Thursday, May 8, 2014

Brick Walls

You would think that we would have enough common sense not to be running into them.  I mean after all, that hurts!  Yet, me and fellow family historians/genealogists do it all the time.  Not physically,  but we do run into brick walls.  And yes, in a way it could hurt.  I have gotten many a headache from several of mine.

Emmett and Leotra Medlock Sanders - My Family History Journey - Debbie Lowrance
 Emmett and Leotra Medlock Butler Sanders

I have been researching one of my "brick" paternal grandmother Leotra nee Medlock Butler Sanders and paternal grandfather Emmett Sanders.  Actually there are several "brick walls" in this line.  Leotra nee Medlock Sanders, (Leotra's Father) Charles Woodson Medlock, (Leotra's Mother) Willie nee McGee Medlock.  Willie died when Leotra was a little girl.  There are so many questions concerning this family.  That is something that I am still trying to figure out.

Leotra Medlock Butler Sanders - My Family History Journey - Debbie Lowrance
Grandmother Leotra Medlock Butler Sanders
Emmett Sanders - My Family History Journey - Debbie Lowrance
Grandfather Emmett Sanders
 Now back to Leotra.  All I knew when I started my family history/genealogy was that Leotra was my dad's mother, married to my grandfather Emmett Sanders and they had 5 children.  Ida (Tiny), Frederick (my father), Carlton, Betty, and Juanita (Fay).  My dad was born in Birmingham, Alabama and raised in Atlanta, Georgia.  Once starting my family history research I could find little on this family.  Ok, basically nothing!  But I would not give up.  After all these years, all the research, all the family stories, I am finally making head way.  After my Dad's death, we learned that his parents were not married until (1938) after 3 of their children were born.  (unheard of in the 30's)  Then I found out that they both had been previously married.  Digging a little I found out that they had started to live together as man and wife while both being married to someone else.  (Scandalous!! That sounds more like something that would happen today not back then!)

What do I know now?  Both paternal grandparents went by at least 1 other name in their lifetime.  Emmett was actually born John Henry Sanders.  Leotra was born Leotra Medlock but was also known as Ruby and/or Odie.  Not to mention the misspelling of her name such as Leocha, Odele, Odie Medlack just to name a few.  No wonder I had such a hard time finding anything!  How and why the name changes?  Hopefully that is something that I will find out.

Emmett  was married to Alemida Elizabeth Pittman.  Emmett and Almedia had 3 children.  Emmett Sanders Jr. is the only living child from that union.  Leotra married Thomas C. Butler and I found them on a 1920 census as Thomal Butter and wife Adie.  The 1930 census showed them as Thos C Butler and wife Odele.  They had 5 children in total.   I have found death certificates for 4 children that died at birth or in infancy.  A male in 1919, a female in 1921, a female in 1926, and a male in 1928.  Only 1 lived past infancy, Gladys Butler.  Emmett and Leotra had 7 children together, 2 died in infancy as well.  I do have copies of the death certificates on the 4 children of Leotra and Thomas Butler.  And hope to be able to find death certificates on the 2 children of Emmett and Leotra as well.

My father was in the Air Force so we moved around a lot.  I do remember visiting and meeting my father's family in/around 1969 in Atlanta.  I also remember visiting some other relatives in Alabama, tho I was not aware of who they were at the time.  I was only 8/9 years old then.  Who cares at that age.  You meet other kids who are family/kin and hey more kids to play with.  (Or go into the woods and gather blueberry and blackberries for Grandmother to make pies.  Does the term 1 for Grandma, 2 for me ring a bell?  LoL  Yes, we ate more than what we bought back, but hey the pies were made and we all won!)

Gladys and Comer Richards were the relatives I met.  I found a marriage certificate for Gladys BUTLER and a Carlton Comer Richard!!!!  Gladys' father Thomas Butler and her mother Leotra Medlock!!  I was stunned!!  I called my Mother and asked her if she remember Gladys and Comer and she said yes, Gladys is your dad's half-sister.  (actually that would be WHAT!!!  I asked her "why didn't you tell me that before." Mom KNEW I have been doing the family history/genealogy, and yet she felt the need to keep that to herself?  Especially after all the years of the "brick" wall with Leotra??  When I asked her why she never told me that she just simply said, "because no one never asked me."

(Lesson learned!)
Always, always ask other family members if they know something about a person you are trying to do research on!!  A lot of Genealogy web-sites tell you this as a means of gathering family history.  And even tho my Mother knew I have had trouble finding anything on my Grandmother Leotra for over 7 + years, it never occurred to her to give me any info.

I have heard several stories of my father's parents.  Not sure of anything and since I had already been researching our tree, I needed proof of these stories.  Not that I didn't believe them, but anyone who does family history/genealogy knows that you have to have verification and sources! With the information about both grandparents being previously married I had to get to the bottom of it all.  

I am hoping to find the 1940 census for Emmett and Leotra.  My dad would have been 5 at that time, but so far no luck.  Some of the stories that my Aunt Fay have told me about my grandparents make me wonder if I  will ever find them on any census.  But I won't give up!  That is not my way and only makes me want to dig that much deeper!!

I guess one day I will have to share some of my family stories here,  but that is for another time.

Leotra is far from being done, but that is ok, I have others that need my attention now.  At least I know more about my grandmother Leotra, and she is no longer considered a "brick wall".  

I do have more brick walls to scale and they are who I need to concentrate on now.  Here are some of my other "brick walls":

Great Grandmother - Ida Tullulah Simpson (b) 1871 GA (m) 1895 GA - nothing on parents
Great Grandmother Willie McGee (m) 1901 GA (d) 1907 - nothing on parents
Great Grandfather Alonzo Sanders - nothing on parents

Cecelia Mae McGee - My Family History Journey - Debbie Lowrance
Great Grandmother Cecelia Mae McGee (b) 1901 Wash DC - nothing on parents

I have also stumbled upon a Robert Jemison in my family tree.  It appears that every male named a son Robert, so there are a lot of Robert Jemisons', and a lot of Robert Jemison Jr's.  (I will be posting something dealing with names and naming patterns in the future.  Watch out for it.)  The last time I was going through some websites, it actually gave me a headache with all the Robert's in that branch.  I even called my sister, told her the research I was doing and then said "and to top it off, you go and name your son Robert!"  I know, I have lost my mind!  LoL

So now I have 5 brick walls to conquer, and know there are more to come!  Wish me luck!


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