St Clair Cemetery, Mt Lebanon, Allegheny Co, PA

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Friday, November 18, 2011

What Secrets are in her Death?

The wind is blowing as I sit and watch the beautiful day unfold before me.  As the branches on the trees sway, the leaves fall.  In addition to the leaves, the nuts are also falling.  Now, these nuts are big and can cause one to slip if they get underfoot.

Just like genealogy.  Shake the trees and see what falls that can trip you up in your research. 

I have a handwritten note by my grandmother which gives a little information about my grandfather's family.  The note tells us that my grandfather's grandparents, Robert Coleman POSTON and Hester Leggette COX, were rice planters and lived in Georgetown.  Grandmother also names six children of the couple with names of the females who did not marry.

Like every good genealogist, I now have to confirm all these leaves falling into my lap. It's rather easy to trace the location of the farm and document some of the children through the census records.  The first moment of a stray nut is the 1910 census which says the couple had ten children but only six were living.  I've been able to document nine of them who also have some mysteries of their own.

What is more interesting is how some marriage stats change with the census records.  While my grandmother said two of the girls did not marry, there is evidence that makes me scratch my head.  One example is Aunt Wash.  Grandmother said she did not marry, and I would tend to think that Grandmother knew if she was or not.   Aunt Wash's death certificate suggests otherwise.

The 1910 census also shows Aunt Wash as being single at the ripe old age of 39 with no children of her own, and living with her widowed mother.

I have found a JW POSTON with wife, Martha, in the 1930 census in Chesterfield Co, SC.  However, this census indicates they married around 1890, and they have several children.

According to the death certificate, Martha Washington POSTON was born November 1, 1870, in Florence Co, SC.  She dies five days after her 71st birthday in 1941.  The parents listed are what I suspected, but the surprise is that she is listed as a widow of James POSTON.  Who?  How?  When?  The informant is listed as Mrs. R C WHITE of Charleston.  Who?

I have seen a photo of her grave at Riverview Memorial Park in Charleston which says she was a loving mother.  Hmmm. When did that happen?  Did she marry late in life?  Did she raise children for a widower?

I'll be interested in seeing the 1940 census when it becomes available.  Perhaps, I will be able to trace who this Mrs WHITE is.  Perhaps, that will lead me in another direction.

Maybe I can get to Charleston and find her obituary.  Perhaps, that would help to clear the path.  In the meantime, watching the trees sway on this cool day seems just the perfect way to reflect on the past.

Ahh, genealogy.  Those unexpected secrets in the family tree are just so, well, gone with the wind. Eh?

©2011 AS Eldredge

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