Saturday, July 30, 2011

Breaking a Brick Wall: LaPearl

Last March I posted an ahnentafel on my ex-husband's great-grandfather, Arthur William LaPearl.  While Arthur's maternal side was easily located and documented, his paternal side was a mystery.


Since his father disappeared, it was possible that Arthur's father, William LaPearl, was the same man found in Utah in the 1900-1930 censuses, married to Haley Lewis.  Searches of the vital records of Providence, Rhode Island for the 1890's never turned up a marriage record for William LaPearl and Emily Jennie Stevens, and I thought that it was unlikely that the (according to family) alcoholic had even bothered to marry the mother of his children.  Considering the fact that Jennie was 13 when she gave birth to their first child, I thought it unlikely that a man who seemed to have no compunctions about running off with a 12-year-old girl, would care about marrying her.

But marry her he did.  Two years after she gave birth to Arthur and four months before having a daughter, Emily was married to William LaPearl on 8 July 1891 in Pawtucket, Providence County, Rhode Island.  The record gave their names as "William LaPearle" and "Jenne Steens".  I had originally thought it likely that, if they had gotten married, they would have done so there in Providence, since that is where their children were born.  Of course, I was wrong.

So the marriage record, which I found at www.familysearch.org (I love that they are digitizing and transcribing their microfilms now) gives William LaPearl's parents as Alfred and "Allen".  Allen is clearly a misreading of the original register, but at least I had something to go on!

Sure enough, I found the family of Alfred LaPearl, along with his wife Anastasia, and their children in the 1880 census in Holyoke, Massachusetts, and there was William.  Both Alfred and Anastasia (Trudeau) LaPerle died in Massachusetts, in 1880 and 1901 respectively.  I viewed their death records on the NEHGS site and now have added an entirely new branch of French-Canadian ancestors to my ex-husband's family.

What a pleasure to resolve half of the mystery - William's origins and parents.

That just leaves me wondering where William went after abandoning Emily, and their son and daughter.  If I feel ambitious enough, someday I will try to locate a divorce record in Rhode Island or Massachusetts, as Emily (Steven) LaPearl returned to Massachusetts and married Arnold W. Mathewson in Charlton in 1898.  Arnold died on 27 February 1900 in Charlton.  They had one son, Roger Arnold Mathewson, born 19 April 1900 in Oxford.

After that, Emily married a third time to Benjamin Franklin Wells on 30 October 1907 in Southbridge, and it seemed they were together at least more than 10 years, since Emily is mentioned in her husband's and son's WWI draft registration cards in 1918.  Emily must have died between then and 1920, as Benjamin is found on his own in the 1920 census in Huntington, Massachusetts.

Meanwhile, I wonder how often William bothered to come around and see his children.  My former father-in-law said:

"All I know about Grandpa's father is that he was a drunkard.  He would go a bender and disappear for months.  Then he would show up again and be a pain...  Maybe he wanted money for booze.  Then, at some point, he just didn't come back..."

Copyright (c) 2011 Wendy L. Callahan

Friday, July 29, 2011

Ideas & Research in the Works

Would you believe that I spent the past month working on a 13,224-piece puzzle?  I know.  Insane, right?   But I adore puzzles.  They relax me, and this was simply gorgeous.  I won't make it again until we move back to the U.S., where I can assemble it, glue it and frame it.

Now that I've put the puzzle away, I'm ready to get back to the things I normally do every day - some homeschooling, some writing, and of course some genealogy.

I like to organize my day to make sure all 3 of these things happen each and every day, in addition to keeping the house clean, getting my son out to the playground, library and his Hapkido class, spending time with my husband... and my daily 2 p.m. "appointment" with Antiques Roadshow on the Yesterday channel is a must.  ;)

That's the time when I let my son play video games upstairs, while I curl up on the couch downstairs with a cup of hot chocolate, tea or flavored coffee, or a bowl of ice cream, and "ooh" and "aah" over some of the items showcased by the experts on the show.

Last weekend, we purchased a sideboard over in Newmarket (the British home of horse racing).  The seller thinks it is from the 1930's.  I cannot even begin to guess, but this is what it looks like:







In the third picture, you can see it's lovely legs and the rungs from front to back.

The dinette set is Meier and Pohlmann of St. Louis, which manufactured furniture from 1891-1959.  I don't know how old the set is; I just know that somebody dared to paint stencils on the wood and re-upholster the chairs.  It's an awful red and green theme, but it matches the flat's hideous curtains, as well as the burgundy red sheet we keep over our futon and the green blanket we have thrown over that.  So, oddly enough, everything comes together in a red and green theme, which we really don't like...  But it works.

I have black-and-white toile everywhere, however - on the sideboard you see the black-and-white toile cloth I picked up back home during a visit to Onset, Massachusetts, and my Nana's "Royal Mail" dishes in black and white.  I also have a lovely little black-and-white toile table that I found at the thrift shop on RAF Mildenhall:




What luck!  I was actually wearing matching shoes and pretty much screamed when I saw the table outside the thrift shop.  I was fast to claim it.  Now it is a little love altar (gryphon to represent my husband, fire fairy to represent me, and my little wedding arrangement, our wedding candles, and a rose quartz are on it).

My husband and I are both fans of antiques.  He loves the 1950's, while I adore anything prior to that decade.  Our home reflects it, and it seems only natural for a genealogist to embrace history in a variety of ways - not just personal, social and world history, but physical history as well.

So, I owe you some postings.  This, I know.  All of you have been fairly prolific, and I read your posts every day!  Me?  Not so much.

This weekend I will be focusing on some much-loved brick walls in my research.

That's right; I love 'em!  They're so familiar to me, and even though it frustrates me to not find the answers, there's something about coming back to those brick walls time and again that makes me happy.  Perhaps it is the *possibility* of finally breaking through that is so enticing...

Also coming up will be an exploration of an old English cemetery and a continuation of the Ahnentafel postings.  Those are on my ex-husband's family, which I am still researching on behalf of my ex and our son.  Of course there must be additional Ahnentafels for my new husband, because a whole new dimension has been added to my family in the form of Irish and Germans who settled in the mid-west United States.

You can imagine this causes some linguistic conflict when we go out for a treat.  He might call them "sprinkles", but I prefer "jimmies" on my ice cream!  ^.^


Copyright (c) 2011 Wendy L. Callahan