Dear Zwergy Zwerg,
Yes, I absolutely love your 'nym! Whenever I read it, I read it like Zwerg Sch-way (Like schway in TV show The Flash). But to be honest, I butcher all of the 'nyms.
I apologize for not getting this finished closer to the 100 hour mark. I had full intentions of doing so, but Carl Jr is currently going through a phase of waking up every hour and this mama is TIRED.
ANYWAY, you're the first person who lets me get to blabber all about genealogy! That's so schway!
What is your favorite genealogy story?
I've told a couple of my favorite stories here that was posted recently, which link to other questions.
This probably isn't the story that you were going for, but there will be some more family history stories here after it's published. But since I feel like you were asking me about whatever I wished, I couldn't resist!
This all has to do with my 3rd great grandfather, who I'll call Randy Ellis. When I took my Southern Family History class, he wasn't even really important to this story. I was currently trying to find his grandparents. Well, I basically spent that entire class and found nothing on the grandparents. Fast forward to another class where I was supposed to do pre-1850 census research (which is a lot harder). About 75% of the way through the class, I learned that my 3rd great grandfather was INCORRECTLY linked to his 'supposed' parents!
Long story short, I found another Randy Ellis who served in the Civil War and died in 1865 in Virginia. Randy's children lived with their grandparents in the 1870 census, and I had no idea why there were two other kids in that census (that census doesn't denote a relationship to the head of household). My grandfather wasn't even living in the same state in 1870 and was the only child who moved away from Virginia.
So the rest of the class I was looking for Randy's REAL parents. I didn't find them during the class, unfortunately. But that didn't mean that I gave up!
I did it in my own free time as I was determined to figure out who his parents were. I knew about his wife, but I couldn't find record of him before he got married. I bought his death certificate in hopes that it mentioned who his parents were, and I ended up with nothing. I was so disappointed since I thought that was going to be my be-all and end-all. But I was determined! I started to research every single Randy Ellis that was born in Virginia. No luck.
Then, I stumbled across his Civil War Pension File Index. He had a civil war pension file!!! I raced over to Fold3 to see if it was digitized, but alas! It was not! I shed some tears as I read that it could take years for them to be digitized. Eventually, I was able to get the file, and OH BOY DID IT DELIVER. These pension records are sometimes 20-30 pages or so? Well, Randy's was over a whopping 240 pages! -rubs hands together in delight-
...I wish it would have just been a normal pension file.
When I was first going through the pages, I was excited to see Randy himself stating that his parents were Jesse and Sarah Ellis! I did a fist raise during my cousin's wedding reception because I may or may not have been reading the file on my phone... But as I continued I got more and more confused about what I was reading. I ended up having to transcribe the majority of the pages because I was having a hard time keeping track of what was what.
In the end, I found out that my 3rd great grandfather was lying about who he was. The reason why I couldn't find him before he got married was because his real name wasn't Randy Ellis, it was Roswell1 Ellis!
He had multiple people testify against him that he grew up in the (Blair2) household by the time he was fourish years old. I don't know if he was officially adopted or anything, but it was his two 'sisters' who testified and they were in good standing with the public. Randy denied over and over again that he wasn't Roswell Ellis. He even had one of his good buddies Zebede Crocker lie to the officials that Roswell Ellis was also part of the regime and all three of them served together. Randy didn't want to be attached to the title 'illegitimate' since that was a super taboo subject. To prove that he really was Roswell, I started to search for his sisters in the census, and whaddayaknow?! I found a Randy Ellis living in the same household as them! Additionally, one of the sisters had letters that he sent her. After he had been in the regime for a while, he asked her to send letters to R.L. Ellis instead. Hmm.. I wonder why? Maybe because he was trying to hide his identity?!
The nice that about the sisters testifying, was that they knew who Randy's parents were (!!!) Jesse Millikan and Betsey Ellis. (One of the sisters married a Millikan.) They were Quakers, and of course, there were multiple Jesse Millikan's living in the same city within those GLORIOUS Quaker3 records. I was able to figure out that his father died shortly after, or right before Randy was born through his will. (I thought to myself, yay! Randy didn't have a deadbeat4 father who didn't want him!) There was a John Ellis who was an executor of Jesse Millikan's will, and I'm wondering if Betsey Ellis was the daughter of John. That part I haven't figured out, especially since John Ellis is even more common... It's also really hard to do research on females pre-1850 (she was born in the 1830s?) since women didn't really have any rights during that time. I've been researching this family for a long time and I haven't figured it out. I thought I found the correct Betsey Ellis once, but I didn't have enough evidence so I prayed about it in the Celestial Room, and God told me it wasn't the right person. The only information I have on her is that she was still alive after 1893, and her name. That's not much to go off of... Plus, it's in the South. A lot of the records were destroyed because of the Civil War. But I relish the challenge!
