Tag Archives: north carolina

Come out, come out wherever you are! The hunt for Ancestor #4: Georgia Eva Baxter’s parents. 52 Ancestors.

There was a lot of sadness in Eva Georgia “Georgie” Baxter Payne’s 47 years.  Her mother died when she was 4.[1] Georgie died 5 years after her husband when she was 47 leaving behind 8 children, the youngest who was 8.

And she had a really inconvenient birthday. The 1880 census recorded everyone who was living in the household on June 1st, 1880. And Georgie was born on June 10th, 1880.[2] Oh, the 1880 census her family was on was enumerated on June 17th, 1880; but this enumerator followed the rules.[3]

Finding her parents was a bit of a challenge.  Georgie’s death certificate said her mother was Mary Alexander and her father was S. R. Baxter.  The informant was my grandmother, Georgie’s daughter, Jennie E Payne.[4]

image01-52-ancestors-from-death-certificate

There are no S.R. Baxter’s that I could find in North Carolina.  I looked.  And I looked.  And I looked.

I looked for Georgie’s marriage certificate James. James and Georgie were married October 18th, 1902. North Carolina marriage certificates have parents’ names. I found the film, I scrolled through it.  Bingo! You know that feeling when you find the obvious document that will have your answer.  The excitement! The answer!

image02-marriage-certifcate

Georgie’s parents are listed as unknown and unknown, and they both were dead. And you know that feeling too, don’t you?

Time to use the FAN method! I recorded the information that was on the marriage certificate including those who signed. B. R. Payseur, and name I still can’t read, and something like Reasley Carrol.

image03-m-c-signers

I went back to the North Carolina death certificates on Ancestry.com and search for people who had a father S.R. Baxter or a mother Mary Alexander.

And I found Sara Baxter, whose mother was Mary Baxter and her father Peter Baxter.  And her husband? Boyce R. Payseur.[5]  Now we know that B. R. Payseur was a witness to James and Georgie’s wedding.  I felt like I was on to something. OK, not solid proof.  But it sure felt like a substantial lead.  And it was.  Boyce is listed as a guardian for Georgie’s children.[6] James and Georgie’s son was named Jack Boyce Payne. [7]

image04-br-payseur

But I needed more.  I hunted down Peter Franklin Baxter’s probate files, who is listed as Sarah’s father on her death certificate and her father in 1880.[8] He died October 16th, 1897, five years before Georgie and James were married.[9]  When his will is recorded it lists a Sally Payseur, wife of Boyce and a Georgie Baxter.[10]  But that still isn’t enough. What if there is another Georgie Baxter that has a sister named Sally/Sarah?

So I searched for the final settlement for Peter’s will.  And lo and behold, Georgie, is now Georgie Payne and her husband is JR Payne.[11]

image05-settlement

She tried to hide her parents, but with a little FAN work I found her.  Every piece of data on every may be significant.

The answers are out there.


