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52ancestors

An Introduction and Recap from 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

Amy Johnson Crow has challenged the genealogy blogosphere to write about 52 Ancestors in 52 weeks.  Here are 3 posts to get you up to date.

Some of My Favorite 52 Ancestors Posts

52 Ancestors: #1 Laura Cecile Donald

My 52 Ancestors posts are going to focus on the women in my family tree.  Just to try something different.  I’ve discussed both of my grandmothers so I will start with my great grandmothers.

blog image

Granny Laura and her Dog, about 1950.  Granny was 73 years old.  This looks like it was taken at 108 Houston Street, Lexington, Virginia.

Granny Laura and her Dog, about 1950. Granny was 73 years old. This looks like it was taken at 108 Houston Street, Lexington, Virginia.

Great Granny Laura.  My father’s paternal grandmother.  One of my favorite pictures of her is the one with her dog which I think was taken around 1950.

She lived a good long life (1877-1964), 87 years all in Lexington, Virgina.1

Wyatt Paul Gillespie and Laura Cecile Donald ca. 1894. I suspect that this is their wedding photo.

Wyatt Paul Gillespie and Laura Cecile Donald ca. 1894. I suspect that this is their wedding photo.

She was married to Wyatt Paul Gillespie, merely 16 when they were married on January 24, 1894, in Lexington, Virginia.2 They were married for 47 years until his death 1941.She lived on her own for another 23 years.

She had 8 children: Minnie, Ashby, Eva, Clinton, Louise, Fred, Gilbert and Helen.4

The family lived at 108 Houston Street, Lexington, Virginia from early in the 1900′s and it remained in the family until 2003.

She was the daughter of a Civil War Veteran who spent part of the war as part of Stonewall Jackson’s troops.  They are all buried within sight of Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson’s grave.  I imagine she worked hard all her life, raising her children, keeping her husband’s house.  She lived through Reconstruction and the Jim Crow era.  She couldn’t vote until she was 42 years old when women were given the vote in 1920. She lived through Prohibition, survived the Great Depression.

And she was remembered fondly by everyone in the family who talked about her.

Footnotes

1. Find A Grave, digital images, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed 2 Jan 2014), memorial page for Laura Cecile Donald Gillespie, Find A Grave Memorial no. 56061683, citing Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery, Lexington, Virginia.
2. Virginia, Virginia Department of Health, Certification of Vital Records, Marriage Certificate, Wyatt Paul Gillespie, Laura Cecil (sic) Donald, 24 Jan 1894, Rockbridge, Virginia; Department of Health – Division of Vital Records, Richmond, Virginia.
3. Find A Grave, digital images, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed 2 Jan 2014), memorial page for Wyatt Paul Gillespie, Find A Grave Memorial no. 56048050, citing Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery, Lexington, Virginia.
4. Rockbridge, Virginia, Will Book 54:417-418, Wyatt Paul Gillespie Will, recorded 21 Feb 1941; Clerk of County Court, Lexington.

What is that one best piece of evidence that you have? Wisdom Wednesday

So why would you need to write a summary of the basic vital facts about a person?

Case in point, Laura Cecile Donald Gillespie:

Wyatt Paul Gillespie and Laura Cecile Donald ca. 1894. I suspect that this is their wedding photo.

Wyatt Paul Gillespie and Laura Cecile Donald ca. 1894. I suspect that this is their wedding photo.

Laura Cecile Donald was born on 13 February 1877 in Rockbridge County, Virginia, and died 23 August 1864 in Rockbridge County, Virginia.1 On 24 January, 1894 in Rockbridge County, Virginia, Laura married Wyatt Paul Gillespie.2 He was born 15 July 1865 in Amherst County, Virginia, the son of Jeremiah and Mary (Gillespie) Gillespie,3 and died on 19 February 1941 in Rockbridge County, Virginia.4   Laura and Wyatt are buried in Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery. 5

Genealogy is about defining kinship and identity. Birth, marriage, death all are critical in defining both.  Getting the evidence correct is critical.  So let’s look at what I have:
Birth
I have a tombstone.  Now that may be all you ever have, but for someone who was born in 1877 in Virginia, you should have a birth record or a line in a birth register. This will also most likely tell me who her parents are.  So more work to be done.
Marriage
I have a certificate from Virginia that has the information recorded on Wyatt and Laura’s marriage record.  This is probably sufficient, but it is a not the original.  I do believe that I have a digital copy of the record somewhere.  This is one of those times where horrible organization comes to bite you big.  The marriage record documents Wyatt’s parents as well and his birth date.

