28 August 2015

Genealogy of Almedia Branham

The genealogical information from your DNA can be helpful and sometimes it can be a killer.  Recently, through DNA testing, I realized that my biological great grandfather was most likely not James William Brubaker, but instead was Robert Lee Minton.  My DNA markers indicate that I am descended from Robert Minton, as I have multiple DNA matches to the Minton line and no direct DNA matches to the Brubaker line. This breathes life into the old family joke that my grandmother and her twin might be Mintons instead of Brubakers.

Courtesy of Pam Kerschner
My great grandmother, Almedia Branham, disappeared shortly after my grandmother, Kathleen Brubaker and her twin sister, Katherine, were born.  She left behind her husband, James William "Bill" Brubaker and nine children.  After their mother's disappearance, Kathleen and Katherine lived with their grandmother, Margaret, until her death in 1922. Then they may have stayed with one of their married siblings before coming to live with their father, James Brubaker and Roxi (Smith) Prince. (As a side note; the twins were named Elizabeth and Loretta at birth, and their older siblings changed the girls' names to Kathleen and Katherine to be more "twin"-like.) Sadly, the girls died without knowing what had happened to their mother.

My cousin, Pam, is an amazing family genealogist.  She pored through census records, historical documents,  and old phone books; wrote letters, made telephone calls,visited courthouses, interviewed family members, and conducted endless internet searches. During an interview with family members, she learned that Robert Minton was seen boarding a train in Prince, WV, but Almedia was not with him.  However, woman's intuition made her wonder if they had run off together, and she eagerly awaited the 1930 census data release.

After 72 years, United States Census records are released to the public by the National Archives and Records Administration. In accordance with the 72-Year Rule, the National Archives released the 1930 records in April 2002 and most recently, the 1940 records were released April 2, 2012.  https://www.census.gov

When the census was finally released, she was able to find that Almedia and Robert had been living as husband and wife in California. There, she gave birth to another set of twins (a boy and a girl) and raised her new family.  She died in California and was buried there, as "Madie Minton." From our understanding, she never contacted her family here in WV.  However, Robert Lee Minton, was suspected to have stayed in contact with his family.

Unfortunately, Almedia's California twins were both deceased before the family line was traced.  We hope to locate more information and photographs about her, and now with the knowledge that my grandmother was a Minton, about Robert Minton too. We continue to search for the ancestors of James William Brubaker, he is still a family roadblock. Regardless of the genetics, since he raised her, he was my grandmother's father and my great grandfather.
Katherine and Kathleen

As a family genealogist, you learn quickly not to judge your ancestors.  We do not have knowledge of why events occurred.  We search for the factual information about our family's branches. You need to be thick-skinned and ask the difficult questions, be honest with your own responses, and embrace the cousins you may inherit.

Almedia Branham Timeline

Almedia was the child of Melvin Branham and Margaret Wright. She was born in Wise County, Virginia on 19 Nov 1878.

In the 1880 census, she lived with her mother, Margaret Wright, and grandmother, Surrilda (Austin) Wright

In 1895, she married Edward Myers.  Edward Myers abandoned her (see our Edward Myers blog) and she was granted a divorce, 3 July 1903.  [Order of Publication, Wise County, Virginia]

In the 1900 census, she is listed in her mother's household, along with her two children, Alfred and Ethel.

In 1903 she married J. W. Brubaker in Wise county, VA.  [Virginia Select marriages, 1785-1940]

In the 1910 census, she lived in the town or Raleigh, WV with William J Brubaker, and four children, Ethel, Myrtle, Ernest, and Ossie.  Alfred was reported by family history to have died at the age of eight of diphtheria.

In the 1920 census, she lived with William Brubaker in Shady Spring,WV with children, Myrtle, Everett (Earnest) Margaret (Ossie), Alice, Robert, James, and Buster (Charles).  Interesting to note, her mother was listed as Margaret Minton who was living with her husband, Robert L. Minton, next door. Robert's two sons from a previous marriage, George and Walter, were living with Robert and Margaret.

On 26 June 1920, while living in Glen Morgan, Almedia Branham Brubaker bore two more children, my grandmother and her twin sister.

Then on 13 Nov 1921, Almedia Branham Minton of Glenburn, Shasta County, CA bore twins to Robert Minton.  [California Birth Index]

In the 1930 census, she lived in Squaw Valley, Siskiyou County, California, with husband Robert L. Minton, and two children, Cecil and Cleo.

In the 1940 census, she lived in Glenburn, Shasta County, California, with Robert and Cecil Minton

On 3 Mar 1955 she died in Redding, Shasta County, California.  As a side note, the death certificate states she was born in Virginia as Madia Branham, on 19 Nov 1878.  [California Death Index, 1940-1977] She was buried at Pine Grove Cemetery, McArthur, Shasta County, CA as Madia Minton.

Most of this research was completed by my cousin, Pam.  She has been a huge help to me as a family genealogist.

Note: Some of the records listed here were found under alternate spellings or nicknames:

  • Bruebaker for Brubaker
  • Meyers for Myers
  • Mintor for Minton
  • Alferd for Alfred
  • Almeeda, Media, Madie, Madia for Almedia.
  • Kathlene for Kathleen.
If you have any information about our Minton cousins please contact us. 


  1. Sherry,

    I want to let you know that your blog is listed in today's Fab Finds post at http://janasgenealogyandfamilyhistory.blogspot.com/2015/09/follow-friday-fab-finds-for-september-4.html

    Have a great weekend!