Charles Anthony Max Rickards

Charles Rickards is our grandfather. He was, as far as I can tell, the 6th born to James & Emma Rickards in 1905. Last night while searching for death records on I came across our grandfather’s birth information. There was several things that sort of shocked me & tickled me at the same time. One of them being, grandpa was born in 1905 not 1907 as most of his census records indicated. The second one was the middle name of Max. I’ve never heard this name before. I can’t even remember my dad ever mentioning it. So now I have to wonder, where does the name Max come from? No-one in the family carries this name that I have found. Is it a family name? Or did the name belong to a dear friend of my great grandparents? I do believe there is some meaning behind the name because so far it seems all his siblings have only one middle name.

This is the information. That I found on

Name: Chas Anthony Max Rickards
Titles and Terms:
Event Type:                           Birth
Event Date:                           15 Feb 1905
Event Place:                           Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Gender:                           Male
Father’s Name: Jas N. Rickards
Father’s Titles and Terms:
Father’s Birthplace:
Father’s Age:
Mother’s Name:                           Emma Greaves Rickards
Mother’s Titles and Terms:
Mother’s Birthplace:
Mother’s Age:
Additional Relatives:
Registration Date:
Registration Place:
Reference ID:                           14722
GS Film number:                           2111432
Digital Folder Number:                           004261881
Image Number:                           01042
Citing this Record

“Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Births, 1860-1906,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 25 Mar 2013), Emma Greaves Rickards in entry for Chas Anthony Max Rickards, 1905.


Not Abandoned

I found out in June I had Colon Cancer. I’ve had surgery a couple of weeks ago and will be starting chemo soon.

I just wanted everyone to know, that I have not forgotten about my blog or let if fall to the road side. To be honest I am still recovering and am just starting to feel in my right mind again. I atleast had enough sense to know that I was still to mess up on meds to mess with any genealogy I may be working on. (Thank God!) Or know telling who may have ended up in who tree. 🙂 I will blog as I can & as my health will allow me. I don’t plan on dieing anytime soon and either will this blog. 🙂

Border Crossing Notes

This is the back of my Grandma’s Detroit Border Crossing record. Can anyone help me decipher what it says? What I can make of it is…

“ Sister states they have never been refused admn to now. Been ___________ in deport. ________ from usa.

I am not sure if that first word is Sister, Could the first blank be deborded? I would appreciate any help at all. I understand that some people don’t like to respond on wordpress blogs so you can reply to me here, on twitter, or in email for those that have it.

Getting Started in Genealogy

Anyone who knows me in real life and online knows I am pretty vocal about the things I do and love in life. One of those things is genealogy. For a while now, people I know online and in real life have been approaching me with ” I like to research my family but don’t know how to get started. Could you show me.”  I know this feeling. I remember what it was like feeling lost and overwhelmed when I first started. So instead of sending out the same emails repeatedly I decide to blog this for them and anyone else out there seeking help.

My first recommendation is to start with the information that you, yourself have. Names, dates, places, documents, images, & stories. Then record this information, whether it is on paper or your favorite word software. It is important to have it all down in at least one place so you’re not back tracking for a name, date, or a place later down the road. As your tree starts to grow it will become harder and harder to remember it all. (Believe me, this is a good thing.

Next step, hit the family up. Parents, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles. Are there any family bibles that record your family history? Are there any family letters, documents, or images laying around in an old shoebox buried deep in someone’s closet? Just because your parents don’t actually have this stuff in their possession doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

One more thing before we move on to some online resources. Always ask where people were born. Never assume, and if someone starts out with “Well I think” That is not a fact. That is only a starting point for you to prove or disprove.

Now, while you’re waiting for people to get back to you with the requested information it is time to hit some online resources! (Did I just hear someone shout “Finally?”)

These are sites that I do use. It is not a full list; it will grow as I add to it. Not all sites are free, nor will you find the information you are seeking on every site. However, the more resources you have the greater are you chances of finding information. One thing you do need to keep in mind. You will not continuously find the information you’re seeking. It could be that information does not exist, or it just has not been uploaded to the internet.

This is my favorite site. I don’t care what anyone says or thinks. I have found tons of documents here that I’ve not been able to find anywhere else.

This next site I can take or leave it. However, I have a friend who says this is her pot of gold like ancestry is mine. This one is free.

I really like this next site and it is free too

Online Civil War Indexes, Records & Rosters

Native American Resources

One resource I could never do without is a search engine. My favorite search engine is Google. I swear genealogy and Google are best friends! I have found land deeds, where people are buried, children that were born & died in between census years. Information on Civil War Soldiers. You never know what may come up in a search from those who have gone before us. Search engines are a priceless resource. Don’t overlook them. Don’t exclude them.

  1. The last one for today is Find A Grave. “Find A Grave is a free resource for finding the final resting places of famous folks, friends and family members. With millions of names, it’s an invaluable tool.”

