Thursday, June 24, 2010


Lola had a first cousin Mabel. Mabel was the daughter of Zadie. Zadie was Lola's mother, Effie's, sister. Mabel was born in Kansas. Her family then moved back to Zadie's home state of Illinois and then moved to Colorado. I have discovered that a few of Effie's sisters did move to Colorado, as did Effie's parents for a time.

Mabel married Delmer in Illinois and they had a daughter named Mildred. In 1920, they were all in Colorado. In 1930, they were all living in South Gate, California (a suburb of Los Angeles). In my previous post, I mentioned that my on-line research volunteer found what he believed to be Mabel's death in Los Angeles in 1936. This past Friday I made a trip to the LA County Recorder's office to pull the record. He was correct. It was the death of Lola's cousin Mabel. She was 51 years old and died at home. I still have no idea what type of relationship Lola had with Mabel, if any. Mabel was ten years older than Lola and, while they utlimately lived near one another, I still have not been able to make contact with anyone from that side of the family with any insight or information on my grandmother.

Also, in 1930, while living in South Gate, CA, Mildred was now married to Curtis. After this 1930 census, Mildred and Curtis had a daughter, but their marriage didn't last. I'm not sure when they divorced, but I do know that when Curtis died in 1949, he did have a different wife. A few years after Mabel's death, I lose site of Delmer, Mildred and Mildred's daughter in California, and suspect they may have returned to Colorado.

I also pulled the death record of my dad's first cousin, Don. I couldn't even tell you if my dad knew his first cousin lived in California. I can tell you that I didn't know this. Don's death record was very sad. I do know that he was a war veteran (Army) and when his father (Red's brother) died in 1960, Don was living in Arizona. But by the time Don died in 1969, he was living in Long Beach, California. He never married. He was 41 years old and was working as a cook at a restaurant. He died at the VA Hospital. I was so hoping for family in California to reach out to.

I did leave the Recorder's office feeling pretty down and wondering where to go next. At that point, I had reached out to other connections and was still waiting to hear back from them. So, what does one do at that point? One goes back to their tree on Ancestry and searches for Delmer. I found that Delmer came from a HUGE family. He had a brother, Gerald who was married to Mary, and they had a daughter "Lucille". Turns out they lived in South Pasadena, California (another LA suburb) in 1930, and Gerald and Mary both died in South Pas. Yes, new death records to go pull for information. True, the connection is via marriage, but it is a connection, nonetheless.

So, this past week has been busy. For one thing, I changed jobs with a friend/colleague and am now out of my comfort zone and learning some new things. I was also trying to get artwork together for the craft fair at work that I signed up to be a vendor at. I love drawing, painting, printmaking, yet, lately, I have been consumed by genealogy. I went to a fabulous genealogy convention and was so inspired by the speakers and vendors I met, and maybe let my artsy side slip a bit. So, these past few days found me struggling with making PhotoShop do what was in my head. The output isn't quite meeting my expectations. Ugh. Luckily, I have a friend who is extremely good at PhotoShop and he was able to give me a few pointers!

Also, I've been asked to take an out of state business trip. I agreed. Everything seems to be happening all at once, and I'm feeling overwhelmed. I will get past that, but surely am annoyed with myself for yet again, having limited craft fair inventory, still not populating my esty shop with artwork to sell, not being home for the upcoming four day 4th of July holiday weekend. Oh well.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Hattie, Hattie, Hattie update

I have been lucky enough to meet a really good genealogical research volunteer on line! He is so good and has, on several occasions, been able to solve many of my missing links in my search for Lola. My sister saw several of his messages on the Rootsweb message board and reached out to him. Lucky for us, he LOVES a good mystery and has helped immensely.

A week ago Sunday, he sent an email to say that he had completed his search at the Recorder's office of deaths in Los Angeles, and Lola was nowhere to be found. This would indicate that she either died under a different name, or left California and died elsewhere. I gave him an update on my latest direction - looking for the descendants of Effie's sister's and he stepped in and was able to, yet again, provide valuable information.

