info, though I have not tried to contact her recently. My grandmother contacted her once, but she was not feeling well, and I was short on time during a break from college, so I did not get to meet her. I know I should look into contacting her again if she is still living.

And that, folks, is all I know about Virginia. Some other things on my to-do list are to order her succession papers from the Acadia Parish Clerk of Court, search Acadia Parish land records for her and Louis SCHENKEL, and search St. Landry/Lafayette Parish land records for her and Oscar TRAHAN.