Sunday, March 6, 2011

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - It's Fun Day!

Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings is at it again with his weekly SNGF series.  I was at work, so my entry is a little late, but as they say, better late than never!

It's Saturday Night - time for Genealogy Fun!

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to:

1)  When was the last time you had Genealogy Fun?  It could be research, conferences, a society meeting, or just talking with friends about your research, a favorite trip, etc.

2)  Tell us about it in your own blog post, in a comment to this post, or in a Facebook status or comment.

Here's mine:

Porter Dan Hall and Ethel, 05 Jul 1939
On Friday I was working on another blog entry, looking through the photos and memoirs my maternal grandmother left.  I was specifically scanning photos of ancestors whose pictures were not already scanned and entered into my database.  I kept running into Porter Dan Hall in South Dakota, and pictures of him with his wife Ethel.  Ethel's name wasn't familiar, so I went to the database to check.  Porter Dan Hall (b.01 Jul 1889, d. May 1970) married Stella Edith Thurston (b.1887, d. 13 Apr 1936) on 20 Aug 1914 in Orient, Hyde County, South Dakota.  That lines up with what I remembered, but who is Ethel?  Did Stella go by the nickname of "Ethel"?  No, grandma had specifically referred to her in several places in the memoirs as "Aunt Stella".  Looking at the dates...  Hrm.  Stella died in 1936, these pictures are all from 1939!  Porter must have remarried!  A nice discovery for which I will now have to search out documentation, as I was completely unaware of the 2nd marriage.

That discovery process was certainly fun!  But hey, I don't really have much data on Porter Dan Hall, either.  Checking the database, his father was David Hall, and his mother's name was Martha.  I have rough birthdates for both, but that's it.  I must have found some little snippet about them from somewhere, but failed to document it.  Let's check the Census.  Checking for Porter Dan Hall gives me a 1945 South Dakota Census showing a marriage date of 1936.  Since Stella died in 1936, it's clear that Porter remarried within months to Ethel, for whom we still have no maiden name.  However, the 1945 SD Census here shows Porter's marital status as Unknown.  Did Ethel die?  Divorce?  Further research is required.  Porter is living in Hughes County, South Dakota for this census.  Let's look earlier.

The 1925 South Dakota State Census finds Porter married (in 1910?) to Stella Hamilton.  Err....  That should be Stella Edith Thurston!  And 1914.  Estimated birth year is 1893, should be 1889.  Again, more research to see whether my existing data is wrong, or whether this enumerator was incompetent.

The 1920 US Census of South Dakota shows Porter at age 30 (correct - almost 31), living in Faulk County, South Dakota, which is just north of Hyde County where Porter and Stella were married.  It gives Porter's parents' birthplace as Illinois, confirming what I had recorded, and shows Porter and Stella living together with no children.

The 1915 South Dakota State Census shows Porter at age 25, estimated birth year 1890 (close enough), married in 1914 to S. Thurston.  Parents' birthplace is again given as Illinois.  Religion is given as M. E.  Hey!  Another little bit of data I did not previously have!  This is more fun all the time!

The 1910 US Census of South Dakota shows Porter D Hall as single, the son of the head of household.  Parents' birthplace is Illinois, and his brother John E. Hall is also living there.  I don't have an image of this page, just the Index from FamilySearch.org, so I'll need to go find that image at some point.

The 1905 South Dakota State Census has Porter Hall as age 16, born 1889 (correct) and parents' birthplace is by now pretty well established as being Illinois.  Are you ready for more fun?  Me too!

I have the image of the 1900 US Census for Spring Township, Hand County, South Dakota, enumerated on 12 Jun 1900 by Harvey Rudd.  It contains the entry for David Hall and family, including Porter, who is the youngest child.  John is there, as well as Gertrude, Harvey and Mable for a total of 5 children, with more data than I  had for any of them already!  I see Martha, for whom I still have no maiden name, but her parents came from England and New York, so I have a direction in which to look at some future time.  David's parents were from Connecticut and New York.  David was a Farmer, and Gertrude was listed as a Teacher.  Harvey is a Farm Laborer, probably for his father.  David owns his farm free and clear.  You have to love the detail in the 1900 Census!

Looking around the page, I check the next and previous families.  The previous family is Martin Ernesti - wait a minute, that rings a bell!  Sure enough, Martin Ernesti is the father of Joseph J. Ernesti, who married Nellie Edith Davis, who had earlier married Edward A. Thurston where she ties in with my Thurston branch.  In between Edward and Joseph, she was married to William Morrison for a while, too.  I met "Aunt Nell" a few times when I was very young. I still have some vague memories of her house, and that she had baked cookies for us.

Well, this has gotten quite long enough, but you can see I did have considerable fun discovering these ties and facts, and there's still more trail there for me to follow.  What Genealogy Fun did you have on your Saturday Night?