Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Nancy Drew Genealogy - Finding John Leslie Walters

Before I get into a few more of my devious genealogical adventures with this Walters line, let me first review the beginnings of my research on your great grandfather. 

John Leslie Walters was Grandma Janiece's father. He had come from Los Angeles to Utah about 1922, bringing the "Silent Pictures." He would rent a hall in the many small southern Utah towns, charge a dime for entry and play the piano as accompaniment. (Those red piano books up in the attic are my only inheritance from him)

He was 13 years older than Della. They married and had Uncle Les and mom. Grandma Della divorced him when Janiece was 4 years old...she never heard from him again although as he left the house he told his little daughter  "he would come back for her"---he didn't. This "abandonment" probably contributed to her emotional instability over the years...Grandma Della married Louis Eck, a rough and tumble construction worker who wanted Della to leave her children with Grandma Pearson in Utah when they moved to California.(She didn't)

In the 60's and 70's when we first started trying to do family history, all we knew about him was his name and that he was born on 3 March 1890 in Cardiff, Wales. The only research we knew how to do in those days was 1) send a TIB request (Temple Index Bureau) in to the Genealogical Society in Salt Lake and 2) request a birth certificate from the Birth Registrar in England. Neither returned any results.

When Ancestry and FamilySearch came online about 2001, I began my "pajama genealogy" hobby...late nights perusing census pages and piecing together our family tree. Grandma Janiece had died in 1979, never knowing any more about her father. I had a box of her papers/mementoes that Grandpa Roger had given me that I finally started investigating. In the box was the original marriage license for Grandma Della and John Walters:

Read that first line....Mr. John Leslie Walters of ST LOUIS in the County of ST LOUIS and the state of MISSOURI! What!, no, no, I thought...he was born in Cardiff, Wales. Maybe this just meant that he came from Missouri, but no...he had come from Los Angeles...this meant he wasn't born in Wales! No wonder we never could find him.

I began to get a little more insight into my mysterious grandfather's personality. I already knew he must have been a bit of a scamp, because Grandma divorced him, but why would he lie about where he was from?
Think about it...if you're driving through southern Utah and want people to come see your movies, you DON'T TELL THEM YOU'RE FROM MISSOURI! (Thing Mountain Meadow Massacre) So he recreated himself...his father had immigrated from Wales so it wasn't hard.

Once I knew he was born in St Louis,  I did a search for him on Ancestry and he immediately popped up as a 10 year old in the 1900 Census, living with his parents, John and Rosalie in Pipe Creek, Indiana.

And I found him in 1910 in Pueblo, Colorado.
And I found him in 1920 in Kern County with his first wife, Helen and two children.
And I found him in 1930 with Grandma Della and Les and Janiece.
And I found him in 1940, back in Indiana with a 3rd wife, Lenore.

He didn't die until 1965...too bad I couldn't have found out all of this while my mom was still alive. Hopefully they've reconnected on the other side...:)

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Nancy Drew Genealogy -Using Google Maps to solve a Geneological Mystery

I haven't posted anything for a long time, but thought I'd post some of my genealogical research...mainly so I can remember how I found!

Lately I've made a breakthrough on our  John Leslie Walters line.
Up until recently, this was as far as I had gotten:

Actually, Grandma Della had told me that John Leslie Walters' mother was named Rosalie Russell, so for years that was what I looked for with no results. Recently I found John's marriage license for his first marriage to Helen says his mother's name is Rosalie Harris. His license for his 3rd marriage also says Rosalie Harris. (The license for his marriage to Grandma Della just says "Rosa Lee" as if Lee is her last name)

So I changed my search to Rosalie Harris. But still, all I knew was that she was born "about 1869" in England. Believe me...there are many Rosalie Harris's born in England.

But actually I knew a couple of other things too. I knew that about 1889-1890 she must have been in St Louis, MO because that was where John Leslie Walters was born in 1890 (Too bad the 1890 census burned!)

I also knew that John's father (also John Walters, b 1863) although born in Wales, had immigrated to the US and for a few years (before joining his family in Indiana) lived in St Louis and must have somehow met Rosalie. I had found him awhile back in an 1889 city directory:

That's him, the "tin" worker...renting at 4135 N 2nd St

So I did a search for Rosalie Harris, born 1869 in England, but living in St Louis, MO....and found this entry in the 1880 Census: 

Now this is a good possibility...she's the right age, in the right location, from the right country. Also on other census's she says her father is born in Wales and her mother in England...and Philip Harris is born in Wales, Margaret is from England. But this is 9 years before that 1889 city directory. How can we "prove" this is the Rosalie that met and married John Walters? 

Remember the city directory gave John's address...4135 North  2nd St.  Look at the address for Rosalie's family in 1880....2716 NORTH 2ND STREET! 

That made me go to Google Maps to see the relationship between the two addresses. 

That dot at the bottom of the map is where Rosalie and her family were living in 1880. The star at the top is where John was living in 1889...only a few blocks away.  But then I started searching for Philip Harris and found him (and his sons, Sidney and Russell) in several city 1883 he has moved to 3913 North 9th St, even closer. 

Another thing that makes it likely that this is Rosalie's family is Philip's profession...he is a "puddler". I thought at first that this was a misspelling of "peddler" but it's actually an occupation involved in the manufacture of iron. You can't see it in this screenshot, but just down a couple of blocks from where both John(who worked in the tin industry in Wales)  and Philip are living is (today) a steel mill. In the 1880's it was probably an iron factory. The two men likely worked together.

Another confirming I further researched Rosalie's brother, Sidney I found his marriage license which said his mother's name was Margaret Russell...remember Grandma Della had told me Rosalie was Rosalie Russell? That's where the Russell came from. And they named the second son Russell...later I found a birth record for Rosalie...I think her name is actually Rosalie Harriet Russell Harris. 

So...another generation added to our tree....more discoveries to follow revealed  thanks to the magic of DNA! (I know you can hardly wait..haha)