Gene Notes

Some random and some not-so-random thoughts on family history.

Monday, October 12, 2020

What's That Middle Name?

I have been increasingly frustrated by distant relatives of mine using Kirtley as a middle name. I have one by the name of Robert Kirtley Graves and another by the name of James Kirtley Roberts. Both in Kentucky. 

The latter one gave me pause today, when his wife, Matilda "Tete" Percival Roberts came up in my Ancestry hints. I knew her ancestors, so I thought I'd take a look at James "Kirtley" Roberts. To my surprise, he died in Brookeville, Indiana. His death certificate gives his father's name as James T. Roberts. After a surprisingly short time, I debunked his father's name. No, his name was not James T. Roberts, but John H. Roberts who married Mary Jane Johnson and by whom he had two sons, Harvey H., and James Kirtley. From records, I did find that locale was consistent of Walton, Boone county, Kentucky. I found a death notice for Mary Jane in the Louisville, Kentucky Courier-Journal which mentions her sons, Dr. H. H. and James K. Roberts. 

By now, I am used to finding incorrect information on death certificates. They are only as good as the informant. In this case, I don't know who gave the information and how for James Kirtley Roberts. I just know it is wrong.

I am trying to figure out if I want to tackle Mary Jane Johnson. I do have Johnsons that connect to Kirtleys. It would be helpful if I could find her 1913 death certificate.

Copyright 2010-2020, ACK for Gene Notes

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

COVID-19 vs Spanish Influenza

As far as I know, I have only one relative who died during the Spanish Influenza pandemic during the first World War. That person was George Zimmeth, who apparently died from Typhoid fever after drinking contaminated water from a well. George was born in 1881 and died October 13, 1918, while his brother, my grandfather, was serving in France during WWI. Grandpa did not find out till much later that George had passed. George was 31.

George left a wife, Julia Blust Zimmeth and four children: Leo (age 11): Rose (age 7, just shy of her 8th birthday); and Barbara (under 10 months.) Eight children pre-deceased George, and the youngest, Barbara would die of diphtheria in 1921. Julia Blust Zimmeth passed in December of 1925, leaving Leo, Rose and Mary, who were 18, 15 and 12, respectively.  

I try to put historical context with my genealogy, and certainly this family suffered during the pandemic, although I've never seen any reference to them having influenza during the pandemic. Losing their father must have been very difficult during a very difficult time.

Which brings us to the here and now. We've been fortunate to not be afflicted with COVID-19 in my family probably due to the abundance of caution. Hubby and I have not been motoring around the US in our motorhome, we wear masks and keep public contact to a minimum. Our daughters are also extremely careful. If and when we put this behind us, I'll add something to the database about it, but am not willing at this time to push my luck and add stuff. 

In recording your family history, are you adding historical context? Is it part of genealogy? Only you can decide what you include and what you don't, but hopefully we won't have to live through anything like this again, so that historical context could become important. 

Copyright 2010-2020, ACK for Gene Notes