McKnight/Guilds Mystery Part II

In a previous post, I discovered some clues in my McKnight/Guilds mystery.

After Beatrice divorced her husband, she married Henry McKnight.

Marriage certificate for Henry McKnight and Beatrice Mae Jones Guilds
Marriage certificate for Henry McKnight and Beatrice Mae Jones Guilds

Well by the time the 1940 census came out my Grandma Beatrice is married to Henry J. McKnight. All of the children from Beatrice’s first marriage, along with the child that Beatrice and Henry had together are living with the couple.

1940 Census Record for McKnight Family (3)
1940 Census Record for McKnight Family (2)

My Grandpa Bernie and my Uncle Richard both went by McKnight for the rest of their lives, I don’t know if at some point after marrying Beatrice, Henry adopted the children. My dad’s middle name came from my Grandpa Bernie’s younger half-brother Alton.

What I do know is that Beatrice and Henry owned a laundry mat in Pontiac and that they lived quite close to where my Dad grew up. He told me when he got in trouble, he would ride his bike over a couple of streets to his grandmas.

Bless your ancestors!


(1) Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867-1952 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2015.Original data: Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867–1952. Michigan Department of Community Health, Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics.

(2) Year: 1940; Census Place: Pontiac, Oakland, Michigan; Roll: T627_1801; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 63-105. 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1940. T627, 4,643


McKnight / Guilds Mystery Part I

I love a good mystery, especially when it comes to genealogy. I have been reading a lot of Genealogy Related Mystery books lately and it got me thinking about some of the mysteries in my family tree. One of the biggest is a story my daddy has told me all my life, that I could never prove. Well last night, I couldn’t sleep, so I dived into the mystery and got some answers! My Daddy always said that our last name should have been Giles (his spelling), but that an adoption had occurred that made us McKnight’s. Last night as I was researching, I found a marriage record for Beatrice Mae Jones, my great-grandmother, to a Jay Guilds (pretty similar sounding to Giles) on 10 Nov 1922. Unfortunately for me, I do not have full access to right now to get the actual marriage certificate. However, what information I could gleam off the index listing leads me to believe this is the right one. Now fast forward to the 1930 census. Grandma Beatrice is living with her father, Charles Arthur Jones, Stepmother Goldie Guilds (notice the last name?) and her three children, Bernard (my grandfather), Wilma Mae, and Richard (Dick).

Guilds-Jones 1930 Census Record
1930 Census Record for Beatrice Guilds (1)

Hmmm…her husband is nowhere to be found on this census, which isn’t entirely unusual in the 1930’s during the great depression. I haven’t found a census entry for Jay yet, but I am still looking. However, when I searched Beatrice’s name I did find this:

Divorce Decree for Jones-Guilds
Divorce Decree for Jones-Guilds (2)

Wow, my jaw hit the floor when I saw this! I couldn’t believe it especially the cause of divorce “Extreme and repeated cruelty; non-support.

One other interesting thing about this mystery, did you notice the name of Beatrice’s step-mother? That’s right Goldie Guilds. Goldie is the younger sister of Jay C. Guilds. I having a feeling that made for some interesting family gatherings.

While the mystery isn’t completely solved and I may never know what exactly happened between Beatrice and my biological great-grandfather, Jay, every brick wall knocked down gets me closer to finding my family.

And the mystery continues here.

Bless your ancestors!


(1) Year: 1930; Census Place: West Bloomfield, Oakland, Michigan; Roll: 1019; Page: 29B; Enumeration District:0138; Image: 1119.0; FHL microfilm: 2340754. 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2002. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. T626, 2,667 rolls.

(2) Michigan, Divorce Records, 1897-1952 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: Michigan. Divorce records. Michigan Department of Community Health, Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics, Lansing, Michigan. rolls.

Treasured Memories and a Birthday

My first photo, taken 31 years ago, today!

As a little child, I loved getting mail. It was so exciting for something to arrive in our mailbox in my name, and lucky for me, I had a grandma and aunt that never forgot to send me a postcard on their trips and every year for my birthday, I always got some really cool cards.

I thought about this today, as I’m heading out the door to celebrate my birthday. First stop is the post office, where I’m sure there is several birthday cards in the mail for me. I still treasure these cards and they all go in a box with all the other cards I received in the past. Someday, I’ll have to think of a cool project to do with them, so my kids will know the people who sent me these cards, but in the mean time they’ll just have to stay tucked away.

