Monday, April 28, 2014

Aunt Annette Buschick Stapleton

My aunt Lydia's great granddaughter who lives in California said she would go to some cemeteries to take pictures of headstones to share with me. She contacted me one day and asked why there was a wife "Eva" on the Find A Grave memorial for uncle Cluese Stapleton and not our aunt Annette? That got me to wondering also. I knew my aunt married Cluese, but I didn't know if she was his second wife or not. I went searching and FamilySearch for answers. I came across a family tree and contacted the owner. Turns out the owner is a descendant on the Stapleton side. She told me Eva Groover was older than Cluese and they were married in 1905, but it lasted only for a short time. Eva is buried in Georgia not California.

Aunt Annette was one of my mom's older sisters; aunt Lydia was the oldest, then came Annette. I don't remember too much about her. I think I only met her a few times, but I was very young. She lived in California so we didn't see her very much. Mom would talk about her often though. I wish I could remember some of the stories. There is no one left to ask.

I don't have any pictures of aunt Annette because all of mom's family pictures were destroyed in a house fire. The pictures in this post of aunt Annette were given to me by a Stapleton descendant from Georgia with permission to use them in this post.

 Aunt Annette is on the left, I don't know who "Mama" is, but believe she is a Stapleton. This picture is with permission from a descendent of the Stapleton family in Georgia.
 I am not at the liberty to give the name.
Annette Matilda Buschick was born 30 Jan 1893 in Chicago, Illinois, to Edwin L. and Laura (Voigt) Buschick. On the 1900 US Census she is listed as "Anna," second daughter age 7. The family was living in Lake View area possibly on Belle Plaine Ave. My grandfather Edwin was 35 and listed as an Order Clerk. Annette's other siblings were all girls, Lydia 9 yrs., Florence 3 yrs., Ruth 6 mos. Annette's middle name was probably for her great aunt Matilda Fowler the sister to Annette's grandmother Susan (Fowler) Buschick.

The 1900 was the first census I saw Edwin and Laura and family. They were married in 1889, and the 1890 census doesn't exist for Cook County, Illinois. By 1908 there were more children in the household -- eight in all, seven girls and one boy. Eleanor was the only one to die very young. All the rest became adults with families.

1900 US Census, Chicago, Illinois / source:
On the 1910 US Census, Laura was asked how many years she was married - 20; how many children were born - 8; how many were still alive - 7. That account of children holds true with what I have found. On that census, Lydia 19 had married and was living in the same house with the Buschicks at 1931 Belle Plaine Ave. Annett[e] was 17 and working as a "Helper" in a printing company. Florence was 13, Ruth 10, my mother Edna was 5, Edwin, the only brother was 2, and Alice 16/12 or 1 yr 4 months. Lydia's husband, John Helstrom, was shown as a printer in a printing company, presumably the same one Annette worked at. (Brother Edwin would become a printer after World War II, also.)

In 1919, Annette married Cluese Isaac Stapleton. I found them on the 1920 census in Baltimore where Cluese is shown as 29, born in Georgia, and he's a labourer in the ship yards. Annette was 26.  They spelled her name as I always knew it to be -- Annette. I think there is a little fibbing going on here. Cluese's first marriage was in 1905...fifteen years later he was divorced and married a second time. If Cluese is 29 in 1920, he would have been 14 when he married Eva. Do you think that is why they weren't married too long? Well, with a little more research I found he was born 1885, thus bringing his actual age to be 35 in 1920. That's more like it. See how accurate these censuses are?

Later that year, the Stapletons would become parents of Juanita A. She was born in Illinois October 1920.

I don't know how long they were in Illinois after the birth of Juanita, but by the 1930 census we find the Cluese Stapletons in Los Angeles County, California: Cluese is 44 and retired (In this census, his age is more inline with when he was born.); Annette is 39 and a saleswoman for patent medicine; daughter Juanita is 9  b. Illinois; and son Robert C. who is 6 and was born in California which puts them out of Illinois sometime before 1924.
Cluese Isaac Stapleton on right with a World War I buddy.
This image is from a public family tree on
The 1940 census shows Juanita is no longer in her parents' household. She could have gotten married. They lived at 2017 Camden Ave., Los Angeles. Cluese is 54; Annette is 47 and a postal clerk in the post office; Robert is 16 and is shown to be a "Little Merchant" selling newspapers. I found Cluese and Annette at the bottom of one page and Robert on the top of the next.

