Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Watermelon Fun

White and Lam family enjoying watermelon in Missouri.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tuesday's Tune - "I Can't Get Next to You" by the Temptations

Tuesday's Tune is a new blog prompt I created to talk about my ancestry playlist. Music has always played an important role in my life and there are countless songs that remind me of my family. I often wonder if those that are gone loved the same music I love today. This prompt will give me an opportunity to share my playlist.
Today's song is "I Can't Get Next to You" by the Temptations. This song, and any other Motown hit, always makes me think of my father, Warren Kuhn. Dad was raised in Kansas City, Missouri on the south side and he attended Paseo High School. At the time, both Dad's neighborhood and the high school had a large black population. Dad has always said he learned his love for Motown music from his neighbors and fellow students.
Paseo High School, Kansas City, Missouri. The school was built in 1926 and demolished in 1990 to make way for a fine arts magnet school.
As I was growing up we used to listen to a lot of records, with Motown music played more than most. The Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, and especially the Temptations would fill our house with music. My favorite Temptations song is "I Can't Get Next to You." The song was a number-one hit for the Temptations in October 1969.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Italian naming patterns

I recently checked out The Family Tree Guide Book to Europe, by Erin Nevius and the editors of the Family Tree Magazine, from my local library. The book looks at 14 different countries across Europe and gives tips and ideas for researching your ancestors from those countries.

One thing that grabbed my attention is the naming patterns followed by southern Italian families. The pattern is one that I believe my husband's ancestors followed and I am hoping to follow the pattern to further trace back the maternal lines. Here is how it goes:

- First son named after father's father
- Second son named after mother's father
- Third son named after the father
- First daughter named after father's mother
- Second daughter named after mother's mother
- Third daughter named after mother

Names were also used again if a child were to die in order to maintain the naming pattern. In the case of the Pagano family the family names are as follows:
Salvatore and Mary Pagano deviated from the convention with their third son, named Guiseppe rather than Salvatore. It is possible that the Paganos had other children that I have yet to discover. In the case of my Pagano family, they did not continue the naming pattern once they arrived in America in the 1890s. I wonder if this was one way to seal their Americanism and separate from the old ways. I now plan to apply this naming pattern to other Italian lines and see if that can open up some new leads.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Treasure Chest Thursday - Paseo High School yearbooks

Well once again I am happy for my Ancestry.com subscription. They have recently added more yearbooks to their U.S. School Yearbooks collection and I was able to find the following from my father's yearbooks:
The young pup at the far right is my papa, Warren Kuhn. These are the Army Junior ROTC officers from Paseo High School, Kansas City, Missouri in 1964. My father was listed as the Range and Ordnance NCO. Just a few years later he was living in Germany guarding real ordnance.

Luckily, the high school yearbooks for the years I was in school are not online...that would make me old, wouldn't it?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wedding Wednesday - Warren and Cathy Kuhn

Warren Kuhn and Catherine Happy Hope
married August 24, 1974 in Kansas City, Missouri
Happy 37th anniversary!




Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Frank E. Kuhn

Photo taken by FindAGrave.com volunteer Luella Hinrichsen
Frank E. Kuhn's life was rather short, but eventful. He was born in 1861, married to Cora Bell Ozias in 1882, had two sons (Maurice Elmer and Frank Earl) and then died in 1887 of typhoid fever. Below is an article from the Centralia Journal, describing Frank's eventful final end.
Centralia Journal (Centralia, Kan.) October 21, 1887

What I wouldn't give for a...

I often wonder what new advances would most shock our ancestors. Obviously, airplanes would really freak them out...but I tend to wonder more about the little things that would be amazing to them. Last week I was reading through a probate packet from the 1840s for my ancestor, Charles Webb. My hand felt sympathy cramps when I saw how many times the poor clerk had to write out the same phrases. And this was only one of countless records. It led me to wonder about what that clerk would have given up to only have an eraser. Or a typewriter with a correction ribbon. Or a word processing program on a computer. I can't help but wonder what our ancestors would give for the little things we forget about...

Monday, August 22, 2011

Motivation Monday - Saving Japan's photographs

Photo courtesy All Hands Volunteers
There is no doubt that countless genealogical records were lost during Japan's tsunami in March this year. These records are lost forever, but there is some hope for lost images of ancestors past. Many photographs have been collected from personal effects or have washed back onshore in the months since the disaster and volunteers with All Hands Volunteers are using their photo editing skills to return the photos to their former beauty. Volunteers in Japan collect the images and scan them in and other volunteers from around the world repair water damage, tears and fading to bring the images back to life. Such a small action can make a massive impact...there is nothing more motivating than that. For more information on the Project Tohoku: Photo Rescue Program and how you can help, visit here. For a news story on the program visit the National Public Radio site here.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Four generations

Rose Mary White, Clifton White, Minnie Lee Dudgeon White, Elizabeth Riffe Dudgeon, circa 1938

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

How much evidence provides a conclusive link?