[1] Find A Grave, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed 29 Jan 2014), memorial page for Mary M Baxter,  Find A Grave Memorial no. 1616009; citing Bethlehem United Methodist Church, Lincoln County, North Carolina.
[2] North Carolina Death Certificates, 1909-1975, digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com accessed : 3 Aug 2010), entry for Georgie E Payne, 3 Feb 1928, reg. dist. no. 3C5462, reg. no. 2, cert. no. 397; North Carolina State Board of Health, Office of Vital Statistics, Raleigh, North Carolina.
[3] 1880 U.S Census, Lincoln County, North Carolina, population schedule, North Brook Township, ED 104, p. 22 (penned), dwelling 213, family 213, P Frank Baxter household;  database and digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 28 Apr 2011); citing FHL film 1,254,970;  citing NARA microfilm publication, T9, roll 970.
[4] North Carolina Death Certificates, 1909-1975, digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com accessed : 3 Aug 2010), entry for Georgie E Payne, 3 Feb 1928, reg. dist. no. 3C5462, reg. no. 2, cert. no. 397; North Carolina State Board of Health, Office of Vital Statistics, Raleigh, North Carolina.
[5] North Carolina Death Certificates, 1909-1975, digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com accessed : 20 Jan 2014), entry for Sarah E Baxter Payseur, 26 Jan 1961, reg. dist. no. 23-70, rcert. no. 567; North Carolina State Board of Health, Office of Vital Statistics, Raleigh, North Carolina.
[6] “North Carolina, County Records, 1833-1970,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1942-20584-4368-0?cc=1916185&wc=M9M5-7BR:n955600874 : accessed 23 Oct 2013), Gaston > Estates, 1894-1962, vol. 106, Patrick, G. Reece – Payne, William F. > image 442.
[7] 1920 U.S Census, Gaston county, North Carolina, population schedule, Crowder Moutain Township, [unnumbered], ED 75, sheet 6-B, dwelling 107, family 116, James R Payne household; database and digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 29 Jan 2014); citing NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 1299.
[8] 1880 U.S Census, Lincoln County, North Carolina, population schedule, North Brook Township, ED 104, p. 22 (penned), dwelling 213, family 213, P Frank Baxter household;  database and digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 28 Apr 2011); citing FHL film 1,254,970;  citing NARA microfilm publication, T9, roll 970.
[9] Find A Grave, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed 30 Jan 2014), memorial page for Peter Frank Baxter,  Find A Grave Memorial no. 81615977, citing Bethlehem United Methodist Church, Lincoln County, North Carolina.
[10] “North Carolina Probate Records, 1735-1970,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-195-2581892-1-13?cc=1867501&wc=10922811 : accessed 30 Jan 2014), Lincoln > Wills, 1895-1911, Vol. 05 > image 58 of 330.
[11] “North Carolina Probate Records, 1735-1970,” images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-195-2609206-1-55?cc=1867501&wc=10922709 : accessed 30 Jan 2014), Lincoln > Settlements, 1904-1919, Vol. 03 > images 342-343 of 372.

I think my great grandmother was a muse. 52 Ancestors: #3 Sarah Sudie Hamrick

When I first starting looking at what knew about my great grandmother Sudie Sarah Hamrick Turner, I thought I didn’t know much about her.  But once I started digging into her life and the life of her family I found something different.  She appears to have been part of a creative and ambitious group.

Sarah “Sudie” Hamrick was born September 9th, 1891 in North Carolina, daughter of James M Hamrick and Delia P Hopper.[1]  She died October 1st, 1978 at the age of 87 in North Carolina and is buried next to her husband James Austin Turner in Sharon Memorial Park in Charlotte, North Carolina.[2]

If her tombstone is right, she was 15 when she married James, age 21, July 5th, 1907 in Henrietta, Rutherford, North Carolina; the marriage register says she was 20.[3]  They were married for 52 years until James’ death on January 22nd, 1959.[4]  She never remarried.

Sudie, which is the name I most often see her called, and James moved around a lot. And James appeared to try his hand at many different businesses, all of them family owned.

  • They were married in Henrietta, North Carolina in 1907,[5]
  • By1910 they were living in Charlotte and James and his brother Ira who was living with the family were both mattress retail merchants working on their own accord, [6]
  • In 1918 we find James and Ira in Rutherford;[7] in 1920 James was working as a “G Merchant” possibly a grocery merchant, again, working on his own accord,[8]
  • Back in Charlotte by 1925 the City Directory leaves us with no clue as to what they were doing,[9]
  • Then on to Statesville by 1930 where he appears to have owned an undertaking parlor, [10]
  • James was a manager at Penders Store in Charlotte in 1933,[11] by 1941, still in Charlotte, James’ was a salesman for the Turner Trading Company and is brother Ira was a bookkeeper for Turner Trading Company as well.[12]
  •  The family was in Asheville in 1942 and James was working at Turner Body Works, which was owned by Lonnie W Turner, relationship unknown, and finally settled down in Charlotte. In 1943 still in Asheville, James owned a welding school, his son Howard was a manager there and his daughter-in-law Jennie worked in the office.  Howard was also a radio broadcaster at WISE,
  • James and Sudie were back in Charlotte by 1951.  James owned Turners and his brother Ira was working in real estate.[13]
  • When James died in 1959 his usual occupation was Real Estate.[14]

So how did Sudie keep up as her husband bounced from location to location, job to job?  I’m guessing she participated in these ventures while she was raising her six children.  And what an interesting group of children they were.