Death

I have a tombstone.  This is not bad.  But a will (or wills), or obituaries might really be a better source.  The date originially on Wyatt’s tombstone for his death was wrong.  My uncle had it fixed.
Gravestone of Wyatt Paul Gillespie and Laura Donald Gillespie; Stonewall Jackson Cemetery, Lexington, Virginia

Gravestone of Wyatt Paul Gillespie and Laura Donald Gillespie; Stonewall Jackson Cemetery, Lexington, Virginia

All this is in my tree. But this is actually a great tool, for examining what you have and determining what you need.  And for anyone reading it, it lets them know how deep you have gone.  I have some work to do. :-)
Footnotes
[1] Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery (Rockbridge County, Virginia), Wyatt Paul and Laura Donald Gillespie Tombstone; photographed by Anne Gillespie Mitchell, 1 August 2010.
[2] Virginia, Virginia Department of Health, Certification of Vital Records, Marriage Certificate, Wyatt Paul Gillespie, Laura Cecil Donald, 24 Jan 1894, Rockbridge, Virginia; Department of Health – Division of Vital Records, Richmond, Virginia. (Is this citation right?)
[3] Virginia, Virginia Department of Health, Certification of Vital Records, Marriage Certificate, Wyatt Paul Gillespie, Laura Cecil Donald, 24 Jan 1894, Rockbridge, Virginia; Department of Health – Division of Vital Records, Richmond, Virginia. (What is the short version of this?)
[4] Stonewall Jackson Cemetery (Rockbridge Co., Virginia), Wyatt Paul tombstone.
[5] Stonewall Jackson Cemetery (Rockbridge Co., Virginia), Wyatt Paul tombstone.

Let’s Practice Our Narrative Lineage’s! Motivation Monday

I’m currently working on being a Certified Genealogist (CG).  There are 7 parts, and the one I’m currently working on is the KDP or Kinship Determination Project.  I can’t publish my work as I go along, but I thought if I did a parallel project and published the process it might help me figure out issues with the one I will turn in.

A KDP can be a narrative lineage (the simplest one!) that traces three generations and has at least two proof statements of parentage as well as a narration of the couple’s lives.

I’m going to being with my great grandmother, Laura Cecile Donald Gillespie.

Granny Laura and her Dog, about 1950.  Granny was 73 years old.  This looks like it was taken at 108 Houston Street, Lexington, Virginia.

Granny Laura and her Dog, about 1950. Granny was 73 years old. This looks like it was taken at 108 Houston Street, Lexington, Virginia.

Laura was the youngest living child of James and Elizabeth (Wallace) Donald.  She was born in 1877 and lived 87 years.

I’m going to use the format that Connie Leizen, CGSM  did in her paper:  The Maternal Line of Elizabeth (Niesz) TitusYou can find other samples of BCG’s page Sample Work Product

For certification, you need to trace three couples, and you need to include at least:

  1. Intro
  2. General Vital Summary
  3. Proof/Discussion of Parentage
  4. Children
  5. Narrative of Life

Today, let’s look at the General Vital Summary.  (There has to be a better name than this, I’m sure.)

1.Laura Cecile Donald was born on 13 February 1877 in Rockbridge County, Virginia, and died 23 August 1864 in Rockbridge County, Virginia.1 On 24 January, 1894 in Rockbridge County, Virginia, Laura married Wyatt Paul Gillespie.2 He was born 15 July 1865 in Amherst County, Virginia, the son of Jeremiah and Mary (Gillespie) Gillespie,3 and died on 19 February 1941 in Rockbridge County, Virginia.4   Laura and Wyatt are buried in Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery. 5

So for any person you describe you need to know AND document:

  1. Name (full name)
  2. Birth date and place
  3. Death date and place (burial place if you have it)
  4. Marriage place, date and spouse’s name.
  5. Spouse’s birth date, parents and death date.

Now I know I have better documentation on some of these facts.  I have to go find it.  Oh yes, we are digging back into them early genealogy days of bad organization and documentation.

Now these posts are not meant to be definitive answers on what the pieces of a narrative lineage is, but instead and opportunity to allow me to work through the pieces.  If you have thoughts, comments or questions, I’d be glad to hear them.


