Thursday, June 10, 2010

Blog update & Jamboree

I added a "Resources" tab above with a page of Internet and book resources for Louisiana genealogy.  It's still under construction--these are off the top of my head, and I haven't made the page all pretty yet--but I hope it will help others.  Feel free to suggest other good resources for those pursuing Louisiana ancestors.

If you're attending the Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree this weekend and spot me there, say hello.  I'll be there Saturday. :)

Treasure Chest Thursday: Dad's military personnel file, part three

I'm sharing the recently-acquired military personnel file for my dad, a WWII U.S. Naval aviator in the Pacific, a few pages at a time.  Click here to see what I've posted so far, and click on any image to enlarge it.

This week concludes Dad's initial application for Naval aviator training.  A great find was letters of recommendation from his minister, principal and assistant principal in Sulphur, Louisiana.

Rev. T.J. Delaughter of First Baptist Church wrote a nice letter, saying local men "speak of [Dad] as being a good honest boy."  The pastor, I've been told, would stop by occasionally to have coffee with my grandma Elia Legere Hall, whose biscuits he really enjoyed.  Somehow, I doubt many Southern ministers were thin with all the good cooks around back then.  They always had some little something ready to serve with coffee for unexpected visitors; that's just how it was done, certainly among my Cajun relatives.


Principal I.D. Bayne's letter.  Interesting to see what the Navy underlined in considering Dad for training: "honest, reliable and sincere" and "courteous, industrious and cooperative."

Asst. Principal John S. Whatley's handwritten letter, on older letterhead.  I like the old fonts.  The Navy recruiter underlined "above the average" and "very cheerful and willing worker," good qualities for a potential pilot.

What treasures! Wonder if other high school grads applying to the Navy required letters of recommendation or just potential aviator cadets?

Find out more about requesting military personnel files here.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

It's Official: I'm "Ancestor Approved."

Thank you bunches to Linda of "Flipside" and Dionne of "Finding Josephine" for honoring me with the blogger badge "Ancestor Approved" for doing my ancestors proud.  Genealogy bloggers are a supportive bunch, and I do appreciate the encouragement. 

As a recipient, I am to list 10 things I've learned about my ancestors that have surprised, humbled or enlightened me, and to pass the award along to other bloggers whom I feel are doing their ancestors proud.

I was surprised that:

• I have so many French-Canadian ancestors (I grew up in Cajun Southwest Louisiana, so the Acadians were a given, but I wasn't aware of my Quebecois heritage until a few years ago).  They're turning out to be some of my most interesting ancestors, as they were among the first settlers of Mobile, Biloxi and New Orleans.  (Cousins: This is through Marie Octavie McBride Legere's mom's family line.)

• A couple of my colonial Mobile ancestors entered into a business arrangement with the ancestor of one of my good friends from high school -- a mere 280 years or so before we met! 

• I dated my now-husband for 10 years before finding that we're 7th cousins once removed.

• I'm still adding new nationalities to my tree.  I have Dutch ancestors through my Acadian lines (!) and a possibly-Swiss soldier ancestor who came to La. -- but no, I'm not adding any more adjectives to the blog title! (There's also Welsh and French-Canadian -- and Scots-Irish, if you want to get technical.)

I was enlightened and/or intrigued to find:

• I'm related to two U.S. vice presidents, Adlai Stevenson (VP to Cleveland) and Alben Barkley (VP to Truman), and also to the VP Adlai's grandson Adlai (the more famous one) who was Illinois governor and Ambassador to the U.N, all related through Mom's Stevenson lines.

• My "mystery grandpa," Robert Bunyan Hall, was apparently married a couple of times before he married my grandma, which may help explain why he preferred that his earlier life (including his parents' names) remain a mystery to his own family (or may not -- this is my biggest brick wall).

• I have a couple of musician ancestors (I have a music degree): My 5th-great-grandfather Jacques Leger arrived in Acadia in the late 1600s as a drummer in the French military, and my 6th-great-grandfather Claude Desbordes was choirmaster at St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans in the mid-1700s.

