March 27, 2010

Hugh Burrell Coffey

Hugh Burrell Coffey was born in Omaha, Morris Co., TX to John M and Mary Ellen Ragland Coffey.  He was born on Jul. 4, 1879 and lived there until at least 1918 when he relocated to Fort Worth.  There he was in the loan brokerage business and, apparently, at one time a bookkeeper for an electric exchange co., and owner of Worth Radio and Applicance Company on Main St. in Fort Worth.

Hugh was residing in Dallas when he registered for the draft on Sep. 10, 1918.  He named his daughter Vanita as his nearest relative and a resident of Omaha.  He was described as being short and slim with blue eyes and brown hair and confirmed his birth date as July 4, 1879.

He was married at least three times.  His first was to Vassie Alberta Lewis, born Sep, 1881 in Morris Co., TX and who died there on Sep. 13, 1904, apparently from lingering difficulties after the birth of their second child on Sep. 14, 1903.  That child, Tom H. Coffey died on Oct. 4, 1904, some days after the death of Vassie.

Their first child was Vanita Ann, born May 19, 1902 in Morris Co.  She married twice, first to Sebia Ambrose Bell on Aug. 31, 1919 in Dallas.  There was one child, Frederick Hugh Bell, born Jun. 7, 1924 in Dallas.  He died in Arlington, Tarrant Co., TX on Jul. 4, 1982.

This marriage apparently ended in divorce because Vanita married Walter Cox Johnston on Apr. 16, 1935 in Dallas.  Sebia died on Apr. 7, 1962 in San Francisco, CA.  This union to Mr. Johnston produced at least one child, Donald Ray, born Mr. 16, 1939 in Fort Worth and died there on Nov. 12, 2000.

Vanita died Feb. 24, 1997 in Fort Worth.

Her obituary:
FORT WORTH --  Vanita Ann Johnston, 92, a homemaker, died Monday,Feb. 24, 1997, at a Fort Worth nursing home.  Funeral:  2 P.M. Wednesday at Greenwood Funeral Home.  Entombment: Greenwood Mausoleum.  Visitation: 6 to 8 P.M. Tuesday at the funeral home.

Vanita Ann Johnston was born May 19, 1904, in Omaha, Tx. Mrs. Walter Cox Johnston was a member of the Optimist Club, Park Hill Neighborhood Association and University Baptist Church.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Walter Cox Johnston; a son,Frederick Hugh Bell; and a grandson, Walter Ray Johnston.

Survivors:  Son, Don R. Johnston of Fort Worth; grandchildren, Teri Stanek of Oklahoma, Okla., Cindy Winegardner of Arlington, Mark Bell of Irving and Lesa Bankhead of Azle; and great-grandchildren, Tyson Stanek, Neil Stanek, Brady Sharp, Tammi Sharp, Troy Sharp and Chelsea Post.  Greenwood Funeral Home 3100 White settlement Road  336-0584

Hugh's second wife was Ella Hood to whom he was married on Apr. 16, 1905 in Omaha.  No further information is known about this wife.  His third wife was Josephine Angela Blackmon c1910.  Jo - as she was named on Hugh's death certificate - was born Dec. 19, 1898 in Dallas and died there on Jan. 18, 1952.  Jo's parents were natives of Germany.  There are no known children from this union.

Hugh died on Apr. 19, 1944 of a cerebral hemorrhage; Jo died on Jan. 18, 1952 of colon cancer.  Both are buried at Hillcrest Cemetery in Dallas.

March 25, 2010

Another example of bad information

Artie M. Coffey Coffey
This is the OH death certificate for Artie M. Coffey who was the wife of Charles Wesley Coffey.  She was born on Nov. 3, 1895 in Rockcastle Co., KY and died in Franklin, Warren Co., OH on Dec. 23, 1936.

She was the daughter of Ransom and Mary Jane Coffey Coffey.  Artie married Charles c1920.  They moved from KY to OH sometime before the census of 1930.  That year they were found in Franklin where Charles was employed as "yard man" at a paper mill.

The purpose of this blog is to point out how someone interviewing a family member for information to place in the death certificate can be responsible for entering errors into the record.

Whoever recorded the information was likely told that Artie's father was "Rance Coffey" but misunderstood and entered "Grants Coffey."  If lenient, I might be able to believe that the recorder correctly wrote the name as given by the informant.  If that was the case, it adds credence to my earlier position that informants are not always so familiar with the deceased that they are able to provide accurate information.

I would think then that about the only information included in a death certificate that we cannot challenge is the cause and date of death and, perhaps the burial place.  All other information is only as good as the informant and/or the recorder.

March 24, 2010

Clayton Maywood & Ella Virginia Waterman Coffey

Clayton Maywood Coffey was born Feb. 27, 1877 in Nelson Co., VA, the first child of Henry Alexander and Sarah Rebecca Campbell Coffey.  He was married c1908 to Ella Virginia Waterman.

His obituary:
Daily News Leader, Staunton, VA, Jul 1943

Clayton Maywood Coffey
Ella Virginia Waterman
Funeral services for Clayton M. Coffey, who died early Friday at his home on Staunton route five, were conducted from the residence at four o'clock Monday, with his pastor, the Rev. W. J. B. Livingston of Hebron Presbyterian church, officiating, assisted by the Rev. David F. Glovier. Hymns used were "Rock of Ages," "The Old Rugged Cross," and "Abide With Me." Mr. Coffey was born in Nelson county, Feb. 27, 1877, coming to Augusta in early childhood, spending the remainder of his life in and around Staunton. He was a son of the late Henry A. Coffey and Sarah Campbell Coffey. Those surviving are his widow, Mrs. Ella Waterman Coffey; three daughters and two sons, Mrs. Albert Dull, Mrs. Harty Burford, Mrs. David Hoover, Charles M. Coffey, all of Staunton; Elwood Coffey,. U. S. Army, Nashville, Tenn.; seven grandchildren; six sisters and one brother, Mrs. Walter Keefauver, Roanoke; Mrs. Gilbert Craig, Lynchburg; Mrs. Vinton Cook and Mrs. O. H. Lee, Richmond; Mrs. Howard Plumb, Waynesboro; Miss Lottie Coffey, Winchester and J. H. Coffey, Landover, Md. Active pallbearers were H. F. Talhaferro, W. C. Shiflett, R. T. Mosley, J. D. Hoover, John Dull, and M. E. Elliott; honorary, Frank Leitch, A. R. Moore, Dr. Glenn C. Campbell, Sam Cook, W. A. Crawford, F. M. Tutwider, J. L. Jamison, L. M. Drake. Burial was in Thornrose cemetery.
[I wonder about the spelling of some of the surnames in the obituary.  Is Talhaferro really supposed to be Taliaferro and Tutwider supposed to be Tutwiler?]

