My Birthday is the Perfect Day to Honor my Ancestors

September 19th is not only my birthday, but a day I dedicate to all the ancestors in my family tree. Why this particular day? Without their blood, endurance, strength, and tears there would be no “me,” or a birthday on this day to celebrate.

I often wonder what my ancestors would think if they could see, hear, and be near me in this time and place on September 19, 2020. Well . . . I’d like to believe that the t-shirt I wore today below captures their thoughts and then some . . .Don’t you agree?

I Am My Ancestors' Wildest Dreams

Wordless Wednesday: Willie Taylor and His Great-Grandchildren

Well, almost wordless  . . .

This is one of my favorite photos of my grandfather with his beloved great-grandchildren!

Great-grandchildren featured (l. to r.) are Nichelle Taylor, Nia Taylor, Marcus Bowie, and Nicole Taylor. Photo taken by John W. Taylor, 1981

The two great-grandsons who were not at his home the day this picture was taken were — Victor Taylor and Michael Baker.

Willie Taylor definitely enjoyed visits with his great-grandchildren! He especially liked teasing those great-granddaughters by calling them little boys. Of course whenever they would strongly object to being called boys, he would start a playful argument with them about why they were most definitely little boys. Being his only grand-daughter, I know how they felt. When I was their age, he called me a little boy too! I tell you those playful arguments with him about your gender could last for hours, which was exactly why he started this argument with you in the first place — LOL!

Mystery Monday: Searching for Lewis Chappel (Part 2)

Taking a Closer Look

Even though I did not find my great-grandparents enumerated as a family the first time I looked for them in the 1920 Census, I just could not dismiss this gut feeling I had that I really needed to visit that record AGAIN! When I think about everything they experienced in 1910 — the loss of a child and moving two or three different times — another look for them in the 1920 census just seemed so necessary. Well, I’m glad I did! I found them, not as I expected to find them, but . . . I found them!

In the city of Houston I found my great-grandmother Carrie and my grandfather Joseph together . . .

Carrie and Joseph Chappell in the 1920 US Census
Carrie and Joseph Chappell, 1920 US Census


Enumerated on the 20th day of February 1920, this  U. S. Federal Census reports living in the Pinehurst Addition of Houston, Harris County, Texas dwelling #454 was: [1]

Line 22:  Carrie Chappel, head of household, owner of the mortgaged home she lived in, age 35, a widow, born in Texas as were her parents, works as a Laundress for a Private Family

Line 23: Joseph Chappel, son, age 17, single, born in Texas as were his parents, works as a Laborer for a Railroad Company

In another Texas city, I found my great-grandfather  Lewis . . .

Lewis Chappell in 1920 Census
Lewis Chappel, 1920 US Census


Enumerated on the 3rd day of January 1920, this  U. S. Federal Census reports living as a boarder at 2426 Avenue J, Galveston, Galveston County, Texas was: [2]

Line 38:  Lewis Chappel, black male age 36, married, born in Texas as were his parents, works as a Laborer in the Compress Industry

Reviewing Ancestor Data
Review Data for Clues and New Information

WOW . . . this is interesting stuff!

As I take a closer look at both of these 1920 census records, I cannot help but think there may be “trouble” in the marriage of my great-grandparents!

  • Widow?!
    My great-grandmother obviously told the enumerator that she was a widow! But that wasn’t true at all because my great-grandfather was very much alive and well living just 50 miles away (by car) in the city of Galveston, Texas. Not to mention that I have not been able to find, to date, any record of my great-grandfather’s death in Texas between 1910 – 1920!
  • Married boarder?!
    My great-grandfather either told the enumerator he was married, or the owner of the boarding house where he lived did. Either way, my great-grandmother and grandfather are not living there with him and it seems my great-grandmother may see this separation as a, “death,” where my great-grandfather is concerned – YIKES!
  • Something else I’ve noticed is that my great-grandfather has gone from working as a Pipe-fitter/Gas Plummer for a Gas Company in Houston in 1910, to a Laborer in the Cotton-Compress Industry in Galveston, Texas by 1920! According to The Handbook of Texas Online, [3]

