One of the kits I manage, I’ll call “JS,” has received his Ethnicity Estimate and he now knows he is 88% descended from England, Wales, and Northwestern Europe, 10% from Ireland and Scotland, and two percent from Germanic Europe. Pretty cool.
Ancestry also provides some pretty maps indicating a person’s ethnicity. In his case, the three ethnicity areas overlap.
Ancestry also provides connections to “Additional Communities.” In his case, there are:
“Lower Midwest & Virginia Settlers,” which includes Illinois, Indiana, and Tennessee.
Six of his eight great-grandparents are from the area identified by Ancestry which is as expected. However, the Mississippi & Louisiana settlers is somewhat of a surprise, and not seeing northern Midwestern ancestors was also unexpected. But although the Ethnicity Estimates and Communities are fun and interesting to see, there has to be more. For $99 (regular price) there has to be more, and there is. DNA Matches is the next big part of the process and in my next blog, I’ll describe what to do with them.
[i] Ancestors with two states listed were born in the first state and died in the second state listed.
[ii] The ancestors born in Tennessee also died in Tennessee.
By Don Taylor
Names fascinate me. When I was a child, I had a pastor whose name was Joyce. Since then, I’ve encountered other men with names that were unusual for men to have, such as Nancy and Shirley. While I was researching Ruby Foster Wilmoth, I encountered a very unusual name for a male – Jewell. From other records, I learned Ruby’s older brother went by “J. T.” often, but the “J” really stood for Jewell. Jewell had a son he named Jewell. Masculine names such as Joyce, Nancy, and Jewell remind me to never assume the sex of an individual based solely upon their name.
Rittenberry 2019 – Ancestor RS-15
List of Grandparents
Grandmother: Ruby Jean Shoemake
1st Great-grandmother: Ruby Foster Wilmoth
2nd Great-grandfather: Jubie Collins Wilmoth
3rd Great-grandfather: John Thomas Wilmoth
Ruby Foster Wilmoth (1912-1966)
Ruby Foster Wilmoth was born on 24 August 1912 in Overton County, Tennessee. She was the second of eight children born to Jubie and Rachel (Petty) Wilmoth.
Children of Jubie and Rachel (Petty) Wilmoth
Jewel T. Wilmoth
Ruby Foster Wilmoth
Brison F. Wilmoth
Roxie Ann Wilmoth
Charles Dennis Wilmoth
Austin Collins Wilmoth
In Overton County, she grew up surrounded by family. The 1920 Census saw Ruby living with her parents and four of her siblings. She and her older brother, Jewel, are attending school. Her father, Jubie, is a farmer who owns his farm and is working on his own account. On the same census page was the farm of John T. Wilmoth and included his wife and six children. In Total there are 5 Wilmoth heads of households on the same page of the Census Record. Altogether there were 10 Wilmoth families in the county, 8 in District 1. Looking back in history, there were six Wilmoth family “Heads” enumerated during the 1910 Census, and three in 1900. There were 22 individuals with the surname Wilmoth (or Wilmouth) during the 1880 Census. The 1810 Census records suggest that the Wilmoth’s have deep roots in Overtown County and have been there since it was formed out of Jackson County and Indian Lands in 1806.[i]
In 1928, when Ruby was 14, her mother died. As the oldest girl in the household, I’m certain much of managing the house fell to Ruby. The 1930 Census reflects that life, with the 17-year-old Ruby identified in the census as the person who provided the information to the census taker. She identified her farmer father as a widower who had been married 19 years. With Ruby and her dad are six of her siblings. (Little Austin died as an infant in 1927.)
In November 1930, her father, Jubie Wilmoth married Maggie Goodwin. Jubie and Maggie would go on to have three children (half siblings to Ruby).
In 1933 Ruby married the widower, Willie Hayes Shoemake. Willie and his first wife, Berchie A. Bryant had two children (Gladys & James) before Berchie died in 1932.
Children of Willie Hayes and Ruby Foster (Wilmoth) Shoemake
The 1940 Census, finds Willie & Ruby living in the First Civil District, Putnam County. Living with them is James, Willie’s son from his previous marriage. Willie’s 15-year-old daughter, Gladys, appears to be elsewhere. Willie is a painter and Ruby is keeping house.
