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02 June 2011 @ 10:07 pm

Sorry for being MIA (missing in action) the whole month of May here at my LiveJournal blog. But I made the decision to self-host my own genealogy blog and my new place in cyberspace is www.claimingkin.com

I am no stranger to the WordPress blog platform. After purchasing my webhosting and domain name for a great price, it took me about two weeks to get the blog installed and setup, to select a theme,  and transfer all of my content from this blog to that one. Then my wonderful friend at Tywebbin.com (an excellent graphic and web designer), came over and whipped that blog into the colorful shape that it is right now - THANK YOU TY! 

So drop by and check out the new website if time allows.

Liv @ claimingkin.com
Current Mood: excited
10 April 2011 @ 05:00 pm
Colorado Citizen, August 27, 1891
Blanton, Carey
Eagle Lake Item

Carey Blanton, one of our best freedmen, died at his residence in town last Saturday night, after a long illness. Carey was an honest faithful and industrious darky and will be missed by the community."

I truly appreciate Gina Hefferman, the Texas Archives State File Manager, and all the volunteers who donate their time transcribing records and contributing to the Texas USGen Web Project! As a result of their work, I was able to locate the obituary for my great-great-grandfather - Carey Blanton - that appeared in a local county newspaper via the Colorado County TexGen Web Project where over 11,000 obituaries are now online!

Carey Blanton is my great-grandmother, Carrie's father who was born into slavery around 1838, but died a Freedman on August 22, 1891 in Eagle Lake, Colorado Country, Texas.  Though the obituary above is not very flattering with regards to calling him an "industrious darky,"  - it is, what it is, and those were the times in which he lived. But despite the reference to his race and physical features, he was a man of "good character" and appreciated by those in the Eagle Lake community.
While rummaging through some of my father's personal effects a year after his death, I came upon some interesting currency from his old Army days. What I found were some 5¢ and 10¢ Military Payment Certificates (MPC) he received while serving with the 169 2nd Engineer Battalion in Masiwa, Japan from 1945-1947.

To better understand how this certificate was used by my father, I turned to MPC collector/expert, Brad and his website at C-Day.com. What I learned is that after Wold War II, the United States government stopped paying soldiers who were stationed overseas with US currency for fear it would fall in to enemy hands which could be used against us. Instead, they were paid with specially designed certificates that had the full value of US money, but could only be used on military bases, ships, and other similar places. These certificates could be converted to the local currency by troops, but they could not be reconverted back into US currency.

My dad must have converted his pay while in Japan because I also found a 1946 Japan 10 Yen (see below) he brought back with him after his tour ended there in 1947.

There were thirteen series of Military Payment Certificates issued to soldiers between 1946-1973. The first series -- 461 -- is the series that was issued to my father. The denominations printed were 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, 50¢, $1, $5, $10 and $20 varieties. As I browsed the Internet to learn more about MPC I have tucked away safely, it seems that Military Numismatics is a popular hobby, and for some, a lucrative one. So if you have some MPCs from love ones in your family tree, share the series and denominations you have below!
06 April 2011 @ 12:00 am
Mom and Jon
In mom's shadow is my brother, Jon, circa 1954
30 March 2011 @ 11:11 pm
Carrie Blanton was born February 28, 1883 in Eagle Lake, Colorado County, Texas to Carey and Alice Bailey Blanton. Like her parents and eleven siblings, she grew up as a farm laborer. In addition to farming, Carrie was known as an excellent cook and not long after she married Louis Chapple, I found her in the 1900 United States Federal Census working as a cook and servant for a lawyer and his wife, who ran a Boarding House, at 409 Austin Street in Houston, Texas.

On June 2, 1902, Carrie gave birth to her first son, Joseph Chapple. On October 19, 1910, her second son, Lewis was born, but he died a month later from lung complications. Not long after losing her son, her husband dies. So by the mid 1920's Carrie is a widow living with her son, his wife Estella, and and their children (Ella Louise, Joseph, Estella, and Carrie) in the greater 5th Ward community. 

