And I’m not talking about Aunt Mildred with the purple hair. (I don’t really have an Aunt Mildred and I’m not sure why I’ve envisioned her with purple hair.)

I don’t mean my brother with his foot-tall mohawk, either.  Actually, I think it suits him and I don’t find it in the least bit embarrassing.:)

I mean the ancestor that did something awful.  Something that no one wants to talk about.

I was searching through Ancestry the other night – trying to work on solving the mystery of my 2nd great grandmother.  I don’t allow myself to do too much in depth research right now until I have caught up on entering the info I already have.  I get on there and do random searches though to see if any new records have shown up – because I just can’t help myself.  I’m addicted, I know.  I fear there is no cure.

Anyway, the other night I found a couple of horrible newspaper articles on her brother, Solomon Madison Hattery.  She didn’t exactly have a picture perfect life either, but that’s a story for another day.

Solomon was born in May of 1876 to Solomon Hattery and Martha Jane Mowery.  His sister, Ella, was my direct ancestor.

He was married to a Sarah Kearns in 1892.  I believe that they had a child who was later adopted.

He married Flora McGee in 1895 and had 2 daughters with her.  They were divorced.

He married Ada Littler in 1910.

He later married a woman named Frances in 1917, and the announcement of their divorce is what I found.

From the Evening State Journal and Lincoln Daily News, dated 13 August 1918:

In a petition for divorce filed in district court Tuesday, Frances Hattery alleges that Solomon Madison Hattery has been guilty of extreme cruelty, but she does not state of what such cruelty consisted.  The parties were married in Lincoln, January 29, 1917, and have no children.

And then dated 23 September 1918:

Frances Hattery was granted a decree of divorce from Solomen M. Hattery by Judge Flansburg of the district court Monday morning.  The parties had both been married before and the defendant had a daughter, seventeen years of age, who came to live with them after their marriage, which took place in January 1917.  Plaintiff testified that the defendant had been guilty of incest, she having been an unexpected witness and the girl having written letters admitting the facts. These letters were introduced in evidence.

I don’t think that anyone likes to hear the word “incest” anywhere in their family history. It’s the truth though and I’m not out to sugar coat it or cover it up. He doesn’t need to be remembered as a loving father. He can be remembered for the creep that he was.

Sorry if he’s your direct ancestor and you’re offended.  Whatever he did doesn’t reflect on the person that you are.

I have not done enough research yet to learn what happened to Solomon in later years.  Most of what I found was done fairly quickly and more geared towards finding more info on my direct line. The last mention I have of him is in the 1930 census, he was living in St. Louis and listed as married, but not living with a wife. Did he marry again?

And did he get punished for what he did or was it simply the grounds for his wife’s divorce?  Was that something that they prosecuted in the early 1900s?  It’s a shame that it happened, and I feel truly sorry for his daughter.  I really hope that she went on to have a happy life.

Should I try to get a copy of the divorce records or should I just leave it alone?

This Hattery family seems to have had a lot of skeletons in the closet….

  • Greta Koehl - November 18, 2010 - 6:11 pm

    I would pursue it; you never know, what you find could clear up other mysteries in the family. That’s an awesome mohawk, by the way.ReplyCancel

  • Amy Coffin - November 19, 2010 - 10:02 am

    I would get a copy of the records if you plan on studying this line extensively. Leave no stone unturned is how I approach it. Difficult subject, yes, but you don’t know what you don’t know. These records may help.ReplyCancel

  • Cherie Cayemberg - November 19, 2010 - 12:46 pm

    Love the hair! :)

    Not the most pleasant member of the family tree, but we all have them! Maybe I’ll be feeling better and can finish my COG blog…we’ve got a murdered in our direct line. The spouse isn’t delighted with that discovery, but you can’t hide it. That’s not why we search!

    Great blog!ReplyCancel

  • [...] March 1907. She is mentioned in a newspaper article in the Clinton Mirror. Solomon M. Hattery was struck by an Illinois Central train as he was walking on the track near the business section of [...]ReplyCancel

  • Jo who has purple hair :-) - November 22, 2010 - 7:51 am

    Love your brother’s hair! I’d continue the research too – you never know where else it might lead.ReplyCancel

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Sometimes, I think that it might be nice to have deep roots in a specific country’s heritage.  An Italian grandfather.  A German grandmother.  Someone who could pass down all of the traditions and treats of their country.  Who could sing you lullabies in a foreign tongue.

I don’t have that though.  The latest my family came into the U.S. was the 1910s.  My maternal grandmother’s parents immigrated from Sweden not long before she was born in Washington state.  She grew up in the Swedish community of Ballard, in Seattle.  She didn’t speak the language though and didn’t pass down many Swedish traditions into our family.  Her parents died long before I was born, so I didn’t have that connection.  The closest connection to the “old country” I would have to say was her older sister Elvy.

But my Swedish heritage is not what I’m talking about today.  Today, I wanted to celebrate the fact that I have such a diverse family to research, especially if I add in my husband’s side – which I am also actively working on.

