Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Fuller Than I Thought

It's one thing to go down a genealogical rabbit hole, looking for collateral details on a specific ancestor. To try and follow the trail for an entire surname is something elseand if that surname happens to be as common as Fuller, look out!

While I was working on what is turning out to be an entire photograph collection from the Brockman family of Sonora, California, I realized that one of the pictures was labeled with the surname Fuller. Of course, as I worked my way through another surnameletting Purkey lead me to Tucker and then to two different Goodman familieswhat should I see in those Goodman family trees but that very surname, Fuller.

It seems that Burt Purkey's wife's father's maternal grandmother's maiden name was Fuller. (Is that going too far?)

I raced back to that safe place where I've stashed all the antique photographs I'd found in that northern California antique shopthe ones I'm hoping to return to interested descendantsto pull out that picture labeled with the Fuller name.

This one, I thought, was going to be an easy catch. The given name for this Fuller family member was Pleasant. She was a young mother, and in her lap was a baby. The back of the photograph, besides mentioning Pleasant Fuller, had a second line which added, simply, "+ Tarence."

Common surnames may give researchers grief, but uncommon given names will hopefully make up for that fault. I started looking around in the family tree of Samuel Tucker's maternal grandmother to see what I could find. After all, the Goodman wife's maiden name was Fuller.

I kept looking.

I started looking for Fullers in the other Goodman line. No Pleasant.

Finally, I went back to the beginning and started thinking this out, all over again. Perhaps this Fuller woman belonged to another part of the Purkey universe. I looked through the rest of the photos in my stash from Sonora, seeking guidance through any other labels including the Fuller surname. After all, I couldn't be sure that Fuller was Pleasant's maiden name or married name.

A second drawback was that this photograph didn't come with any clue of a location. Where a studio imprint could have been included, the only item offered was the information, "Cabinet Portrait." Well, that seemed self-evident.

As it turned out, my solution did come when I returned to that collection of photographs I rescued from the Sonora antique shop, rather than poring through census records. There, I looked through all the rest of the pictures to see who else was labeled with this same Fuller nameand what clues I might draw from them. The answer came with another mother-and-child photo, this one labeled "Theresa Fuller, Burt Purkey's cousin."

I was off again, looking through census records and other documents to locate anyone in the Purkey tree who might be the suspected Theresa Fullerand, to hope that the line of Theresa Fuller also included someone named Pleasant who had a child named Tarence.

The answer came almost immediately: Theresa was sister to Tarence. Their mom was named Pleasant, all right, but Fuller was her married name. Pleasant was born a Purkey, next youngest sister to Erastus Purkey, Burt Purkey's dad. Thus, of course, her children Tarence and Theresa would have been Burt's cousins.

Tomorrow, we'll take a look at the photograph of Pleasant Purkey Fuller and her baby Tarence, and follow that up the next day with a glimpse of a very faded photograph of Theresa Fuller. Whether she was the mom or the babe, I've yet to determine. But first things first. On to introductions.


  1. What a treasure trove of photos for some lucky family member! I would just go crazy if this was me.

    1. As would I, Miss Merry--part of what convinced me to attempt these kinds of projects. Hopefully, some day...

  2. Someone will be very happy to find all these almost lost photos:)

    1. I am almost getting impatient to find that someone!


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