Sunday, December 26, 2010

Another mystery to unfold

Its me again. I was poking around trying to see if I could find Cowden Roxberry's obit (or Joseph Cowden's for that matter) and came across something that like the last piqued my curiosity. The Butler County Library has a page where you can do a search for obituaries and then order copies of them. They also have a page where you can order a set of CDs that contain the 'News of the Day' which is similar to the Prospect Memories in that they are tidbits from the various newspapers in the area. I was poking around the News of the Day page and found a tidbit for a Lydia Lepley and the mention of a daughter that 'died' in April of 1883. IF and its a big 'IF' but if she is MY Lydia Lepley as in the same one who married Cowden Roxberry (Joseph Cowden) then the article (tidbit) could be a clue as to why in the 1900 census she is listed as having had a child but that he/she was not living at the time of the census. As far as I knew, my paternal grandmother was an only child. So if this little mention turns out to be her mother BEFORE she married (ten years before) it will certainly confirm what the census record shows about her.

Its also interesting to note that 1883 is about three years BEFORE my great-grandfather married his first wife Mary Wagner, a marriage that didn't last very long because Mary died in 1888. I doubt there could've been another Lydia Lepley in Butler county or for that matter Prospect township, but I suppose its possible since apparently there was another Upton Roxberry. The most frustrating thing is that the FamilySearch websites have very little if ANY databases for Pennsylvania and that's where the Lepley, Neely and Roxberry lines in my tree originate (or lived for most if not all of their lives). I sent an e-mail asking how to order specific articles from the News of the Day since I don't want to buy the CDs (not for $100 bucks). Five articles are $10 and I think I can find four more along with the Lydia Lepley one.

More later.

Another possible clue?

Haven't posted anything in a while became the holidays always become a time where other things need to get done and there is very little time if any to do some genealogy research. But since the holidays are coming to a close I had been thinking about starting 2011 off by posting at least once a month with a genealogical tip or strategy that has worked for me.

But I had to post something today because of what I came across when doing some transcribing. I had purchased the 4-volume set of 'Prospect Memories' which is basically a collection of newspaper tidbits regarding the goings-on in the town of Prospect in Butler County Pennsylvania from 1886 till around 1924 or so. They are exactly what I said too, 'tidbits' including when someone's just bakes pie were 'stolen' from a windowsill.

You may not think there would be anything of significance in the four volumes but believe it or not if you are familiar with certain names in your tree you can read through the books and pick out those ancestors and you might even learn a little more about them. My main reason for getting the books was to see if I could perhaps solve the mystery of just WHY my great-grandfather, Joseph Cowden (aka Cowden Roxberry) changed or rather 'assumed' a different name when he moved his family to Ohio, yet when he visited Prospect he was once again known by the name given to him at birth.

I didn't find much about Joseph, but did find a couple of entries regarding Cowden or 'Doc' and that brings me to what I noticed today. I had just started transcribing Volume #2 or Prospect Memories (and putting each into a Word document so that I could print them out) and noticed an entry that piqued my curiosity. It was an 'entry' of sorts, since the books are almost like a diary I guess that involved Lepley (Lepley) Cowden, my great-grandmother's brother Warren. It says 'Warren Lepley has moved from the borough into the house recently occupied by the late Doc Roxberry.'

I know what you're thinking, 'late' must mean that he died but I don't think that's the case here. In fact, I think this narrows down the time frame that 'Doc' went from being known as Cowden Roxberry to when he began calling himself Joseph Cowden. I know from other records that in 1910 Joseph, Lydia and their daughter Arrea, my grandmother were living in Minerva Ohio; this according to the census taken that year. I also know that later in this series of articles (volume #4) that 'Doc' and his wife come back to Prospect for a visit and it mentions Minerva. It also mentions Minerva a second time when it is actually reported that he was involved in an accident while digging a ditch. Both times he is referred to as 'Doc'.

I have been assuming that not long before my grandmother was born in 1903 that Cowden became Joseph, but now I have to consider that its just possible that once Cowden or 'Doc' decided to move from Prospect to Ohio and more specifically Minerva that it was THEN that he became Joseph Cowden and Lydia became Mrs. Joseph Cowden instead of Mrs. Roxberry. I still have not found an obituary for either Joseph Cowden OR Cowden Roxberry and I think that would provide some clues even if it wouldn't solve the name change mystery.

Once again more research is needed and in this week before we close out 2010 and begin 2011 I think I will pursue this mystery and see what other clues I can uncover.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and here's hoping that 2011 is a year of many genealogical discoveries in your own research.