Almost everybody has had the experience of wondering exactly how a cousin is related. Here’s a chance to exercise some elementary research skills and WIN a cheap, possibly-suitable-
for refrigerator door certificate. Here’s the challenge as I took it through the first several steps:
My dad speaks from time to time of his cousins, George Stafford and George’s sister, Dorothy Stafford. They were about his age and they lived near him in Rockport, Texas. I had never heard the surname “Stafford” except in connection them. So I asked Dad one day just how was it that the Staffords were his cousins. He said he didn’t know. Naturally, I had to find out!
I started, of course, with the 1930 census for Aransas County, Texas. On the 1930 census, one finds the household of George Stafford, age 36, and his wife, Martin Stafford, age 33, with children William and Lola. This George Stafford is too old to be the one who played with Dad. (And what’s with that wife’s name, Martin?).
Curiously enough, what appears to be the same household is enumerated a second time in the 1930 census, this time as lodgers in the household of Howard J. Mills. The first time the Staffords were counted was on April 9, 1930, when they lived in premises that they rented for $2.00 a month. George and Martin Stafford were each described as cooks at a “clubhouse.”
The second time they were counted was on April 23, 1930, when, as noted above, they lived with the Howard J. Mills family. Mr. Mills was described as the manager of a “Hunting Club,” and Mr. Stafford was said to be a cook at the Hunting Club. [I believe this to be the St Charles Bay Hunting Club. Another popular club in the area was the Port Bay Club.]
It’s not surprising that the George Stafford we were seeking was not on the 1930 census. He likely was born after 1930. The next place to look would be the Aransas County Birth Records, which commence in 1926. Since George Stafford was about Dad’s age and born after 1930, let’s start in 1931. We don’t find any Stafford in the 1931 birth records. But in 1932, we find a George Stafford, Jr., born to Martin Green and George Stafford.
Now we know George’s mother’s maiden name. But I’ve never heard the name “Green” in the family tree, either. So to figure out how George Stafford, Jr., is Dad’s cousin, we’ll have to look a little further.
Who is Martin Green? A reasonable place to go now is back to the census records. Let’s start in 1910, since we know from the 1930 census that Martin was born around 1897. Let’s assume that she was born in Aransas County. In the 1910 census for Aransas County, we find no Martin Green. Indeed, there’s nobody named “Green” at all. Let’s try the 1900 census. There’s an Edward Green, but he’s a single man living alone.
We know that Dad’s relatives moved easily between Aransas County and the larger Nueces County. So let’s try the 1910 and 1900 censuses for that county. In 1910, there were eight women enumerated in Nueces County with the surname Green, including one “M. Green.” But none are anywhere close to Martin Green’s reported and presumed age. In 1900, there were four women named Green in Nueces County; no Martins and none of the right age. It could be that Green is a first-married name.
Are we on a wild goose chase? Well, let’s try something else. Let’s search the census records for the first name Martin. Sounds a bit radical, but worth a try.
Let’s continue to assume she’ll be found in Aransas or Nueces counties. Let’s start with the 1910 census, again, because we know she was born about 1897. And we discover a girl in Aransas County named Martin. She’s in the household of a woman named Ida Cavanaugh, where there appear to be a total of seven children. Six of these children, including Martin, have a surname that appears to be “Stern” or “Stean” or maybe “Steen.” Even “Stein” is a possibility.
So, now what? Well, let’s stick with the census records for now. We quickly discover that there is no one named “Stern,” “Stean,” “Steen,” or “Stein” in either Aransas or Nueces counties in 1910 or 1900. (Our theory now, of course, is that Martin’s father bore one of those names and that Ida is her mother.) What about searching for Cavanaughs? We now find nobody named Cavanaugh in our two counties of interest on any available census except Ida and two of her children in 1910 and 1900.
We started out to find whether and how George Stafford might be related to my dad. It looks like we’re way out on a limb that may lead nowhere. Wanna have a go at it? Any ideas about where to go now? (You have all the info you need to solve this puzzle. My father’s surname is the same as mine. Although not necessary, other postings here at GeneaBlogie may be useful. First correct answerer –with a description of how you did it–gets an official GeneaBlogie Master Challenge certificate–that and $3.00 will get you a fancy cup of coffee.)
COMING SOON: The Answer to the First GeneaBlogie Challenge
February 10, 2007 Saturday at 3:54 pm