Joshua and Patience BROWN HADLEY ~ Tombstone Tuesday

Joshua Hadley and Patience Brown Tombstone

My sixth-great-grandfather on my adopted father’s side (step-dad initially) of the family, Joshua HADLEY, was born March 6, 1703, in Kilcleagh, Westmeath, Ireland, to Simon HADLEY (1675 – 1756) and Ruth Miller KERAN (February 1677 – December 18, 1750). Joshua died in 1760, in North Carolina.

Joshua married Patience BROWN in 1735 in New Castle, Delaware. Patience was born May 25, 1712 in New Garden Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania, to Jeremiah BROWN (September 1687 – March 1767) and Mary Royal COLES (June 8, 1690 – July 31, 1749). Patience BROWN died in either May or December 1783 in Chatham, North Carolina.

Joshua Hadley and Patience Brown Tombstone Up Close

Plaque on Joshua and Patience BROWN HADLEY’s tombstone.

“In Memory of Joshua Hadley. Born 3M, 6th, 1703 in King County Ireland. Died 1760. And Patience Brown, Wife. Born 5M, 25, 1712.”

Speaking about Joshua: “Came to N.C. 1758, Pioneer Ancestory of Hadley Family of South and West. Erected 1931.”

Joshua and Patience HADLEY were the parents of Simon HADLEY.

Simon HADLEY (March 5, 1737 – March 24, 1803) and Bridget FOOTE (April 17, 1732 – December 15, 1807) were the parents of Thomas LAKEY. Simon passed away on Thomas’ wife’s birthday (see below). This also happens to be my maternal grandma, Ruby Irene PORTER WILLIAMS’ birthday and the day my mom (Ruby Irene’s daughter) was buried. These two were related by marriage to this branch. My mom was married to Simon and Bridget’s fourth-great-grandson. There are also a few other important dates throughout just the family history I know by memory that happened on March 24th. It has become a big day in our family history.

Thomas LAKEY (June 16, 1751 – January 7, 1780) and Ann HADLEY (March 24, 1759 – October 6, 1841) were Simon LAKEY’s parents.

Simon LAKEY (June 8, 1778 – June 19, 1853) and Mary BURCHAM (October 8, 1789 – March 13, 1864) were John Burcham LAKEY’s parents. Simon was born on his second-great-grandmother Mary Royal COLES’ 88th birthday, but she had died almost 30 years earlier (see above).

John Burcham LAKEY (June 11, 1827 – February 12, 1863) and Keziah “Kissie” ROMINES (1827 – November 4, 1893) were the parents of Simon William LAKEY.

Simon William LAKEY (June 1848 – 1919) and Mary Martha COBB (March 1879 – December 4, 1952) were the parents of Andy Lee Chester LAKEY, Sr. By the way, I was concerned about my dates early on, but have checked them many times and have multiple sources that show the 31 years difference in age and that she really was a child bride when they got married August 18, 1892, in Ozark, Missouri.

Andy Lee Chester LAKEY, Sr (March 15, 1905 – March 6, 1972) and Eunice Mae DANNER (August 18, 1907 – May 2, 1996) were the parents of my adoptive father.


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Cortes and Sarah SMITH’s Marriage License ~ Wedding Wednesday

Cortes Eugene SMITH, my second great-grandfather, was born about 1863 in Missouri to John A. SMITH (born about 1820) and Irene (born about 1826). Cortes died on August 8, 1914 in Missouri.

Sarah Elizabeth Jasmine CARTER MEREDITH, my second great-grandmother, was born about 1864 in Arkansas. She died on March 10, 1940 in Missouri. We have been told all along by my grandma (one of her grand-daughters) and others that this was her full name. There was no doubt. We cannot discover the names of her parents to confirm much, but I recently found this marriage certificate that simply lists her name as Sarah E. CARTER. I am not ready to drop the additional names yet. It is also possible that her name was shortened after she left the reservation or something.

Cortes and Sarah were married on October 11, 1883 in Richmond, Ray County, Missouri.

Cortes and Sarah Smith Marriage Certificate

State of Missouri, County of Ray

Marriage between Cortes E. Smith of the County of Ray and State of Missouri who is under the age of twenty-one years, and Sarah E. Carter of the County of Ray and the State of Missouri who is over the age of eighteen years.

Witness my hand as Recorder, with the seal of office hereto affixed at my office in Richmond, the 11th day of October 1883.  John Milstand?  Recorder


This is to certify, that the undersigned a Justice of the Peace did, at Richmond, MO in said County, on the 11th day of October AD, 1883 unite in Marriage the above named persons.  J.D. Mastino?  J.P.

Filed for Record this 11 day of October 1883.  John Milstand?


Cortes and Sarah SMITH were the parents of six children including Mary Irene Saphronia Jasmine SMITH (July 4, 1890 – June 25, 1947), who was the mother of Ruby Irene PORTER WILLIAMS (March 24, 1928 – May 13, 2010), who was the mother of my mom Carol Elizabeth WILLIAMS LAKEY (March 4, 1947 – March 20, 1987).

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Nathaniel WILLIAMS ~ Tombstone Tuesday

Nathaniel Williams TombstoneMy second great-grandfather, Nathaniel WILLIAMS, was born in September of 1862 in Scott City, Bourbon County, Kansas, to Jacob WILLIAMS (born about 1830) and Sarah E. (March 8, 1845 – July 4, 1929).

Nathaniel married Lillie Mae “Mamie” STANLEY in 1886 in Scott City, Bourbon County, Kansas. Lillie Mae was born in October of 1868 in Kinney, Illinois. Her mother’s maiden name was Cardelia OLWIN and she was born about 1850.

Nathaniel and Lillie Mae WILLIAMS had five children: Lillie M WILLIAMS (born in 1887), Arthur Jacob WILLIAMS Sr (1889-1965), Ernest L WILLIAMS (born in 1892), Lena WILLIAMS (1898-1971), and Valentine Nathanial WILLIAMS (1901-1983).

Nathaniel was buried in Griggs, Cimarron County, Oklahoma. He died on April 11, 1908.

Lillie Mae was remarried after Nathaniel’s death and was later buried in Peoria, Illinois. She died on April 8, 1935.

