Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: Rosa Stephens Cox Part 1.

Where great grandma Rosa's Stephens story begun I still don't know. However, I do know where it ended...

As I've said in earlier post, Rosa is Mance and Daddy-Paw's beloved mother. Once I had the brothers real name it was easier to trace their footsteps to some degree. I found Rosa in a 1910 census surround by her young family.

Husband John, first born son Mance, next came Leamon (Daddy-Paw). What the census doesn't tell is that Rosa was 8 months pregnant with Ernest.

I became obsessed with Rosa. If I could only find her, I would then find the children. It was Ernest coal mining records that led me to his family and the information I needed to move forward. Once I had this information I found a death certificate for Rosa which thankfully listed the cemetery where not only she laid but the whole family. We have grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins!!

Wellllll, anyone who knows me, knows when I get excited I can not contain it! And poor Joe knew that he would have no peace till we found this cemetery and I had visited Rosa's grave. I did not care that John and the rest of his family laid here too. I did not care that Rosa was NOT my great grandmother but Joe's. I had been obbsed with her for to long. I felt like she was lost to the family and this became a driving need. I had to find her, I had to touch her headstone. I had to let her know she had Kin who loved and missed her even though they had never met.

Well find her we did. It is out in the middle of no where and it is full of the Cox family! When I found her Father and Mother in-law I knew she had to be close. Then I saw the headstone...

I'll end here for now. This is more, this family is far from done with me.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Well 2 days ago I struck oil so to speak and to be honest I am just starting to settle down enough to blog it. :)

I drove over to KY the other day to see if I could find anything in the local library genealogy section. 4 hours later I was ready to call it quits and go eat some ice cream for having to walk away empty handed. That was just really sticking in my crawl! When I moved to a different section, and this book of employees from the Stern Coal and Lumber company jumped out of me. I thought what the hell is one more book right?

So I jump straight to the Stephens and start thumbing my way though the pages one by one. 15 minutes later and I am ready to cry! No daddy-paw, no uncle Mance, no great uncle Zeb.

How could this be? I know daddy-paw worked at this company for years. The children have stories of going to the company store for Christmas parties that the mine owners gave for their workers. They said it was the only time of year that actually got to have oranges that was given to the children in brown paper bags with candy.

Then I remembered a half brother that he was suppose to have. So off I go looking for one Earnest Cox and thank you lord he was there! By now I am crossing myself saying hail Mary's for not only was he listed in this book as I traced the columns across the page for his name, so was listed his father and MOTHER! One Rosie STEPHENS. I may have passed out at this point because when I glanced at the clock a whole hour had passed from when I first picked up the book.

I ran to the counter asked them to please make a copy for me and out the door I went running. I had to get home to do a search on ancestry.com for a John and Rosie Cox.

When I did oh yeah baby! I had found one Mance and Leamon COX!! Finally! I have proof that their mother did exist and I found the brothers as children!

Oh yes, there is still a mystery here and more digging, but, for now my search of where, and who these boys were as children has been found and I can move on to why they changed their name.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Bertha Heath Stephens

Bertha was the first wife to Leamon untill she died. Family's word of mouth says that he loved her very deeply.

Bertha Elizabeth Heath was born to Joe & Rosie (Farmer)Heath on 27, June, 1905.

Bertha was the 3rd child out of 5. She was born in Pulaski County Ky, and Died in Whitley City, McCreary county Ky. It is said that her ggf was a Cherokee Indian. If you ever saw her youngest child Rose Mae, there would never be any doubt that this family line does flow with that proud nation's blood.

How or where Bertha met Leamon I am afraid went to the grave with them. Family members say they were married, and Bertha is listed on the 1930's Census with Leamon's last name. However, I have not found the first paper trail to prove that they were, and when it comes to this family, I don't take anything for granted anymore.

Bertha and Leamon had 5 childern.
Mary L
Rose Mae
Leamon J.R.

Family lure goes that both the boys died the day they were born. Where they fell in the placement of when they were born no one knew for sure. Lastnight, I found Robert's death record.

From the date I now know he was born the year before Rose. As for Leamon J.R. I have found nothing so far, however, I do assume that he was the first born male child & born before Robert since he was named after his father.

Again family lore, (that is passed down from Rose to her own children.) that Edith was not Leamon's Child. Again, there is no paper trail to prove or disprove this. Yet the grandchildren do a have a name for the man that is soupose to be her real father.

What I do have is, 1930 census, that puts Leamon, Bertha, Edith (4 yrs of age) and Mary L (1 8/12 yrs of age). Edith is not listed as a step child as I have seen on some other census's.

Mary L is souppose to be Leamon's child. Again though, if you go back to the 1930's Census it has Bertha only being married for a year. This would mean that her youngest child at the time, Mary L was already 8 months old when they married. So is Mary L, Leamon's or not? I don't have any proof of yet that she was or wasn't.
We know in the next 5 years that she had atleast 2 more children. Robert and Rose Mae. Robert was born and died in 1934. A year later Rose Mae was born in 1935.
Not even 3 years after her last child was born, this young family was to lose Bertha to urterus cancer. She died at 6 am on the 8, January, 1938.

I am not sure if Bertha died at home or in a hospital. It has her placed on her death certificate in Whitley City. Whitley City does not have a hospital. I need to find more paper trails. Another thing that I found of interest on it was that it said no furneal home on it. I know in this area of Kentucky they were still laying family members out in their living rooms up into the mid 1970's. It makes me wonder if she was even emblamed.
Bertha's story does not end here. Her grandchildren though Rose are a living testament to that. However, like her stubborn husband she has taken some mysteries to the grave with her. I plan to unravel them. One source at a time.

