Tuesday, July 29, 2014

How Do I Set the Record Straight... (Part 1)

In 1988, I went to a family reunion for my Mom's side of the family. This reunion also was a celebration of my great uncle Frank Rueff's 90th birthday. Uncle Frank's family put together a biography of the Rueff family starting with our immigrant ancestor, William Rueff. This was the most information I had ever come across in regards to my maternal lineage. It was a small book roughly 80 plus pages with a pedigree of the family listing all the descendants up to 1988.

Biographies of the key members of the family were written. The person and/or persons who wrote the biographies explained that the biographies were written over a decade from "conversations" with family members, family letters, encyclopedias, chronicles and almanacs. While these biographies were nice to read I believe that most of what I was reading was supposition. Then the questions started bouncing around my head, who had they interviewed? where were the recordings? who had them? My biggest question was where had they found the information on William Rueff?

The book listed the sources that were used to compile this information such as cemetery records, newspapers and court house records which I have corroborated with my own research. However, my dilemma now is key pieces of their research which were recorded conversations, letters, and family Bibles. How do I corroborate this information in 2014? The letters that are referred to are from those who died prior to 1988 and those that were interviewed are now deceased. How do I determine the validity of what I consider to be is lore because I have been unable to find the evidence to prove or disprove their research? 

I began researching my Rueff lines again trying to find what I may have missed over the years. By 2009, more than 20 years after this family celebration I was still unable to corroborate a lot of the information in this small history of my Rueff lines. How do I set the record straight without hurting family members whose research may not be entirely accurate? It is not my intention to hurt anyone's feelings or to declare their research invalid I only want to set the record straight for the future generations. 

Now in 2014, new collections from Europe on both Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org and more European records added daily I am hoping that I can finally find answers to my questions.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

I've recently have reconnected with my cousin Scott. These are some photos of us. In the picture on the left are Scott, my Aunt Peggy Ann (Scott's Mom), our grandmother, Peggy, my Dad Bill, my Mom Nina and me. The other 2 photographs are of Scott and I with our grandmother Peggy Rich Williams Hammond. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

My Monday Mystery - John Bush Lambert

My Monday Mystery - John Bush Lambert

In researching my paternal side of the tree I came across the brother of my 2nd great grandmother Helen Lambert Rich. His name is John Bush Lambert and was patient at the Eastern Kentucky Lunatic Asylum in Lexington, Kentucky.

As I moved through each of my 2nd great grandmother's siblings, collecting data on each of their of their families I kept coming back to my 2nd great uncle, John Bush Lambert. As I looked for the usual documents (census records, marriage records, military records and death records) to fill in my time line for him I noticed that the last 33 years of his life had been spent in the same psychiatric hospital in Lexington, Kentucky.

My curiosity was gnawing at me with the questions, why was he there? what had happened? I wasn't sure if I could find the answers to my questions because other than my Dad, his sister and few cousins there didn't seem to be anyone left alive that I could talk to about this.

John Bush was the second child of John William Lambert and Mary J Walker Lambert and was born on 24 June 1843 in East Bend, Boone, Kentucky. Census records for 1850 and 1860 show that my 3rd great grandparents, John William and Mary J moved from Boone County, Kentucky to Covington, Kentucky. 

I am not 100% sure if John Bush Lambert served in the Civil War, however, he is listed in the US, Civil War Draft Registrations Records, 1863-1865. This record is dated 20 July 1863 and shows that John B Lambert is 20 years of age, single and a farmer. I also found a listing for a John Lambert who enlisted into the Kentucky 53rd Infantry, Company K in Covington, Kentucky on 11 April 1865 and mustered out on 15 September 1865. I am not entirely convinced that this is my 2nd great uncle and I need to do further research.

On the 10th of April 1874, John Bush married Hannah L Kautz, daughter of Jacob Kautz and Mary Ann Walker in Caldwell County, Missouri. They did not have any children. After 20 years of marriage they divorced. John and Hannah were cousins through their Walker lines. 

On the 17th day of April 1893, John Bush Lambert killed his father, John William with a fireplace poker. I don't know how long John Bush was mentally ill or when his symptoms began. Why did he do this? What transpired between father and son that would lead to this outcome? 