  • Ruth Louise (1908-1990) who changed her name to Gary Delisser and became an artist painting a portrait of Franklin Delano Roosevelt among others.  She married Donald Dick Delisser in New York on May 9th 1941 and they hobnobbed with Hollywood celebrities and lived quite an interesting life.
  •  James Austin (1910-1998) who married Annie Lineriux Boone on November 12th 1933.  He was successful business man and left behind a foundation.
  • Mary Sue (1912-1967) who worked as a copy editor before marrying William Franklin Gaines who was a newspaper editor in Greenville, South Carolina.
  • William (1917-1917) who was born in Henrietta, NC and died 6 days later.
  • Howard Arthur (1919-1992) who married multiple times and worked as radio broadcaster in the 1940’s and went on to be part owner in National Welders Supply Company.[15]
  • Michael Conrad (1926-1994) who served in World War II and who according to my uncle was an actor and was the “fun” uncle.[16]

So I wonder what kind of woman Sudie was.  Long suffering, putting up with constant moves and changes?  Or was she encouraging?  More of a muse to her families various activities as they pursued their dreams?  I think given the creativity and success of her children and her husband she was more of a muse.  And no doubt some of her accomplishments are still hidden in records I have not discovered.


[1] 1900 U.S. Census, Rutherford county, North Carolina, population schedule, High Shoals, ED 139, sheet 14-B, dwelling 250, family 261, James Hamrick household; database and digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 8 Feb 2010); citing NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 1216.
[2] Find A Grave, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed 20 Dec 2013), memorial page for Sarah Susan Sudie Hamrick Turner,  Find A Grave Memorial no. 55355682, citing Sharon Memorial Park, Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.
[3] North Carolina, Marriages, 1759-1979, index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/F836-18M : accessed 22 June 2012), Jacob A. Turner, 1907.
[4] Find A Grave, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed 22 Jun 2012), memorial page for Jacob Austin Turner,  Find A Grave Memorial no. 55355632, citing Sharon Memorial Park, Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.
[5] North Carolina, Marriages, 1759-1979, index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/F836-18M : accessed 22 June 2012), Jacob A. Turner, 1907.
[6] 1910 U.S Census, Census, Mecklenburg county, North Carolina, population schedule, Charlotte Township, p. 210 (stamped), ED 101, sheet 12-A, dwelling 149, family 224, Austin Turner household; database and digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 28 Dec 2009); citing NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 1121.
[7] World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com accessed : 7 Nov 2009), card Jacob Austin Turner, serial no. 2721,  order no 620, DRAFT Rutherfordton, N.C.; citing NARA microfilm publication M1509, roll 1,765,939.
[8] 1920 U.S Census, Rutherford county, North Carolina, population schedule, CIVIL, p. 185 (stamped), ED 185, sheet 5-A, dwelling 75, family 81, Jacob A Turner household; database and digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 28 Dec 2009); citing NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 1321.
[9] U.S. City Directories (Beta), database and images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 9 Apr 2012), entry for J Austin and Sudie Turner, 1925, Charlotte, N.C.; Hill’s Charlotte (Mecklenburg County, N.C.) City Directory vol. 1925, (Richmond, VA: Hill Directory Co., Inc., 1925), 960.
[10] 1930 U.S. Census, Iredell county, North Carolina, population schedule, Statesville City, p. 131 (stamped), ED 49-30, sheet 18-A, dwelling 334, family 343, James Turner household; database and digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 12 Mar 2011); citing NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 1700.
[11] U.S. City Directories (Beta), database and images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 9 Apr 2012), entry for Jas A and Sudie S Turner and entry for J Austin Turner, 1933, Charlotte, N.C.; Hill’s Charlotte (Mecklenburg County, N.C.) City Directory vol. 1933, (Richmond, VA: Hill Directory Co., Inc., 1933), 504.
[12] U.S. City Directories (Beta), database and images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 9 Apr 2012), entry for J Austin and SarahTurner, 1941, Charlotte, N.C.; Hill’s Charlotte (Mecklenburg County, N.C.) City Directory vol. 1941 X, (Richmond, VA: Hill Directory Co., Inc., 1941), 722.
[13] U.S. City Directories (Beta), database and images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 9 Apr 2012), entry for J Austin and Sudie Turner, 1951, Charlotte, N.C.;Hill’s Charlotte (Mecklenburg County, N.C.) City Directory vol. 1951, (Richmond, VA: Hill Directory Co., Inc., 1951), 894.
[14] North Carolina Death Certificates, 1909-1975, digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com accessed : 28 Dec 2009), entry for Jacob Austin Turner, 22 Jan 1959, cert . no. 90-1829; North Carolina State Board of Health, Office of Vital Statistics, Raleigh, North Carolina.
[15] “Howard Arthur Turner,” The Charlotte (Mecklenburg, North Carolina) Observer, GenealogyBank.com (http://www.genealogybank.com : accessed 19 April 2012).
[16] Find A Grave, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed 22 Dec 2013), memorial page for Michael Conrad Turner,  Find A Grave Memorial no. 84007199, citing Sharon Memorial Park, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.

