Saturday, September 6, 2014

William Harmon Proffitt Timeline

Rev. William Harmon Proffitt

It has been my goal for the last year or so to more fully research all 8 sets of my 2x great-grandparents and get all of the research input into my RootsMagic database. I got majorly sidetracked in November of last year when I took a new position as Controller of 14 dental practices and a real estate company. So now that I am finally getting settled in at work, I'm back to my genealogy research.

Interestingly, my paternal grandfather's parents were both only children, so their parents were very easy to research. My paternal grandmother's father was also an only child, so her paternal grandparents were easy to research as well. Her mother, however, had 6 siblings, so her maternal grandparents have been a little more time consuming to research. in addition to researching my 2x great-grandparents, William Harmon Proffitt and Emmer Link Baker, it is taking me awhile to research all of their descendants. I am having trouble finding the marriage records of some of William and Emmer's children, so I've decided that a blog post about everything I know in chronological order is necessary to track William and Emmer through the years. They are especially hard to track because he was a United Brethren/Methodist pastor that moved around from church to church over the years.

Here is everything that I know about William and Emmer in chronological order:

1) William Harmon Proffitt was born 12 Jul 1871 in Chestnut Hill, Jefferson, Tennessee, to John Proffitt and Catherine Elizabeth Dickey.

2) Emmer Link Baker was born 20 Sep 1875 in North Carolina to James Gilbert Baker and Susan Riller Woods.

3) William and Emmer married 17 Dec 1896 in Jefferson County, Tennessee.

4) Nathaniel Foster Proffitt was born to William and Emmer on 29 Jan 1898 in Dandridge, Jefferson, Tennessee.

5) William and Emmer moved to Oklahoma around 1899-1900. William was either a United Brethren or Methodist pastor at the time of the move. I believe he was most likely a United Brethren pastor.

6) William and Emmer filed a homestead claim in 1899-1900 near Buffalo, Harper, Oklahoma, but later sold it when he gave his time to the ministry of the church.

7) On 1 Jun 1900, William and Emmer were enumerated at Wakita Township in Grant County, Oklahoma, with their son, Nathaniel F. Proffitt, age 2. William's occupation was given as preacher. Wakita is about 100 miles east of Buffalo, where the homestead was filed.

8) A second son, James Gilbert Proffitt, was born 30 Jul 1900 in Gibbon, Grant, Oklahoma.

9) A daughter, Golda Emmer Proffitt, was born 9 Jan 1902 in Gibbon.

10) A third son, John William Proffitt, was born 11 Dec 1903 in Gibbon.

11) William was appointed as pastor of Eden Chapel of The Church of the United Brethren in Christ in Perkins, Payne, Oklahoma, from 1904-1906. Perkins is about 120 miles southeast of Gibbon. My source for all of William's appointments in the United Brethren church is 80 Years In Oklahoma and Texas: A History of The Oklahoma-Texas Conference of The Evangelical United Brethren Church by Paul L. Davis and Marvin M. Polson et al.

12) A second daughter, Kathrine Elizabeth Proffitt, was born 28 Jan 1906. Her exact birthplace is listed in family histories as Mahen, but I have not yet located a town in Oklahoma called Mahen.

13) William was appointed as pastor of the United Brethren in Christ Church at Crescent, Logan, Oklahoma, in 1906. Crescent is about 40 miles west of Perkins.

14) A third daughter, my great-grandmother, Hassie Cora Proffitt, was born 26 Feb 1908 at Crescent.

15) William was appointed as pastor of Campbell Creek Church of the United Brethren in Christ at Logan, Kingfisher, Oklahoma, from 1909-1911.

16) William and Emmer were enumerated at Harrison Township in Kingfisher County on 15 Apr 1910. William was listed as a minister. In the household were Foster N., age 12; James G., age 9; Golda E., age 8; John W., age 6; Kathrine E., age 4; and Hassie C., age 2.

17) From 1911-1912, William was appointed pastor at the United Brethren in Christ Church at Okarche in Kingfisher County.

18) Their youngest child, Bessie Frances Proffitt, was born to William and Emmer on 17 Mar 1912 in Okarche.

