Category Archives: Genealogy Lessons

Another Brother – Jefferson Davis Askew

His name should give you a clue about when and where he was born. Jefferson Davis Askew grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. He was born shortly after the attack on Fort Sumter, during the first days of the Civil War. It was with some difficulty that I tracked him down, finally, in Terre Haute, Vigo County, Indiana. Here is an excerpt from a book of Vigo County biographies, where I found some important clues. Because the information contained in these types of books is often secondhand, I take it all “with a grain of salt.”

jdaskew copy

Stay tuned – there is more to this story!


Posted by on February 25, 2013 in Askew, Genealogy Lessons, Uncategorized


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Bertie Askew’s DAR Membership

Lesson: Finding and Using DAR Information

Having learned from her obituary that Bertie Askew Henderson was a member of both the Daughters of the American Revoluiton (DAR) and the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC), it made sense to look for copies of her applications to these organizations to see what ancestors she used to gain membership. In her UDC application I found out that she claimed William F. Askew of Raleigh, NC, as her grandfather. Her DAR application gave me information about her mother’s side of the family.

Using the DAR Genealogical Research System, I started the search for Bertie’s membership information. There are three ways to search: by member, by ancestor and by descendant. I tried the Member search first, but it required a member number which I didn’t have. Then I tried the Ancestor search. This didn’t yield any results either, because it searches by the named patriot ancestor of the member. The Descendants search was the one I needed to use. Searching for Bertie Askew turned up no results, but by using her married name of Bertie Henderson I hit pay dirt.

The results of the search showed enough information, including her father’s and mother’s names and birth dates, that I knew I had the correct person. It also gave me Bertie’s DAR member number. There was also a link to order a copy of the record. It was so easy!

What I learned from the application included information about her mother’s ancestry going back to Bertie’s great-great-grandfather. It also confirmed that her mother had been married before. Bertie listed her parents as Charles T. Askew, born in 1857 and Lila Skinner, born April 26, 1855, and married in 1882. Prior to this, I had Lila’s last name as Dodson. I suspected that she had been married once before, because she reported two marriages on the 1910 census record. Now I knew that her first husband’s last name was Dodson and her maiden name was Skinner. Here is all the information from the application:

  • I am the daughter of Charles T. Askew, born 1857, died 1905 and his wife Lila Skinner, born April 26, 1855, died May 4, 1923, married 1882.
  • Lila Skinner was the daughter of William Skinner, born January 20, 1811, died (blank) and his wife Eliza Saulsbury, born March 4, 1815, died May 1, 1855, married November 7, 1833.
  • William Skinner was the son of Zachariah Skinner, born March 13, 1787, died May 19, 1864 and his wife Hannah Bond Jones, born (blank), died (blank), married March 22, 1810.
  • Zachariah Skinner was the son of William Skinner (a recognized patriot), born 1741, died February 20, 1813, and his second wife Elizabeth Fookes (Stewart), born October 5, 1756, died (blank), married December 21, 1781. She was the widow of John T. Stewart. William Skinner was married first to Elizabeth Jones.
  • Elizabeth Jones and William Skinner had a son, Thomas Skinner, born February 2, 1772 who married Sally Lee on February 16, 1800.
  • Elizabeth Fookes Stewart and William Skinner had the following children:
  1. Polly Hamilton Skinner, born October 6, 1782 who married Eggleston Brown.
  2. James Fookes Skinner, born September 5, 1784 who married Nancy Pattison.
  3. Zachariah Skinner, born March 13, 1787 who married Hannah Bond Jones.
  4. Margaret Skinner, born January 23, 1790 who married Thomas Goslin.
  5. William Skinner, born February 6, 1792 who married Beckie Pattison.
  6. Sarah Skinner, born March 1, 1794 who married Minos Conaway.
  7. Ann Skinner, born June 27, 1797 who married Samuel Pattison.
  8. Elizabeth Skinner, born November 20, 1800 who married Stephen Hurst.
  • William Skinner of Dorchester Co (Maryland) was one of those who took the “Oath of Fidelity” in March, 1778 as entered on the original manuscript returns made by Thomas Jones.
  • William Skinner’s grave is still on the old estate known as “Fooke’s Resolution” on Fishing Creek, Dorchester Co. MD. On his tombstone the inscription contains this date – William Skinner born 1741, died 1813.
  • William Skinner’s DAR ancestor number is A104895.
  • Bertie Askew Henderson’s DAR number is 167714.