I am a stickler for proof. I do not add individuals to my tree unless I feel I have substantial proof to place them there. I even have a "test" tree where I place individuals that don't have quite the provenance to belong to my family. A bit much, perhaps, but if I don't get it right (or pretty damn close) who will?

Charles M. Webb is one such ancestor...or rather, his parents are. I have conclusive proof that Charles M. Webb is my 5th great-grandfather. I have a copy of his probate documents from Shelby County, Indiana that clearly list his children as Jesse M. Webb, Rene M. Webb, Charles M. Webb (my 4th great-grandfather) and James W. Webb. Charles M. Webb, Sr., died in 1845 and Gerrard Spurrier was named as guardian for his minor children.

One paragraph in Charles Webb's probate documents references monies earned from the sale of four slaves, a woman and three children, in Orange County, Virginia. The slaves were part of the estate of Mary Webb. Charles inherited the monies from the sale of the slaves, but being deceased the money was added to the trust of his minor children. There is no further mention of Mary Webb, except for that she lived in Orange County, Virginia. She is obviously a relative of Charles Webb, but how are they related?

Once they grew to adulthood, the Webb children moved to Ray County, Missouri. I have in my possession a letter to Rene M. Webb in Richmond, Missouri, from William C. Moorson, dated November 16, 1858. The letter is postmarked from Orange, Virginia, and tells Rene Webb that his uncle Jesse has passed away. The letter goes on to state that B.B. Almond was in the process of refuting Uncle Jesse's will on the grounds that he was not in his right mind. The letter's author, William Moorson, lists several witnesses that were willing to state Uncle Jesse was indeed "sane" and indicates that Rene knows the gentlemen:
It states: "I think you and your brother Jesse and Mr. Spurrier were acquainted with William M. Reynolds and James B. Moore." I believe this to be proof that Charles M. Webb, Sr., had a brother Jesse living in Orange County, Virginia.

I was able to find a Jesse M. Webb living with a Mary Webb in Orange County, Virginia on the 1850 census.
This Jesse would be an appropriate age to be a sibling of my Charles M. Webb. Note that Mary would more than likely be his mother and that her property is valued at $990. Quite a large sum for the time.

Are these my Webbs of Orange County, Virginia? I have not yet tried to locate the probate documents for the Mary Webb listed in Charles Webb's estate, so I do not have proof via court documents. But what if there is no proof of her connection? Is the above enough proof? Not for me...what are your thoughts?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Yet another set of Italian names I can't trace

I have thoroughly enjoyed researching my husband's Italian ancestry. It is mostly because deep down inside I wish I were Italian. But I also enjoy the successes I find when I hit brick walls in Italy. They seem that much sweeter because they were difficult to overcome.

I have a new set of Italian names I can't trace. The main line I am researching is Pagano. I have long since traced them to Ventimiglia, Sicily and have found birth and marriage records for the family via LDS research. The Ingraffia family married in to this Pagano line following their immigration to New York City. I have not had as much success with this line. Although I know they immigrated in 1898, I don't know from whence they came. The father of this line, Angelo Ingraffia, died prior to the immigration and the mother, Catherine Spalitto, remarried...which caused all kinds of confusion in my research. Now it is her maiden name that causes me untold grief.

I have seen this name as Spragleti, Spalliffan, and Spalletto. I recently received a copy of her death certificate:
Yes, yet another spelling. The cherry on top is her mother's maiden name. Normally a wondrous thing, but in this case it opens up another can of worms. During a brief research foray on the above names I find nothing. I can find little to no trace of the surname "Narfia." Not even a hint of where the name originates. I'm not sure if the Spalittos, Narfias and Ingraffias are from Sicily or somewhere else in Italy.

I have found two ship manifests that may help in my search. One manifest lists a Giovanna Ingraffia (possibly my husband's great-grandmother) arriving in New York November 16, 1899, her last residence listed as Mezzojuso. A second manifest lists a Catherina Spalletto and Pietrina Ingraffia arriving in New York on June 28, 1899, last residence listed as Mezzojuso. I do not have conclusive proof that these manifests are for the individuals I'm researching, but at this point it's all I have to go on. Ah, the joys of research.