03 February 2014

52 Ancesetors #2 Abraham Vanderpool

52 Ancestors #2: Abraham Vanderpool and Martha Thomas Fannon

Researching one particular surname in American records — dating from the 1640s — is a big undertaking. Luckily, I have had a number of cousins who have worked with me on this project for years. We now have a large database with more than 20,000 individuals included. The project is similar to one in Britain called The Guild of One-Name Studies, but less formal. http://www.one-name.org/index.html

I enjoy helping cousins find their Vanderpool connections whenever I can, but it is amusing when someone will ask me for help and naively say something like “my great-grandpa was John Vanderpool, please send me what you have on him.” I then have to explain that I need more information in order to find their great-grandpa, as John is one of the most popular given names in our family. Sometimes, even a birth year or the wife’s name is not enough to pluck him from the pack. Knowing where (the state or county/state) he was born, married or died is occasionally required.

Recently I found a reference to an Abraham Vanderpool in an old Kansas City newspaper article. We have 52 Abrahams in our database, including two named Abraham Lincoln, but the newspaper gave his age and where he was from, which helped narrow the search considerably. What surprised me is that we did not have this marriage in our database, but we have information on his other two wives and his 13 children by them. Here’s the newspaper article, dated 4 April 1909 from the Kansas City Journal:

                            OLD SOLDIER A BRIDEGROOM.
          Abraham Vanderpool Confesses to 70, While His Bride is 44.

Abraham Vanderpool, an old soldier of Liberty, Mo., who modestly gave his age as 70, took out a license yesterday to wed Mrs. Martha Ann Fannon of Kansas City. She confessed to 44. The marriage ceremony was performed last night at the home of Mrs. Khoves, daughter of the bride, 225 West Sixteenth Street.


Don’t you love old newspapers? So now I have everything about this Abraham Vanderpool. Right? Wrong. He married for the third time in 1909, but I have been unable to locate him in the 1910 census. I don’t know if he died between 1909 and that enumeration, or if I just haven’t found him and his bride yet in various records. Of course, the hunt goes on because some genealogists can’t leave loose ends dangling.

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