26 September 2014

A Case of Murder

It all began with a death certificate. My Woolsey ancestry can drive me crazy sometimes when I hit brick walls, so I've gotten in the habit of looking at everyone and trying to find everything possible even on distant connections. I was looking at the family of Minnie Agnes (Woolsey) Tandy, my grandfather's aunt when I stumbled across this death certificate for her daughter Amie Urisa Tandy. Normally I would just capture the dates and places and move on in order to establish connections to my direct line, but then I notice the cause of death "punctured lung - gunshot wound, Hemothorax and Severed Spinal Cord" That alone just sounded so sad. I realized though that there had to be a story to this, so I began to search for newspaper articles on Newspapers.com.
 
I was shocked to discover that my grandfather's very own cousin was shot and murdered by her own husband Leo Nichols. Leo had come home drunk and began taunting his son Bobby Jack by shooting at him! I can only imagine the horror a mother must feel to witness her husband shooting at their own child. She confronted Leo and he turned his attention on her. He began shooting at her. Bobby Jack recalls on the stand that he saw his mother jump. He thought at first she had jumped out of the way, but in fact she had been shot and the impact of the bullet threw her body.
 
The Sheriff would later recall that he came to the home to find a woman moaning. She lay on the floor in her own blood screaming.
 
Leo Nichols was found guilty and given a life sentence. I never could find anything more on Bobby Jack Nichols. I can only imagine how hard it would have been on a little boy to witness his father shoot his mother. Bobby was only eight years old at the time. This was a sad sorry to discover in my family.
 
Amie Nichols, Ancestry.com. Texas, Death Certificates, 1903–1982 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013.


16 July 2014

Sarah Ann Revell 1838-1892

I've been writing lately about my great grandmother May Elizabeth Rollett and her ancestors, but I've really focused on her grandmother Sarah Ann Revell. I'm lucky that her father was one of the original members of the Reorganized Church of the Latter Day Saints in Nauvoo, OK. As a result there are many records available to me.

The biggest challenge was not being able to find a husband with her in any of the census I found. She was always in the home of her parents Thomas Revell and Elizabeth (Brierly) Revell. In my previous post I showed her with her parents in 1870 and 1880. Between 1870 and 1880 Brierly was born with the same last name as the older children. So where was this elusive husband?

I had read in several accounts of the LDS that her husband's name was Elmer Rollett. One record Early Members of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is recorded that Elmer Rollett died in 1866. So if that's the case he can't be the father of Brierly Rollet who was born in 1871. At this point the only thing that I can figure is that Sarah did remarry after Elmer's death to another man by the same last name as Rollett, who according to Brierly's death certificate is named Phillip Rollet born in France. It's likely they weren't even related as Elmer was born in England. I still am searching for records on this Phillip Rollett.

Finally I found Sarah with her first husband in 1860 census in St Louis, MO. They had another child I wasn't aware of, Elmer F Rollett. He is 8 months old. It's likely he died before the 1870 census. Elmer is 43 years old and Sarah is only 22. Elmer was 21 years her senior, but I have yet to find any indication that he was ever married before Sarah.

I did find an Elmer Rollett age 32 in Northern Lights, Philadelphia, PA in 1870 census in the home of John Edgar. I'm not certain, but this could be my Elmer. I've not found any others that match.

I also found Elmer and Sarah's marriage. They were married 16 April 1858 in St Louis, MO. Elmer's first name though was recorded as Abner, or at least that's the way it was transcribed on Ancestry. I'll have to find a way to see the original.

So now to find the second husband Phillip Rollett. This woman's life is getting so interesting.

14 July 2014

May Elizabeth Rollett and Ancestors Part II

I haven't had this much fun researching one of my family lines in probably more than a year, but once again I'm being sucked into the genealogy vortex and I just can't seem to pull away.

I wrote last week about a little minor detail that had gone unnoticed preventing me from discovering my Rollett ancestors in May Elizabeth Rollett and ancestors. Now that I've put the puzzle pieces together here is a bit more about her family. So far I'm able to trace May's father's side back to her great grandfather, Thomas Revel.

Thomas Revel was born on November 4, 1813, in Radford, England. He was married Elizabeth Brierly 28 Jan 1838. He died on April 24, 1896, in DeKalb, Missouri, having lived a long life of 82 years, and was buried there.

