Sunday, August 3, 2014

Same blog, new look!

I'm very excited to re-launch Talking Box Genealogy!  TBG now has a new look and a new home at  Please update your bookmarks to reflect my new address.  RSS feeds can be updated by using  No more posts will be added to this blog so please direct all future interactions to  Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, July 18, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #5 - Joseph Victor Bowlby

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Joseph Victor Bowlby

Today's ancestor is Joseph Victor Bowlby, my husband's second great-grandfather.

Some basic facts:
Name: Joseph Victor Bowlby
Born: 29 March 1870
Parents: Samuel Bowlby and Rosannah (King) Bowlby
Spouse: Anna Rhoda (Greenway) Bowlby
Marriage: About 1900
Died: 25 July 1958

Joseph was born 29 March 1870 in Iowa City, Wright, Iowa.  He was born to Samuel Bowlby and Rosannah (King) Bowlby.  He married Anna Rhoda Greenway sometime in 1900.  Joseph and Rosannah had six children: Sherry Victor Bowlby, Percy Richard Bowlby, Richard Samuel Bowlby, Jennie Bell Bowlby, Lillian, Augusta Bowlby, and Thelma Louise Bowlby.

Joseph lived with his family in Iowa until he married in 1900 when he moved to Empire City, Cherokee, Kansas.

Joseph & Anna Bowlby listing in the 1900 U.S. Census
Joseph and Anna divorced sometime before May 1920.  He appears alone, marital status showing divorced on the 1920 U.S. census.

Joseph Bowlby listing in the 1920 U.S. Census

Joseph remained in Kansas, eventually moving in with his son, Victor's family sometime before 1940.

Joseph Bowlby, listed with Victor Bowlby and family on the 1940 U.S. Census

 Joseph died 25 July 1958 in Wichita, Sedgwick, Kansas.  He's buried in Jamesburg Park Cemetery in Wichita, Sedgwick, Kansas.

Joseph V. Bowlby Tombstone
Jamesburg Park Cemetery in Wichita, Sedgwick, Kansas

Here's my genealogy list for Joseph:

  • 1870 Federal Census
  • 1880 Federal Census
  • 1900 Federal Census
  • 1910 Federal Census
  • 1920 Federal Census
  • 1930 Federal Census
  • 1940 Federal Census

  • Birth Certificate
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Divorce Paperwork
  • Death Certificate
  • Check for appearance in Kansas state census records
  • Check for appearance in Iowa state census records



Tuesday, July 15, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #4 - Gertrude Viola (Warren) Bowlby

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Gertrude Viola (Warren) Bowlby

I'm still playing catch-up on the 52 Ancestors challenge but I'm going to try hard to get current.  Today I'm highlighting my husband's maternal great-grandmother.

Some basic facts:
Name: Gertrude Viola Warren
Born: 10 March 1905
Parents: John Garrison Warren and Minnie Green Warren Grokett
Spouse: Sherry Victor Bowlby
Marriage: About 1922
Died: 14 June 1963

Gertrude Viola (Warren) Bowlby
Date/Age Unknown

Gertrude was born 10 March 1905.  She was born to John Garrison Warren and Minnie Green Warren Grokett.  She married Sherry Victor Bowlby sometime in 1922.  Gertrude and Sherry had one child, Shirley Ann Bowlby.

Gertrude was born in Hitchcock, Oklahoma but moved to Kansas soon after.  Her family appears in Kingman County, Kansas in the 1910 U.S. census.

Warren (Grokett) family listing in the 1910 U.S. Census

Gertrude remained in Kingman County with her family until sometime after her marriage.  She appears with her husband, Sherry Victor Bowlby, in Wichita City, Sedgwick, Kansas in the 1930 U.S. census.

Bowlby family listing in the 1930 U.S. Census

Gertrude died 14 June 1963.  She's buried next to her husband in Jamesburg Park Cemetery in Wichita, Sedgwick, Kansas.