19) From 1912-1913, William was appointed pastor at the United Brethren church in Vinita, Craig, Oklahoma. Vinita is 192 miles northeast of Okarche.

20) From 1913-1914, William was appointed pastor at the United Brethren church in Aline, Alfalfa, Oklahoma. Aline is about 220 miles west of Vinita.

21) In 1914, William was appointed as pastor of the United Brethren church in Mutual, Woodward, Oklahoma. Mutual is about 65 miles southwest of Aline.

22) In 1917, William was appointed as pastor of First Methodist Church in Gage, Ellis, Oklahoma. He remained there until 1922. My source for this is a family history written by his daughter, Golda, This is corroborated by WWI draft registration records of his sons, Nathaniel and James, and census records.

23) On 1 Jan 1920, William and Emmer were enumerated on Walnut Street in Gage. His occupation is listed as M.E. Church Pastor. In the household were Foster N., age 21, railroad laborer; James G., age 18, country school teacher; Goldie, age 17; John W., age 16; Cathrine, age 13; Hassie, age 11; and Bessie, age 7.

24) On 29 Apr 1922, William officiated at the marriage of his son, James Gilbert Proffitt, to Miriam Hamilton Dunlavy in Arnett, Ellis, Oklahoma.

25) In May 1922, daughter Hassie graduated from the 8th grade at Buffalo, Harper, Oklahoma. Buffalo is about 40 miles northeast of Gage.

26) On 2 Feb 1924, William officiated at the marriage of his daughter, Golda Emmer Proffitt, to Lester R. Curtis in Buffalo, Harper, Oklahoma.

27) William's oldest son, Nathaniel Foster Proffitt, married Rose Mae Dunning on 15 Mar 1924 in Alva, Woods, Oklahoma. William did not officiate. The marriage was officiated by a judge.

28) In May 1925, daughter Hassie graduated from Ingersoll High School in Ingersoll, Alfalfa, Oklahoma.

29) William's son, John William Proffitt, married Gertrude Carey on 11 Nov 1926. The marriage record has not yet been located. The source for this date is a handwritten family history by John's sister, Hassie. UPDATE: I have located John and Gertrude in an online Tulsa County marriage index. This makes sense because Gertrude's family lived in neighboring Washington County.

30) In May 1929, daughter Bessie graduated from Mulhall High School in Mulhall, Logan, Oklahoma. Mulhall is about 110 miles southeast of Ingersoll.

31) On 2 Jun 1929, William officiated at the wedding of his daughter, Kathrine Elizabeth Proffitt, to Clarence Hobart Marshall in Mulhall.

32) On 1 Apr 1930, William and Emmer were enumerated at Mannford, Creek, Oklahoma. His occupation was Methodist pastor. The only child in the household was daughter, Bessie, age 18. Mannford is about 63 miles east of Mulhall.

33) William's daughter, Hassie, married Merlen Paris Mertena on 14 Feb 1931 in Mulhall. A newspaper marriage announcement listed her parents' residence as Hollister, Tillman, Oklahoma. Hollister is about 224 miles southwest of Mannford.

34) Daughter Hassie had a son, William John Mertena, born 20 Aug 1931 at Frederick, Tillman, Oklahoma. According to my grandmother, Hassie's daughter, she had William in Frederick while she was staying at the home of her parents.

35) While serving the Methodist church at Quinlan, Woodward, Oklahoma, in 1934, William retired from the ministry due to ill health. The source for this is his obituary published in the West Oklahoma Annual Conference Journal for 1944.

36) On 1 Apr 1940, William and Emmer were enumerated at Mounds, Creek, Oklahoma. His occupational status was listed as Other. The census record stated that he owned the home he lived in and that he and Emmer had lived in the same house in 1935.

37) According to William's death certificate and Emmer's obituary, they moved to Waynoka, Woods, Oklahoma, around 1942-1943. Their oldest daughter, Golda, lived in Waynoka.