My children have ancestors that:

  • Immigrated from Sweden to WA in the 1910s
  • Left Norway for Minnesota in the 1880s
  • Served in the Revolutionary War
  • Served on both sides of the Civil War
  • Were slaveowners and others that were abolitionists
  • Left Germany following the Revolution in 1848
  • Immigrated from Ireland in the 1840-50s
  • Were glassblowers, farmers, ministers, railroad workers, day laborers, soldiers, printers, barbers, and more.
  • Settled in Kansas Territory as soon as it opened up
  • Immigrated from England, through Canada.
  • Were Quakers, Irish Catholics, Methodists, French Huguenots, Mormons, Lutherans and more.
  • Earned a purple heart in World War II after being hit by a kamikaze
  • Served in the First Assembly of the Province of Pennsylvania
  • Traveled along the Mormon Trail
  • Were illegitimate
  • Traveled West
  • Were Dutch settlers to the New World from probably the late 1600s
  • Immigrated from Spain to Germany in the early 1800s and then on to Iowa in 1850
  • Served in France during WWI
  • were illiterate and others that were well-educated

They say that America is a great melting pot and my family is definitely proof of that – as are most American families.

It just amazes me to look at how many different types of people, from such diverse backgrounds went into “making” a little piece of my children.:)

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Week 46: Assess your volunteer potential. The last two weeks’ challenges focused on volunteerism and local genealogy societies (which are also dependent on volunteers). Take a look at your skill set and determine what types of opportunities best suit you. Do you speak two languages? Maybe you can offer translation services. Do you only have free time after the kids are in bed? Perhaps an indexing project is best for you. Knowing your strengths can help shape your research process. If you take this challenge a step further and actually volunteer, give yourself a pat on the back. Bloggers are encouraged to assess and share their own skill sets, as well as any volunteer experiences they have.

Well, I am definitely still in the “growing my family tree” stage of life.  My kids are young and often underfoot.  I count myself lucky if I get a shower every day.  The majority of my genealogy endeavors are done in the wee hours of the night – in lieu of precious sleep.  I have a tub full of records that I have yet to re-enter into my program.  I have things that aren’t filed and organized.  I never thought of myself as someone who had time to volunteer at this time.

At the Atlanta Family History Expo this past weekend, I got to speaking to one of the representatives from FamilySearch and was made to realize that I could probably volunteer in my own way.  No, I’m not going to be sitting at the front desk of a quiet research library – (can you imagine the ruckus I’d cause with 5 kids?) But I could probably manage to do a batch of indexing here and there as I have time.

I had not realized that when you download a batch of records to index, you have a week to finish it – and it generally is about 30 minutes worth of work.  I could put in a load of laundry and index a record.  Then make some dinner and index a record.  Change a diaper and index a record.  Get the idea?  Even I could do a little something to give back to the genealogy community at large.  Spread out over a week, I could spare a minute here and there – or perhaps sit down all at once one evening when everyone is snoozing.

So, I took the plunge and downloaded the indexing platform.  It was quick and painless!  I then sat and indexed some WWII draft registrations while I was watching “Castle” – my current favorite TV show.:)  It was so easy!  I got 33 “points” – although I’m not quite sure what those are for yet.  It mentioned that these might eventually be used to access certain records.  For now, I guess that it is just a way to keep track of how much work I’ve done.

So, how can you volunteer your time or expertise to the genealogical community?

Join in the conversation.:)

Thanks to Amy Coffin from the WeTree Genealogy Blog for the 52 Weeks to Better Genealogy prompts!

  • Amy Coffin - November 18, 2010 - 12:51 pm

    Thanks for playing along with the 52-week challenge. Glad you found something that works for you. FamilySearch Indexing is perfect for parents at home, because you can do it on your own schedule (which is of course determined by your children’s schedule).ReplyCancel

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This is my husband’s great-grandfather, Clyde Cleveland Davidson as a boy.  I wish I could figure out what sort of pin he is wearing on his lapel and if it had any significance.

Clyde was born on 18 September 1888 in Leavenworth county, Kansas.  He died on 12 February 1971 in Tonganoxie, Leavenworth, Kansas.  I’m guessing that this photo was taken somewhere around 1900.

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Emma Weeks was born on 15 April 1871 in Vinland, Douglas, Kansas.  She died on 8 December 1898 and was buried in the Vinland cemetery.  She was married to Franklin White.

  • Nick Woods - November 16, 2010 - 10:50 am

    Jen, the family tragedy:
    Emma did marry Franklin White.
    She was found dead at the bottom of a water well at the young couple’s home.
    Franklin said, “Emma was depressed and threw herself down the well.”
    Peter & Julia said,”Emma was not depressed. She would not kill herself. Franklin murdered her.”
    What a mystery! Could we find old records of the inquest?
    Elizabeth (Weeks) WoodsReplyCancel

  • Jen - November 16, 2010 - 10:59 am

    I remembered that there was something “fishy” about her death, but wow! You’re right – there might be some sort of court records that we could find. That would be interesting to read!ReplyCancel

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