My mother, Carrie, wasn't two years old when her mother died from Tuberculosis. On her death bed, Estella gave her four little children to her mother-in-law to raise as her own. So when Estella closed her eyes for the last time, she was able to do so knowing that her children were in the loving care of their grandmother. To better meet the needs of her grand babies, Carrie stopped working as a servant and cook and became a laundress which allowed her to work out of the home.

Carrie was a woman of high moral character who lived what she believed. She was a longtime member of Canaan Baptist Church and was the secretary that recorded the minutes when this church began at 2500 Altoona Street in Houston's 5th Ward Community. She was highly respected by young and old, and was a true confidant and listener to those who needed someone to talk to. Folks loved talking to her because they didn't have to worry that what they told her, would ever be repeated to anyone.

I never got a chance to know my Great-Grandmother Carrie, for she died on December 16, 1944 from heart failure, long before I was born. But, whenever I ask my mother about her, she smiles and proudly talks about what a great lady she was. But what I like hearing most from my mom was how she and her siblings thought Great-Grandmother Carrie needed a boyfriend -- LOL! Whenever they would ask her why she didn't have a boyfriend, she would take one look at them and say, "you stinky little heifers, go sit down and leave me alone!" Heifer was about the extent of Carrie's cursing. But, that didn't deter them one bit because they took it upon themselves to find her a boyfriend anyway. The man they chose for her was -- the traveling Charcoal Man -- who traveled by wagon throughout the community selling charcoal. Visions of my great-grandmother dating the neighborhood "Charcoal Man" makes me chuckle! But what I respect most about her decision NOT to have a man around them while they were growing up was when she told them, "I don't want your first experience with a man, to be a man that isn't my husband or your grandfather." Now those are the words of a great lady indeed!

If you have a — Carrie Blanton — falling out your family tree (especially if she’s a native Texan and lived in Houston) let me hear from you because –  I’m Claiming Kin!
23 March 2011 @ 09:41 pm
Well, almost Wordless . . . .


Five generations starting with the oldest to youngest . . .
Great-Great Grandmother Lula Routt Green - 1867-1964
Aunt Sallie Green Lewis - 1907-2001 
Grandpa Willie Taylor -  1909-1985
Daddy John Willie Taylor - 1927-2010
Brother Elgin Taylor
Brother Jon Taylor
then . . . . Me!


18 March 2011 @ 12:37 am

A new free search engine for genealogists and people interested in learning more about their family history launched Tuesday, March 15, 2011. According to an official press release on GeneaPress, "Mocavo.com enables the search of more than 50 billion words - including billions of names, dates and places, all within fractions of a second. Mocavo.com fills an important industry need by providing the first large-scale, free search engine for family history research. Coupled with the speed and accuracy by which search results are produced, Mocavo.com represents a major technological breakthrough within the genealogy world."

I haven't tried Mocavo yet, but I will be taking it out for a spin very soon. But if you've used Mocavo.com, let me know what you think!
16 March 2011 @ 10:03 pm
In March 2010, Lisa Alzo, better known as, The Accidental Genealogist, launched a series of 31 blogging prompts for celebrating and honoring the "fearless females" in our family trees. This online viral event was so popular with bloggers last year that they wanted to know if Lisa planned to host this event again this year. So back by popular demand and to mark National Women's History Month, Lisa launched her -- Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women's History Month!

I stopped by Lisa's blog this week to check out some of the prompts and to learn more about her family history, and this prompt caught my eye:

March 14 — Newsmakers? Did you have a female ancestor who made the news? Why? Was she famous or notorious? Did she appear in the social column?

My great-grandmother, Birdie Green Aldridge who was born August 13, 1888 in Chappell Hill, Washington County, Texas, was a female ancestor in my family tree (my father's father's mother) that made the news at age 83!

She was the talk of the town as her photo and comments about the upcoming election day in Parsons, Labette County, Kansas were captured in an article titled, "Tuesday Is Election Day," found in Section 2 - Page 12 of their local newspaper on April 1, 1971. According to this article, Momma Birdie (the name we called her) had not missed an election since she moved to Kansas from Texas in 1912. The reason for that she says below is, "Voting is second only to worshiping God!"

