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!

Monday, January 20, 2014


With the time off from work I had around Christmas time I devoted some time to beginning work on D1's genealogy.  I had no idea what I would find or if it would be difficult to find information on his family but I was prepared for some quality time on different genealogy sites in search of information.  I was pleasantly surprised with my first foray onto to discover there were others out there who had done quite a bit of research into different parts of his family.

Like a good genealogist I began entering the information to prove into my database.  I'm always hesitant to use GEDCOM files I find online.  I'm just a little overly cautious, so I choose to re-enter the information manually.  It's more time consuming but it also allows me to get to know each and every person I enter so I can usually remember one or two things about each person I add, plus I can verify the information I add.  In my opinion, those reasons alone balance out the time and effort it takes to enter the information manually.

I spent hours each day on my time off looking at different family trees on Ancestry, checking source documents and adding names to the family file.  D1 thought the amount of time I spent doing genealogy over Christmas break was pretty humorous and he began to joke about it with his family.  It's all good though, because I got the last laugh.  I made it back to his 10th great grandfather and began entering the information and was surprised to get the following error message from Family Tree Maker:

Whaaaaa?????  What was this??  This was an error message I'd never received before!  No, there was no way we shared an ancestor.  I was sure I'd made a mistake in my entry of individuals.  So I checked the list of children for each Caleb and Hannah Knapp...and they matched.  To the name, date and place of each event listed for each child.  So I checked the source documentation to make sure these were the correct connections.  And they were.  Unbelievably, my husband and I share a common relative from the mid-1600s!  My 8th great grandfather was his 10th great grandfather.  I couldn't help it, I started to laugh.  Poor D1 didn't really find as much humor in it as I did.  He just didn't get why it was so funny, but it was hilarious for me.  The maternal unit thought it was pretty funny and dear brother thought it was pretty funny, so maybe it's a genealogy humor thing.

I haven't done any research into the Knapp side of my family but after I told the maternal unit about my discovery and the possibilities of additional Daughters of the American Revolution patriots, she mentioned she had heard they were a pretty large and prominent family in early American history.  I'm having a very hard time focusing on just one genealogy project right now, LOL.  I want so badly to start working on supplemental patriots for DAR, even though I haven't even received notification of acceptance of my initial DAR paperwork.  On the other hand I really want to see what else I can find on D1's family.  His 2nd great grandfather died in France during World War I and is buried in the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery.  I definitely want to look into him a little more and see what I can find out from the National World War I Museum's research center.  Then there's the rumored Native American connection in D1's family, the woman who lived in the dugout that my mother-in-law remembers, and the part of the family my mother-in-law would like to know more about.  I feel so ADD right now, LOL.

So many projects, so little time for genealogy...what surprises have you found in your family?

Monday, January 13, 2014

A New Year

After a taking a brief hiatus from blogging for the holiday season I decided a good first post for 2014 would be a review of accomplishments for 2013 and a list of goals for 2014.

I was very excited to get back into working on my genealogy in 2013 after several years of not working on it.  In March I attended the Genealogy KC conference and attended some fantastic sessions on subjects ranging from brick walls to DAR genealogy.  After attending that conference and talking to my mother about what I learned, she mentioned that we should be able to join DAR and that lit my fire.  I began researching DAR chapters, located the patriot I could connect to, chose a DAR chapter to work with and began the process of proving my lineage to Guian McKee.

In June I married my husband.  D1 has not only been tolerant of my genealogical craziness but he's encouraged me every step of the way, from getting paperwork for my DAR application to traipsing through cemeteries to take pictures of unknown gravestones for Find-A-Grave to stopping at out of the way cemeteries to just walk through and look at the old tombstones.

In July I took the big leap and started TBG.  It's been a lot of fun writing about different genealogy items.  It wasn't a goal of mine in 2013 to start a blog but it's definitely been an accomplishment.

My big accomplishment for 2013 was completing my application for the Daughter's of the American Revolution.  I'm very excited about having made my goal of completing the application, obtaining all the required documentation and submitting it to the chapter I selected by the end of 2013.  I'm currently awaiting a response from National about the acceptance of my paperwork!

Looking forward to 2014, here's a list of the things I hope to accomplish:
  • Continue the research I've begun on D1's family and start collecting proof of lineage (on a side note, it's pretty amusing to me that I discovered D1 and I share a common ancestor around 8 generations back, LOL!)
  • Once my application to DAR has been accepted, start work on adding one additional patriot to my file, submitting paperwork for the additional paperwork by the end of 2014.
  • After acceptance of my DAR application, obtain my first DAR pin.
  • Make a genealogy trip to Danville, Illinois to see the grave of my third great-grandfather and visit the genealogy library to see if I can find any information on my family there.
  • Make a trip to North Dakota to visit family and obtain more genealogy information on my paternal family.
  • Increase my participation in the Billion Graves transcription project.
  • Get a new copy of my great-grandmother's obituary
  • Get the genealogy document hard copies sitting in piles around my house organized.
  • Print and organize all electronic copies of genealogy documentation
  • Finish attaching electronic copies of records to applicable persons in my genealogy database.
Wow, that's a large list.  I realize I probably won't get all of that accomplished but if you can't shoot for the stars, why bother right?

I hope all my wonderful readers and followers are having a great year so far.  Tell me, what's on your genealogical to-do list this year?