Brick Walls

For more than 60 years, I have been engaged in extensive research putting together my family tree and have published a website listing 14 of these ancestor trees and 6 descendent charts. Along the way, I have encountered numerous "brick walls", which are genealogical research problems that seem impossible to solve. While my website includes a list of these brickwalls, I have decided to supplement it with this blog. Some of the brick walls you will read here have been resolved, while others have not. My hope is that readers will perhaps have answers or possible different solutions to the ones I have presented.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Daniel Joseph Parma Research Notes

The Problem No census record has been found for 1900 for Daniel or his wife Kate Edna Robinson, and no death records have been found for them. It is not certain whether some of the city directory records that appear to refer to him are correct.

Daniel Daniel Joseph Parma, son of Francesco Parma and Catherine Baer, was baptized 23 Dec 1847 (St. Peter Cathedral, Cincinnati, Ohio Parish register for 1847 p.145 #289). He was also known as Joseph Daniel Parma. He lived in quite a few places:

From birth until about 1852, he resided with his parents and siblings in Cincinnati, Ohio where his father was a confectioner (Cincinnati City Directories 1846/1849-50; 1850 census).

About 1852 the family moved to Tennessee where his sister Linda was born on 1 Mar 1853. As there were few railroads at that time, they probably traveled by steamship. By 1855 they were back in Cincinnati (Cincinnati City Directories 1856/1857/1858/1859/1860). Late in 1859 or early in 1860, the family moved across the Ohio River to Covington, Kentucky (1860 census). The bridge between the two cities wasn't built until 1866, so they would have crossed the river by ferry.

Daniel continued to live at home in Covington (Covington City Directories 1861/1866-67/1868/1871/1872-73/1879/1880-81; 1870 and 1880 censuses). During that time both of his parents died, his father in 1865 and his mother in 1880. He and Kate Edna Robinson were married in Covington on 18 Apr 1881 (Kenton Co. Kentucky Vital Records & Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption Records).

Daniel and Kate moved to Galveston, Texas where their daughters Margaret (St Mary Cathedral baptismal register Vol.3) and Kate (St Mary Cathedral baptismal register Vol.3) were born . About 1886 Daniel was probably in Memphis, Tennessee (1887 Memphis City Directories), then in Houston, Texas (1889-90 Houston City Directory), and then back to Memphis (1890 Memphis City Directory). It is not clear whether his wife and children were with him.

No further record has been found for him.

His occupation as stated in the censuses and city directories varied:
1869 Covington: clerk; 1870 census Covington: Clerks in store (the only employed person in the household); 1872-73 Covington: clerk; 1880-81 Covington: law student; 1880 census Covington: lawyer (the only employed person in the household); 1881 (marriage record) Covington: atty at law; 1882-83 Galveston: attorney.

The dramatic change in occupation after that raises the question of his identity or of some incident that changed his life dramatically:

1886-87 Galveston: lab [laborer]; 1887 Memphis: driver Mem. City Ry Co.; 1889-90 Houston: street car driver; 1890 Memphis: D. J. Parma & Co. (D.J. Parma & H.H. Wilson) grocers

Two significant points about the above:
  • Although her baptismal record and the Galveston city directories indicate that Daniel's daughter Margaret was born in Galveston, her death record gives her birth place as Houston, suggesting that she may have lived there as a child.
  • In the 1890 City Directory, Daniel was a grocer in Memphis. His daughter Margaret and her husband were later grocers in Memphis.
Children of Daniel and Kate Margaret was born 18 Mar 1882 in Texas. This date is consistent on her baptism record (St Mary Cathedral baptismal register Vol.3) and on her death record (Arkansas Vital Records 1943 Deaths no.194300372). However, the baptism took place in Galveston, and that record indicates that she was born there. Her death record shows her birth place as Houston.

In most records, she is called Margaret or Maggie W., but from her baptism record and her first child's birth record we learn that the W. stands for Wilhelmina.

She died on 21 Sep 1943 in Hot Springs AR, and was buried in San Diego CA. According to the death record, her usual residence was San Diego, so she was apparently visiting or touring when she died. The informant on the death record was George C. Baxley, 806 21st Ave., Birmingham AL.

Margaret's sister was baptized Louise Catherine Palmer. Later records generally refer to her as Katie. She was one of the members of the household of James and Margaret in 1910. She was born 1 Feb 1884 and baptized 25 May 1884 in Galveston TX (St Mary Cathedral baptismal register Vol.3).

Katie is recorded in the Memphis City Directory in 1903 (boarding with L.F. Baxley, 823 Linden) and 1904 (boarding with Mrs. K.E. Baxley 713(41) Florida Ave.). Possibly there is a connection between these Baxleys and the George C. Baxley who was the informant on Margaret's death record, but none has been found.

In the 1909 Memphis City Directory she was a saleslady at Washburn Drug Co. and boarding at 1260 S. Orleans (also the address of James and Margaret Coward).

Katie was married, 21 Sep 1910 in Memphis, to Edward Lohman (Shelby Co. Tennessee Vital Records 1910 Marriage Book F-1 p.279). In 1930 they lived in Chicago IL and were both working in a candy factory.

Go to Daniel Parma in the Shahan-Coward Tree


  1. Welcom to the world of blogging for genealogy! You have much to share:)

  2. Welcome to the Geneabloggers family. Hope you find the association fruitful; I sure do. I have found it most stimulating, especially some of the Daily Themes.

    May you keep sharing your ancestor stories!

    Dr. Bill ;-)
    Author of "13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories" and family sagas
    and "Back to the Homeplace" and "The Homeplace Revisited"

  3. You've really compiled some good chronological information on Daniel. I had some very odd city directory collections on one of out ancestors. It turned out that another Frank Welchek appeared on the scene during that time period throwing me off the tracks! It took a bit of sorting and I still more research needed - like where did this second person come from. His proximity to the other Welcheks indicates he is most likely family.
    Good luck on your continued search.
    Theresa (Tangled Trees)