I found it interesting that Bertie stated that her father, Charles T. Askew, died in 1905. As you can see from earlier posts on this blog, I feel strongly that he was living in California at this time. What she really knew about her father will probably remain a mystery.

Although at least some of this information has been verified by the DAR, I will try to find corroboration with primary sources before I take it as being factual.

The DAR Library website makes it very easy to find and order copies of membership applications. You can do it all online, or by mail or fax. The cost is $10 per record, if you order online, or $15 by mail or fax. I used the easy online system and downloaded the copy immediately. Unfortunately, I can’t show you what the copy of the application looks like. According to the restrictions listed on the DAR website:

Copies of NSDAR membership applications or supplemental applicationsmay not be resold, digitized, posted online, or published in any form.

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Posted by on June 24, 2012 in Askew, Genealogy Lessons


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What I Learned From Bertie Askew’s UDC Application

When I sent for a copy of Bertie Askew’s United Daughters of the Confederacy membership application, I didn’t know what to expect in return. Yesterday, I received copies of three forms. One is her original membership application, for the Baltimore Chapter of the UDC. The other two forms are titled “Demit” and show her moving from the Baltimore chapter to the Robert E. Lee Chapter in East Orange, New Jersey and then to the Stonewall Jackson Chapter in Glenridge, New Jersey. Do they contain useful information? Yes!

Membership in the UDC is limited to women with certain ties to the Confederacy and is by invitation. According to Article I of the By-laws of the UDC, printed on the application form:

Those women not less than 18 years of age entitled to membership are the women who are the widows, wives, mothers, sisters, grand nieces, and lineal descendants of such men as served honorably in the Confederate Army, Navy or Civil Service, or those men, unfit for active duty, who loyally gave aid to the Cause. Also Southern women who can give proof of personal service or loyal aid to the Southern Cause during the war, and the lineal descendants or nieces of such women wherever living. Northern women having no male relative who served the Confederate States of America in the War Between the States, 1861-1865, and having themselves performed no special service to same, but having married a Confederate soldier since 1865, and through this means becoming a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, shall have the words “by adoption” placed upon their certificates of membership and upon the Registrar’s books . . .

In her initial application for membership, Bertie gives information proving her relationship to a confederate soldier. She states that she is the granddaughter of Col. W. F. Askew of Raleigh, a colonel in the Commissary Department located at Raleigh, North Carolina. Furthermore, she is a great niece of W. H. Moore in the North Carolina Cavalry. Her birthdate and location are, unfortunately, left blank. She signs her name “Bertie Askew Henderson (Mrs. D. M. Jr.) and gives her address as 2113 Guilford Ave., Baltimore. To be admitted to the UDC, she must receive recommendations from three members. She lists S. A. Williamson, Rebecca Marshall and E. R. Beall She was admitted to the chapter on November 6th, 1906.

At first glance, the new information contained in this application may seem to be scant, but it does provide support for her placement in our family tree and introduces a new name, W. H. Moore. If he is her great uncle, then he is likely to be a brother-in-law to William F. Askew, her grandfather. Here is a clipping from the 1850 census of Wake County, North Carolina, showing Wm. F. Askew and his wife, Harriet Moore (More), living with her father, John C. Moore (More) and brother, William.

By 1860, William and Harriet have moved out of her father’s house, but William is still living there:

Putting together the information from these census pages and his Confederate service record might lead to new information about the Moore family.

The other bit of information worth pursuing is William F. Askew’s service in the Commissary Department during the war. What was his role in the department? How did he obtain the rank of colonel? Did he form relationships during this time that helped him after the war was over? It looks like I’ll be learning something about Confederate Service Records and making a trip to the North Carolina State Archives.

