52 Ancestors #25: Felix Leroy Duckworth

Again, I’m skipping around the generations because I’m trying to fill in some blanks in my family tree.
Felix Leroy Duckworth is a bit of a mystery.
I know a bit about his appearance based on the few photos of him that I’ve uncovered among family papers and scrapbooks, but little else to tell me anything about his life.

Felix Duckworth

Felix Duckworth

Felix is the father of my great-grandmother, Amy Ruth Duckworth Simpson.
He was born July 25, 1881, in Indiana, son of Sylvester and Emma Russell Duckworth.
He was living in Posey County, Indiana, in 1900, according to U.S. Census records.
He made it to southeast Missouri sometime after the turn of the century because he and Bessie Pearl Clymer had two children together (Amy Ruth and Cecil).

I’ve found no verification that he and Bessie ever actually married. No marriage is recorded in Missouri and I have no reason to believe that she went to Indiana with him, though it could be possible.

Felix did register for the draft in 1918 back in Posey County, Indiana, listing his brother Charlie as his nearest relative.
He is also listed as having completed a draft card for WWII, also living in Indiana at the time.

I know very little else about him, including when he died or where.

Although he must have left his children behind to go back to Indiana, he did have contact with them. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have discovered any photos of him, or even know his name. So, there’s clearly more to his story that I’ll have to discover.

Sources: U.S. Census, 1900; draft registrations, 1918, 1930.


52 Ancestors #24: Donat Mairat

I’ve been trying to get better organized in my genealogical research, with only limited success (mostly because I don’t know what to do with all my papers and photos), and also have been reading more about how to use and find information in particular public records.

This morning I opened “The Family Tree Problem Solver” by Marsha Hoffman Rising and started on the chapter about land records.

I’ve got lots of farmers in my family tree, so it seems fitting to begin my document searching with their land records. I’ve come to realize that many of my ancestors didn’t really move around much, but from census to census, their farms seemed to. They might be listed in St. Francois County in one census but Washington or Franklin the next.

And for relatives that I’m trying to trace from Missouri to Tennessee (where they left ahead of the Civil War), it would help to know more about land records.

All of this brings me to Donat Mairat and today’s post.

It appears that Donat Mairat bought 40 acres of land from the U.S. government in April 1857 in Washington County, Mo.

This is all fairly interesting when you take into account that he purchased the land only 17 years after arriving in the United States from France. It’s fairly possible that he had farmed other land prior to this and was just adding to his acreage. However, knowing that he emigrated from France in 1840, it’s also quite plausible that this was the first land he owned in the U.S.

A few facts about his life:

Donat Mairat was born on Aug. 7 1808, in Montursin, Doubs, France, the son of Pierre Joseph Mairat and Marie Therese Comment. He had eight siblings.

He and Adelle Seraphine Cordier were married in France on Jan. 8, 1840. On May 9, the couple arrived in New Orleans from Havre, France. They sailed aboard the Charles with Paul and Sophie Cordier, the parents of his wife, and several of their children.

In 1848, Donat’s brother Victor arrived in the U.S. with his family. The families all settled in Richwoods, a French mining community in Washington County, Mo.

Donat farmed in Richwoods for the remainder of his life, according to census records. I need to do more research to see what happened to the farm and land after his death in 1882.

After his wife, Adelle Seraphine died in 1864 (likely after or in childbirth with daughter Sarafine), he married Eugenia Angeline Calliott. They were wed in 1868 in Washington County, Mo.

Donat and Adelle Seraphine had 10 children together. (Sophie is my direct ancestor.)

Over time, it appears the family surname spelling changed to Mara or Marah, depending on the records, which makes keeping tabs on this family group a little more challenging than some of my other ancestors.

52 Ancestors # 23: Margaret Mary Agnew

As I was researching my post on Winnie Pashia, and looking again at census records, I kept coming across a name that didn’t fit the family group: Margaret Agnew.

This child grew up with Winnie and Zeno Pashia as her parents, but was listed as a niece or adopted daughter in nearly all the census records I’ve located for the family.

This made me wonder: Who were the birth parents of Margaret Agnew?

I did about an hour’s research online yesterday to see what I could uncover.

It turns out that my family listings for Winnie Pashia omitted her sister, Margaret, born on May 9, 1881. She married John Agnew and they had two children. She died shortly after the birth of her daughter, Margaret Mary Agnew, in March 1918.

When Margaret Agnew died, she left behind a husband, toddler son and a newborn. It appears that her sister, Winnie, raised the infant Margaret as her own child. I don’t yet know what happened to Margaret’s birth father, John Agnew, or her brother, John. I’ve got a bit more research to do there.

And, I need to determine if there are more of Winnie Pashia’s siblings that I need to find so that my family tree can be more complete and accurate.

52 Ancestors #22: Winifred Mary Pashia

As the 52 Weeks challenge continues, I find myself a bit behind and trying to catch up. And, I’m also feeling a bit like I’ve run out of stories to write because I’m moving into the generations of ancestors with whom I have no memories or stories.

I suppose one of my problems is that as a journalist, I’ve been trained to find people and tell their stories. It’s a bit trickier when all your sources are documents hidden in a research library somewhere and you don’t know much about the people of whom you write.

I’m hoping that some time spent researching in these next few weeks will help me feel more connected as I move through the generations and branches on my family tree.

This week’s post is Winifred Mary Pasha, my second great-grandmother.

She was born March 29, 1870, in Washington, Mo., the daughter of Jean Baptiste Pashia and Lucy Flynn.

At age 10, she lived with her parents, three brothers and two sisters in Kingston, Mo. At some point in her childhood or youth, she shortened her name to Winnie.

Her marriage certificate notes her name as Winnie. She married Griffith Joseph James on April 11, 1894, in Fredericktown, Mo. They had seven children in 11 years.

Griff was a trader and apparently away from the family home during the 1910 census because Winnie is listed as head of household. By 1920, he’s returned home.

In 1930, she is a widow living in St. Louis with her married children and a niece. A decade later, her children have left and she’s living with her niece Margaret Agnew, who is listed as an adopted daughter.

She died Nov. 13, 1957, at age 87. She is buried in St. Joachim Cemetery.

My aunt told me a story recently about going to visit Winnie Pashia before her death. She and my father and their mother had traveled back from California and my aunt remembered seeing snow for the first time. My dad, only a toddler at the time, didn’t have any other recollections except that the room was dark and his grandmother was lying in a bed. I share a similar memory about my great-grandmother in this line — visting her as a young child when she was clearly near the end of her life.