Nathaniel and Lillie Mae’s son, Arthur Jacob WILLIAMS Sr (October 13, 1889 – December 16, 1965) and Martha Agnes FRARY (July 27, 1900 – July 6, 1923) were the parents of Carlton Nathanial WILLIAMS Sr.

Carlton Nathanial WILLIAMS Sr (March 16, 1922 – July 15, 1991) and Ruby Irene PORTER (March 24, 1928 – May 13, 2010) were my mom’s parents.


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David and Hannah THALER ~ Census Sunday

My husband’s second great-grandfather on his father’s side, David THALER, was born on March 10, 1840, in Bayern, Germany to Johannis THALER and Maria Eva WEIGEL. David died August 1918 in San Luis Obispo, California, USA. I forget the exact details, but David THALER’s name is mentioned in one of the stories on a wall inside the Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa. He was one of the key helpful Caucasian men in the earlier days at the mission.

My husband’s second great-grandmother on his father’s side, Hannah A. BLAKE, was born on July 9, 1858, in California (possibly in Napa) to Ander (or Andrew Jackson) BLAKE (May 5, 1826-September 13, 1900) and Elizabeth (February 4, 1841-October 21, 1901). Hannah died January 4, 1919 in San Luis Obispo, California, USA.

Below is what can be found in the 1900 United States Census for this couple and their family. It shows that they had a six-year-old lodger whom I cannot figure out. He is not in the 1910 Census with David and Hannah and the name is not familiar to me.

David Thaler 1900 Census

Name: David Thaler
Age: 60
Birth Date: Mar 1840
Birthplace: Germany
Home in 1900: San Luis Obispo, San Luis Obispo, California
Race: White
Gender: Male
Immigration Year: 1857
Relation to Head of House: Head
Marital Status: Married
Spouse’s Name: Hannah A Thaler
Marriage Year: 1878
Years Married: 22
Father’s Birthplace: Germany
Mother’s Birthplace: Germany
Occupation: Chief, Fire Dept.

Household Members:
Name ~ Age ~ Birthplace (BP) ~ Father’s BP ~ Mother’s BP ~ Occupation
David Thaler ~ 60 ~ Germany ~ Germany ~ Germany ~ Chief, Fire Dept.
Hannah A. Thaler ~ 40 ~ California ~ Indiana ~ California ~ (blank) ~ 3 children all living
Josephine M. Thaler ~ 21 ~ California ~ Germany ~ California ~ Teacher
Arthur Thaler ~ 19 ~ California ~ Germany ~ California ~ Teamster
Fred E. Thaler ~ 11 ~ California ~ Germany ~ California ~ School (student)
Iowa Keyser ~ 6 ~ California ~ California ~ California ~ School (student) ~ LODGER


David and Hannah Thaler were the parents of Josephine M. THAYLER/THALER JOHNSON (1879-1975), who was the mother of Evelyn Iola JOHNSON PARKER (1908-1979), who was the mother of my father-in-law.


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Five Generation Birthplace Charts

These birthplace charts are all the rage on genealogy blogs and Facebook right now. I created one for my lineage (with my father’s line being my adoptive father’s ancestors) and another one for my husband’s lineage. They are quite interesting, but if it went back a bit further, it would suddenly get quite a bit more interesting on several branches.

The charts begin with me (on the top chart) and my husband and go through our great-great-grandparents. The paternal lines are on the top of each pair and they have been color-coded by U.S. state or country.

SLP Birthplace Pedigree Chart

My Five Generation Birthplace Chart

MBP Birthplace Pedigree Chart

My Husband’s Five Generation Birthplace Chart

The template I used was posted by Miriam Robbin at AnceStories. You can check out #MyColorfulAncestry on Twitter and Facebook to see charts created by others.


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Charles Oscar PORTER’s Death Certificate

I was totally surprised when I came across this death certificate for my maternal great-grandfather the other day in a new database I found.

I always assumed or maybe even believed that Charles Oscar PORTER died from a heart attack or something similar while working in the field. I always pictured it that way. Was I in a way led to believe that by being told that he died while working in the field, but omitting the details? Maybe. I can see why, though, now that I know at least a little bit of what happened. I am sure that if it was, it was to soften the subject.

It turns out that there was a farm accident that caused great-grandpa’s sudden death. My grandma, Ruby Irene PORTER WILLIAMS (his youngest child) was the one listed as the “informant”.

I always felt sorry for my grandma since she lost both of her parents just a little over a year apart and when both of her oldest children were each about three months old. I knew that this was a big reason why Grandma understood so well what I was going through in relation to losing my mom so young and suddenly. She had been there, too. Being a new mother of a three-month old baby and going through this accident must have been horribly difficult. Thinking about it, I am thankful that it did not happen just a few months later, because then she would have also been pregnant at the time. She was such a strong lady!

It is a bit eerie to me that Charles Oscar died suddenly just 17 days after he turned 62 and Irene’s second child (my mom) died suddenly just 16 days after she turned 40. Knowing my grandma, this did not escape her thinking at least a few times. I do know that Grandma loved it when happy occasions made formerly sad days something to look forward to again. This happened when one of her grand-daughters was born on the day her dad passed away, but obviously many years later.

We also find on this document that Charles Oscar died in Cedar County, Missouri, where he moved about a year earlier. I did not know either of those facts before. Nor did I have an address in Humansville where they lived when my mom was born. Of course, it is a R.R., so I probably will not be able to pin-point the location (at least easily), but it is nice to have.

Here is a map and current demographic information for Washington Township, Cedar Country, Missouri (the location of his death and likely his home).

