My cousin, Terese Gay Fuller, inspired me to start research on her Fuller side of the family. Terese’s mother and my mother were sisters; the daughters of William Spencer Barnard and Alvateen Oglesby. My mother married Russell Raymond Lemon. Terese’s mother married Richard Smith Fuller. It’s his side of the family I’ve been spending the last two days on.
I’m never satisfied with simply the names of the parents and children. Once I start a family I investigate all of them and go back as far as I can with each maternal and paternal side, as well as the families of the sibling’s spouses. It’s just fun for me. I can spend hours online clicking on census records, investigating other family trees to garner clues, doing Google searches for locations of birth, marriage and death records. I lose all sense of time in a very good way intellectually, but it means my housework suffers, I don’t cook and bake as much, and I forgo the pleasures of reading fiction and watching television until my butt is sore and needs a rest from sitting.
I was searching Terese’s father’s maternal line, the Smiths, and uncovered the story of two German girls from Iowa. Richard Smith Fuller’s mother was Frances Margaret Smith, the daughter of Claude Smith and Mabel Viola Whip. While the Whips family was very interesting, the Smiths were more so, mostly because of the challenges involved in finding the right Smith family. Claude Smith was the son of Thomas Edward Smith, born 1853 in Spring Arbor, Jackson County, Michigan, to John O. Smith and Sarah Holcomb. He married Mary Emeline McIntyre in Mason County, Michigan, in 1877. Mary died after 29 years of wedded bliss and Thomas remarried a woman named Josephine Magarle, who was born in Iowa. The dates of her birth vary quite considerably from the census of 1870 to her death in 1937. In 1870, she’s living with her parents, Joseph and Emma Soellinger Magarle in Keokuk, Lee County, Iowa. Her parents are listed as being born in Germany. Josephine is the youngest child, the 2nd daughter born to this couple. Her big sister, Emma, is listed as being born in New York, probably where the parents landed upon their arrival from Germany, or maybe they landed in Canada and made their way down to New York from there. I haven’t found any documentation on their journey. Josephine was 10 in 1870, with her birth year estimated to be 1860 and born in Iowa. Emma was 13, born about 1857. Joseph was a tailor, Emma Sr. was a housewife. Joseph died on the 24th of July in 1880, and is buried in Oakland Cemetery in Keokuk. The next time the Magarle family is found they are living in Kansas City, Missouri in 1900. The daughters are still living with their mother and the places they were born are the same, but their ages have magically moved downward; Emma is said to have been born in 1871, still in New York, and Josephine, while still born in Iowa, now has a birth year of 1874, making her 26 instead of 40. Mother Emma works as a cashier, the two daughters are teachers. Mother Emma died in Kansas City in 1904 and was buried beside her husband in Keokuk. The girls simply disappeared.
I found Josephine first in the 1910 census for Eaton Rapids, Eaton County, Michigan, though I didn’t know anything about her, just the name, Josephine, listed as the wife of Thomas Edward Smith. “Maggie”, as Mary Emeline McIntyre Smith had been known as, had been dead since 1906, so I knew it wasn’t her. Dale L. Smith, the son of Maggie and Thomas Edward, was still living with his father and Josephine in 1910, so I was sure I had the right Thomas Smith, but who was Josephine? I searched Familysearch.org and found Thomas had married Josephine Magerle in November of 1908. Ah. I added her with her particulars to the family tree and then started trying to find where she’d come from. It said on the census that she was born in Iowa, her parents were born in Germany. Magerle as a German surname is not common to me, and I’ve researched many German families here in Michigan and beyond; both for my own family and for siblings, aunts, uncles, and parents of my family’s “married into” side. Unfortunately, Magerle is also easy to misspell. But I did find the women first in Kansas City, which gave me Josephine’s mother’s name. Using that I was able to find them in 1870 in Iowa. That’s when I learned that Kansas City has the remarkable effect of shaving whole decades off your age! 😉
Thomas E. Smith died in 1942. I found him in the 1930 census but not the 1920. As he’s living in the same place in 1910 and 1930, this will mean going through each photo of the 1920 census until I find him. Josephine died in 1937 in Jackson, Jackson County, Michigan. Her body (or ashes) were shipped to Keokuk, Iowa and is buried near her mother and father. Thomas is buried beside Maggie in Eaton Rapids.