Letter W: Twenty-third of twenty-six posts in the April 2016 Blogging From A to Z Challenge. Wish me luck and please join me on the journey!
When I jogged my dad’s memory about our mutual ancestors, he sometimes came out with a story that would point to a new research direction. That’s how I heard about the wolverines and Uncle Sid — and found an entirely new group of collateral relatives.
Dad and I were talking about his grandmother Eva (Bull) Charboneau and her visits to the Otter Lake Hotel in Forestport, Oneida, N.Y.
My dad grew up at the hotel, which was owned and operated by my paternal Charboneau grandparents.
We had already discovered that Eva was the daughter of our Union Army ancestor Arthur Bull, who spent his final years in Salamanca, Cattaraugus County, N.Y. So Dad was trying to remember any connections to this from his childhood.
“Well, there was this one guy who everyone used to call Uncle Sid ,” Dad said. “He was kind of a strange fellow. He would visit the hotel in the summer, but never took a room. Always slept in his car. And he kept talking about ‘wolverines, wolverines’ and what a problem they were in Salamanca.”
Mondee, Tuesdee, Wolvereeens
Dad picked up a Baltimore accent from his mother Mary Frances (Owen) Charboneau and pronounced the days of the week Mondee, Tuesdee, and so on — so when he said “wolvereeens” I cracked up laughing.
That’s probably why the story stuck with me — and I’m glad it did. Because eventually my research trail led to an actual Uncle Sid.
He turned out to be Sidney Banton, a store owner from Salamanca and husband of Jessie (Bull) Banton, one of my great grandmother Eva’s younger sisters.
My great, great grandparents Arthur and Mary Elizabeth (Blakeslee) Bull — who moved many times during their life together — relocated in their later years from Moose River Settlement in the Adirondack foothills to Salamanca in Western New York
Eva stayed behind after marrying my great grandfather Will Charboneau in the North Country. But her sister Jessie went along with their parents to Salamanca — where she met her husband Sidney.
Which makes Uncle Sid my great grand uncle in-law — and all because of a long-ago story that he told about wolverines.
Do you have any oddball stories that might link you to ancestors or collateral relatives? See if you can pick them apart, then follow the clues — they just might lead you to family.
Up next: Xavier and military cartography. Please stop back.
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