(See below the certificate for transcribed information.)
Charles Oscar Porter Death Certificate

The State Board of Health of Missouri – Standard Certificate of Death
Place of death: Cedar County
City or town: Rural – Wash. (Washington Township)
In this community: 1 year
Full name: Charles Oscar Porter
Sex: Male
Color or race: White
Wife: Mary I. Porter
Birth of deceased: April 2, 1884
Age: 62 years 0 months 17 days
Birthplace: Oxford, Kansas
Usual occupation: Farming
Father’s name: Daniel M. Porter
Birthplace: Illinois
Mother’s maiden name: Carrie
Birthplace: Unknown
Informant: Mrs. Irene Williams
Informant’s address: R.R. #3, Humansville, Missouri
Place: Stockton Cemetery
Signature of funeral director: Church and Neale?
Address: Stockton, Missouri
Date received local registrar: 5-2-46?
Registrar’s signature: Geneva Garrison
Usual residence of deceased: State: Missouri
County: Cedar
City or town: Rural
Citizen of foreign country? No
Date of death: April 19, 1946
Time: 1:30 PM
Immediate cause of death: Crushed chest; died instantly
Due to: Overturn tractor
Major findings of autopsy: No
If death was due to external causes, fill in the following: Accident
Date of occurrence: April 19, 1946
Where did injury occur? Cedar, Missouri
Did injury occur in or about home, on farm….? On farm
While at work? Yes
Signature: (Cannot read, but maybe W.D. Twi___), Coroner
Address: El Dorado Springs, Missouri
File received: May 9, 1946
Filed: May 10, 1946
Primary Registration District No.: 5240
State File No.: 12535
Registrar’s No.: 12

Charles Oscar PORTER was the father of Ruby Irene PORTER WILLIAMS, who was the mother of Carol Elizabeth WILLIAMS LAKEY, who was my mom.


Posted in PORTER ~ BOWLES ~ MEREDITH ~ SMITH | Tagged , | 8 Comments

Free Genealogy Databases and Resources Online

Free Genealogy Databases and Resources Online

Free Genealogy Databases

Ellis Island 1892-1924 ~ This requires you to create a free account. Once you have one, hover over the Ellis Island tab and then click on Passenger Search.

Pilgrim Ship Lists Early 1600’s ~ Over 7100 families and 290 ships.

Immigrant Ships ~ 17,000+ passenger manifests in 16 volumes. Great for finding early ship passenger information. You can search the different volumes by the ship’s name, port of departure, port of arrival, or the captain’s name.

Castle Garden 1820-1892 ~ Before Ellis Island, many of our ancestors came through Castle Garden.

Olive Tree’s Ships Passenger List ~ I like this resource mostly because it also tells you exactly how to search for your immigrant ancestors. It takes you through the steps (if you don’t already know what ship or port you need) of first looking through the major ports of arrival (as well as what they are and where to find them), then the smaller ports, etc. It also tells about different ethnic groups immigrating to America.

Ship Passenger Lists ~ This includes links to lists for Emigrants from: Banat, Belarus, China, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, England, Scotland, Wales, and United States. It also contains links for lists for Immigrants to: Australia, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, New Zealand, Panama, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States 1620-1776, United States East Coast, United States Gulf Coast, and United States West Coast. When you first click on the link, it takes you to another page that includes the link or links available to search plus it often has some brief information about those who sailed to or from that location.

Genealogy Trails ~ This is a real gem! I have not explored it very long, but I have already found some wonderful information. I love the Native American Data section, Trails of Some Early Americans, Heirloom Recipes (by state), military records, and all of the special things found on each state’s page.

RootsWeb ~ This is a simple search engine, but it can produce something you have not come across before. Definitely worth checking out. I have found many things through RootsWeb. It is now under the umbrella of, so it is included if you use that; you can however, still use this for free without any accounts with RootsWeb or Ancestry.

1940 Census ~ Made up of images that were scanned from over 4,000 rolls of microfilm. This is the official host of the 1940 census. In order to search here, you need to know the enumeration district of your ancestor. It tells you how you can find it. The 1940 Census is included in several other family tree websites and easier to search, but if you do not have access to any of those… this is free and available.

Olive Tree Genealogy ~ This is an extremely comprehensive site. It includes: passenger lists (mentioned above), Military, Native American, Canadian, Palatine, Huguenots, Orphan records, Mennonites, Quakers, New Netherland (New York), Loyalists, as well as a lot of tips.

National Archives Access to Archival Databases (AAD) ~ Oh my! There are 26 types of databases here to search including records and files pertaining to: Passengers Who Arrived at the Port of New York During the Irish Famine 1/12/1846-12/31/1851, Immigration of Germans to the United States 1850-1897, Immigration of Italians to the United States 1855-1900, World War II Army Enlistment Records 1938-1946, World War II Prisoners of War 12/7/1941-11/19/1946, World War II Prisoners of the Japanese ca. 1941- ca. 1945, Japanese Americans Relocated During World War II 1942-1946, Duty Locations for Naval Intelligence Personnel 1942-1945, Military Personnel Who Died as a Result of Hostilities During the Korean War 1/1/1950-2/7/1957, Korean War Dead and Wounded Army Casualties 2/13/1950-12/31/1953,  Repatriated Korean War Prisoners of War 7/5/1950-10/6/1954, American Prisoners of War During the Korean War 1950-1953, National Register of Scientific and Technical Personnel Files 1954-1970, Military Personnel Who Died/Were Missing in Action/or Prisoners of War as a Result of the Vietnam War 6/8/1956-1/21/1998, Records with Unit Information on Military Personnel Who Died During the Vietnam War 6/8/1956-10/10/2003, Deceased/Wounded/Ill or Injured Army Personnel Including Dependents and Civilian Employees 1/1/1961-12/1981, Awards and Decorations of Honor During the Vietnam War 12/1965-11/1972, Gorgas Hospital Mortuary Registers 1906-1991, Immigration of Russians to the United States 1834-1897, etc.

Social Security Death Index ~ This index is included in several all-in-one types of sites, but this is an easy, free, and relatively “unattached” search engine.

Find a Grave ~ This is a great resource. I especially love when I find an ancestor that someone has taken and posted a picture of the grave stone and or the cemetery itself.

American Local History Network ~ A network of independent genealogy and historical sites. This site is a wealth of information. I especially like the timelines and other history you can find on specific states or sometimes counties. You can also find some useful information in the forums pertaining to your specific area.

Trails To The Past ~ I love all of the history found here about certain states and counties. It also (depending on the state) includes a lot of useful information and links for U.S. Forts, cemeteries, ghost towns, emigrant trails, recipes, Native Americans, obituaries, etc. Click on the States Table link at the top left to access most of what I have mentioned.

USGenWeb Project ~ They are a group of volunteers working together to provide free genealogy websites for genealogical research in every county of every state. Some counties and states are obviously much more thorough than others, but it is a great place to check especially when you find that your ancestors stayed in one place for a long time. If you are lucky, that place is one of the more thorough counties or states in the project.

