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John Roberts and Elizabeth Ann Murrell Roberts- Indiana, Virginia, Illinois, and Iowa

 

John Roberts, c1920s?
John Roberts, c1920s?

John Roberts was 1 of 11 children born to Jane Saylor and John S. Roberts, both originally from Kentucky. He was born 05 December, 1832 in Indiana when it was still not a very settled place. The family farmed the land in Jefferson and Ripley Counties, Indiana.

When John was 23, around 1855, he went to Illinois to work as a farmhand. There he met Elizabeth Ann Murrell, who had migrated from her birthplace in Botetourt Co., Virginia to Illinois about 1853 when she was 18. They married 08 March 1857 in Roseville, Warren Co., Illinois. They had four children in Illinois: William Edward (1858-1935), Jason Lee (1859-1940), George Anthony (1861-1939), and Mary Jane (1863-1947).

In the fall of 1868 the family of six loaded a covered wagon and migrated to Jasper County, Iowa. (Their granddaughter Edith loved to tell that story.) Here another child, Wilbert John, was born but died in infancy (1877-1878).

John and Elizabeth lived the rest of their lives in Jasper County, Iowa. They are both buried in Waveland Cemetery, Prairie City, Jasper Co., Iowa.

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) This information has also been posted on Find A Grave, Memorial #99632803 for John Roberts and Elizabeth Ann Murrell Roberts, Find A Grave Memorial# 99632804.

 

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Copyright 2014 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

 
We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post, and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.

Treasure Chest Thursday: The John Roberts and Elizabeth Ann Murrell Roberts Family in 1892

 

Family of John Roberts and Elizabeth Ann Murrell Roberts- 1892.
Family of John Roberts and Elizabeth Ann Murrell Roberts- 1892. (Click to enlarge.)


Having wonderful photos is such a family treasure, but not having them labeled with who each person is can be maddening to a genealogist, plus makes them of much less interest to most other family members. A dedicated and knowledgeable sleuth can piece together information that can help to identify people and places, and help to put a family into context.

Family portraits such as the above also help to show the relationships in a family. The persons are grouped by family, with the patriarch and matriarch front and center. Usually the photo is taken on the family homeplace.

Once persons are even tentatively identified in a photo, finding other photos in the future may corroborate, as happened with this photo, or give more clues to help identify persons in other photographs.

In the above photo, the identification of the George Roberts family and John and Elizabeth Roberts is certain. The other families are identified by the family-owned picture of the three brothers and their pictures in the Jasper County history, census records to determine children and ages of each family, and family bible records. The date the picture was taken was deduced by the age of Ethel Gay Roberts, who was born Feb., 1892, and was a baby being held by her mother; her older brother George, who was born June 1889, is in a stroller. Since he is so young and the leaves are on the trees, this may be early spring of 1892.

From left:

William Edward “W. E.” Roberts (oldest child of John and Elizabeth) family: wife Mary M. Main, daughters Clara and Maude (dau on right looks a bit older though there are 2 years difference in ages, so may be Maude), William Edward Roberts, and his son Orville.

Mary Jane (Mollie J) Roberts (fourth child of John and Elizabeth) and her second husband Samuel Blount holding their son Harry R.

John Roberts and his wife Elizabeth Ann Murrell.

George A. Roberts (third child of John and Elizabeth) and his son George A., wife Ella V. Daniel(s) holding daughter Ethel Gay.

Orpha & Oca Roberts with their mother Julia French to the right, son Guy L. sitting on fence next to his father, Jason Lee Roberts (second child of John and Elizabeth).

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) Family-owned photo.

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Copyright 2014 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

 
We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post, and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.

 

 

Mystery Monday- Murrell Family Bible of 1815

W. A. Murrell and Mary M. Honts- Headstone in Mound Prairie Cemetery, Jasper Co., Iowa. Posted with permission of photographer.
W. A. Murrell and Mary M. Honts- New Headstone in Mound Prairie Cemetery, Jasper Co., Iowa. Posted with permission of photographer.

