Childhood Companions

Summers in Dodge City meant playing Crawford-David-b1953-1962-Becky-Terry-Susieoutdoors with one or all of other neighborhood kids: Becky, Sherry, Jimmy, Kirby, Shelly, Cheryl, Billie, Dana, Brett, or Margie. Whether in our yard, their yard or everyone’s yard, we were usually accompanied by our dog, Susie. I have no recollection of Susie as a puppy. Nor do I remember when we got her. She was just a part of the family — until the summer of 1965. During that summer, Susie went to the vet while we went on vacation. However, Susie never came home from the vet. Needless to say, tears were shed over the loss of this childhood friend.

About the time, I was in 4th grade, we added a small black kitten to the family — Blackie. Blackie and Susie soon became friends. Blackie was an indoor / outdoor cat. He would sleep with me at night but was free to go in and out as he wanted. When he was young, we tried to put a collar with a bell on him. One day he had disappeared and we thought he was lost. Later in the day, he came hobbling home — with his paw caught in the collar. That was the last time he wore a collar in Dodge City.

Blacky_LincolnDuring the summer of 1965, Blackie made the trip with us to Lincoln, Nebraska. He rode in a cage in the back of the (un-air conditioned) station wagon. The vet had recommended that we use a tranquilizer with Blackie so that he would handle the ride. Well, Blackie howled most of the way from Dodge City, Kansas to Lincoln, Nebraska. Needless to say, the tranquilizer didn’t work.


The city of Lincoln had a leash law for cats. Thus, Blackie had to wear a collar again and could only go out while on a leash. We had a clothesline going across most of the back yard. Blackie’s leash was attached to this line so that he could move across most of the yard. A family of squirrels lived in the large tree at the back of the yard. These squirrels loved to taunt Blackie. Blackie tricked one of the squirrels into coming too close and killed the squirrel. After that, the squirrels left Blackie alone.

According to dad, Blackie made the drive from Lincoln to Emporia without howling!


Who Is Jenny Neal?

This weeks Finally Get Organized checklist deals with applying the Genealogical Proof Standard to four generations on my Crawford line. Basically this involves evaluating the quantity (reasonably exhaustive search) and quality of sources for these four generations. The second part of the task is to re-evaluate how those sources support the events in each life and whether a source or sources raises additional questions about that persons life.

Conducted a Reasonably Exhaustive Search? That should be easy, right? After all, I have¬† 75 footnotes on my dad, over 90 on my granddad and 54 on my great-granddad. Shouldn’t that be enough?

Since I have participated in the Genealogy Do-Over,¬† I was reminded of the basic research skills that I used when I first started. Knowing that I hadn’t completed a ‘checklist’ on these men since the early days of my research, I elected to resurrect that skill and complete ‘checklists’. Low and behold, I discovered that I hadn’t found my great-grandfather in the 1925 Kansas Census after it became available. I had the 1930 and 1940 census records for him but not the 1925.

Some would argue that since he and his wife lived in the same town, same house for most of their lives getting the 1925 census wouldn’t be necessary especially since I had the 1920 and 1930 records. However, reasonably exhaustive search (and my previous experience) says that every source is an important source and that the 1925 census might shed additional light on the family.

So, I set off on my trek to find the 1925 census records. In the early days of my genealogical research, this would have meant a trip to Topeka to view the microfilm. However, most of the Kansas census is now available on Ancestry, including the 1925 records. So it was off to Ancestry for a quick search to locate the record and then record the info in my database.


Not only did I find Judson Crawford exactly where I expected (504 Avenue G in Dodge City), but I found the younger children still at home. But WAIT! Who is this Jenny Neal, a twelve year old female born in Kansas? Since NEAL sounded like a surname I had data on, it was off to RootsMagic to try and figure out who this young lady might be.

I did find some NEALs in my data but from over 100 years earlier. Could she be descended from them? It’s possible since a lot of the family migrated to Dodge City. Could she be related to Judson’s wife, Josie. That’s another possibility but I don’t have anything to indicate that relationship. Could Jenny’s father be a deceased railroad worker that the Crawford family took in? That’s another possibility since Judson worked for the railroad and was an active member of the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen.

So, the next step is to try and learn more about Jenny Neal so I can answer the question:

Who is Jenny Neal?


Tell the Stories

Thanks to RootsTech 2016’s live streaming and YouTube channel, I have been able to follow along while being #notatrootstech. Even though this is a technology conference for genealogists, the general sessions have a much broader appeal since they have a family story telling focus. This was especially true of Friday’s Keynote session by Bruce Feiler.

In his presentation, Bruce pointed out that telling the family stories has a tremendous impact on the children.

  • telling the story of successes – particularly the night before a big event helps a child be more successful at that event
  • telling the story of times where adversary was faced and overcome helps children face hard times both as a child and later in adult years
  • telling family stories during trips helps embed memories of the trip in a child

Are you telling your family stories?

Watch Bruce Feiler’s presentation: