Monday, October 12, 2015

Family Group - Making the Connections

Family Group

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, 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.

Family Group

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.

Family group

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.

And just below is the way the family tree looks for those in the photograph.

Family Group

Bassingbourn 1944 384th Bomber Group, B17 landing
Long lost negatives taken during the winter of 1944-45 at Bassingbourn AAF base in England.

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  1. Well done! You've turned this family photo into a genealogy Soduku puzzle. It's interesting to see the subtle changes in names - youthful nicknames disappear, or middle names take over first names. In the olden times when people stayed in the same town through several generations, it's fairly easy to find people in census records. But I think it will be really hard to solve riddles like this in the future because of the way modern families constantly relocate around the country or even the world.

    1. Thanks Mike Brubaker. You are right! People and families moved around a lot less in the 1800's and early 1900's aiding in confirming connections in family trees. That will be less help for the current generations but hopefully we are keeping much better records now! As easy as this one turned out to be, it still took me several hours to make all the solid connections.



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