The cotton-compress industry developed in antebellum Texas because of the need to lower the cost of transporting cotton on sailing vessels. . . Compressors, which reduced bales received from cotton gins to roughly half their former size, were first acquired in port. By 1860 more than $500,000 had been invested in the industry at Galveston. As cotton culture spread into the Texas hinterland after the Civil War, compresses were built in many Texas towns in addition to the port cities. The development of communications and the extension of railroads into the state’s cotton-producing regions revolutionized the Texas cotton trade.”

With “widow” and “married boarder” being the key words that jumped out at me in these two records, I’m starting to think that my great-grandparents may have separated by this time! When did this separation take place and is it permanent? I’m not sure. But what I do know is that I will need more evidence than what was reported in this record to validate a legal separation, or divorce between them.

So what’s my next resource?

I think it’s time I use city directories to track them more closely between the 1900, 1910, and 1920 census decades! Hopefully this resource will help me pinpoint the year they arrived in Houston and when my great-grandfather left for Galveston. I also hope this directory will shine a HUGE spotlight on other Chappels living in Houston at this time who just may be immediate family members of my great-grandfather!

Based on information from this 1920 census record, what new information have I added to Great-Grandfather Lewis’ profile as I continue my search for him?

o Names (given, middle, and nicknames) – Lewis Chappel, or possibly Louis Chappel (1910 Census)
o Occupations – Pipefitter for a Gas Company (1910 Census); Gass Plummer (son’s 1910 birth certificate); Laborer in Cotton-Compress Industry (1920 Census)
o Birth date and place – abt 1883, Texas, USA (1910 Census), abt 1884, Texas, USA (1920 Census)
o Age – 27 yrs old (1910 Census); 36 yrs old (1920 Census)
o Residence – 1607 Saulnier Streeet, Houston, Texas 77019 (1910 Census); 815 Schwartz Street, Houston, TX (son’s birth & death certificate); 2426 Avenue J, Galveston, Galveston County, Texas
o Family structure – married to Carrie Blanton and has 2 sons, Joseph Chappel (1910 Census); Lewis Blanton Chappel (1910-1910); separated from Carrie & Joseph (1920 Census)
o Marriage – Married Carrie Blanton abt 1903 (1910 Census)

Think we have a family connection?
Let me hear from you because  . . . I’m Claiming Kin!


Source Citation:

1. “United States Census, 1920,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 21 May 2013), Carrie Chappell, 1920.

2. “United States Census, 1920,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 21 May 2013), Lewis Chapel in entry for George Parish, 1920.

3. L. Tuffly Ellis, “COTTON-COMPRESS INDUSTRY,” Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed June 09, 2013. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Claiming Kin Virtual Cemetery at

This Memorial Day I honor my maternal and paternal ancestors (veterans and non-veterans) virtually with the launch of the – Claiming Kin Virtual Cemetery– at! [1]

Click to visit virtual cemetery online now!

I actually established this “on-going” virtual cemetery New Year’s Day of this year, but did not want to release it online until –

1) I had 20 or more ancestors listed
2) I had a chance to verify each ancestors’ connection to me and my family

The purpose of this new virtual cemetery is to link the interments of all my maternal and paternal ancestors together despite the geographical location of their graves. Those of you who have been following me for a while know  is one of my favorite online resources to use with my family research. I started creating virtual cemeteries last year with the launch of my “on-going” Chapple Family Virtual Cemetery and when I see the number of visits that post has received via my blog’s Google Analytics dashboard widget and Feedjit live traffic feed, I hope that this post about this new virtual cemetery will do just as well too!

According to the Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs, on May 5, 1865, Decoration Day was established for our nation to decorate the graves of veterans with flowers. The first observance of this federal holiday took place at the Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. But by the end of the 19th century, Memorial Day ceremonies were being held on May 30 across the United States. By 1971, the US Congress declared Memorial Day a national holiday and it was at that time that it would be observed on the last Monday in May.

