Monday, April 20, 2009

Secrets, Part 3

Have you ever been to a beach?  Having always lived near the coast of Texas, I sometimes take it for granted.  I love the sand between my toes, the wind blowing in my hair, the sun's warmth on my face, but most of all, I like the sound and sight of the waves as they break upon the beach.  It's a consistent and comforting melody that soothes my soul.  [In fact while we're talking about secrets, my secret fantasy is to have my own that would be cool...maybe I could take over the Caroline Islands or the Marshall Islands...]

Galveston Island, Texas has a unique history.  Some of it's more colorful players in that history include the Karankawa Indians, the explorer Cabeza De Vaca, the pirate Jean Lafitte and his merry bandits [O.K., not so merry, but definitely bandits & no, none of them were "my pirate" - a story for another time] as well as the many immigrants that came through looking for a new home in a new land.  The Port of Galveston ushered in over 133,000 people into the United States.  [If you're ever in the neighborhood, go to the Texas Seaport Museum, a wonderful place that depicts the history of Galveston - my family loved it, and it has a database of all the passenger lists for those who came through Galveston.]  Sometimes I think about what those immigrants saw and felt when they came off that ship. [I'd imagine that a fair share probably kissed the solid ground and were thankful to be off the ship that had carried them here.]  I wonder, though for those who stayed on Galveston Island to make their new home, if they saw the same things that I do when I'm here - that miraculous sunrise over the Gulf of Mexico and that stunning sunset over the bay in the vast Texas sky.  Did they, too, like the sound of the waves and the salty smell of the breeze?
Though my grandfather, Joseph Marshall was born on Galveston Island, Texas 17 Jun 1895/96, he lived most his life in San Antonio, Texas.  In my last post, I explored what I could find out about him on the little bit of info that my dad had shared with me before my dad died.  Here's what I had/found:
1. In addition to his birth date & place, he'd died 29 Jul 1968 in San Antonio, Texas.
2. His father's name was probably John Marshall.
3. He bought/sold/rented/wrecked homes/buildings/land in San Antonio, Texas.
4. Slight chance that he married a woman by the name of Emma Rosin in San Antonio, Texas.
5. He was a WWI vet with a bronze Victory Medal.
6. Was 17-18 years older than my grandma [who was not named Emma - definitely old enough to have had a first marriage, though.]
7. Slight chance he may have been a tree surgeon & possibly involved in landscaping - but not likely - maybe.
8. Was possibly excommunicated from the Catholic Church [just a vague recollection, though].
9.  He was a fisherman or fished at one time in Galveston, Texas...whatever that means.
Lots of "maybe's", "possible's", and "slight chance's," but definitely better than a blank piece of paper [unless, of course, it's all wrong...bite my tongue...]
There was one thing that I'd forgotten to check while we were "in" San Antonio, and that was my grandfather's Social Security Death Index entry.  Luckily, it was pretty easy to find.  I was kind of suprised though to find that his birth year was 1893 - not 1895/96 that had been previously reported.  The lack of any other Joseph Marshall's who died on the same day in San Antonio who was also born in Texas and whose last residence's zip code was my grandmother's zip code as well as the same zip code / quadrant of San Antonio that my grandfather did land transactions in, led me to believe that this was indeed his entry in the SSDI...So, now I have 3 possible birth years...This new one though does coincide with the 1 of 2 Joseph Marshall's found in the 1920 census in San Antonio.  Remember, the tree surgeon married to an Emma, both of the same age?  So, we'll see...
To recap, I wasn't able to find my grandfather in the 1930 census in San Antonio, and as I just mentioned, he may have been the Joseph Marshall married to an Emma, possibly an Emma Rosin [Remember, the marriage record in San Antonio that I found?]  According to that 1920 census of this Joseph and Emma, Joseph was born in Texas as were his parents.  This Emma was born in Texas, while both parents were born in Germany.  So, since I wasn't sure if this was my grandfather or not in 1920 and even though he'd entered the Army in 1918 in San Antonio, I decided to look in the Galveston, Texas census for 1920 anyway.  There were no likely candidates for the position, so to speak.
I then turned to the 1910 census in Galveston, Texas, and there I found a Joseph Marshall.  Well, at least on  Heritage Quest and the actual microfilmed copy on both databases have it spelled "Marschall" indicating that the transcriber for the database might have got it wrong, which happens.  [However, it usually isn't in my favor...]  There were no other Joseph Marshall's on Galveston Island in the correct age range in 1910.  The only closest one was in Fayette County, but I thought it best to go the Galveston route because I didn't have any indication that my grandfather had resided in Fayette County...[a possibility for later maybe, if at all].  This Joseph Marschall was 17yo and the only other "Marschall" in the household was a Mary [15yo].  The head of household was Pete Legatos and his wife was Nettie [24yo].  Joseph and Mary were listed as Pete's brother-in-law and sister-in-law, respectively.  Meaning that they were Nettie's younger siblings.  All three of them had listed their father as being born in Pru-Polish [Prussia] and their mother, Texas. 
Also, remember that vague fishing/fisherman memory that my dad had of my grandfather?  Well, guess what Pete Legatos and Joseph Marschall did for a living?  Yup!  They were fisherman on their "own boat".  Of course, this is an island, and fishing is a big industry here...Do you do jigsaw puzzles?  My family and I do.  You know those irritating pieces that "look" like they fit, but they don't and you want to pound them in and make 'em fit?  Yeah, that's how I felt at this point...
The 2 main discrepancies that are evident between these 2 Joseph Marshall's are the name spelling and the difference in the father's birthplace...Keeping in mind the census is subject to error due to the person giving the info, enumerator errors, and trancription errors [as shown above], I decided to "plug along" with this family for awhile.  [Besides, I didn't have any other likely Joseph Marshall's to follow in the vicinity...]  I also was encouraged by the "finds" in the 1910 census.

Basically, I was left with a lot of questions, but one was bugging me the most.  If [& I do mean if] this was my grandfather and his siblings, where were their parents and any possible other siblings?  In my ignorance, I didn't look any further in the 1910 census for any other "Marschall's".  I assumed that if this Joseph and Mary were - at kind of a young age - living with their older sister and not their parents that something had happened to the parents.  [I now know not to assume anything...]  Instead, I shot back to the 1900 census in Galveston.  Guess who I found living with their family on a farm on the island?...Right!  Nettie, Joseph, and Mary [ages matched the ages in the 1910 census].  Again, here the surname was Marschall, not Marshall.
There were a  few minor discrepancies, but was this my grandfather's family?  Was this my grandfather, Joseph Marshall / Marschall?  [Anyone...?]

1 comment:

  1. This is so exciting! One of my grandfather's is a mystery too.


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