[breadcrumb]

German from Russia Heritage Collection

Germand from Russian Heritage Society Convention, Pierre, South Dakota
George Bowman, Speaker
1994- Tape 6


GB: This is George Bowman, and the name of this project is the elephant game.  It is about an Englishman.  This is the third time I have gave this, and if it works out the way I think it will, I have a family in South Dakota that are orphans and to tell you the truth, these kids went through life with the name RAT.  But that wasn’t their real names, so I asked them what is Rat in German? And she didn’t know so I went and found out, and it was Roth, and she was Catholic. And she came from Candle.  We looked in Stumps book and here was her grandfather, and all the grandkids.  I am going to write this game for a German family from Russia.

Ok Clues, I have the birth records, death records, phone numbers, and church records and anything else.  Now, the way this is supposed to be played, each person is supposed to be given $1,000, and they come up and they have to pay for death records and birth records.  How many people here have done family histories?  Where you buy birth records, death records and make copies of such, because that is what we are going to do.  About three years ago, I played this game with 100 people. We worked for about 4 hours. We couldn’t solve it, because nobody had ever worked on family history before.  A month ago, I had about 8 people, and we solved it in about 2 hours, so lets go. Who wants to be the first?  Ok, I am going to read a few more things, that might have some clues.
(long pause)

That won’t help the clues.  This is what we’ve got. We’ve got old letters.  Here’s a letter to my great grandfather dated 1904.  Everybody keeps old letters.  All old ladies keep old photographs.  This house in Ontario, I walked in there, and here was an old gal sleeping with a walker beside the couch, the day couch.  And I waited about a half an hour for her to wake up, and she had heard that I was in the neighborhood.  And she said are you a Bowman from (023)? And she said would you go up into the attic, I am crippled and can’t go upstairs anymore. 

There is a box up there, that is about 80 years old, would you go up and get it? Went up there, and the first photo that I pulled out was my father in 1916, when he graduated from high school.  She happened to be a relative of us, and everybody forgot about him. So! So attics are good! Ok! Who wants to start, ask for something?   I’ll give you some clues. I got letters.  I got recordings of visits. I’ve got alumni lists of school. I’ve got apprenticeship lists. I’ve got birth records, birth listings of churches, marriage indexes of churches, and army records.  I’ve got church warden accounts, whatever those are.  I’ve got court roles.  I’ve got collection lists. 

Back in England, they had people that went around and collected debts.  If you wouldn’t pay, they would throw you in jail, and they kept a record of what they did.  I’ve got telephone directories and engineering directories, surveys.  I’ve got records of that.  Tax rolls, which court houses, have tax rolls.  County atlases, maps of registration districts, parish maps, I have everything.  Ok what you would like to find out?  The year I think it says on that card, 1941. No, it can’t be that late because, this man was born in 1925.  He wouldn’t be old enough then. I think it says on another sheet.  I think its 1976, is the date.  He was born in 1925, July 7th.  Ok what is the first records you would like to know.

Crowd: Baptisms of the Church.

GB: Baptisms of the Church, lets look. Ok, lets get the birth because I know its there.  Birth listings, 1931 that’s no good.  Birth certificates, September 1925. Richard Elephant C G 12.  Try that.  (long pause) ok, paper pass that around would you please? You people can take notes, if you don’t have a pen, here are pens.  You can come up and get them, there is a microphone over there and you can ask questions.   Birth certificates, 1925, are in Leicester, England, Fifth of July, 1925, Richard, a boy, a son of Charles Elephant, son of Emily Elephant, and Charles was an engineer. All of these are important.  And then it says Oadby, must be a district or a parish in Leicester, That is your first clue. 

Was the person due next? I think we can get this in an hour.  See, he doesn’t remember his folks very well.  Ok, his baptism at that church, what was the name of that church? Oadby, lets see if that is on my index.  (long pause) Oh, here’s a Queenburror, 1780-1837, Sudburry 1653-1812, No baptism records, we have his birth records.  Ok whose birth records.  Ok, you know his father’s name right? Charles, you want Charles’s’ birth record?  The information was on his son’s birth certificate that he was Richards’s father.  Birth certificates, the father would be born, lets assume that the father was 25 years old when the son was born. 

