Thursday, May 17, 2007

And Her Name Is Diana Brandon

Anyone who has any kind of genealogy inklings will be happy for me: last night I had one of those deeply-satisfying genealogy research experiences that reminded me of going out to dinner, eating a HUGE meal that tasted wonderful, and waking up in the morning still full and still thinking "YUM!!!!" Yes, it was that good.

I have an uncle, William Arthur Armstrong Keen, who was a Baptist minister in Tennessee. He had (I thought) four wives and numerous children, including a girl named Dicie Diana Keen who married her cousin, Vanzandt Keen. Dicie was lucky because she got to keep her initials all her life, which I'm sure was important to her.

After years of wondering, and finding out little bits of information about William and his family, I found that he had eight other children but no Dicie was included among them. It was pretty easy to figure out which children went with which wives, but Dicie was a mystery. She didn't show up in any censuses with her family. The wives I had dates for didn't fit with her being their child - some of the wives, all I had was their first and last name. I didn't even know what order they were in (Wife #1, Wife #2, etc.).

Fortunately Ancestry.com hosts a family tree site. This very lovely man who lives in Denver, Colorado, had also researched William and his family, and not only did his family tree give me awesome pieces of missing information last night - they were all documented. YES. They all had a source. You always hesitate with stuff that doesn't come directly out of a book or a microfilm, but all this stuff had a source. Did I mention all of it had a source?

Finally, after all these years of not knowing who Dicie's mother was - which one of the four, except it ended up being FIVE, wives of William Keen - her mother is Diana Brandon. I don't have actual proof of it yet, but it fits. It was very common for women to die in childbirth back then - William lost at least one of his wives this way - and Diana's death date and Dicie's birth date are almost the same.

What I think happened was, William and his first wife Hiley had four daughters, then Hiley died. William then married Diana (I have their marriage date from this nice man, and a source), and I think they had Dicie. All the censuses I've seen her in, Dicie lived with the Jesse Crouch family. I think, having already lost two wives and with four little girls to raise, William let his newborn girl be raised by this family until she was married.

The clincher was when I looked up Diana's family in earlier censuses and found her as a child with her parents. Guess what Diana's mom's name is... it's Dicey. Such a strange little name can only be a family name. So there we had it - Dicie Diana Keen. It seems so obvious to me now, but there's no way I would have known if I hadn't found this nice man's family tree last night.

Long story short: I woke up full this morning. Yay!!!!

Friday, May 04, 2007