WorldGenWebProject ~ The broader project over USGenWebProject (above) that includes a huge variety of countries.

Missouri Death Certificates 1910-1965 ~ By Missouri Digital Heritage. This is an extremely good resource for those of us with ancestors who passed away in Missouri between 1910 and 1965. It includes downloadable graphics of the originals. This is where I found my great-grandpa’s death certificate and discovered how he died. Wow! I didn’t see that one coming. My grandma never talked about it, but she was listed as the informant… so that could explain it even further. I just assumed he died from a heart attack or illness. Nope.

Missouri Birth and Death Database Pre-1910 ~ By Missouri Digital Heritage. This will be a great resource if you have family being born or dying before 1910 (including stillbirths), but all of the family members that I looked up in the Birth and Stillbirth Records Search did not show up. I am not sure if they are finished with this database or if a lot of records were lost somewhere. My family that I checked came from a few different counties, so I am not sure. It’s worth checking out though, because it gives you the name of the child, place of birth, county, date of birth, father’s name, mother’s name, mother’s maiden name, (and after you click on details) sex, number of child of this mother, race/color, nationality of father, his place of birth, his age, nationality of mother, her place of birth, her age, residence of mother, father’s occupation, and possibly the name and address of the attendant. Of course some of these are left blank, but what a treasure trove! (Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the search boxes.)

Free Databases at ~ I am definitely an fan. Yes, you have to watch out before you add someone else’s information to your family tree, because you do not know for sure if they researched it thoroughly… but that is the case everywhere. One of the best kept secrets is that they also have almost 2000 always-free databases. To view the records, you may be asked to sign up for a free account (but you do not need to sign up for the free trial). I just discovered this handy list and search engine for all of their free databases! AND… Many of their databases are actually international. It costs more for access to a lot of the international resources, so this is like gold!

Illinois Statewide Marriage Index 1763-1900 ~ Enter the groom’s or the bride’s name as well as the county (if known).

Illinois State Archives ~ Many great free databases including: Illinois Servitude and Emancipation Records (which is an amazing resource! One emancipation document I looked at included a remark that the 19-year-old William Barton was a certified child of Daniel and Phoebe Barton and born free in Illinois. This was dated 5/18/1843.) , 1929 Illinois Roll of Honor, Illinois Civil War Muster and Descriptive Rolls, Illinois Mexican War Veterans, Illinois Spanish-American War Veterans, Illinois War of 1812 Veterans, Death Index (pre 1916 and 1916-1950), etc.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission ~ They commemorate the 1,700,000 men and women of the Commonwealth forces who died in the two world wars. Includes a simple yet effective search engine at the top of the page.

Family History Books Search ~ This is part of Family Search and is honestly one of the easiest book search engines that I have come across. Sometimes you will receive a message that you cannot view this document at this time unless you are at a special library (Family History Library, a partner library, or a Family History Center). It says that you can try again later, because only a certain amount of viewers can utilize it in a certain time period if not in one of those libraries. Even if you still have trouble with that particular book, you at least now know the name of the book along with some more helpful information to possibly even look for it on Google Books or GooBooGenI (below).

GooBooGenI ~ Virtual Genealogy Library. This search engine or library contains online copies of books on Google Books, etc. You can search for them under the following categories: by state, railroads, U.S. Civil War, surname, etc and they include United States, Canada, and England. It says something on the front page about “registered accounts” being back, but I did all of my searching without making an account. It kind of helps if you have an idea about what books were written that would include your family before you head here, but you could just keep the search broad and scroll down the lists until something looks like a fit, too.

This link has some great tips for searching Google Books for family history related books.

Books We Own ~ A free look-up resource for international genealogical research. You may need to reimburse the volunteer if you have them snail mail you the information, but otherwise the service is free. I would just have them email it to me. Easier on both of us. I definitely want to check this resource out further. I just discovered it.

Bureau of Land Management ~ This has a wealth of information if one of your ancestors happens to be included. One of the ways is if he received a Military Land Patent for his service in a war.

CIA Records Search Tool (CREST) ~ This is quite interesting. I don’t know if I will ever be able to use it… or even desire that my ancestors would be mentioned….lol… but it is free and out there. It is a database of declassified intelligence documents that is searchable by title, data, and text content. It includes “Directorate of Operations reports on the role of intelligence in the post WW-II period; material on the creation, organization, and role of the CIA within the U.S. Government; a collection of foreign scientific articles, ground photographs and associated reference materials; and the CIA’s first release of motion picture film.”

World War II Ration Books ~ This begins by telling you all about the ration books and why they were used. It then lets you search by last name (and first name is optional) to see an actual copy of the Certificate of Registrar for that individual. They include their name, address, age, occupation, height, weight, signature (theirs or someone signing for them, but this is indicated), as well as indicating another book holder and how they are related.

Pearl Harbor Casualties by Location or Ship ~ This is great, because it shows all of the casualties from a particular ship or location together. You can also search (above the table with the locations and ships) by any piece of information that you have, including simply a name.

Pearl Harbor Casualties 1941 ~ Search engine that includes USS Arizona casualties. ~ I have recently found a lot of wonderful information within Quaker records. They kept extensive details. I happened upon these through, but I just discovered this site that allows you to search their Meetings. It helps if you know the name of the meeting (which I do for this one particular part of the family… we evidently had quite a bit of Quakers on at least two different branches of my tree). Some of the searches on this site just tell you that there is information to be found on microfilm and where, but at least you know it exists and if necessary, you can search for it elsewhere (now with more details). Also pay attention to the Short History of Meeting usually found on the “Records Website” after you find the correct Meeting’s link.

U.S. Quaker Meeting Records 1681-1935 ~ This is an amazing resource that is found within You enter as much information about the individual that you desire (or even just a surname if you want a lot of results) and it comes back with their name, event type (admittance, removal, marriage, death, etc), event date, residence at the time, and the record for you to view. After you click on the link you want to check out, it will give you the important details. I like to also click on “View” so that I can check out the actual document. Some of these Quaker Meeting Records are honestly very difficult to read (handwriting issues and/or copying quality). When it’s legible, though, it usually has quite a bit more useful information. You can even explore the book much further by going forwards or backwards through the publication. (I’m not positive about how much of this you can access with a free account, though. It’s definitely worth trying out.)

