Thursday, May 28, 2015

Oh, Those Middle Names!

Do your ancestors have middle names?  Are those middle names clues to be used in your research? Sure they are, but watch out for false clues!

As an example of a false clue, look at the case of my great-great grandfather Chester C. Bebout, born in 1854. He consistently used the middle initial "C."  At some point, someone decided his middle name was Coleman and if you go to those public member trees on, you will see many  listings for Chester Coleman Bebout. Keep in mind, though, there is not one record spelling out his full middle name in Livingston or Crittenden County, Kentucky.  No Chester Coleman Bebout - only Chester C. Bebout. So, did he have a middle name or just a middle initial?  It's hard to be sure.

Wait a minute ... There was an attorney and businessman named Chester C. Cole  who lived in Crittenden County before moving to Iowa in 1857.[1]  Could Chester C. Bebout have been named for this prominent citizen?  Maybe .. or maybe not, but the Bebout family did have business dealings with Chester C. Cole. Still not enough proof. This ancestor will have to continue as Chester C. Bebout in my records until other information is found. Hearsay isn't good enough; there must be a record showing his entire middle name.

Then there is my great-grandfather, David Vaughn.  This situation is similar to that of Chester C. Bebout ... well, sort of. Many researchers have his full name as David Marshall Vaughn. The only problem is no record gives his middle name as Marshall.  The 1850 Livingston County census shows a Gustavus Vaughn, age three, the right age in the right family to be my David Vaughn. The 1860 Livingston County census lists him as David A. Vaughn.   He is listed as David Vaughn on his own death certificate and as David or Dave Vaughn  on the death certificates of several of his children. His name was given as David Vaughn when he married Sarah E. Myers in 1872 and Margaret C. Riley in 1875. It was still David Vaughn in a court case in 1876, in court minutes of the 1890s and finally, in his will dated 1917.

So, was his name David Gustavus, David A. or just David Vaughn.  Could it have been David Gustavus A. Vaughn, after a prominent doctor, Gustavus A. Brown, who lived and died in Smithland? There is no proof and without proof, I will have to be satisfied with calling him just David Vaughn.

Middle names can provide clues to ties with family and friends, but they can also cause us to follow false leads, especially when only an initial is used.


[1] "Chester C. Cole," DrakeApedia, <>, accessed 25 May 2015.

Published 28 May 2015, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Monday, May 25, 2015

Happy Memorial Day

Although there had been local observances held as early as 1866 in both the North and the South, Memorial Day was established in 1868 by the head of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) as a time for our country to honor those who had died in war by decorating their graves with flowers. The first large observance was held at Arlington National Cemetery with Gen. and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant and other officials presiding over the ceremonies. Children from the Soldiers' and Sailors' Orphan Home and GAR members placed flowers on the graves of Union and Confederate veterans.

It wasn't until 1971 that Memorial Day became a national holiday. Some southern states also observe Confederate Memorial Day, honoring the fallen dead of the Confederacy. Today we continue to honor our departed loved ones - veterans or not - by decorating their graves with flowers

U.S. Dept. of Veteran Affairs, <> accessed 12 March 2015

Image courtesy

Published 25 May 2015, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Reminder ...

Just a friendly, but firm reminder that this blog is under copyright. What this means is that photos and text on this blog may not be copied and used on your blog or website or in a book you are compiling. You are welcome to provide a link from your site to this blog, however.

I realize that many times copyright violations are the result of "eagerness" to share what is found, but serious researchers want to be known for the work they do themselves and not what they have lifted from another site.  If you aren't sure about using material, ask the owner.

Published 23 May 2015, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog, 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Death of William Calhoun Love's Daughter

For those of you who descend from William Love, who was murdered by the Harpe Brothers, and Love's son, William Calhoun Love, I came across an obituary[1] that might be of interest. It appears that William Calhoun's daughter, Josephine, moved from Caldwell County, Kentucky to Evansville, Indiana.

"Many will learn with regret of the death of Mrs. Josephine J. Caldwell, wife of Mr. G.E. Caldwell, of this city, which occurred Sunday, March 10, about 7 p.m. Mr. and Mrs. Caldwell removed from Fredonia, Ky., to this city Dec. 14, 1899, but during their brief residence here have won many friends. She was the daughter of Rev. Wm. C. Love, one of the pioneer Cumberland Presbyterian preachers of Kentucky, whose name is still a household word in this section of the country, covered by his ministry. She was born near Fredonia, Ky., Dec. 14, 1852. Surviving her are her husband and son, Messrs. G.E. and W.B. Caldwell, of this city; two brothers, Rev. T.S. Love, St. Louis, Mo. and Mr. N.M. Love, Salem, Ky., and a sister, Mrs. Endocia McChesney, Shady Grove, Ky. The funeral will be from the family residence on Washington avenue, and will be conducted by Rev. T.A. Wigginton, of the First Cumberland Presbyterian Church of which the deceased was a consistent member."

Oak Hill Cemetery records[2] show Josephine J. Caldwell is buried in Section 24, Lot 22.

[1] Evansville Journal, Tuesday, 12 March 1901, page 7.
[2] Oak Hill Cemetery (Evansville, Indiana) burial records,, accessed 18 May 2015.

Published 21 May 2015, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Tombstone Tuesday - Melva and William Sefrit

Melva B.
1921 - 2011

1918 - 1965
Married Jan. 28, 1940

Buried Lola Cemetery, Livingston County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 12 December 2011.

Melva Blanche Sefrit was the youngest daughter of Herman Croft and Nettie C. Vaughn of Salem. William "Buck" Sefrit was the son of Weldon Sefrit and Sarah A. Wilson.

They were my aunt and uncle.

Published 19 May 2015, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Friday, May 15, 2015

Friday's Facts - Lyon County, Kentucky

Lyon County, Kentucky had a population of 8,451 in 2013. The county seat is Eddyville, which has the distinction of having been the county seat of three different counties - Livingston County from 1799-1804, Caldwell County in 1809 and finally, Lyon County when it was established in 1854. The population of Eddyville in 2010 was 2,554.  Eddyville had a shipbuilding business on the Cumberland River during the first decade of the 1800s.[1]

[1] Agreement between James Lyon and James Gillespie, master builder at "lower ship yard in Eddyville," Livingston County Deed Book A:204, dated 15 March 1806.

Published 15 May 2015, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Tombstone Tuesday - E.W. Nation

E.W. Nation
Nov. 6, 1838

His Wife
Feb. 13, 1844
Aug. 7, 1919

His Wife
Mar. 6, 1842
Oct. 20, 1870
Sleep on Mother and take your rest
God called you home. He thought it best
While Mother sleeps beneath the sod
Her [?]  dwell with God

Buried Deer Creek Cemetery, Crittenden County, Kentucky, Tombstone photographed 7 November 2014.

According to death certificate #557, Ephraim W. Nation was the son of John Nation and -- Grigry and was born in Jackson County, Tennessee. He died 28 January 1928 Crittenden County. E.W. Nation first married Mrs. Cassandria Bird 13 February 1859 in Crittenden County and then married Mrs. Nancy Margelin. Kentucky death certificate #2293 of Nancy Nation lists her father as Ben Curnell, born Tennessee. When Ephraim W. Nation died in 1928, his death certificate shows he was married to Clara Nation. The 1920 Crittenden County census lists him as married, but he was living alone.

Published 12 May 2015, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,