Monday, August 25, 2014

First Day of Fall Semester

My whole summer has been about these past few days - moving back to campus and starting another semester of grad school. The move was rough. Summer decided to rear its ugly head last week after being a no-show for much of the season. We drank endless amounts of water and suddenly the ALS Ice Water Challenge was starting to look appealing. Very appealing. We managed to get everything moved in and set up for the most part. I still have a few boxes and I'm trying to figure out how to organize a few things, but the kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom are functional. The rest will be done eventually. I don't like not having things put away, but between my grad assistantship and classes, it'll just have to get done when it gets done.

So I'm back in town after spending the past year in the country. The country is quiet and peaceful and I enjoyed my time out there, but it's a bit far. And I enjoy being in the city. I like the activity and I like things being close. As I'm sitting here typing this, I can hear students outside laughing over something. I can see car headlights pass by my window. I've already caught up with old neighbors and classmates. Best of all, I'm in my own place, with my own bed and my own kitchen. 

Today was the first day of class. This semester's a bit different for me as all of my classes are online. I've taken a couple of online classes, but I've never had a full load of classes online during any given semester. It feels a bit weird not having to be in an actual classroom for three hours. I log on to my account and download my syllabus for each class and do the work. Simple enough. Two more semesters and I'll be home-free!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Daniel Sanders

We've all run into brick walls with genealogy research. One of my brick walls has been my great-grandfather from my adoptive family, Daniel Sanders. Daniel was born August 6, 1877 and died in 1941. He married Minnie Landers October 30, 1898 in Obear, Arkansas. The family said he may have been farmed out for share-cropping work as a child. That is my brick wall. So far I've been unable to track down his parents which means I can't go back any further with the Sanders line than 1877. For the benefit of the rest of the family, though, I'm including some notes I've made on Daniel. Let me know if there is anything else I can add to it!
Dan (Grandpa) and Minnie (Granny) Sanders


1900 Census
In 1900, Daniel was married to Minnie by this time and they’d had Bert (Burt). According to the 1900 census (which was done June 11 in Daniel’s area), Daniel was head of the household at 22 years old. He and Minnie lived in Garland County, Arkansas in the Sulphur T.P. (Township). Their information is on page 3 of the census. Daniel is listed as a white male, born August of 1877, and married. He had been married for 1 year according to the census. His place of birth is listed as Illinois. His mother and father’s birthplace is listed as Indiana (I have yet to find any information on them yet). His occupation is listed as Section Laborer and the Months Not Employed column had 0 in it. Under the Education section, yes is marked under “Can read”, “Can write”, and “Can speak English”. The home he and his little family lived in was rented and it is listed as a house, not a farm.

Minnie E Sanders is listed as his wife, white and female, born August 1876, 23 years old. She had one child who was still living (Burt). She was born in Arkansas. Her mother and father were born in Arkansas as well. She was able to read, write, and speak English. No occupation is listed.

Burton A. Sanders is listed as the son, white and male. He was born June 1899. He was 11-12 months old. His birthplace was Arkansas and his parents’ birthplaces match up to the birthplaces listed above.

1910 Census

This census found Daniel and his family in Cross County, Arkansas, Mitchell Township and the information was collected on May 12th. Daniel is listed as Dan and as head of the household – male, white, 34. The age according to the 1900 census and his birthdate should have put him at 32 at this point. The census is incorrect. He is listed as being married for 14 years. According to the 1900 census, he should have been married for 11 years. He listed Illinois as his birthplace, but listed Illinois as the birthplace for his mother and father as well. So now there’s another question: Were his parents born in Illinois or Indiana? His occupation is listed as Section something. It doesn’t look like laborer, but the handwriting isn’t the best. It’s safe to say he’s still with the railroad. He was listed as working on his own account as opposed to being an employer or employee. For question #26 (owned or rented), there is only a checkmark. For question #27 (Owned free or mortgaged), there is only a checkmark. They lived in a house and in answer to question #29 (number of farm schedule), a 2 is in the box. Question #30 asked if he was a survivor of the Union or Confederate Army or Navy. 9 is put there. He isn't listed as being blind. For question #32, a 5 is put in answer to whether he was deaf and dumb It looks as if the census taker used these last few boxes for his own notes and not for actually answering the questions.