Juanita married Harry Stockwell sometime before the 1940 census. They had three children. The first child was born Oct 1940. I don't know much more about this family although do I remember their visits in the summer. A big, beautiful trailer pulled by a beautiful shiny car with California license plates would be down in our backyard and parked there for several days. We lived in Mundelein, Ill. and had a big house and yard. A day or two later, mom's siblings and their families would come out from Chicago and suburbs for a big family gathering in our yard. Sometimes there would be a carnival in the school yard behind our house and fireworks.

This picture probably taken in the early '50s was also given to me by the same Stapleton descendent from Georgia. The handsome man on the left is unidentified...he looks like Rock Hudson but I don't think he is, but who is he? Next to him is aunt Annette Stapleton & family (Bob, Juanita, Harry, Bob, & children). 
What is the doggie's name?
Even looking at the pictures of aunt Annette, I really don't remember her that much. I was 15 when she died in 1960. I don't know how long it was before that when she had visited last...I wish I would have paid more attention.

If anyone can tell me more about this picture and the family, please contact me at my regular email address found in my profile to the right. If anything needs to be corrected... I would love to hear from you, too.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

1717 Last Will and Testament: Sillenia Portis of Tetney Widdo

Almost a year ago I explored and wrote about the 1716 Last Will and Testament of William PORTAS of Tetney. He is my 7x great grandfather. I have been a little lax in writing anything on his wife Syllina's Will since then. I've had this Will image for about six years, but I put it aside 'cause something came up, then I got sidetracked, and then I helped someone else, and before I knew it, I hadn't written anything. You know how it goes.

I wrote about Syllina last November 3, 2013 when I found her marriage to William PORTAS in the 1678 parish pages of Wold Newton and couldn't make out her maiden name; I called her Syllina "What's-her-name." Today I revisited that posting and thought maybe if I could study her Will, I can find out what her maiden name was. Well, I did, and I couldn't find a clue to that mystery name. Yet, the Will helps me learn a few more things about my ancestors in Tetney, Lincolnshire, England. Also, there are some questions begging for answers at the same time showing me the need for further research.

I know this isn't a very good image. That's the price I pay taking it from the reader bed at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City on one October six years ago. I was just "gathering" at the time and I didn't know how important this document would be to my research back then. I'll call-up for this and other Last Will & Testaments next time I visit Lincolnshire Archives in Lincolnshire, England. Hopefully, I will have the chance to transcribe the original documents, too! (Click on the image to increase its size.)

Before I get on with this blog post, you should know Syllina's name has been seen spelled several ways in other documents. Way back when, not many people knew how to read or write, and the names were generally spelled phonetically, her given name could be found spelled any number of ways. In this Will her married name is spelled Sillenia Portis; I will use that spelling.

The beginning of this document has basic terminology of the times. Sillenia is of "Sound mind and perfect memory." She "bequeaths" to "almighty God" her body and soul, etc. It isn't easy transcribing these old Wills, but I'll do my best.

This Will was written on "twenty first day of May" 1717; this date is the last line. Was it administered in 1722? I won't know unless I can find the administration papers. I haven't found any other documents to go along with the Will such as Inventory either. There might not be one if she was living with her son.  (Click on the image to increase its size.)

Sillenia Portis of Tetney in the County of Lincoln Widdo being of sound mind and perfect memory ye ---- be almighty God for same do make and ordain this my Last will & Testament in Manner and form following ________ Imp? I bequeath my Soul unto Almighty God who gave it me hoping through the motile ---- Death & passion of my Saviour Jesus Christ to have full & free pardoning of all my Sins and to inherit ever lasting life and my body I commit to the ground to be decently buried in Christian manner all the discretion of my Executor hereto for named and as touching my Small Estate I dispose thereof as followeth 
Item  I give to my Son William Portis the Sume of three pounds: he giving his three children ten Shillings a piece of it and the Sume to be paid by my Executor within whole year afrom my deceaseItem  I give to my Daughter Jane being the Wife of John Ayscoghe the Sume of Seaven pound she given her children 10 shilling a piece & to be paid as the aforesaid Legacy Item  I give to Elizabeth ye wife of John Lingard ye Sume of Seaven Pounds she giving her children ten shillings a piece to be paid by her by my Executor at Twelve month from my decease  Item I give to John Berkett ten shilling & to Elizabeth Smith ye sume ten shillings is to be paid of them by my Executor within Twelve months afrom my decease   Item  I give my grand children John Portis & Elizabeth Ayscoghe & Wm Lingard Twenty Shillings to be divided amongst them & to be paid by my Executor after my decease  Item  All tho not of my money and goods not be fore different of I give to my Son John Portis whom I make my Executor of this my last will and testament  In witness whereof I have write set my hand this twenty first day of May in the year of our lord God 1717 
Witness hereon
Elizabeth X Ayscoghe (her mark)
Edward Ayscoghe
Sillenia X Portis (her mark)
In the year after her husband William's death, Sillenia didn't marry again; she is described as a widow in the opening paragraph. In her husband's Will it is thought that she would live with her son John because of the statement "if she be not content to tarry with my son John." Since she named John her Executor, you would think she was living with him and her "Small Estate" could be what remains of her inheritance from William. 

