Friday, November 12, 2010

Bartlett S. Jackson - Spanish American War 1898

Photo of B.S. Jackson, Dick Ashbrook, John Fall, Chas. Davenport at Chickamauga,
Georgia, June 25, 1898 [Digital copy, A.B. Deller, July 2010].  Dudley  Emerson Jones,
1829-1913, Papers, 1849-1976, Manuscript Collection MC 1305, Box 4, Folder 5.
Special Collections, University of Arkansas Libraries, Fayetteville. 

Bartlett S. Jackson was the brother of Georgia Jackson Jones (our great-grandmother).  He was born on April 9th, 1871, the youngest son of William P. Jackson & Susan A. Johnson, in Missouri (probably in Sedalia).  He joined the 2nd Regiment Missouri Volunteer Infantry in Sedalia, Pettis County, Missouri in April 28, 1898; and was listed as a Sargent in Company D, Mustered in Jefferson, Missouri, May 12, 1898, and discharged Feb 17, 1899.

According to this author, at The Spanish American War Centennial Website,
"The Carthage Light Guard [Company A], along with the remainder of the Second Missouri Volunteer Infantry never left the continental U.S. during its term of service during the Spanish American War."
During his enlistment, he sent a gift back to his Sister's son, Arthur Jackson Jones.  We found this when we were cleaning out the attic.  A small silver cup, with a note inside that read,
"Arthur. Sent by Uncle Bartlett from Chattanooga during Spanish American War. Mom."
In the 1900 US Federal Census, Bart was living with his mother, Susan [Johnson] Jackson in Sedalia, Missouri, and working as a Policeman [his brother John was working as a Detective].  On April 5th, 1904, he died and was buried at Crown Hill Cemetery next to his parents.

Monday, November 8, 2010

William Talifero Ingram and "Mug" or Heritage Books

Mary Jennie Eddy (standing), & WT Ingram
holding his great-granddaughter,
Marguerite Blanche Smith.
Personal Photo, owned by E.N.Snodgrass.
Digital Copy, A. B. Deller, July 2010.

William Talifero Ingram was born on November 8, 1830 in Greenville, Kentucky, and if we are to believe the biographical information presented in the "Portrait and biographical record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties", then he had an interesting life indeed.

The majority of what we [think we] know about William was found in this book.  I first learned about it from a letter that was written to Viola Taylor Ingram (his daughter-in-law) from Springfield, Illinois in 1902.  Five of those pages are devoted to transcribing the entry about "Col. W.T. Ingram" from the book. I remember searching for the book online, and finding it at  I read through the entry with excitement, but even so, thought it sounded just a little "too" good in places. 

I began to search for information about the book itself, to determine just how accurate I could consider it. Initially I found a source that discounted the majority of information in these books, which sounded a bit harsh. Since then I've found better written articles, one at the website Common-Place ["A bit friendlier than a scholarly journal, a bit more scholarly than a popular magazine, Common-place speaks--and listens--to scholars, museum curators, teachers, hobbyists, and just about anyone interested in American history before 1900." It's a great site.] .  The article by Rhonda Frevert, "Mug Books" says of them, 
"Late nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century mug books are collections of biographical sketches, a curiously rich source for genealogists and historians alike."
Title Page from "Portrait and Biographical Record,
Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, IL
(Chicago, 1894).
In an old blog entry from the Genealogy Education website, they're also called "Heritage Books." And he references another article written by Connie Lenzen that submitted to the NGS Quarterly.  All of them emphasize the importance of evaluating the source for accuracy.  It's something I've [usually] done, and considered just plain common sense. Sources are important, and unfortunately, this book doesn't list any sources at all. There's no way of knowing if the information was obtained by personal interview, or even who wrote the entry [whether stranger, friend or even the man himself].  

This is another reminder to always consider the source.    I want to make sure that the information I use in our family history is accurate, or as accurate as possible, because, as Ms. Lenzen writes, 
"...when family members or researchers possess a record or a piece of knowledge, publishing it without documentation is a disservice to others interested in that family."
Other blog entries about William Talifero Ingram include Sunday Obituary, and  Tombstone Tuesday.  

Friday, November 5, 2010

Re-Examine Your Historical Documents

Currently I'm participating in NaNoWriMo, writing the first draft of a novel about one of our ancestors, Berthena Taylor Roark.  Actually, I'm using this process to get myself geared up to write out an account of ALL the information we've gathered about the family, since I've been having trouble starting to write anything at all.  I imagine I'm not alone in wondering how in the world I'm going to be able to make any written sense of all the documents and information I've gathered.  So, while I'm not very far along with my word count (all participants are trying to write 1667 words per day, to total 50,000 words for November), I'm definitely farther along in writing out some of my research.

Now you might ask if I actually have enough information on this person who lived from 1828 - 1882 to write a 50,000 page novel, and I would have to answer with a definite no.  So, what I'm really writing is historical fiction.  I'm trying to imagine just what her life might have been like, being born and raised in Kentucky, moving away from all her family, with her new husband, to Kansas, having (at least) seven children, moving again into Missouri, and dying a long way from her original home.  I'm reading up on as much 19th century history as I can get my hands on (which is really limited when you're outside the USA), and re-reading all the documents I already possess.

And last night, I made some surprising discoveries in documents I thought I'd read well.  I had a date for her marriage to Saul Roark in January 1850 (I obtained this from an online family tree), but I had two census records for the same year, and the two young people were still living in their parents home, and both marked as single.  I'd also missed seeing that Jeff Campbell was reported living in their household in the 1865 Kansas State Census.  This made me wonder if he was related to Fannie Campbell who reportedly killed Berthena.

I also spent more than an hour looking for alternative sources of the 1880 US Federal Census (no, I don't have a membership to, and yes, I do know it would be most helpful in cases such as this), only to find than my online friend had already found Berthena in the 1880 census, listed as "Bink".  It appears to be the right person, the dates match other records for her birth year, and the children listed under her name are also in previous census records, although in this record, she has moved to a neighboring county, and now she has been marked as widowed [she was also marked as married, so I'm not exactly sure what that means].

It goes to show, sometimes I have more information that I really realize; it's just a matter of organizing it and reviewing it, an in my case, creating a timeline and transcribing all the details onto it.