Friday, May 15, 2015

Putting the Puzzle Pieces Together

Esters Eley and Unknown Man Standing Beside a Ford Model A – Or is It?
Unknown man, Pete Bowman, is Daddy’s first cousin once removed.
James E. Bowman "Pete" Puborn 15 July 1924 in West Carroll Parish,Louisiana
and died 22 June 1999. Pete is interred in the Oak Grove Cemetery,Oak Grove, 
West Carroll Parish, Louisiana.  
I shared this photo on my Facebook page, and another Lee cousin identified the unknown man on the right in the photo. Pete Bowman was a short man and when a cousin from Texas shared this photo with me, I thought that was who the unknown man had to be in the photo. I remember he was a cousin who Daddy loved and respected and who stayed in touch with Daddy.  Pete and his wife Bertha visited us often as I was growing up in West Carroll Parish. Even after Daddy and Mother moved to the Chicken Farm Pete visited them, and then Daddy retired and they moved to Corinth Community Pete visited there as well.

I never knew Pete's given name, I only knew him as Pete. Recently I connected with a cousin on Facebook where this photo was posted and he was identified in the photo. This cousin gave me Pete's parents names. Pete was Daddy's first cousin Lizzy Lee's son. Lizzy Lee was Uncle Jim and Aunt Nannie's daughter - one of about thirteen children of that couple. Then, there was John David Bowman whose name popped up in conversation. Who was he? John David was a visitor frequently at our home in rural West Carroll Parish. He was bigger and older than we were; however, he played games with us. In addition, he really scared us at times and we would all go running and screaming trying to hide from him. Therefore, who is John David and how did he fit into the dynamics of the family? As family information such as names, given and surnames, began coming in finally the puzzle pieces started going in place.

The first puzzle piece connected was Pete. The family information started coming together for this person known only as "Pete Bowman." It is very important when taking up the hobby of genealogical research to contact family members and anyone who may be connected in some way to the family. There is an expression that used often with researchers, and that is, "genealogy is not done in isolation." If you do research family in isolation, you may miss very important stories, meeting new cousins, and reconnecting with old ones. That is the reason that I am persistent in connecting with cousins and reconnecting with old ones because they may have the piece of information that will jump start my family research and help put the puzzle pieces together.

Pete Bowman is identified and he is Daddy's first cousin once removed, and they share a common ancestor William Alfred Lee. Another cousin on the Lee familial linage added to the family tree and I know how he fits into the family dynamics. Identifying Pete Bowman led to another piece to the puzzle that fit into its place – John David Bowman. Using the parents’ names, I went to and did a search for Louis Bowman, estimated the birth date, guessed at the location as Louisiana, and the search results yielded some possibilities. One was the 1940 census. Therefore, I put in the information for Louis Bowman, he was head of family, Lizzy his wife, and the names of the children were familiar.  The youngest child listed on the census for Louis and Lizzy was John David. Now another piece of the puzzle put in place! Nevertheless, which one is Pete? Further research needed, so I did a search for Pete Bowman and wife Bertha in Ouachita Parish, Louisiana because I remembered he lived in that area. The search results yielded U. S. City Directories 1821-1989, for Ouachita Parish, a Draft Registration Card, Social Security Death Index 1935-2014, and U. S. Find a Grave Index 1600s to Current, U. S. Veterans Gravesites, ca. 1775-2006, and Find a Grave Memorial.

After analyzing each of these records the final puzzle piece fit  neatly in place and the unknown man in the photo identified as James E. Bowman – Pete Bowman son of Lizzy Lee Bowman Daddy’s first cousin. Had I not connected with the cousin on Facebook I would most likely have never known the connection with Daddy and Pete Bowman.

Another paternal ancestor placed in his rightful place in the Lee family tree. 

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