Genealogy is not for the faint of heart. It takes patients, preservation & determination. However, the information & knowledge that you find along the way, & the bonds that you will build are worth it.

If anyone has any links they think will be useful to others please feel free to share them.

Charles A Graves Part 1

Charles A Graves
Charles was our Great, Great, Grandfather on our paternal side. The census records indicate that he was born between 1841/1843 in Prussia, and immigrated to America sometime between 1865-1869 at the age 22. Charles was married twice. His first wife was Annie C. His second wife was a Caroline. At this time I do not know either of their maiden names.
His first wife Annie is the one that Charles had his children with. Which makes Annie our Great, Great, Grandmother. Though their first born child Emma. They had 4 children that I am aware of.
Emma Hanna Graves. 1875-1944
Maggie May Graves. 1876
Charles F.O. Graves. 1877
Lana Graves. Buried – 10/9/1880
Annie died in December of 1880. I know she lies beside her baby daughter Lana in Greenwood cemetery.
In 1890 Charles remarried Caroline. On the 1900 census Charles, Caroline, & his son Charles are still in the same household together at 2134 William Street. In August 1909 Caroline passes away from Chronic Nepritis and is laid to rest in Greenwood Cemetery.
I next find Charles in the 1910 census residing with his daughter & son in law, Emma & James Rickards. Charles remains with Emma until his passing in April of 1923 from Myocarditis.
Thoughts on Grampa Graves.
In all census records Charles is listed as carpenter. In the 1900’s census he is listed as a carpenter working for the railroad. I have to wonder what kind of work a carpenter would perform for the railroad. What I found so interesting about this, is that his grandson Charles A (our grandfather), and 1 great grandson Charles E, (our father) were heavy equipment operators. Did the need & skills to create and build new things come from their name sake? Our father Charles E, was great with this hands. He could do anything from repairing cars to remodeling homes. I do believe that some of these talents stem from Charles A, and I just think that is very cool.
I will end here for now, but remember there is a part 2 where I have more questions and thoughts.

Census Information

On some censuses, like the 1920 census there is a section called “Citizenship”.

Box 13 is for the year they immigrated to the US. Box 14 is naturalization or Alien. Box 15 is for the year the person was Naturalized.

Box 14 was the box that would drive me crazy for months. What did those abbreviations mean? One person had told me that the initials in the boxes were the states that the person was Naturalized in. Well that made sense at first because Al could stand for Alabama, PA, well as a Philly girl I knew that ment Pennsylvania. THEN I ran into the initials “NA” NA? That isn’t a state in the US. What was going on now?  “NA” Not available? Not applicable? I googled but couldn’t find the answer online so I just moved on and forgot about it.

However, a couple of weeks ago I found our Gr,Gr, Grandfather Graves’s. He was an immigrant from Prussia, and when I find him on the 1920 Census. Well, there was box 14 again with “NA” filled in. Now I had to know what it ment. So I hit twitter. I have friends who know the census backwards and forwards. Someone has to know what box 14 and the meaning of those abbreviations! Well thanks to my twitter friend @ArchivalBiz, I found out that “NA” means that the said person has been naturalized and my friend @seekingsurnames informed me that “PA” means they have filed their first papers. (I blush now to think that it stood for my home state).

So I hit google again and found this on
Citizenship census code:

  • Al – Alien (not naturalized)
  • Pa – First papers filed (declaration of intent)
  • Na – Naturalized
  • NR – Not recorded or not reported

I hope this information will save some others from a headache. 🙂

I would also suggest to anyone just starting out in genealogy that you download and print out each blank census records from the following link. You will learn in your searches that not all census records are readable due to age or blurriness. Having a blank record on hand helps you to know exactly what you are looking at in each box.

Noble Rickards

The Rickards are my dad’s side of the family. Where they come from, or when they immigrated to the United States I don’t know as of yet. We don’t know much about this side of the family. Until a couple of weeks ago all I knew were my grandparents name. I couldn’t find any records online at all. Then all of a sudden the 1920’s & 1930’s started spitting out information left & right

Oh wait, is that our grandfather with his uncles? Is that my great grandparents? Nooo, is that is our great great grandfather all on the same 1920 census? oh yes, it sure was!

So the Story of Noble Rickards starts here & with this find a mystery comes with it. All census records lead me to believe that Noble was born in 1836/37 in Delaware. The farthest I can trace him is the 1850’s Census.

However, Noble is not with his family but with Benjamin Read’s family. The census states he is 13 yrs old and in school. What it does not state is his relationship to head of house! Is our great great grandfather an orphan? Did he have siblings? Is he living with a family member now? Exactly who is this Ann Cann? Is she the mother-in-law to Mr.Read? Could she be Noble’s grandmother by chance? Next week I will be back with another mystery about Grandpa Noble. 🙂