Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Searching For Charles William McKinney: The Value of City Directories

Charles E. McKinney (son of Charles W. McKinney) 1947
It's funny how I can have my mind all set on spending the weekend searching for a certain ancestor and then BOOM!- a thought, a word, a sentence, or even a picture..sends me totally in another direction. This past weekend it was my husbands endless talk about how little he knew about his paternal grandfather, Charles William McKINNEY. I had become frustrated with searching for this side of his family and had decided a few months ago to put that research on hold for awhile. It was obviously time to dig in again..the ancestors called, and I had to respond. However frustrated that I may get. Quitting is NEVER an option for me. So, I pulled out the notebook that my father-in-law left, thinking maybe there was a clue that I missed. Family stories are like puzzles, each piece is a clue to the past. Sometimes going back over notes and stories, It makes me think of things that I had not thought of before. On my father-in-laws birth record it says that his father was from Knoxville, TN. He was born in 1920. I knew that he and his family  had migrated to Cincinnati,Ohio sometime in the 1930's. It was there that he married Mary Louise FLEMING about 1939-40.

Being that I have been unsuccessful in finding his family in the census. I decided to see if I could search the city directories for Cincinnati, Ohio. Starting with 1940, I worked my way back. According to my father-in-law, his father, Charles W.  had a sister named Christine and a brother named J.D.  I was told that his mother was a fair skinned woman known as Mrs. Hunt. As my eyes scanned the page, I found a Christine McKinney. Her address was listed as 539 Carlisle Ave. A few lines down I  noticed a J.D. Mckinney. He had the exact same address. My next step was to search the 1940 census for Cincinnati.

I couldn't believe what I found next. Christine and J.D. Mckinney living with a woman named Lottie HUNT! She was born in 1886. Christine was 16 and J.D. was 17. They were from Tennessee. Everything matched, I feel sure that it is them. It turns out that the Mrs. Hunt that my father-in-law spoke of was the grandmother. I was jumping out of my chair! I had found my first connection to Charles W. McKinney's family. I had looked at this directory months ago, How did I miss this?  I went back to the 1940 city directory to see if I could find Lottie HUNT.  There she was, living at the same address as J.D. and Christine. She was listed as the widow of CHARLES HUNT. Wow! I had another name. I continued to search the city directory back to 1930. I found the family up to 1935. So this gives me a clue to when they may have came to Cincinnati.

I wondered why Christine and J.D. were living with their grandmother. Where were their parents? I still don't have their names. At least I have more to search with now. I am confident that I will find a another connection. I'm off to search for Miss LOTTIE HUNT and her husband CHARLES HUNT. Hopefully they will lead me to Charles William McKINNEY and a whole family. I'm sure that their out there somewhere.


© 2013 Denise Muhammad