About 30 years ago, my mother-in-law took a ferry ride from Marin to San Francisco with her young son, husband, and in-laws, John A and Shirley Pope. Shirley, my husband’s grandmother, pointed to San Quentin as they passed by and casually remarked “My dad lived there.”
I heard this story for the first time about 3 years ago and was amazed. It was one of those stories that people knew but don’t talk about much. I have since researched the story and found out that it is very important to pick your friends wisely. This is the story of Charles Frank Gingg and his time “living” in San Quentin.
Frank Gingg married Agnes Mattson September 5, 1925. On the marriage certificate, Frank is listed as 22 and Agnes as 19. In reality, Agnes was only 16 at the time. She had lied to get past the age restrictions for marriage. They had one daughter, Shirley Marie Gingg on September 16, 1927. The 1930 census shows the young family living in Santa Rosa, California. At the beginning of 1933, Agnes left Frank and took their young daughter to live in Santa Rosa. Frank was living in an apartment in Santa Rosa with Ralph Thatcher. Apparently, they both worked together as printers in Santa Rosa.
On February 20, 1933, Frank met with Andrew Mareck in San Francisco to discuss driving to Santa Rosa to rob a speakeasy in the back of the Buon Gusto Hotel on Adams Street. Frank, along with Tony Cardinelli, F.B. ‘Slim’ Hoyt, Ralph Thatcher, George Jones and Andrew Mareck drove up to Santa Rosa in several cars on February 25 and 26 and met at the apartment of Ralph Thatcher. During the early evening of February 27th, the ‘gang’ robbed the 101 Ranch. Frank was not present for this robbery as he was driving up from San Francisco. He met the men at Thatcher’s apartment after.
It occurred to me very recently that not only do I have ancestors, I have descendants. The event that sparked this moment of clarity was the birth of my second child, Mia Caitlin on May 15th. You would think that this would have occurred to me when my first daughter, Julia, was born in December 2008 but it didn’t. It was a cool realization that there is now another generation added to my family tree, this time down in the roots.
Mary Bradley is my second great grandmother on my mother’s paternal side (William Lawbaugh ->Effie Bender->Mary Bradley).
Mary Eugenia Bradley was born 18 December 1867 in LaSalle county, Illinois. Her parents are listed on her death certificate as Charles Bradley and Kate Bradley. The informant listed on the death certificate was her daughter, Matilda ‘Tilly’ (Bender) Case.
Both my mother and one of her cousins remember their ‘Grandma Bender’ (Effie May Bender), Mary’s older daughter & Tilly’s older sister, telling the story about how her mother, Mary Bradley, was born illegitimately to a Jewish woman and forced onto her father’s new bride to raise. They both also remember a story that Grandma Bender remembers a visit to Mary by the supposed biological mother.
Here are some of the ideas I have researched in my attempt to find an answer to this family story:
- Birth Records were not kept in the state of Illinois until 1916.
- LaSalle County, Illinois starting keeping birth records in 1877 but have no earlier records.
An analysis of the census records is not clear either:
- 1870 Federal Census – living with John and Kate
- 1880 Federal Census – living with John and Kate and 3 brothers
- about 1883 – John Bradley dies
- 1885 Kansas Census – living with Kate and 3 brothers
- 1900 Federal Census – living with husband, William Bender. Kate is living in Chicago with her 3 sons. She indicates that she has had 5 children and only 3 are living.
- 1910 Federal Census – Mary is living in Kansas with her second husband. Kate is living with her oldest son and his family in Chicago. She indicates that she has had 3 children and 3 are living.
It is very interesting that after moving to Chicago, Kate (Cary) Bradley has indicated only 3 children are living when Mary is clearly alive in Kansas.
- Mary Bradley’s marriage certificate to William Bender dated 17 December 1877 does not mention Mary’s parents. There is a certificate signed by John Bender (William’s father) attesting to both Mary and William being of age (18 and 19 respectively).
- The marriage certificate for John Bradley and Catherine Cary is definitely more interesting. They applied for a marriage license in LaSalle County, Illinois on November 18, 1867. The copy of the license I received states that license # 1243 was ‘not returned, missing’.
- I have also received a copy of the St. Columba Church marriage records (Ottawa, LaSalle, Illinois) for Charles and Kate. The church records indicate that Charles and Catherine were married November 18, 1867. The marriage was witnessed by William Edding and Mary Noonan.
The marriage date for Charles and Catherine is only 31 days before Mary was born. I find it very unlikely that a woman in 1867 would wait until she is 8 months pregnant before marrying the father of her child. Considering the year, I would expect a woman to have gotten married as soon as possible to hide the fact she was pregnant before marriage.
I have not reached any conclusions about who Mary Bradley’s mother is.
I do find the evidence in favor of Kate Bradley being Mary’s mother on the thin side. The only person who has stated that fact was Mary’s daughter. She was obviously did not have first hand knowledge of the birth since she was not there.
There is also no proof yet that another woman is Mary Bradley’s mother.
The only clue I have to the mystery Jewish woman is that her last name might have been Udell. This name was given to my mother’s cousin by Grandma Bender in a conversation.
I am following up on another research idea right now. I have sent an inquiry to the Catholic Church, St. Columba, in Ottawa, Illinois to see if they have any birth or baptismal records for Mary Bradley. This is the church that Charles and Kate got married at just a month before Mary’s birth.
I will keep you updated when I receive a response.
Last October, I got the chance to take a genealogy research trip to Kansas to look for information about my mother’s family. The highlights of the trip include visiting with family on both the maternal and paternal sides of the family. My mom’s uncle, Raymond, was just shy of 90 when we visited. He told us so many great stories about the Mitchell family. We spent an afternoon driving around Topeka, Kansas seeing the family sites when Raymond pointed to a street corner and said “That is where Aunt Laura’s house blew up.”