So, he was able to find that the three children that were not related to the people I'm looking for. I still feel there is a connection as the last name isn't too common and the infant is buried in the same cemetery as Hattie and William. Coincidence? Maybe, but a little further investigation can resolve this.

As for Zadie, a few on line researchers have found that she died in 1931 (not yet sure when in 1931) and she is buried in Colorado. My above mentioned research genius may have also found Zadie's daughter Mable's death in Los Angeles in 1936. I am going to the Recorder's office Friday and will pull that record for confirmation. As for Mable's husband, daughter and possible granddaughter, we have ideas, but have yet to confirm them. It appears they may have left California, so finding these records will take a little more leg work.

I have found someone living with Zadie's last name that I believe may be somehow related. I need to carve out some time to establish contact. I know from experience that that can be a crap shoot. The one contact that may be VERY valuable is still not returning my calls or electronic messages and I'm getting annoyed, to say the least. I guess my next step is show up at their door.

As for my call with the person from the California Memorial Project that was supposed to happen two weeks ago, appears they dropped the ball on that one. When our original call was supposed to happen, nothing. So I emailed and was asked to reschedule. I did. And then that day and time arrived, and NOTHING. And now, two weeks later, still nothing. I guess I need to send yet another email. This is really getting tiring. My search is important, no matter what any State employee or law may think. I am not going to sit back and allow Lola to just fade away as if she never existed because of red tape. I am now really unhappy, and in typical Aries fashion, will not let this go until I get answers.

A few other things that came about this past weekend - my dad's birth certificate I ordered arrived! Also, I found that my dad had a first cousin that died in Los Angeles in 1969! This particular man, was a son of one of Red's (my grandfather) brothers! Man, suddenly all of these aunts and cousins of my dad that lived in Los Angeles, that we never knew about, are just popping out of the woodwork non-stop! This is another death record that I'll be pulling come Friday.

One more thing - this past weekend I had the opportunity to attend my very first genealogy convention. This was just fabulous! So many lectures, workshops, learning opportunities with experts in the field. It was just mind-boggling. It was truly a weekend well spent. I learned much and met many with encouraging leads and suggested paths forward. If you are at all interested in researching your own family tree, I highly recommend attending a genealogy convention.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Song of The Week - 17

Well, this little feature of mine has been gone for several weeks. It is now making a comeback.

The year was 1977 and things were changing. The eight-track tape player for cars was rapidly being replaced by the new cassette tape player. There was another weird phenomenon in the air, one I didn't understand personally, called disco. You see, I was a rock and roll girl back then and did not like or even "get" disco.

I grew up in a rather small town and there was really nothing to do if you were a teenager that was not into the roller rink or into typical school activities. The one constant during my teen years, were concerts, and that is what my circle of friends did for fun, besides parties. In my case, my parents had no problem with me going to concerts yet weren't so keen on my going to parties.

Of the many bands I saw at the local venue, The Swing Auditorium, one will always remain with me. This band was touring to promote their upcoming new album. This was an album that was rare as it did not contain one bad song. My friends and I went to the concert. It was fabulous. During this tour, a plane carrying some of the band members crashed, killing the lead singer, a guitarist and one of the back-up singers. The band was Lynyrd Syknyrd. The album and tour was called Street Survivors. The band members that were tragically lost were Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines and Cassie Gaines.

The concert was so good, the songs were great, but shortly after we saw them, we learned the sad news of the plane crash. Now, some said it was eerily prophetic, but, whatever, it was eerie nonetheless. The Street Survivors album cover was a picture of the band with flames behind them, and then some of the band members lose their lives in a plane crash.

