Sunday, September 27, 2009

Spotlight Sunday - John William Bellew

Yes I do realize that it's "Black Sheep Sunday" in the genea-blogging world today, but I'm struggling along here with my research and trying to find a new passion for writing to my blog. One idea I've seen others do is to highlight a specific ancestor on their birthday. Rather than doing just a birthday spot, I thought I'd pick one ancestor who's birthday falls in the week and do a short write up about that person's life. Today, it's John William Bellew, my Great Grandfather.

John W. Bellew was born on 27 Sept 1889 in Preston, Lancashire England. He was the son of Patrick Bellew and Elizabeth Hall. John had six siblings; James (died at childbirth), William, James, Frances, Mary and Isabella.

John served in the British Army Royal Field Artillery from 1909 to 1913. He married Margaret McCann in the St. Ignatius Catholic Church in Preston on 1 July, 1915. John was a cotton weaver at a local mill prior to entering the British Army and later he was a hotel barman.

John and Margaret lived in Preston and had three children there - Hugh born 1916, William Patrick born 26 Nov 1917, and John born in 1919. Margaret's sister Catherine came to the US with her husband James Aspin in late 1919 or early 1920. John and Margaret later decided to join them in the US.

In 1923 John came to the US, joining his McCann sister-in-law and her husband in Rhode Island, where he worked in the mills in Central Falls. Margaret did not join him until almost a full 3 years later in 1926. Unfortunately she was forced to leave one of their children behind in England, their son John was too ill to travel at the time and never joined them in the US.

John and his family later relocated to the small town of Adams, Massachusetts, again to find work in the textile mills that had attracted them to Rhode Island. The family remained in Adams until the 1950s when they relocated to Maryland after John suffered a stroke.

John died in Bethesda Maryland on 15 Dec 1958. He was buried at the Gate of Heaven cemetery. The photo below is the only known existing photo of him. This is a picture taken at my Grandparents' wedding, the bride with her father, Joe Leeming (right) and John Bellew, the new father-in-law (left).

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

My Aunt, Pauline Keener (Left) and a friend
date unknown - Washington DC

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday

Finding my Hott family and the Anderson family in Fauquier County in 1900 led me to search for children that were born to my Great Grandmother who didn't live. She told stories of two children lost, one as a newborn and another as a small child. It's possible that this is one of her children, but sadly I may never know.....

This stone bears a striking resemblance to the one posted for S.W. Hott , in the same cemetery on a previous Tombstone Tuesday post.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Seeking the correct Samuel Hott - a follow up post

It's been about 3 months since I wrote a post about the confusion between two Samuel W. Hott men, that had, from the records I could find, been confused long ago by researchers who published a book on the Hott family. The research done on this family is extensive, and this mix-up could easily have happened, but the fact remained that what I had found just didn't match up with the information that had been published and taken by other researchers to be correct. Because my research away from home is extremely limited - dare I say even "rare", I had to rely on what others could find, records available on the internet, and much help from well seasoned researchers to prove my thoughts on my 2nd great grandfather.

My original information was very little, I knew that his wife was M.M. "Holt" and I knew that he died "around the turn of the century in Romney WV" (information obtained from one of my QUICK cousins). Very little to go on, and I had my work cut out for me. Beginning with the wrong surname and the incorrect area I began my search with no luck whatsoever.

Then it happened, I found a birth record for Sarah Elizabeth Virginia HOTT in Hampshire County WV, parents listed as Samuel W. Hott and Mary Matilda Henderson. My Great Grandmother went by Sallie, a nickname for Sarah. But the last name threw me off, but the area and the birth date were correct. I then searched for a marriage for this couple and found it on Nov 17, 1870 in Hampshire County WV. The marriage record reflected Samuel's full name of Samuel William Hott. I had no luck finding a death record for him. Turning to the census records for the Quick family, I found Mary Hott, widow, aged 70 living in Washington DC in 1920. Not finding her in 1910, I looked at 1900 and found her in Fauquier County Virginia, also listed as a widow, living with three of her 7 children. Now I knew that Samuel had died prior to the 1900 census but still I didn't know where and had no idea what would have taken Mary to Fauquier County.

Further looks at the census records for 1860-1880 found Samuel William in the home of his parents John and Caroline Hott in Hampshire County WV. I was sure this was the correct Samuel, the age matched his marriage record and the records of his children's births.

Then it happened, I posted messages on Ancestry and my attention was brought to a book published on the Hott family - One Man's Family: George Hott Sr. & his Descendants, by Mary Catherine Hott Kuykendall. The researcher gave me a few details of Samuel's information listed, but corrected me about his parentage stating that he was actually Samuel Walker Hott, the son of James and Harriett Hott. Because this information was in "the book" it must be true right? Not in my mind! I quickly began doing some research on Samuel Walker and there was very little information available. My Samuel was still at his parents home in 1870 (married late in the year) whereas Walker was not. My Samuel used this name all his life, whereas Walker used his middle name on most records. Walker was born about 2 years earlier than my Samuel. I couldn't find any records of Walker's marriage, death or any other pertinent data. Then I reached out to Sylvia Hott Sonneborn, who is a fellow blogger and a wonderful researcher. She helped me search further for Samuel and we found records at Footnote that reflected Walker's path in life. He apparently fought in the civil war and then ended up in Fairfax County Virginia (according to his pension records), where he died in 1913. This could not be my Samuel!

Turing back to the marriage records in Hampshire County WV, and searching for the other children of the couple, I found their oldest daughter had married a man from Fauquier County and in 1910 was living in the area near her parents. With more family in the area, it made sense that Mary would be there. I then searched for headstones on Find-A-Grave, hoping to find something on the Hott family in Fauquier. BINGO! I found S.W. Hott, buried in July of 1899 in Prince William County Virginia. The researcher of the Hott book apparently realized that there was something amiss with his headstone, she mentioned the date on the headstone being 1847 and that the family was aware of the error... only it wasn't an error - Samuel William Hott WAS born in 1847 according to most all records. Because the family (and I still do not know who helped out on the research on Samuel's descendants for the book) always assumed that he was Samuel Walker Hott, they had his birth date listed in 1845. Now, if I could just figure out which of the hundreds of people this might be, I may be able to help set the record straight. Unfortunately, death records in the state of Virginia are not available from 1897-June of 1912, so I cannot obtain a copy of his death certificate.

I obviously wanted a copy of this book, not only because it was about one of my lines, but because much of the very early Hott family settled in a county not far from my home. The book wasn't available for months it seemed. Finally, I received word from Amazon that they had a limited number of copies available and I quickly placed my order. I couldn't wait for that book to arrive and I'm still flipping through its pages and enjoying the wonderful photographs submitted by various family members for publishing. The book was published in 1991 and is an incredible compilation of information and photographs. The wonderful lady who put it together has since passed away, but it's quite a work and one that I will treasure having for years to come!

I am confident and comfortable that the correct Samuel Hott has been found, but will of course welcome communication from any researchers or family members that can provide further proof or disprove the theory.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Edna R. Keener Malone

Edna R. Keener
born Feb 11, 1924
died Jan 17, 1995
My Paternal Grandmother
Edna was the eldest daughter of May Kidwell and Clarence Keener

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - Jerry Keener

John Jerry Keener
b. Jul 14, 1942; d. Mar 22, 1983
Third born son to Edna Keener