Cinnamon Toast Genealogy ~ This is a huge index of links to genealogy web sites and databases. You can simply enter your surname and links specific to your surname (and genealogy related) will appear. No odd-ball results that have absolutely nothing to do with family history. There are also some links for specific regions, religions, and record types for you to explore.

American Libraries ~ Collection of online books includes material from across the United States. This is the Genealogy Collection. You can search by name or keyword. It includes items such as: church records and registers, Nobility, Church of England, Kings and rulers, yearbooks, several specific denominations, Indians of North America, Universities and colleges, clubs, wills, New Jersey, Church Periodicals, World War I, New York, Massachusetts Historical Society, Prussia 1712-1786, Church of Scotland, Pilgrims, Freemasons, German Americans, cemeteries, Quakers, Heraldry, and so much more. ~ Tons of links to marriage records for the United States (by individual state and then by county/town/etc), United Kingdom, Ireland, and Canada. I would mostly use this if I was having trouble finding the needed records elsewhere, but knew the area and approximate date of the marriage. Some of the collections are a lot more extensive than others.

Free UK Genealogy ~ Includes the FreeBMD (Birth/Marriage/Death Records Search), FreeReg (Parish Registers Search), and FreeCen (Census Searches for 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, and 1891).

U.S. Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Databases ~ Including: records for over 6 million men who served on both sides, 18,000 African American Sailors, unit histories of over 4,000 regiments on both sides, prisoners of war (both sides), over 1,500 Medals of Honor recipients, and a whole lot more.

Mooseroots ~ Including: Canadian World War I Enlistments, Canadian World War II Casualties, Casualties of the Gulf War (US), Casualties of the Korean War (US), Casualties of the Vietnam War (US)m Casualties of the War on Terror (US), Civil War Sailors (US), Peacetime Military Casualties (US), World War II Army Enlistment Records (US), World War II Prisoner of War Camps, World War II Prisoners of War (US), Immigration Records (US and Canada), Immigration Ships, Birth Records (various US states and Victoria, Australia), Death Records (various US states, many islands, some Canada and a few other countries), Grave Records (US), Marriage and Divorce Records (various US states), 1940 US Census, and US Census Records (1790 through 1930).

Pennsylvania State Archives Records Information System ~ Including: Civil War Veterans’ Card File 1861-1866, Mexican Border Campaign Veterans’ Card File, World War I Service Medal Application Cards, Spanish American War Veterans’ Card File of U.S. Volunteers, Revolutionary War Military Abstract Card File, Militia Officers Index Cards, 1775-1800, and PA National Guard Veterans’ Card File 1867-1921.

Kentucky Vital Records Index and Search Engines ~ Includes: Death Index for 1911-1986, Death Index for 1987-1992, Marriage Index for 1973-1993, and Divorce Index for 1973-1993.

Family Old Photos ~ Free old photo archive. You can browse by surname, state, schools, Civil War, railroad, fire departments, etc.

Dead Fred ~ Free genealogy photo archive. You can browse by surname, keyword, or add more details to your search.

Free Family Tree Sites

Family Search ~ This is put out through The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, but you do not have to belong to use this site for free. I have used it a bit and it is really good. As you enter a new family member, it attempts to match them up with existing records already entered by other people. You can choose if this person is a match or not. If they are a match then you will likely end up with a lot more family instantly popping up on your family tree. This happened to me when I added my maternal grandma. Her line instantly went quite away on one of her lines.

Free Genealogy Software Download by MyHeritage ~ I have not used this downloadable program, but I do like their online free version as a supplement in my arsenal. (See below for my comments on MyHeritage.) I might try this though, because it says that besides the family tree software, you also get Smart Matches Technology (which is the biggest thing I personally miss from not paying for a premium account on MyHeritage), beautiful customizable charts, maps, sync with mobile, and more.

WikiTree ~ This is totally free, but you do not have complete control OR complete responsibility for your family tree. The whole site is supposed to eventually be ONE big family tree. So, there are pros and cons. In order to add more than just yourself, you have to volunteer to help when others need it on the site (you specify what surname(s) or area(s) you want to help with) and then wait until it is confirmed and you are welcomed by a Greeter or another Wiki Genealogist. You then have to sign the Honor Code. It’s easy and makes sense, you just have to wait to really get started. My wait was only a couple of hours at the most. After that, you can add your family’s information. If someone already entered someone, you will have to suggest additions or corrections if needed. You cannot just add them yourself or “correct” the file. The pros are that it’s free, it would be fun collaborating with others, and you can possibly find distant cousins or even break down a brick wall.

Also look in the next category. You can do quite a bit especially on and My Heritage without paying any money.

Free Miscellaneous Genealogy Goodies

Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness ~ This is free and it is a marvelous page to know about. Volunteers will do a free genealogy research task for strangers. If they incur any expenses such as for making copies, postage, film, etc… then you have to reimburse them for that, but there are no other charges. You can also sign up to be a volunteer and provide Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness. There are currently volunteers in most of the states as well as in Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Portugal, New Zealand, England, Scotland, and Wales.

Discover the Meaning and History Behind Your Last Name ~ This is a fun, yet informative tool. I have stumped it at times with a few of my surnames, but it’s interesting to read at least one version of the meaning and origins when your surname doesn’t stump it. I especially like the Name Distribution interactive map graphic, though. It shows the concentration of your particular surname in the United States (in 1840, 1880, and 1920), England and Wales (in 1891), and Scotland (in 1841, 1861, 1881, and 1901).

GenWatcher Surname Tracker ~ This is a free service that lets you sign up to receive an email when information that includes your surname becomes available. It says that Genealogy Today sends you an email with a summary and link to get the details whenever a match is discovered. I just signed up with one of my more unique surnames. I’m not sure if the links points you to information that you need a premium account for or not. You can sign up for multiple surnames, but you have to enter them one at a time.

