Prompt for 2019, week 4 — I’d Like to Meet…
Just as an aside, since I started the 52 Ancestors prompt series back in October, I’m off kilter with the “official” 2019 calendar, and mixing / matching prompts from this year and last year.
The current week’s prompt led me to realize that I don’t have just one ancestor I’d like to meet. It’s a cop-out, though, to say I want to meet them all (although, of course, I would — back through the mists of time), so I’ll list just a few back through the generations and why I’d particularly like to meet them.
- Elizabeth (Holst) Diamantini, my maternal grandmother. I wrote about her here. The reason I want to meet her is the most basic — of my 4 grandparents, she is the one I never knew. My mother barely knew her either, given that my mother was just a toddler when my grandmother died. It’s fair to say that my foray into genealogy started here — trying to answer questions I had, and my mother herself had.
- Eileen (Houlihan) Colbert, my paternal great-grandmother. She died in 1911, the first of my great-grandparents to die. She was only 34 years old at her death in San Francisco, and was a native of Athea, Co. Limerick, Ireland. She left behind a sorrowing husband, and four children (three daughters and a son) all of whom were under the age of ten. Eileen was my dad’s own maternal grandmother; his mother, like my own, was a toddler when her mother died.
Thus my reasons for wanting to meet Eileen mirror my reasons for wanting to meet Elizabeth.
- Caterina (Cammoranesi) Bolognesi, born ca. 1847 likely in Ascoli, Ascoli Piceno, Marche, Italy, died ca. 1915 in the same place. She is one of my eight great-great grandmothers. Why do I want to meet her? Because she is only a name and approximate birth date and death date. I know nothing of her at all, have no photo, don’t know her parents or her siblings. I do not know anything about her life, or life in general for residents, in the province of Marche in the 19th century. Without any “flesh” she is barely even “bones” to me. Yet she and I share a name, although I was not named for her.
- My 3rd great-grandfather, Benjamin Franklin Copple (born ca. 1829 Washington County, Indiana – died 1911 Yavapai County, Arizona). Ben married Phoebe Harvey in 1851 in Jasper County, Missouri, and they moved west to California by 1861, the parents of four (possibly five) daughters. Phoebe died, apparently in childbirth, and Ben ditched his girls, leaving them to be raised by strangers in and around Healdsburg, Sonoma, California. Ben hung out in Mendocino County (adjacent to Sonoma County to the north) for about a decade and then headed down to Arizona, where he lived out his life in and around Cornville, Prescott and Sedona. He married again, and had 3 sons.
I would like to meet him to better understand why he made the choices he did. As tempting as it is for me, in 2019, to think of him as abandoning his girls, I know times and mores were different back then. And I’ve found some leads (through Healdsburg-area newspapers) that seem to point to his daughters having some contact with him, at least in their adult years.
- My 4th great-grandmother, Margaret (Blalock) Copple (born ca. 1810 in Kentucky, died 1892 in Jasper County or Newton County, Missouri). Margaret was the mother of Ben Franklin Copple and his younger siblings. But that’s not why I want to meet her. When I was researching Jacob Copple, her husband, and reading through the records of his probate, it made me tear up to see the pitiful little she owned, priced to sell to pay for Jacob’s farm debts. Jacob died in 1871; what kind of life did Margaret led after his death, and after administering his estate — he left no will — and selling what she owned for the benefit of Jacob’s creditors? Her two eldest sons were in California at the time; neither returned home to Missouri again. Her siblings were either deceased or still in Indiana. Her only kindred around her at such a tough time seems to have been her children and grandchildren. I hope they brought her some comfort.
- My 5th great-grandfather, Philip Copple, father of Jacob and grandfather of Ben Franklin Copple. He was born in North Carolina, probably in Rowan County or Randolph County. He married Anna Patsy [Patsy Anne? Martha Ann?] Wright in Wayne County, Kentucky, and later moved to Washington County, Indiana probably by 1812 with many of his own Copple kin, as well as his wife’s family. Philip’s in-laws are famous today as southern Indiana 19th century preachers, in particular his brother-in-law John Wright. Philip was reportedly a preacher too. I would like to meet him and ask him about his religious beliefs, listen to his preaching (assuming he was a preacher), as well as ask him about his own family (to see if I’ve gotten the relationships correct, as there are multiple Philip Copples in Washington County, Indiana in the early 19th century — and multiple Jacobs, Barbaras, Margarets, etc.) Are my facts straight?