I am humbled by:

• finding that some of my ancestors held slaves.  Not a surprising find, given most of my ancestors lived in the South, but certainly sobering when one reads the actual names of human beings considered "property" on censuses or wills.  I am still not sure how to reconcile this fact with nonetheless being proud of some of the same ancestors' achievements.  I think it must probably require holding two opposing ideas and/or emotions in one's heart and mind at the same time, though it must be even more difficult for those who descend from both slaveowner and enslaved ancestors.

• the fact that my Acadian ancestors and their descendants in Louisiana, the Cajuns, have maintained much of their culture for more than 250 years, despite being forced from their homes by the British beginning in 1755 and "scattered to the wind" along the U.S. East Coast, in England, France, and elsewhere.

• the fact that whenever I reach out past my own shyness to meet a "new" cousin in person or by e-mail, it is invariably a good experience (whether or not we have much in common besides family), and several have become good friends as well as cousins.

I'd like to pass along the "Ancestor Approved" award to the following bloggers doing their ancestors and/or fellow researchers proud: Anne at The French Genealogy Blog, Felicia at Echoes of My Nola Past, "Hummer" at Branching Out Through the Years, Sandra at I Never Knew My Father, Ruth of Bluebonnet Country Genealogy and Tess of NOLA Graveyard Rabbit.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Surname Saturday: Burnaman, Burnham, Burnam, Boernemann?

The quick version: Does anyone know of a Georgia (or any) BURNHAM (or similarly surnamed) woman who married a HALL man who could have given birth to a son (Robert, pictured below) around 1878 in Virginia or elsewhere? My e-mail address is at the bottom of this post.

You can see by my title I haven't exactly gotten far on this line.  I have all of one person, in fact, my supposed paternal great-grandmother: Georgia Burnaman, Burnam, Burnham, Boernemann? or something similar.  And that's IF my "mystery grandpa" Robert Bunyan Hall gave the correct names on his application for a marriage license to wed my grandma.  The handwriting looks like "Burnamen," but it's hard to tell.  

 Grandpa Hall, internationalstate man of mystery.

Here's my research in a nutshell:

Numbers refer to ahnentafel (pedigree chart) numbering. The direct line is in bold.

1. Liz HALL MORGAN - me
2 & 3. Dad HALL & Mom STEVENSON

4. Robert Bunyan HALL. Born on 18 Mar (1877 or 1878?) near Richmond, VA? Or possibly in Newton, Baker Co., GA? Robert died in Sulphur, Calcasieu, LA, on 20 Nov 1952. Buried c. 22 Nov 1952 in Sulphur, Calcasieu, LA (Roselawn Cemetery). He married a Corrie or Connie or Carrie WILLIAMS and a Jessie [last name unknown] bef. Oct. 1918.   
We have not been able to prove much about Robert's life before Oct. 1918 when he met Elia.
On 26 Oct 1918 in Carencro?, Lafayette Parish, LA, he married:
5. Elia LÉGÈRE. Born on 18 Sep 1889 in Ossun, Lafayette, LA. Elia died in Sulphur, Calcasieu, LA, on 18 Sep 1956. Buried in Sep 1956 in Sulphur, Calcasieu, LA (Roselawn Cemetery).

8. George Hall. Lived in VA? or b. c. 1843 and lived in GA (see below)?
Before about 1877-8, he married:
9. Georgia BURNAMAN? BURNAM? BURNHAM? etc.  Lived in VA? Or could she be part of the George and Georgia Hall couple living in GA about whom I previously posted?  This Georgia Hall was born in 1850 in SC, according to census records.

And IF the Georgia married to George in GA (yes, you read that right -- coincidence? Or was my grandpa making up names on the spot when he wrote "George" & "Georgia" on his marriage license application?) -- anyway, IF Georgia IS the correct mother of my Grandpa Hall, then could she be the Georgia BURNHAM b. c. 1848 in SC to William L. and Frances W. BURNHAM in Saluda Regiment, Abbeville District, South Carolina in the 1850 census?  (Siblings listed are Mary E. & Hilliard L. Burnham.)  I can't find this Georgia in subsequent censuses.