So, Charles would be born about 1900, there are no birth listings there.  1899-Charles Elephant, ok GC 8.  Charles boy, born 1st of April, 1899, this father’s name was Charles.  His mothers name was Gertrude Baker. Their address was one Grange Road, St. Margarets, Leicester. Leicester must be the county, while St. Margarets is the village.  Father’s name was Charles William Elephant.  The mother’s name was Gertrude Louise Elephant, formally Jones. At the end, it says Baker. I don’t know what it could be.  Ok, we are one step more.  Ok, there must be another Charles. 

Do you want to follow this line or not?  This is a birth certificate, June 18, 1999 of the father. Ok, his grandfather’s name is Charles William Elephant, do you want to go? Or not? Go down another step. You want to try marriage.  Ok the marriage, what is your name? Richard, and his wife’s name is what? Emily?  Ok, what is Richards’s wife’s name? But I guess that really won’t help the name.  Charles and Emily’s marriage.  See all that we are doing is building a history, and we can work off of that.  (long pause)  Ok, marriage index 1700-1750, they would be married, must have been the first son, so they must have been married around 1924 or 1923 in that area. 

Marriage listings 1926, that’s no good.  1925, 1922, ok let’s see, marriage listings 1922, is GL 17.  Now, this is Charles and Helen, that’s no good.  (long pause) Ok. Marriage listings Marian, Isabel, James, Samuel, and Florence Elephant are here. Lets see how our time is coming.  We have a half hour left.  (long pause) Here’s another marriage certificate.  Charles Elephant in 1924.  That should fit, GC 20.  Charles, bachelor.  A Charles Elephant, perish at Oadby, he lives in Leicester, ok, and it fits.  His father’s name is Charles William Elephant, and that fits. And it says Baker again.  Oh! Charles William Elephant’s father was a baker. Ok, I get it. Then he married Emily Jackson, full age. And they were at league age. And she’s a Spinzter, and she is from Oadby. 

Oh, that name comes up again.   Her father’s name was George Jackson, and his occupation was soldier.  He was killed in the war.  Ok, and the bands were published, and the witnesses were Charles Elephant and Elizabeth Jackson.  So it must have been an uncle and an aunt.  Ok, now, we have that information.  We are building, but we still haven’t.  So we have the parents, and the grandparent’s names.  And we have, well let’s not fool around with his wife yet. Did he go to school? I guess that won’t help us any.  There was one dead solider there, but that was the grandmother.  Employment records, apprenticeships records for George Elephant in 1762, and we are not ready for that yet.  1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1901 army but the grandfather was only 3 years old so that isn’t going to happen. 

Oh, lets try, How come no one has mentioned the phone book?  1925 they had a phone book.  Do you want to look in the phone books?  There might be a name and address in there.  Ok, where is that phone book? Telephone directory T1.  Now this is just like doing family history.  And if we worked at this for four hours we would finish, but we are not going to do that.  T1, there are only three entries under Elephant: B. Elephant- 14 James St. Everton, H. Elephant-The Grange Verton, M. Elephant- in the Manchestor area- 19 Mills St. Hulm.  Ok B. Elephant, and he won’t walk.  We called H. Elephant, and he is Hector Elephant, born 19 December 1918, in Liverpool. 

His father was James Elephant, and his mother was Hester Nee Jones.  They were married in the Liverpool area.  Father died two year before the war, and mother was killed in a bombing raid in England.  He had two brothers and one sister.  Brother George was killed 1939 in WWII in France. Brother Brian is still alive in St. James St. Everton.  He is a widower.  His sister, Lucy, is married and lives in London.  He can’t remember her husbands name.  Father had brothers and sister and can’t remember their names.  (209) father came from the Badlands, and has two daughters. Their names are Hared and Mabel, and they are both unmarried. That’s all the phone book has. 

