Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Great Grandfather John DuBell, the first of many mysteries!

Great-Grandfather, John DuBell came to America about 1868, we have no records showing the exact date or what port he came in to.   There are a great many stories about this man and we are striving to find the truth of his journey to America!  

I’d like to start with what we know to be true from documents we have put together at this time. 

According to the United States Federal Census records his date of birth is June 1837.  According to these records his place of birth is states as either “Holland” or “Europe”.  These records also give the dates of his arrival as 1864 or 1869. He is found in the 1880, 1900 and 1910 United States Federal Census records,
His marriage license shows he married Josephine C. Barr on October 20, 1874 at Stafford’s Landing in Catahoula Parish, Louisiana Sadly, this community is no longer in existence. 

He was naturalized on
 December 20th 1885 in Franklin Parish Courthouse in Louisiana.  His name is recorded as John DuBell and signed “John du Bell”.
Their children were;

Mary E DuBell, b. 1875 – d, abt 1894
2 still born children about 1880 and 1882
Edgar DuBell 1882 – date of death unknown
Annie Mae DuBell 1885 - 1942
Rachel DuBell 1888 - 1934
Ellis about 1890 – died as a child
Alice Phenia DuBell 1891 – d. 1950
Benjamin Franklin DuBell 1893 – d. 1909
Thomas DuBell 1895 – d. 1969
Alexander William DuBell 1897 – d. 1974 (My Grandfather)
Lonnie DuBell about 1899 – d. unknown
Marine DuBell 1900 – d. unknown
I will add updates on dates of death when they are verified

Great Grandma Josephine died about 1911 and Great Grandpa John DuBell was awarded Tutorship of their 3 minor children, Thomas, Alexander and Marine.  I have these documents in my files.

He owned land in Catahoula and Franklin Parishes in Louisiana.

After these known facts there are many stories, I’d like to refer to them as “Family Lore” at least until we have found proof of their truthfulness or that they remain Family Lore and are known as such though they are most probably tinged with a certain amount of truth!

We do know a number of things.  My grandfather, Alexander “Alec” DuBell was the first generation born in America in his paternal family… his father; John DuBell came here in 1867 to 1869 from The Netherlands.  He bought farmland in Franklin Parish, Louisiana and raised a family there.  I've been told he attended the local Baptist Church.   It may have been a church in Holly Grove, a small community near his land, or it may have been the church that his son was a deacon of for many years, South Central Baptist Church, Wisner, Louisiana.  Until we find church records we will not know for certain. 

Our Great Grandpa wasn’t known for telling his family very much about the family he left behind in Holland.  At least not that anyone remembers now.  What we do have is memories of other family members about him, and the stories we have all heard over the years, such as:

1.  He was “Shanghaied” by a “press gang” in Amsterdam and made to work on a schooner or ship going back and forth after one such trip.  We have no documents showing he spent any time in New Orleans or immediately began traveling, eventually living in the Catahoula/Franklin parish area of Louisiana

2.  He was from a family who were said to be linen merchants and had their own “schooners/ship”.  The story goes that he was a stowaway on one of the schooners or was working on it and “jumped ship” in New Orleans, once again it isn’t known if  he spent any time in New Orleans or immediately began traveling, eventually living in the Catahoula/Franklin parish area of Louisiana. 
There is one thing that rings true from these stories, our Great Grandfather came to America; we have no idea through what port, New Orleans?  Houston?  New York?  He made his way to Franklin/Catahoula Parish Louisiana. After this, he married Josephine Barr, bought farm land and raised a family.  He became a Naturalized citizen in 1885.  They were married approximately 37 years when Josephine passed away and he was left with 3 of their children to raise.  From documents I’ve found as of this date I believe he died between 1915 and 1919, I haven’t found his name in any census records from 1920 to 1930.

There is one other story I have heard over and again is one of a letter from The Netherlands that arrived in Wisner, Louisiana.  My grandfather Alex DuBell, could not read Dutch he was to get someone possibly a neighbor, to interpret it for him but it has been lost. What it was about, we have no idea.  
There is more to be told about our Dutch Heritage…. I am now corresponding with a lady who lives in Sweden, is of Dutch heritage and is a DuBell!  We are having a difficult time translating our messages as she is writing in German, and I in English!  Thank goodness for Google Translate!  We may be cousins, although I’m not going to get too excited until we find out more about our ancestors and if we are, indeed cousins! 

Do you have any ideas as to what to do next?

TTYS, I hope!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The branches of my tree are?!?

