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The Ellen Payne Odom Genealogy Library Family Tree
The Family Tree - October/November 2003
Wee Snippets (8)

Bumps, if not potholes, along the Scottish ancestry trail!
1. Until 1965, a widow might resume her maiden name.
2. Families were often named for estates, rather than the reverse.
3. A laborer sometimes adopted his laird's surname.
4. Civil registration, such as births, marriages and deaths, began in 1855 (yesterday, genealogically).
5. On death entries from 1859-65, a married woman was sometimes indexed by married surname with maiden surname in brackets. Sometimes it was by her maiden surname only.
6. If your ancestor left Scotland after 1854, you need the FULL name of that person (not "my mother" or "my grandfather" and approximate birthdate. Names are used over and over and there are more than 900 parishes in Scotland.
7. If your ancestor left Scotland before 1855, you will also need to know at least the county in addition to information listed in #6.
8. Very few shipping lists exist in the Scottish Record Office.
9. The names DONALD and DANIEL are interchangeable.
10. CHRISTIAN is rarely a boy's name in Scotland.
11. Most archives in Scotland close on Sunday and bank holidays. (Remember, their holidays don't coincide with ours!)
12. In 1841, the ages of children over 15 years old were rounded down to the nearest 5. . .that is, a 19 year old would be listed as 15 while a 24 year old would be listed as 20.
13. Gaps may appear in records for certain periods of time (the one YOU need) because of damage, destruction, falling into private hands, or due to a careless or forgetful minister.
May these thirteen hints bring you luck and save you from a lot of "wishful-linking!"
Many thanks to Dr. Phyllis Burnes Parker for this "wee bit of knowledge."

Your city directory will answer these questions
Your city directory is a gold mine of information for genealogy.
n How does he spell his name?
n What is his middle initial?
n Is he married? What is his wife's name?
n Where does he live?
n Does he own his home or rent?
n Has he a telephone?
n Who are his neighbors?
n What does he do for a living?
n Where does he work?
n Is he the "head of the house" or a resident?
n Does he own a business?
n Is he a member or officer?
n Who else is in the same business or profession?
n Is the woman single, married or a widow?
n What is the city's history?
n What are the latest population figures?
n What is the latest statistical and general civic information?
n What are the leading industries and activities of the city?
n What are the names and locations of the schools?
n What are the churches and where located?
n Who are the pastors of the churches?
n What are the locations of the hospitals, homes and asylums?
n How is the quickest way to get there?
n Who lives at a given address?
n Is there a telephone at the address or nearby?
n What is the character of the neighborhood?
n Is it a "homeowners" section?
n What is the nearest street corner?
n What is the nearest store, church, school, garage, shopping center, parking lot, etc.?
n Where are the public and office buildings?
n If it is a business location, what business?
n If an office building, what firms or professional people are in what rooms?
n What is the nature of the business?
n What is the correct name and address?
n Is it a Proprietorship, Partnership or Corporation?
n Who are the partners, owners, or officers?
n Who else in same or similar lines?
n Our thanks for this information from the Polk's City Directory for Elgin, Illinois, 1962: submitted by Judy VanDusen.

When people ordered homes from Sears & Roebuck. . . . .in Wayne County, Tennessee
For generations folks turned to the Sears and Roebuck catalog (it was commonly referred to as a "wish book" years ago) to purchase just about anything they needed for their homes. But much of today's generation isn't likely aware that there was a time when you could turn to your Sears catalog and order not just things for your home, but the home itself.

That's right - between 1908 and 1940 some people purchased a new bungalow from the same pages that brought them boots, baby bottles and beauty aids!

If someone were to announce that you could buy a complete house for $645.00, you'd think they were crazy. But for that price a full six-room house with reception hall, pantry and porch could be ordered from Sears. And the price included all building materials.

Every single bit of the building materials came in the kit, from boards and windows to nails, bolts, hinges, and etc. The kit included everything except the lot, foundation, plumbing, heating, and wiring. The average house had some 30,000 pieces, excluding nails and screws.

In addition to the basics, Sears houses included many added amenities that aren't even considered in today's houses. There were built-in cabinets (like break-fronts) in the dining area or hall for dishes, bookcases with leaded-glass doors built-in around fireplaces, solid wood doors throughout the house, and even wood paneling in the bathroom. All this at no extra expense and at such a ridiculously low price! A great deal of the lumber used to build Sears houses was either yellow pine or oak, both expensive today.

Sears first introduced its mail order house catalog in 1908. Because Sears was such a large and diversified company, they could afford to offer financing with "no money down" and even included advances for labor costs, which were paid by the owner. In addition, Sears provided customers with estimates for other material costs, such as bricks, cement, plaster, and, of course, local labor. Sears estimate for completion of their $645.00 house was $1,573.

In retrospect, Sears' sales plan is almost impossible to believe. After viewing the catalog there were nearly 100 to choose from by 1911. During the 32-year span, nearly 100,000 Sears homes were ordered and constructed in North America. They didn't all look alike either - over 400 different floor plans were offered, from summer cottages to a glorious mansion. Anyone who could drive nails could build one of these homes, using the easy-to-follow blue print. Each precut piece was perfectly shaped, so no sawing was required, and all parts were number-keyed to the blueprint.

Sears developed an enviable reputation for selling high quality, durable homes. A virtual community of these homes still stands in Carlinville, Illinois, where, in 1918, Standard Oil erected 192 Sears homes for a cost of $1,000,000. That was reported to be the largest single order for homes that Sears ever filled.

Sears was quite successful with their catalog houses until 1940. Then, because of the Depression, Sears found the venture unprofitable and discontinued the line.

A Sears home located in the Three Churches Community on Indian Creek in Wayne County was bought by Levi B. "Bud" King. The building material was shipped by steamboat to Clifton, Tennessee, then to Indian Creek by mule and oxen pulled wagons.

The timing for these catalog homes was ideal. In 1900, only 8,000 cars were on America's roads. Just a decade later, 460,000 automobiles were registered and licensed. People were heading to the suburbs in their "model Ts," and sears had just the house for them.

Article submitted by Mrs. Doris Lindsey to The Wayne County Historian, Volume 16, Number 3, September 2003, PO Box 866, Waynesboro, Tennessee 38485-0866.

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