Tuesday, January 14, 2014

52 Ancestors - Week 2 Charles Henry Megee

My Irishmen have been difficult to find. If my research is correct (and it does match family tradition, including information from a new-found cousin), Charles Henry Megee was born in Indiana around 1860. He lived in Clay Township, Saline County, Indiana on the 1880 census, taken on June 4, 1880. He was 20 years old and living with his father, J. Megee (born in Canada, as where his parents) and his mother, M.E. Megee (born in New York). Also in the household were Charles sister, 33 year old S. E.; a 22 year old brother, J. A.; and  an 18 year old sister, M. L.; another daughter, 12 year old E. A.; and two more brothers, 9 year old L. E. and 6 year old David. All of the siblings were born in Indiana except S. E., who was born in MO. Charles was a farm laborer, as was his father. Also on the 1880 census, father J. Megee is listed as “consumpted”.

The 1870 census has Charles and his family in Madison Township, Cedar County, Stockton post office, Missouri. He was 9 years old when the census was taken on July 5, 1870. His father was Julius Megee, 50, born in Canada, and his mother was Mary E., 39, born in New York. His father and two brothers were farm laborers. Siblings at home on the census were Melissa E., 19 years old; William J., 17 years old; Martha J., 14 years old; Joseph N., 12 years old; and Emma, 8 years old. All the children were born in Indiana.  Julius could not read or write and his parents were both foreign born; Mary’s parents were not foreign born. Charles and his parent’s information corroborate that of the 1880 census, but the names of his siblings do not quite add up.

Charles eventually became my great-grandmother's (Mary Ann's) father. More about him later!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

52 Ancestors - Week 1 The Birthday Book

Granny’s birthday book is more than just a list of birthdays; it is a treasure trove of names and dates; births, marriages, divorces, relationships, photos, and even a recipe for meatloaf. I don’t know where or when she acquired the book, but I suspect it was sometime in the 1950s. It is held together by black tape and at one time the cover was red but is now a lovely faded burgundy with black imprint. Each day of the year has a four-line excerpt from the poems of John Greenleaf Whittier.

This book is my bible for family information. It is really all that I have to corroborate any other documents I might find relating to my family tree. Of course, there was a time when it didn’t occur to me that I had to prove anything; Granny said it and that made it so. 

On many of the entries, she even thoughtfully wrote down the day of the week on which the event occurred. Occasionally, small newspaper clippings are clued to pages, usually birth announcements. There are few pages with no events listed, though February seems to have been a slow month for our family. In the back she has written her list of husbands and the dates she was married to them and separated via death or divorce. 

This book is her life story in miniature. Here and there are entries she has heavily inked out. What was there that she didn't want to see ever again, or didn't want anyone else to see?

One thing I have yet to do is transcribe or scan the book. This is task that needs to be done, since this is an important artifact of my family history.

Granny’s last entry in the book was on December 25:

Minnie Almedo Magee
Born Dec 25, 1876
Died Feb 14, 1904
My Mother
Her maiden name Spires

For an introduction to my great-grandmother, Mary Ann Magee, please see this post: Meet Mary Ann.