On May 8th, 1922, Bertie transfers her membership to the Robert E. Lee Chapter, East Orange, New Jersey. Her name is listed as Bertha Askew Henderson (Mrs. Daniel M.) This form lists her date of birth as December 29, 1883 in Raleigh, North Carolina. Both Col. Wm. F. Askew and W. H. Moore are named, but next to Moore’s name is written “41st State Troops, CSA, Co. A, 3rd NC Cav.” As this was written by hand and most of the other information is typed, this must have been added later. A quick search online shows that the history of the 3rd Cavalry is widely known, but also turns up more than one W. H. Moore in their ranks. Further research will be necessary to determine whether or not the information given on the UDC form is correct.

Her transfer to the Stonewall Jackson Chapter in March of 1932 states that she was the founder of the Robert E. Lee Chapter of East Orange and is a charter member of the Stonewall Jackson Chapter. Her name is again written as Bertha Askew Henderson. Perhaps she used “Bertie” as a nickname when she was younger, but resorted to Bertha as she matured, as I have done with my name. People who have known me more than 25 years still call me Laurie, but I began using my given name, Laurel, when I wanted to be taken more seriously in business settings and continue to use it today.

Organizations like the UDC provided women with opportunities for accomplishments outside of their traditional roles as mothers and wives at a time when most women did not work outside the home, and for forming friendships with a common bond. The objectives of the UDC include preserving the history of the War Between the States, assisting descendants in obtaining an education by providing scholarships, and honoring those who served.




Posted by on May 23, 2012 in Askew, Genealogy Lessons


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What if You Could Meet Your Great-great-great Grandmother?

Recently a Catholic news organization reported that a Virginia family has 6 generations of daughters living under one roof. The family matriarch, Mollie Wood, is 111 years old. The youngest daughter is 7 weeks old. When I read about this family, I thought about what it would mean to me to have had the opportunity to hear our family stories directly from my great-grandparents, my great-great-grandparents, and my great-great-great-grandparents. It reminded me that preserving our stories and passing them on to the next generation gives voice in the present to the people who are no longer here to share them in person.

What family story would you like to share with future generations? If you are a member of our family, write it as a comment, below, or send it to me, and I will save it in our family history file.

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Posted by on May 21, 2012 in Genealogy Lessons, Uncategorized


2 Wives – 2 Lives

Mounting evidence supports the theory that Charles Thompson Askew married twice. Although his obituary mentions a wife, Edith, and a son, Charles, I have found additional information proving an earlier marriage to Leila Dodson and the birth of a daughter, Bertie. Besides the marriage announcement mentioned in my first post about Charles, new information sheds light on his first wife and daughter.

Married in December of 1882, Charles and Leila were no longer living together by the time the 1900 census was taken. The 1890 census would be helpful, but it was almost completely destroyed by fire and by bureaucratic ineptitude. Fortunately, more and more newspapers are being digitized and made available online, either through subscription services or through library websites for free.

A newspaper article from the Baltimore Sun, February 27, 1895 lists Charles T. Askew, Mrs. Charles T. Askew and Miss Askew, of Brooklyn, New York, attending the Drew-Hodson wedding in Baltimore. This is consistent with what we know of his employment history, which places him in New York around this time. It means Charles, Leila and daughter moved to New York together. We can only speculate about why their lives soon changed.

Here is a clipping from the 1900 census for Baltimore, Maryland. It shows (reading the columns from left to right) Leila Askew, head of household, White, Female, born October 1858, age 41, Widowed, mother of one child, one child still living, born in Maryland, her father born in Maryland, her mother born in Maryland. On the next line is Bertie Askew, daughter, born July 1883.

That Leila is listed as widowed could mean several things: she could be widowed, she could be divorced, or she could be abandoned. First, we don’t know who gave this information to the census taker. Second, divorced women often preferred to be known as widows in an era when divorce carried such a stigma. Third, a divorce was difficult to obtain.

I cannot find Charles in the 1900 census. It’s possible he wasn’t counted because he was traveling as a paper salesman at that time.