A Conflicting Evidence Case In Parts: Death Records

I’ve talked about my grandmother, Jennie Elizabeth Payne in past posts: How Eight Children Ended Up Living Alone in 1930 and The Questions a Record Begs Us to Ask

I’ve always had trouble with the conflicting evidence around the birth of her youngest brother Otto.

Otto Baxter Payne is believed to be the youngest child of James Robert Payne and Eva Georgia Baxter.  Otto’s gravestone states that he was born December 16, 19231.  James’ death certificate states that he died on January 23, 19232. If these two dates are correct, it is highly unlikely that James is Otto’s father. If Otto was born in 1922 it would be possible for James to be his father.

Now I obviously could order the birth certificate, and assuming it was correct know the answer. But basic methodology says you need two sources from separate informants. AND I could use some practice in conflicting evidence. So I’ll begin my search using just online evidence.

Today, I’m going to look at the death records I have found.

Death Records for Otto Baxter Payne

1. Find A Grave, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed 17 Oct 2013), memorial page for Otto B Payne,  Find A Grave Memorial no. 11082230, citing Mountain Rest Cemetery, Kings Mountain, Cleveland County, North Carolina.

Comment: The tombstone states that Otto died on November 3, 1993 at the age of 75.  He was born on December 16, 1923. The source of the information is unknown.

Genealogically significant facts:

  • Name: Otto B Payne
  • Birth: Dec 16, 1923
  • Death: Nov 3, 1999
  • Served as a TEC 4 in the US Army  and a SSGT in the US Air Force in World War II and Korea
  • Has a Christian Cross on the tombstone
  • Buried in Mountain Rest Cemetery, Kings Mountain, NC

2. U.S. Veterans Gravesites, ca.1775-2006, database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 17 Oct 2013), entry for Otto B Payne, died 3 Nov 1999; citing National Cemetery Administration, Nationwide Gravesite Locator.veterans-gravesite-otto-baxter-payne

Comment: This is an index to veteran’s tombstones and the informant is unknown.  It is possible that the information in this index is taken from Otto’s Tombstone.