Note: Grandpa Robert (#4) always claimed to have been born near Richmond, VA.  The only logical George & Georgia Hall with a son Robert in the 1880 census I've found is the couple mentioned above who lived in GA.  But that doesn't mean they're the correct couple.  Or even that he gave the correct names (he wasn't exactly forthcoming about his past).

Thanks for ANY help with this giant brick wall.  I know I will probably have to do lots more digging on Grandpa and the HALLs to find "Georgia," but it was her turn in my Surname Saturday post series, so I thought I'd ask the geneasphere about any possible leads on her line. 

Questions, hints, leads, I've got the wrong couple/people? Please comment or e-mail me at hallroots ***at**** sbcglobal (dot) net.  Thanks!

Copyright 2010 by Liz Hall Morgan

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday: Dad's military personnel file, part two

I'm sharing the recently-acquired military personnel file for my dad, a WWII U.S. Naval aviator in the Pacific, a few pages at a time.  Click here to see part one, and click on any image to enlarge it.

These forms continue Dad's application for Naval aviator training.  Apparently there was no birth certificate issued in Lafayette Parish, La., in 1921 for him (The Louisiana Secretary of State's website says that statewide records were not kept until "about 1918." Some parishes were probably slower than others to comply), so his parents signed an affidavit giving Dad's birth date and place (actually in the community of Ossun, but the post office address was Scott).  This is the most handwriting I've ever seen from my "mystery grandpa," Robert Hall.

Dad was not quite 21 and had to have his parents' consent to enlist.  Now this is interesting -- the notary has typed my grandpa's name Robert Lee Hall.  I think this is a misunderstanding of "Robert B.," which Grandpa went by ('B' is for "Bunyan").  I may have to look for him as "Robert Lee Hall," in records now, though, if only to leave no stone unturned.  But certainly there were LOTS of Robert Lee Whozit's in the South--hence, the mis-hearing--and who would make up a middle name like Bunyan--then give it to one of his sons (my uncle John)??!!  Besides, he signed "Robert" on both forms.  I'm probably just wishing for a new Grandpa lead here.

Another fun find in Dad's application file: his Sulphur High School transcript.  He looks like a fairly solid 'B' student, with some C's.  Not surprisingly, his A's are in Geometry and Biology (he studied Bio in college, briefly attended med school, and ended up in the petrochemical industry).  Wonder if I can get his college records?  More fun to come with his recommendation letters next.

Would you turn over in your grave if your kids posted your HS transcript on "the Internets"? :)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tombstone (-less) Tuesday: Aurore Legere

I'm taking a page from Lucie LeBlanc Consentino and declaring this a "Tombstone-less Tuesday" post.  This is the only record that I've found so far of the child "Orore," probably a phonetic spelling for "Aurore," daughter of Constant Légère and his third wife, Eudalie or Idalie Landry, and my (half-) great-aunt.   Aurore doesn't even appear in that mainstay of Cajun secondary sources, Rev. Donald Hebert's Southwest Louisiana Records.  I may check with St. John's in Lafayette or St. Peter's in Carencro (established c. 1874) to see if there is a record of her which didn't make it into Hebert's volumes.  By my calculations, based on the info above and the birth dates of the other children, she was born between October 1870 and March 1871.

The list of children excerpted above was probably printed in a church bulletin; I remember the framed original was displayed at my dad's cousin Ashton (a.k.a. "Nacoon") Legere's house.  Cousins, was it a written list, or was it done in needlework?  I can't quite remember, though I did take notes from it.  Not all the info was exactly correct, by the way, if you happen to have a copy (which is why I haven't reproduced the entire list here).  It was apparently compiled from memory by Constant or Octavie, his fourth wife, many years after some of the children's deaths, and perhaps expanded by Ashton.