Ella was the daughter of Harry B. and Emma Jane Harris, born Jan. 31, 1883 in Staunton, Augusta Co., VA and died there on Dec. 23, 1955.  Both are buried at the Thornrose Cemetery in Staunton.

 - Clayton and Ella were the parents of at least five children; three daughters and two sons:

Emma Jane Harris Waterman
Janet Lucille Coffey Dull
 - Janet Lucille, born May 24, 1911, died Jun. 20, 1984.  Janet married Albert Alexander Dull, born Oct. 3, 1908, died Jan. 4, 1965.  They are also buried at Thornrose.

 - Henry Elwood, born July 18, 1912 and died May 11, 1955.  He married Ferbie Virginia Smith on Sep. 29, 1943 in Augusta Co.  A few years after Henry died, his widow married Charles Maywood, Henry's brother.  All are buried at Thornrose.

Henry Elwood Coffey
Charles Maywood Coffey
 - Helen Joyce, born Dec. 1, 1913, died Feb. 23, 1998, married Joseph Hardy "Pete" Burford on Jun. 14, 1929 in Hagerstown, Washington Co., MD.  Pete was born Jan. 3, 1909 and died Jun. 13, 1998.  They are also buried at Thornrose. No photo available for Helen.

- Catherine, born ca Dec., 1916. Nothing else known; may have died young. [After re-reading Clayton's obit, I realized that Catherine is Mrs. (John) David Hoover.]

 - Charles Maywood, born Aug. 29, 1920, died Jun. 19, 1989.  Neither Charles nor his brother Henry are known to have fathered any children with Ferbie.

Update Oct 25, 2011:

Charles Maywood Coffey was first married to Nellie Elaine Woodzell in 1941.  They divorced c1947 and Nellie later married Joseph Gatlin Gray in 1957, Louisville, Jefferson Co., KY.  Charles then married Ferbie c1958.  Joseph was born Apr. 7, 1918 in Laurel, Jones Co., MS and died in Tell City, Perry Co., IN on Dec. 29, 2001.  Nellie was born Dec. 12, 1919 in Millboro, Bath Co., VA to Charley B. and Sarah E. Woodzell.  She died Apr. 20, 1984 in Tell City.  She and Joseph are buried there in Greenwood Cemetery.

All photos are courtesy of Wayne Coffey.

March 23, 2010

George McDowell Coffey and Margaret Gloria Coffey

George and Margaret were also children of Dr. Richard Nightingale and Mae A. Gano Coffey.

George, a dentist for many years in Kansas, was born Jan. 4, 1894 in MO and died Jan. 1, 1969 in Ulysses, Grant Co., KS.  He was married to Helen Marjorie Miller on Aug. 15, 1935 in Ulysses.  Helen was born Feb. 11, 1907 in Coffeyville, Montgomery Co., KS and died at Ulysses in August, 2002.

Her obituary:

Lawrence Journal-World, Lawrence, Kansas, Aug. 22, 2002

August 22, 2002

ULYSSES — She was born Feb. 11, 1907, in Coffeyville, the daughter of Riley Hess and Lillian (Barney) Miller. She had been a Ulysses resident since 1919. She graduated from Grant County Rural High School in 1925, attended Kansas State University and received her teaching certificate.

Mrs. Coffey taught school in rural Grant County and in Holcomb. She was a member of First United Methodist Church, Music Club and Writers Guild, all in Ulysses. She was also a homemaker, artist, poet, musician and composer.

She married Dr. George McDowell Coffey on Aug. 15, 1935, in Ulysses. He died Jan. 1, 1969.

Survivors include three sons, Richard H. Coffey, Ulysses, Roger D. Coffey, Lawrence, and Douglas G. Coffey, Waxahachie, Tex.; a sister, Frances Wilkes, Hays; 13 grandchildren; 19 great-grandchildren; and a great-great-grandchild.

A son, George M. Coffey Jr., and a daughter, Carolyn L. Coffey, died earlier.

Friends may call from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday at Garnand Funeral Home, Ulysses.

The family suggests memorials to Western Prairie Care Home, Ulysses, sent in care of the funeral home, 405 W. Grant, Ulysses 67880.

Both  George and Helen, as well as their children George Mac (1936-1960) and Carolyn Louise (1937-1975) are buried at the Ulysses Cemetery in Grant Co.

Margaret Gloria married DeVirda H. Burcham II.  He was born Dec. 12, 1914 in Kansas City, Wyandotte Co., KS and died in Wichita, Sedgwick Co., KS on Nov. 10, 2001.  Margaret was born Oct. 19, 1912 in MO and died in Kansas on Nov. 8, 1993.  She and her husband are also buried at Ulysses.

March 22, 2010

Dr. Erval Richard Coffey

Dr. Erval R. Coffey*
Erval Richard Coffey, second son of Dr. Richard Nightingale and Mae A. Gano Coffey, was born Dec. 31, 1896 in Jackson Co., MO.

Dr. Richard Coffey was a son of Dr. William A. and Elizabeth Hill Coffey of Madison Co., KY.  Dr. William Coffey was a son of Dr. Rev. Richard Nightingale and Margaret Catherine McCormick Coffey, originally of Amherst Co., VA then of Lincoln and Madison Counties in KY and finally of Platte Co., MO.

This family descends from Edward and Ann Powell Coffey through John and Jane Graves Coffey, Willian and Elizabeth Osborne Coffey and Osborn and Mary "Polly" Nightingale Coffey who settled in Casey Co., KY.