[1] Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery (Rockbridge County, Virginia), Wyatt Paul and Laura Donald Gillespie Tombstone; photographed by Anne Gillespie Mitchell, 1 August 2010.
[2] Virginia, Virginia Department of Health, Certification of Vital Records, Marriage Certificate, Wyatt Paul Gillespie, Laura Cecil Donald, 24 Jan 1894, Rockbridge, Virginia; Department of Health – Division of Vital Records, Richmond, Virginia. (Is this citation right?)
[3] Virginia, Virginia Department of Health, Certification of Vital Records, Marriage Certificate, Wyatt Paul Gillespie, Laura Cecil Donald, 24 Jan 1894, Rockbridge, Virginia; Department of Health – Division of Vital Records, Richmond, Virginia. (What is the short version of this?)
[4] Stonewall Jackson Cemetery (Rockbridge Co., Virginia), Wyatt Paul tombstone.
[5] Stonewall Jackson Cemetery (Rockbridge Co., Virginia), Wyatt Paul tombstone.

Wisdom Wednesday — Wyatt and Laura

Wyatt Paul Gillespie, son of Jeremiah Gillespie and Mary E Gillespie,  was born on July 15, 1865 in Amherst County, Virginia.

Laura Cecil Donald, daughter of James Calvin Donald and Elizabeth Jane Wallace, was born on February 13, 1877 in Rockbridge County, Virginia.

They were married January 24, 1894 in Rockbridge County, Virginia.  How they met is not known, at least to me.  Wyatt was 28 and Laura was almost 17 when they married. 1 I suspect the picture below was taken around the time of there wedding.

Wyatt Paul Gillespie and Laura Cecile Donald ca. 1894

They had 8 children, all born in Lexington, Virginia:

  • Minnie Maude Gillespie (1897 – 1958 )
  • Ashby Paul Gillespie (1899 – 1967)
  • Eva Dold Gillespie (1901 – 1992)
  • Clinton Clifton Gillespie (1904 – 1990)
  • Louise Graham Gillespie (1907 – 1997)
  • Fred Douglas Gillespie (1910 – 1974)
  • Gilbert McClung Gillespie (1914 – 2003)
  • Helen Mae Gillespie (1918 – 2002)

Family of Wyatt Paul Gillespie and Laura Cecile Donald Gillespie ca. 1925-1930

They purchased the land at 108 Houston Street, Lexington, Virginia in 1907 and built the house on it in 1908.  The house was owned by someone in the family until Gilbert’s death in 2003.  The house was sold and moved.  The land is now occupied by medical offices. 2

Wyatt died on July 15, 1941 at the age of 75.  Laura lived for another 23 years and died at the age of 87 on August 23, 1964.  They are both buried in Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery in Lexington Virginia.  Minnie, Eva, Fred and Gilbert are buried there as well. 3

Gravestone of Wyatt Paul Gillespie and Laura Donald Gillespie; Stonewall Jackson Cemetery, Lexington, Virginia

Footnotes

1. Virginia, Virginia Department of Health, Certification of Vital Records, Marriage Certificate, Wyatt Paul Gillespie, Laura Cecil Donald, 24 Jan 1894, Rockbridge, Virginia
2. Anne Gillespie Mitchell, “108 Houston Street,” Finding Forgotten Stories blog (http://www.finding-forgotten-stories.com  accessed : 1 Aug 2012); published deed of land purchase.
3. Findagrave.com, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed 6 Aug 2010), memorial page for Wyatt Paul Gillespie, Find A Grave Memorial no. 56048050, citing Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery, Lexington, Virginia.

Treasure Chest Thursday — One Document Defines Them All

Some documents are like a really great Christmas, they just have everything in them that you need.  This Deed of Conveyance 1 defines quite nicely Wyatt Paul and Laura Donald Gillespie’s children, their children’s spouses and Wyatt and Laura’s death.

In Wyatt’s will he left the house at 108 Houston Street to his wife, and upon her death to his two single daughters, Minnie Maude and Eva Dold.

Wyatt died, testate, February 19, 1941 and his wife Laura, died, intestate, August 23, 1964. 2 He states in his will, which is quoted in the Deed, that upon the death of his wife he leaves the property and house at 108 Houston Street to his two daughters Minnie M Gillespie and Eva D Gillespie. 3. Minnie died on Apr 1, 1958 4 leaving Eva as the only heir for the property.

