Saturday, March 6, 2010

SNGF - The Stars of My WDYTYA? Show

My entry for this week's wonderful Saturday Night Genealogy Fun mission suggested by some Top 40 genea-blogger is to:

1) Pretend that you are one of the subjects on the Who Do You Think You Are? show on NBC TV.

Okay - the charming and personable, yet humble, star of this week's WDYTYA? show is none other than unknown Chula Vista, California genealogist and family historian, Randy Seaver!

2) Which of your ancestors (maximum of two) would be featured on your hour-long show? What stories would be told, and what places would you visit?

The life of Devier James Lamphear Smith (1839-1894) would be told in its entirety, highlighting:

* An adopted child of Ranslow and Mary (Bell) Smith in Jefferson County, NY. Who were the parents?

* Moving with his family to Dodge County, Wisconsin, and growing up in his father's "Four Mile House" hotel and working in his own livery business. Officially changes his name from Lamphear to Smith after adoptive father writes his will.

* After the railroad comes to town, he moves with his wife and young children to Taylor County, Iowa, then to Andrew County, Missouri, then to Concordia, Cloud County, Kansas, and finally to McCook, Red Willow County, Nebraska. In these years, several more children are born, and several children die. He proves his father's will in Andrew County, Missouri.

* The "Four Mile House" hotel that Devier grew up in Dodge County, Wisconsin is a living history museum building at Old World Wisconsin in Eagle, Wisconsin.

* Starts a livery business in McCook, but is also an inventor, a snake-oil salesman and a land speculator.

* Buys land in Wano, Cheyenne County, Kansas and builds a ranch. Daughters star in prairie melodramas in a small playhouse, which leads to the wedding of darling daughter Della to Austin Carringer. Writes family information in the family Bible.

* Death in McCook and burial there.

I would visit all of the above named places, plus the Family History Library and the Wisconsin State Historical Society. I hope that the professional genealogists, sparing no expense, can find the names of Devier's birth parents, land records in all of those places, and a probate record in McCook.

4 comments:

Kerry said...

Oh wow. I grew up in San Diego (near Lemon Grove), but I live in Milwaukee now. Old World Wisconsin is one of my favorite places on earth---I'm there as often as I can get my family to go. I'm sure I've been in your "Four Mile House" hotel.

Small world!

Anonymous said...

It's a no brainer,who I would have them highlight if I was the focus of a Who episode! Being a dedicated genealogist for at least 20 years, I have my favorite ancestor whose life keeps me a wake at night. Nancy Thomas Keister born in Orange County Virginia in 1812. Married with young infant and toddler travels down the Cumberland Road to the frontier of Grand Pass Missouri in her early 20's, children, farm, yada yada...skip to 1850 where she lost her husband still having a small infant at home! yada yada, skip to 1876 where now she has children spreading out and around. Her son, Edward owns a cattle ranch and thousands of acres in Montana (the new frontier) and she goes there at age 60+. The last known address we have for her is 1880 Highwood Montana and after that? NOTHING..I'd go from Orange County and Albemarle County Virginia, follow the Cumberland Road, view the Missouri in Saline County Missouri and travel UP that mighty river to the general area where she finally ended up, I THINK..I have no final resting place for her at all...

Dr. Bill (William L.) Smith said...

Devier is familiar... not personally, but is migration pattern. Between my wife and I, we have people who were in most of those places, moved from here to there, about the same time. Lots of "good" land advertising going around - me thinks! ;-)

Lisa Louise Cooke said...

I would definitely watch your episode! I want to see what happens to Della. Did she continue in theater?