Death & Burial
Ruby died on 9 August 1966. She was buried in Wilmoth Cemetery, Poplar Springs, Overton County, Tennessee.
“United States Census, 1920,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MNP3-QWB : accessed 31 March 2019), Ruby Wilmoth in household of Julie C Wilmoth, Civil District 1, Overton, Tennessee, United States; citing ED 56, sheet 2A, line 23, family 28, NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1992), roll 1759; FHL microfilm 1,821,759.
“United States Census, 1930,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:SPQG-V5G : accessed 31 March 2019), Ruby Wilmoth in household of Jubie C Wilmoth, District 01, Overton, Tennessee, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 1, sheet 6A, line 23, family 105, NARA microfilm publication T626 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2002), roll 2268; FHL microfilm 2,342,002.
“United States Census, 1940,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K4ZJ-BXM : accessed 8 March 2018), Willie Shoemake, Civil District 1, Putnam, Tennessee, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 71-5, sheet 1A, line 19, family 5, Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940, NARA digital publication T627. Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790 – 2007, RG 29. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012, roll 3928.
Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 31 March 2019), memorial page for Ruby Wilmoth Shoemake Tucker (24 Aug 1912–9 Aug 1966), Find A Grave Memorial no. 77439952, citing Wilmoth Cemetery, Poplar Springs, Overton County, Tennessee, USA; Maintained by imagal49 (contributor 47223808).
“Tennessee Death Records, 1914-1963,” database with images, Family Search (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NSTM-N43 : 25 May 2014), Willie H. Shoemake in the entry for Willie Paul Shoemake, 28 Nov 1943; citing Judd Cemetery, Cookeville, Putnam, Tennessee, 24298, State Library and Archives, Nashville; FHL microfilm 2,137,340.
Willie Hayes Shoemake was born, grew up, married three times, and died – all in Putnam County, Tennessee. He was too young to have been drafted into World War I and too old (and married with children) to have served in World War II, so it is possible he never left the county.
Rittenberry 2018 – Ancestor #RS-06
List of Grandparents
Grandfather: Willie Hayes Shoemake
1st Great-grandfather: James “Jim” M. Shoemake Sr.
Willie Hayes Shoemake (1905-1962)
Willie Shoemake was born 15 March 1905 in Putnam County, Tennessee, probably near Cookeville, which is about 80 miles east of Nashville, to James “Jim” and Mary Fannie Shoemake. He was in the middle of 11 children.
His siblings included:
Homer Blain Shoemake 1891
Maggie Shoemake 1894
Oscar Bell Shoemake 1898
Haskell Shoemake c. 1900
Marshel M Shoemake c. 1902
Willie Hayes Shoemake 1905
Andrew W Shoemake c. 1907
Ethel Madelia Shoemake c. 1909
The 1910 Census finds a family of James & Fannie, with seven of their children, Homer, Oscar, Haskell, Marshel, Willie, Andrew, and Madelia, renting a house along Cookeville and Smithville Road. Willie’s father, James, is a “sawer” at a lumber mill; older brothers Oscar and “Haskie” are laborers at a lumber mill. “Haskie” and Oscar are only 11 and 13 respectively, neither are attending school, and neither could read and write. Willie’s oldest brother, Homer, is a laborer doing odd jobs. Besides appearing like a family in poverty, the 1910 Census also tells the story of great loss. It reports that “Fannie” had 11 children and only nine were living in 1910. So, two children were born and died before 1910. There is also one more child of James and Fannie whose name I’m not confident about.
The next census, 1920, shows the family as James and Fannie with five of their children still at home. “Osker,” Haskell, Marshell, Willie, and Ethel. None of the children are attending school. However, all are reported as being able to read and write. Willie and Ethel are still home, but Oscar, Haskel, and Marshell are farm laborers “working out.”
In 1923, Willie married Berchie A Bryant. Willie was 18 and Berchie was 15 years old.
