Hello Kitty...

...I found you!
After years of searching through thousands of names in my Family Tree on ancestry...I found 'Kitty'.   Not on ancestry, but of all places...in my Aunt Irene's notes...

..."Frank Carroll -Tennessee (probably) brother of Steve Bennitt Carroll, visited M.J. Carroll in Treadway, Texas.  He was selling white Rotary Sewing Machines.  He had a handwriting as that in a penmanship school book.  Frank Carroll, on this visit, spoke of sister 'Kitty' whom Mary Ella Carroll favored - (physical resemblance)."

There it was, the name 'Kitty'.  I have read and re-read that paragraph many times.  I missed 'Kitty' perhaps because I was so intent on researching and trying to identify Abner Franklin Carroll, who Irene referred to as Frank Carroll.

The photo of Kitty is from my Great Grandmother Martha Jane Marley Carroll's 1900's Album, and has been on my 'Unknown' list for years.  All along I felt she had to be related to Great Grandfather Stephen Bennett Carroll, but a sister?  Not on his ancestry profile along with Frank and twin brothers Ely and Charlie.  The closest name to Kitty was the Carroll brothers grandmother Katherine.  So who is Kitty?  It's back to ancestry's search!

She was....Katherine Elizabeth 'Kitty' Carroll Arnett.  Born in 1884 in Dyer County, Tennessee.   Married Joseph E. Arnett on Christmas Eve in 1903.  Mother of daughters Christine and Reba and son Corliss B. Arnett.  Listed in US Census from 1910 through 1940 (last Census released).   On Find A Grave, she Rests In Peace beside her husband Joseph in Fairview Cemetery, Newbern, Dyer County, Tennessee.  Inscription on stone...married Dec. 24, 1903...no birth date, no death date, no links to any Carroll Family.  Kitty's husband died in 1961, daughter Christine in 1974, daughter Reba in 1989, and son Corliss in 1978.  No mention of 'Kitty' in any of their profiles after the 1940 Census.

What a mystery!  Even knowing her full name and year of birth, I have not found a single clue as to who her parents were.  After hours of researching any and all Carrolls who could possibly be her parents, I am considering the idea that Kitty may have been adopted by Stephen and Frank's parents Seymour Douglas and Julia Carroll. 

Their youngest son Frank was born in 1881, and after four boys, perhaps they wanted a sister for Frank to grow up with as his brothers were all much older.  Somehow that scenario fits the time period, Franks mentioning of her, and Martha Jane knowing Kitty as her sister-in-law.

What is even more promising from this scenario is the resemblance of Kitty's young picture (blurry as it is) to another 'Unknown' photo in the Album. Could it be that Kitty and her daughters came to Texas to visit Frank?
It could have happened! 


Earthly and Virtual Resting Places

As a 'Family Historian/Genealogist', I spend quite a lot of time in Cemeteries.  Some of them are of this earth cemeteries like Tamarisk Cemetery in Grandfalls, Texas, where my great grandfather settled after migrating to Texas from Georgia in the late 1890's.

As many earthly cemeteries as I have visited over the years, the number does not come close to the 'Virtual Cemeteries' I have searched, researched and even established. 

Where are these 'Virtual Cemeteries'?  They are in the 'Cloud'...as technology calls it, and isn't that a perfect place for our heavenly loved ones and ancestors.

 In virtual reality, these cemeteries are located on a website called Find A Grave.  It is a free resource for finding the final resting place of famous folks, friends and family members.  With millions of names and thousands of cemeteries world wide, it's an invaluable tool for genealogy research and a place for establishing Memorials.   HERE is the home page for Find A Grave.  HERE is my Contributor Page with my Family Virtual Cemeteries.  It is there where Great Grandfather George and Great Grandmother Emma rest in peace together even though their earthly burial places are thousands of miles apart.

When I am on the road or visiting family and friends, I often come across old cemeteries.  Such was the case last week while visiting my sister in New Braunfels, Texas.  Always it is the oldest graves, their headstones and iron work fences that captures my interest and the eye of my camera.  As you can see, I was not the only visitor that day. 

On occasion I have come across graves with sea shells, but these two are the first ones I have seen where the mound was completely covered.  I was curious about why?  Are you?

The practice of covering graves was quite common across the South in the Victorian era...particularly in the costal areas of Texas.  The types of shells used are commonly referred to as cockleshells.

There are several theories on why they were used including one about the economics of the time.  Another relates to those who came to America by sea. They said the sea had brought them to their new country and the sea would return them to their homeland when they died.  Also interpreted symbolically as to ensure a safe journey to that unknown shore where everlasting life is possible.

Another thought on loose shells placed around a grave, is as a visible reminder that the person buried below continues to be remembered and honored by those still living.  Along those same lines, some say seashells are a symbol of Christianity that symbolize a person's journey through life.

Then there is the practical and traditional method of marking a grave during the early years after the Civil War.  The shells were used as a means of protecting grave site mounds from washing away in the rain.  When shells were laid as one would lay shingles or a tile roof, they would protect the earthen mound, and they were decorative, as well.
Perhaps not as decorative as a bouquet of pansies,
but lovely and thoughtful all the same.


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