The 1910 census shows Leila Askew, mother-in-law, living with Daniel M. Henderson and Bertie C. Henderson. It also shows that Bertie and Daniel have been married for 5 years, and that Daniel’s parents were born in Scotland. Interestingly, Leila is listed as having been married 2 times, with the present marriage of 27 years duration, and as having had 2 children, with one still living (Bertie, of course.) Census data can never be presumed to be fact without further proof, however it raises the possibility that she may have been abandoned and never divorced. She may have been married to someone else before Charles. Perhaps Bertie had a brother or sister who did not survive.

In 1920 Leila is again listed in the census as a widow, and Daniel and Bertie have a 5-year-old daughter named Ruth. They are living in Orange, New Jersey. I have no further information about Leila. More proof is needed to confirm the link between Daniel and Bertie Henderson, Leila Askew and Charles T. Askew (son of William F. Askew of Raleigh.) What we have so far relies on census data and needs to be corroborated with additional evidence.

I believe I have found the evidence that proves this relationship, and this is what led me to it-

Here is an obituary for Bertie, published in the New York Times on December 29, 1935:

To become a member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, you have to prove that an ancestor fought in the War Between the States (AKA Civil War) or supported the Confederate war effort. You can obtain a copy of a member’s application by contacting the UDC library. I am awaiting the copy of Bertie’s application that I requested last week, but here is the reply I received to my email inquiry:

Dear Ms. Sanders,

Bertie Corinne Askew Henderson joined the Baltimore Chapter #8 in Baltimore, MD on November 6, 1906.  She transferred to the Robert E. Lee #1773 in East Orange, NJ in 1922, and then transferred to the Stonewall Jackson #2058 in Glenridge, NJ in 1931.  The transfers state that she was the Founder of the Robert E. Lee Chapter and a Charter Member of the Stonewall Jackson Chapter.  I’ll be happy to make a copy of the application for you; our charge for a copy of an application is $16.00. Her Confederate Ancestor was Col. William F. Askew, her Grandfather.

Thank you,

Betty Luck

Research Librarian

United Daughters of the Confederacy

328 North Boulevard

Richmond, Virginia 23220

Is this enough proof to consider the case closed? I could pursue additional records, but I am satisfied that the question of whether or not Charles T. Askew was married to Leila Dodson has been answered. New York, New Jersey and California are locations that appear frequently in our family history. Coincidence, or something more?

Here is a question for YOU to answer: In Bertie’s obituary, Daniel M. Henderson is mentioned as an author and New York magazine official. What did he write and how famous (or infamous) was he? When you find out, leave your answer in a comment on this post!


Posted by on May 16, 2012 in Askew, Genealogy Lessons, Uncategorized


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Charles T. Askew – A Chronology

In an earlier post, I promised more details would be forthcoming about Charles T. Askew and his career in the paper industry. Here is the information I have gathered so far:

The Alumni History of the University of North Carolina: Electronic Edition lists Charles Thompson Askew from Raleigh; born November 30, 1858; died Sierra Madre, California, December 31, 1923; resided in New York; student 1875-1878; paper manufacturer 1878-1880; merchant 1880-1923.

We know from his obituary that Charles left the University of North Carolina to help his father run the paper mill at the Falls of Neuse near Raleigh. If the alumni directory is correct, he left his father’s business in 1880. Where did he go?

The marriage notice for Charles T. Askew and Leila Dodson said their wedding took place in Baltimore. We are not certain, yet, if this is “our” Charles T. Askew but it makes sense to look for him there to see if we can find any clues. The University of Maryland Digital Collections has Baltimore city directories available to view online for various years from 1816 to 1920. City directories are great sources of information, and are especially useful for filling in the years between censuses. The first directory listing for Charles T. Askew is in the Woods’ Baltimore City Directory for 1883 on page 71. He is listed as a salesman, Lafayette and Gilmor. At this same location is Thomas S. Askew, clerk. Because I know that Charles had a brother named Thomas S. Askew, this must be the “right” Charles T. Askew. Furthermore, at this same address is listed Isaac Emerson, apothecary, who is known to be the brother-in-law of Charles and Thomas.