Those phone calls didn’t help.  Has anyone ever did this, write to these people in Ohio, and got the listings of everybody in the United States.  Supposed to be in the world and were they live.  It is a computer print out telephone directories, and stuff.  I bought this for this program.  Bowman is about the 120th most common name in the United States. In Ontario, it is in the top 10.  So, there are a lot of Bowman up there that were United Empire, who fought for the British in the Revolution.

Do you want to look for death records? I am sure they aren’t there, but let’s check.  If he was the only son, and he died wouldn’t the county send in the death certificate?  Except, they did not know where he was, right. Death listings 1941.  He was born in 1925, they would be 16, 17 years old, ok. Maybe that’s when he left home.  Maybe his parents died from heart break.  Let’s see GL 25.  I don’t think its any good.  Death listings, 1941-1980- Hester Elephant, Helen Elephant, Albert Elephant, Emily Elephant. 

Ok, who was Emily?  His mother, who died in 1948 in Leicester at the age of 51.  Ok, write that down.  His mother died in September 1948, ok, now you can back that up and get her birth records.  Philippe Elephant, Charles Elephant, in Leicester died June 1956, Leicester at the age of 57.  Ok, now, does that check with his birth record? Ok, and Alice Francis Elephant and Samuel Elephant were from Olande.  Has that showed up? No, I guess that is different.  Where should we go next? 

Should we go to the next generation back?  No, we are at 1898 for the grandfather.  What was the grandfather’s father’s name? Charles again wasn’t it?  Charles William, ok lets try it.  (pause) So lets say around 1870.   Ok here’s a 1860-66, GL 10.  Ok the first time that I went to the Minnesota historical society, I was reading microfilms.  I ran across a census records from Rock County Minnesota, where my great grandfather and his three brothers were enlisted in the civil war for the Yankees from Ontario. 

They got 600 bucks for it if they brought their sister along.  You know, my heart just beat.  I got the names of the brothers and sister by accident just by looking at the census records.  And from that, I went for army records on them, and then I had to go to the national archives because the civil war records were not in Minnesota.  They were in Washington, D.C. 

Birth listings, Charles William, AIPH, Leicester, born June 1864. Ok, you guys are pretty good.  You are in the basics.  No, that’s the way you do it.  What else do you want to find out about him?  Should we see if he went to college? Let’s find alumni for Elephant and Alumni for Oliphant. No entree’s for Elephant.  I guess no one went to college, and they didn’t have telephones.  So what does that tell you? He was a surveyor.  I’ll give you a clue.  He was a state man or they used chains.   

Ok, let’s try military.  Burks General Army 1851, we don’t want that.  Ok, here’s an army that was stationed in Leicester.  Who lived at One Grange Road?  Was that the father? No, that was the grandfather?  Let’s try C 23 in 1981.  (Long pause) Oh, I see there are engineer’s records.  We’ll go to that next.  Well, I guess that is no help, but it has to be in here.  Ok, here we go.  Ok, what did I say C 21? George, Betty, Collin, and Marry.  Apparently, they kept the census with the army.  No, that is not what we are looking for.  No Elephant entrees.  Anne, Charles, Rekold, and Joseph. 

Ok, now, we have a Charles Elephant 1901, age 36, with a son named Charles Elephant age 2.  This is the grandfather, who was 36 years old in 1901.   His wife’s name is Gertrude.  His son’s name was Charles, who would be the grandfather, and baby girl Hannah Elephant, 1 month old.  Ok, now we got that through the census.  Let’s go to that engineer records, and see what kind of engineer he was.  Since someone brought it up here.  Nope, at the Institution of Civil Engineers has no trace of Charles Elephant.  So the father called himself an engineer, but he was probably a chain man for a company.  So, these people were poor all the time.  We’ll try land titles.  