Genealogically significant facts:

  • Name: Otto B Payne
  • Birth: Dec 16, 1923
  • Death: Nov 3, 1999
  • Service Info: Tec 4 US Army World War II, Korea
  • Cemetery: Mountain Rest Cemetery
  • Cemetery Address: S Dilling St Kings Mountain, NC, 28086

3. Social Security Administration, “Social Security Death Index,” database, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 17 Oct 2013), entry for Otto B Payne, 1923, SS no. [REDACTED FOR PRIVATE USE].ssdi-otto-baxter-payne-2

Comment: It is very likely that Otto supplied the information on his SSN application.  He would have applied before 1951 and at that time he thought his birthday was December 15, 1922.

Genealogically significant facts:

  • Name: Otto B Payne
  • SSN: XXX-XX-XXXX
  • Last Residence: 28111 Monroe, Union, North Carolina, USA
  • Born: 15 Dec 1922
  • Died: 3 Nov 1999
  • State SSN issued: North Carolina (Before 1951)

4.  “MONROE – Otto B Payne,” Charlotte (North Carolina) Observer, 4 Nov 1999; online transcription, “Newspaper Archives, 1690-2010,” GenealogyBank.com (http://www.genealogybank.com : accessed 22 Oct 2013).

Comment: We do not know who the informant is for this obituary or if they knew Otto’s age or if they were guessing.  If his age is correct, then he was born in 1923 and not 1922.

Genealogically significant facts:

  • Name: Otto B Payne
  • Parents: James Robert Payne, Georgia Ann Baxter payne
  • Died: Nov 3, 1999
  • Died at age 75 [ if his birth day was Dec 15 or 16, then he was born in 1923]
  • Church: Grace United Methodist Church
  • Military: Veteran WWII, U.S. Army
  • Interred: Mountain Rest Cemetery, Kings Mountain, NC, Nov 5, 1999
  • Surviving family: Cindy Payne, Monroe, NC, daughter; Eva Payne Avery, Duback, LA, sister; numerous nieces and nephews.

Analysis of the Records

From the death records, we already have conflicting evidence.  3 records (one is an index) state that he was born in 1923 and 1 states that he was born in 1922.  None of these are definitive in proving what year he was born.  Although I do think they demonstrate the conflict pretty well.

Tomorrow, we will analyze the birth records that are available online.

Footnotes

1. Find A Grave, database and images (http://findagrave.com : accessed 17 Oct 2013), memorial page for Otto B Payne,  Find A Grave Memorial no. 11082230, citing Mountain Rest Cemetery, Kings Mountain, Cleveland County, North Carolina.
2. “North Carolina Death Certificates, 1909-1975,” database online, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed  8 Nov 2009), entry for James R Payne, death date 5 Jan 1923; citing North Carolina State Board of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics, North Carolina Death Certificates; North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, North Carolina.

Wisdom Wednesday — The World is a Limitless Place

I am a perpetual student because the world is a limitless place. — Elissa Scalise Powell

I had the honor of being in Elissa’s class when I was a student in the Boston University Online Certificate program.  She was inspiring then, and in a recent post on APG mailing list, she delivered the above gem.  (I couldn’t find this attributed to anyone else, so I assume it is hers.)  It was part of a great discussion about education.

When I was a computer science student at the University of Arkansas working on my bachelor’s degree, I remember sitting in an architecture class and thinking, there is absolutely no way I am ever going to know all there is to know about this.  It inspired me to go get a Master’s Degree at Purdue.

I had that moment in my BU class where the light went on and I knew I would have to pick and choose what I became truly knowledgeable about in Genealogy.

For me, I want to know all I can about Southern Genealogy, specifically Virginia, and the Carolina’s and the Civil War.  That is where my family’s history lies.

Oh, and sourcing!

Some days I feel like I am making progress and some days I am overwhelmed.

But I keep reading and practicing.  Because the world is indeed a limitless place.

Wisdom Wednesday: Uncle Paul and Andy Griffith

My Uncle Paul loved Andy Griffith, especially the Andy Griffith show.  He says all of life lessons could be learned from the show. It seemed to be a simpler time back then didn’t it?  When we look back, life made more sense, people were more pleasant, life was easier.  At least in our memories.

