Oh, the dreaded brick wall ancestor, the bane of every genealogist’s life! We all have them, those ancestors who refuse to cooperate and instead prefer to lurk just out of reach of our inquisitive minds. Luckily for us (not so much for the lurking ancestors), there are plenty of tricks to help researchers break down those brick walls. Here are four useful techniques:
John James, crew member on the Little Lulu.
A recent search for an obituary led to the discovery of an entire issue of The Clayton Tribune (Clayton, Rabun Co., GA) devoted to a pressing problem: the loss of the hot lunch program in local schools. The issue included several articles written by the editors and local concerned citizens of note, as well as letters sent in to the Tribune from parents, students, and other community members. The published letters ranged from one or two sentences to several paragraphs; some appeared to be excerpts of longer letters, including the following:
It provides many necessary food elements which the children would not otherwise get. The Free Lunch Project is a great help to many children who cannot afford to pay. –Mrs. Hattie Teague1
Hattie was amongst many parents who were concerned about malnutrition and the availability of hot lunches for their children during the coldest parts of winter.
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1. “What the Parents Think About the W. P. A. School Lunch Room”, The Clayton Tribune, 21 January 1943, Volume XLVIII, Number 3, 7th page, 3rd column.
As promised, here are the photos of the James family plot at Antioch United Methodist Church Cemetery in the Warwoman community of Rabun Co., GA. They are presented here in the order they’re found in the cemetery, from right to left as described in the post Step by Step #5: Hattie (James) Teague Watkins.
Our previous research on the Roy and Hattie (James) Teague family revealed very little about the female half of this couple. To date, we know the following:
- Hattie James was born about 1906 in Georgia; both of her parents were also born in Georgia1
- She married Roy S. Teague in 1924 in Rabun Co., GA; the marriage was performed by M. H. James, a Justice of the Peace2
- She and Roy were living in Clayton, Rabun Co., GA, with three children in 19303
- They had probably seven children during the late 1920s through the 1930s4
- Between 1937 and 1967, Hattie remarried to a Watkins; she was still living as of the latter date5
What we haven’t found in our research is any record connecting her to her parents and possible siblings. While she and Roy were married by M. H. James, we have no clue who that person was or how he might otherwise be connected to Hattie. We don’t know when she died, or who her second husband might have been, nor can we even say for certain that she was the mother of all of Roy’s children. With so little to go on, how can we learn more about Hattie, and in the process extend her lineage backwards?
The first three posts in this series focused primarily on our target couple, Roy and Hattie (James) Teague. Today, we’re going to try to reconstruct their family with the records available to us.
First, let’s summarize what we know about Roy’s children.
- The 1930 US census gives us the names of three children, who we know to be Roy’s because they are named as such, and who Hattie was probably the mother of, given Roy and Hattie’s marriage date.1 In order of birth, they are:
- Susie J. Teague
- Clifford J. Teague
- Claud R. Teague
- Roy’s obituary gave the names and residences of six children:2
- Jack Teague of Clarkston, Michigan
- Ray Teague of Pontiac, Michigan
- Dewey Teague of Titusville, Florida
- Mrs. Roosevelt Coffey of Clayton, GA
- Mrs. Red Dixon of Clayton, GA
- Mrs. Sherman Martindale of Van Buren, Arkansas
- Additionally, a Paul C. Teague was buried between Roy and his brother Louie at Pickett Cemetery.3 Paul died in 1967, and so if he were Roy’s son, he would not have been mentioned in Roy’s 1969 obituary, which mentioned only surviving relatives.4 However, it is also possible that he was Louie’s son, or in some other way related to the family.
Our previous discussion of the Roy and Hattie [–?–] Teague family centered upon their entry in the 1930 US census. Today, we’re going to follow up on two items from our to-do list: Find a marriage record for this couple, and check the Vital Statistics register for their deaths. We’re looking first in the records created and maintained within Rabun Co., GA, where the couple lived in 1930.
This post was written for the 75th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy, “Justice and Independence”.
I was fortunate enough to have three grandfathers, and all three served in World War II. My mother’s father, Lake Ledford, served in the US Navy. My father’s stepfather, Ned Burrell, was in the Army. And my father’s father, Thad J. Watson, Sr., served in the Army Air Corps.