Wednesday, September 1, 2010

My All-time Biggest Surprise in Genealogy

Jones Flanders 1930 census

In this 1930 census image for Great Bend, Barton County, Kansas, you see the Hamilton (“Ham”) Jones family living at 1400 8th Street. His daughters Marjorie and Dorothy are ages 4 and 2. His brother Henry J. (Henry James “Jim”) Jones is listed at the bottom of the image photo with his family residing at 1501 8th St. That’s just one block away. Phyllis J.,  daughter of Jim and Helen Jones is my step-mother, married to my dad Ernest Margheim from 1951 until her death in 1997. In 1930 Phyllis was 6 years old, having been born in 1924. It was in her personality to greatly dislike (and I’m being kind) my birth mother, Ruby Flanders, to whom my dad was married 1943-1949.

Look at the above image and notice the Milo Flanders family living at 1416 8th St. Their daughter Ruby N. was 5 years old at this time, having been born in 1925.  As I just mentioned, Ruby was my birth mother. What story does this census image tell? It tells me that my step-mom Phyllis Jones was 6 years old at the time her cousins, who lived a block away, were ages 4 and 2. And the  neighbor of her cousins was Ruby Flanders. In 1930 children played outside, they played with their relatives who lived nearby. I believe this image tells me that my step-mom Phyllis Jones played in her young childhood with my birth mother Ruby Flanders! I can’t express to you how this discovery blows me away, still today. Is anyone else inclined to draw the same conclusion? Let me know your thoughts.

I was raised by my step-mom and dad and allowed by the courts to occasionally visit my birth  mom Ruby. But I was not allowed to mention her name in our house, nor refer to her in any way, no phone calls, letters, incidental visits etc. NEVER did she let my twin brother and me know that she had been a childhood playmate of Ruby. That is so significant to me, even though others may find nothing startling about this discovery. As we research our family’s history, we expect to make discoveries, but it’s a bonus when we learn things about those people who were close to us that they never revealed when they were living!

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