The deed then instructs that his property, other than the land and house, should be sold off upon the death of his wife and that $25 should be given to his daughter Louise Montgomery and the rest be divided between his three daughters Misses Eva D, Minnie M, and Helen and his four sons, Clinton, Ashby P, Fred and Gilbert. 5

The rest of the deed is the release from the remaining brothers and sisters, their respective spouses, and their residences in 1965, who are as follows:

  • Ashby P Gillespie and his wife Margaret M of Newport News, Virginia,
  • Clinton C Gillespie and his wife Ernestine of Portsmouth, Virginia,
  • Fred D Gillespie and his wife Eleanor K of Rockbridge County, Virginia,
  • Gilbert M Gillespie and his wife Ann Irene, of Graham County, North Carolina,
  • Louise Montgomery (widow) of Shelby County, Tennessee, and
  • Helen Gillespie Keezel and her husband John Calvin Keezel, of Rockbridge County, Virginia.6

So we’ve learned a bit about Wyatt and Laura and their family:

  • They had at least eight children, and the eight listed were alive when Wyatt wrote his will,
  • If there were other children, then they died without any living heirs,
  • When Wyatt wrote his will, Louise was married and by 1965 she was a widow,
  • Helen was married between the time her father wrote his will and her mother’s death she married John Calvin Keezel,
  • Minnie died between the time her father wrote his will and 1965 (she died in 1958),
  • Wyatt wrote a will; Laura did not,
  • The deed for the property on which the 108 Houston Street House was built is recorded in Deed Book 102, page 467,
  • Wyatt’s will is recorded in Will Book 54, page 517,
  • In Wyatt’s will he specified that the “farm consisting of forty seven (47) acres, more or less, located at Poplar Hills one and one half miles southeast of Lexington, Va be sold at my death” and the proceeds be used to pay for his just debts and funeral expenses, the rest going to his wife,7
  • That when Minnie died, she left her mother as her sole and only heir, and
  • None of the property at 108 Houston Street had been sold at that time.8

So there are a few obvious things to do. Finding Wyatt’s will and more information about the property at Poplar Hills comes to mind.

And in one legal document we have learned and documented Wyatt’s family and some of their relationships.

Footnotes

1. Children of Wyatt Paul Gillespie, to Eva D Gillespie, Deed of Conveyance, March 15, 1965, copy, privately held by Anne Gillespie Mitchell, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], California, 2012; copy was handed down from my father, Gilbert M Gillespie, who probably received it from his father, who was one of the children of Wyatt Paul Gillespie.
2. Children of Wyatt Paul Gillespie to Eva Dold Gillespie, Deed of Conveyance, 1965, pp. 1 and 3.
3. Children of Wyatt Paul Gillespie to Eva Dold Gillespie, Deed of Conveyance, 1965, p. 2.
4. Find A Grave, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed 25 Jul 2012), memorial page for Minnie Maude Gillespie, Find A Grave Memorial no. 94194861, citing Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery, Lexington, Virginia.
5. Children of Wyatt Paul Gillespie to Eva Dold Gillespie, Deed of Conveyance, 1965, p. 3.
6. Children of Wyatt Paul Gillespie to Eva Dold Gillespie, Deed of Conveyance, 1965.
7. Children of Wyatt Paul Gillespie to Eva Dold Gillespie, Deed of Conveyance, 1965, p. 2.
8. Children of Wyatt Paul Gillespie to Eva Dold Gillespie, Deed of Conveyance, 1965, p. 3.

Wisdom Wednesday — Granny’s Dog

I love my two dogs, Coco and Belle.  I remember the dogs I had as kids, Boomer, Peppy and Caesar.  I can remember my dad talking about his dog Smokey and how he claimed that the one time he ever get in trouble was for tying Smokey to the water heater.    I believe the “one time he got in trouble” is a bit of a family legend.

I recently obtained this picture of my great grandmother Laura Cecil Donald Gillespie that has Laura Gillespie and dog Mckey or Mickey 1950 on the back:

Granny Laura and her Dog, about 1950. Granny was 73 years old. This looks like it was taken at 108 Houston Street, Lexington, Virginia.

Do you think this is the same dog as:

Eva Gillespie and grandchildren of Wyatt and Laura Gillespie, about 1944

Hmm.  Not too sure.  The dog would have been 6 years older in the picture with Granny, but not enough black on it’s face unless the sunshine is making it look white.    Looks like a similar dog.