38) Daughter, Bessie Frances Proffitt, married Lealand Jack Kruse on 23 May 1942. No marriage record has yet been found. The source is a handwritten family history by Hassie, as well as Bessie and Jack's obituaries. Bessie was living with her sister, Golda, in Waynoka in the 1940 census. However, neither Bessie nor Jack are listed in the general index for Woods County marriages.UPDATE: A professional researcher in Oklahoma located the marriage announcement of Bessie and Jack. It stated that they married in Garber, Garfield, Oklahoma. I do not know why they married several counties away from where they both lived in 1942.

39) William died at the age of 72 in Alva, Woods, Oklahoma, on 3 Jul 1944 from gall bladder complications. He was buried in the I.O.O.F. Cemetery on 6 Jul 1944. I believe the I.O.O.F. Cemetery is now called Memorial Hill Cemetery. According to his death certificate, he lived at 316 Waynoka St. in Waynoka at the time of his death.

40) Emmer died at the age of 73 on 5 Jul 1949 in Waynoka from a heart attack. She was buried 7 Jul 1949 at the I.O.O.F Cemetery in Waynoka.

Wow, that is a lot of information that I need to process. However, I think it has helped me to see the family's movements over the years. With so many places, it gets complicated at times to view it in RootsMagic. This timeline, along with other sources, will help me to narrow down possible locations for missing marriage records for William and Emmer's children.

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. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

52 Ancestors: #1 Oscar Trahan

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. I am not sure if I will really be able to keep up with this each week due to starting a new job, buying a house, joining a gym, etc. But, hey, I will try to do so every Sunday. Since I am currently working very hard on getting sources documented and more complete research done for my 16 great-great-grandparents, I decided I will start off by blogging about my 2x great-grandfather, Oscar Trahan. He is my father's father's father's father, or my paternal grandfather's paternal grandfather. Sadly, I have no pictures of Oscar. He was in and out of the family's life and the family was very poor. Here is what I know about Oscar:

  • According to his baptismal record from St. Joseph Catholic Church in Rayne, Acadia, Louisiana, he was born either 7 Sep 1889 or 17 Oct 1889 to Theoville TRAHAN and Anna WISE. I say either one of two dates because it looks like 7 Sep 1889 was originally written, and then Sep was crossed out and Oct written above it. The 1 in front of the 7 looks like it was added after the fact because it was in a darker ink. His godparents were Theodore ROBER and Dorrna BERTRAND. I'm not sure of their relation to the family just yet.
  • At the age of 18, he married my 2x great-grandmother, Virginia PREJEAN, at Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Scott, Lafayette, Louisiana, on 18 Jan 1908.   
  • Exactly 9 months later, Virginia gave birth to their honeymoon baby, my great-grandfather, Bienvenue TRAHAN on 26 Oct 1908.
  • Oscar and Virginia are found in the 1910 census in the 2nd Police Jury Ward in St. Landry Parish, Louisiana. Little Bienvenue was in the household as well. Oscar was listed as a farmer. They lived next door to Oscar's parents and 2 doors down from Virginia's parents. 
  • Oscar's WWI draft registration, dated 5 Jun 1917 states that he was born 7 Sep 1889 in Lafayette Parish, Louisiana. He was living in Vatican, Louisiana, and working as a farmer. He listed his dependents as a wife and child.
  • Just three years later in 1920, Virginia is found living with her parents in the 2nd Police Jury Ward in St. Landry Parish. There is no mention of Oscar or Bienvenue in the household. I have not been able to find them in the 1920 census. The family story is that Oscar abandoned her. Supposedly he was working down in Iberia Parish and was taking the train back home to St. Landry Parish when one day, he got drunk playing cards with guys on the train and missed his stop. He rode all the way to Dallas before he got off. When he finally made it back home, Virginia told him to go away, and he did.
  • Oscar moved to Texas and on New Year's Eve in 1921, he married Bertha DUHON in Goose Creek (now Baytown), Harris, Texas. Bertha was another transplanted Louisianian from Acadia Parish living in Texas and was 14 years younger than Oscar.
  • In 1930, Oscar and Bertha are found in Justice Precinct 3 of Harris County. Oscar was working in an oil refinery. They did not have any children.
  • By 1934, Oscar and Bertha had made their way back to Louisiana. They were living at 320 Railroad Ave. in Lake Charles, according to the city directory. No occupation was listed for Oscar.
  • Oscar and Bertha are found in Lake Charles at 723 Railroad Ave. in 1936 and 1212 Gieffers St. in 1937. Again, no occupation was listed.
  • In 1939, Oscar and Bertha purchased a piece of property for $200 from Charles E. and Gertie (Faulk) Williams. The property was located at 1102 N. Blake St. in Lake Charles. According to city directories, WWII draft registration cards, and census records, this is where they remained until their deaths. Oscar never had an occupation listed in any of the remaining city directories, and his WWII draft registration stated that he was under the care of a doctor.
  • In 1952, Oscar and Bertha sold part of their property to Ernestine Myers for $400.
  • Bertha died from acute pulmonary adema at the age of 54 on 28 Apr 1957 at the charity hospital in Lafayette. She was buried in Prien Lake Memorial Park in Lake Charles on 29 Apr 1957. Survivors in her obit were listed as her husband, Oscar, and three sisters. No children were mentioned.
  •  Oscar died from cerebral thrombosis at the age of 72 on 5 Aug 1962 at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital. He was buried 6 Aug 1962 at Sts. Peter and Paul Cemetery in Scott, Lafayette, Louisiana. 
  • Sadly, no succession papers were filed for Oscar when he died. His property on N. Blake St. was later sold at auction due to unpaid property taxes after his death. 
While it seems I may know a lot about Oscar, the sad truth is that I don't really know a whole lot. What happened to him and Virginia? Is the train story true? Where was he in 1920? Did he and Virginia ever get divorced? How did he pay for a house when he had no job? Did he have some sort of retirement from working in the oil refineries in Baytown? Did he lose all contact with the family when he moved to Texas? If so, when did he reunite with his son, my great-grandfather? What prompted him to move to Lake Charles? Why were no succession papers filed? Did no one care about Oscar's property?

