Monday, January 5, 2015

Sisters Sharing Birthdays: Bertha Marie & Claire Elizabeth Gorrell

On this day[1] two of my husband’s aunts were born: Bertha Marie Gorrell on 4 Jan 1904[2] and Claire Elizabeth Gorrell on 4 Jan 1917.[3] Bertha was the oldest child of Joseph Norman Gorrell and Matilda Pearl Davey.[4] Claire was the youngest.[5]

With sisters having the same birthday, were there any troubles? Did Bertha get special treatment because she was the oldest, or did Claire because she was the youngest?

They were thirteen years apart in age. My guess that because of the age difference, they did not celebrate together very long. Bertha graduated from high school in May 1922 when Claire was only five.[6] Then in the fall, she attended the normal school (teacher’s college) in Pittsburg, Kansas.[7] By the fall of 1924, Bertha was teaching third grade at West Side school in Webb City.[8] She also taught school in Fredonia, Kansas in 1926.[9]

On 29 May 1928, Bertha married Francis Marion Smart in Webb City, Missouri.[10] They lived in Webb City, Okolona, Oklahoma,[11] and Pittsburg, Kansas,[12] raising 3 children.


Claire spent her childhood performing in plays or singing. At age seven, she sang a solo at a parent-teacher association program[13] and as a junior in high school played the part of Miss Burke in “Soap Suds.”[14] As an adult she continue to sing primarily in the First Christian Church choir.[15]  Claire also attended college at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls.[16] 

She married Warren Steele Ball 3 Apr 1950.[17] He worked as an auditor for the Federal Power Commission.[18] Her obituary stated she worked for “numerous businesses, universities and government agencies, including Cornell Law School, Ithaca, New York; Federal Power Commission, Washington, D.C.; McNally Manufacturing Co., Pittsburg, Kansas; People’s Bank and Trust Co., Waterloo, Iowa; the University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, Iowa; and the University of Texas, U.S. Department of Commerce, Internal Revenue Service, and Dr. J.P. Bordelon, M.D. all of Austin, Texas.[19] Claire and Warren had three children, which she raised alone after Warren’s death in 1959.



[1] Well, this blog post was started on 4 Jan 2015, but will not be finished in time to post on the 4th.
[2] “Bertha G. Smart,” The Morning Sun (Pittsburg, Kansas), Saturday, 14 Mar 1998. 
[3] “Social Security Death Index,” 1999, Claire G. Ball, ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 27 Jan 2013), citing U.S. Social Security Administration, Death Master File, database (Alexandria, Virginia: National Technical Information Service, ongoing).
[4] Kansas, Sedgwick Co, 1910 U.S. census, Wichita, ED 124, sheet 5a, dwelling 85, family 100, Joseph Gorrell,  digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com: 10 Apr 2011), citing National Archives and Records Administration, Roll: T624_456.
[5] Missouri, Jasper, 1920 U.S. census, Joplin, ED 70, p 12b, dwelling 291, family 315, Joseph N Gorrell, digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 10 Apr 2011), citing National Archives and Records Administration, T625_922.
[6] “Class Exercises Held at Webb City School,” Joplin Globe, 20 May 1922.
[7] “Webb City Briefs,” Joplin Globe, 15 Sep 1922.
[8] “Teachers Assigned by Webb City Board,” Joplin Globe, 8 Jun 1924;  “Webb City Schools Ready for Opening,” Joplin Globe, 7 Sep 1924.
[9] “Webb City Briefs,” Joplin Globe, 29 Sep 1926.
[10] “Bertha G. Smart,” obituary, The Morning Sun,  14 Mar 1998.
[11] Oklahoma, Clark Co, 1930 U.S. census, population schedule, Okolona, ED 105-5, p 5, Francis Smart, digital image,  Ancestry (http://www.ancestry.com: accessed 6 Jun 2012), citing National Archives and Records Administration T676, roll 67.
[12] Missouri, Jasper County, 1940 U.S. census, population schedule, Webb City, ED 49-38, p 18a, family 440, Francis M Smart,  digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 5 Jan 2015), citing National Archives and Records Administration, T627, roll 2118.
[13] “Webb City Briefs,” Joplin Globe,  8 Dec 1925.
[14] “Webb City Class to Stage Farce Comedy,” Joplin Globe, 26 Feb 1933.
[15] “Webb City Church to Present Pageant,” Joplin Globe,  21 Dec 1941.
[16] “Claire Elizabeth Gorrell Ball,” obituary clipping, newspaper unknown, probably in Austin, Texas, after 1 Apr 1999.
[17] I have the date, but no reference as to where it came from. Most likely from my father-in-law, George J. Gorrell, early in my genealogy research. I have searched online resources without any luck. Hopefully one of the Ball children or grandchildren will find this post and contact me.
[18] “Warren S. Ball,” Joplin Globe,  14 Jan 1959.
[19] “Claire Elizabeth Gorrell Ball,” obituary clipping, newspaper unknown, probably in Austin, Texas, after 1 Apr 1999.

