Friday, March 6, 2015

More Genealogy.....Finding Ancestors in the Most Unusual Places

So I will start off tracing a line of my family tree and veer off into a tangent and then get fixated with someone.
My fixation this week was Fannie Foster.

Or rather her full name--Parthena Frances "Fannie" Foster.
Fannie is my second cousin 5 x removed.

One of the first people I communicated with an Ancestry after joining was Jimmy.  We are related in that his cousin, Janet, married my 1st cousin 1 x removed, Donnie(Donnie is the son of my grandfather's sister.).
Anyway I was working on my maternal FOSTER line(this one is primarily through my mother's mother's mother's mother's line but I also have Foster relations through my mother's mother's father's line since a Foster relations also married my mother's cousin's mother on my mother's mother's father's line.).
See what I mean about confusing!? lolz

Anyway, let's just say I was working on a distant branch of FOSTER relations, one which linked to this Jimmy's LOCKE family.
An Edward LOCKE married a Cora Green FOSTER, the daughter of Gideon FOSTER and Mary Ann Wright VAUGHAN.
Lots of info and people with info on Cora and Edward's family. 
Cora had 8 other siblings--Charles W., Susan Ann, Parthena Frances, Howerton Somerville, Luella R., James M., Mary W("Mollie") and Gideon Calvin.
Only Cora and Howerton are fully "fleshed" out however.

Their mother, Mary Vaughan FOSTER died in 1894.
Their father, Gideon FOSTER....the last record I can find of him is the 1880 Fed. Census.  He is 69.
I have yet to find any indication where he is buried or when he died.  Since he disappears after 1880 he may have died before Mary FOSTER his wife, the mother of these children.

As for the children--

* Charles-the last record for Charles, he is married to Emily WALLACE with 5 children in 1880.  I find city directory info indicating that he and Emily are living in Lynchburg, VA in 1908 and 1920 but no further Census records.

I see many family trees on Ancestry has him dead in 1871.  Funny because he marries Emily in how can he be fathering 5 children after 1871 if he is dead?  Makes no sense....either he didn't marry Emily and have these kids OR, as Monty Python would say, he's "not dead yet" in 1871.

* Susan Ann-appears in the 1860 census, 8 years old, and nothing after that.  Probably died young or married young and can't find her married name yet.

* Howerton Somerville-well documented.  Dies in 1936 in Cabell, WV.

* Luella R.-appears lastly in 1880 census, 19 years, living with her parents, single.  She may have married, she may have died between 1880 and 1900 census, don't know yet.

* James M.-appears in 1880 census with parents, then next appears in 1900 census, single and 37 years, living with 2 grown sisters(Mary "Mollie" and Parthena "Fannie")and youngest brother Gideon Calvin.  Nothing is seen of him after 1900.

* Mary W. "Mollie"-living in 1900 with 3 other siblings, and in 1910 she is found living with the same siblings(without James though)and the addition of George LOCKE, her older sister Cora's son, who is 22 years, single, and working at a sawmill.

* Gideon Calvin-last found, single and 38 years, living in 1910 with his two older sisters and his nephew, George LOCKE.

* Parthena Frances "Fannie"-In 1860 and 1870 she is found with her family/parents in those censuses.
But in 1880 she is missing from the family household.
Hmmmm, she would have been 24.  Perhaps she married?  Perhaps she was living elsewhere with relatives?  I don't know yet.
Then 20 years later in 1900 census records she is back, living with her 3 grown siblings and all are single.
In 1910, she is found living with her younger brother and sister and their nephew, George.  Fannie is 44 years and the household is in Charlotte County, VA.

This is where Fannie has lived her whole life thus far to he age of 44......where the red tack is......

 I found her death certificate and she died here in 1927......between State College and Altoona, PA, right near Tyrone, PA.....

After finding that death certificate I found a 1920 census with Fannie in it, living in Spruce Creek, PA.

So sometime between 1910 and 1920 at the advanced age of between 54 and 64 years old, Fannie moved almost 400 miles from the place she had lived her whole life, Charlotte County VA, to Huntingdon County PA.....

It may take someone almost 6 hours to drive it today via Interstate, but back in 1910-1920 with less and more primitive roads, I am sure it was quite the adventure.  She probably made her way to the Keysville, VA train station by horse and buggy, then by train to Richmond, VA to Washington D.C. then Baltimore MD then to Harrisburg, PA and then more travel by train or horse and wagon.

Fannie is listed in this 1920 census as being an "Aunt" in the Edwin Stover household.
So far, I can not find a Stover line connected to this Foster line.
But why leave your home and move so far away?

My theory at this point is that at the age of 54+ years, with all her siblings either marrying or dying off, Fannie found herself without a means of support or a home in which to live.  She was living off her youngest brother Gideon Calvin in 1910.  I don't know yet if he died before 1920 or married.
Perhaps Fannie, being a woman of intestinal fortitude, answered an ad in a newspaper for a live-in housekeeper/nanny and that is what took her to rural Central PA?  Edwin Stover is married to Margaret and they have 2 children in 1920, an infant and a 2 year old.

Fannie is buried in the Graysville Cemetery near the Spruce Creek Presbyterian Church in Graysville PA.  We take a route that goes right by Tyrone, PA when we visit our eldest son in Pittsburgh. 
I suspect that given her circumstances in life and that this cemetery is already 80% photographed and Fannie wasn't listed yet as being in there when I went to look on Find A Grave, that there will be no headstone marking her grave.  I'll send a letter off to that cemetery's association for more information as they would have the plot # and might have listed whether there is a headstone.
At any rate, the next time I go visit my son, I'll stop in Graysville and get a photo of Fannie's headstone if one exists or just stop and pay my respects.

It's the least  can do.



  1. It's not a fully successful genealogy post until you reference Monty Python! Good job!

  2. Now, I am concerned about Fanny!

  3. you have a lot of patience with should have been a detective!!

  4. We are cousins, Sluggy! My mom is a Foster from Tennessee. I would have to go look and see if she had relatives in VA.

  5. I haven't done any genealogy work, but I can see where this would be habit-forming. It's like fitting all the puzzle pieces together.


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