Well, I hope everyone has a great day! My mom and I are going out for lunch and to do a little shopping!

The card above was given to my mom and dad at the hospital after I was born.

Happy Searching!


Sunday’s Obituary – Raymond Alton McKnight

Since today is Father’s Day, I thought I would share with you my daddy’s obituary.

McKNIGHT, RAYMOND passed away peacefully at home in Cullman, AL on December 22, 2008. Beloved husband of Donna McKnight; son-in-law of Lucille Lindsay of Ferndale, MI; brother of Ron (Vera) McKnight of TN; dearest father of daughters SueAnn McKnight of Cullman, Skilynn (Fred) Lafner of MI; son Shannon (Mehgann) of MI; grandfather of six; also survived by many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his father Bernard McKnight and brother Rickie James McKnight. Cremation has taken place and a Memorial Service will be held at a later date.

Ray circa 1951-2

My dad was born on 27 April 1950 to Bernard and Bernice Mansfield McKnight.

He was the best daddy that I could have ever asked for! He is very much-loved and missed! 

Ron, Ray, and Rickie McKnight circa 1955

Happy Father’s Day!

Easter Memories

As I left work today, I thought about all the wonderful Easter memories that I have. When I was little, we spent every Easter at my Grandma and Poppo’s house. They always had a big meal and of course, Easter baskets for us kids! The pictures below are all from Easter 1984. I still have the stuffed lion that my Poppo got me that year!

SueAnn Easter 1984
Daddy and me
Momma and me

What’s your favorite Easter memory? Leave a comment and let me know!

I hope everyone has a Happy Easter!!!


Tombstone Tuesday – Bernard McKnight

Bernard McKnight
12 Aug 1924 – 13 Sep 1977

My grandfather Bernard McKnight was born on 12 Aug 1924 and died on 13 Sep 1977. Other than a few random facts I know little about my Grandpa Bernie. He served in World War II enlisting 28 Apr 1943 and on 24 Jan 1946 he was released from military duty. In 1947, he was living on Cherry Lane in Pontiac, Michigan with Henry and Beatrice McKnight. In 1949 he and Bernice Mansfield McKnight had the first of their 3 sons, Ronald. In April of 1950 came Raymond Alton (my daddy) and in 1953, Rickey James came along. Sometime after my Uncle Rick was born, Bernice left Bernard and their boys and moved out-of-state.

Bernard McKnight

When we visited Michigan in 2010, we visited Bernie’s grave at Perry Mt. Park Cemetery in Pontiac, Michigan. This is the information we received from the cemetery office.

Bernard McKnight’s cemetery record

And a map of the cemetery:

Perry Mt. Park Cemetery Pontiac, Michigan. Bernard is buried in the veteran’s section.

I’m hoping when the 1940 census comes out I can find out more information about Bernie and the rest of the McKnight family. If you would like to know more about transcribing the 1940 census please go to this link 1940 Census Volunteer.

Happy searching!

SueAnn U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010[database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2011. Original data: Beneficiary Identification Records Locator Subsystem (BIRLS) Death File. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Sentimental Sunday – McKnight Family Photo

This is the only picture I have of my grandparents Bernard and Bernice Mansfield McKnight with their children (well minus my uncle Ricky who wasn’t born yet) Ronald and Raymond (my daddy). I believe this picture was taken at Easter 1953 in Friendship or Crockett Mills, Crockett County, Tennessee. My dad would have been turning 3 later that month, my uncle Ron would have just turned 4 (they were only 13 months apart), Bernice was 20 and Bernard 29.

Bernice, Ray, Bernard, and Ron McKnight
Taken April 1953 in Crockett County, Tennessee

From the story that my daddy told me, about two years after this photo was taken my Bernice left the family and moved away. My dad would visited her a few times while she was living in Florida but lived mainly with his father in Michigan.

I think that my dad and uncle could have almost passed as twins in those days.

This photo is very sentimental because not is the only family photo I have but also because in 2008 my daddy passed on and then in 2009 my uncle passed. My Grandpa Bernie was 53 when he died, my dad 58, my Uncle Ron 60, and my Uncle Rick passed at the age of 47. Bernice also passed away in 2009 at the age of 76. It’s quite sad to realize my father’s entire generation of his family passed away too soon.

May they all Rest In Peace.