52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks 2019 – Week 6

This week’s prompt in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge is ‘Surprise.’  The timing couldn’t be more perfect.

My mom’s maternal family has lived in Angelina County, Texas since the mid 1850’s and many still do to this day.  They were not rich but acquired farmland over the years and worked their fields.  Benjamin Franklin Nerren was my grandmother’s grandfather.  He was one of those farmers in Angelina County.

Benjamin, over time, divided up his farmland to each of his 7 children.  The exact size of each parcel is unknown at this time.  My grandmother’s father was Benjamin Holt Nerren.  He was murdered in 1929 leaving a wife and 5 daughters.  Benjamin Franklin Nerren gave Holt’s wife his inheritance of a parcel of land with the stipulation she remain a widow.  Since the widow did marry, the inheritance was taken away and divided between the daughters instead.

Last week, we were contacted by a gentleman from Angelina County, Texas who was hired to establish heirship of the property in question.   It appears the original farmland has been subdivided over time, and it is unknown if we still have legal claim of inheritance.  This was certainly a ‘surprise’ to us.   He stated that BP has interest in extracting natural gas from the property and needs to find all of the legal owners.

We also learned my grandmother’s eldest sister sold her interest in the property.  Another sister willed her interest to her 3 living sisters at the time of her death.  The remaining sister willed her interest in the land to her husband.  My grandmother didn’t have a will and we are not even sure if she was aware of the property in question.

This story will be updated as new information becomes available.


52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks 2019 – Week 5

Every weekend, shortly after breakfast, our dad would say, ‘ I’ll be in the library’ if you need in, better go now.  He’d have a copy of the morning newspaper in hand and stay in there at least a half hour.  Our family of four lived in a 3 bedroom house with only one bathroom.  Whenever I hear ‘library’, it conjures up those memories.   Our dad is long gone.  He passed away in 1985, but the ‘library’ is still in use today.  My brother will head off to the ‘library’ when he is visiting, with his cellphone in hand, to ponder world events or post stupid memes on Facebook.

Now for me, when I say, “I’ll be at the library” it usually means I am searching the websites of the many library collections online.  I found several family history books for my ancestors.  I’ve clipped too many to count newspaper articles of interest.  This process works best for me since I live 1000+ miles from where my ancestors lived.

While searching my paternal grandmother’s mother, I found that the Archives in Ontario, Canada have records of interest to me.  They are not available online, however, they do inter-library loans.  I contacted my local library to see if they had a film viewer and accepted loans.  The answer was yes to both.  So I will be ‘at the library’ to fill out all of the necessary forms to see what I will find in those records.

This post will continue as warranted


52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks 2019 – Week 4

When my brother and I were growing up, every Saturday was ‘movie’ day.  Our mom would drop us off at the local movie theater with enough money to buy our tickets and snacks to last us the 5 hours we would be there.  Back in those days, there was always a double feature.

Our mom would do the grocery shopping, get her hair done and anything else she needed to do without us around to interfere.  And yes, there was a time when pre-teens could spend the day at the movies alone.

I remember one Saturday going to see the movie The Wild Bunch.  We loved our Westerns.  Shoot ’em up, bang bang.  The Wild Bunch.jpgOh what ever happened to a good, old fashioned, western movie?

The movie starred William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Ryan, Edmond O’Brien, Warren Oates, Jaime Sanchez and Ben Johnson.

While I had heard the names of some of those cast members back in the day. one of them turned out to our mom’s 5th cousin on her maternal side of the family.

I wish I had known then what I know now and to have had the opportunity to meet him and spend a day on the set of one of his movies.

So which actor was my mom’s 5th cousin?


His full name was Warren Mercer Oates.  His 4th great grandfather, Jesse Oates was the brother of my mom’s 4th great grandfather, John Oates.

We all lived in Los Angeles at the same time and, while the cousinship is rather distant, we never knew the cousin named Warren Oates was from our family.

Netflix has the movie in their catalog.  Maybe it’s a great choice of viewing tonight with a pizza and a bottle of wine.



52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks 2019 – Week 3

Last years Week 6 Prompt was ‘Favorite Name.’  I wrote about my 3rd Great Grandfather,   Lorenzo Dow Nerren

How am I going to top that one?  After a few moments, I remembered the name of one of Lorenzo Dow Nerren’s Granddaughters.

