52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: #1 – Anna Rhoda (Greenway) Bowlby

Today’s ancestor is Anna Rhoda (Greenway) Bowlby, my husband’s second great-grandmother.

Some basic facts:
Name: Anna Rhoda Greenway Bowlby
Born: 31 October 1882
Parents: William Richard Greenway and Rosa Belle (Childers) Greenway
Spouse: Joseph Victor Bowlby
Marriage: About 1900
Divorced: Before 7 May 1920
Died: 7 May 1977

Anna was born 31 October 1882 in Sullivan, Indiana, USA.  She was born to William Richard Greenway and Rosa Belle (Childers) Greenway.  She married Joseph Victor Bowlby sometime around 1900.  Joseph and Anna had six children: Sherry Victor Bowlby, Percy Richard Bowlby, Richard Samuel Bowlby, Jennie Bell Bowlby, Lillian Augusta Bowlby, and Thelma Louise Bowlby.

I’ve been unable to locate birth information for Anna but verbal data from the family indicates she was born 31 October 1882.  Her tombstone indicates she was born in 1883.  Census data has indicated she could have been born as late as 1885.

Anna and Joseph divorced sometime before May 1920.  She appears as head of household, with five of her six children on the 1920 U.S. census.  Interestingly her marital status shows widowed and not divorced on that census.

Anna remained in Kansas, eventually remarrying before 1930.  She appears as the wife of Lester Ward on the 1930 U.S. census, along with five children (Lilian, Louise, George, Rose and Daisy Ward) and her mother (Rosy Greenway).  I haven’t yet determined if Lilian shown with Lester and Anna is the same Lillian that appeared on the 1920 census with Anna.  The age is correct for her to be the same person but I need to resolve the question of why the name is Bowlby in 1920 and Ward in 1930.  And also with Louise and George on the 1925 Kansas census.  Again, the ages are correct for them to be the same Louise and George from the 1920 census.  Did Lester adopt the children after he married Anna?  Or did the people providing the information to the enumerators assume the children’s last names were Ward?  I believe Rose and Daisy were Lester’s children with Anna but I haven’t confirmed that yet.

Anna died 7 May 1977 in Pratt, Pratt, Kansas.  She’s buried in Greenlawn Cemetery in Pratt, Pratt, Kansas.

Here’s my genealogy list for Anna:


  • 1900 Federal Census
  • 1910 Federal Census
  • 1920 Federal Census
  • 1925 Kansas State Census
  • 1930 Federal Census
  • 1940 Federal Census


  • Birth Certificate
  • Marriage Certificate (Joseph Victor Bowlby)
  • Divorce Paperwork
  • Marriage Certificate (Lester Ward)
  • Death Certificate
  • Check for appearance in additional Kansas state census records


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Google It!

How many times have we heard that from someone?  What was the score for that baseball game?  Google it!  How do you take care of an orchid?  Google it!  How do I locate my ancestors?  Google it!  Okay, no, it’s really NOT that easy (don’t all genealogists wish it was?) but Google can definitely be a friend in genealogy.

Obviously Google has become a tool which many, many people utilize.  That much can be determined by the use of the word Google as a verb and the fact that Google (as a verb) has made it into the online version of the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.  Which, I might add, is pretty funny to me since I’m of that age group that remembers when people used to tell you to look in the card catalog.

From The Dork Side (FaceBook)

You can use Google to help you research how to do just about anything, find just about any place or understand just about anything.  But have you, as a genealogist, Googled your ancestor’s name?  I’ve previously Googled a couple of ancestor’s names and had no luck finding anything so usually what I use Google for is your standard internet look up.  But the other night, on a whim, I decided to try Googling another name of one of my ancestors.  I wasn’t expecting to find anything but I needed a break from my research so I figured “what the heck!” and typed my ancestor’s name and last known location, Guian McKee Kentucky, into the search box and hit the search button.

The first few entries were some pretty standard items: a WikiTree entry, some old emails someone had posted to the internet and some Ancestry forum entries.  It was rather interesting to read the old emails and see that others had been searching for this same ancestor but it was one of the Ancestry forum messages that really intrigued me.  A user was asking anyone if they knew of a source for a book “Descendants of Guian McKee, Sr. & Abigail Lane” other than the Family History Library in Salt Lake.  And there was a reply to the question.  How exciting!  Even more exciting was the fact that the reply contained a link to a current blog that was supposed to have a synopsis of the book on it!  A quick perusal of the first few blog posts revealed nothing about the book or my ancestors but blogger KevinW had both a search box and list of labels on the right side of his blog.  Fantastic!  And what to my searching eyes should appear in the labels section but the name of “McKee”.  Even better!

Queue a click of the McKee label and perusal of the blog posts lists under it.  This led to an immediate add of the blog to my Feedly genealogy feed because it was quite obvious KevinW was researching another branch of Guian’s descendants.  Now I was wondering why in the world I hadn’t done this sooner?

I always try and contact potential cousins on the off chance that they might want to exchange information.  Most of the time I strike out, but lately, I’ve been getting lucky and finding cousins who are happy to exchange information.  KevinW was one who was glad to share his knowledge.  I now have some new reading material thanks to his willingness to share what he knew about Guian.  I hope one day I can return the favor.

There are some tricks to Googling your genealogy.  Find My Past posted a good article here by Daniel M. Lynch which discusses some tips and tricks to Googling your family tree and Kimberly Powell wrote a good article on About.com which provides 25 Google search tips for genealogists.  Lisa Louise Cooke has some fantastic resources on using Google in your genealogy, both paid and free.  You should take a minute to check out her website here.  Typing “Google” into her website search box will provide you links to past blog posts about Google and it’s tools (if you haven’t seen her webinar on Google Earth you are absolutely missing out!) and she’s got several Google-related items which have received really good reviews in her online store.

Googling your ancestor can be hit or miss but, as with any tool, learn how to use it and it can provide you with successful results.  And remember: “If at first you don’t succeed, call it Version 1.0.” (Author Unknown)

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52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: 2015 Edition

Last year I stumbled upon the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge and made an attempt to complete the challenge.  I won’t say that I failed to complete the challenge, even though I didn’t post for all 52 weeks but I did enjoy what posts I did complete.  My goal was to get as many of my spousal unit’s ancestors out in the public eye as possible.  And even though the 2014 challenge has ended, I’m still not giving up because…

There’s a 2015 Edition of 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks!


Oh yes, I get a second chance to complete this challenge and I’m pumped.  A little late getting started obviously but better late than never!  So I’m going to do my best to catch up to the current post while still doing justice to my post subjects.  And what better place to start than where I left off in 2014?!  My last 52 Ancestors post in 2014 was on the spousal unit’s second great-grandfather, Joseph Victor Bowlby.  So that’s the point I’ll continue from with the 2015 challenge.

There’s been the addition of monthly themes to the 2015 challenge but the themes are optional.  I’m going to try and just continue along my theme of highlighting my husband’s family.  To quote a favorite of my father: “Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more…” (http://www.enotes.com/topics/henry-5/etext#etext-dramatis-personae).  So we’re going to channel our inner Doughboy and dig into those genealogical trenches and try to complete the 2015 Edition of 52 Ancestors!  Who’s with me!

British soldier keeping watch in a French trench at the Battle of the Somme
United Kingdom Government Photo, Public Domain


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