On the 24th of June 1893 John Bush was sent to Eastern Kentucky Lunatic Asylum. It was also his 50th birthday. In 1912, the Eastern Kentucky Lunatic Asylum was changed to Eastern State Hospital by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. He would spend the next 33 years in this facility. 

John Bush died on the 31st day of March 1926 at the Eastern State Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky. According to his death certificate he was buried at the cemetery on the grounds of Eastern State Hospital. The cause of death listed as lobar pneumonia with a contributory cause of dementia praecox or schizophrenia.  I have inquired about getting a copy of his records from the Eastern State Hospital (hopefully that will lead to another entry at a later date) and I am waiting on snail mail from the the public library in regards to newspaper articles of John William Lambert's death and his obituary.

When I look at John Bush's death certificate there are important pieces of genealogical information missing. The names of his parents and their birth places are listed as "Unknown".Whether this was a deliberate decision made by his family I cannot say. However, considering that mental illness was a taboo topic in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, I can see that this may have been an attempt to distance the rest of the family from John Bush Lambert.

Year: 1850; Census Place: Covington Ward 6, Kenton, Kentucky; Roll: M432_208; Page: 317B; Image: 641.
Year: 1860; Census Place: District 1, Kenton, Kentucky; Roll: M653_379; Page: 488; Image: 204; Family History Library Film: 803379.
Year: 1880; Census Place: Kocks, Kenton, Kentucky; Roll: 426; Family History Film: 1254426; Page: 656D; Enumeration District: 129; Image: 0534.
Year: 1900; Census Place: Lexington Eastern Kentucky Asylum for Insane, Fayette, Kentucky; Roll: 519; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 0087; FHL microfilm: 1240519.
Year: 1910; Census Place: Lexington Ward 2, Fayette, Kentucky; Roll: T624_474; Page: 5A; Enumeration District: 0019; FHL microfilm: 1374487.
Year: 1920; Census Place: Lexington Ward 2, Fayette, Kentucky; Roll: T625_568; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 53; Image: 780.
Ancestry.com. U.S., Civil War Draft Registrations Records, 1863-1865 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.
Ancestry.com. Kentucky, Death Records, 1852-1953 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007. including image.
Historical Data Systems, comp. U.S., Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles, 1861-1865 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2009.
Eastern Kentucky Lunatic Asylum image (http://www.asylumprojects.org/index.php?title=File:Esh1.jpg) accessed online 21 July 2014.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wednesday's Child

Wednesday's Child

I remember my 2nd great aunt, Anna May "Mory" Orth-Hoskins with fondness. She married her husband, William Cromy Hoskins in 1917. She was quiet as I recall but I always enjoyed visiting her and Uncle Cromy when we were in Louisville, Kentucky. I knew that she had suffered loss in her life but I didn't know why or how. It was just something you could see in her eyes. 

It wasn't until I started researching my maternal lineage that I learned what a loss she had suffered.  Aunt Mory had 2 children, Marjorie and William Cromy "Billy" Hoskins, Jr both of whom died in childhood. 

Marjorie Hoskins was the eldest of Aunt Mory's children. She was born on the 28th of February 1919 in Louisville, Kentucky. She was diagnosed with a brain tumor and died on the 19th of September 1934 at age 15 in Louisville, Kentucky. I am not sure exactly when she was diagnosed with the tumor but I believe it may have been in the summer of 1933. 

I know from a picture of Marjorie that she and her parents traveled to Los Angeles, California in August of 1933. According to my Mom, everyone was very hush, hush about Marjorie's diagnosis. My Uncle Cromy worked for the Louisville & Nashville railroad and they could travel for next to nothing probably paying just taxes or some small nominal fee. I cannot help but wonder if the trip was planned as a vacation or if perhaps my Aunt and Uncle took Marjorie to see a specialist in California. Marjorie and Billy are cousins of my grandmother, Mary Myrtle Behrle Rueff.

The picture on the left is of Marjorie in front of the Chinese Theater in Los Angeles, CA. The top right picture was taken at Ernest W. Brown's Studio 426 South 4th Street, Louisville, Kentucky, Marjorie was 7 and Billy was 5. The bottom right picture of Billy was taken at the home of Dr. Raymond A Behrle and his wife Pauline Orth Behrle.

