Wednesday, December 2, 2020

DNA Proves Family Lore

 As I work through DNA matches about which Ancestry suggests a common ancestor, I like to research everyone from the common ancestor forward through to the person with matching DNA. Then I add all the new information to my family tree.

My three times great grandmother was Anna Mariah or Marie Waldrond (1782-1868)1. Several of my Waldron DNA matches share Anna's father, Benjamin Walrond (died 1811) as our common ancestor as did this interesting match: suggested common ancestor; courtesy

I had researched Thomas, John and Samuel Washington Waldron extensively. According to my research Samuel Washington Waldron didn't have a daughter named Sallie Bell and why was her maiden name Presley?

I found this note posted by user Timothy Hunt in 2007:


After much research, I discovered that the family lore outlined above was true as proved by my DNA to Sallie Belle's grandson as well as several other shared matches that could only be matches to me if a son of John Waldron fathered Sallie Bell. 

What Nina's grandmother, Bertha (Altizer) Waldron failed to mention however, was that Bertha's father Cecil Corbin Altizer was born before Bertha's marriage to Augustus Spotts Waldron, Samuel Washington Waldron's brother. Such a tangled, but oh so interesting family tree.

Relationships between Waldron and Altizer families; created using
Microsoft Powerpoint


1 Spelling of the Walrond surname was later changed to Waldron.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Will "My" Coy Franklin Hicks Please Stand Up?

Mary Inez Muir was my first cousin once removed, the eldest daughter of my grand uncle, Henry "Jack" Muir and his first wife, Mary Frances Canterbury. Mary Inez was born on 8 January 1922 in Raven, Virginia. According to her granddaughter, she was married as many as nine times. So far, I have found at least the surnames of eight husbands. 

On 26 January 1994 Mary Inez married Coy Franklin Hicks in Tazewell County, Virginia. For years I could not find any additional information about Coy beyond his name. Earlier this week, I tried searching for him again. I had more success than I bargained for and found three men named Coy Franklin Hicks!

Virginia marriage record for Mary Inez and Coy Franklin Hicks; 
courtesy of

Coy Franklin Hicks

  • Born: 17 June 1917 in Caretta, West Virginia, to Mitchell and Rebecca "Beckie" (Boothe) Hicks.
  • Died: 23 May 1999 in Tazewell County, Virginia
  • Married: 1) Kathleen Hopkins (died in 1988) in 1938 and 2) Mary Inez Muir in 1994; no known children
Coy Franklin Hicks

  • Born: 21 December 1918 in Davidson County, North Carolina, to Marvin and Cora Louise (Klass) Hicks
  • Died: 8 June 1971 in Thomasville, North Carolina
  • Married: 1) Dorothy Mae Loveless in 1938; one known child
Coy Franklin Hicks
  • Born: after 1940 to Coy Harrison and Elma H. (Ward) Hicks
  • Married: 1) Carolyn Joy Harris and 2) Trudy (maiden name unknown); three known children by his first wife
I was able to discount the North Carolina Coy Franklin Hicks fairly quickly as he died before the 1994 marriage to Mary Inez Muir. However, I added him to my tree in order to have facts about him readily available so I could better analyze each record I was finding to determine to which Coy Franklin Hicks they related.

However, I had a "stray" marriage record that led to the third Coy Franklin Hicks. On that record he and wife, Carolyn Joy Harris, were the parents of the bride. Was this "my" Coy Franklin Hicks? Determining there was actually a third man with that name was confirmed by the obituaries of Elma (Ward) Hicks and Tina Joy (Hicks) Stewart. To find those obituaries, though, required more researching. That's how I end up with unrelated people in my family tree. And research notes with links to all the men named Cory Franklin Hicks so I, and others in the future, don't have to do the research again.


Unraveling Henry's Children: Mary Inez Muir (1922-2002) 

Monday, November 2, 2020

Looking for Livana

I had known my husband's paternal uncle, Albert Paul Dagutis (1920-1987), had briefly been married to a woman named Livana B. (Russell) Mueller. A decade ago, I found their 1949 marriage record and several city directories that showed them living in Lincoln Park, Michigan, throughout the 1950s. But I could never find out more about Livana until I really studied their marriage record.

Albert P. DaGutis and Livana B. Mueller Marriage License;
courtesy of

They were married in Sandusky County, Ohio, on 26 February 1949. The index of the marriage license said Livana was born in 1928 and was 21 years old. It also provided her parents names. When I looked closely at the scanned image, I realized Livana said she was 31 years old, not 21. Armed with a better birth year, I searched the Michigan divorce records again for her divorce from her previous husband, Mr. Mueller. Finding that record, led me to believe Livana had not been completely honest on her 1949 marriage license. She was 41, not 31, and she had been married twice previously, not once. And so, more of her life became known.


