After finding my grandfather’s mother with an incorrect last name, and then finding her father, I was sure I could find any ancestor. However, when it comes to my grandmother Hazel’s father’s ancestral line, I have come upon a dead end.
Grandma’s father was Charles E. Williams born 1892 in Gessie, Indiana. When he was four years old, he was adopted out to William Spicer and his wife. Census records show my great-grandfather was classified as a boarder and a roomer, yet his obituary reads that the Spicers treated him as one of their own.
The story Grandma grew up with is that her grandparents were killed, which is why her own father was adopted out, but his adoption agreement tells a different story. Charles’ father signed the adoption papers, which said that he had the right to visit Charles and to remove him from the Spicer residence if he was mistreated. The adoption papers are signed by Samuel Williams and guardian Thomas J. (or I.)Hines before a Justice of the Peace, but nowhere in the document is Charles’ mother mentioned, which means one of two things: (1) his mother had died or, (2) his mother was alive but not in the picture. If it is the latter, then I can’t help but to think a scandal might be involved.
While I have Charles’ life well documented from the time he was born in 1892 to when he died in 1924, I have been unable to find information on his parents, other than their names on Charles’ marriage and death certificates. Their names were Samuel Williams and Sarah (Hinds or Hines) Williams; census records show he was born in Indiana, she in Illinois.
I continue to search for my second great-grandparents, to find out what life for them in the mid 1800’s might have been like prior to when Charles was born. I figure if I can find my grandfather’s mother and her parents, I can find anybody. I have found out researching family history is a lot of work, but it can also bring many surprises.
As for my writing, I am still revising my novel and working on a few short stories, as well as editing the newsletter for my writing club, Redwood Writers. My novel comes first, but I would like to write some short stories about the lives of my ancestors. I’ve considered calling these stories creative memoir, because the stories are based on fact but with some era spices added in.
Keep writing and reading, because both are essential to The Write Life.