Copyright © 2015 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

On this day - December 25

I checked my genealogy database calendar and found the following birthday and marriage anniversaries. I wondered how they celebrated their birthdays and marriages on Christmas. Or was Christmas the more important day? I always found it interesting that couples married on Christmas. Perhaps it was because family was altogether to help them celebrate. Or perhaps it was a day when they didn’t have to work and had time to have a wedding.

My Dad’s side:
  • Maria Catharine Trösster was born 25 December 1813 in Oberhundem, Westfalen.  Maria is my 2nd great grandmother. She was the daughter of John Joseph Trösster and Maria Elisabeth Döbener, and married Joseph Henrich Horoch 2 Aug 1825.

My Mom’s side:
  • John Stubbs Stackhouse was born 25 December 1854 in Copiah County, Mississippi.  John Stubbs Stackhouse married Laura Ellen Coor 29 Apr 1886, who was the daughter of Daniel K. Coor & Susan Allen.  Laura is my first cousin 4 times removed.
  • John Samuel Lancaster and Sue S. Manning were married 25 December 1874 in Ellis County, Texas. John Samuel Lancaster was the son of Josiah R. Lancaster & Mary Jane Land. John is my first cousin 5 times removed.
  • John Eugene Coor and Mary Margaret Lyles were married 25 December 1884 in Erath County, Texas.  John Eugene Coor was the son of James Madison Coor and Melissa Ann Welch. John is my 2nd great granduncle.
  • Laudrick Edison Coor was born 25 December 1899 in Dublin, Erath County, Texas. He was the son of Dempsey P. Coor and Mary Victoria Pair. He is my first cousin 3 times removed.

My husband’s father’s side:
  • Jesse Gorrell and Sophia May Forney were married 25 December 1828.  Jesse Gorrell was the son of James Gorrell and Sarah Milholland. He is my husband’s 2nd great granduncle.

My husband’s mother’s side:
  • Dorothea Maria Petersdotter was born 25 December 1864 in Åsenhöga, Sweden.  She was the daughter of Peter Jaënsson and Stina Cajsa Nilsdotter.  She is my husband’s first cousin 3 times removed.
  • Ruth Marie Challberg was born 25 December 1899 in Nebraska. She was the wife of Carl David Harry Nilsen, who was my husband’s great uncle.

Contact me if any of these people are part of your family, too.

Copyright © 2014 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Blog Caroling: Twelve Days of Christmas

The Christmas season would not begin until the Burl Ives "Twelve Days of Christmas" record was played. I cannot imagine anyone else singing that song. That record was played to death; literally. So I was saddened when I didn't have one to play to my girls. A co-worker was kind enough to find the album on eBay, so now I begin our Christmas caroling season with good ole Burl Ives.

You can hear him sing here.

Here are the lyrics. I've only included the last verse to keep this post short.
On the first day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
12 Drummers Drumming
11 Pipers Piping
10 Lords a Leaping
9 Ladies Dancing
8 Maids a Milking
7 Swans a Swimming
6 Geese a Laying
5 Golden Rings
4 Calling Birds
3 French Hens
2 Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

Copyright © 2014 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, My Trails into the Past. All Rights Reserved.