According to the book "Roots of the Reorganized Latter Day Saints in Southern Iowa" by Pearl Wilcox Thomas and Elizabeth joined the Latter Day Saints church in 1847 and came to America in 1851. They first went to Utah, but after nothing but disappointment moved to St Louis, MO where they remained until 1861. From there they moved to Council Bluff where they were one of the first to be baptized in the Reorganized Church. Thomas was ordained a elder 1 May 1862 and in 1864 sent on a mission to England. After he returned the family moved to Nauvoo, Hancock County, IL where they lived until 1890. He died in the home of his grandson Brierly R Rollett in DeKalb County, MO.

I did find the family in 1860 in St Louis, Ward 7, MO. In the home is only Thomas and Elizabeth and the name is spelled as Ravell. However they appear to have boarders, unless they are family. There are four other families listed in the same dwelling. Not sure yet if any of them are related.

By 1870 they are now settled in Nauvoo, Hancock, IL. Thomas and Elizabeth with their daughter Sarah Ann Rollett (miss spelled Ballet in the census) and two grand children Elizabeth and Isaiah D Rollett. Isaiah is David Isaiah who was May's father.

In 1880 they are all still in Nauvoo, Hancock, IL only this time there is another child, Brierly. What I find interesting is that this child has the same name as his siblings, yet two census records have yet to record the father of these children or Sarah's husband. I've never encountered this before over two census records. It makes me wonder if this is the result of a plural marriage. Was she living with her family even though she was one of many wives to an unknown Rollett? I say unknown because I have yet to pin point who really is her husband and the father of these children. On Brierly's death certificate his father was reported to be Phillip Rollett born in France. I do find a marriage record in MO of a Sarah Ann Revel married to an Abner Rollett in 1858. But then there is one more.......in
"The Heritage of Buchanan County, Missouri, 1984
Johnson, Herman, author
Stevenson family biographical information [ca. 1984]
"Faced with the responsibility of raising 6 children, ages 1 to 16, William [Stevenson] remarried on Nove 14, 1880. His second wife was Sarah Ann (Revell) Rollett, widow of Elmer Rollett. Sarah was the daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Revell."
So now I have another name. How can this man be known by three different names. From everything I read and find William Stevenson was only a second marriage for Sarah, so not likely that she was married to two different Rolletts, and I can see Elmer being mistaken as Abner or visa versa.

Sarah Ann Revell was born on April 29, 1838, in England, the only child (so far known) of Thomas and Elizabeth. She had three children, Elizabeth, David Isaiah & Brierly with Phillip/Elmar/Abner (to be determined) Rollett between 1862 and 1871. She then married William Stevenson and they had one child together, Joseph. She died on April 12, 1892, in Nauvoo, Illinois, at the age of 53.

I'm getting the feeling that David or at least his son Leonard was the black sheep of a strict Mormon family. Leonard if you'll recall I reported in one of my earlier post was a bootlegger shot to death by the Sheriff. A family that with in the span of three generations goes from extremely religious to outlaws. I can't wait to find more.

10 July 2014

May Elizabeth Rollett and ancestors

I have been on the search for my Rollett ancestors for years. I've written about that wonderful brick wall a few times. It's funny how sometime we consider a family line a brick wall, when in fact it's just a mater of not seeing the little details. That was the case with this family. I missed one little detail that blew the flood gates wide open when I finally saw it.

As of a few weeks ago I knew that my great grandmother May Elizabeth Rollett was the daughter of David I Rollett and Rosa D Clark of MO.  I wrote about finding her parents and siblings back in a post in 2011, My Happy Dance. Since then I found myself once again stumped, until last night! That's when I realized my brick wall was self inflicted. I simply was not paying attention to every little detail.