Where do I start? Well, here I suppose!  If you have anything to add please let me know!  I can add you to this blog and you can add to it also.  I'm learning as I go with this "Blogging" thing, let's see where it will take us.
Here I go!
My paternal line of Gilmore, with the surnames of: Cockerham, Garner, Jones, Keen, Odom and others.  These families are in North Louisiana from the mid 1800’s to present.  Before that time period they were living in South Carolina and Georgia.
My maternal line DuBell, with the surnames of: Barr, Brooks, McClanahan, Roberts, Shackelford, Stephens and others.  Our Great Grandfather John DuBell came over from The Netherlands between 1867 and 1869 from the data in Census records. His-Story will be the first I will be posting here!  The rest of the family are located in North Louisiana also from the early to mid 1800’s.   
My son’s surname is Snyder and is on my extensive list!  The surnames are Snyder, Ware and Gulledge from Birmingham, Alabama.
My step family is also very near and dear to me, these names will not be forgotten from my musings and search!  Barringer and Pierce along with their allied surnames… they are now living in South East Louisiana.  The Pierce’s came from Iowa in 1898 and James M. “Captain Jim” Barringer was born in Algiers, Louisiana. 
I hope to add photos and documents as I can! 


Random thoughts on this quest to write a blog…

First of all, I’d like to thank my very best friend in family tree/history research, Lisa Louise Cook… for without her entertaining and instructive podcasts I wouldn’t be doing half as much work as I am doing now and actually accomplishing goals!  I can’t recommend her website and podcasts enough… she is easy to listen to, a very smart and savvy Genealogist who really cares about your work and will do anything she can to help you with any research problem.  If you haven’t listened to a podcast, you really should start by listening to Lisa’s!  Her “Genealogy Gems” podcast is free for nothing, so there goes the first excuse,  it is as entertaining as it is informative so there goes the second excuse of “they are boring”, it’s titled Genealogy “gems” for a reason as they are jam packed full of tips and they are each worth their weight in gold!  One other point about the podcasts is they are also motivating, inspirational, encouraging… shall I go on?    She has a second podcast for those who have no idea as to where to start, “Genealogy Made Easy” and is it free also!  There are more to her podcasts and videos than I can say here, plus she doesn’t need me to run an ad for her here.  Just give her a chance and she will win you over all on her own!  The URL to her site is please give it a try, you will love it!  Oh, by the way, she isn’t actually my very best friend in “real life” it’s a virtual thing y’all!  *G*
Writing this blog is something I’ve thought about doing over the last few months and keep telling myself that I’m no writer, and it’s true I’m not.  What I am is a passionate genealogist who would like to become a professional one day.  Until then I will be doing what I can to share information on my paternal, maternal and other family lines.  I’ll learn more about writing as I go, my Creative Writing and English Composition professors didn’t exactly teach how to “write your family history” in our classes!  Please be patient with my grammar mistakes!  They really don’t matter, do they?  j/k all you grammar teachers out there, I’ll try to learn a few things as I go!  Now to the heart of the matter! 
This blog, as you have probably guessed by now is about my family… those who have come and gone before us… those who without their actions, we would not be here today.  Whoever we are, whatever we are, we owe to them.  I’m not saying it’s their fault that we live in a country that seems to be at war with itself at times these days, I don’t mean it’s their fault we got a ticket today for speeding, etc.  I am saying if they had not lived, we would not live.  Period
I’d also like to have this blog as a history lesson, one with a twist; it’s all about our roots, our families.  I want to learn about their lives such as what did they did for a living.  Were they in the military and did they serve during war time?  If it is possible, what they did in their day to day lives.  It may serve as a sort of journal, a look into our lives today, a snapshot if you will.  If we write these now they can always be read by our children and great grandchildren.  Wouldn’t it be nice to find a journal written by our Great Grandfather John DuBell telling us why he decided to come across the Atlantic Ocean in the late 1860’s?  Now, we have to search for those answers and he did not leave many clues for us to go on!  There are families who are lucky enough to have journals that were written by a grandparent or great grand parent or aunt/uncle… not all of us do, but wouldn’t it be wonderful?  We are very fortunate these days… we CAN write these things… we can make video recordings… audio recordings…. Why don’t we take the time to do this?  Isn’t it important?  If not to us, it will be to our children and our children’s children… don’t you think? 
I would like to share this journey with those of you who would like to come along and see where this ride takes me.  Hopefully it will include photos of our ancestors, stories about them, and documents to prove the life stories about our wonderful families. Along with the historical aspects and my musings from time to time, I may post about my family’s life… and you will most certainly be bored by a photos of and stories about my grandchildren!  Hey, I’m a Granma, what do you expect?  LOL!  I hope you will enjoy what I write and maybe join those of us who love to learn about our history… weather you call it “Family History”, “Genealogy”, and or “My Addiction”!
Ok, I’ll get off the rambling soapbox now!  I know you are glad of that, eh?!?!
My list of surnames and places is growing all the time, I'll post a list to be easier to understand... as I go I hope to create fun and interesting posts, wish me luck, I'm gonna need it!