The 1930 Census finds the young family of Willie, Berchie with 4-year-old Gladys Rosalee and baby James Cecil (8 months old). Willie owns his home and is a truck driver for a planning factory.
Birchie died on 12 March 1932 at the age of 24.
Willie married Ruby Foster Wilmoth in 1933. The 1940 Census finds Willie’s family consisting of him and Ruby. With them is 10-year-old James plus two young children, five-year-old Ruby J and a newborn, Robert. Willie is a painter and decorator. Fifteen-year-old Gladys does not appear with them in the 1940 Census. Further research will be needed to determine where Gladys went.
On 18 March 1943 Ruby gave birth to another son, Willie Paul Shoemake. Willie Paul died eight months later on 28 November 1943.
Willie and Ruby separated sometime between 1943 and 1958. (Ruby passed in 1966.)
Willie married Rosa Burris in 1958. In 1958 Rosa was 50-years-old, so Willie and Rosa had no children.
Death & Burial
Willie died on 25 April 1962 at the age of 57 at Cookeville General Hospital. He was buried at the Judd Church Cemetery, Cookeville, Putnam County, Tennessee. His wife Rosa joined him in death 13 years later and was buried with him.
Further Actions / Follow-up
None – Research of James and Fannie should fill in several of the known holes in the tree.
1940 Census (FS), Family Search, Willie Shoemake – Putnam, Tennessee. “United States Census, 1940,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K4ZJ-BXM. accessed 8 March 2018), Willie Shoemake, Civil District 1, Putnam, Tennessee, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 71-5, sheet 1A, line 19, family 5, Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940, NARA digital publication T627. Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790 – 2007, RG 29. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012, roll 3928.
Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 11 March 2018), memorial page for Willie Hayes Shoemake (15 Mar 1905–25 Apr 1962), Find A Grave Memorial no. 58511255, citing Judd Church Cemetery, Cookeville, Putnam County, Tennessee, USA ; Maintained by Papa Randy (contributor 46864588) .
Tennessee, Death Records, 1914-1963, Family Search, Willie Hayes Shoemake – Death 25 Apr1962. “Tennessee Death Records, 1914-1963”, database with images, FamilySearch 24 October 2016), Willie Hayes Shoemake, 1962.
“Tennessee Death Records, 1914-1963,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NSTM-N43 : 25 May 2014), Willie Paul Shoemake, 28 Nov 1943; citing Judd Cemetery, Cookeville, Putnam, Tennessee, 24298, State Library and Archives, Nashville; FHL microfilm 2,137,340.
Today, I look at the Rittenberry family and the life of Dora Effie Jane Chism Rittenberry Johnson of Tennessee.
Rittenberry Project 2017 – Ancestor #5
List of Grandparents
Grandmother: Dora Effie Jane Chism [Rittenberry] [Johnson]
1st Great-grandfather: John Wesley Chism
Dora Effie Jane Chism Rittenberry Johnson (1888-1946)
Dora Effie Jane Chism was one of the ten children of John Wesley and Charlotte (Clark) Chism. She was born 12 May 1888 in Putnam County, Tennessee and was the youngest of the three children of Charlotte living in 1900. Her older known living siblings were Amey and John Chism. The 1900 census reported that Charlotte had ten children only 3 of which were alive in 1900. The Chism surname is spelled in many different ways, Chism, Chisam, Chisem, and Chisholm in various documents. We also know that one of her sisters married an (unknown) Kinnaird and had two children, Kilmer and Clarence. She died before 1900, and her children are the grandchildren living with John Wesley and Charlotte in the 1900 Census.
In 1902, when Effie, as she came to be known, was only 14 years old, she married 20-year-old, William Dee Rittenberry. They had eight children. All of their children have since passed.
William Dee and Effie (Chism) Rittenberry’s Eight Children
Ethel Lee Rittenberry [Webb]
Evelyn Maybell Rittenberry [Stone]
Cecil Rose Rittenberry [Willoughby]
John D Rittenberry
T J Rittenberry
L B Rittenberry
William D Rittenberry, Jr.
