Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Margie Odell Caldwell Ruble

Correcting Genealogical Errors

From doing online genealogical research on my family, I've learned that there are lots of errors and stumbling blocks. One of them involves the name of my great-grandmother on my Ruble side.  I've blogged about her before— on "The Ruble Connection" on my Naces of  Lithia blog and I've blogged about her on this blog back in 2014: "Tangled Ruble Roots." Thus, some of the info in this post might be a bit redundant, but I'd like to get the word out on what her real name was.

 My great-grandmother's full name is Margie Odell Caldwell Ruble, but a lot of sites—as well as several trees on—mistake her for her older sister Maggie. Or they think her name is Margaret or Marga or Margie Logan. Or they get her birthdate confused with Maggie's.

This picture of Margie and her husband George William Ruble was taken before 1935, because that's the year he died.

I know the picture was taken at their son Howard Ruble's house on Watts Avenue in Roanoke because the background still looked like that in the 1950s when I was a kid. I also remember hearing my grandmother Blanche Nace Ruble refer to her mother-in-law as Margie. 

I think a lot of problems with her correct name might have started when someone got it wrong and a lot of others copied the error. When doing genealogy, it's best to work with primary sources rather than heresay.

My Aunt Leona—Margie's daughter—wrote this note for me when I was a child so I would know who my family was. Aunt Leona was off a digit in her grandfather's birthdate, but the names of his children look correct. Also, I'm not sure about Caroline Surber—I think she was an aunt rather than a grandmother—but, according to census records, she lived near Marcellus's father Henry Surber.

Notice that Maggie L. Caldwell—Margie's older sister—was born on May 9, 1859, before her father—Alexander Gibson Caldwell—went to war. Margie O. Caldwell and her twin sister Montra were born on February 25, 1866, after the war was over. (Note: To add to the confusion, on her Find-a-Grave site, Montre's name is spelled Mauntra and her birthdate is a year off.)

The Ruble family bible is another primary source. According to this page from it, George William Ruble was born on June 17, 1861, and his wife Margie Odell Ruble was born February 25, 1866. A note at the bottom says they were married October 14, 1884.

Another piece of evidence is this 1920 census where Margie O. (age 53) is the wife of Geo William Ruble (age 58). Their sons Kenneth, Bertranse, Stewart, and Eugene are still at home:

Their tombstone is hard to read, but you can see the name is Margie. It's not Margaret.

Margie's death certificate clearly identifies her as Margie Odell Ruble.

Her husband's death certificate identifies her as Margie Caldwell Ruble.

So, from looking at some good primary sources, we know that her name was Margie—not Maggie, not Margaret.

Perhaps this blog-post will help folks who are researching the wife of George William Ruble learn that her real name was Margie Odell Caldwell Ruble.

UPDATE: Thanks to, I was able to find out what happened to Margaret/Maggie Logan Caldwell. On June 21, 1888, she married E.D. Broughman in Alleghany, Virginia (FHL Film number 30523, Reference ID  p37L28). She was a widow when she died on March 31, 1926, at Little Sisters of the Poor, 16 N. Harvie Street in Richmond. Her death certificate notes that she was formerly of Clifton Forge, Virginia, but had been in Richmond four years.

Her parents are listed as "Alex Calwell" and "Marcella Serbert," which is close to Alex Caldwell and Marcellus Surber, but both are listed as being born in "England" instead of Virginia. Was she trying to hide something? And why was she in Richmond? If she were living with a child, wouldn't that child have given information for the death certificate instead of Sister Catherine? Perhaps she had no children, and thus ended up in a home for the "elderly poor."

Little Sisters of the Poor
(now Warsaw Condominiums)
Some things still remain a mystery.

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