Saturday, September 10, 2011

Doing the 'Happy Dance'

We kept hitting a brick wall on my husband's fathers side of the family. Even with the internet and all the sites for family trees and document sites we just couldn't find his Dad's family to verify or disprove all the 'word of mouth' info we had..
His grandmother had several children with different 'husbands'. We found info on her family because she came from a large prominent family but her relationship with my husband's grandfather was not verified. We had documents of two of her children that noted him as the father using his last name but couldn't find him anywhere.
Rumor was he was 'from' Canada. Another barrier.
Finally we had a chance to travel near the area a marriage between them may be documented. We found a place to park very close to the courthouse, everyone was open and friendly to us. The registrars office was homey and welcome. Most of the computers were being used. Just a very good experience compared to others we've had.
Then we found his grandmother's name and started pulling up the documents. Whoa! We found a marriage application and marriage between his grand parents. So it did happen! We almost did the 'Genealogy Happy Dance' right there in that office.
We had heard vague good and bad things about his Dad's family. But now we know it wasn't because of an illegitimacy stigma.
When we got started looking at the application document we were in shock. Not only had they applied but the names of his grandfathers parents, their birthplace and that they were deceased at the time were noted. His grandfathers place of residence and his occupation were marked. Were these items fact? We would have to verify.
There were multiple 'eye openers' in the first few lines. The document was filled in by hand and being a copy was in places hard to decipher. They did not give access to the originals so we had to rely on the computer copies and the enlargement on screen.
Immediately we noted that three things on the left side of the document , the male applicant's side,  were not at all what we had heard. The surnames were not what we expected. His grandfather's name was either misunderstood by the person doing the documentation or just not what we had been told for years. Did his grandfather have an accent or was not fluent in English? Maybe French Canadian? Then in scrolling down we found my husband's surname was listed as his great-grandmother's maiden name. We were told at one time his father had a falling out with his dad and changed the spelling of his last name. The problem being the grandfather's name on the document is the last half of his mother's maiden name, the confusion gets more complicated and our happy dance moment is a whole new set of info to search for and verify.

My husband's surname is Kayhart. We were told his grandfathers name was Earl Kahart and that Earl's son added a y to his surname. What we think is  found is Earl K. Hart on this document.  J.K. Hart listed as Earl's father and possibly Mollie or Millie Kayhart on the mother site. Earl's place of birth is hard to read. But looking at the father's place of birth it  looks similar to it and more like Ontario!?  But are those words after each of these places  shorthand for Canada? The only possible C on the document to compare it to is on the females Dad's occupation. It  appears as though he was a carpenter. And what was Earl's occupation? Only more mysteries to unravel.
        What does it look like to you? 


  1. What an exciting find! For me, every time I find someone I've been looking for for a long time, I end up with lots more questions. Looks like it's the same for you in this circumstance. What a puzzle.

    Yes, I'd say that's "Can" after Ontario.

    Have you thought to look for a marriage announcement in a local newspaper? I don't know what newspapers are available for Kittanning during that time period and I can't remember Armstrong County's county seat, but it might be worth a look.

  2. Thanks for the hint.
    My husband loves looking through old newspaper records. He found some info regarding Ida's family in the obituaries! We'll have to check the wedding announcements.
    The courthouse is in Kittanning.


    There is a great library in the town of Kittaning. They are only open three days a week, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. All sorts of books are avaliable and the staff is excellent.
    I have been there a few times myself.

  4. Thanks for the info. I bookmarked the website you noted. My husband will be happy to hear this info. I see they have genealogical material. Great! Our wonderful 'user friendly' experience noted above was at the Kittanning Court House! Thanks again.