Saturday, January 22, 2011

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Do Some Random Research

This week Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings borrowed an idea from Christ Staats of Staats Place (Freaky Friday: Random Research Reports) for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun.

The idea is to take a random name generated by the Random Name Generator, put it into the search engine at Ancestry or FamilySearch. The first census result is the person you will be researching. The goal is to use whatever resources you have available to learn more about the person and report the results in your blog.

My random name: Juanita Stephenson.

In the 1930 census, Juanita Stephenson is living in Carthage, Jasper County, Missouri. She is Negro, aged 26, married at age 19 to Wilson Stephenson (age 25) with two children, Lucile (age 7) and Monte (age 4y6m). The census record indicates that both she and her parents were born in Missouri. The head of the household is her divorced mother, Rosa Barrett (age 56). Also in the household is a sister, Edith Barrett (age 30).

I checked Missouri Marriage Records 1805-2002 to see if I could locate Juanita's marriage. I found that she married Jasper Stevenson 21 Jan 1928 in Carthage, Jasper County, Missouri.

Working backwards, I next found Juanita in the 1920 census, also in Carthage, Jasper County, Missouri. She is listed as black, age 16, born in Missouri with her parents born there as well. The head of the household is again her mother, Rosa Barrett (written as Rosa Barratt), age 46, divorced. Also in the household are siblings Edith (age 21), Bertha (age 14), Clarence (age 11) and Than (age 3y2m). Interestingly, Bertha, Clarence and Than are all listed as mulatto while Juanita, Edith and their mother is listed as black. Possibly, the younger children have a different father.

Juanita appears in the 1910 Census for Carthage, Jasper County, Missouri as Wanita. She is listed as age 7, mulatto, born in Missouri with parents born in Missouri. Her mother is again head of household, listed as Resa Barrett, widow, age 36. Also in the household are siblings Ethel W (age 16, married), Edith (age 13), Bertha (age 6), Clarence (age 3). It is interesting that Juanita is listed as mulatto since she was listed as black or negro in the two following censuses.

I wasn't able to find a death record, but since Juanita's approximate date of birth was ca 1903, I decided to check FindAGrave. I found her in Cedar Hill Cemetery, located in Carthage, Jasper County, Missouri. According to the cemetery notes, this cemetery was formerly called East Cemetery and a number of African-Americans are buried in it. Juanita's birthdate is given as 6 Jun 1902 and her deathdate is given as 10 Apr 1970.

On a hunch, I checked the cemetery for other names and found several family members, including Juanita's husband, Wilson J Stevenson; her mother, Rose A Barrett; and what is probably two of her sisters. An Edith Barrett Heard, born 17 Jan 1897 died 10 Apr 1956, fits with the approximate date of birth for Juanita's sister.

The second possible sister is Bertha M Simpson, born 23 May 1903 died Oct 1977. The birthdate is close to that of Bertha Barrett. Also, the mother of Bertha is given as Rosa Irvin/Irwin and two of her children are named Juanita and Edith.

It is unclear who Juanita's father was. Her mother married Thomas Barratt 26 Apr 1892 in Carthage, Jasper County, Missouri. Juanita's mother is listed as divorced and going by her maiden name in the 1900 census with only two children, Edith and Ethel. I haven't found any other marriage records for Rosa, but she is listed as widowed in 1910 and divorced again in 1920.

Looking at the 1910 census, you can see a six year gap between Juanita and her next oldest sister. The fact that her two older sisters are listed as black while she and her younger siblings are listed as mulatto seems to indicate they have different fathers. When you look at the 1920 census, there is 8 year gap between the two youngest children, which could indicate different fathers as well.

Rosa Barrett's death certificate indicates that she was widowed twice. Juanita was listed as informant on her mother's death certificate.

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