Estella "Stella" B. Russell was born 6 March 1907 in Elk Rapids, Michigan to George William Russell and Mary Boursaw. Mary's father was three-quarters Chippewa and spelled his surname a variety of ways. When the 1910 census was enumerated, Mary lived with several of her children on what was referred to as the Indian Town Reservation. They lived in "civilized" (as opposed to aboriginal) housing on property owned by the iron company. Mary listed her marital status as divorced. However the divorce decree for desertion was not granted until 1919. Estella's mother then married Carl Martinsen, a Norwegian, with whom she'd lived with for almost a decade.  Estella was enumerated as Carl's step-daughter in the 1920 census.

On 4 June 1923 Estella married Melvin Artlip in Muskegon County, Michigan. Both the bride and groom lived in Muskegon. Melvin worked as a chauffeur and Estella as a waitress. The couple had three children:

  • Cassius "Cash" Melvin Artlip, born 22 February 1924 in Muskegon, died 22 June 2001 in Muskegon. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and married 1) Marcella Ruth Lane about 1947 and 2) Juanita Ellen (Worden) McEntaffer on 9 December 1966. He had two children with his first wife.
  • George Stanley Artlip, born 16 August 1925 in Muskegon Heights, died 10 September 1996 in Polk County, Florida. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II and married 1) Delores May Seitz on 20 July 1946 in Detroit; and 2) Gloria Rita Anderson on 7 July 1991 in Palm Beach County, Florida. He had three children with his first wife.
  • Pearl Delores Artlip, born and died on 10 January 1927 in Muskegon Heights.
On 15 April 1927 Estelle L. Artlip filed a petition in the Muskegon County courts for a divorce. An absolute divorce decree for extreme cruelty was granted on 13 June 1928. On 1 November 1928, Estella married John Mueller in Bellaire, Michigan. Her mother and half-sister were witnesses. John was born on 1 June 1900 in Zurich, Switzerland, and had immigrated to Canada in 1924 to become a farmer. He entered the U.S. 28 July 1925 on his way to Minneapolis to begin working at Toro Manufacturing. He lived in Detroit at the time of their marriage.

In 1930, John and Estella lived at the Seneca Hotel in Detroit. He worked as a laborer at a dairy. Estella's ex-husband and eldest son, Cassius, lived in Muskegon Heights with Melvin's sister and brother-in-law. I have not been able to find Estella's youngest son, George Stanley Artlip, in the 1930 census.

On 20 October 1931, Estella had Norene L. Mueller in Detroit. When the 1940 census was enumerated John Mueller rented a home at 3755 Van Dyke Street and he continued to work at a dairy. Living in the home with him were his wife, Estella (enumerated as L. Estelle); their daughter, Norene; and Estella's son, George (enumerated as S. George Mueller). John registered for the World War II draft on 16 February 1942. He and Estella continued to live at the house on Van Dyke Street and he worked for U.S. Rubber Company. He listed his wife as the person who would always know his address, but listed her as Betty Mueller. Was this the explanation for the initial "B.," which appeared frequently on other records for Estella?

On 24 February 1949, Estelle B. L. Mueller and John W. Mueller were divorced in Wayne County, Michigan. She married Albert Paul Dagutis in Sandusky County, Ohio, two days later. Albert was a steelworker, who lived in Detroit, and was my husband's paternal uncle. Estella was listed on the marriage license as Livana B. Mueller, a music teacher who also lived in Detroit. This is the first record on which her given name is listed as Livana.

Throughout the 1950s Albert and Livana lived at 2219 Hartwick Avenue in Lincoln Park, Michigan. Her given name was listed as Livana in the city directories. They divorced some time after 1960. Albert never married again.

Estella, aka Livana, died in Kearny, Michigan on 13 July 1988 and was interred at the Maple Grove Cemetery in Elk Rapids. Her headstone says Livana B. Mueller, 1907-1988. Her second husband also died in Kearny on 7 October 1991. He is interred in the same cemetery with matching headstones. Did John Mueller and Estella get back together?

Her first husband, Melvin Artlip, died on 11 August 1964 in Muskegon Heights, the same day his second wife died. They are interred together at Sunrise Memorial Gardens in Muskegon. Albert Paul Dagutis died on 16 February 1987 in Traverse City, Michigan.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Arson or Tragedy?

Ada "Addie" Wells was a niece of one of my great great grandmothers, Clementine (Wells) Riggin Collins. Addie married Edward Grotz, who immigrated to the United States from what is now Baden, Germany. They had six children[1] before Addie died some time before the 1910 census was enumerated.

One of her daughters, Edna Grotz, was born on 4 June 1895 in Collinsville. Her mother died before she was 10 years old. When the 1910 census was enumerated, Edna lived with her father, who was a coal miner, and siblings. Her maternal grandmother, Sarah (Smith) Wells, also lived with the family.

Edna married Charles Griffith Neathery on 8 June 1916 in Greenville, Illinois. Charles was a widower with two small children. In 1917 Edna, her husband and his children lived with her father. Charles was a cook at the Bay Avenue restaurant in East St. Louis. In 1920 they had purchased a home on St. Francis Road in Caseyville and Charles owned a restaurant.