With so many Americans honoring the deaths of love ones who were not veterans on Memorial Day, in December 2000 Congress passed and the president signed in to law — “The National Moment of Remembrance Act” — so that veterans are particularly not forgotten on this national day!  [2]

The National Moment of Remembrance encourages all Americans to pause wherever they are at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the nation.”

To my family and friends, have a wonderful Memorial Day and if time allows, visit a local cemetery today! If you cannot make it to an actual cemetery, then I invite you to take a virtual stroll through the Claiming Kin Virtual Cemetery by clicking the link or the graphic above; feel free to leave virtual flowers if you like!


Source Citation:

1.   Taylor-Harris, L. (2013, May 25). Claiming Kin Virtual Cemetery. Find A Grave – Millions of Cemetery Records and Online Memorials. Retrieved May 25, 2013, from

2.   U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. (2012, November 30). Memorial Day History. Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs. Retrieved May 25, 2013, from

Mystery Monday: Enumerated Twice in the 1910 Census?

Ancestry HintsWhat I enjoy most about is its intuitive search interface! After locating my great-grandparents –Lewis & Carrie (Blanton) Chappel– in the 1910 Census and adding data from that record to each of their Ancestry timelines a “shaky leaf” hint appeared! When I followed that hint, the historical record that it referred me to was for another 1910 U. S. Census entry for my great-grandmother Carrie Chappel. At first, I thought it was an entry for another “Carrie Chappel” in this record because I had already located her with her family in this same precinct and enumeration district. But upon further investigation, this entry was indeed for my great-grandmother who was enumerated twice in the 1910 Census!

Carrie [Blanton] Chappel Enumerated Twice in 1910 Census

Carrie (Blanton) Chappel Enumerated Twice in 1910 Census


Enumerated on a date not specified by the Enumerator, this 1910 U. S. Federal Census reports living at 1604 Cleveland Street, Houston 4 Ward, Harris County, Texas were: [1]

Line 70: Rosa Williams, head of household, age 24, a widow, born in Texas as were her parents, works as a Washerwoman from home, rents the house she lives in

Line 71: Alice, daughter, age 6, born in Texas as were her mother and siblings, with a father reportedly born in Missouri

Line 72: Moselle, son, age 5

Line 73: Rosie May, daughter, age 1

Line 74: Carrie Chapel, sister, age 23, married for 4 years, mother of 1 living child, born in Texas as were her parents, works as a Cook for a private family

Line 75: Daniel Spryor, male boarder, age 43, widow, born in Texas as were his parents, works as a common laborer on odd jobs, could not read or write

Reviewing Ancestor Data

Review Data for New Clues and Information


How do I know line 74 of the record above is my great-grandmother, Carrie Chappel? The head of household, Rose (Blanton) Williams, is my great aunt and one of Carrie’s younger sisters!

But there are two major questions that immediately come to mind as I take a closer look at this record:
1) Why is Carrie’s information in this record so much different from the information I have where she’s enumerated with her husband and son?
2) Didn’t Ida May Ford, the Enumerator on both census records, not recognize Carrie or at least remember counting her probably weeks before with her husband and son?

Very interesting indeed!

In the 1910 census record with her husband and son, Carrie’s entry reads: [2]

Line 37: Carrie Chappel, wife, age 27, married 7 years, mother of 1 child that’s living, born in Texas with parents reportedly born in Mississippi, has no occupation

But in this second 1910 record above, her entry reads:

Line 74: Carrie Chapel, sister, age 23, married for 4 years, mother of 1 living child, born in Texas as were her parents, works as a Cook for a private family

Big difference in information don’t you think?

But more importantly, why didn’t the Enumerator recognize Carrie or remember counting her already?