I had the eight-track tape of Street Survivors, but my more modern fabulous BF, had the cassette tape! She had this new device in her blue Ford Pinto! After the plane crash, the record label recalled the albums from the stores, and it was replaced with a similar cover, just sans the flames. BFF had the cassette with the flames. One day when she was at work, the Street Survivors cassette in it's case on the front seat, her little Ford Pinto was broken into. The cassette case was pulled apart and the cassette, itself, on the seat, as was the case. The sleeve with that picture of the band appearing to be walking through flames, was gone! Someone saw the cassette in her car and broke in and stole only that picture.

I find it hard to believe that was almost 33 years ago. As I said, to me, there was not a bad song on that album and this was surely one of my favorite songs, and still is. Enjoy.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Hattie, Hattie, Hattie, and my trip to pull vital records

Oh man, what a weird day it was. My sister and I went to the LA County Registrar's office today ready to pull lots of vital records. We went in search of Lola's aunts and their families. I'm not sure I can explain how I felt nor do I know at this moment where to go for answers. I left feeling sad and like I had a dark cloud looming overhead. I still cannot shake that feeling several hours later.

First of all, I find it rather funny (as in odd) that anyone can find birth information on-line (name of child, date of birth, place of birth, mother's maiden name), yet when we went to pull a few birth records, my sister was told that births after 1905 were not available for public viewing unless it was your own birth record. I also feel that no matter how prepared I think I am when I go to pull records, something always turns up after the fact that I should have known before I went.

Hattie's married last name was not terribly common and her son, Estel, was married to Lillian in 1930, or thereabouts, (I couldn't find the marriage record today). I still do not know Lillian's maiden name or her whereabouts (well, surely she is now deceased). On line, I did find three children all born in the 1930s with their last name and all three children had a mother with the same maiden name. Since we were not able to access these birth records, I really do not know if these were Hattie's grandchildren or not.

I went to view records, knowing the dates of death for Hattie, her husband William, and their son Estel. I was able to pull these records. Hattie was the first to die in Los Angeles in 1938. According to the record, she died at home and Estel was the informant. He also lived at the home. She was listed as being married to William and lived in Los Angeles. Her death record listed her age as about 5 or so years younger than I thought she was. She died in 1938 from cancer of the uterus.

William, Hattie's husband, was the next. He died in 1948 in Los Angeles County. This one shocked the hell out of me. William was listed as widowed and died at (are you ready) Norwalk State Hospital! I should just remind you that I have been told on more than one occasion by employees of the State of California that death certificate of people who die in the State Hospitals, are NOT public record. When I saw that, my jaw hit the ground and I gasped! I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Here was a death record of a man who died in Norwalk/Metropolitan State Hospital (the same hospital Lola was in and possibly died at). William's death certificate also gave a hospital record number. You can only imagine how much I want to get my hands on that!

Hattie's son, Estel, died in 1961 in Los Angeles. He was Lola's cousin. When I first found his death on line, it kind of freaked me out because his birth was listed as "completely unknown"! Here was a man with parents, a family, an ex-wife, possibly children, but his DOB and POB was "completely unknown". It just struck me in a bad way. His death record did not mention an occupation, parents, spouse or a personal informant. Rather, his informant was the "Public Administrator" and his place of death was a medical clinic that was not a hospital. The death certificate also indicated an autopsy and that the death was under investigation. It also mentioned his burial was via cremation at the LA County Crematory. It is my understanding that this is where people end up when no one claims them. It horrified me and also made me think Lola might have ended up there, too.

I found Hattie's marriage announcement in an on line newspaper archive from Illinois. She was called "the most charming young lady" from the area and William was a called "a prosperous farmer". How did the charming young lady and prosperous farmer end up in Los Angeles, via Illinois and Colorado, dying from cancer and in a State Hospital, classified as "senile", with a son that had a career, a wife, and possibly children, that died basically as an indigent?

When we were finishing pulling all the records we could, my sister and I detoured to the City Library in downtown LA. While waiting for some microfilm we began to search the LA Times archives. I found where Lillian filed for divorce from Estel in early 1933. I also found that one of the three children died a day after birth in 1936. Again, I don't know if these children are yet Estel's but I will now be able to research this due to the death of the infant.