1876 map of Edwardsville, Illinois, courtesy of the Illinois Digital Archives

On 11 December 1923, the couple owned a restaurant in Edwardsville on Purcell Street opposite the courthouse. They lived in an apartment over the restaurant. About 4:30 in the morning a fire was discovered. The fire spread to a connected building and destroyed a general store named Schneider & Poole. Edna and Charles were thought to be asleep upstairs when a gas stove in their restaurant exploded. Their remains were found in the fire debris later that day. Charles' children were out of town visiting their grandparents.

Members of Charles' family reported he was active in the Ku Klux Klan, which had about 8,000 members in Madison County at the time. According to his family, he had received a threatening letter about his Klan activities and was considering selling the restaurant so he could leave town. "It was a case of sell out and go away or lose his life." In fact, Charles Neathery had sold his restaurant to Walter Loarts the day before the fire, according to an article in The Edwardsville Intelligencer.

The investigation into the fire lasted several months. State and local fire marshals were never able to determine the cause of the blaze. During the March 1924 term, the grand jury determined no murder had occurred. The foreman stated, "We have wasted a lot of time investigating this fire but there is absolutely nothing on which to base an indictment charging murder. Probably it is for the best that the fire was taken up and the public will be more satisfied."

[1] Ada "Addie" Wells and Edward Grotz married 22 September 1890 in St. Clair County, Illinois. Addie had one daughter Jessie Helms in 1883. After her marriage to Edward, Jessie used the Grotz surname. She later married a Mr. Thies.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Who's Your Daddy, Dorothy?

Dorothy Grotz was the granddaughter of my first cousin three times removed, Ada "Addie" (Wells) Grotz. Addie was the niece of my great great grandmother, Clementine (Wells) Riggin Collins. I learned about Dorothy while researching Addie's husband, Edward Grotz. He died in Collinsvile, Illinois, in 1940 after having been a widower for over three decades. He died intestate and his daughter, Augusta, administered the estate.

On 17 October 1953 a list of Edward's legal heirs was published in The Edwardsville Intelligencer.

List of Edward Grotz' heirs;
courtesy of

How did Dorothy Beaman fit into the family group? Was Beaman a married name or her surname at birth? I've learned a lot about Dorothy yet still have many, many questions. If you know more about her, please leave a comment on this post.

Dorothy was born about 1914 in Illinois to Matilda "Tillie" Maria Kopp and one of Edward Grotz's sons -- either Fred, Frank or Donald. Tillie's marriage didn't to the Grotz son didn't last long. By 1917 she was married to Adlai Stephenson Dixon and had a son with him that year.

In the 1920 census Dorothy was listed as Dorothy Dixon and her relationship to Adlai was listed as daughter, but in 1930, she is listed as Dorothy Grotz and her relationship is step-daughter. Her step-father worked as an electrician at an aluminum ore company and the family lived on Summit Avenue in East St. Louis.

When the 1940 census was enumerated, Dorothy was married to Victor Delmus Beaman, a 30-year-old Kentuckian, who worked as a clerk in the sales department of a tin can company. We know from Victor's World War II draft card, that "tin can company" was Continental Can Co.

Victor and Dorothy remained married at least through 1950 when they were listed in an East St. Louis city directory. Victor was a salesman for John Morrell & Co. Some time after that, Victor married Julia Marvin Gill. He died in 1998 and was interred beside Julia at the Calvary Cemetery in St. Louis.

I have been unable to trace Dorothy after 1950. So much of her life remains a mystery.

I reviewed Fred, Frank and Donald's World War I draft cards to see if any of them claimed a child as an exemption for serving, but each of them stated they were single at the time they registered for the draft, which was true as the marriage with Tillie was over by then.

Fred Grotz was born on 6 February 1891 in Collinsville, Illinois and married Ida Louise Jackson some time after 1926. They lived in Maywood, Illinois, and Fred worked in Chicago for many years. They had one son, Glenn Forrest Grotz (1926-2017).

Frank Grotz was born on 15 November 1892 in Collinsville, and lived in California by 1914. He entered the Army Air Service on 18 Jun 1918 and was assigned to the Signal Corps in Vancouver, Washington. He married Myrtle Scott on 17 Apr 1919 in Los Angeles County. They had no children. Frank died in 1966.

Donald Grotz was born on 7 September 1896 in Collinsville. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps on 23 June 1918. He was assigned to Company A, First Battalion, 13th Marine Regiment, which shipped out to Brest on 25 September 1918. The regiment was responsible for guarding supply depots throughout France. After the war, he moved to California, where he co-owned the Grotz Bros. Cafe, with his brother, Frank. He married Mary Roberta Ridout sometime before 1940. They had no known children. He died on 14 February 1959 in Los Angeles County.