December 21, 2014

1917 Ethel Mae and Lillie Mae Vitatoe Yates Die From Burns In Fireplace Accident

Walter, Lillie & Ethel Mayfix


It’s always serendipitous how new family information comes to light in the most innocent of ways. A few days ago I received a message from “Louise” through the FindAGrave site. Louise had asked me to change a Yates grave location from Ponders cemetery in Roane, Tennessee to reflect that it actually was in the Kelsay cemetery in the same county.

As it turned out, Louise and I determined that all of the Yates family graves that she had added in Kelsay/Kelsey cemetery were my family members, so she was kind enough to transfer them to me.

So, now I’m in the process of checking each new memorial, connecting it to other family members when it’s possible, and downloading photos of headstones if they are new to me.

As I download new photos I can upload them to my Yates Family Tree on Ancestry.com , add my own photos to FindAGrave and/or to Ancestry as well.

One of the families I have been able to add information for was my great grand uncle Walter Jackson Yates and his first wife Lillie Mae and their daughter Ethel Mae. It’s quite a sad story really. Walter and Lillie (Vitatoe) had two boys James Steven and Samuel Joseph, and then the youngest was the little baby girl Ethel born 23 December 1916. I’m not sure yet of the full details of the accident, but there was a fire and little 3 month old Ethel was burned so badly that her shoelaces were completely gone. (I’m citing that because it was something my great aunt Martha Yates Scott wrote in her memoir. She was in direct contact with some of the Yates family in Tennessee at the time.) Lillie must have tried to save her and in the process she too was burned and died from her injuries.

Walter, Lillie & Ethel Mayfix

The picture of them is the only one our family has of the three of them together. What I didn’t have before, and what I have now is a photo of the homemade headstone for Lillie and Ethel. This family was the epitome of being dirt poor, but someone, maybe Walter, found a large piece of stone and it looks like he lovingly scratched his wife and baby’s names and dates as best he could.

Ethel and Lillie Yates headstone

In the “It Pays To Look Again” department, I had added Lillie and Ethel’s birth and death information, but since then more documents have become available through Ancestry, and so this death certificate for Ethel showed up in a search. I think I can read part of it, but the writing is so light I’m not sure what it really says.  I think it says “Caught in bedding ___ fire grate”.  This happened in February of the year and most likely the only source of heat was a fireplace.  Today, I found the death certificate for Lillie Mae Vitatoe Yates which helps me document names and dates. Previously, I didn’t have Lillie’s birthdate.

TennesseeDeathRecords1908-1958ForEthelYates

TennesseeDeathRecords1908-1958ForLillieMaeYates

Rest in peace Lillie and little Ethel. We have not forgotten you! redheart2

How To Use Genealogy Criteria To Improve Your General Communication Skills

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Make Yourself Understood

When I first began doing genealogical research I was participating in online message boards and mailing lists. One of the things that really became apparent to me early on was that I needed to be specific to make myself understood for the best communication results.

For instance, if I was in a chat room it was imperative to say for whom I was looking, where they had lived and what time frame. Subject lines needed to include surname, location, and possible years, etc.: “YATES, Roane, TN 1840-1918” is one example. On message boards and mailing lists, it was much the same, but I could also include more in-depth information such as collateral names, etc.

Who, Why, What, When and Where

I’ve noticed in this era of shortened messages via Twitter or texting, many people don’t make themselves specific enough when speaking verbally to one another. I know they are trying to be expeditious and get their thoughts out while they have them fresh in their minds, but really, you are short changing yourself and your listener to leave out some facts. The “who, why, what, when, where” of old should always apply.

So, if you are speaking to someone, even if it not about genealogy, make sure you include whom you are speaking of, the location you are citing, and give some sort of time frame at the very least. Example: “When I was in Howell County, Missouri in 1972 I didn’t get to see any of my Yates, Pentecost or Smith cousins because we were just passing through West Plains and I was just picking up a postcard for my grandpa Will Yates who was then living in Washington State, but was born in the Brandsville area.”

Many times, my conversations with family and friends just leave me more confused as they jump from one person to another. It might be their style of conversation, but my advice is, Slow Down and think about what the other person might be hearing. If you get to the end of your story and people look puzzled, or need to ask for clarification, you need to spend extra time thinking about how you present your thoughts.

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Herbert Hadley Harbeston 20 May 1910 – 23 Dec 2012

I may have met Herb and his wife Fran many years ago during my childhood, but my first real recollection of them was at the home of my great aunt Martha’s son Claude when we attended an after funeral gathering of family at Claude and Billy’s home in Tacoma, Washington. Fran was my cousin through the Yates family, her mother being Myra Yates who was an older sister to my grandfather Will Yates. Myra had married Joe Prantl 30 December 1908 in West Plains, Missouri.

tintypes

It seemed like the only time I would see Fran and Herb was at funerals. Fran passed away in 1996, just a couple months before my dad did in June. I began communicating by letter with Herb (he had hearing loss, so telephoning was out of the question) because my dad, for whatever reason, had given Fran some tintypes that my grandpa had brought back with him when it made a trip to Tennessee in the early 1910’s. I was working on our family tree at a pretty good clip at that point and since Fran had passed away (she too had been doing some family genealogy at one time) I asked Herb if I could get the tintypes back from him for our family photo records. He agreed, and we drove all the way over to Soap Lake, WA to get them.

We had a wonderful visit with Herb, his sister-in-law Tracy and Tracy’s husband Rick (Herman) Richardson, and my brother Dave and wife Kathy who had traveled along with us that day.

Through the years we have stayed in touch with Herb until his Alzheimer’s condition made things more difficult for him. At one of the facilities he was in years ago, he greeted us warmly and admitted he didn’t know who we were, but he was grateful that we had come to see him. I think that will tell you just how warm and loving he was. Herb was a centenarian of the first order!

English: Oroville Dam, CA from the air, high w...

English: Oroville Dam, CA from the air, high water unknown date (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Just a little side note: Working as an engineer and concrete inspector, Herb was involved in the building of the Oroville Dam in Oroville, California.

Herbert Harbeston Obituary

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1983 Article By Mike Contris – Olympian Newspaper Columnist

Bordeaux article by Contris

Mike Appreciated My Dad’s Remembrances Of Old Bordeaux, WA

This may be a repeat post, but I couldn’t find a previous one in my blogs, so I’m sharing the article by former Olympia, WA columnist Mike Contris again. As you can see it was first published in 1983. The reason I’m sharing it is because the Bill Yates mentioned in the article is my dad. My dad passed away in 1996; Mike Contris passed away in 1985. © Carol Yates Wilkerson 2012

Clicking on the image should make it visible full sized.

 

 

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