Toot! Toot! “Tracking” down the kinfolk!

Genealogy can be really funny — as well as fun! And names occasionally are a big part of the humorous side of things.

As I was cleaning up my huge database, linking public record indexes to some very distant Mullins kinfolk in West Virginia, I came across a third cousin, three times removed. His name was Claudius C. “Claude” Mullins (1869, Pike, KY – 1948, Boone, WV). No, Claudius is not the humorous name — it is not even that unusual for the era. And with all due respect for the memories of the folks involved, and with best wishes to these distant cousins I’ve never met, I share the following…

Claude, as he was apparently more frequently called, seems to have had a big fascination for things having to do with the railroads. Perhaps he was a conductor, a stationmaster, or railroad worker of some other kind. But it is would appear that some interests lay in that direction. That is suggested by the names he gave several of his children.

Among at least eight children in Claude’s family, there are these three — Local, Special, and Extra. This is merely my personal speculation, but I have to believe the names found their origins as follows:  a “local” train; a “special”, or non-scheduled train; or an “extra” for when transport demands were particularly heavy on the line.

And the stories get more interesting…

Local Mullins (1903-1962) was born and died in Kanawha county. While he may have been a “local”, he went all the way to Armenia to wed. That is, he married a woman named Armenia Starkey. And when he died, he was buried in Comfort — that is, in Comfort, Boone county, West Virginia.

Special Mullins was a son or daughter born in Kanawha County in 1906. There is some gender confusion here — no, not that kind! The birth record indicates Special was female, but the 1910 census listing for the family shows “Speshel” is male. I don’t have much more info on him/her (yet — but perhaps this entry will trigger some correspondence from nearer relatives who can share more interesting details of his/her life.)

Extra Mullins came along in 1911; This was before the era of “oops babies” or unplanned pregnancies, so we won’t even speculate…  Extra died in Huntington, WV in 1995. Extra is buried in the Crooks Cemetery, but I am certain that does not reflect badly on his character!

Again, I share this meaning no disrespect whatsoever for the folks involved. It just demonstrates that names have always been intensely personal, arising from all sorts of interests and events.

And, sometimes, they can bring a special smile, and a chuckle, to us researchers who stumble upon just a small part of their stories… and cause moments of total whimsy for us!

We’re All In This Together

Forget the Adam-and-Eve story. Ignore the Darwinian “common ancestor” (or “missing link”, if you prefer). You can disbelieve either of those narratives, and yet — if you are Appalachian — you still cannot deny that we are all related to one another!
When I first began to delve into Appalachian history and genealogy, I already knew that certain surnames were prominent in every community and every family’s background. It was that awareness that spurred my interest in documenting the interwoven stories of “the pioneers”.
Now I have compelling evidence of the interconnectedness of our Appalachian family experiences. Continue reading We’re All In This Together