Blogging Prompts, Gifford, Montgomery Line, Surname Saturday

Surname Saturday – Congdons

Genealogical statistics are interesting:  How many records are currently in your genealogical database? (103,036). Which individual lived the longest, assuming the birth and death dates are correct?  (Elizabeth Waters, age 113). What is the highest number of children in any one family?  (20). What are some of the strangest family names found?  (Preserved Fish and Grizzel Spratt). And finally, which surname appears most often in your family tree? (Congdon).

The Congdon surname appears 2142 times; of these individuals, 1132 are male and 1009 female.  The earliest appearance was in 1610 and the most recent in 1992. Interestingly, the closest relationship between me and any of these 2142 individuals is third cousin 8 times removed; no direct ancestors are named Congdon.

Our Congdon connection begins with Ann Gifford, my 2nd cousin 9 times removed (her great-grandfather was my 10G-grandfather), who was born in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, on June 5, 1715.  At age 16 she married William Congdon, then twenty years old, and the couple had fourteen children between 1733 and 1755. In October 1755 William died, leaving Ann to raise their children on her own.  She lived another 40 years, dying February 3, 1795 in North Kingstown.

Somewhat unusually, it appears that most of the 14 3rd cousins 8 times removed lived to adulthood. The next to youngest, Yelverton, lived only 8 months, but a number of others lived into their 80s and 90s. For a few, images of their headstones can be found on the Find-a-Grave website, and traces of their history can be found in Rhode Island and elsewhere.

Blogging Prompts, Cemeteries, Census, Friday's Faces From the Past, Montgomery Line, Research, Wilson

Friday’s Faces from the Past – Rita Blanche Walker

In Grandma and Grandpa Montgomery’s house there were two photographs that fascinated me from an early age and sparked my interest in family history. One was the family portrait of grandma’s mother Sophie with her parents and siblings. The one posted here was the other. I was intrigued by the perfectly smooth ringlets and the giant hair bow – no one in 1986 could get away with looking like that.

Grandma told me a little more about the photo, and I memorized every detail – the photo shows Grandma’s first cousin, Rita Blanche Walker, when she was twelve years old. I later pieced together more of Rita’s history – she was the daughter of Ross and Carolyne Blanch (Wilson) Walker and was born, according to the 1920 census, between 1912 and 1913 in Minnesota. Carolyne’s brother was Carl Ozro Wilson, Grandma’s father. In that census and in 1930, Rita and her parents were living in Grass Range, Montana; by 1930 Rita’s younger sister Jessie M., born about 1920, had joined the family. By 1940 Carolyne was recently widowed and now living in Polson, Montana, with both Rita and Jessie still at home.  Jessie, 19, is listed as a grocery sales clerk, and Rita, 27, as an English teacher earning $1200 yearly. She had completed three years of college.

Ross and Carolyne’s grave appears on the Find-a-Grave website, listed in Polson’s Lakeview Cemetery.  Rita’s history after 1940, however, remains a mystery. As for her photo, as well as that of Grandma’s mother and family? Both are safely here with me.