Fun Facts About Leap Year Day

This is a day that comes around but once every four years. A friend of mine often bragged about her age being just 1/4 of her life years because she had only had a birthday in leap years.

Thirty days hath September,
April, June and November;
All the rest have thirty-one,
Excepting February alone
Which has but twenty-eight,
But twenty-nine each leap year.

Here are a few fun facts about Leap Year Day:

  1. My friend shares her 29th of February birthday with only about 187,000 other Americans.
  2. Leap years began during the reign of Julius Caesar to balance out the calendar.
  3. There is an Irish tradition that St. Brigid made a deal with St. Patrick to allow women to propose to men – not just the other way around – every four years.
  4. Scots believed that being born on Leap Year Day would bring a life of misery and suffering.
  5. Astrologers, on the other hand, thought that those lucky enough to be born on this day would be both handsome and talented.
  6. The Guinness Book of World Records has verified one family with three consecutive generations born on February 29. Peter Anthony Keogh was born on 29 February 1940, his son, Peter Eric, was born on Leap Year Day in 1964 and his grandchild, Bethany Wealth, was born in 1996.
  7. The Henriksen family in Norway has three children with verified births on February 29 – daughter Heidi in 1960, followed by son Olav in 1964 and another son, Leif-Martin, in 1968.
  8. 29 February 1504 was an important day for Christopher Columbus. He was marooned on Jamaica and facing starvation because the Indians were no longer helping the explorer and his crew. Columbus was aware that there would be a lunar eclipse on that day and told the Indians that God would punish them for not helping the Europeans by making the moon disappear. Right on cue, the sky blackened and the moon disappeared, scaring the Indians. After about an hour, the predicted length of the eclipse, the chiefs agreed to provide food and other help if the moon would be returned. Of course, Columbus did “bring it back” and the island natives remained friendly and helpful for several months until another European ship arrived.
  9. It is said that a man who receives a marriage proposal on 29 February can NOT say no.
  10. Lastly, there is a Greek superstition that it is bad luck to marry anytime during a leap year and couples will postpone weddings until leap year has finished.

Enjoy this Leap Year Day since we have to wait four years for the next one!

Friday’s Family History Finds

The best Family History Finds this week:

Family Stories

Peale’s Portrait of an Elderly Black Man on Boston 1775

1919 Influenza Epidemic Through My Grandmother’s Eyes by Anne Young on Anne’s Family History

Samuel Haimowitz and the Missing Immigration Records by Sharon on Branches on Our Haimowitz Family Tree

From Luxembourg to America – The Tempestuous Voyage of the Cornely Family by Cathy Meder-Dempsey on Opening Doors in Brick Walls

Research Resources

Source: Municipal Reports by Yvette Hoitink on Dutch Genealogy

Researching Early American Mariners of the Napoleonic Wars – Part 7 AND Part 8, both on The French Genealogy Blog

In the Beginning by Tricia Mitchell on Vita Brevis

Context in Genealogy: Clues from Your Ancestor’s Environment on Lyfelynes Family History

Bohemian Church Registers Online by Hallie Borstel on Vita Brevis

Nova Scotia Archives Launches Online Resource Devoted to African Nova Scotian History by Gail Dever on Genealogy à la Carte

Tech News

You Need More Than HTTPS to Stay Safe on Public Wifi by David Murphy on Lifehacker

How to Set Up a YouTube Channel by Gail Dever on Genealogy à la Carte

Genetic Genealogy

Optimizing Your Tree at Ancestry for More Hints and DNA ThruLines by Roberta Estes on DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy


Excellent advice when looking for ancestors anywhere:
Quick Tip – Don’t Stop Looking When They’re Dead by Yvette Hoitink on Dutch Genealogy

Beneficial Conference Takeaways You Can Use, Too by Lori on Genealogy at Heart

Thank You for Sharing by Marian B. Wood on Climbing My Family Tree

Cracks in an Impossible Brick Wall by Sam Williams on The Orthodox Genealogist

Don’t Let Assumptions Mislead You in Your Genealogy Research by Lorine McGinnis Schulze on The Olive Tree Genealogy Blog

Education Is for Everyone

Disaster Avoided, Thanks to Old Technology by Marian B. Wood on Climbing My Family Tree

It’s Not All Online! by Donna Moughty on Irish Genealogy

YouTube: Research Your Irish Clan Using DNA and Documentary Records by John D. Reid on Canada’s Anglo-Celtic Connections

Oh, Freddie. . . by Judy G. Russell on The Legal Genealogist

Writing: Can You Self Edit? by Cari Taplin on Genealogy Pants

The Archive Lady: Tips for Researching in Courthouses by Melissa Barker on Genealogy Bargains

Keeping Up with the Times

To keep up with all the RootsTech news from various bloggers, be sure to visit Randy Seaver’s compendium:
RootsTech 2020 Salt Lake City Blog Compendium by Randy Seaver on Genea-Musings

When You Post Something Online by Michael John Neill on Rootdig

Combining Genetics with Genealogy to Identify the Dead in Unmarked Graves by Gail Dever on Genealogy à la Carte

Warren Campbell: Mystery Photo with an Interesting Story

Warren Campbell is/was somewhat of a mystery. A very nice portrait-style photograph of him is part of the family photo collection inherited from my husband’s Stufflebean grandparents, Earl & Pearl, who lived first in Noble and then Norman, Oklahoma.