From her husband's 1716 Will, Sillenia inherited 20 Pounds, a "fether bed," a "bedstead," and "all other furniture fitting or belonging to that bedstead" in which William stated these were items for her to have a somewhat comfortable life. She also received other things necessary to her comfort. I suspect William's Will was written on his deathbed and he died shortly after it was drawn up.

This is what was written on the Will's cover sheet. I can only make out the date of 18th April 1722 and the barrister(?) John Cawley. I think those words are basic terminology in Latin of which I don't speak.

Sillenia died in 1720 three years after her Will was written. This document has a "cover" date of 1722. I'm surmising this is the date the Will was proved and everything has been administered to by her Executor. If anyone knows what the wording on the cover sheet is, please let me know.
Sillenia was buried 31 October 1720 seen on this the Tetney parish register page for 1720. She was about 60 years old. (Click on the image to increase its size.)

If Sillenia was living with her son John, then maybe the Pounds and Shillings defines her "small estate," and those "comfort" items are now in her son John's possession, but her money can be freely given to whom she wants. Besides, she didn't designate any items like feather beds or furniture, etc. to be given to anyone. So there probably wouldn't be any inventory of "goods and chattels" and maybe not even an administration document of the dispersement of such funds.

Of Sillenia's eight [known] children, William, Jane, Elizabeth, and John survive and are given their inheritance in Pounds with their children given Shillings. I'm not sure how the amount translates in today's terms, but to have it in a Will in 1716, I would think it was quite a bit a money.

Sillenia doesn't distinguish what connection she has with two more people named further on -- John Berkett(?) and Elizabeth Smith who received 10 Shillings a piece. Could they have been her servants? They must have been special to her to be named in her Will.

It is interesting Sillenia just names three grandchildren. It is confusing to me why these three were singled out and were to divide 20 Shillings. This money seems to be over and above what Sillenia designated when naming her children and their heirs.

Daughter Jane married John Ayscoghe. Of the seven children they had, only four were born prior to 1717 when the Will was drawn up. Of those four only Elizabeth was named. Could it be the other three had died? Something to look for as I do my research.

Daughter Elizabeth married John Lingard, I don't know who all their children are yet, so I can only guess that since they had married in 1712, five may have been born, but only William survived by the time of the Will. More information is needed here, too.

That leaves sons William and John to have the named grandchild John Portis. Both had sons named John. 

William's son John was baptized in 1707 and lived to be an adult about 40. He is the likeliest candidate. I can only speculate when John's son John was baptized. This young John is the second "John" to be born to John and Ann (Dixon) Portas. Their first son John died very early in life. The surviving son John was born sometime after 1715 birth of his brother William. (His sister Selina wouldn't be born until 1722, two years after Sillenia died.) If he were baptized sometime in my originally speculated year of 1717, it may have been later in the year and he, not being known to Sillenia at the time of her Will, may not have been included. And here, too, more information is needed.

As you can see, I have a lot of research waiting for me on my 7x great grandparents William and Sillenia Portis and family. 

I have been looking at all my notes from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, and the images on "Links To The Past" a website sponsored by the Lincolnshire Archives. Unfortunately for me, the parish pages I need to look through aren't scanned and uploaded yet or they aren't available. So I add to my "To Do" list for my research trip to Salt Lake City next October.

It is good to write about a couple Wills. These postings help me to see a bigger picture of my ancestors' lives. They give me a chance to sort out conflicting and sometimes confusing facts. The speculations become actual events or just continue to haunt my research. The blog posts also create more things to be aware of and to research. 

Slowly but surely, the "blanks" are being filled in, too.