My sister and I sitting with my Uncle Paul

My sister was very young in this picture, she is sitting Uncle Paul’s lap. I’m guessing this was taken sometime in 1965, probably in South Carolina where we lived or North Carolina where Paul lived.

This one is for you Paul. And Andy. And all that lives only in our memories.

Details in City Directories: Howard’s Radio Career Uncovered

I was asked a couple of days ago, “Why are city directories interesting?”  It is a fair question.  You find them, you attach them to your online tree or software program, and then you have a list of them.  A list of them?  Dreadfully boring .

Listing of records for Howard Turner, 1919 – 1992

This is not interesting.  It doesn’t tell me anything about the man and his life.

It is all about pulling the story out of them.

In my previous post, Just Because It’s In Print, Doesn’t Make it True, I discussed the obituary I found of my grandfather and whether he was a radio announcer. City directories hold important clues to Howard Turner’s radio career.

In 1938 and 1939, Howard, 18, was living with his parents, James Austin TURNER and Sudie Sarah HAMRICK TURNER, at 316 E Morehead, Charlotte, NC.  Howard’s brother James Austin Jr., was living around the corner with his wife Annie Lineriux BOONE TURNER; both James Sr. and Jr. were salesman.  Ira and Pearl TURNER, Howard’s aunt and uncle lived not far from them at 1826 E 4th; Ira owns Turner Trading Company.

In 1938, Howard is a student and in 1939 we see that Howard begins his career as a Radio Announcer.1

On May 25, 1940 Howard marries Jennie Elizabeth PAYNE in Kings Mountain, North Carolina.2

He disappears from the City Directories in until 1943, where he is living with Jennie in Asheville, North Carolina.  Howard is a Radio Announcer for WISE Broadcasting as well as the manager of a Welding Engineering School where both his father, James, and his wife, Jennie, are working. 3 Their first child, a daughter is born in 1943.4

From 1944 to 1950, Howard and Jennie are back in Charlotte, and Howard is working for WBT, a major radio station in Charlotte, North Carolina.  They are living at 522 Hawthorne Lane in an apartment.  Their second child, a son is born in 1944.5

In 1951, it appears the couple has separated.  Howard is living with Lois Turner at 323 E Blvd in Charlotte and is now working for Turner’s.  Jennie is living at 523 Hawthorne Lane and is working as a nurse at the Presbyterian Hospital.6

Except for the marriage and births, all the detail comes from the City Directories.  It’s all about the details and making stories a little less forgotten.

Footnotes
1. Hill’s Charlotte (Mecklenburg County, N. C. ) City Directory(Richmond, VA, Hill Directory CO., Inc., 1938), 661 ; also subsequent year by the same title: 1939 (666); digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 22 Jun 2012), Howard Turner.
2. “North Carolina, Marriages, 1759-1979,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/F884-NJG : accessed 22 June 2012), Howard Arthur Turner, 1940.
3.Hill’s Asheville (Buncombe County, N. C. ) City Directory (1943), 495.
4. Buncombe County, North Carolina, General Index to Births, North Carolina Birth Indexes, vol 31, Raleigh, North Carolina State Archives, microfilm NCVR_B_C013_66003, page 253, Katharine Ann Turner; digital images, “North Carolina, Birth and Death Indexes, 1800-2000, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com :accessed 22 Jun 2012).
5. Mecklenberg County, North Carolina, North Carolina Birth Indexes, vol 102, , microfilm NCVR_B_C065_66004, page 164, Thomas Richard Turner.
6. Hill’s Charlotte (Mecklenburg County, N. C. ) City Directory (1944) 754, (1945) 603,(1947) 723, (1948) 732, .

Just Because It’s In Print Doesn’t Make It True

I never knew my maternal grandfather, Howard Arthur Turner, as I lost contact with my mother and her side of the family when I was very young.  One day I discovered his obituary on GenealogyBank.com and became intrigued with knowing more about him.