The stone closet to you is Bertha's head stone. The next two are her boys, the last is one of her grandchildren.

All the headstones were handmade by Leamon himself from cement. This is all that is left of them. Mother Nature is not kind to home made stones.

Leamon was a miner and back then miners didn't make a lot of money. If you didn't die in debt to the company store, well, you were one of the lucky ones. How his heart must have broke 2 folds each time he had to make one of these.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Legacy 7.4 Family Tree

Well, I just installed Legacy. This is my first family tree software. I am both excited and nervous. While I've been using Ancestry.com for a while now. Actually installing software to keep track of everything I am finding is actually making me nervous for some reason. I feel like I am about to cross some line that I can't even see.

I installed this on my desktop. I know right now it will be going on my laptop instead. I want to be in my recliner where I'll be nice and comfy when I start filling out those databases. There is so much to learn about this software. However, I think it is going to make my life so much easier then trying to go back though 12 pages of records at ancestry to find one piece of information in my shoe box.

With the arrival of Legacy I am now committed. Ancestry, I can just stop paying and walk away. With a data base installed on my computer it will nag at me. You need to do this, you need to do that. There will be no walking away from it now. Watched out Leamon Stephens, I am coming for you & your about to be sourced!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A hunting we shall go.

I am guessing here, that a bunch of you like me like to find old cemeteries to stroll though. I don't know why I am draw to old graves. Only that I am.

I had a long time friend spend a couple days with me while on her move to Detroit. She likes old graves too so I grabbed my Canon and off we went hunting.

Now one important thing I have learned in this last year when asking strangers for information. Is never to ask them if they know of any old grave yards in the area. I don't know if they think your going to try and rob it or it is just to morbid for them to think about it. Either way, they will give you an odd look and tend to clam up right on the spot. Instead, I have learned to ask instead for civil war graves. For the most part what I will get then is. " I don't know if there is anyone there from the civil war but there are a lot of old grave stones there." Perfect!!

Anyway, getting off track here. I found one grave yard that was just a little gem for me and tickled me pink.

As I was pulling into the drive way of the church this monument just jumped out at me.

After reading this, I was like WOW! Who are these people that almost a 100 yrs after their death this monument was built in their name? I am guessing that the one who did do this would be grandchildren or maybe even great children and only knew them though stories passed down to them. Either way they must have been dearly loved and I want to know their story so bad I can taste it!

From the stone, they were already 50 yrs old when they emigrated to this country. What made them take on such a big change that late in life. Were they following their children? Did their children follow them? Did they all make the move together? So much to find out. Um, is it stalking to trace someone roots that you are not related to or NOT been hire to do? I sure hope not! :)

Another interesting thing I find in the Smith Cemetery is a very nice head stone for 2 brothers who died in the civil war. How this must of broke their mama's heart. So I took a shot of it. Front and back. It gives the information of where each fell. And there was something written on the back but by this time I was so wore out I just grab a shot of it.

Today while going back though the images I read what was on the back of that stone and, well, it stunned me. It was, " In Memory of" someone who wasn't on the font of stone! So now I am wondering, is this a Brother in law? I can't see it being a cousin. But what do I know. I am new to all of this still. I just know I've never seen a head stone like that before. However, for that matter. This is the nicest headstone I have seen to date for a civil war grave. So I ask you all, my friends who do know what they are doing. Is the third name on the back of a stone common for that era? And do you think this is a stone that was set up during the civil war or at a later date?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

What did I get myself into!?!


My name is Karen, but my friends call me Mitzs and this blog is to help me and the family keep up with what I am doing in this crazy thing called genealogy. I hope you will enjoy the ride! In for a penny, in for a pound!

My Serious adventures into Genealogy begin with Joe’s family, The Stephens.

Of course, since I have been a geek before it was cool, the first thing I did was hit Google to see what I could pull up on the internet. Excitement was not the word when right off the bat I pulled up Joe’s Grandfather (Who will be known from here on as “Daddy-Paw”) information of the graveyard he rested in.

Oh yeah baby, I yell across the room. This is going to be EASY! Ha! How naive and wet behind the ears I was and still am. Daddy-Paw is the bain of my existence these days. Besides the graveyard, I have found 1, let me repeat ONE census, one KY death record. Not even a SS death record. No draft card for WW2, no property records as of yet. Nothing to connect him with his brothers that are mention in his obituary. At least his grandchildren do remember attending Manse’s funeral a year after Daddy-Paw’s.

I have found what I believe to be an Uncle named Zeb. However, no hard proof to connect them, yet. Just mouth of word passed though the family to the children from stories told to them by their mother. They were not even aware that Zeb had children. Yet a census proves that he did. Zeb while born in 1877 left more of a paper trail then his kin starting with a WW1 draft card. But where was Zeb and the rest of this family before that? Why does this family not show up anywhere until after 1900? Who was Daddy-Paw’s mother and where does she lie? Who was his father? Supposedly Daddy-Paw and Manse go by their mother’s last name. Is Zeb a brother to Rose, or could he actually be a brother-in-law and Rose a widow who kept her married name from her first marriage? Did Rose die when Leamon was born? Were they born in coal camp in KY where Zeb’s draft card places his place of living? Were the boys’ raised in the nearby Mountain Children homes where I can find no census records as of yet? Where were the children in the 1900, 1910 census? Is Stephens really their last name? I am actually starting to wonder….