Finding ancestors enumerated more than once in census records is not uncommon. In Michael John Neill’s Genealogy Tip of the Day on 22 June 2012, he writes: [3]

Depending on their family and work situation, there is a chance that an ancestor is enumerated more than once in a census. The census was not necessarily always taken “on just one day,” so individuals who moved around the time of the census may have been listed by two enumerators. Individuals who were living in one household and working as domestic help in another may show up in twice–once in each household.”

Clearly the work situation Neill suggest above is not the reason my great-grandmother was enumerated twice in this census. So who do I think gave her information to the Enumerator? My aunt Rose of course! I say that because it appears the only accurate information given for this household in 1910 is about my aunt and her children and about the boarder, Daniel Spryor, who was living there at the time. The only accurate information given to the enumerator about Carrie was that she was married, the mother of 1 living child, and a Cook for a private family. According to family members, my great-grandmother was an AWESOME cook and did in fact work as a cook in the homes of affluent white people for many years. Why this wasn’t reported in the first record I found? I do not know, or maybe she hadn’t started working as a cook when that information was given at the time. But to explore this further, why wasn’t Joseph, her young son, not enumerated with her at this second location if she lived there? If she was married, why wasn’t Lewis her husband enumerated with her at this location as well? Another way to look at this whole scenario is . . . maybe Carrie and Lewis separated. If that is what happened, that would explain why she’s enumerated twice in this census. And . . . if that was the case, where was her son, Joseph? Was he left with his father? Very, very interesting indeed!

Some great information this second 1910 census record provided was that I had no idea that Aunt Rose and her family were living in Houston’s historic Freedmen’s Town in 1910 too! Using Google Maps, I was able to create a visual that not only helped me gain a better perspective as to where they lived in this area of the city, but I was able to see just how close they lived to one another too – 0.3 mi – just 2 – 5 minutes away on foot! [4]

The homes of ancestors Carrie Blanton Chappel and Rose Blanton Williams in 1910

Point A marks the location where  my Great-grandmother Carrie lived with her family at 1609 Saulnier Street. Point B marks the spot where Aunt Rose and her family lived at 1604 Cleveland Street in Houston’s historic Freedmen’s Town in 1910


Even though the location (1609 Saulnier Street) where my great-grandparents lived still exist today (the original 1910 house is gone, but another one very similar to it sits in its place since 1928), aunt Rose’s home is no longer there. Due to gentrification that has taken place in Freedmen’s Town over the past 15-20 years, the location where her home stood has been replatted and a water sprayground called, James Wiley Park, is located there today. This park includes a multi-colored rubber surface, with spray and ground features such as a flower, rainbow, fire hydrant activator, raining buckets, and an in-ground spray fountain. Other amenities include benches, a drinking fountain, and a basketball court (see example of a water sprayground below). [5]


Houston's Water Spraygrounds

Water Sprayground. Photo Credit: Houston Parks and Recreation Department

Have some ancestors who were enumerated twice in census records? Share your thoughts!

Think we have a family connection?
Let me hear from you because  . . . I’m Claiming Kin!

Related Posts:
Mystery Monday: Searching for Lewis Chappel (Part 1)
Blue Monday: A Devastating Loss for Lewis and Carrie Chappel in 1910
Mystery Monday: Searching for Lewis Chappel (Part 2)


Source Citation:

1. “United States Census, 1910,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 09 Apr 2013), Carrie Chapel in entry for Rosa Williams, 1910.

2. “United States Census, 1910,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 29 Mar 2013), Carrie Chappel, Houston Ward 4, Harris, Texas; citing sheet 3B, family 75, NARA microfilm publication T624, FHL microfilm 1375573.

3. Neill, M. J. (2012, June 22). Genealogy Tip of the Day: Enumerated Twice in a Census? [Web log post]. Retrieved April 14, 2013, from

4. Taylor-Harris, L. (2013, April 14). The Homes of Ancestors Carrie (Blanton) Chappel and Rose (Blanton) Williams in 1910 [Google Map]. Retrieved April 14, 2013, from

5. Water Spraygrounds. (n.d.). The City of Houston Houston Parks and Recreation Department. Retrieved April 14, 2013, from