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.