Archive for September 29th, 2009
by Sherry Stocking Kline
Written for the Wichita Eagle’s Active Life Magazine – February 2009
Want Your Family Tree Researched? Get Famous!
Probably no one knows better by now than Barack Obama and his family that if you want to have your family tree researched for you, just become famous and run for office.
There is a fascination with knowing more about famous people, especially our presidents, and even those who didn’t vote for Obama want to know more about him and his family.
There are websites, blogs, and numerous articles devoted to discovering, talking about and arguing about Obama’s family history, even going so far as trying to determine what ethnic percentage he has of Caucasian, African, and Arab in his ancestry.
Marsha Stenholm, retired genealogy librarian at the Wichita, Kansas Public Library, said there is a great deal of interest in Obama’s Kansas roots from journalists, television anchors, and individuals.
Are You Related to Barack Obama?
Are you related to Obama? You may be.
Obama’s family has ties to several cities and counties in Kansas, including Wichita in Sedgwick County, Argonia in Sumner County, El Dorado and Augusta in Butler County, as well as Chautauqua, Howard, Labette, and Johnson Counties.
“Obama has ties to El Dorado and Wichita,” Stenholm said, “and if you go back another generation, his great-grandparents and great-great grandparents have ties to Wichita and Argonia in Sumner County as well.”
According to Stenholm, Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, (who was named for her father), was born in Wichita, possibly in St. Francis Hospital, in 1942. Her father, Stanley Armour Dunham, was born in Kansas in 1918 to Ralph Dunham and Ruth Lucille Armour. Her mother, Madelyn Lee Payne, was born in Wichita in 1922 to parent’s Rolla Charles Payne, who was born in Olathe, Kansas and Leona McCurry, born circa 1897 in Kansas. According to Federal Census resources, Stanley Armour Dunham worked in the furniture business.
Obama’s Great-Grandfather Born in Argonia, Kansas
“Obama’s great-grandfather, Ralph Waldo Emerson Dunham was born in Argonia, Kansas,” Stenholm said, to parents’ Jacob William and Mary Ann (Kearney) Dunham, and are on the 1900 Federal Census in Dixon Township Stenholm said the census records are available online at www.ancestry.com or at the Wichita Public Library.
By 1909, Stenholm said that Wichita City Directories indicate the family was living in Wichita. They also showed up in the 1910, 1920, and 1930 Federal census, where Jacob was listed in 1910 as a manufacturer of drugs in a drug store, in 1920 he was listed as a pharmacist in a drug store, and in 1930, he was listed as a physician in a medical business.
In 1915, Ralph married Ruth Lucille Armour, whose parents were Harry Ellington Armour and Gabriella Clark, who appeared in the 1910 and 1920 Federal Census of Wichita, Sedgwick County, Kansas, and in the 1930 Federal Census are listed as living in El Dorado, Butler County, Kansas.
Obama’s Grandma Toot born in Kansas…
Two different sources have Madelyn Lee Payne, Obama’s grandmother “Toot” born either in 1922 in Wichita, Kansas, or in Peru, in Chautauqua County, Kansas, to father Rolla Charles Payne, who was born in Johnson County, Kansas and Leona McCurry Payne, born circa 1897 in Kansas. The 1930 Federal Census lists seven-year-old Madelyn living with her parents in Augusta, and her father’s occupation is listed as a bookkeeper for an oil company.
Are you related to Obama? Whether you are or not, you may find researching Obama’s family ties at http://genealogy.about.com/od/aframertrees/p/barack_obama.htm fascinating. And if your name is Dunham, Payne, Armour, Stroup, Kearney, Holloway, Clark, Overall, McCurry, Wright, Black, Wolfley, Abbott, Creekmore, Wright, or Allred, you might just want to take a quick look into your family history and see if you, too, have ancestral ties to our new President.