Erval was a graduate of the University of Kansas where he was active in sports.  After graduation he began a career in the US Public Health Service, eventually becoming Assistant Surgeon General.  He served overseas and was once appointed to Thailand under the Foreign Economic Assistance Act.  He had been Regional Director of the PHS in Washington DC prior to his appointment.

According to an article rife with typographical errors, and which appeared in the Memphis World on Dec. 26, 1950, Erval married Catherine Ann Borchdt [sic] of Chicago and were the parents of three daughters and a son.  In a later undated article found here, [clicking this link will download a PDF] Dr. Coffey eventually accepted an appointment at the regional office of the PHS in New York City.  Upon retirement he accepted an appointment as Health Officer for the city of Greenwich, CT.  He died in April, 1968 in Pinellas Co., FL.

Very little information has been found for Dr. and Mrs. Coffey, probably due to their travel and overseas work.  After he registered for the draft in 1917 he entered the US Army.  I found one source1 that reports him serving at Camp Funston in one of the Divisional Cantonment Training Camps at Fort Riley, Riley Co., KS.  Prior to that he resided at #7 Jackson Bldg in Lawrence, KS, which I presume was a dorm on the University of Kansas campus.  The Cantonment camps were among the first places in the US where the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic began.

The last time I found him in a census record was 1910 while he was still living with his parents in Barber Co., MO.

His draft registration card described him as being tall with medium build, brown eyes and light brown hair.

He and his wife were found on a List of first class In-Bound Passengers at San Francisco, arriving on the SS President Cleveland from Yokohama, Japan on Mar. 6, 1953.  Dr. Coffey was then 56 years old and Catherine was age 52.  Catherine listed her place of birth as Illinois.

I have not yet found Catherine's birth date, which from the passenger list I estimated to be 1901.  I am still searching for a record of their marriage, Catharine's death date and where they are buried.  Her maiden name as printed in the Memphis paper is also suspect.

Erval's older brother, Dr. George McDowell Coffey continued his family's medical service tradition as a dentist.  He married Helen Marjorie Miller and died in Grant Co., KS in 1969.

Update:  July 5, 2011
Jack Coffee,

Good morning. I am the first grandson of Dr. & Mrs. Erval Richard Coffee as described in your blog. 

Just wanted you to know that I am hosting a small family reunion of their direct descendants at a gathering in Old Town Alexandria, VA in late October. We are expecting: the two surviving daughters (Germaine Sava and Beverly Burns); most of their children/grandchildren; and, the children/grandchildren of their deceased children (Richard Coffee, Bargara Vogt). We're expecting about 30+ folks from the DC/Maryland/VA area, New Jersey, California, North Carolina, Norway and Thailand.

Just wanted to pass the news to you. 

1338 UNION ST, #6, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94109
CELL: +1 808 292 9086
GOOGLE VOICE: +1 202 596 6314
SKYPE: +1 415 644 5233; ID: hessrick
I received the following e-mail today:

1The Graduate Magazine [Univ of KS], Oct., 1917, Vol. XVI, Page 217
*Photo credit National Library of Medicine

March 21, 2010

Albert G. & Elizabeth F. Goodhue Coffey

There was an e-mail in my in-box this morning from a Coffey researcher and correspondent of a few years back.  She is researching this family line and has Coffey information but was concerned that she did not know Elizabeth's parents.

Elizabeth F. Goodhue was born c1835 in Wayne Co., KY and died in that county c1865.  She was the daughter of James Goodhue of New Hampshire and Jane Morris of Cumberland Co., KY.Elizabeth's spouse Albert, was born c1825 in Wayne Co. to George W. and Nancy (LNU) Coffey and died sometime after 1893 in Pawnee, Indian Territory, OK.

In 1850 Albert was a constable in Russell Co. and roomed in a home just doors away from the widow Jane Goodhue and her daughters, Mumzella Malvina and Elizabeth.  Mumzella married Isaac G. Scholl c1860 in KY.  He was a native of Merry Oaks in Barren Co., KY.  Her children, all born in Russell Co., were Isadora, born c1862; Dr. Joel B., born Mar 1868; Asa H., born c1869 and Luther F., born Oct., 1872.  Joel, a physician, married Nancy (LNU) c1897 and in the 1900 census had one child, a daughter named "Baby" born Apr., 1898 in Russell Co.

Albert and Elizabeth were parents of at least five children:

Amanda M., born Aug. 19, 1852 in Jamestown, Russell Co., and died after 1920.  She married John McKnight Grider on Dec. 14, 1870 in Russell Co.  They had at least two chidren, Lizzie, born c1872 and Virgil M., born Mar. 6, 1874.  John was born Jun. 19, 1852 in Monroe, Hart Co., KY.  According to my correspondent, Amanda probably died in North Dakota.  I do not have death/burial information of John.

Second child of Albert was Robert B., born Jun. 16, 1855 in Jamestown.  No further info.

Third was an infant, born May 15, 1857, died Jun. 15 of that year.

Fourth was a son, Liston Pancoast, born Feb. 7, 1860, and is said to have died on Dec. 15, 1930 in Paris, Lamar Co., TX.  Liston married Jennie Louise Morris c1885 in Wayne Co.  She was the daughter of Elijah P. M. and Nancy C. Coffey Morris, born Nov. 20, 1861 in Wayne Co., died Feb. 20, 1958 in Antlers, Pushmataha Co., OK.  Jennie is buried at the Odd Fellows cemetery in Antlers.  I have not yet discovered Liston's burial site.

Their children were: 

Edith, born Mar. 5, 1891 in Wayne Co., died Nov. 26, 1959 in Antlers.  She married John J. Ledford c1914.  He was born c1876 in Bucktown, Hardin Co., TN.. Their children were Lenore, James Morris and Kenneth Thurman.

Ruth, born Sep. 22, 1895 in Pawnee, IT, OK, died Aug 28, 1939 in Paris, TX.  She married Walter Henry Baker on Nov. 8, 1920 in Idabel, McCurtin Co., OK.  He was born Oct. 20, 1894 in Ardmore, Carter Co., OK and died in Guthrie, Local Co., OK on Feb. 22, 1988.  Ruth and Walter had at least two children:  Kathryn, born 1921 and Gwendolyn, born 1922, both in Healdton, Carter Co.  Kathryn is said to have died on Jul. 22, 2001 in Fargo, Cass Co., ND. 