One of my wonderfully dedicated Murrell cousins brought my attention to a post on GenForum (http://genforum.genealogy.com/philips/messages/649.html) for a Murrell family bible that contains family history from 1758-1869. This cousin is so good about following up clues and revisiting information, and she has made great leaps in our knowledge  of what had been one of my brick walls for years. We are still looking for the parents of Wiley Anderson Murrell, however, and this family bible may contain clues.

Sadly the message was posted on November 30, 2007, and the email addresses no longer work. (IIRC, I had also tried the emails years ago.) A good genealogy samaritan had posted a note about a post he read on a website called “Treasures Lost and Found” by “Rmay424727@aol.com.”  Rmay was also a good genealogy samaritan when he purchased this bible in a second-hand store in El Paso, Texas, and then tried to find descendants who should own it.

The post stated that the bible listed that an Elizabeth Phillips had married a Murrell in 1799. Two funeral notices were on the inside cover, for Mr. George Simmons, with the date being 11-3-1866, and another for Capt. W. E. Murrell, 11-24-1869.

I had corresponded with a R. May many years ago, but he was elderly then so may already be hanging out with his ancestors. I have posted a reply- should have done that years ago- and reposted on the Virginia, Illinois, and Iowa lists. I love that GenForum has a box to check so you can be notified if anyone replies to your posts.

I also stated in my reply that I would be posting the Murrell Bible I have copies of, sometime this week. I’ll have to tear myself away from RootsTech webinars if I procrastinate too long, so look for those posts in the next couple of days.

Looks like we have a few new clues to research, with the 3 new names and some dates. Too bad we don’t know where Elizabeth Phillips married Mr. Murrell, but it will be fun to search for that information.

It would be nice to know who placed the new headstone for W. A. and Mary M. Honts Murrell, too- it surely isn’t 125+ years old. Not sure how to go about that since the cemetery is not really ‘run’ by any group that I know of, but maybe the local genealogy society will have some information.

By the way, RootsTech is a great conference with live-streamed, FREE events/lectures starting at 8:30am (Mountain time) on Thursday, Feb. 6th. The conference has been excellent in years past and looks promising again this year. You can even download all of the syllabi for the conference (https://rootstech.org/about/syllabus-materials/)- thank you, RootsTech! See roots tech.org for more info.

 

Please contact us if you would like a higher resolution image.

Copyright 2014 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

 
We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post, and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.

Stories- A Family Legacy, Part 2

Edith Roberts- Declamatory Contest. Prairie City News, Prairie City, Jasper Co., Iowa, shortly after 2 Feb 1917. (from a clipping without date)
Edith Roberts- Declamatory Contest. Prairie City News, Prairie City, Jasper Co., Iowa, shortly after 2 Feb 1917. (From a clipping without date)

Telling the family stories is a wonderful legacy to pass on to your children.

But I can’t find ANYTHING about my ancestor ANYWHERE…

Don’t know much about the actual stories of the lives of your ancestors? There are many resources available, both online and at specific places that can help you piece together a life and/or a family. If you are not lucky enough to have many family stories, you can learn more about your ancestors to help put their lives in context.

Newspapers

Newspapers are a great resource for learning the stories of ancestors, or the places and times in which they lived. Newspapers of 50+ years ago included who was visiting where, long or one-line obituaries, detailed political and voter information, etc. The obituary of Jefferson Springsteen (1820-1909) tells of him running away to join the circus as a boy- how could he then be upset when his son Abram Springsteen ran away to join the Union Army as a drummer boy at age 12? There is a story there… A short note about Miss Edith Roberts (1899-1982) taking first place in the Declamatory Contest as well as “the Dramatic’ is on the same page as the notice of  the “Death of Grandma Roberts” (her paternal grandmother, Elizabeth Ann Murrell Roberts, 1835-1917). What mixed emotions Edith must have felt that day! Such information from newspapers allows us to realize and then understand the challenges and triumphs of those who have gone before, and help us tell the stories of our ancestor’s lives.