Charles is not listed in the 1884 or 1885 Woods’ directory. He is listed in 1886 on page 80 as a salesman, 406 Druid Hill Ave. The 1887 directory is not online. He does not appear in the 1888 R. L. Polk city directory. He is listed in the 1889 R. L. Polk directory on page 75. It lists him as a manager at 16 Hanover, and his home address is 336 Presstman. This is the last time I find him in Baltimore. Where did he go from there? His obituary says he joined the sales department of A. G. Elliot and Co. of Philadelphia, then J. Q. Preble & Co. and J. B. Sheffield & Co.

According to The American Stationer, Vol. 27, January 30, 1890, page 231:

Charles T. Askew will continue with J B Sheffield & Son and the Saugerties Blank Book Company, successors to J. Q. Preble & Co. as their Southern representative and will soon call on his friends and customers throughout his territory.

Unfortunately for Charles, Sheffield & Son and the Saugerties Blank Book Company were in the process of reorganizing debts that resulted from the partnership with J. Q. Preble, as reported in the New York Times on December 22, 1889. Charles soon left the company and started his own business.

From The American Stationer, Vol. 27, April 3, 1890, page 796:

Charles T. Askew well-known throughout the South, has resigned his position as a representative of J. B. Sheffield & Son and Saugerties Blank Book Company. He will start at once in the business of manufacturing tablets, locating his factory at 39 Vesey Street, New York, under the style the Manhattan Tablet Company. He will have associated with him W. R. Crump who has been at the head of the tablet department at Saugerties for six or more years. In addition to this business, Mr. Askew will sell paper and blank books on commission.

In 1892, again according to his obituary, he formed a partnership with Henry W. Dewey under the name Dewey and Askew, wholesale paper dealers, which he operated until 1898. Then, in 1899, Charles joins the newly formed Ulster Paper Mills Company in Saugerties, New York, according to an article in The Bookseller, Newsdealer and Stationer, Vol. 10, August 1, 1899, page 486. Charles is listed as manager of sales and Benjamin F. Crump is listed as manager.

At some point after this, Charles tries his hand at another new business which he calls The Askew Company. The New England Stationer and Printer, Vol. 16, April 1902, page 36, reports that he has joined this company with the Edward J. Merriam Company and will once again be calling on customers in the South. In 1905, Charles heads west.

The F. M Husted’s Oakland, Alameda and Berkeley city directory, Volume 1907, lists both C. T. Askew and the Merriam Paper Company at 1003 Broadway. Some time later, he goes to work for the Zellerbach Paper Company, founded in San Francisco, where he works until his death in 1923 according to his obituary.

Charles left quite a “paper trail!”

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Posted by on May 9, 2012 in Askew, Genealogy Lessons


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How Can I Be “Removed” In My Own Family Tree?

In my last post, I used the term “removed” in describing the relationship between two people in our family tree. Have you heard the phrase “she is my second cousin once removed” and wondered what that meant? How far apart do people have to be in a family to be classified as “removed?” Terms like cousin, aunt, and uncle tell us about which ancestors we have in common. For example, I have grandparents in common with my first cousin and great-grandparents in common with my second cousin. My grandparents are also the closest ancestor that I have in common with my first cousin’s children, so we are also first cousins, but because they are one generation later than me we are first cousins once removed. The term “removed” tells us that there are generations that separate us: once removed means one generation, twice removed means two generations, etc. So, the term “removed” doesn’t make us that far apart on the family tree!

For a more detailed explanation of the term “removed” I encourage you to check out Dick Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter article “What Is ‘Second Cousin Once Removed?'” He is very well-known in the field of genealogy, and his newsletter is always interesting and often though-provoking. It’s also free!

I confess that when it comes to figuring out relationships in our family tree I still find it somewhat confusing.  I am very thankful that my family tree software, Reunion, does it for me!

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Posted by on April 18, 2012 in Genealogy Lessons