So, you all know that my name is Christina. I was named after a fictional character in a novel my mom was reading while I was “baking in her oven”. I have no complaints about my name; it simply fits me. As with life, I have been called numerous nicknames. We have Chris, Christy, Tina, Xtina, Christy-poo, Chris-Chris (only my nana has the right to call me by this name, and the beloved Christine. I hate being called Christine, but rarely do I correct people. Christine Thomas and Christina Thomas are two different alias, lesson learned after this man screwed up my taxes by misspelling my name. Just call me Christina, or if you are my nana, Chris-Chris.
I bring to you this minor rant for a purpose. In the course of this research, I have began to note the power of being referred to as a name besides your own. This includes nicknames and misspellings. This week, I have found research documents that were needed two years ago. Why did it take me three years to find them? Well, their names were simply wrong. They were either misspelled or known by their nickname, middle name, etc. At times, I found Rachel’s name to be written as Rachael or Racheal. Her sister Gladyce name was always misspelled as Gladys. Even her Social Security Death Index denotes an improper spelling of her birth name. It took years to determine Rachel’s mother’s name, Nancy, for I only saw the initials N.J.P.. It is frustrating, but this is what research is all about.
1. The marriage of Harry Flowers and Nancy Sawyer
Surprising, I have had no documents supporting a marriage between Harry and Nancy. It was a mere assumption. They had eight children together and Harry happened to be the father and Nancy happened to be their mother. Who doesn’t have eight children together and not marry? Two and two equals four and a marriage. In the 1910 Federal Census, Nancy, or Mrs. N.J.P Flowers, resided on a farm with eight children. No other spouse was listed, but her martial status was listed as married. By the 1920 Federal Census, Harry was the only ‘adult’ in the household and divorced.
Last week, I was informed of Harry’s first marriage to Lydia Bradley on April 6, 1876 in Duval County, Florida. His second marriage was to Nancy Sawyer on December 9, 1891 fifteen years later.
Their marriage record is under a completely different name. There is no excuse for this and this is the reason why I could never find this document. Two misspelled names, just my luck.
2. The daughter of Chauncey Sawyer Flowers and Ernestine Hagans (discovered her maiden name this week)
In the 1930 Federal Census, Chauncey and Ernestine have two children, Chauncey Jr. and Margaret. Oddly enough, the children are not listed in their father’s obituary for unknown reasons.
So, where did the name problem begin? Well, I decided to give Newspaper.com a try (BTW: Check out the 7-day free trial) and began to look through Harrisburg newspapers, The Telegraph and The Evening News. Both proved to be valuable assets to this project. I came across two articles concerning Chauncey’s and Ernestine’s family featured in both newspapers (1936).
The $500 estate of Chauncey S. Flowers, late of Harrisburg, is shared by the widow, Mrs. Ernestine Flowers, a son, Chauncey S. Flowers Jr., and a daughter, Miss. Frances M. Flowers.
Letters of administration were granted to Mrs. Ernestine Flowers of 506 North Street, in the $500 estate of her husband, Chauncey S. Flowers, late of this city. Two minor children, Chauncey and Frances, are also heirs.
Margaret Flowers is actually Frances Flowers. It seems as if Margaret is her middle name or a mere nickname, regardless, this could be the reason why I could not find any other information on Margaret. All this time, I was searching under the wrong name.
The moral of the story: Do yourself and future historians a favor, stick to your name and make sure everyone else does as well.
Until the next post,