Monday, December 19, 2016

Proving the parentage of Harvey Powell

Doing genealogy, you come across a lot of information that is incorrect. You try your best to prove to other relatives, or people researching, why you are correct. There will always be people who refuse to believe you, yet you have shown them proof.

Harvey L Powell is the ancestor that constantly has incorrect information for his parentage When I first started doing genealogy, I did as most people did and followed the hints on Ancestry. Little did my naïve self not notice many mistakes about the trees I was climbing.

 Many of the online trees have William C Powell and Mary Stewart as Harvey’s parents. William and Mary Stewart Powell were married in Lincoln County, Kentucky on the 17 of Jan 1822.[1] I believe when people first started researching Harvey’s parentage they get back to the 1860 US Federal Census, which is the first census to list another person as head of the house. This person is Mary H Powell who we assume is Harvey’s mother. Moving back ten years to the 1850’s census it list a Polly Powell. I assume that whoever was researching went to the marriage records to find a marriage for a Mary/Polly to a Powell resulting in the marriage stated above.  Below is the census transcription. 

1860 United States Federal Census
Polly Powell
53 (Born about 1807)
20 (Born about 1840)
Mary C
15 (Born about 1845
22 (Born about 1838)
21 (Born about 1839)
 Year: 1860; Census Place: District 1, Clark, Kentucky; Roll: M653_362; Page: 924; Image: 422; Family History Library Film: 803362

I believe the key lies in the 1850 census and two death certificates of Harvey’s siblings, William H and Elizabeth F Powell.

1850 United States Federal Census
Mary H Powell
43 (Born about 1807)
Harry L*
13 (Born about 1837)
Wm H
10 (Born about 1840)
Elizabeth F
8 (Born about 1842)
Mary K
5 (Born about 1845)
Year: 1850; Census Place: District 1, Clark, Kentucky; Roll: M432_196; Page: 55B; Image: 538
*Harry L, according to Ancestry’s transcription, is clearly Harvey L. upon examination of the original census.
I believe this to be the same group family in both censuses. Polly is a fairly common nickname for Mary, Wm is the same as William, Elizabeth F. has already been married by 1860. Mary K and Mary C are the same people and I would even speculate that her middle name might be a variation of Katherine. 

Elizabeth F Powell married John Fowler on the 3rd February 1859 at Polly F Powell’s residence in Clark County, Kentucky. Rev. William Rupard, minister of the Baptist church officiated. John Strode and Theodore Acton were the witnesses.[2] Which is why she is not on the 1860 census. Elizabeth then remarried to Thomas M Parris in Winchester, Clark, Kentucky on 31 Jul 1866 at the residence of Rev. John G. Adams. Adams also officiated the wedding. Witnesses to this marriage were A. W. Baker & William Powell.[3]

Elizabeth Powell’s death certificate shows the following.

She was born on 17 Jul 1842 in Clark County, Kentucky. Died 11 Jan 1923 at 128 Winn Ave., Winchester, Clark, Kentucky. Name of Father is D. Powell born in Madison County, Kentucky; Mother is Polly Noe born in Clark County, Kentucky.

 The second death certificate is for William H Powell: He was born on 5 Feb 1839 in Clark County, Kentucky. Died 29 Dec 1920 at 122 1st Ave., Winchester, Clark Co, Kentucky. Name of Father is Josiah Powell, born in Madison County Kentucky. Name of mother is Polly Noe born in Virginia. He is a widower and is buried in Brock Cemetery in Clark County, Kentucky.
As of this point with all the information I have gathered the family group looks like this.

D. or Josiah Powell born in Madison County, Kentucky and died before 1850
Mary H(Polly) Noe born about 1807 in Clark County, Kentucky
            Harvey L. born 30 Sept 1837 in Clark County, Kentucky and died 14 Apr 1894 (probably in  Fayette County Kentucky.
            William H. born 5 Feb 1839 in Clark County, Kentucky and died 29 Dec 1920 in Winchester,  Clark County, Kentucky
            Elizabeth F. born 17 Jul 1842 in Clark County, Kentucky and died 11 Jan 1923 in Winchester, Clark
 County, Kentucky. 
            Mary K/C. born about 1845 in Clark County, Kentucky

Online I found the Noe Family Bible which was transcribed by Dr. George F. Doyle, who was a member of the Clark County Historical Society. In the transcription, it lists the following Powell births, marriages, and deaths.