It has been documented by many about the birth of  Seawillow Margaret Ann Pipkin.  She was born on 22 Oct 1855 in Beaumont, Jefferson County, Texas.  This is her story:

“The day Seawillow was born there was a disastrous flood on the Neches River in Beaumont, TX. The Rev. John F. Pipkin and his pregnant 2nd wife, Amelia Rabb and some of the family slaves were swept along on a raft. Just before the birth of his daughter, a human chain was formed by the slaves to fasten the raft to a Willow tree. The Rev. looked up through the branches of the Willow tree and gave thanks to God for the safe delivery of his daughter in the midst of the flood water. Thus the name Seawillow.
Seawillow grew up in Beaumont and became a school teacher in Luling and Lockhart. She married Littleberry Walker Wells and moved to a farm not far from his parents on Plum Creek. The farming community grew to have a small population with a general store and a church with an arbor. In 1899 when a post office was needed, the city was named Seawillow, Caldwell Co. TX. in her honor.She named one of her daughters Seawillow Lemon, and many of the Wells, Pipkin and family friends have named their daughters Seawillow.”

So how does her story fit into my family?  The granddaughter of Lorenzo Dow Nerren was named Berta Seawillow Nerren,  She was born on 24 Feb 1885 in Angelina County, Texas.  I have no proof, but I suspect the middle name Seawillow was in honor of an unknown person to them with a heartwarming story.


52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks 2019 – Week 2

My genealogical journey started in 2007.  I had retired a couple years earlier and was in search of a new hobby.  There were only so many quilts I could sew.

I signed up with MyHeritage to start with.  The ‘CHALLENGE‘, this weeks prompt in the #52Ancestors in 52 Weeks, where do I start?

Building trees became very easy if you used the trees others built.  I quickly had a tree of over 5000 people on my mother’s side.  I was so proud of myself.  Then there were those pesky record matches that didn’t make sense.  That’s not the family I have in my tree.  Where did those come from?

I deleted that whole tree.  The ‘CHALLENGE‘ was, how do I start over?

It became obvious that I should start with what I know.  I knew when and where I was born.  Who my parents were.  I added my younger brother into my tree as well.  Then I worked on my mother’s family since she is still alive, and turning 87 this coming May.

I found her birth certificate from 1932.  I found her and her parents in the 1940 Census.  I realized this is the ‘CHALLENGE.’  Finding documentation.


My mother’s brick wall didn’t go back very far.  I was in search of her paternal grandfather, William Henry Beauchamp.

W H Beauchamp married my mother’s grandmother, Artie Rether Freeland in Rusk County, Texas in 1909.  My mother’s father was born on 31 Mar 1910.  The only time this family was together was in the 1910 Census.


In 1920, Rether was living with her parents and her 3 children being listed as a widow.  When did William Henry Beauchamp die?  Where was he buried?  This was another ‘CHALLENGE.’


Then I found this in the courts records in Angelina County, Texas.


William Henry Beauchamp was alive and well in 1919.  The ‘CHALLENGE‘ here is, he was claiming adultery against Rether, all the while he was living with someone else and had 2 children.   Here is the 1920 Census record.


I questioned if this was the William Henry Beauchamp I was looking for.  My ‘CHALLENGE‘ was to find out.

Ancestry DNA gave me my answer.  My mom has 6 DNA matches to the daughter, Ruby Jewel Beauchamp’s grandchildren,  proving he was who I was looking for.

William Henry Beauchamp died in 1943.

Find A Grave Memorial


52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks 2019 – Week 1

I completely failed last year in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Week challenge.  Started out gung ho and then life got in the way.  So I’m going to try it again this year.

The prompt for Week 1 in 2019 is ‘FIRST.’

Didn’t take me long to figure out what ‘FIRST’ I would write about.  It’s my new found FIRST cousin.  Okay, maybe he is only a half FIRST cousin, but I will focus on the FIRST part.

My younger brother and I were born to wonderful parents who happened to both be only children.  That meant we had no aunts or uncles.  No first cousins.  We grew up with what I call the ‘old people.’  Those ‘old people’ were our maternal and paternal grandmothers.  Our maternal grandfather died a couple years after I was born in 1957.  My paternal grandfather was unknown.

My father was born in Los Angeles in 1931 to an unwed mother.  The birth certificate we had a copy of didn’t list the name of the father, and my father was given his mother’s name, Schumacher, with a slight spelling change of Shumaker.

When my father and paternal grandmother were alive, it never occured to me to ask about our family history.  It never came up in conversation.   Oh how I wish I had asked.

One day, my mother and I were watching TV back in 2015 and there was a commercial by Ancestry and their DNA test.  I ordered 3 test.  One for me, my younger brother and our mother.  The results came back and were less than robust for our paternal side of the family.  I sighed and went about my maternal tree.  That proved to be very beneficial in validating my research.

Mid 2017 I started seeing DNA matches that me and my brother shared that didn’t match our 3 known family lines.  I build mirror trees up the wazoo.  I finally realized that those 50 or so DNA matches should be in one tree and not 50 different ones.  So I bought Family Tree Maker to help with my research and combining the trees.

I found that our unknown paternal grandfather’s last name was Hutson, and the family was from Perry County, Missouri.  But who was our grandfather?