Of course, my mom and I immediately wanted to hear more. This is a retelling of the story we heard that afternoon from Uncle Raymond with a little of my research added in.
Aunt Laura is Laura P. Mitchell. She is one of Dudley Moses Mitchell’s older sisters. She was born about 1868 in Jackson County, Kansas. At the time of this story she was living in Topeka, Kansas.
One day Laura smelled gas in her house so she called the gas company. They came out to the house and let her know that they did not smell anything and she was fine. Later in the day, Laura still smelled gas and called the gas company again. She apologized for being any trouble but let them know about the continuing gas smell. The gas company again sent a man out to her house. Laura went into the basement with the gas man. When he turned on his flashlight, the gas in the room ignited. The house split into two the explosion was so large. They both somehow miraculously survived with little injuries. Uncle Raymond continued that if Aunt Laura had been lying in her cot as usual, she would have gone through the roof becaues that is exactly what happened to the cot! Laura received a settlement from the gas company. She moved to Downey, California sometime after the explosion happened. She lived in California the rest of her life.
It turns out to be no surprise that my husband loves to brew his own beer. His second great grandfather, John Pope, was the owner of North Star Brewery in San Francisco, California. The brewery was open from 1897-1920.
The brewery was located at 3312 Army Street in the Mission. The photo below was taken from a brochure for a restaurant, The Old Clam House, that occupied the same space later in the 20th century. The original is held by John A. Pope, Hopland, CA.
Terra Linda matriarch has five living generations in her family — again
Happy Mother’s Day!
I want to take a moment today to recognize some wonderful mother’s in my family. All of these women have helped shape me into the mother that I am today. I cannot thank them enough for loving me, supporting me, and teaching me. I love you!
I recently started this blog to share stories about my ancestors. As I have written the first several blog posts, it has become abundantly clear that I need to take some time to scan and reorganize a bunch of my research. I thought that I had a pretty good system set up that would make it easy to find anything I have input and sourced in my genealogy software. I realize now that my system is not so great, especially when you want to quickly double check stories and facts when writing a blog post.
I have decided that I need to spend at least 50% of my genealogy time devoted to achieving these new goals until the project is done.
I have taken some time and thought about exactly what needs to be done and how I want to reorganize my data both in binders and on the computer. Here is the goal list:
- In my computer, create a new library that holds genealogy files only (they will no longer be split across the documents and photos libraries). Organize files by family name and specialty folders such as places, books, etc.
- When moving all files to their new ‘home’, rename any file that doesn’t match the way I have been naming files the last couple of years. Also check each file to make sure citations and information about the image is located in the comments section of the image properties. (Yikes, that means adding source information to all of the federal census images I have saved – thank goodness they are all printed on my transcription copies.)
- Go through all family binders and check to see if all data (including letters, photocopies made on research trips, photos, and vital records) has been scanned to the computer. Any information that has not been scanned will get put in a clear plastic box.
- Scan all of the stuff that gets put into the plastic box being sure to put the proper citations in the comments section of the image properties.
- Attack my stack of research data that needs to get input into my genealogy software. Each document needs to be cited to the correct ancestor, scanned, filed to correct family folder, and printed copy filed to family binder.
- When finished with this scanning project, burn a new set of backup DVD’s. I will be backing up during the project to my Sugarsync account.
I expect this to take most of the rest of the year to complete. I will keep you updated as to my progress every now and then.
Why Redundant Backups Are Necessary
This week Amazon experienced significant problems at their Northern Virginia data center. The outages brought down part of Amazon’s cloud services. Since Amazon is one of the largest providers of cloud services, this was a major event. Many companies were unable to access their data or their websites were unavailable on Thursday and Friday.
I joined the cloud revolution this year to back up my genealogy data. I personally use Sugarsync’s 5 GB free account. One of the other popular providers is Dropbox. These services are great! You can back up your data off site to protect against a myriad of things including hardware crashes, earthquakes, and 2 year-olds. These cloud sites also allow you to access your data from other devices when you are not at home. For example, you can access your files while at the library if you forgot to bring something with you. Or the reverse, upload photos and document scans to your data backup while still at the library.
Amazon’s problems this week should also effect the way that we (the home user, blogger, etc.) backup our data. My suggestion is to back up your data in multiple ways. This will ensure that if any one of the back up methods fails, you will still be able to access your data. I personally backup my data at multiple levels.
First, as mentioned, I have my genealogy data automatically backup to a cloud service. This keeps my data off site (out of the house) in case of a massive natural disaster. In California, we are always worried about earthquakes.
Second, at my house, we have an external hard drive attached to our computer. We periodically delete all of the files off of the external hard drive and copy over all files from our computer (every couple of months). This backup is to cover us in case the hard drive on our home computer fails. Hardware failures are the largest cause of lost data.
Third, once a year, we copy all files to DVDs. The DVDs are supposed to be kept in a safe spot at my in-laws house. I have to fess up that the case holding these are in my house right now. Note to self – drop them off as soon as possible! Again this keeps all of our data off site in case something happens at our house. We find this a cheaper way to back up our photos and music than subscribing to a larger cloud account. Our backup plan is not perfect but it works for our household and is something that we can maintain.
Redundancy is the key and this was proven this week at Amazon. Many large companies (such as Netflix) pay for upgraded Amazon services to have their data backed up to multiple data centers. These large companies pay for redundancy. In return they did not experience any outages since their data is backed up in multiple locations.