Momma Birdie died six years after this interview was published on March 15, 1977. She was laid to rest in Oakwood Cemetery in Parsons, Kansas on March 21, 1977. Be sure to double click the article above a couple of times to enlarge and read about my fearless female who made the news!
16 March 2011 @ 12:00 am
Joseph ChappleI had the pleasure of visually introducing my maternal grandfather, Joseph Chapple, to the World Wide Web community on Wordless Wednesday, February 16, 2011. Joseph is the son of Louis and Carrie Blanton Chapple. He was born in Eagle Lake, Colorado County, Texas on June 2, 1902.

Even though he was born in the city of Eagle Lake, according to the April 1910 United Stated Federal Census, at age 7.5, he was living at 1609 Saulnier Street in Houston's 4th Ward - Freedman's Town community with his parents. Joseph's baby brother, Lewis, was born October 19, 1910, but died a month later from lung complications. Baby Lewis' death certificate indicates that his death took place at the family's home at 815 Schwartz Street in Houston's 5th Ward community. It is this death certificate that confirms the year, Grandpa Chapple came to live, work, and raise his family until his death in this area of Houston.

According to the Social Security application Joseph filed on March 12, 1937 below , he was employed by Texas & Northern Railway as a Blacksmith Helper. He worked as a Blacksmith Helper for many years. But when the older white gentleman he worked with retired, he applied for the position but his application was denied. The reason they gave for turning him down was -- a Blacksmith was a white man's job! So instead of the company recognizing him as a competent and experienced Blacksmith, they decided to bring in some white college graduates to do the job. They also expected Joseph to teach them everything he knew and show them the ropes. Well, teaching them everything he knew and showing them the ropes wasn't going to happen and as a result of his defiance, the company shut the Blacksmith shop down. That wasn't a problem for him because he simply transferred to the Creosote Yard and began treating the cross-ties of train tracks. He continued in the Creosote Yard until he fell off of a ladder, while working on the garage apartment he built , and broke his back. This fall eventually resulted in him retiring from the railroad industry. According to the letter I received from the Railroad Retirement Board in 1994, Joseph had put in 111 service months prior to 1937, and continued working in the industry until 1958. Then he retired and drew his Railroad Retirement until his death.


Joseph met, fell in love, and married Estella Smith. I'm not sure when they met, or how they met. It is possible that their paths crossed on a regular basis because they grew up and lived in the 5th Ward community. It is also possible that they met by association, because Estella's father, Richard Smith, worked at the same railroad yard Joseph did for many years too. Regardless of how they met, they married and from that union came 6 births -- 2 miscarriages and 4 children - Ella Louise, Joseph Lee, Estella, and my mom, Carrie. Unfortunately at age 26, Estella died from Tuberculosis on July 30, 1930, and left Joseph with 4 young children to raise. With the help of his beloved mother, Carrie Blanton Chapple, all of the kids grew up happy and healthy despite the lost of their mother.

When I ask family members to recall their fondest memories of Joseph, this is what they had to say:
"He had a wonderful sense of humor!"
"He was noted by the community for being a very reliable and honest man."
"He sure did love his mother."
"He was an excellent cook!"
"He was trustworthy and a man of his word."

Grandpa Joseph Chapple was indeed a favorite of mine and his death on August 23, 1966 was very sudden! He died 28 days before my 7th birthday and the week before his death, we spent an afternoon together eating cotton candy. Actually, he introduced me to this sugary treat and then spent the whole time laughing at me as I complained and pouted about how the stuff melted in my mouth before I had a chance to chew and enjoy it. Today when I see a bag of cotton candy, I'm reminded of my wonderful last day with Grandpa Joseph Chapple!

If you have a -- Joseph Chapple -- falling out your family tree (especially if he's a native Texan and lived in Houston) let me hear from you because --  I'm Claiming Kin!   

Ethel Abram Chapple & Carrie Chapple in New York, Summer 1947