My to-do list for Oscar involves obtaining a copy of the civil marriage record for Oscar and Virginia (I have the church record), searching for a divorce record for them in St. Landry Parish, and searching for Oscar and Virginia in the land records of Lafayette and St. Landry Parishes prior to 1920. I should probably look for him in the land records of Harris County, Texas, as well. Maybe I need to dig around a little more in city/county directories for Harris County and Lake Charles.

Well, that was a fun challenge. Now I have a clearer picture of my research so far on Oscar and where I need to look next. Happy Hunting!

Happy New Year!

Wow, time has flown! I did not post anything from mid-October through the end of the year. My life got kind of crazy around mid-October. In October, I resigned from my Accounting Manager position with my previous employer and accepted a new position as Controller for several dental practices and a real estate business, so that has kept me pretty busy. I absolutely love my new job and never thought I would finally land somewhere where I could see myself long-term. Now that I'm finally settling down in my career, we've also started looking into buying a house. So there has been little time for genealogy research and blogging.

I would like to give some New Year's resolutions for my genealogy research and blogging, but let's be honest. With a new job and buying a house, I won't hit any of them. I will be too busy. I forgot to mention that I also joined a gym. So, no, I don't have time to blog much or do much research these days.

So what little have I been doing in the way of genealogy research?

I've been trucking along on my goals to get all of the sources documented and have more complete research done for all of my 16 great-great-grandparents and their descendants. As I am researching them, I've been trying to reorganize my paper filing system for them. I need to catch up on the paper files. I am currently on my Proffitt great-great-grandparents. These are my paternal grandmother's maternal grandparents. They are actually my first set of great-great-grandparents on the ahnentafel chart that had more than one child together. Weird, I know. So it has taken me a bit longer to research their descendants.

Other than that, I have not been doing much. Although I will not be doing resolutions right now, I would like to accept the challenge by Amy Johnson Crow at No Story Too Small to blog about an ancestor each week. Her challenge is called "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks."  My first post will be today, Sunday, January 5. I will try to write a post each Sunday. Not sure how realistic that is, but we'll see.