So, I could go on up a few generations, but I’ll leave off with these six ancestors for now. Ask me on a different day and you’ll probably get a completely different answer!
What about you? Which ancestor or ancestors would you most like to meet?
 California Department of Health Services, death certificate state file no. 11-034498, Ellien [Eileen or Helen] Colbert (1911); Center for Health Statistics and Informatics, Sacramento.
 Church baptismal record for Helen Houlihan, 24 Mar 1877, church not named, Parish: Athea, County: Limerick, Father: Charles Houlihan; online transcriptions (http://limerick.rootsireland.ie : accessed 27 Sep 2012).
 See Cathy Dempsey (cathymd) “DNA_Direct Ancestors” tree, Ancestry.com.
 “Arizona, County Coroner and Death Records, 1881-1971”, Benjamin Franklin Copple, death date: 7 July 1911;Ancestry.com, digital database (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=60874 : accessed 15 August 2017) > Yavapai > Death > 1865-1928. Note that date of birth conflicts with censuses during Ben’s lifetime (1840 – 1910) which gave an approximate birthdate of 1832.
 “Missouri Marriage Records, 1805-2002,” Franklin Copple and Plebe [Phebe] Harvy, 21 Dec 1851; database with images, Ancestry.com (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=1171 : accessed 13 June 2016) > Jasper > Record Images for Jasper > 1841-1874 > img 122.
 “Arizona, County Marriage Records, 1865-1972,” Benjamin Franklin Copple and Marena [Marova] Jane Johnston, 28 May 1880; database with images, Ancestry.com (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=60873 : accessed 13 June 2016) > Yavapai > Marriage Records, Index, 1871-1928 > img 1426.
 “Summons 16967 in the Superior Court of Arizona, County of Yavapai”, Prescott Evening Courier (Prescott Arizona), 26 June 1947, p 15:4; digital images, Google News (https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=MNNNGtAgD4EC&dat=19470626&printsec=frontpage&hl=en : accessed 21 Aug 2014).
 “B.F. Copple and son Bert Copple, ” Healdsburg Tribune, Enterprise and Scimitar (Healdsburg, California), 10 September 1908, page 2, column 2; digital images, California Digital Newspaper Collection, Center for Bibliographic Studies and Research, University of California, Riverside, (http://cdnc.ucr.edu : accessed 30 October 2018).
 Find A Grave, database (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 20 January 2017), memorial page for Margaret Blalock Copple (1809-1892), no. 91276187, citing Fidelity Cemetery, Fidelity, Jasper County, Missouri, USA; created and maintained by Dona (Wilcox) Cupp (contributor 46971570). Margaret was buried in Jasper County, Missouri, but was living in Newton County as of the 1880 census enumeration. See: 1880 U.S. census, Newton County, Missouri, population schedule, Enumeration District 98, Marion Township, (handwritten) page 12D, (stamped) page 398, dwelling 102, family 108, Margaret Coppy [Copple] household; digital image, Ancestry.com (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=6742 : accessed 29 October 2016); citing National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) microfilm publication T9, roll 705.
 “Missouri, Wills and Probate Records, 1766-1988”, estate of Jacob Copple, file 475, Newton County, Missouri; digital database, Ancestry.com (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=9071 : accessed 20 October 2017) > Newton > Probate Case Files, No 450-485 > imgs 940-981.
 Find A Grave, database (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 20 January 2017), memorial page for Margaret Blalock Copple (1809-1892), no. 45709964, citing Old Mill Creek Church of Christ Cemetery, Salem, Washington County, Indiana, USA; created by jpmgs (contributor 46910169); maintained by Bill Myers (contributor 46945321).
 “Kentucky, County Marriages, 1783-1965,” Phillip Copple and Anne Wright, 1804; database with images, Ancestry.com (https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=61372: accessed 13 June 2016) > Wayne > 1801-1860 > img 27.