"Death of Grandma Roberts"- Elizabeth Ann Murrell Roberts. Prairie City News, Prairie City, Jasper Co., Iowa. Undated newspaper clipping but Elizabeth died 02 Feb 1917.
“Death of Grandma Roberts”- Elizabeth Ann Murrell Roberts. Prairie City News, Prairie City, Jasper Co., Iowa. Undated newspaper clipping but Elizabeth died 02 Feb 1917.

Genealogy Bank is my favorite newspaper website for ease of use and breadth of papers held, though it is a for-pay website. Ancestry.com also has newspapers, as do a few other for-pay websites. Some favorite free websites are chroniclingamerica.loc.gov, http://cdnc.ucr.edu/cgi-bin/cdnc for California newspapers, and http://fultonhistory.com/Fulton.html for New York state and other newspapers, postcards, etc.

If you can’t find articles about your own family, read through the headlines, ads, and social columns of the newspaper from where they lived and during that time period- it will help to put your ancestors into the context of their times.

Books

There are many books that can be found in the history section of the bookstore or library that can help you to piece together more information about your ancestor’s probable daily life. (Jane Austen’s England by Roy Adkins is on my list to read- it tells about everyday life in the late 18th and early 19th century England.) Used or out-of-print books may be found at abebooks.com, alibris.com, or a local used bookseller can do a search for you. Many other family or social history sources can be found on Google Books (books.google.com), such as county histories. Although your ancestor may not have had the money or inclination to buy a writeup in a county history (AKA “Mug Books” since they sometimes required a payment to be included), just reading about the area in the first part of the history can give an idea of the topography, religion, economics, goods and services provided, social groups, etc. Google Books may give you a snippet of information from a book so that you can determine if you would like to buy it, or it may provide an ebook for free to download. The Internet Archive (https://archive.org) has millions of pages of books, videos, etc. available for free. (Sadly, some of them are OCR’d images and may be hard to read, but may still be useful.) They also offer “The  Way Back Machine” to help you find old web pages from now-defunct websites. Another good free online book source is hathitrust.org.

WorldCat (http://www.worldcat.org) is a great place to find a book, and then your library may be able to get it on interlibrary loan for you if it can’t be found locally. College libraries that include manuscript or special collections and dissertations may provide wonderful information. Some may be dry and/or scholarly, but you may be able to find information that can help you enhance the date and place information you already know about your family.

Here are some social history questions to ask, and research, about your ancestor’s time, place, and life:

What events were going on locally, nationally?

What was the economy like? Boom time or bust, or just a long struggle like in the 1890s?

What were prevailing religious views?

What were political leanings and issues of those in the area where your ancestor lived?

What provided income to your ancestor, and how common was that occupation?

Some of the answers can help provide family stories. We inherited some strange tools- they were very old and it was hard to tell what they were used for. They belonged to descendants of George Lee (1821-aft 1880) who lived in Irthlingborough, Northamptonshire, England, which was a large shoe-making center. George and his sons all came to America, and at least one son, Josiah, was a shoemaker. With the knowledge that shoemaking was important in their hometown in England, and then the US Federal Census that listed shoemaking as an occupation for Josiah, some online research for shoemaking tools helped us identify the purpose of the artifacts. The tools we have were probably Josiah’s, and now we can add shoemakers to the family stories.

When telling your family stories, whether in print, electronic form, or oral stories, it is important to ALWAYS differentiate general facts from those known specifically about your family. Also, document sources with proper citations, so that you or others may revisit those sources to verify or  disprove ideas and ‘facts.’

 

Adding social history to your research can give a deeper understanding of the lives of our ancestors, and enrich the family stories we leave as a legacy to our descendants.

 

Notes, Sources, and References:

1) Newspaper clippings are from the Prairie City News, around 02 feb 1917.

2) I have no affiliation with any of the websites listed, and do not receive any benefits from them financially or in product. (FTC Disclosure.)

Please contact us if you would like higher resolution images.

Copyright 2013 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.