So, that's what I've been up to research-wise. Other fun facts about my 3rd great grandfather was that he actually was part of the Confederate Army, but he got captured and became a part of the Union. (He denied that and said he was forced to join the Confederacy against his will.) He wanted pension money because he claimed he got rheumatoid arthritis while marching to battle. BUT he had other people testify that he was a hard worker post Civil War, and they never saw him work with difficulty. To top it all off his wife tried to also claim pension money after he died, but they denied her too! (I believe it's because she didn't have their marriage record, I can't be bothered to look through all 248 pages to refresh my memory.)
So when people say that if they want to be found, they will. I think he was such a pain in the patella was because he hasn't accepted the gospel yet. I'd like to seal him to his biological parents one day... I just need to figure out more about his mom.
Ancestry is my favorite website. Honestly, we are SO blessed as members of the Church that we get to use this resource for free. An all access 6 month membership is $199, or a monthly membership is $49.99! Imagine what the Church is paying so ALL of us get to use it. This just really shows that family history is so important to do.
My favorite book has to be the biography of my grandpa that I never met. He passed away when my Mom was a teenager. My grandma wrote out his life chronologically and supplemented it with memories that her children and his siblings had of him. My grandma also did a personal biography for herself and her sister who was a WWII nurse and passed away when I was in high school. But I loved my grandpa's the most since I see so much of him in myself. Although I never met him, I know what an amazing man he was, and how much he loved my family. I feel so close to him, and I can't wait to meet him on the other side.
ANYWAY, I can't tell you how great he is without telling you some of the stories of him!
My grandpa was a convert to the church. He wanted to go on a mission very badly, but his parents were so anti. They told my grandpa that they would disown him if he went on a mission. He had a good job and he had already met my grandma, so they wanted him to get married and settle down with her. He refused because he loved the Lord and knew that serving a mission would bless him and the others who would learn of the gospel. He received his mission call and he was so excited. Well, his parents ended up writing to the First Presidency about how unhappy they were. This started a huge discussion with the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Letters were written back and forth between my grandpa and them (all of them were scanned and put into the biography). In the end, his mission call was redacted and told him that his relationship with his family was more important than serving a mission. He was devastated but knew that it was right.
Now, MANY years later (around 2010), a man ran into my Mom and asked if she was the daughter of my grandpa. She said yes. He was the secretary of Gordon B. Hinckley way back when, and he remembers what happened in regards to my grandpa's mission call. Apparently, everything that was going on with the mission call troubled the Brethren terribly. The man told my Mom that they prayed on what to do about my grandpa a lot due to his parent's letter. He said that Gordon B. Hinckley always remembered my grandpa's name, even decades later when he was still alive
Back to when my grandpa was sick from leukemia, my grandma got the prompting to grab the book Faith Precedes the Miracles by Spencer W. Kimball on her way to the hospital. She quickly brushed off the prompting as he didn't have much longer and she wanted to spend as much time with him before he passed. As she was walking out the door she got a very strong prompting "-Grandma- go get that book!" She obliged and grabbed the book, not knowing why. My grandpa's parents were there as well by the time she got to the hospital. After my grandpa had passed away while they were all there, she was prompted to share a part of the book with her in-laws about The Plan of Salvation. Their hearts were softened at that very moment, as that's exactly what they needed to hear at that time. To pay tribute to their son, they ended up getting baptized into the Church that same year on his birthday. I don't know what would have happened if my grandma did not grab that book! It's such a happy ending to my grandpa's life that was very challenging.
If you'd like to hear any other stories about my grandpa (please please please) ask me another question and I'd be more than happy to share how I see myself in him.
P.S. I thought my contact info was in my 'About Me' section. Oops! It's Goldie.Rose(at)theboard.byu.edu