In most of the DNA Groups on Facebook, people kept saying to spread your DNA into the most ponds.  So I uploaded all 3 tests to GEDMATCH, FTDNA and MyHeritage.

I had previously used MyHeritage as my family search website.  Their search features and database offer records that Ancestry doesn’t.  It became apparent to me that I should just bite the bullet and renew my membership with MyHeritage for a year and see if there was any benefit.  What’s a couple hundred dollars in the grand scheme of things?

My Ancestry tree was uploaded to MyHeritage as a gedcom and I waited.  One day there was a record match to my father as if his last name was HUTSON!!! I thought, are you kidding me?

Off I went to get a copy of my father’s original birth certificate.  Who was this Hutson guy?  How did they know the name Hutson?

My father’s OBC came in the mail.  His father was listed as Clarence Roy Hutson.  Clarence was in my tree, but I never suspected him to be the birth father.  He was born in 1910 and my grandmother in 1894.  My grandmother was a ‘Cougar’ long before it became a part of the contemporary vernacular.

Clarence Roy Hutson was married at least 3 times that I could find.  He only had one other child I could find.  That was a daughter born to his 1st wife.  She ended up being my father’s only half sibling and her son was named Robert, just like my father.

I talked to my 1/2 ‘FIRST’ cousin on the phone last year.  He seemed nice but very detached to his mother’s family.   But I do have a 1/2 ‘FIRST’ cousin, even if he isn’t interested in building a relationship.

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 11

This weeks challenge in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks is “Lucky.”

As it turns out, I am the lucky one.  An 80 plus year old mystery was solved.  I found my Mom’s paternal grandfather.

What I had to work with was her father’s delayed birth certificate showing his fathers name and occupation.


William Henry Beauchamp and Artie Rether Freeland were married in Polk County, Texas on February 27, 1909.   They were still living in Polk County during the 1910 Census and had one child, Edward.  By 1920, Edward was living with his maternal grandparents, his 2 siblings and his mother, Rether.  Rether was listed as a widow.

There were no death records for a William Henry Beauchamp that died before 1920 in Texas.  I pretty much gave up on finding him.  Then one day, with the help of another Beauchamp researcher, who still lives in Texas, found this;  the divorce petition filed by William Henry Beauchamp and Rether Freeland.  He hadn’t died after all.


With this new information in hand, I went searching for William Henry Beauchamp.  I found one in 1920, living with a wife, Clara and their 2 children, in Shreveport, Louisiana.   In 1930, I found this family of 4 living in Hardin County, Texas and in 1940, Jefferson County, Texas.  This William Henry Beauchamp died on October 15, 1943 in Beaumont, Jefferson County, Texas.  But was he the one I was looking for?

Mid-2017 I got ‘Lucky’ when the grand daughter of Ruby Jewel Beauchamp took an AncestryDNA test.  Ruby was the daughter of the William Henry Beauchamp and Clara.  DNA proved that Ruby was my grandfather, Edward’s half sister and the 80+ year mystery was solved.

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 10

This week in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Week challenge in ‘Strong Woman.’  Normally someone would write about their mother, who I believe is a really strong woman, however, since she is still alive a doing well at 86, I decided on another woman in my family.  I chose my Grand Aunt, Susan Mae Schumacher.

This is Susie, as we all called her, with her 2nd husband, Oscar Franklin.

Susie and Oscar

Susan Mae Schumacher was a younger sister to my paternal grandmother.  She is the middle girl in the header picture on my page.

Susie married James Tipton Turner on April 23, 1914 in Spokane, Washington.  The married couple moved to Los Angeles and James died on April 11, 1929.  They had no children.

Susie was a very nurturing kind of person, so when her younger sister, Helen Schumacher Burch died on February 3, 1929, Susie took in two of her 5 children and raised them as her own.  The life of the other three children will be discussed in another post.

Susie’s older sister, my grandmother, Margaret Ann Schumacher had my father in 1931 as an unwed mother.  Susie helped to raise him as well

On December 25, 1937, Susie married her life partner, Oscar Franklin.  They didn’t have any children either.

My brother and I would spend summer’s with Susie and Oscar at their home in Minden, Nevada.

Susie died in 1983 and I miss her to this day.  She was the glue that held the family together while she had no children of her own.


52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 9

This weeks prompt in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Week challenge is ‘Where There’s A Will’

 Robert Daniel Freeland

Robert Daniel Freeland was my 3rd great grandfather. He was born on April 6, 1798 in Hillsboro, Orange County, North Carolina and died on July 24, 1878 in Henry County, Tennessee. He had been married 3 times and I descend from his 2nd wife.

A cousin of mine had written in her family history book that when Freeland was on his death bed, his 3rd wife convinced him to sign over his entire estate to her and leave everyone else out of his will. I was rather pleased when I found that this was not true.