George Leighton, born Jul. 12, 1899 in Pawnee, died Jul. 18, 1927 in Muskogee Co., OK.  He married Vida Valerian Russell on Nov. 8, 1920 in Idabel.  Vida was born Jan. 5, 1902 in Bodcaw, Nevada Co., AR and died Sep. 26, 1968 in Santee, San Diego Co., CA.  Their children were:  George, Jr.; Bessie Jeanne and Vida Lucille.

Their last known child was James, apparently a "surprise baby," born c1915.  No further info.

The fifth child of Albert and Elizabeth was Thomas V., born 1863.  No further info
 has been found.

Elizabeth's sister, Mumzella Malvina was born Dec., 1830 in Russell Co. and, married Isaac G. Scholl.  The Russell Co. history revealed this:

"Isaac G. Scholl was born in Merry Oaks in Barren County, Kentucky, and moved to Jamestown in October 1850.  He followed his aunt, Sally (Hodge) Satterfield, and her husband Archabald Satterfield, who had come to this area from Scottsville, Allen County, Kentucky, in 1822.  Isaac Scholl served as jailer of Russell County for many years after being appointed to the position in August of 1853.  He was also the town marshal and a blacksmith.  During the Civil War, Isaac was a 3rd lieutenant in the 94th Regiment, 2nd Battalion of the Russell County Militia.  Isaac's grandfather, Abraham Scholl, had been a Revolutionary War soldier.  Abraham was in the Battle of Blue Licks in northern Kentucky when Daniel Boone's son, Israel, was killed."

Update, Aug. 17, 2011

Albert was married a second time and then to Matilda D. Grider c1865 in [perhaps] Clinton Co., KY but, more likely in Russell Co. because Matilda was born there c1832.  She also appeared there in the 1850 census with her parents, James and Ann Grider.

Some genealogies that I have viewed reports that Matilda first married Vespusian T. Bristow c1851 in Russell Co.  He apparently died before 1860 because she later married William Marlow and moved to Missouri.  The Marlow's appeared in the 1860 census of Miles Point, Carroll Co., MO.2

William was apparently dead by 1865 when Matilda married Albert.  They appeared in the 18703 Jamestown, Russell Co., KY census with two Marlow children: Hiram B., age 9 ["deaf and dumb"] and, Mary W., age 7, both born in MO.

Albert died in 1903 [some genealogies report his death in Oklahoma] and was buried in the Eddy Cemetery at  McLennan Co., TX.  His three sons with Matilda, George Fred, Joseph Frank and James C. are also buried at Eddy.4

An unresolved issue is the report in the1870 and 1880 census record of Albert's birth in Alabama.

1 Russell County Historical Society, Russell County, Kentucky: History and Families (Nashville, TN: Turner Publishing Co., 1996), Page 19.
2 1860 Carroll Co., Sugar Tree Bottom Twp., Miles Point PO, Sheet 13, dwelling 1019, family 6 [sic], William Marlow, age 48, male, farmer, $8000, $3295, born KY; Matilda, age 25, female, born KY; Saml Marlow, age 22, male, laborer, born KY; John Marlow, age 18, male, born KY; Allice D., age 14, female, born KY; Wm., age 12, male, born KY; Geo., age 10, male, born KY; Malchum [sic] D., age 3, male, birth not given
3 1870 Russell Co., Jamestown PO, Pct. 1, Page 11, dwelling/family 74, Coffey, Albert G., age 45, male, white, farmer, $5000, $2000, born AL; Matilda D., age 36, female, white, keeping house, born KY; Amanda M., age 17, female, white, born KY; Robert B., age 14, male, white, born KY; Liston P., age 10, male, white, born KY; Thomas V., age 6, male, white, born KY; George F., age 4, male, white, born KY; Joseph F., age 11 mos., male, white, born KY; Marlow, Hiram B., age 9, male, white, born Missourie [sic], dumb; Marlow, Mary W., age 7, female, white, born Missourie 
4 His entry on Find A Grave incorrectly places this cemetery in Falls Co., TX

March 20, 2010

The Other Side of the Source Coin!

Death Certificate for Lillie Ann Coffey Carter
Click to Enlarge
This is a North Carolina death certificate for Lillie Ann Coffey Carter, a daughter of Napoleon Austin Caleb Coffey and his wife Mary Matilda Townsend. Austin, as he appears in the census record and Mary Matilda were married prior to 1882 in NC. Their marriage record has not yet been found.

Their children were Cleveland Napoleon, born in May of 1882; Lillie Ann, born May 3, 1886; Rosa B., born Oct., 1888 and Perry Elmore, born Mar. 25, 1892.

There are several errors of interest to me on this document, and were likely were made by the informant, Mr. M. M. Carter of China Grove, NC.  He was probably Lillie's husband.

First error: Lillie was born in Caldwell Co. per Vol. 12, Page 65 of the Caldwell Co., birth index.

Second error: Her mother was not Ellen Adams.

Third error: Her father's given name is misspelled.

The third error is not that gross. The birth place and mother's name errors, in my opinion, are. Anyone looking for Napoleon and Ellen Coffey in Avery Co. in 1886 will likely not find them there, especially without an 1890 census to help.

I have noticed that several internet genealogies for this family omit Mary Ellen’s surname, and appear to assume that Mary Ellen Adams and Mary Matilda Townsend were the same person; e.g., Mary E. Matilda Townsend.

Austin’s children with Mary Ellen Adams were:

1 - William McKinley, born Feb. 22, 1898, died Oct. 26, 1953 in Crossnore Twp., Avery Co. He married Annie Lee Crump in 1921, Caldwell Co. She was born Nov. 29, 1901 in Caldwell and died Mar. 10, 1994 in Morganton, Burke Co. After William died Annie married his uncle, Wheeler Eden Coffey. Wheeler had been previously married to his second cousin, Mary Emaline Townsend, daughter of Joseph and Rosa Bell Coffey Townsend.