From his obituary I learned he died on June 26, 1992 and that he was survived by his wife Carol; son Tom Turner; daughter, Mrs. Kathy Currier; brothers, James Turner Jr., Michael Turner; two stepdaughters; two grandchildren; nephews and nieces. 1

That would be the first piece of information that is wrong.  He was survived by at least 4 grandchildren.  My sister and I are the daughters of Kathy Currier by a previous marriage.

When reading obituaries, family histories, newspapers, wills and other documents we use to understand genealogy it is important to remember details are often presented to fit current realities.  Given that my sister and I had not had contact with the man since we were very young and that we haven’t had any contact with the family for well over 30 years, it is understandable.  And a different story for a different day.

The paragraphs that I find the most intriguing from the obituary are:

A radio newscaster at WBT (1110 AM) in the early 1940s, Mr. Turner also taught David Brinkley, now host of the Sunday news Program “This Week With David Brinkley,” who was a UPI news reporter at the Charlotte Station, how to announce on the radio – or so the story goes, says Mr. Turner’s son, Tom.

“My dad would like to tell us about how he taught David Brinkley how to announce on the radio. I don’t know if it’s absolutely true, but he sure liked to tell the story,” said Tom Turner, now president of his father’s supply company. From 1941 to 1946, Mr. Turner paired with Grady Cole, for whom the Grady Cole Center on Kings Drive is named, to produce morning news reports on WBT.” 2

There is a story there.  How much of it is true? I know there are already missing pieces in this brief summary of his life. One thing I do know, the story is probably interesting. Tomorrow I’ll start trying to unravel it.

1. “Howard Arthur Turner,” obituary, The Charlotte (North Carolina) Observer, June 28, 1992; digital images, Genealogybank.com, (http://www.genealogybank.com : accessed 5 April 2009), Newspaper Obituaries Collection.
2. “Howard Arthur Turner,” obituary, The Charlotte Observer, June 28, 1992.

North Carolina in the 1920′s

Life in the 1920 is not life in the 2010′s.  I went searching for information in the 1920′s, specifically about North Carolina, to try and gather some perspective about the life of Jennie Elizabeth Payne and how her life was different than mine.

I know that prohibition began in the 1920′s and women were given the right to vote.   I wonder if my grandmother voted in the 20′s? Warren G Harding and Calvin Coolidge were the presidents in the 1920′s.  What did she think of them?  And did the family respect prohibition or was it just something they had to work around?

I found an interesting site NCpedia which had a article Women in the 1920s.  It is interesting to note that NCSU began accepting women in 1921 but didn’t actually have one graduate until 1926.  UNC also allowed women to attend in 1921, but “the student newspaper headlined, Women Not Wanted Here. ” Yikes!  I know that grandmother worked as a nurse at one point, so she probably had some education.

Crowder Mountain was a rural area, and electricity was not the norm and bathrooms were usually outhouses.  I would not have done well.1 Life could not have been easy on the farm.

I know that I saw that some people were working in Mills in the 1930s in the surrounding houses. I need to do a survey of the census and see what people did for a living and how that changed from 1920 to 1930s. Another task for the to-do list.

The Library of Congress does not have any North Carolina newspapers digitized.  I’ve had a lot of luck with Virginia newspapers.

GenealogyBank has digitized images of the Charlotte Observer in the 1920′s.  I doubt I’ll find any of my Payne’s in there, but it would be good just to get a feel for what was important.  I’ll put that on the list for another day.

I’m going to tackle the survey of the census next to try and understand the neighborhoods they live in.  And I think it is time for a timeline.  Nothing puts details together like putting them in chronological order.

Footnote
1. Government and Heritage Library at the State Library of North Carolina,”Women in the 1920s in North Carolina, NCpedia.org (http://www.ncpedia.org : accessed 3 Jun 2012).