I just love the picture.  Sitting on the front porch in a rocking chair, reading a book with your dog.  Sounds like a lovely way to spend the afternoon.

Tombstone Tuesday — I found my missing Stonewall Jackson Cemetery pics!

I could not remember where I had stashed these.  Eureka they have been found!

These are the tombstones for my previous entries on my Maiden Aunts:

Harriet Ann Gillespie, daughter of Jeremiah Gillespie and Mary E Gillespie, born Jun 14, 1853, Amherst, Virgina, died October 5, 1920, Lexington, Virginia.

Harriet Ann Gillespie’s tombstone, Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery, Lexington, Virginia.

Minnie Maud Gillespie, daughter of Wyatt Paul Gillespie and Laura Cecile Donald, born Jan 29, 1897, Lexington, Virginia, died March 1, 1958, Lexington, Virginia.

Minnie Maude Gillespie, Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery, Lexington, Virginia

Eva Dold Gillespie, daughter of Wyatt Paul Gillespie and Laura Cecile Donald, born July 15, 1901, Lexington, Virginia, died April 13, 1992, Lexington, Virginia.

Eva Dold Gillespie, Stonewall Jackson Cemetery, Lexington, Virginia

Amanuensis Monday — Estate Settlement of James Calvin Donald

I posted James C Donald’s obituary yesterday.    This is the settlement of his estate.

James C Donald’s Appraisement
(Ex’d)

An Inventory and appraisement of the Personal Estate of James C Donald dec’d made November 20th 1900, by John T L Preston, L M Leibig and Greenlee Farrow in pursuance of an order of Rockbridge County Court, Virginia, of date November 7th 1900, having been first duly sworn for the purpose

Appraisement of Property claimed by the widow of James C. Donald decd as exempt from sale under Sections 3650 and 3653 of the code of Virginia and set aside to her
Property   (Value)
1 Roan Mare (56.66)                            56.66
unreadable
6 chairs  (1.30)
1 sow and two pigs (11.00)
1 sewing machine     (6.33)

Given under our hands the day and year first hereinbe-
fore written

J L Barger, D.S. for Thomas A         Greenlee Farrow  (all three appraisers)
Sterrett S R C & as such                L M Leibig
Adm of James C Donald decd         J T L Preston

Examine and approved for recordation
W.s. Hopkins Coms of accts
State of Virginia
In Rockbridge County Court Clerk’s Office, December 11th 1901. This Appraisement of the Personal estate of James C Donald deceased was this day presented in this office and admitted to record
Teste: A T Shields Clerk

James C Donald’s
Sale Bill
(Ex’d)

Sale Bill of Personal Property of James C Donald, decd made by his Administrator December 27th 1900

J Scott Moore, Clerk of Sale

Examined & approved for recordation.
W. S. Hopkins, Court of Accts

state of Virginia
In Rockbridge County Court Clerk’s Office, December 11th 1901.

This Sale BIll of the Personal Estate of James C Donald deceased was this day presented in this office and admitted to record.

Teste: A T Shields, Clerk 1
——————————————————————————-

Often in the sale of estate items you will find relatives of the family.  This case is no different.  James H Donald and John Donald are the sons of James C Donald.  James E Brogran and W P (Wyatt Paul) Gillespie are the son-in-laws.    I suspect, thought I don’t know, that D H Gillespie is Daniel Heck Gillespie who was Wyatt’s cousin.  John Eaton may be James wife, Elizabeth Wallace’s uncle.

Footnote

1. Rockbridge County, Virginia, Will Book, Book 31: 396-39, Estate Appraisement and Sale of James C Donald, Nov 7 1900, Dec 27, 1900 and 11 Dec 1901, County Clerk’s Office, Rockbridge;
Family Search (http://familysearch.org, accessed : 16 Jan 2009 ).

Sunday Obituaries — James Calvin Donald

This is a departure from my usual dedication to Maiden Aunts and Bachelor Uncles, but i found this while I was organizing yesterday.  James Calvin Donald, was my great great grandfather.

I laid flowers at his grave when my father died (June 2010) and when my aunt died (Oct 2010).    Many ancestors are in the Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery.  When I was at their funerals I was struck by the fact that many of my immediate family and ancestors and stood in that cemetery and cried tears as we said goodbye to love ones.  It is a ribbon that weaves our family tapestry together.

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