This is a good look, but it is a lot of work while doing family history.  You have to look through all the plot maps.  Ok, Story, when I went to Scotland Ontario, where my great grandfather is born, because I found his obituary in a weekly newspaper in Osakus.  It says he was born in Scotland, Ontario.  So I decided to go up there.  I drove into town of about 300 people, and here was this sign on an old house that said library. So I parked my car up front, and no one else was in town, the streets were bare.  I went in and here is a little old lady about 5’2”, and must have been 75 years old. 

And you know I have calling cards, and it says George Bowman and my mailing address, and my phone number.  I put it down, and she said “Your looking for family history aren’t you?”  And I said “Yes, for the Bowman’s.”  She said, “There are not no Bowman’s here anymore.” And she ran away. So I began to walk around trying to find her, and then I said they were members of the Church of England, don’t you have some kind of church records. 

Then she said, “Yes, Mr. Bowman, but you cannot read them on the first floor.  You must go up to the second floor where no one can see you.”  And now the name of the town was Scotland, and what does that say?  Well, it was the home for Scottish prisoners after they served their time.  Instead of a Caribbean island, they shipped them all to Scotland.  The kind of England did.  And I went up stairs and looked at a plot map on the way for 1838 and 1832, and there were six Bowman families in the Scotland at that time.  So, I went down stairs and said, “Six Bowman’s up there.” And she said, “I know that.” 

And we found out that we had a rebellion here, in 1832, that those six Bowman’s turned the Scottish people in because they were buying rifles from the Yankees.  And they were going to invade parliament in Canada.  So, all of these Scottish farmers were sent back to the Caribbean again.  So that’s why the Bowman’s had to move because they burnt all their building and stuff. Ok, now where were we?  I always get off on a tangent.  Land titles, yes, that’s how that started. 

Land titles, I think they were pretty poor.  Ok, we are going faster than we did before.  And in this exercise there are no land titles.  If they didn’t have money, you wouldn’t make a will.  Ok, here are wills and administration listings.  Court of Leicester.  What I should have is a secretary to read this stuff.  W 4. (425) Index, 1750-1885 no wills or administrations.  Let’s, get all of the other wills along with it. Wills 1905, Frederick nope, no relative.  Ok, we have no one by the first name of William. Nope, No luck. 

Let’s look at collections M 29, and here’s court records M 24. Ok this is 1943, and that is no good, that’s when people were sent to prison.  Can we look at the marriage records for Charles and Hannah?  That is the father now.  They were married in 1924.  Let’s look at the next generation back would be the late 1800s.  And his name was also Charles William-married.  Elephant 1958? 

Did we ever look up Charles William Elephant’s death? In 1928, who was Charles William?  He was the grandfather. Oh, yes he wasn’t very old then, was he?  Ok, GC 27. Charles William Elephant, Green Way Leicester, Male, 67 years old and a baker. 

Ok, that’s him.  And his cause of death is natural decay or old age.  And that man that got the death certificate was Charles Elephant, his son.  This was in 1927, but that must be the grandfather.  Ok, let’s look at Hannah which would be the sister of Charles.  Ok, here’s another death certificate, Charles Elephant.  This would be the father.

Did we get that June 1956? We got that.  Hannah would be an aunt.  Ok, Hannah, birth March 1901, GC 9.  Yes, we are building at the grandparents.  GC-9, 6th of March 1901, 106 Hill rise St. Margaret’s in Leicester. Hannah, girl, daughter of Charles and Louisa Elephant.  Mother Gertrude Louisa Elephant, formally a Jones. The father was a baker.  Ok, we got that.  Ok.. 

Permission to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested by contacting Michael M. Miller
North Dakota State University Libraries
Germans from Russia Heritage Collection
Libraries
NDSU Dept #2080
PO Box 6050
Fargo, ND 58108-6050
Tel: 701-231-8416
Fax: 701-231-6128
Last Updated:
Director: Michael M. Miller
North Dakota State University Library North Dakota State University North Dakota State University GRHC Home