2 – Dollie, born c1903 – no other information

3 – Lona V., born Jun 25, 1910 in Avery Co., married Elbert Clark on Nov. 20, 1928 in Carter Co., TN. Elbert was born Jan. 8, 1907 in Avery Co., and died Jan. 31, 1974 in Crossnore.

4 – Ann, born Apr. 15, 1914, died Sep. 20, 2006 in Mitchell Co., NC. She married a Mr. Eller.

Obituary, Hampton Funeral Service, Sep. 20, 2006

Ann Coffey Eller (April 15, 1914 - September 20, 2006)

Mrs. Ann Coffey Eller, age 92, of Brian Center, in Spruce Pine, died Wednesday morning, September 20, 2006.

Mrs. Eller is survived by one daughter, Nora Gladden of Plumtree, and one grandson, Michael Joseph Decker of New York, New York.

She was preceded in death by her father and mother, Napolean and Ellen

Adams Coffey, and one son, Zane Edward Clark.

Private graveside services and burial for Mrs. Ann Coffey Eller will be conducted Friday afternoon, September 22, 2006, at 2:00 o'clock at the Calloway Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Avery County Humane Society Shelter, 1824 Stamey Branch Road, Newland, North Carolina.

March 19, 2010

Strange Census Entries

Click to Enlarge
The enumerator of this 1920 Campbell Co., TN census obviously had something in mind when he added cryptic notation in the Citizenship column adjacent to apparently selected names.

For example, in that column and in line with some heads of household, he penciled in "M H."  In the case of Oscar Coffee on line 71, he wrote "B. W. F". and on line 73 he wrote "Bd" for John Ledford.  I presume this is to identify him again as a boarder.  Over in the "Mother Tongue" column he chose to enter  "U. S. W." for some of the males.

I've never seen this on any other census.  Perhaps it has something to do with the mining industry?

Please drop me a note if you know what they mean.

A Downside to using Headstone Info

Monroe Cleveland or Jesse Cleveland Coffey?
Within a couple of days of writing the previous blog about headstones, I received this from Lloyd Coffey, a grandson of Jesse Cleveland Coffey.  Jesse was a son of  Jesse "Red Eye" and Lucinda Louise Coffey Coffey:
"My grandfather, Jesse Cleveland Coffey, son of Jesse C. 'Red Eye' Coffey, is buried in Glencoe Cemetery in Big Stone Gap, Wise County, Virginia.  It is in southwestern Virginia and is the location of the 'Richmond District' about which I wrote you earlier.  For some reason, his grave marker has his name as Monroe Cleveland Coffey.  I know that the name Monroe is in our family several times, but I do not know how it got attached to my grandfather.  I have attached a picture of his gravestone.  I do not know the source of any of the information on the stone."

Unless this information is passed on through the family, future researchers looking for Jesse Cleveland's grave site will be disappointed when it cannot be found.

Jesse Cleveland, who I'm sure I've written about in earlier blogs, married Eliza Loudermilk, a daughter of Finley T. & Mary Clark Loudermilk in Caldwell Co., NC in 1910. Eliza was born on Dec. 3, 1892 and died Mar. 18, 1987 in Hiddenite, Alexander Co., NC.

Her obituary:

The Watauga Democrat, Boone, NC Mar. 20, 1987

Mrs. Eliza Coffey

Hiddenite Resident

Mrs. Eliza Coffey, 94, of Route 1, Hiddenite, died Wednesday, March 18, at the residence following an illness of one week.

She was born in Caldwell County, Dec. 23, 1892. She was a daughter of the late Finley Loudermilk and Mary Clark Loudermilk. She was a homemaker. He husband, Cleveland Coffey, preceded her in death.

Survivors include three sons, Lester Coffey and Rayford Coffey, both of Lenoir, and Eugene Coffey of Statesville, two daughters Mrs. Zelma Campbell of Hiddenite and Mrs. Nettie Hodge of Lenoir; one brother, Daniel Loudermilk of Taylorsville, and 36 grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren.

Services were held today at 2 p.m. at the Adams Funeral Home Chapel in Taylorsville. Officiating were the Revs. Homer Baity and Bobby Eads. Burial was in the Rocky Face Baptist Church Cemetery in Alexander County.

Adams Funeral Home in Taylorsville was in charge of arrangements.
She and Jesse were parents of six children:

1 - Annie Rivers "Nannie", born Jan. 1, 1910 in Avery Co., NC, died Apr 15, 1952 in Boone.  Annie married her second cousin, William Glenn Coffey and had at least one son, Jerry Guy, born Sep., 12, 1933, died Jan. 25, 1998 in NC.

2 - Lester Deverlin, born Apr. 12, 1913 in NC, died Jul 20, 1988 in Lenoir, Caldwell Co.  His wife was Grace Thelma Bennett, born Jul. 27, 1924 in Avery Co., died Feb. 22, 2005 in Lenoir.

Her obituary:

The Hickory Daily Record, Catawba Co., NC, Feb. 25, 2005


LENOIR - Grace Bennett Coffey, 80, of Rosedale Drive, died Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2005, at Gateway Nursing Center.

She was born July 27, 1924, in Avery County to the late Jesse Cleveland and Etta Naomi Hardin Bennett.

In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, Lester Deverlin Coffey; four brothers; and two sisters.

Mrs. Coffey was a homemaker and a member of Zacks Fork Baptist Church.
Survivors include three sons, Donald Odell Coffey Sr. of South Sioux City, Neb., Lloyd Everette Coffey of Taylorsville and Benson Howard Coffey and wife, Teena, of Lenoir; a daughter and son-in-law, Estie Loretta Coffey Smith and Tallie Smith of Lenoir; a stepbrother, Jimmy Kirksey of Hickory; three sisters, Mrs. Virginia Whittington of Lenoir, Mrs. Ollie Coffey of Boone and Mrs. Jean Holdridge of Gainesville, Fla.; seven grandchildren, Jerry Smith, Sharon Smith Clonch, Wayne Smith, Jeannie Smith Childress and Stella Coffey, all of Lenoir, Donald Coffey Jr. of Granite Falls and Gail Coffey Farmer of Arizona; 16 great-grandchildren; and five great-great-grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held Friday, Feb. 25, 2005, at 2 p.m. at Greer-McElveen Funeral Home Chapel, conducted by the Rev. Jerry Smith, Ken Osier and Eliza Bishop.  Interment will follow in Woodlawn Memorial Gardens.