Gertrude Viola (Warren) Bowlby Tombstone
Jamesburg Park Cemetery in Wichita, Sedgwick, Kansas

Here's my genealogy list for Gertrude:

  • 1910 Federal Census
  • 1915 Federal Census
  • 1920 Federal Census
  • 1930 Federal Census
  • Find-A-Grave Listing
  • Birth Certificate
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Death Certificate
  • Check for appearance in additional Kansas state census'

Sunday, July 13, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #3 - Sherry Victor Bowlby

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Sherry Victor Bowlby

I'm still playing catch up for the 52 Ancestors challenge, LOL.  Life tends to get in the way.  Today I'm highlighting my husband's maternal great-grandfather.

Some basic facts:
Name: Sherry Victor Bowlby
Born: 21 December 1900
Parents: Joseph Victor Bowlby and Anna Rhoda (Greenway) Bowlby
Spouse: Gertrude Viola (Warren) Bowlby
Marriage: About 1922
Died: 6 December 1984

Sherry was born 21 December 1900.  He was born to Joseph Victor Bowlby and Anna Rhoda (Greenway) Bowlby.  He married Gertrude Viola (Warren) Bowlby sometime around 1922.  Sherry and Gertrude had only had one child that I'm aware of, Shirley Ann Bowlby.

Sherry lived all his life in Kansas.  He was born sometime after June 15, 1900 (the enumeration date of the 1900 census) because he doesn't appear with his parents on that census.  

Joseph Victor Bowlby and family 1900 U.S. census record

According to the 1910 census he was born in Kansas.

Joseph Victor Bowlby and family 1910 U.S. census record

According to D1, Sherry did many things in his life.  The 1929 Wichita City Directory lists him as being a foreman with the Travel Air Manufacturing Company in Wichita.  According to the Kansas State Historical Society, Travel Air Manufacturing was the world's largest air manufacturer until the Great Depression affected it in 1929.  There's a great abridged history of Travel Air here.  The 1930 U.S. census has him working as a welder in a foundry.  At least he was able to find employment during the Depression.  Google became my best friend when D1's family told me he invented things.  I was very excited to find two patents held by Sherry: one for a sander and one for a machine to store and exchange used wiping cloths for fresh wiping cloths.  I've heard that he should have a few other patents on file as well.

He died and is buried in Wichita, Sedgwick, Kansas.  He's buried in Jamesburg Park Cemetery in Wichita, Sedgwick, Kansas next to his wife, Gertrude.

Gertrude Viola (Warren) Bowlby and Sherry Victor Bowlby Tombstone
Jamesburg Park Cemetery, Wichita, Sedgwick, Kansas

That's about all the information I have on Sherry.  Here's my genealogy list for Sherry:

  • 1910 U.S. Census
  • 1920 U.S. Census
  • 1930 U.S. Census
  • 1940 U.S. Census
  • Find-A-Grave Listing
  • U.S. Patent for Sander
  • U.S. Patent for Machine for Storing and Exchanging Used Wiping Cloths for Fresh Wiping Cloths
  • 1929 Wichita City Directory Listing
  • Birth Certificate
  • Death Certificate
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Check for appearances in Kansas State Census'
  • Try to locate additional patents

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Life Got in the Way

And don't you just hate it when that happens?  I know I do.  I've been noticeably absent from posting on my blog because of it.  But I definitely haven't been idle.  My big project was changing employers.  I usually stay away from talking about work because, after all, this is a genealogy blog.  But I'm so excited about this new position I just couldn't help but mention that I've moved over to a different association where I'm part of the professional development for public works employees.  I've always loved learning new things myself so helping others continue learning is definitely up my alley.

And I haven't been idle on the genealogy front either.  Here's what I'm currently working on:
  • I've tried to ramp up working on my sources and citations.  Have I mentioned how much I hate citations?  I know they're not the big deal I'm making them out to be but I'll admit it, I stress out over whether I'm doing them right.  I really need to get a copy of Evidence Explained and read it but it's not in my budget right now unfortunately.  So for now I'll continue to try and figure out my citations using Family Tree Maker and the ProGenealogist Genealogy Citation Guides online.
  • Speaking of working on my sources, I've been ordering vital records and finds from the North Dakota State University archives as my pocketbook will allow.  I've got a surprising amount of documents to save/scan, sort and attach to my tree in Family Tree Maker.
  • I dug in and worked hard on my organization one weekend.  I'm utilizing the system set out in Eliminating Genealogy Clutter by Sherene Henrie Whiting with one or two tweaks.  I think this is a great system but I don't have a lot of room for binders.  On the other hand, I have plenty of file cabinet space for hanging folders.  I'm not even close to being done but I think I've got a very good start.