Warren Campbell

As I began the hunt for Warren Campbell, and there aren’t many in the 1920-ish time period to which I think this photo belongs, there was only one man who had any connection to the Stufflebeans that I could determine.

Warren Aurelius Campbell was born 11 November 1897, in Kansas to Robert A. Warren and his wife, Edith (Morgan) Campbell and died on 22 April 1950 in Los Angeles, California.

Warren married Julia Pauline Parker on 19 March 1921 in Noble, Oklahoma, which is the sole connection found to Earl and Pearl Stufflebean. The Stufflebean family owned a general store in town and it is possible that Earl and/or Pearl met Warren or Julia that way.

Julia Pauline Parker was born 25 November 1905 in Arkansas and died 11 May 1956 in Los Angeles, California.

Neither of the Campbells apparently stayed long in Noble. Julia was at home with her family in Arkansas in 1920 and Warren’s whereabouts are unknown in 1920, but he wasn’t in Noble.

Warren and Julia were the parents of two children:

  1. Pauline Laverne, born 1921, Oklahoma; married (1) Raymond Mastello Carley, 28 September 1939, Orange County, California. Raymond was born in 1919 and died in 1970, Yuma, Arizona. (2) Warren (aka Wesley) Lyle Penn, 17 October 1954, Los Angeles, California. I’m not sure why Warren was going by the name of Warren – odd since her father was Warren – because his birth name was Lyle WESLEY Penn.
  2. Warren Aurelius, born 22 July 1925, Enid, Garfield, Oklahoma; died 20 July 1993, Los Angeles, California; married Grace Anna Johnson, 31 December 1945, Sanders County, Montana. She was born 20 June 1925, Chicago, Illinois and died 20 January 1988, Los Angeles, California. They apparently divorced and she married (2) Lawrence Eugene Mitchell, February 1975, Los Angeles, California.

Unfortunately, I’ve found no evidence that either Pauline or Warren had children, so there may be no descendants to whom I can return this photo.

It also seems that while Pauline Laverne had somewhat of a difficult life, Warren’s life choices were much worse.

The 1940 census shows Laverne Campbell living back at home with her parents, in spite of her 1939 marriage, enumerated as a Campbell, but also listed as married. She is also listed as a son, but clearly Pauline, a daughter, in 1930, so that seems to be the enumerator’s error.

While her marriage record to Lyle is available, she has not been found after that time and her death date is unknown. Perhaps when the 1950 census is released in a couple of years, more can be found.

Her brother, Warren Aurelius Campbell, Jr., had a much more checkered life. The first record I came across for him was:

Source: Ancestry

Note the charge was kidnapping and he was incarcerated in Alcatraz on 8 March 1953.

Even more worrisome was the next line: Transferred from: L, which indicates that he was first imprisoned elsewhere.

Next, I used my recent GeneaGem find, Record Group Explorer on NARA and looked for a file on Warren Campbell. Although it hasn’t yet been digitized, he is indexed with the scope of his record detailed:

More sad news, as the L is for LEAVENWORTH and he was transferred to the U.S. Penitentiary in Marion, Illinois on 14 January 1963.

I sent an email to NARA asking about the cost for a copy of his file. That was before I noticed the last line that said his file is approximately 1400 PAGES! Somehow, I don’t think I’ll be paying for that.

The NARA entry gives his mother’s name and suggests she might have been a Penn. However, Julia died in 1956 and I suspect that since his sister was Pauline Laverne that this reference is to his closest relative and his sister was his only close family member still living after May 1956. She was the Penn and this proves that she was living at least until that time.

Kidnapping is a horrible offense, but I also have to wonder what he did to be transferred to three different prisons. Leavenworth doesn’t have the reputation as a party place, yet he went from there to Alcatraz! The transfer to Marion happened because Alcatraz closed for good on 21 March 1963.

Warren Aurelius Campbell was eventually released, as he died in Los Angeles, California, but I haven’t been able to learn anything else about him.

If Warren or Pauline Laverne did have children and you are descended from them, I would love to return this photo to you. Please leave a comment.