Serving as pallbearers will be Cregg Clonch, Ryan Smith, Dustin Smith, Josh Coffey, Scott Coffey, Victor Whittington and Shane Whittington.

The family will receive friends tonight, Thursday, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the funeral home.

For additional information, the family contact person will be Sharon Clonch, granddaughter, at 1216 Cottrell Hill Road, Lenoir.

Memorial contributions may be made to Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, 9140 Arrowpoint Blvd., Suite 380, Charlotte, N.C. 28273, or the Alzheimer’s Disease & Related Disorders Association, Western N.C. Chapter, 31 College Place, Suite D320, Asheville, N.C. 28801-2644.

Greer-McElveen Funeral Home and Crematory is in charge of arrangements.
3 - Zelma Izora, born Sep. 1, 1915 in NC, died Aug. 6, 1993 in Alexander Co.  She married Lex Garland Campbell, born 1910, died Mar. 8, 1992, also in Alexander Co.  They had at least two children, Betty Lou, born 1935 in Alexander Co., died in Harmony, Irdell Co. on Jan. 24, 2005 and, Gary Lee, born Nov. 25, 1947 in Alexander Co., died Jul. 30, 2005 in Winston-Salem, Forsyth Co., NC

I have obituaries for both of these and will forward on request.

4 - Charley, born 1918 in Avery Co., died Apr. 14, 1919 in Wilson Creek Twp., Avery Co.  His death record gives his name as Chasley, but Lloyd tells me that is an error.

5 - Nettie J., born Feb. 27, 1920 in Watauga Co.  No further info.

6 - Jerry Baxter, born Mar. 21, 1923 in NC, died at Blowing Rock, Watauga Co. on Jan. 14, 1973.

March 16, 2010

Original Sources

Since I began working with RootsMagic™ version 4, I've been bedeviled by conscience to straighten up and enter all of my sources in the "proper" way.  Briefly, a proper entry is defined by some "authorities" - and in particular Elizabeth Shown Mills, a person I know only by reputation - as what information shall be included and in what form it will be presented.

In an effort to dodge the mid-stream boulders while rafting through this strange new world of documentation, I've sought to be as accurate as possible and to comply with Mills' Evidence Explained (EE).  I've also browsed the genealogy blog world for more help and recently found ThinkGenealogy, authored by Mark Tucker, self-described as "a software architect by day and a family historian on as many nights and weekends as possible."

The blog which the above link connects is a discussion that began when Mark wrote about "original evidence" and seems to conclude that by definition* of "original evidence" a headstone would fit that category.  It was pointed out by one participant that "EE is, of course, the standard definition used in the humanities, journalism, etc.–not a genealogical definition."  Still, RootsMagic™ used this book to prepare the pre-built source templets in Version 4.  I don't have a problem with that except that very few of them are adaptable without modification to what you and I might use (headstones, obituaries, stuff like that) for sources.  But, that's for another discussion.

My confusion over what is and isn't an original source was compounded by the absolute statement of one of the discussion participants that "a gravestone is certainly NOT an original source, since it is unlikely that the attending physician is the stone cutter who carved the name and date of the deceased on the marker and then stuck around long enough to see that the stone was placed on the correct grave site."

Perhaps I entirely missed the point of that argument, but this is what I got from it:

I must now believe that a headstone is not an original source while a death certificate is because the attending physician provided his signature to a document that fixed the date and cause of death. 

There is no relevance to the statement about the doctor overseeing the placement of the stone in this argument.  Even if he did watch the stone placement, how is he to know who's in the hole over which the stone is being placed?  Family and/or funeral directors go to great lengths to assure that.  There are other reasons that a stone may be on the incorrect grave, but it's not the grave, it's the stone that gives us the needed information.

My opinion is that the date of death and cause of death is the ONLY information of which the attending physician had any factual knowledge.  All of the other information was supplied by an "informant," who may or may not have factual knowledge of any of the information he or she is providing, irrespective of how close that person is to the deceased.  In fact, the "informant" is dictating to another person who can and often - quite probably - makes an error on any given certificate.

The attending physician likely signed the certificate some days or weeks later and very probably had no other interest or influence over what was included except the cause and date of death.  In all likelihood, the funeral director provided the burial place and date.

We as amateur family historians, know that death certificates are relatively modern documents and, we rely on them to be accurate.  In my experience, many are not!

Most of our ancestors lived and died before death certificates were mandated.  If our ancestor left no other documents that tell us when they were born or died, then probably all we have left to rely on are headstones.  If we are lucky enough to find one, and dates have not been eroded, why is it not an original source according to the definition(s)? 

Even if there is a death certificate and a birth date differs from those on the stone, which is correct?  Ever find a death certificate where age at death is given in years, months and days but, the headstone gives month, day and year?  Do the math and see if they agree!

Further to the argument:  Suppose one of your ancestors is shown in the 1900 census as having been born in Anymonth, 1870, and all previous and subsequent census enumerations in which he is found show that year - at least - to be accurate, +/- 1 year.  Then, you find a death certificate that reports year of birth as 1875 and headstone reads 1870.  Is the death certificate more accurate than the headstone?  I don't believe so.

I work a lot with headstones and death certificates.  In my experience I have found it rare when a certificate does significantly disagree with a stone.  However, among some of the errors I have found on certificates are the grandmothers name given as the mother, father named as husband, etc.  I don't think you'll find those errors on a headstone!

As I wrote in the beginning, my confusion over sources and what is or is not an original source is more profound now than when I began seeking clarification.  It may be so because I find it difficult to buy into some of the arguments for and against trusting certain items of evidence, such as a headstone or a death certificate to be accurate.  Or, I may have missed the point of all the for/against arguments that I have found.

In short, I think I'll keep plodding along by adding what I think is evidence of a fact and let later generations decide which is primary, original, derivative, etc.