Working hard on my genealogy organization and filing!

  • The spousal unit and I traveled to Iowa and sat down for a day of genealogy and family time with the Iowa family branch.  We had fun, shared some genealogy and made some VERY interesting discoveries!  Let's just say when my puzzle pieces matched with their puzzle pieces we made a couple of full (or almost full) pictures.  It was very exciting.
  • I mentioned earlier that I was the recipient of a RAOGK (Random Act of Genealogical Kindness) when a non-relative happened upon some family ephemera and was kind enough to be willing to return it to our family.  You can read about that RAOGK here.  I was surprised to receive another email from this kind stranger letting me know he'd been contacted by the flea market seller again and had come into possession of one last piece of the family ephemera.  I feel very fortunate that he was willing to be the messenger to pass that last piece to me last weekend and a photo of my first cousin (once removed) has returned home.

A six-year-old Harold Wilkinson returned to the family fold

  • The spousal unit and I also dropped in on the North Dakota family branch and got to spend a little time talking with them...which, for me, inevitably leads to genea-talk.  The few hours we had with them turned out to be a few hours too little when we started talking about my father, who passed away a little over a year ago.  It's fun to hear stories and thoughts from other family members about the people you love.  I haven't talked much about my North Dakota family because I was working on my DAR paperwork (which is on the maternal side and not the paternal side, where the North Dakota connection comes in) but North Dakota has become a very special place for me in the last couple of years thanks to the kindness of family and friends there, so I'm sure you'll be hearing about that side of the family in the future.
WHEW!  In between all of that I'm still attending as many genealogy education events as I can.  I've participated in some great webinars recently and I'm hoping to use some of what I've learned very soon.  I've been using the heck out of the Ancestry subscription the spousal unit gifted me and even broke down and put a public tree out there in hopes of getting some nibbles on my tree.

So here's to getting back on the blog-wagon...I can't wait to post some of my recent discoveries!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Christmas Came Early In Genealogy-land

This past weekend has been an absolute whirlwind of activity and discovery for me.  I had to travel to Fort Worth, Texas for work Thursday and Friday and I took the opportunity to go see the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza.  Dealey Plaza is where President John F. Kennedy was shot in 1963.  The Sixth Floor Museum is the former Texas Book Depository building where Lee Harvey Oswald shot JFK from.  It was a very interesting site.  I also did the walking tour of Dealey Plaza and the surrounding area.  I highly recommend both.

The former Texas Book Depository Building, now
known as the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza

Dealey Plaza as viewed from the Triple Underpass, the Texas
Book Depository Building is on the left behind the trees of
the infamous grassy knoll.

As I was sitting in the airport waiting for my flight back Friday night and checking my email to see if there was anything interesting going on, I saw an email from the Registrar of the Daughters of the American Revolution chapter I had applied to join.  She was letting me know that my application for the DAR had been approved by National and I would be receiving my paperwork soon!  How exciting!!!!!  It only took me a few months to gather my documentation and complete my paperwork, from May to December.  Luckily my patriot had already been proven through a different branch of the family so I only had to prove back to the son of my patriot, Guian McKee.  Guian McKee was a Private serving under Captain James Montgomery and Colonel McKay, Colonel Brodhead and Colonel Bayard.  He was from Pennsylvania and most likely somehow related to Colonel McKay.  It seems that the name McKay may have morphed into McKee somewhere between Ireland, Scotland and America.

As if that wasn't enough excitement, a few weeks earlier I had been contacted through my blog by a non-relative who had purchased a batch of my family's ephemera from a flea market.  I was floored and couldn't imagine how some family items could have ended up in a flea market in Oklahoma.  So I went to the only source I could think of that might have some knowledge of how this could have happened.  According to the maternal unit, a cousin who lived in Oklahoma had passed away and the children of this cousin had sold off all contents of the shed of the cousin's property without looking through it.  And so, the items had ended up with someone unrelated who began researching my family.