Database and Family Tree Sites with Some Free Access ~ This is my favorite program to use. I highly recommend it! It has some great resources available for free (see above for their free databases), but you can get even more (especially when you go further back) when you have a paid membership. I LOVE seeing those little leaves pop up!  😉  I at times have let my membership lapse (when money is tight and/or I am not using it as much for a while). You don’t lose anything if you do this either, which is great. They have tons of wonderful resources intertwined within their searches as well as one of the best DNA tests (as well as connecting you to family with some matching DNA… I plan to do this soon). I especially like that it’s like a one-stop-shop nowadays with so many databases included that you often have to pay for elsewhere or are difficult to find. It’s so easy to search for your ancestor in all of these available databases, because it pulls the information you already entered into the search and often times it is already in your hints aka the little green leaves. They also have a free trial membership for the premium accounts. ~ I really like this site, too. It is definitely much better when you have a paid account, though. I go through spurts of paying for this one. Basically, when enough things are accumulated that I need to pay for in order to view… I pay for a month of membership. I like the feature where it will calculate how you are related to a certain person… including presidents and other famous people. The only thing I do not like about this is the fact that once it finds a path through one of your lines, it cannot be changed to another line. For example: It found a path to a WATMOUGH through my adopted father’s LAKEY line. I fully expected that if we were related, it would be through my mother-in-law’s WATMOUGH line. Now, even when I try it with the furthest WATMOUGH ancestor, it comes all the way back through my father to connect the two WATMOUGH’s. There is also a great sense of community on Geni. People work together on gathering information on their ancestors. It’s a great way to find distant cousins without a DNA test. I have broken through a few brick walls with Geni, but you still have to verify the information, because it is possible that some of it can be poorly done. Geni also emails you with upcoming important dates on your family tree. I think you have to sign up for this. I cannot remember, but it is free.

My Heritage ~ This site has some great features. It sets up your information that you enter in your family tree as a website that you can share with others. You can create a private site for your family, build your family tree, and share family photos. It even has a handy reminder over to the side that tells if a birthday or anniversary is coming soon. You can do quite a bit with the free membership, but the biggest thing only available with a premium account that I would like to be able to do is confirm matches with other people on the site. It shows you everything, but won’t let you confirm or deny without the premium account. You can also upload your raw DNA information (from AncestryDNA, 23andMe, and FamilyTreeDNA) on this site (but I am not sure if this is only for premium or not). They have three different levels of premium memberships and they actually are quite reasonably priced.

Databases With Free Trial Memberships Worth Looking Into

Find My Past ~ This has a 14 day free trial. This is said to be an essential tool for anyone with British or Irish ancestry, but it includes resources for a whole lot more. It appears to hold a wealth of information. Their collection of Irish records is second to none, with over 110 million records for those of Irish heritage. They also “have the largest online collection of UK Parish records, US marriage records 1670-2010 and one of the most comprehensive online collections of military records… British and Irish newspapers span three centuries and over 13 million pages.” The searches also include resources for Armed Forces and Conflict, Passenger Lists, Education and Work, Courts and Legal, Directories and Almanacs, Business Directories, Apprenticeships, Wills and Probate, Church Records, Postal and Telephone Directories, Railway Employees, Quarantine Admissions, Newspapers, as well as Births, Marriages, and Deaths. They include all over the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and bit more around the world. They also have a 1939 Register. This looks amazing and is only online here at Find My Past. The register was taken at the outbreak of World War II and contains the personal details of over 41 million people in England and Wales. It is said to be one of the most important British documents of the twentieth century. It is even more important since the 1931 census was destroyed during an air raid on London and the 1941 census was never taken. The 1939 Register is the only surviving overview of the civil population of England and Wales from 1921-1951.

Fold3 ~ Free 7-day trial. Contains millions of digitized historical documents that can be searched and browsed including: Civil War records, Native American resources, newspapers, photographs, and more. They specialize in military records. At least a portion of Fold3 is included in, because I have had many hints that lead me to Fold3 information and I have not had to get a Fold3 account. (I do have a paid account, though.)

Genealogy Bank ~ Thirty day free trial. It includes over 7,000 newspapers 1690-today (95% exclusive… not available online through other genealogy sites), 235 million obituaries, U.S. Military records, and more. I have not used this site before, but many of my searches elsewhere send me to this site so I may check it out in the future.

*  Be sure to check out my Free Genealogy Forms and Charts, too.

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William WATMOUGH ~ Wordless Wednesday

William Watmough

Born in 1875 in England ~ Arrival to USA in 1892
Died in 1933 in Massachusetts

William WATMOUGH (1875 – 1933) was the father of Harold Davison WATMOUGH (September 30, 1901 – August 9, 1970), who was the father of Bernice Ann WATMOUGH PARKER (March 27, 1929 – March 21, 2012), who was my mother-in-love.  ♥  So, William WATMOUGH was my husband’s great-grandfather on his mother’s side.


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My Grandma Ruby Irene PORTER WILLIAMS


Ruby Irene PORTER WILLIAMS at her 80th Birthday Party in 2008.

The focus today is on my grandma, Ruby Irene PORTER WILLIAMS in celebration of Mother’s Day. She was one of my three moms. She stepped in as my mother-figure when my mom passed away suddenly when I was 19 years old. All three of my moms have passed away and all three still come to my mind ALL of the time.  ♥

My beloved mom’s were:

March 4, 1947 – March 20, 1987 ~ My Mom

March 24, 1928 – May 13, 2010 ~ My Grandma (my mom’s mom)

March 27, 1929 ~ March 21, 2012 ~ My Mom-in-Love (my husband’s mom)


Ruby Irene was born to Charles Oscar PORTER and Mary Irene “Renie” Saphronia Jasmine SMITH (TARTER ROBINETT TARTER) PORTER on March 24, 1928, in Maysville, Arkansas.

Ruby Irene was the youngest of around a dozen children (including her half and step siblings). She mostly went by her middle name Irene, but I am not sure when that began. By looking at census records, I believe it was sometime after 1940.

By May 12, 1930 (when Irene was two years old), the family had moved to Kansas City, Missouri. They lived at 5601 East 56th Street.