*See Mark's blog

March 13, 2010

Stuff I Read and other comments!

Ever check out the "Stuff I Read" column to the right of this blog.

If you are not already a subscriber to any of them I would encourage all Coffey/Coffee Call readers to check them from time to time.  Each of the authors are skilled bloggers who offer many good ideas and tips designed to enhance your own blogging and research experience.  I have learned a lot by reading many of them on a regular basis.

Some of my fellow bloggers have chosen to become "followers" of this blog.  Check them out as well.  Their research doesn't fit with much of mine, but the authors often write about document trails and other ways - sometimes unconventional that I had not considered or even thought of - they have gone in order to crack a "brick wall."

Please drop me a note if you read any other genealogy blogs of note so that I may check them out for myself.   Also, please, if you are a blogger who concentrates on writing about genealogy let me know.  For these, I prefer e-mail notification over remarks at the bottom of the page.

By the way, some readers have asked if I am a professional genealogist.  I am not and do not ever plan to be.    However, my prior life's work where attention to detail was a requisite skill, allows me to tout myself as a "research specialist."  All of my work is dedicated to improving those skills and being as accurate as I can possibly be.

PS:  Forgot to mention the new tabs at the top of each blog page.  Home is obvious.  The Edward Coffey Project explained will take you to a page describing what that project is about.  The third tab is something like an FAQ but technically isn't.  It describes somewhat how you might go about searching for certain names that may be mentioned in the 900+ blogs that I've written to-date.

William M. & Elizabeth Ann Oakley Coffey

William M. Coffey was a son of Nathan and Elizabeth Gilbreath Coffey, in the mysterious Chesley Coffey line.  He was born Aug. 23, 1823 in Maury Co., TN and probably died in Ballard Co., KY.

He has been difficult or impossible to find in some census records because enumerators often misspelled his surname; sometimes omitting the Y in Coffey, etc.  He was found in the 1860, 1880 and 1900 census records, all in Ballard Co.  William married Elizabeth "Betty" Oakley c1849.  She was born c1829 in Missouri.

Together they had at least 9 children:  Eugene S., born c1850 in TN; Isaac N., born c1852, KY; Luella, born c1854 KY; Sally L., born c1856 KY; Willie O., born c1859 KY; Sidney, born c1864 TN; Jeff (?), born c1866 TN; Fannie, born c1868 KY and Caroline S. "Carrie", born Dec., 1870 KY.

The only child that I have been able to locate is Caroline.  She married Albert Sidney Gardner c1899 in KY and were the parents of one adopted son, William H., born c1905 in KY.

William M. apparently died before 1910 because Elizabeth was found that year as a widow in the Gardner household along with a "cousin-in-law," Joe Coffey, born c1864 in KY.  I haven't yet determined who Joe was and how he was cousin to Caroline.

Albert Sidney and Carrie aren't found in the 1920 census; at least I haven't been able to locate them yet.

Members of this family are probably buried in the Blandville Twp. area of Ballard Co.


1860 Ballard Co., McCustians Dist., Woodville PO, Page 16, dwelling 1224, family 1193, William M. Coffee [sic], age 36, male, farmer, $16,550/$20,500, born TN; Elizabeth A., age 30, female, born MO; Eugene S., age 10, male, born KY; Isaac N., age 8, male, born KY; Luella, age 6, female, born KY; Sally L., age 4, female, born KY; Willie O., age 1, male, born KY

1880 Ballard Co., Dist 4, ED64, Page 36-37, Coffe [sic], Wm. M., white male, age 56, married, farmer, born TN, parents born KY; E. A., white female, age 50, wife, married, keeping house, born MO, parents born KY; Sidney, white male, age 16, son, single, farmer, born Texas (?), father born KY, mother born MO; Jeff (?), white male, age 14, son, single, farmer, born Texas (?), father born TN, mother born MO; Carrie, white female, age 12, dau., single, at school, born KY, father born TN, mother born MO; Coffe, [sic] Mollie, white female, age 19, niece, single, born KY, father born TN, mother born KY; Coffe, ?, black male, age 33, married, works on farm, born KY, father born TN, mother born NC; Georgia, black female, age 28, wife, married, keeping house, born KY, parents born VA; Mamie, black female, age 6, dau., single, born KY, father born TN, mother born KY; Lizzie, black female, age 4, dau., single, born KY, father born TN, mother born KY; Edward, black male, age 2, son, single, born KY, father born TN, mother born KY

1900 Ballard Co., Blandville Dist., ED3, Sheet 9A, dwelling 156, family 157, Coffee [sic], Wm M., head, white male, born Aug., 1824, age 75, married 51 yrs., born TN, parents born NC, farmer; Elizabeth Ann, wife, white female, born Mar., 1829, age 71, married 51 yrs., mother of 8, 6 living, born MO, parents born KY; Gardner, Carrie, dau., white female, born Dec., 1870, age 29, married 1 yr., mother of 0; born KY, father born TN, mother born MO; Gardner, A. Sidney, s-in-law, white male, born Mar., 1872, age 28, married 1 yr., born KY, parents born KY, farmer; Hackney, John, boarder, white male, born Nov., 1877, age 22, born KY, parents born KY, farmer; Hackney, Charles, boarder, white male, born Dec., 1879, age 20, single, born KY, parents born KY, farmer

1910 Ballard Co., ED9, Sheet 8A, dwelling 114, family 116, Gardner, Albert S., head, male, white, age 36, married once for 10 yrs., born KY, parents born KY, farm operator; Caroline S., wife, female, white, age 40, married once for 10 yrs., mother of none, born KY, father born TN, mother born MO; William H., adopted son, male, white, age 5, born KY, parents born Unknown; Coffee, Elizabeth A., m-in-law, female, white, age 81, widow, mother of 8, 5 living, born MO, parents born KY, own income; Coffee, Joe, cousin-in-law, female, white, age 46, single, born KY, father born TN, mother born KY, no occupation; Neil, Laura (?), servant, female, white, age 18, single, born KY, parents born KY, cook for private family.

Please drop me a note if you can help expand this family and/or correct any of the information.

March 11, 2010

A Work in progress!

