Daily Archives: December 1, 2006


Leila F., born abt August, 1919.

My mom's favorite hobby is working on our family tree (we have records back to the 400's - no, I didn't leave off the "1"). So it's a rather massive project.

She was looking online through old census information and discovered the census that was taken shortly after my grandmother and grandfather married (my dad's parents). On this 1920 census, there was listed a Robert Brown (my grandpa), Julia E. (my grandma that I'm named after) and a daughter, Leila F. - aged 5 months. The census data was dated January, so Leila would have been born around August of 1919.

Here's what we know. My grandparents were married in April of 1919. Their house had not been built yet and they lived separately (she with her parents, he with his) until the house was finished in August.

Was my grandma pregnant when they married? There would have been few reasons to marry, if a couple was not ready to live in the same house.

Consider the name - Leila F. My grandma had a sister, Leila. My grandfather had a sister, Flora. Did my dad have a sister, named Leila Flora?

My dad has six siblings that are buried in the same cemetary about 2 miles from the house that I just wrote about. Four of these siblings, two brothers and two sisters died years before my dad was born - they were four of the first five (maybe five fo the first six) children that my grandmother bore.

My aunts and uncles that I never knew were Robert, Jordon, Marilla and Lydia.

Robert was first born, born in late 1920 and died at 5 months old in 1921. Whooping cough; highly contagious.

Did Leila suffer the same fate, at the same time?

My grandmother never recovered from the deaths of her first four children - maybe her first five children. Lydia was 6 when she died and my Aunt Marian remembered her.

My grandparents would not (WOULD NOT) talk about these babies. They forbid their other children even to talk about them. My dad was an adult before they even had grave markers.

Where these babies are buried, the cemetary has blocks of four plots each. My grandpa's parents (mygreat-grandparents), my dad's uncle Jim and the four babies are buried there.

Nobody ever asked why there were 7 people buried in 8 plots - and the office to the cemetary burned down in 1952, so there are no records of who lies where.

As I said, my dad was an adult before his siblings had grave markers. He told me tonight that it was my Aunt Marian that basically harrassed my grandpa into putting markers on the graves - thirty years after the first one died. Dad said, "Grandpa did it but Marian got it done."

Is there a fifth child buried there? If they died at the same time, would Jordon and Leila been buried in the same grave?

My dad thinks so. And he wants to know.

  • There would have been no other Robert and Julia E. Brown in the county at that time.
  • Robert and Juia E. Brown had a baby girl named Leila.
  • There would have been very few logical reasons that they would have lived apart after getting married - unless they "had to" get married.
  • The name Leilah was a family name. My grandfathers sister was Flora (starting with an F.)
  • There would have been over a year between Leilah's birth and Jordon's - and my grandma was really fertile.
  • There is a empty grave in my grandpa's section.
  • There is no family information, since Grandma forbid talking about the babies.

On the other hand, it was my grandma who wrote out the first family tree books in her own hand, and didn't include Leila.

I asked my dad how he felt about the possibility of another sibling and he's excited - he wants to know.

And - most of all, I think - if there's another sibling, one that he never knew he had, he wants there to be another grave marker. He wants the world to know that there's a child that was loved and who died.

A child that was mourned by a mother and father who never fully recovered.

I lost my first five babies before they were born.

I cannot imagine holding those five living, breathing little people and losing them so early in life. Grandma and Grandpa went to the cemetary, but never visited that plot. They are buried nearby, but across a little lane, in another section. I have two aunts, an uncle and a husband buried in that section. Twenty yards away, I have two aunts and two uncles who died as children. Now, I believe I have three aunts and two uncles buried there.

About five years ago, the four grave markers that my grandpa put there in the 1940's were worn and mossy. My dad replaced them with stones that match their parents markers.

He's ready to buy another.

Is he right?