Wichita Public Library
223 S. Main
Wichita, KS 67202
“Complete Idiot’s Guide to Genealogy” by Christine Rose and Kay Germain Ingalls
“Unpuzzling Your Past: The Best Selling Basic Guide to Genealogy” by Croom
“Tracking Your African-American Family History” – David T. Thackery
The Tombstone Reads:
Wife of J.R.U. Crabb
March 11, 1831
July 30, 1912
Aged 81 yrs
4 mos. 19 DS
Death of Mrs. J. R. U. Crabb August 1, 1912 – Milan News
Miss Elizabeth Laird was born in Hart County, Kentucky, March 11, 1831, and died at her home near Milan, Kansas, July 30, 1912, aged 81 years, 4 months and 19 days.
Early in life Mrs. Crabb dedicated her life to God through faith in Jesus Christ and united with the United Baptist church in Barren County, Kentucky. She has been since that time a constant and faithful member of the church.
She was united in marriage to Mr. J. R. U. Crabb, July 11, 1857. To this union six children were born, of which two died in infancy, one boy at the age of thirteen and one daughter after she was grown. Two daughters still remain, one is married and lives in Kentucky and the other is still at home.
Mrs. Crabb has been ill for a number of years and everything that cheerful hands, loving hearts and the best of medical skill was done, but all in vain. A good woman has gone to her reward leaving behind a sorrowing husband, two daughters and a host of friends.
Funerals services were conducted in the Baptist church, Wednesday afternoon at two o’ clock, by the pastor, F. G. Wilkerson. Interment was made in the Milan cemetery.
The entire community extends sincere sympathy to the bereaved husband and relatives.
And here is part of my mystery, and my brick wall.
Elizabeth was my great-great grandmother. Or was she?
Her death certificate states that she was born in Hart County, Kentucky, and her parents are Hezakiah and Patsy Carter Lard/Laird.
Her obituary mentions the children “born to this union” and does not mention any other children.
The Mother in the census here was given the last name Crabb by the census taker, but note that her name was Patsy C., leading me to wonder if Patsy was actually Elizabeth’s mother, rather than J.R.U.’s.
For a time, even though my mother called her grandmother and we placed flowers on her grave, I could not verify her link to my family, as her son, my great-grandfather, had the last name of Jones.
My great-grandfather, Willis Washington Jones was born in 1853, and by 1860, he is shown here on the census with Elizabeth Lard Crabb and her husband, J.R.U. Crabb. My mother was always told that Elizabeth was her grandmother, but as Elizabeth died the same year my mother was born, she does not remember her. Her older siblings did remember her, however, and she was always called grandmother by them and by my mother’s mother.
It appears, and records seem to verify, that Willis was her son, either by a previous marriage, or that Willis was illegitimate. (I have Willis’ death certificate, but not here where I am today. I believe that it lists Elizabeth as his mother.) By the time Willis died, however, he was re-married to a much younger woman, and had begun a second family.
I’d like to be able to solve this puzzle someday, and in writing this, found one clue that I had previously over-looked. Amazing how a fresh look will open up another possible avenue of research!
Brick Wall Suggestions Most Welcome!!
Happy Tombstone Tuesday!
Metcalfe County, KY
East Fork Post Office
Entry # 586 586
J. R. U. Crabb, 22, M, Farmer, `1000 Real Estate Value, 1500 Personal Property Value,
Elizabeth , 28, F
Daniel U, 2, M
Patsy S, 1/12 yrs olf, F
Patsy C. Crabb, 60, F
Willis Lard, 25, M
Catherine Piper, 17, F
Amanda Gooden, 12, F,
Willis Jones, 7, M
Barren Co, KY
20 Aug 1870
Temple Hill Post Office
Crabb, Joseph R. U. 32, M, W. Farmer, blank, 1200 personal property, born KY
, Elizabeth 36, F, W housekeeping
, Daniel W. 12, M, W
, Martha S 10, F, W
Sallie A. 8, F, W
Bettie 4, F, W,
Patcy (?) C 70, F, W, housekeeping