Google has designed and released a few new blog templets.  I'm not particularly excited about any of them but, recognize the talent it takes for the designers to come up with the necessary code.

I'll be working with this one over the next week or so in an attempt to make it appear more to my liking as well as to yours.  If any reader of this blog has comments, please let me hear them.

Eddie Walton Coffey

Eddie was the son of James William and Lillian Gertrude Robertson Coffey.  He was born Oct. 30, 1927 in Augusta Co., VA and died on Dec. 20, 1990 at Staunton, Augusta Co.

Obituary, The Staunton News Leader, Staunton, VA, 21 Dec. 1990

Eddie Walton Coffey, 63, of Route 1 Box 159, Mt. Solon, died Thursday  morning (December 20, 1990) in King's Daughters' Hospital.

He was born October 30, 1927 in Augusta County, a son of the late  James William and Lillian Gertrude Robertson Coffey Sr.

He served with the U.S. Navy during World War II and was a member of  Clemmer-McGuffin Post No. 13, American Legion. Mr. Coffey was retired  from Staunton Frozen Foods, Inc. and was a former baseball player with  the Staunton Presidents Team and had been an umpire in the Valley Baseball  League. He was a member of Spring Hill Presbyterian Church. He was also a  retired farmer and member of the American Angus Association.

Surviving are his wife, Jane Mohler Coffey; two sons, Thomas Webster  "Tink" Coffey, Murfreesboro, Tenn., and Russell Mohler Coffey, Mt. Solon;  a daughter, Jan Ellen Lee Coffey, at home; three brothers, James W. Coffey Jr.,  Weyers Cave, Robert L. Coffey, West Augusta, and John C. Coffey, Cheyenne,  Wyo.; and 5 grandchildren, Amanda Laine Coffey, Thomas Drew Coffey, Alice  Margaret Coffey, Jordan Margaret Peters and Matthew Russell Coffey.

A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday in the Hamrick Funeral  Home, conducted by the Rev. Herbert T. Lewis. Burial will be in Thornrose  Cemetery.

Active pallbearers will be Greg Lam, Wilson F. Vellines, Jr., Randal  M. Stover, Chad Barnett, William A. Simmons and H. Eugene Harman.    Honorary pallbearers will be, Hunter Baber, Leo Argenbright, Paul J.  Kivlighan, Russell W. Miller, Raymond E. Miller, Joseph Viglione, J.  Rawley Collins, Carlton D.  Newlen, Wesley T. Rhodecap and Douglas  Livesay.

The family will receive friends at the funeral home this evening  from 7 to 8 p.m. and at other times at the residence.

It is suggested that in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions be  made to the Mt. Solon branch of the Bridgewater Rescue Squad, Mt. Solon,  Virginia 22843.
This morning I had an e-mail from the daughter of Roger A. Norton asking if this Eddie was the same one who served with her father aboard the amphibious assault ship, the USS Kersarge during WW2.  Unfortunately, I have no way to determine that except to ask for reader input.  If you are related to or know the family of Eddie Walton Coffey and whether or not he did serve on the Kersarge, please let me know so I can forward the information to Roger Norton's daughter.

March 4, 2010

So! You think you know what happened to the 1890 Census?

Probably like you, I have always heard that the 1890 census was destroyed by fire.  Frankly, I never thought about the circumstances; I just knew that it would come in handy for a lot of my research if it still existed.

Seems like everyone else that I hear from, or talk to personally who is heavily involved in searching for lost relatives also believes that it was destroyed by fire.

Apparently, fire was not the cause.  Speculation about fraud and other criminal acts abounded at the time.

Something else I didn't know about this census:  It was the first to use punch cards that could be read electrically.

The National Archives website has a couple of pages devoted to the loss.  The article was written for NARA in the Spring of 1996 by Kellee Blake and is fairly comprehensive.  If you have time, click on the title link to read the article.

March 3, 2010

Grace Episcopal Church, Genito, Powhatan Co., VA

What started out innocently enough as a small project to document the burials at this small church resulted in an extended project lasting some 5 or 6 months.

Grace Episcopal Church, Genito, Powhatan Co., VA
Photo ©John Taylor, 2009
The project was commissioned by my friend, John Taylor, an architect who lives in Midlothian but has his office in Powhatan, VA.  John wanted to do something to help his local Powhatan County Historical Society and, to assure that this church and cemetery did not become one of the thousands across the country that have been abandoned and forgotten.

Briefly, the concept was to record photographically each headstone and to present a brief overview of each person as they might connect to others in the cemetery.  As soon as that work began - my part - we quickly learned that almost everyone in the cemetery was related, some going back many generations.  It was impossible for me to write that someone born and deceased in the 1700's was related to someone who was born and died in the 1800's without explaining how they were related.

Many of the deceased had pre-Revolutionary links which included such names as Harvie, Wickham, Leigh, Dance, Randolph, Jefferson (yes, that Jefferson), Poythress, Bland, Bolling, Bannister, etc.

In the end, the presentation to the Historical Society was bound in 7 volumes, each containing a few hundred pages of ancestry for everyone in the cemetery and showing how they were related.  It was a fascinating project and an insight into how the people of early America lived, loved and died.  Many were short lived, dieing of various diseases, but during their lifetime they put down deep roots that have bound this country together.

The printing was limited and other than me and John, I believe the only other copies are with the Powhatan society.

The scan shown here is from the inside cover of each book.

Similar projects are in the early planning stage.

March 2, 2010

Sarah Delilah Coffey

This beautiful woman was the daughter of James Wilson and Louisa T. Norman Coffey.  She was born Feb. 11, 1864 in Morgan Co., IN and is said to have died on Jun. 7, 1897 in Svenson, Clatsop Co., OR.

Sarah Delilah Coffey
Not much is known about Sarah.  She was apparently a musician, but her life is rather a mystery to researchers.  She also had three children, possible without benefit of marriage.  She is credited with producing three sons:  Virgil Benjamin, born c1891 in Washington Co., IA and twins, James Norman and Clarence, born Sep., 20, 1896 in IA.  Nothing more is known.

Photos are courtesy of Dorothy Crawford (Dec'd)

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