Marguerite Lucile Rittenberry [Lindsey]
Through the years, the Rittenberry’s show up together in various locations in the area. In 1910 they were in Cookeville, Putnam County, in 1920 in Crawford, Overton County (about 30 miles away) and in 1930, back to Cookeville. Sometime in the 1920s, they lived in Algood, TN (about 5 miles from Cookeville).
On 9 August 1931, Effie was shot by her husband in the abdomen with a 32-caliber handgun. A newspaper article indicated that she was in critical condition and might die from the wound. Effie shot Dee as well in the chest, just missing his heart. Dee ran but was captured by the sheriff shortly after the double shooting. The Sherriff’s department said it was a domestic disturbance base upon jealousy. Both of them lived through
I have been unable to find the divorce record between Dee and Effie, but the gunfire exchange was probably reasonable grounds. I presume the divorce occurred sometime between August 1931 and March of 1940 because on 17 March 1940, Effie married Mike Johnson.
Dora Effie Jane Chism Rittenberry Johnson died on 14 June 1946 in Nashville, TN. She was buried in Shipley Cemetery in Cookeville, Putnam County, Tennessee
The Tennessean (Nashville, TN, ), Newspapers.com, 1931-08-10 Tennessean (Nashville, TN) Page 1. “Putnam Wife May Die; Husband Shot In Jealous Quarrel.”
Tennessee Death Records, 1914-1963, Family Search, Cecil Rose Rittenberry. “Tennessee Death Records, 1914-1963,” database with images, FamilySearch; citing Cemetery, Cookeville, Putnam, Tennessee, State Library and Archives, Nashville; FHL microfilm 2,137,360. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NS7C-X5B.
I was really excited when one of my grandchildren indicated that she was interested in her family history. In particular, she wondered about her paternal grandmother’s family, the Rittenberrys. I knew very little about them, so I jumped at the chance to research some her ancestor’s history. To bypass living individuals, I thought I’d start with her grandmother’s grandfather, William Dee Ester Rittenberry.
Through the many records the surname takes many forms, Ritenberry, Writtenberry, and Ritenburg. I have settled on Rittenberry both as the most common spelling and as the modern spelling used as the maiden name by her grandmother. Also, for ahnentafel numbering, I begin with her living grandmother as person #1, making her grandmother’s grandfather Ancestor #4.
Rittenberry Project 2017 – Ancestor #4
List of Grandparents
1st Great-grandfather: L. B. Rittenberry
2nd Great-grandfather: William Dee Ester Rittenberry
3rd Great-grandfather: James Henry Rittenberry
William Dee Ester Rittenberry (1882-1961)
William Dee Ester Rittenberry, known as “Dee,” was born on 28 Oct 1882 in Buffalo Valley, Putnam County, Tennessee. Buffalo Valley is an unincorporated community in Putnam County, Tennessee. It is exit 268 on Interstate 40.
He was the oldest child of James Henry Rittenberry and Martha Taylor and had five younger siblings, namely:
Della Jared Rittenberry,
Lourency M. Rittenberry,
When he was 19, Dee married Dora Effie Jane Chism, known as Effie. She was the daughter of Charlotte (Chism), on 15 Oct 1902 in Putnam County, Tennessee. I am not sure about Effie’s father’s name and need to do more research regarding this family.
William Dee Ester Rittenberry and Dora Effie Jane Chism had the following children:
Ethel Lee Rittenberry was born in 1904 in Tennessee. She died before Jan 2001.
Evelyn M Rittenberry was born on 29 Apr 1907 in Putnam County. She died on 03 Jan 2001 in Cookeville, Tennessee at the Masters Health Care Center. She married a man surnamed Stone.
Cecil Rose Rittenberry was born on 07 Dec 1909 in Algood, Tennessee (See Article). She died on 08 Jun 1945 in Cookeville, TN.
John D Rittenberry was born in 1913; he died before Jan 2001.
T J Rittenberry was born on 16 Jun 1917 in Putnam County; he died on 08 Jun 195715 in Nashville, Davidson, Tennessee at Saint Thomas Hospital.
