A snapshot of a family group turned up in LOST GALLERY recently. It was an unusual find in that there were two copies, two prints from the same negative. What was interesting was that the fourteen people in the photograph were all identified on the reverse of each. But what nudged the curiosity was that the two lists were not entirely identical.
Was the dominant family name Spencer or Ferguson or Bargar, or something else?
One wrong path early on was the identification of the youngster squinting at the sun, as “Paul Gorden”. If “Ray’s Boy” was Paul Gorden, then “Ray” must be Ray Gorden and his wife, “Fern” Gorden. No. After struggling to make that work, from the 1930 census and a couple of family trees already developed on Ancestry.com, it finally emerged that “Ray”, “Jay”, “Pearl”, “Kittie”, “Jennie” and “Guy” were siblings. So “Gorden” became a middle name and not a surname. Paul Gorden Bargar becomes son of Ray Henry Bargar and his wife “Fern” the former Clara Fern Rosenau.
Ancestry.Com soon started connecting and the Bargar Family tree began to develop. “John” or “John Ferguson” turns out to be the husband of “Jenny” Bargar. “Donald Spencer” turns out to be the son of “Kittie” Bargar.
Another element that helped assemble a cohesive family line was that “Mother” or “Minnie Bargar” although born in Ohio, from the age of 4 spent her entire life in Iowa. She lived mostly in Webster County, in towns like Howard, Medicine, Lehigh and finally Washington. She is buried in Border Plains, Iowa, still in Webster County. All seven of her children were born there, and most stayed in the area all their lives.
That fact helped eliminate an alternate possibility in Kentucky with exactly the same name, Minnie Roosa.
The handwriting indicates the two lists were written by different people. Also, there is another clue: On one, the central figure is called “Mother” and on the other is identified as “Minnie Bargar.” On the list with “Mother” the name “Kitty” Is misspelled. On the other, “Kittie” is the correct spelling according to three early census reports and some other family trees.
One last mystery was the mother’s name. It changes often.
1856 Iowa Census - Lydia A. Roosa. Age 4
1860 U. S. Census - L. A. Roosa, age 8
1870 Marriage index - Lydia A. Roosa, age 18
1880 U. S. Census - Lydia A. Bargar, age 28
1900 U. S. Census - Lydia Bargar, age 48
1920 U. S. Census - Minnie Bargar, age 68
1925 Iowa Census - Lydia A. Bargar, age 72 (Taken in January before her birthday)
1930 U. S. Census - Lydia A. Bargar, age 78
Other family trees list her as Lydia A. Bargar, Lydia A. Roosa, Minnie Roosa and simply “Roosa.”
Each report after 1870, includes the same spouse, Henry F. Bargar and one to six of the same children’s names.
Mysteriously her marble marker beside her husband Henry F. Bargar, shows her as Minnie R. Bargar.
The 1920 U. S. Census does help tie it all up.
It shows Minnie Bargar, age 68, her husband now deceased, living with her sons Guy and Ray and a nephew, Lyle Roosa. So Roosa would also be Minnie's maiden name/family name. That helps confirm that Minnie Bargar is Lydia A. (or R) “Minnie” Bargar nee Roosa.
Why she preferred that nickname is open to speculation.
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THE KIDS It is always a mystery how a photograph of any of these precious children could end up lost or abandoned. Here are a few. You will probably say "Ooh..." at least once.