Minnie Sanders is listed as wife, female, white, 33 years old, married for 14 years, with two children, both of whom are still living at this point. Her birthplace and her parents’ birthplace is listed as Arkansas. She is listed as English-speaking. “None” is listed for the occupation. She could read and write.

Burt Sanders is listed as son, male, white, 13 years old, single. His birthplace and his parents’ birthplace are both listed as Arkansas which doesn’t match Dan’s birthplace. He could read, write, and attended school since September 1, 1900. “None” is listed for the occupation.

May Sanders is listed as daughter, female, white, 8 years old, single. Her birthplace and her parents’ birthplace are both listed as Arkansas as Burt’s is. She spoke English, could read and write, and had attended school since September 1, 1900.

The 1910 Census doesn’t appear to be as accurate as the 1900 census was. 

At this point, I concentrated more on Burt than I did Daniel Sanders so I haven't really looked at the census records for Daniel between 1910 and 1940. 

1940 Census

Daniel and Minnie Sanders were empty nesters. They lived in Cross County, Arkansas, Wynne City. Their information was gathered on April 2nd. As a side note, my Papaw (Daniel’s son) is also listed on this same census, possibly living next door with my Grandma (Lucille Paul Sanders) and my uncle Benny. I have no proof of that other than their information is listed right above Daniel and Minnie's information. 

Daniel Sanders is listed as Head, male, white, 62 years old, married, hadn’t attended school since March of that year, and his highest grade attended was 4th grade. He is listed as being born in Illinois and the question after that (15C) is for CODE (leave blank). "61" is listed there. He is listed as being in the same house. For questions 21-24, he had listed "no". These were work-related questions. He wasn’t working at that time or seeking work. In the next column (question #25), he was listed as U (Unable to work). He died of Parkinson's disease so it's possible the disease had rendered him unable to work by this point. For question #33, he listed that he was getting income from another source. This was the first year social security was in place for retired workers so it’s possible he was one of those recipients. He may have gone ahead and retired and was able to collect social security on top of possibly a railroad pension.

Minnie Sanders is listed as Wife, female, white, 62 years old (inaccurate, but probably listed as that for convenience), married, hadn’t attended school since March of that year, and her highest grade attended was 8th grade. Question 15C has "84" in it. She has “same house” listed as residence. “No” was entered for all the occupation questions and she listed "household" as her occupation. She listed she was not receiving income from any other source.

These are all the census records I have used for Daniel Sanders. I found a World War I draft registration card for him:
Daniel Sanders WWI Draft Registration Card

The draft registration card shows Daniel Sanders worked for the Missouri Pacific Railroad. 



Tuesday, August 05, 2014

The Lost Art of Letter-Writing

Remember the days when letter-writing was not only fun, but pretty much the only way you could stay in contact with long-distance friends? I had a friend in 7th grade who moved across the country after school let out for the summer. For the next 20-something years, she and I corresponded via letters. We celebrated birthdays, Christmases, marriage, and childbirth via the descriptive letters we penned. We experimented with stationary and cute stamps, her handwriting not changing a bit of the years while mine changed with the tides. I loved experimenting with my handwriting. It wasn't until we discovered each other on Facebook a few years ago that the letter-writing ceased. Now, we still celebrate each other's happy days, sad days, and in-between days, but sharing these times via cyberspace just isn't the same as it was when we were eagerly waiting for each other's handwritten letters in the daily mail.

I've recently had the chance to start writing letters again. I have to admit I jumped right into it as if I had been writing letters this whole time. I spend half a page describing a funny incident that happened that particular day. I print out funny Facebook cartoons and tuck them into the stationary note cards I buy for the sole purpose of corresponding with someone in another state. I was talking with a co-worker today who laughed about his letter-writing days and how he felt his words were a bit 18th-century, but he was unable to change the tone because it was fun. We get satisfaction from writing a letter, from letting our minds flip through our endless files of memories and stopping on a moment that simply needs to be shared with your recipient, and turning that memory into a literary tale. When we write letters, we all step back into time a bit, a time when life went by at a slower pace, things were a bit simpler, and letter-writing was as natural as breathing.




Lesson Gone Wrong

For those of you who have worked with me before, you know one of the things I constantly do is reflect. Where did I go wrong? What could I h...