Charles Oscar PORTER 1930 Census

1930 US Census for Charles Oscar PORTER and family

Name: Ruby Irene Porter
Birth Year: abt 1928
Gender: Female
Race: White
Birthplace: Arkansas
Marital Status: Single
Relation to Head of House: Daughter
Home in 1930: Kansas City, Jackson, Missouri
Street Address: East 56th Street
Ward of City: 16
Block: 373
House Number in Cities or Towns: 5601
Dwelling Number: 148
Family Number: 151
Attended School: No
Father’s Birthplace: Kansas
Mother’s Birthplace: Oklahoma
Household Members:
Oscar Porter  46
Irene Porter  38
Louis Porter  18
Loren Porter  15
Audie Robnett (Robinett)  14
Maudie Robnett (Robinett) 14
Lucille Robnett (Robinett)  12
Harold Porter  12
Charles Porter 5
Elizabeth Jean Porter  4
Ruby Irene Porter  2

Charles Oscar PORTER 1940 Census

1940 US Census for Charles Oscar PORTER and family

The 1940 Census is so full of information that it makes me realize that there are more things that I do not know.

One of the questions in the 1940 census was about where you lived in 1935. When you look at our family on the census above, you will notice that the ones still living in the home in 1940 had lived in at least three different locations in 1935.

It actually shows Mary Irene, Ruby Irene’s mom, as living in Claremore, Oklahoma, in 1935. That is where she was born, so at this time I believe that was just a mistake and they wrote her birthplace in the wrong place (or someone misunderstood the question or answer). I guess there is a chance that she went back to the reservation, but I’m sure that Grandma would have said something about that if it had happened….maybe not all of the details if it was an unpleasant reason… but it always seemed like once her mom left Claremore much earlier in her life, she never went back.

So, why did the family live apart for a while?

Grandma and Uncle Al

Uncle Al and Ruby Irene

I remember Grandma mentioning something in passing one time about her spending quite a bit of time with her mom’s previous husband (whom she had married and divorced twice before marrying grandma’s father Charles Oscar). He was really nice and like a favorite uncle to Grandma. It sounds like he spoiled her a lot, too. I thought that she meant when she was more like a teenager or at least a tween. It’s also possible that she went to stay with Uncle Al and Aunt Susie, but I don’t have anything to go on other than just a feeling and the fact that they were extremely close.

I also know that she went to high school in my hometown of Belton for a while even though it doesn’t appear that her parents ever lived in Belton, Missouri. I know that they were quite poor most of the time, too. Did this have something to do with the family living apart?

In the 1930 census we discover that Charles Oscar and his son Louis both listed their occupations as laborers of “odd jobs”, but by 1940 Charles Oscar was a foreman and the industry was listed as “city market”. It seems like times were getting better in 1940, but then again… why did Grandma end up going to high school in Belton just a few years later?


Ruby Irene PORTER

Information found on the 1940 US Census for Charles Oscar PORTER and family (especially Ruby Irene):

Name: Ruby I Porter
Age: 12
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1928
Gender: Female
Race: White
Birthplace: Arkansas
Marital Status: Single
Relation to Head of House: Daughter
Home in 1940: Kansas City, Jackson, Missouri
Street: Ewing
House Number 1340
Inferred Residence in 1935: Rural, Benton, Arkansas
Residence in 1935: Rural Benton Arkansas
Sheet Number: 10A
Attended School or College: Yes
Highest Grade Completed: Elementary school, 6th grade
Household Members (name, age, where lived in 1935):
Charles Porter 56 Rural, Hickory Co, Missouri
Mary Porter 49 Claremore, Oklahoma – but I believe probably with her husband
Charles Porter 15 Winfield, Colley Co, Kansas
Betty Porter 13 Winfield, Colley Co, Kansas
Ruby I Porter 12 Rural, Benton Co, Arkansas


Ruby Irene PORTER WiLLIAMS and Carlton Nathanial WILLIAMS Sr.

Ruby Irene PORTER married Carlton Nathanial WILLIAMS Sr on October 14, 1944.

Carlton and Irene’s children were born in 1946, 1947, 1952, 1958, 1966, and 1979 (adopted).

Irene’s father Charles Oscar PORTER passed away April 19, 1946, and her mother Mary Irene passed away June 25, 1947. You check out Charles’ Death Certificate and the circumstances on my post Charles Oscar PORTER’s Death Certificate.

Irene and Carlton lived on Sterling in Independence for many years (including at least part of the 1960’s. They then bought a farm in between Holt and Kearney, Missouri, and lived there until 1990. They then moved to another house on Sterling in Independence, Missouri.

Carlton, Irene, and their older children were migrant farmers (as were her parents at least for a while when she was growing up). They did this at least a few years with the two oldest children and I think maybe for a short while after their third child was born.

Carlton, Carol, Ruby Irene, and Beckee

She always said that they weren’t “migrant farmers”. That they would just follow the crops and get farming jobs harvesting wherever there was work. I (and my mom before me) tried to explain a few times to her that that is what a migrant farmer is, but she still didn’t see it that way.

We even discussed a book we had both read by John Grisham called “The Painted House” that was about some migrant farmers and the people they worked for. That’s when it became clear that she saw the term “migrant farmer” as only someone who migrated from another country and followed the harvest. Since they were from America and traveling inside of America, she didn’t see it as the same thing. I actually am proud of being a descendant of migrant farmers. They were hard workers and provided a necessary service to our world.

Part of Irene’s job was also to help cook the breakfast to feed all of the other workers. I totally believe that this is why she could make some of the best breakfast around! Eating breakfast at Grandma’s was better than eating breakfast out at a restaurant. It also helped that she made the most amazing Chili Sauce (that I thankfully have the recipe for) and had her huge, extremely well-seasoned cast iron skillet. Anytime she asked if I (as an adult) wanted to come over and she was planning on feeding me I always worked it around breakfast.  😉

Irene later worked at Superior Toy Company in bookkeeping and also in toy design. I don’t ever remember her working there, so I’m not sure what years she worked there. I actually had one of the bears she designed for quite a while when my daughter was young. It was bought new sometime in the early 1990’s, but was distinct and definitely her design…and it was huge!

Irene and Carlton cared for over 30 babies until their adoption and over 20 foster children during their lifetimes. Irene also was often the family member who cared for other family members when they were extremely ill and kept so many of our family out of nursing homes. She also was the one who would often take care of getting tombstones or cemetery markers for family members no matter how extended if they did not have one. She loved going with me to the different cemeteries and making sure that I knew where everyone was buried and how they were related. She didn’t want ANYONE to be forgotten.

Irene was always about family! She especially loved having a lot of grandchildren. She loved it when in less than a year and a half in 1988-1989 she got three grand-daughters and three great-grand-daughters.

