Sometimes, random searches will reveal the most interesting details. I’m sure most genealogists–hobbyists and professionals–are aware of sites like ancestry.com, familysearch.org, and findmypast. There are many to choose from, some free and some subscription. Even “google” searches for an ancestor’s name or the name and a place can bring up hits which are helpful in the search.
Since I have been working on the McAtee family for my own family tree, I typed that name into a search at Ebay.com.
Among the items you can buy, there are cds of singers and musicians with the name McAtee, several books and poems authored by McAtees, works by a famous ornithologist named W. L. McAtee, and photos of a jockey called Pony McAtee. There is also a photograph of Minnie Shaffer McAtee from Petersburg, IN. (Descendants from Pike County, Indiana, may be interested in that.)
One unique item is for sale at an antique shop in Savoy, Illinois. It is a coffee tin from the McAtee Newell Coffee Company of Bloomington, Illinois.
The photos are from the public view at ebay. Here is a link to the auction: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Rare-VTG-Pal-O-Mine-1-LB-Tin-Litho-Coffee-Can-McAtee-Newell-Bloomington-IL-/262950787597?hash=item3d39169a0d:g:blgAAOSwWxNYyL7U (Auction ended May 21; item sold.)
At one time, Bloomington was a booming city of coffee roasting companies. A 2010 article by the Pantagraph details several companies, including McAtee Newell. According to the article
“A 1927 advertisement for McAtee Newell showcased four Bloomington blends sold as differently priced brand names: Mainstay, the discount label; Inca Maiden; Rosy Morn (“Cheerful as the Morning Sun”); and the top-of-the-line Pal-O-Mine.”
Coincidentally, I had recently located a McAtee man in the census records who was, of all things, a “coffee wholesaler.”
I was looking for some missing distant cousins in the marriages of Adams County, Illinois. The Illinois State Archives has a great database of marriages prior to 1900. One matrimonial union was for Ellis B. McAtee and Mae Farmer, August 18, 1897.
Next, census records were checked. Ellis and Mae are listed in the 1900 Census of Quincy, Illinois, living with her parents. Her father, John Farmer, was a traveling salesman; Ellis was a laborer at a plow factory.(1) By 1910, the couple was living in Springfield, Illinois, where Ellis was a store keeper at a grocery store.(2) Mae died. Ellis married to Irene Mayme Johnson about 1914 in Missouri. They moved to Bloomington and are listed there in the 1920 through 1940 census records. The 1930 record listed Ellis’s occupation as “Merchant, Wholesale Coffee.” (3)
Ellis Briggs McAtee died on October 3, 1956. He was the son of William Benjamin McAtee and Minnie Briggs. William Benjamin was the son of Benjamin Dudley McAtee of Petersburg, Menard County, Illinois. B. Dudley McAtee was the son of John McAtee of Trigg County, Kentucky, and his first wife, Sarah Power. John McAtee was the son of Abednego McAtee of Rowan County, North Carolina, and later Bourbon County, Kentucky. You can find out more on Abednego and the Rowan County family in my previous posts.
I do not often think of eBay as a genealogy website, but it is useful. There are family histories, county histories, old atlases and postcards, and sometimes even, family Bibles. A quick search for the surnames you are seeking never hurts.