William Cromy "Billy" Hoskins, Jr was born on the 18th of March 1921 in Louisville, Kentucky. I know very little about Billy as he was called. When I look at the few pictures I have of him, he seems to be a serious looking little boy. Billy would probably have been in either kindergarten or first grade judging by his age. Billy died on the 25th of January 1928 and his cause of death was pneumococcal meningitis. 

I understand the profound loss that my Aunt Mory and Uncle Cromy must have felt when their children died because I too have lost a child. My son, Kenny died in 2000 at the age of 19. The loss of a child is not something a parent ever gets over, it is something we must learn to make peace with and learn to live with for the rest of our lives.

Take care,


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Wednesday Weddings - Wedding Dresses by Nina

Wedding Dresses by Nina

My parents, Bill and Nina, were blessed with four daughters and one son. I have no doubt that with the birth of each daughter my parents were wondering how are we going to pay for all these weddings? Of course what parent wouldn't wonder about such things as their children grew up.

My Mom, Nina, over the years made most of our clothes from childhood on into our early adult years. She is a very accomplished seamstress and for a few years even did alterations for others. She made us Raggedy Ann dolls, clothes for our Barbie dolls & baby dolls, purses, school uniforms, prom dresses for my sisters and cummerbunds for their dates to match. 

However, the most important dress that she made for me and my sisters and my sister in law was our wedding dresses. Our dresses were beautiful and the latest style. If we couldn't find the exact pattern with everything we wanted then she would take elements from other patterns to make the dress of our dreams.

The first dress she made was for my sister Patty. Patty married in 1984 and her dress was absolutely gorgeous. She had a wonderful sweeping train, a very detailed bodice which took many hours of sewing little pearls to pieces of lace. Mom also made the bridesmaids dresses too. Of course when you have three other sisters who are going to be in your wedding why not! Our bridesmaid dresses were in light rainbow pastel colors and off the shoulder. We carried baskets of summer flowers and wreaths of baby's breath in our hair. 

In the photo above I have shown each of us in gorgeous wedding gowns with our Dad and thought only right that I should add a picture of my Mom being walked down the aisle by her father too (the large picture). The column on the right from top to bottom are myself, Patty, Kathy Susie and my sister in law Carolyn all wearing our dresses made by Mom. The three bottom pictures from left to right our the bridesmaid dresses we wore for Patty's wedding, Kathy's wedding and my wedding.

I had married quickly in March of 1980 and wore a simple white dress I bought at Sears. My marriage ended in divorce not long after that. However, when I remarried in July 1987 my Mom made my dress. Since it was my second wedding I didn't really want the long white dress and train. I wanted something tea or ballet length. I wanted white but not all white so the skirt of my dress was over-layed with pink roses and a scalloped hemline. It was just perfect for me and it was absolutely gorgeous. Instead of the traditional veil I wore a simple white hat with pieces of the over-lay that were hand stitched with pearls. My Mom also made my bridesmaids dresses in a light pink. It didn't end there either. I was married on the 4th of July. So my bridesmaids and I changed into dresses of red, white and blue for the reception.            

When my sister Kathy married it was in February 1991, my Mom made another spectacular dress. Kathy's dress was ivory with beautiful v-neckline. Her dress had long sleeves and the hemline was done in lace. As she had done with Patty and myself she also made the bridesmaids dresses. Our bridesmaids dresses were of red velvet and instead of carrying traditional flowers we carried mufflers with beautiful pink lilies.

When my brother Billy proposed to his wife Carolyn, they asked if Mom would also make her wedding dress. Of course my Mom agreed but she did not make the bridesmaids dresses because of the size of bridal party. They were married in November 1995. Carolyn's dress like the other three Mom had previously made was gorgeous. Carolyn's dress had a very lovely lace bodice with long sleeves that were very detailed. 

The last wedding dress Mom would make was for my youngest sister, Susie in 1999. Susie has never been a "girly girl" so I wasn't sure what her style would be. Mom and Susie found just the right style and again my Mom created another gorgeous wedding dress. Because of the size of the bridal party my Mom opted not to make the bridesmaid dresses. Susie's dress was simple with short lace sleeves. The train and hemline of her dress was also lace. There was another smaller dress Mom made for Susie's wedding. It was for our niece Kaitlyn who served as the flower girl. Her dress was made from the same materials used for Susie's dress.

Thank you Mom for giving me the most gorgeous wedding dress! I love you!