During the mid 1980’s and well into the 1990’s she worked at her son’s opry. She sold tickets, headed up the concessions, and did so much more. I also worked there a lot during my teens and it provided a lot more opportunities to be around my grandma, as well as MANY other family members. It definitely added another dimension to our family dynamics. We didn’t just get together at holidays anymore. We worked together as a team.

Carlton passed away on July 15, 1991, in Independence, Missouri. Two of her daughters passed away too young. My mom passed away 16 days after turning 40 on March 20, 1987, and was buried on Grandma’s birthday (at Grandma’s request) on March 24, 1987. Darci Irene was 25 and was killed on September 4, 2004. Grandma was instrumental in the conviction of the serial killer who was responsible.

Ruby Irene PORTER WILLIAMS passed away on May 13, 2010 in Belton, Missouri. She was buried in Mount Washington Cemetery in Independence, Missouri, on May 17, 2010, on my husband’s birthday (definitely not my idea; it makes it harder).

My son and his Great-Grandma Ruby Irene PORTER WILLIAMS around her 80th birthday in March 2008.

Irene and Carlton Sr.’s descendants (total to date):

6 children
16 grandchildren
22+ great-grandchildren (and counting)
12+ great-great-grandchildren (and counting)

Other posts about my grandma:

I have written several posts about my grandma on both of my blogs. In fact, her passing away was what caused me to start blogging again and was the beginning of my main blog The Journey Unexpected. Truth be told… she had a lot to do with my genealogy bug, too. She wasn’t the one who technically started the fire, but she most definitely fanned it in me more than anyone else ever has. Below is a short list of the main posts about my grandma over the years.

She Saw Jesus
I Need My Grandma…
She Is Gone (Poem and Dedication)
Remembering Darci
One Pie for Grandma and One Pie for Everyone Else ~ Plus Gooseberry Pie Recipe
Florence Mary RIAN PORTER and Ruby Irene PORTER WILLIAMS
March 24th ~ On This Day in Our Family History

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Arthur Jacob WILLIAMS, Sr. ~ Census Sunday

Arthur Jacob William Sr Census SundayMy great-grandfather on my mother’s father’s side of the family, Arthur Jacob WILLIAMS Sr., was born in October 13, 1889, in Kansas to Nathaniel WILLIAMS (1862-1908) and Lillie Mae “Mamie” STANLEY WILLIAMS (1868-1935). Arthur died December 16, 1965, in Kansas City, Missouri.

I have successfully found census records for him and his family from the Federal Census for 1900-1940 (except for 1910) as well as the 1925 Kansas State Census.

Today’s post will include his 1920 Federal, 1925 Kansas, and 1930 Federal in order to share a sad story that he had in common with a few other of our ancestors: losing his wife while caring for young children. When I discovered the 1925 Kansas Census the other day, I discovered something that I did not know. Arthur went to live with his widowed mother-in-law for awhile after his first wife’s death and before he was remarried.

1920 Federal Census for Arthur Jacob WILLIAMS, Sr.


1920 - close up

Name: Arthur J Williams
Age: 30
Birth Year: abt 1890
Birthplace: Kansas
Home in 1920: Fort Scott Ward 3, Bourbon,Kansas
Street: Lincoln Street
House Number: 116
Race: White
Gender: Male
Relation to Head of House: Head
Marital Status: Married
Spouse’s Name: Martha A. Williams
Father’s Birthplace: Kansas
Mother’s Birthplace: United States
Able to Speak English: Yes
Occupation: Coal Miner
Employment Field: Own Account
Household Members:
Arthur J Williams  30
Martha A Williams  20

1925 Kansas Census for Arthur Jacob WILLIAMS, Sr.

1925 Kansas

1925 Kansas - close up
Name: Arthur J Williams
Census Date: 1925
Residence County: Barton
Residence State: Kansas
Locality: Lakin
Birth Place: Kansas
Family Number: 4
Marital Status: Wid (Widow)
Gender: Male
Age: 36
Birth Year: abt 1889
Race: White
Relation (to head of house): Son-in-Law
Household Members:
Allice E. Frany (Alice E. Frary)  68
Arthur J. Williams  36
Lene J. Williams (Lena Genevieve Williams)  5
Carl N. Williams (Carlton Nathaniel Williams)  3

1930 Federal Census for Arthur Jacob WILLIAMS, Sr.


1930 - close up
Name: Arthur J. Williams
Birth Year: abt 1890
Gender: Male
Race: White
Birthplace: Kansas
Marital Status: Married
Relation to Head of House: Head
Home in 1930: Osage, Bourbon, Kansas
Dwelling Number: 98
Family Number: 98
Home Owned or Rented: Rented
Radio Set: No
Lives on Farm: Yes
Age at First Marriage: 28
Attended School: No
Able to Read and Write: Yes
Father’s Birthplace: Kansas
Mother’s Birthplace: United States
Able to Speak English: Yes
Occupation: Laborer
Industry: Coal Mine
Class of Worker: Working on own Account
Employment: Yes
Veteran: Yes
War: WW
Neighbors: Include two of his new wife’s sisters. Hazel was married to Robert CLENDENING and Inez was living with them at that time. Hazel was 22, Inez was 21, and Robert was 47.

Household Members:
Aurthur J Williams (Arthur)  40
Ether N Williams (Ethel Helen)  24
Genevieve L Williams (L. Genevieve – She mostly went by Genevieve… at least by this time and in family stories.)  10
Carlton N Williams  8
Evelyn J Williams  1 (13/12 or 13 months)
LaVaughn Williams  0

So, as you can see… Arthur’s life went through several huge changes in those ten years. Fortunately, many of those were happy events.

Arthur Jacob WILLIAMS went on to have over a dozen children with most of them living well into adulthood. His eldest daughter, Genevieve, however only lived for a short time after this last census. She passed away one day shy of a year after this page of the census was taken. (This page was enumerated on April 15, 1930). She was 11 years and 12 days old when she passed away (March 30, 1920 – April 14, 1931).

Arthur Jacob WILLIAMS was my great-grandfather and the father of grandpa: Carlton Nathaniel WILLIAMS, and he was the father of my mom: Carol Elizabeth WILLIAMS LAKEY.

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