As I have mentioned before, I began searching my family tree years ago when I was young. Everything was a mystery and there was no ancestry.com, no Internet that I knew of, to help you along quickly. I researched by going to the library, ordering vital records through snail mail, writing family members who lived too far away, and interviewing the ones who were close. One of those interviews was of my Grandma’s sister, Aunt Janice. We went to her home and had a cheesy chicken broccoli mushroom casserole that I wasn’t too sure about as a kid, not liking broccoli or mushrooms or casseroles. My mom recalls, “We sat down and I thought my girls will never eat this. How will they react to it?” I ate it the best I could, meaning as little broccoli and mushroom as possible. We liked it so much my mom got the recipe and makes it minus the mushrooms to this day. It is an often-requested birthday dinner meal. I still push the broccoli aside.
I was anxious to hear all about Grandma’s ancestors. After dinner, Aunt Janice began to share what she knew with me. I learned that my great-grandmother was the youngest of 6 children to her parents, George William and Nicatie (Gibson) Comer: Owen born 1888, Mary born 1890, Marietta born 1892, William Webster born 1892, Daniel Kennington born 1894, and Matilda E born 1896.
The most intriguing was about my great-grandmother’s mother, Nicatie Gibson. She whispered that Nicatie’s mother was said to be full-blooded Native American and that the “E” in my great-grandmother’s middle name stood for Elizabeth for her mother. I have since found my great-grandmother’s delayed birth certificate and it states her middle name was Estelle. Did I misunderstand? Was she named after her grandmother instead? I began to think it was possible as I did more research.
I could find no trace of Nicatie. Even after I starting searching on ancestry and all over the internet, it became apparent that Nicatie was a nickname and that others were searching for “Nicatie’s” with very little luck too. I found someone named Rebecca Gibson that fit the time period, but I had no proof. A year or two ago, I got another clue in the form of the beautiful picture above. This came out of another visit. This time my Dad had caught the genealogy bug. He and mom went to West Virginia to visit his aunt, the oldest sister of my Grandma. Little did he know he would be coming home with copies of so many wonderful pictures.
In the lower left corner of this picture someone has written:
born Nov 15-1860
died July 14-1898.
Mother age 38 yrs.
“Gone but not forgotten.”
I finally had some dates.
I found her husband, George’s, death certificate but he remarried after she died so that does me no good. I have searched FindAGrave for both their names. No luck. I searched newspapers for their names. No luck. I searched wvculture.org and only found this marriage license for a GW Comer and Rebecca A.M.N. Gibson but I cannot decide if I believe it’s them as it places George three years younger than his death certificate birthdate would make him. It makes her two years younger than the writing on the picture.
I found this 1870 census in Roane County for an Elizabeth M Gibson, parents Martin and Matilda, my great-grandmother’s name. I just cannot clarify if it is her or not.
One thing I know for certain is that her nickname was Nicatie and that stuck so well that three of her children, including my great-grandmother have that as her name on their delayed birth certificates. My great-aunt said her husband or father called her “my little Nicatie.” I have searched unsuccessfully for a meaning for that nickname as well.
Nicatie will remain an unsolved mystery until I can find just the right clue. Is she Elizabeth? Rebecca? Or are they one in the same?