Have you ever hit a brick wall in your genealogy research? Well, I have, and one of my biggest brick walls, was my great-grandmother Hazel Lee Call Mansfield (you can see another post about her by clicking here).
The story told in my family is that my Granny’s mom had run off shortly after Granny’s little brother Bernard was born. The only names that I had, was her name before she was adopted and a census record from 1920, that listed Hazel and her brother living with the couple that raised them and a Robert Call, aged helper. I always knew that Robert Call, had to be related to me, but seeing as how he was in his early 70′s, I thought that he may have been Hazel’s grandfather. I had done some research on him, and knew that he had married a woman named Leona Davis in 1906 and that he was 61 and she was listed as 16, but I had no other information about Leona Davis. This weekend, since I was off work for my birthday, I decided to do some research.
First, I went back to the private tree I had created for my Granny’s half-brother, Carl Gunn (I met him at Granny’s funeral, but he was quite sick at the time). Then, I went over to findagrave.com, to see if his cemetery information had been added there, and some wonderful person had not only added his memorial, but his five siblings and where they were buried at. I, of course, had to check out there info, just hoping someone had mentioned who their parents were. Well on one his sisters, Martha Frances Gunn Smith, that same nice person, had included an obituary. I almost screamed, when I saw a half-sister as Hazel Mansfield of Crockett Mills and Martha’s parents were listed as Allen and Leona Davis Gunn. Before, I got to excited, I went to check out the other siblings, and on Opal Mae Gunn Adams, there was Granny’s name again. I was pretty sure, I had the right name for her mom, now.
Well that led me back to ancestry.com and the 1910 census record for Robert and Leona Call. I found their marriage record, thanks to the Crockett County Genealogy website. Turns out that Robert and Leona Davis Call had four children all together. Also, according to other records that I found, Leona was only 12, not 16, when she married Robert Call. I still can’t wrap my mind at how a 12 (or 16) year old would want to marry a 65-year-old man.
Thanks to my sleuthing, I found that Hazel had the 5 half-siblings from her mom, and 7 half-siblings from her dad. I also learned that Robert Call had served in the Civil War in the Company K, 10th Regiment Tennessee Cavalry. While, I still can’t prove a 100%, since unfortunately Granny’s birth certificate is in her adopted name, I’m still very excited to have broke through my brick wall.
So my advice to all of you, is to never give up. Just because you’ve hit a brick wall, doesn’t mean you can’t find away around it.
I think, they may have been the best birthday present ever!
Got to go research all those siblings now!