Births:  Margaret E Powell d/o John D Powell April 16, 1835
            Hervey L. Powell Sep 30, 1837
            William H. Powell Feb 9, 1840
            Elizabeth F Powell July 17, 1842
            Mary C. Powell Feb 9, 1845, and died Dec 21, 1877

Marriages: John D Powell and Mary H Noe Oct 10, 1833

Deaths: John D Powell Dec 29, 1847

Could this John D Powell be the Josiah D. Powell as stated in the two death records? Possibly. The timing of this John D Powell deaths would be the reason why he is not on the 1850 census with the rest of his family.

Due to John D Powell dying when his children were so young there should be guardianship records. I found the guardianship records for Elizabeth, Mary K, Harvey L, and William H Powell. In this record, it states that William F Noe was the guardian to the children. It also has a great clue making the leap to the next generation back. “Commission to sell the slaves of Jeremiah Powell who was the Grandfather of said Heirs.”
With the information I have gathered I strongly believe that Harvey and his siblings’ parents are John D Powell and Polly Noe.

[1] Kentucky, Compiled Marriages, 1802-1850 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 1997
[2]Kentucky, County Marriages, 1797-1954," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 19 December 2016), John Fowler and Elizabeth F. Powell, 03 Feb 1859; citing Winchester, Clark, Kentucky, United States, Madison County Courthouse, Richmond; FHL microfilm 1,943,687.
[3] "Kentucky, County Marriages, 1797-1954," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 19 December 20 16), Thomas Parris and Elizabeth F. Fowler, 31 Jul 1866; citing Winchester, Clark, Kentucky, United States, Madison County Courthouse, Richmond; FHL microfilm 1,943,687.
[4] Kentucky, Death Records, 1852-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2007.
[5] Kentucky, Death Records, 1852-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2007.
[6] Kentucky Probate Records, 1727-1990," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 20 May 2014), Clark > Settlements, Will records, 1857-1859, Vol. 16 > image 99 of 343; county courthouses, Kentucky.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

My Politician Ancestor

For election day today I thought I would write about my politician ancestor, James Wesley Duncan.

James Wesley Duncan was born in Tazewell, Claiborne County, Tennessee on December 18, 1868 to William Marshall Duncan and Sarah Simmons. He first married Martha Jane Lewis in Harlan County, Kentucky on October 27, 1887. J. W. Duncan and Martha had a total of six children. Martha died in Kaufman, Texas on July 11, 1911. J.W. Duncan then married Ethel Land Gies from Atlanta, Georgia and to this union six more children were born.


Around 1893-1894 he moved his family to Texas from Tennessee.  When he came to Texas he brought with him his Republican views whom many shared in Tennessee however he was very outnumbered with Kaufman County and in Texas as the two were being controlled by the Democratic Party. Though the County and State were held by the Democratic party the national party was held by the Republican Party, His first local level position was being appointed as the Postmaster of Daughtery, Texas, later change to Gastonia in 1907, on March 31, 1898. He would be the last Postmaster for Daughtery as the post office was discontinued and moved to Crandall in 1906.

Over the years he became a more and more involved in Kaufman County governmental affairs by 1923 he was a precinct chairman of the Republican Party and was also a chairman for the Kaufman County Republican Party.

On March 5, 1923 he traveled to Austin, Texas and lobbied to the Commissioners Court to sign an "agreement between the State Highway Department and Kaufman County, for 10.74 miles of road No. 40[Which is the Hobby Highway stretching from Marietta Oklahoma to Dallas] in district No. 8 and to forward said contract to the Highway Department at Austin, Texas." Source: Kaufman County Commissioners Court on March 5th 1923. The road was completed in 1926 and stretched from Dallas to Jacksonville, Texas.

Being a delegate of District 3 [Kaufman and Henderson County] he attended three Republican National Conventions. First in 1924 in Cleveland, Ohio, the second in 1928 in Kansas City, Missouri and his last attendance to a convention in 1932 in Chicago, Illinois. He later went on to become a part of the Texas State Executive Committee.