So how did I break through.......
  1. I opened up David I Rollett and Brierly R Rollett's death certificates. I still suspected they were brothers, but needed to connect them. Like I stated in my previous post Brierly was the informant on David's death certificate which clued me in to the possibility that they were brothers or at the very least cousins, being close in age with the same surname.
  2. While looking at Brierley's death certificate I realized (and I still can't believe that I've missed it for so long) that it listed his birth place as Nauvoo, IL. So I looked up what county Nauvoo was in. I find that by searching by city, it's too narrow as people in my family often move around in an area, usually with in a county, but often don't stay put in the same city, especially in a family where one child was said to be born in MO and the other in IL. Knowing from Brierley's death certificate that his parents are Phillip Rollett and Sarah Revel, I began to look for the family. It didn't take long really and I had found a family in 1880 census in Nauvoo, Hancock, IL that partially matched the family I was looking for.
    NameAge
    Thomas Revel 67
    Elizabeth Revel 62
    Sarah Rollet 42
    Elizabeth Rollet 18
    Isaiah Rollet 14
    Briley Rollet 9
The problem was that only two of the four names I was looking for matched and since the only one I had a birth year for was Brierly I still unsure that I had even found the right family. I was darn near ready to give up and mark it as another of many possibilities in this family, when the light bulb went on. Notice the child listed above Briley, Isaiah? I can't believe I had missed it. David's middle initial was "I" so I went back and calculated the age. Isaiah being 14 in 1880 would put his birth at 1866. My David was born in 1866!!!! They are brothers. David was just known by his middle name then!

Now I can add anther generation to my tree. I have been busy over the last two days finding more records and attaching to my tree records. My tree is once again going. Not only did this census confirm that Sarah and Phillip (based on the death certificate) were David's parents and that Brierley was his brother, but I also now know that Thomas and Elizabeth Revel were their grandparents! I'm off to do more research on another generation!

25 April 2014

Minor photo restoration

This is a photo of my mother and her sisters in Mexico. With this one I started by removing the scratches and spots as always. Then I began to selectively correct the contrast in layers. I created a layer and selected all the washed out white areas and brought some of the detail back. Then by selecting different areas on the photo I was able to adjust them individually until they all worked together. This was such a cute photo of them and now I can give them and even cuter version of the photo.

23 April 2014

Severely Damaged Photo restoration

This photo was approximately six hours of restoration. I started with the background. A solid background is the easiest to repair. After repairing the cracks there was discoloration and tail-tail signs of the restoration in the background. So I used a fill with very little opacity to help blend the background. This would not be an option if the background had any sort of pattern. Solid background are a gem as a result. That's where the easy part ended. In the most severely damaged part of his hair  I had to use a healing patch from another cleaned up portion of his hair that matched as closely as possible. Then blending is makes it look normal.

The rest of the restoration was pretty straight forward healing and cloning, keeping a close eye on shadows and lines that need to be maintained. Then a little selective color adjustment and some added film grain and I have a completely restored school photo of my dad.

21 April 2014

Restored photo to Art piece

This is the original photo of my grandmother Mary Ellen (Hayes) Roe. This took a lot of hours of work to clone and heal all the little spots of damage in the photo and remove the writing on her shoulder


Here is the photo part way through the restoration. As you can see there are still little specs in the photo. So I continued to clean up the photo and balance the levels.
 
Once the photo was cleaned up I began the fun part of recoloring the photo. By selecting each portion of the photo I wanted to recolor and then choose the "Hue/Saturation" option to create a layer. I could then adjust the Hue and Saturation until I got the desired colored. This is the best option especially when working with the face. However, you can also create again a layer with each new color and set the color using a brush and color in the area you desire (this was what I did for the shirt), this option is tricky and not always user friendly.

 

Here is the final result of a completely restored and recolored photo of Mary Ellen (Hayes) Roe. This is one of my favorite photos of her. I believe she was about 15 years old in this one.
 
For photo restoration contact me at amygennut at gmail dot com



07 April 2014

New fun tool on Ancestry

This is really cool. With the new tool on Ancestry.com you can create "Story" pages of your ancestors from the photos and documents that you have collected. So far it looks like it does a pretty good job of telling the story from the data. Again though what you put into it is what you will get out of it.

Here is the "Story" for my great grandmother Mary Joann (Williamson) Woolsey

Also on my dad's side of the family is my 3rd great grandfather Curtis Grubb Beeson A confederate Civil War Veteran. Though there is much more to his story that I have at home on his computer, Ancestry.com has put together his story as I have entered it into their data base. What it doesn't show are the pictures I have gathered of the Beeson property and graves. He lost the Beeson property after the war as his records that proved he was the owner of the land were burned during the war. Though he was wealthy and unfortunately owned slaves, he died a poor man not long after the war ended.

This is pretty cool. I will have to make efforts to put more into my Ancestry data base so that I can compile more complete stories of my ancestors.

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