I haven't written about this part of my family much simply because I have been working on other parts of my genealogy.  Tombstone Tuesday afforded me the opportunity to touch on them briefly when I highlighted my grandparents, Edward Bell Conwell Jr. and Edith M. Brown Conwell.  My Tombstone Tuesday post on my grandfather, Edward Jr., is what caught the attention of the gentleman in Oklahoma.  What was it about the post that caught his attention?  It wasn't Grandpa Edward but his relation to Frank R. Conwell that caught this gentleman's attention.  Frank Russell Conwell was my great-uncle.  I remember meeting him when I was younger.  He was a widower who was living in a trailer in California when I met him.  To me, he was a distant relative whom my Grandpa Edward wanted to visit.  I was more interested in cool stuff we were seeing while we were traveling to visit Frank than I was in Frank himself.  And what a shame that was, since Frank had quite a few interesting experiences I didn't learn about until later.

Frank was born 1 August 1912 in Kansas City, Jackson, Missouri to Edward Bell Conwell, Sr. and Zella May McCabe, who I've been using as guinea pigs in my posts about what you can find on the U.S. census records (so far we've looked at the 1930, 1920, 1910 and 1900 census records.  I've also used Zella as a guinea pig for a post on death records and Edward Sr. and Zella as guinea pigs for a post on marriage records).  He married Maybelle Victoria "Mabel" Boileau 19 November 1940 in Norwich, New London, Connecticut.  They didn't have any children together and Mabel died 27 May 1988 in Jamul, San Diego, California.  Frank lived several more years and died 13 April 2001 in El Cahon, San Diego, California and is buried in Greenwood Memorial Park in San Diego, California.

So what makes Frank such an interesting individual that a non-relative would want to learn about him?  Frank was a Navy-man, as were his brothers, Edward and Milford.  He assisted in the salvage recovery of the U.S.S. Squalus, a submarine that sank off the coast of New Hampshire on May 23, 1939 and he was awarded the Navy Cross for his work on the salvage recovery.  And that is what made him such an interesting subject for research.  As a child I knew he'd been a Navy diver, but I was never aware that he'd helped salvage the wreckage of a submarine or that he had been honored with a medal.  I learned of it when I was older and of the fact that he saved a woman who had fallen overboard while watching the recovery of the Squalus.  My family never made a huge deal over these two instances that I can remember.  It was just a fact added to our genealogy and accepted as what needed to be done.  My family has always just done whatever was necessary to get things done without making a big deal out of it.

Which led me to this past weekend.  I made a trip with the most wonderful mother-in-law to pick up all the ephemera which the gentleman from Oklahoma so kindly sold to me. 

Family items picked up in Tulsa, Oklahoma
this past weekend

I'm so excited about these items.  Some of them are about my cousin, some about my great-aunt and some about my great-uncle.  I've just begun going through and sorting the items but this is one of my favorite.

Hand painted picture of
Zella May McCabe Conwell

This is a picture of my great-grandmother, Zella May McCabe (who was married to Edward Bell Conwell, Sr.)  It's a picture I've never seen before; I've only seen her as an elderly woman in black and white photographs.  She was very beautiful when she was younger and I feel very privileged to have been able to bring this picture back into the family.  With all these goodies I've got a lot of work ahead of me to scan, share and preserve them.  It feels like Christmas in Genealogy-land!!!!  Stay tuned to see some follow up posts on Grandpa Edward, Uncle Frank, Uncle Milford, Aunt Edna and some of the other cousins who are intertwined with these individuals :)

Friday, January 31, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #2 - Shirley Bowlby

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Shirley Bowlby

We're getting some freezing rain in Kansas City this weekend so I decided to post another catch up for the 52 Ancestors challenge.  Today I'm hightlighting my husband's maternal grandmother.

Some basic facts:
Name: Shirley Bowlby
Born: 25 January 1924
Parents: Sherry Victor Bowlby and Gertrude Viola (Warren) Bowlby
Spouse: Earl Leslie Nickell
Marriage: Date Unknown
Died: April 1982

Shirley was born 25 January 1924.  She was born to Sherry Victor Bowlby and Gertrude Viola (Warren) Bowlby.  She married Earl Leslie Nickell sometime before 1943.  Earl and Shirley had children but in the interest of privacy I won't list their information.