How Eight Children Ended Up Living Alone in 1930

When we looked at Jennie Elizabeth Payne in the 1930 census, we were left with the question, why was Jennie, 22, was living on a farm in Crowder Mountain, North Carolina with 4 brothers and 3 sisters?  The oldest brother, Floyd, owned the farm which appeared to be family run. 1  The story we find is a sad one.

Let’s step back to the year 1920. Jennie is 12, and living with her parents, James, 37, and Georgie, 36, Payne. James owned his farm with a mortgage on Kings Mountain Road in Crowder Mountain, North Carolina. He lived there with his wife, 3 daughters, Lela, Jennie and Daisy and 4 sons, Boyce, Floyd, Thomas and Robert. His sons and oldest daughter worked the farm.2 Later that year, James and Georgie added another daughter to the family. In 1922, their fifth son Otto is born.3

But December 27, 1922 found James Payne suffering from influenza and pneumonia and on January 5, 1923 he died leaving his wife and 9 children.4 Five years later, tragedy strikes the family again. In November 1927 Georgie was suffering from pneumonia and on February 3, 1928 she also died.5

And in 1930, the 8 of the brothers and sisters are living together on the family farm without their parents.

The story is not the records, the story comes from the records.

Footnotes
1. 1930 U.S. census, Gaston County, North Carolina, population schedule, Crowder Mountain Township, p. 133 (stamped), enumeration district(ED) 9, sheet 18A, dwelling 280, family 314, Jennie E Payne; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 31 May 2012); citing NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 1691.
2. 1920 U.S. census, Gaston County, North Carolina, population schedule, Crowder Mountain Township, pp. 65-66 (stamped), enumeration district(ED) 75, sheet 6B-7A, dwelling 97, family 106, Jennie E Payne; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 Jun 2012); citing NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 1299.
3. 1930 U.S. census, Gaston Co., North Carolina, pop. sch., p. 133 (stamped), dwelling 280, family 314, Jennie E Payne.
4. North Carolina, State Board of Health, death certificate #421 (stamped) (1923), James R Payne, Bureau of Vital Statistics, Raleigh; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 Jun 2012); citing Microfilm S.123. Rolls 19-242, 280, 313-682, 1040-1297.
5. North Carolina, State Board of Health, death certificate #397 (stamped) (1928), Georgie E Payne, Bureau of Vital Statistics, Raleigh; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 1 Jun 2012); citing Microfilm S.123. Rolls 19-242, 280, 313-682, 1040-1297.

The Questions a Record Begs Us to Ask

Census records are great for giving us birth events, names and relationships (stated or presumed) and depending on the year other various event and identity information.  But I do believe that every census tells a story, with the questions it begs us to ask.

My grandmother was Jennie Elizabeth Payne and she was born in North Carolina.  In 1930, I find her living in Crowder Mountain, North Carolina with her brothers and sisters.1

I think too often we gather the names, the vitals and the relationships and move on.  Or maybe we transcribe everything off the record.  But what is the story that this document tells us?  What are the questions that it is begging us to ask and then answer?

A quick look tells us that  particular census is not the basic family unit we expect to see.  Where are the parents?  There are some fairly young children in this household; Otto B is only 8.  Where are his mother and father and why have they left their youngest children to be raised by their oldest.

Floyd R Payne, Jennie’s brother, owns the house.  This is not typical for a 20 year old single male in this area. Floyd is listed as a farmer on a General Farm, and his two brothers, Thomas and Robert, are listed as laborers on a Farm, presumably the family farm.  None of the sisters are working and Lela and Jennie are in their 20′s.  So it would appear that the family is not destitute.

So how did they end up in this situation?  Are the parents dead? Is there some other reason for this family setup?  It’s not that they were living here in this particular time and place, the story will come from why were they living here in particular time and place and where are the people we expect to be there.

The story begins by asking the right questions.

Footnote
1. 1930 U.S. census, Gaston County, North Carolina, population schedule, Crowder Mountain Township, p. 133 (stamped), enumeration district(ED) 9, sheet 18A, dwelling 280, family 314, Jennie E Payne; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 31 May 2012); citing NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 1691.