As a final project he went to Washington D.C. to lobby for a post office and a new federal building to be built in Athens, Texas during the Hoover presidency. In Washington, Duncan managed to obtain the post office for Athens despite the town of Henderson having four representatives and spent more than 5,000 dollars on getting the post office in Henderson.

Duncan passed away on New Years Eve 1933, while playing dominoes with a group of friends.  
                                                        James Wesley Duncan

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Finding my Great Great Grandfather: Clyde Cole

When I first started out doing genealogy, I started asking my grandparents what they knew about their grandparents. What were their names? When and where were they born? My grandmother could tell me her grandparents names and where they died, making her side of the family easier to research than my grandfather's. My grandfather knew the names of all his grandparents and where they were buried as well. All except one... his paternal grandfather, he only knew his name was Clyde Cole.

My great grandfather's name is Lonnie Cole. He was born 13th of  April, 1917, near Desoto, Dallas, Texas to a Clyde Cole and Laura [Willis] Cole.

Lonnie Cole's Birth Certificate from Dallas County Birth Certificates 

With names, I then went to find Lonnie, Clyde and Laura in the 1920 United States Federal Census. In the 1920 census Lonnie is listed with his parents and two siblings, Arles and Leola. They are living in Justice Precinct 5, Dallas, Texas, next door to Laura's parents, Miles and Lucinda Willis, and down the street is another Cole. Could this be a relative? Clyde Cole, according to the 1920 census is 24 making him roughly born in 1896.

In the Dallas area there were four other Clyde Cole's who were all born in a 6 year period of each other. Which Clyde could be the father of Lonnie and his siblings?

I started to research each of the four Clyde's and their families to learn more about their lives. One Clyde stood out to me as a match to the Clyde in the census and birth certificate. His name is Clyde Howard Cole.  
Clyde Howard Cole: U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918
This Clyde Cole was born near Desoto, Texas (note: on Leola's birth certificate it has her father's birth place near Desoto.) Another thing that stood out was that he used his wife and 3 children as an exemption from the draft. I then went back to see if the other Clyde's would have had 3 children... during 1917 when the Registration was filled out - they did not. At this time I am starting to come to the conclusion that this Clyde is Lonnie's father.

I took a trip to the Dallas County Central Library, where they have a great genealogy section, looking for Clyde Howard Cole's Obituary. "Cole, Clyde... Survived by wife, Mrs. Lizzie Cole; daughters, Mrs. Mary Ann Rasco, Mrs. Faye Digby, both of Dallas: son J. V. Raburn: brother, John E. Cole: fourteen grandchildren: eight great-grandchildren...Dallas Morning News 01-20-1966 Page 4 Location Dallas." Now I have even more names and even more questions. Who are these three children on this obituary? J.V Raburn was the only child in the obituary that was born at the time when the Draft Record was filled out. After researching many obituaries and other records the three children in Clyde Howard Cole's obituary are all from Lizzie's first marriage to a Rayburn, eliminating these three children as the three children in the draft record.

Last year I tested my grandfather (Lonnie's son) with AncestryDNA to try and help solve this family mystery. When the results came back I started going through the results, I realised that a majority of the results had a connection with the Willis surname due to a collapse pedigree and a couple having a total of 92 great grandchildren in 1922. At this time, I was searching page after page for a Cole. I could find no close relation to a Cole. I then got worried, but decided to keep researching on Clyde Howard Cole's ancestry. I started doing descendancy research on his parents and grandparents, (parents: Thomas Howard Cole and Arminta Dora Parks, grandparents: Nathaniel Leonard Cole and Louise Spence.) I notice that many of Clyde Howard Cole's siblings did not have many descendants which might be a reason why I am not finding many Cole's in my grandfather's DNA results. I then started researching Clyde Howard Cole maternal side of the family. Luckily I have found a strange and uncommon surname, Voorhies. As I continue to build out the tree more I am constantly checking my grandfather's DNA results for a Voorhies name.

A Shared Hint appeared one day, before I even looked at it, I remember saying to myself "It has to be another Willis descendant!"  When I opened to see I immediately saw the name Voorhies and could not believe my eyes!  It was a 3rd cousin 1x removed match! I could not contain myself I immediately sent them a message. Once DNA Circles came out I discovered even more descendants of John P Voorhies and Jane Angeline Gullick!

I had finally found out who my great great grandfather was.