Some recent discoveries

Young officer My grandfather Frederick Jackson Bell (1903-1994), named for his mother's family

I have written here about some of my research strategies, and I thought it might be interesting to inventory a few of my recent discoveries (and brick walls).

It is easy to get distracted, and for the last decade or so I have kept a lot of my research notes in a Word file called “Notes on 1790–1930 Censuses.” (Yes, it predates the publication of the 1940 Federal Census, although I have begun to add information from that source as well.) Built around appearances in various censuses, the Notes document keeps me organized, as it is really my ahnentafel (or ancestor table), listing ancestors along with their children and their children’s spouses. In the footnotes, I keep track of my ancestral aunts’ and uncles’ children and their descendants.

This habit can lead me to discoveries I had no inkling might exist out in the Internet ether. For example, I was struck by the fact that I was missing the date of my great-aunt’s fourth marriage. With no real expectation that I would find it, but mindful that she lived in California, I went to, and there it was, helpfully listed under her maiden name and the name of her former husband: Nancy Bell or Nancy B. McNamara married Claude D. Horne in Humboldt County on Christmas Eve 1955.

Aunt Nancy’s parents were married in Virginia in December 1902, and I had always understood that the wedding took place in Norfolk. Perhaps so, but here it is in the Richmond Dispatch of 17 December:  “Miss Estelle Jackson and Mr. J. Frank Bell were married this afternoon at ‘River Grove,’ the country home of the bride’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Oliver D. Jackson. The Rev. Richard Heber Bennett, of Richmond, officiated. The best man was Mr. Ralph C. Lewis, of Washington, D. C. and Misses Bessie Snyder and Mabel Williamson acted as flower girls. There were no other attendants.”  As for where River Grove was, I’m not sure, and the chaotic state of O. D. Jackson’s finances meant that the Jacksons didn’t hang on to it for long!

I’ve already written about another great-aunt, Elizabeth Brawner Grimes, who died in 2012 at the age of 102. Again, it was the Notes document that reminded me that I was carrying her date of birth as 1910; it seemed likely, reviewing it in 2014, to think that she might have died at some point, perhaps years ago. A few minutes with Google led me to her death notice.

This same impulse drove me to look for my grandfather’s stepmother, Margaret A./Marguerita/Marguerite (Feller) (Glickert) (Stegall) Bell (1884–1954), whose biography continues to evolve: I recently found her as the president of the Florence Crittenton Home in Norfolk in 1931.

I will have more to say about brick walls at some point, but a comparatively recent one concerns the siblings of my great-grandmother Minnie Estelle (Jackson) Bell (1876–1935), the only daughter of Oliver Dodridge Jackson (1848–1915) and Rebecca Jane (Eggleston) (Jackson) Waterman (1856–1937). Estelle had five younger brothers, the eldest of whom was William Walter Jackson (1878–1909), buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Norfolk.

By the date of the 1910 Census, Frederick Hollister Jackson (1880–1946) was a married boiler maker living in Los Angeles, but then he disappears from the records of until his appearance, 36 years later, in the California Death Index, 1940–1997, born in Ohio, the son of a father named Jackson and a mother named Aggston [sic].

Edward Buchtel Jackson (b. in 1881) appears in the 1910 Census as a laborer in Hanson County, South Dakota. In 1930 he was a poultry man in Elko County, Nevada. A man of this name, born in Ohio in 1881 and living in Oregon, appears in the World War II Draft Cards 1942 database, but with the wrong date of birth.

Emmet Eggleston Jackson (1884–1944) was living in Phoenix in 1918 and 1920; with his wife Gladys/Lydie he kept a soda fountain. When he died in 1944 he was living in Los Angeles County, and according to The Los Angeles Times (1 July 1944) his daughter Marjorie M. Gee was his only survivor.

Finally, there was Oliver Deshler Jackson (1886–1943?). In 1910 he was a newly married market gardener living in Norfolk County with his wife Lillie. In 1917 he was a telephone lineman in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. He appears to be the Oliver D. Jackson living in Mendocino County, California, in the 1940 Census, and I would guess he is the man of that name who died in San Francisco 22 January 1943.

My grandfather – the son of Estelle Jackson Bell – said that he had only one first cousin on his mother’s side, presumably Marjorie M. Jackson, born in New York ca. 1912. I wonder what became of her, to say nothing of her parents and her uncles and aunts!

Scott C. Steward

About Scott C. Steward

Scott C. Steward has been NEHGS’ Editor-in-Chief since 2013. He is the author, co-author, or editor of genealogies of the Ayer, Le Roy, Lowell, Saltonstall, Thorndike, and Winthrop families. His articles have appeared in The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, NEXUS, New England Ancestors, American Ancestors, and The Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine, and he has written book reviews for the Register, The New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, and the National Genealogical Society Quarterly.View all posts by Scott C. Steward