Monday, February 27, 2017

Monday’s Tip

What Happened to the Gill Boys?

Family history researchers look for all available records when researching family. When researching, we do a thorough search for the records that are available for the time for which we are researching. We also take the time to write down where the information came from, making sure that information is accurate so if we need to refer to it we will know where the information came from.  We also make sure that our information for an ancestor or relative is reliable and that we interpret it correctly. Also making sure the evidence too is resolved and there is no contradiction in the information. But what happens when you have done these things and you miss important information while researching a family. That is what happened when I was researching Aunt Maggie Mae Edwards recently.

John Houston and Dollie Edwards were married on 05 March 1899 in Elmore County, Alabama. By 05 September 1900 Tillman Lee was born in Tallassee.  There was another addition to the family on 11 January 1902, a daughter and they named her Maggie Mae. Then the family left Alabama about 1903 for Louisiana. There in Louisiana in 1904 Retha Cleby another daughter was born in the town of Eros. At that time Eros was the largest town in  Jackson Parish. It was the center point for the small surrounding communities. In 1906 the family continued to add new members and Marvin Alfred Perry was born on the 03 September 1906 in the neighboring parish to the north, Ouachita Parish. Then, by 1912 the Edwards family was back living in Shelby County, Alabama, and by 1923 there were six more children born to Dollie. Dollie had her last child when she was forty-four years old.  She was getting beyond the age to have children. Her last child Truman was born 19 November 1923 and he had Downs Syndrome.

The six other children born after they arrived back in Shelby County were: Twin sons named Leman who died at birth and Leonard, Robert Lawrence, John Emery, Dolly Odessa, and Truman. They now have ten living children and are settled back in their home state of Alabama in the county they left in 1903. Alabama is where the Edwards family lived the remainder of their lives. 

On the 1910 census along with their parents are Maggie Mae, Leonard, Tillman, Reathey, Marvin, and Noah living in Ward 1, Jackson Parish. They are living nearby Dollie's parents William Alfred and Emma, and Alice the youngest sister of Dollie. Also, living nearby is James William and Robert E. Lee and their families. They are Dollie's two brothers. Noah is the mystery child in the family. The family was living on Pine Bluff and Columbia Road in Jackson Parish. There are six children including Maggie on the 1920 census for Harpersville, Shelby County.

Maggie is still living at home in 1920 and preparing to get married on the 28 of March to the love of her life Cecil Browne Gill.  Cecil was seven years older than Maggie. Maggie probably had a lot of responsibilities being the oldest daughter. If that was the case then she was prepared for what she had to face as a wife and mother.

By 1930 Maggie Mae Edwards is married and living with her husband of ten years. They were living on Avenue F, Block 107, House number 510, Dwelling 183, and Family number 183 in Birmingham, Jefferson County, Alabama on April 1, 1930. Life is going well for Maggie Mae and her love Cecil. They had been married for ten years; and there were no children. She was married when she was eighteen years old to Cecil Brown Gill. She wasn’t working, and had not attended school. It stated on the 1930 census that Maggie could read and write; however, she was eight years old on the 1910 census; and Maggie had not attended school and couldn’t read and write. Apparently, she had taught herself how to read.  Maggie Mae and Cecil were married and hadn’t yet started their family.  Cecil was twenty-three years old when he and Maggie Mae married. He was working at a Railway Express Agency as a cashier.

By 1940 Maggie and Cecil were back in Shelby County, Alabama. They now had two children Maxine who was nine years old and James E. four years old. This census states that Maggie completed the eighth grade and Cecil four years of high school. Cecil is a Vehicleman with the R. R. Express. His income was $1,564 for fifty-two weeks’ work. Maggie did private work and worked forty-eight hours a week.

When I research relatives or ancestors I analyze census records and all other records carefully gleaning all the information from the record that I can possibly glean from it. It is vital to talk to family members to get family stories, Bible records, or any nugget of information you can about the family you are researching. Not all vital information will show up in census records or other records. That was the case with the three children of Maggie Mae. Sometimes you will just overlook vital information, not purposely but we get so involved in analyzing the record that we get tired.

Yesterday I was researching Maggie Mae Edwards, daughter of John Houston Edwards and his wife Dollie. Maggie was the oldest daughter and next to the oldest child of the couple. Maggie was born 11 January 1902 in Tallassee, Elmore County, Alabama. She was born before the Edwards migrated to Eros, Louisiana.

All of us as researchers have overlooked vital information, only to go back again and see information that we had overlooked previously.  Recently as I was looking through the information recorded in the family tree on the Family Tree Maker Program for Maggie Mae and her husband Cecil Brown Gill, I noticed something that I had not noticed before. Maybe I did notice it, but it didn’t catch my eye as it did this time.

Maggie had five children Maxine, James E., Theron Manuel, John David, and Cecil Brown, Jr. As I looked through each child’s information I noticed one child died at birth. Two of Maggie’s son died in the same year a month apart. They died in June and July 1929. Theron Manuel Gill died 25 Jun 1929 and Cecil Brown Gill Jr. his father’s namesake died 07 July 1919. What happened to those two boys? Did they get sick and die? 

Maggie’s family visited my family in Louisiana several times as I was growing up in Louisiana. Did they talk about these two boys deaths? These three boys did not show up on any census records. How was I to know that Maggie Mae had three sons? All that I saw were two children, a daughter Maxine Elizabeth and a son James E., on the 1940 census. Maxine was married 29 December 1948 in Jefferson County, Alabama. She was eighteen years old when she married Quincy A Bearden. Maggie would have been expecting her daughter when the 1930 census was taken. James E. was born in 1936. How did I find out about the three boys that were not listed on the census with their parents? On a Findagrave Memorial for Maggie Mae Gill.

A volunteer had taken the time to add the family information to the memorial for Maggie Mae Gill. I will forever be grateful for this genealogical act of kindness. I went to Maggie's memorial on Findagrave and all three of her young sons had gravestones on their plot. Without the information provided by the volunteers, I might not have ever known about these three precious boys who died at a young age.

Thank you volunteers for your genealogical acts of kindness. 

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