L B Rittenberry4 was born on 28 Apr 1920 in Tennessee. He died on 07 Dec 1976 in Goodletsville, Davidson County, Tennessee. He married Ruby Jean Shoemaker sometime before 01 Apr 1940.
William D Rittenberry, Jr. was born about 1924.
Lucile Rittenberry was born about 1925.
1900 – William Dee Ester Rittenberry lived in Civil District 19, Putnam, Tennessee on 01 Jun 1900. He was a Laborer at the Sparta Spoke Factory. The Sparta Spoke Factory was established in 1896 on the Calfkiller River and became the world’s largest producer of wooden spokes. As the demand for wooden spokes decreased, the company changed over to custom furniture and furniture components. Today the company is known as Sparta WoodWorks.
1910 – Cookeville and Ganesborrow Road Cookeville, Putnam, Tennessee. He was a farmer, farming a rented farm with his wife, and three children, Ethel, Every, and Mary (Cecil). Living with them was his mother-in-law, Charlotte Chism.
1918 – He registered for the draft on 12 Sep 1918 in Crawford, Overton County, Tennessee. He was described as medium height, medium build, Blue eyes, and light hair. Occupation: Coal Digging with Brice Hill. Dee never served.
1920 – Dee is living in Crawford, Overton County, Tennessee. He is working as a coal miner. Living with him are his wife, three daughters, two sons and his uncle, Carnie (possibly Carrie), Rittenberry.
1930 – The depression was tough on coal mines and Dee appears to have been impacted by it. The 1930 Census shows him working as a laborer in a public works project. It also shows Dee had moved back to Putnam County, TN, and was living with his wife and kids. Also, living with him is a granddaughter, Juanita Harris.
1951 – It appears that he retired on 15 Feb 1951 and went on social security. He lived in Cookeville until his death in 1961.
William Dee Rittenberry died on 24 May 1961 at the Putnam County Poor Home in Cookeville, TN, at the age of 78. He was buried at the Shipley Cemetery in Cookeville, Putnam County, Tennessee. Per Find-a-Grave, There are 14 Rittenberrys buried at Shipley Cemetery.
It is clear from the census records that family was important to Dee Rittenberry. Although they were poor and had little during the depression, it is clear they took on family members that needed support and helped all they could.
1930 Census (FS), Family Search, 1930 Census – Dee Rittenberry – District 19, Putnam, Tennessee, ED 71-23, Sheet 2B. “United States Census, 1930,” database with images, FamilySearch : accessed 15 July 2017), Dee Rittenberry, District 19, Putnam, Tennessee, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 23, sheet 2B, line 89, family 46, NARA microfilm publication T626 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2002), roll 2269; FHL microfilm 2,342,003. http://(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:SPQR-745.
1940 Census (FS), Family Search, 1940 Census – L B Rittenberry – Chattanooga, Hamilton, Tennessee, ED 96-97, Sheet 3A.
Tennessee Death Records, 1914-1963, Family Search, William Dee Rittenberry. “Tennessee Death Records, 1914-1963”, database with images, FamilySearch ( : 3 April 2015), William Dee Rittenberry, 1961. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QKMS-83FJ.
Tennessee, Birth Records (ER Series), 1908-1912, Family Search, Mary Rose Rittenberry. “Tennessee, Birth Records (ER Series), 1908-1912”, database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:Q2H5-C9Z1 : 4 November 2016), Mary Rose Rittenbury, 1909.
Tennessee, County Marriages, 1790-1950, Family Search, William Dee Rittenberry & Effie Chism. “Tennessee, County Marriages, 1790-1950,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QKHQ-M4MZ : 22 December 2016), Wm D Writtenbury and Effie Chisom, 15 Oct 1902; citing Putnam, Tennessee, United States, Marriage, p. , Tennessee State Library and Archives, Nashville and county clerk offices from various counties; FHL microfilm 979,724.
S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007, Ancestry.com, Dee Rittenberry.
United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, Family Search, William D Rittenbeary. “United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KZ6X-M4Rv : 12 December 2014), William D Rittenbeary, 1917-1918; citing Overton County, Tennessee, United States, NARA microfilm publication M1509 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,877,604. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KZ6X-M4R.