Oh how this story is now calling me. The plot just keeps thickening.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Lola, Effie, Hattie and Zadie

Lola's mother, Effie, died in Decatur, Illinois, in 1931. Her obituary lists many survivors in Decatur and Chicago, Illinois; Laramie, Wyoming; Los Angeles and Ontario, California. Since I'm hitting the dreaded brick walls with Lola, I began to focus my search on Effie's survivors in California.

I should add that I have established contact with a woman from the California Memorial Project and we were scheduled to talk this week, but conflicts prevented that and we are now scheduled to talk on Monday (hopefully).

Effie's obituary listed her surviving children as Lola of Los Angeles, CA and her daughter-in-law of Los Angeles, CA (odd that it didn't mention her son, William). It also mentioned her sisters, Hattie of Ontario, CA and Zadie of Los Angeles, CA.

This new focus led to my finding a few new things, and tomorrow I'm on the road early to the LA Registrar's office to pull more records.


Hattie was married had a son. On line, I found her husband's death record in Los Angeles in 1948 and her son's in Los Angeles in 1961. I couldn't find anything on Hattie. It was as if she, too, had vanished like Lola. I reached out to my favorite place for help - the / messages boards for Los Angeles County and sure enough, a generous volunteer found Hattie's death in Los Angeles County in 1938.

Her son was newly married to in 1930 and they were living in Los Angeles (1930 census). I still do not know his bride's maiden name, but do know that she was born in California, as were her parents. I did find some children with the last name born in the 1930s and will pull birth records tomorrow to see if Hattie's son was their father. If so, I will have his wife's maiden name as well as new data to follow up on (the children). If not, people to eliminate and then revamp that search.

I was a bit torn with my new-found knowledge of Hattie's death. Surely her dying in 1938 would tell me that the informant was most likely her husband, who died 10 years later, and not Lola. Yes, I'm looking for any connection to Lola that might mention her because I know that even though it outwardly appears that she just vanished into oblivion, she didn't, and she is out there - somewhere.


Zadie was married and had four children - two sons and two daughters. I have been able to track three of the four kids pretty well. This week, I really focused hard on the "who, what, when..." of Zadie being in California in 1931. This was a woman that was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in Illinois, married and moved to Kansas, then moved to Colorado and was even living with her husband in Colorado on the 1930 census. I finally found something to connect Zadie to California in the early 1930s! Through the exercise of attaching and researching the members of my on-line family tree, I found Zadie's oldest daughter with her married name in 1910. She and her young daughter were in Colorado, as were the other members of Zadie's immediate family. When I began to search for this daughter, I finally found her on the 1920 census and this provided the first name of her husband and also listed her daughter as she was listed in 1910.

When I added the first name of this Zadie's son-in-law, a new "world" opened up. I suddenly found something interesting. Zadie's 45 year old daughter, her husband, their daughter and their daughter's husband were all living in the same house in Los Angeles on the 1930 census! I then searched for Zadie's grandson-in-law and found his death in 1948. That was about all I could find on them. So now it looks like Zadie has vanished - I am still unable to find her death record, and I know that there is just no way she'd still be alive today. My final record search was for a possible great grandchild of Zadie's. I entered my search criteria for birth with Zadie's grandson-in-law's last name and her granddaughter's maiden name, and got a hit. I'll be pulling this birth record tomorrow, as well.

I will complete the day of research with a photo shoot trip by the last know house Lola lived in (at least from city directories of 1930-1932) and then to LA County Public Library downtown to search the newspaper archives of the newspaper that my great uncle Bill's wife/widow, Ann, worked for.

I am anxious to see addresses, informants and burial information. If the birth records prove to be correct, I will then have new people to search for that may be alive today, or have children alive, that just mind have stories and/or pictures. This is quite a journey and kind of like a good book. You want to finish it as quickly as possibly, yet, there is a fear of "what's next" once you do finish. That is kind of how I feel, but, I really want not much more at this this time than finding out what happened to Lola.