I suspect Shirley lived most of her life in Kansas.  I believe she was born near Wichita, Sedgwick, Kansas because she's listed on the 1930 census with her parents at the age of eight in Wichita, Sedgwick, Kansas.

Bowlby family listing in the 1930 U.S. Census

And then again at the age of sixteen in Clark County, Kansas.

Bowlby family listing in the 1940 U.S. Census

Shirley died in April 1982.  She's buried next to her husband, Earl, in Resthaven Cemetery in Wichita, Sedgwick, Kansas.

Shirley A. Bowlby Tombstone
Resthaven Cemetery in Wichita, Sedgwick, Kansas

I don't have much more information than that on Shirley.  Here's my genealogy list for Shirley:

  • 1930 U.S. Census
  • 1940 U.S. Census
  • Find-A-Grave Listing

  • Birth Certificate
  • Death Certificate
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Check for appearance in Kansas State Census'

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Earl Leslie Nickell

I’m a little behind on the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge but I’m going to jump in with ancestor #1 and play catch up.  This week I'm highlighting my husband's maternal grandfather.

Some basic facts:
Name: Earl Leslie Nickell
Born: 24 July 1918
Parents: Delbert A. Nickell and Allie (Maiden Name Unknown) Nickell
Spouse: Shirley Bowlby
Marriage: Date Unknown
Died: November 1965

Earl was born 24 July 1918.  World War I was raging in Europe though, unknown to most of the world, it would end in a few months.  He was born to Delbert A. Nickell and Allie (Maiden Name Unknown) Nickell.  He married Shirley A. Bowlby sometime before 1943.  Earl and Shirley had children but in the interest of privacy I won’t list their information.

Earl lived most of his life in Kansas.  I believe he was born near Long Island, Phillips, Kansas because he’s listed on the 1920 census with his family at the age of one in Long Island, Phillips, Kansas.

1920 U.S. Census for Delbert Nickell and family

Earl served in the military during World War II.  His enlistment date is shown as 4 November 1943 and enlistment location was Denver, Colorado.  From his enlistment record on I can see that he completed four years of high school and was skilled in woodworking occupations.

Earl died in November 1965.  He’s buried next to his wife, Shirley, in Resthaven Cemetery in Wichita, Sedgwick, Kansas.

Earl L. and Shirley A. Nickell Tombstone
Located in Resthaven Cemetery in
Wichita, Sedgwick, Kansas

I don’t have much more information than that on Earl.  Here’s my genealogy list for Earl:

  • 1930 U.S. Census 
  • 1920 U.S. Census
  • Listing from U.S. World War II Enlistment Records from 
  • 1925 Kansas State Census
  • Find-A-Grave Listing 
  • 1940 U.S. Census
  • Birth Certificate 
  • Death Certificate
  • Marriage Certificate

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Challenge Accepted: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Challenge Accepted!

I’m a member of several different genealogy groups on FaceBook.  You might not normally think of FaceBook for genealogy but it’s a great platform for communicating with other genealogists!  While browsing the posts of the Genealogy Bloggers group, I ran across a post from one of the members talking about this blog challenge she was going to join called 52Ancestors in 52 Weeks.  Someone else had linked to their blog in the comments and I wandered over to her blog and found the link to the original poster’s challenge post.

The premise of the challenge is to have a weekly blog post devoted to a specific ancestor.  The post can contain anything: a research problem, photograph, stories or a combination of anything focusing on that ancestor.  And it’s not just limited to blogs!  In her challenge post on No Story Too Small, Amy Johnson Crow encourages people who don’t have blogs to post on FaceBook, send an email to family members, write something in a journal or anywhere else for that matter.

After reading some of the blog posts I was inspired to participate in this challenge.  My "blog fodder" for 52 Ancestors is going to be my husband's family, who I've just begun researching.  I'm excited to be participating in the 52 Ancestors challenge.  Why don't you take the plunge and join me?  Anyone can participate in the fun!