Monday, August 11, 2014

Halbrook Family Reunion 2014

Our family recently attended a reunion of descendants of Oscar Halbrook (1889-1981) and Effie Crocker (1891-1955). I have added a number of “new” (to me) cousins on Facebook and will be sharing this post on my wall there.

The reunion was held on the 123rd birthday of Effie Jane Crocker at Sam A. Baker State Park. At the reunion, my focus was on all things Halbrook. I wasn’t the only one! Other Halbrooks enjoy genealogy, and I’m glad we’ll be sharing research.

Cousins, thank you for holding this family reunion. We had a wonderful time. It’s been some 28 years since the last one and I hope only a year until the next. This reunion has inspired me to write a post about the Halbrook-Crocker family. 

Oscar Marcus Halbrook was born on November 2, 1889. His parents were George Washington Halbrook and Rebecca Adaline Denton.

Oral history has George Washington Halbrook running away from the family. Census records would suggest this happening between 1900 and 1910, when his wife, Rebecca Adaline Denton, is listed as married but George Washington Halbrook is not present. By the next census, she is listed as widowed. I do not know whether she received word of his death, had him declared dead, or just assumed it. I have not found record of George Washington Halbrook after 1900. If you’ve heard this and/or have other information about him, please leave a comment.

Family legend also states that Rebecca Adaline Denton Halbrook was part Native American. My grandmother once mentioned to me that a grandmother of hers was part “Indian,” and I have heard this from Halbrook cousins. Please comment if you’ve heard this before about one of our female ancestresses. Be sure to mention who told you, what tribe you heard mentioned and any other details. I would love to investigate her background.

Effie Jane Crocker was born on August 2, 1891. Her parents were Sidney Stanton Crocker and Amanda “Mandy” Keith. She had10 children, 8 of whom survived to adulthood.  Descendants of four of these children were present at the reunion.

Grave of Oscar Halbrook and Effie Crocker Halbrook.
(c) Travels with My Foremothers 2011 for use only with permission.

I highly recommend a visit to the cemetery where Oscar and Effie are buried, Bollinger County Memorial ParkCemetery. It’s well-kept and has a nice memorial wall and quality facilities, which cemetery-seekers will surely appreciate.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Antique Store Finds: Introduction

 The past year I’ve switched my focus to completing graduate school and starting my librarian career. That has caused me to put off updating this blog and a number of other things. Now I’ve graduated, I have a good job, and I’m back with a number of ideas for future posts. One is the Antique Store Find.

A few years ago, an item caught my eye when I entered a small antique store in Clarksville, Missouri. I picked it up briefly and went on. As I walked around the shop, it kept calling me back. I didn’t fall in love with it, have a practical purpose for it, or even desire it. But somehow I knew two things: 1) it didn’t belong there and 2) it was supposed to leave with me. Twenty-five dollars later, it was mine, but I was still unsettled because I didn’t feel like it was really mine.

The item was a scrapbook from a girl’s grade school graduation in the late 1920s.

The book was filled with a stenciled illustrations, congratulatory cards, and memories. What a beautiful piece it was.

I was bugged that the book was separated from those to whom it might mean something special… not likely to be the owner, who was probably dead, but to her descendants, siblings, nephews, nieces, etc. As neat as the book was, I didn't really want to keep it because it had no personal significance to me.

As I read proper nouns – people and places in the girl’s life – I wondered if I would be able to use my research skills to discover who she was, develop her family tree, and locate her survivors.

Through death certificates, obituaries, and census records, I did so. The girl, from St. Louis, died as an elderly woman. She was survived by her sister, who still lived in the St. Louis area and whom I was able to telephone. When I described the journal and the names in it – including a classmate who later became the girl’s husband—the sister explained that the book probably got confused with other items when the girl’s house was cleaned out. She had no idea how it ended up in Clarksville, which is some two hours north of St. Louis. I sent her the book. As far as I know, it’s still safe in her possession. 

Since then, I’ve occasionally purchashed old scrapbooks and photographs in antique malls or stores. Including the Girl Graduate journal, I’ve been able to reroute four items to relatives or researchers. All of these people have reimbursed me for the initial purchase (usually $1 or $2 for photographs), so I am breaking even and keeping genealogy a relatively low-cost hobby.  

In the future, I intend to use this blog to document the occasional photo or scrapbook search when I hit a brick wall in my research or in finding someone to take the photo. I will include the names and locations (I chose not to do so in this post to respect the privacy of the owner). If you see your ancestor, contact me, and the photo is yours. 

When I go through photos in antique stores, I’m always saddened to see so many without my prerequisites for purchase: name(s), location, and reasonable price. I can’t possibly purchase all of the photos I see that meet these prerequisites. Still, I love making someone's day by providing a photo of a long-gone relative. That’s the thing with ancestors being long-gone… we think we won’t get any more of them. But we can. People leave traces of who they were everywhere they lived. And sometimes in Clarksville too.