The Elusive Smith Cousin May Finally be Found!

I’ve been at a stand-still with the Leta Smith branch of the family tree since December 2009. I’ve been looking for Shawn Butler since July 2009.

Now, thanks to the folks at the Rock Island County illinois Genealogical Society, I have made a major breakthrough tracking down Shawn Butler, the great grandson of Leta Smith.  Based on one of Shawns earlier message forums posts, I have been working under the assumption that Shawn was the grandson of Leta Butler.  That would make him the son of Merle Record.  So all my research was focused on looking for Merle or Muyrll Butler. So armed with that information, I took a shot and emailed the RICIGS for help.  Within a couple of days, one of their researchers had emailed me back with the following research.

“I visited RICHS library and found information I think will be helpful. His request is both specific (can we put him in touch with Shawn Butler) and broad (any information on Shawn, his mother, father, or grandparents). I limited myself to one visit and spent about 1-1/2 hours and found the following samples on the family. Based on below information Leta and Berl Record may be the great-grandparents of Shawn Butler, not his grandparents.

1. Birth Index of Rock Island County, IL 1908-1921, Compiled by the Blackhawk Genealogy Society of Rock Island and Mercer Counties:

Name: Record, Beryell A; Father – Bert; Mother – Lita; Birth – 1912; Book 11 Page 202

Name: Record, Merle Leon; Father – Bert; Mother – Leta E.; Birth – 1909; Book 9 Page 121

2. City Directories – 1925 lists Bert P. Record, wife Leta E, living at 1303 40th St., Rock Island. Bert is listed as foreman, People’s Power Co.

1930 City Directory – no listing for Bert P. Record in either Rock Island, Moline, or East Moline.

3. Mohlenbruck, Dwight E.: Death Index, Rock Island, IL Area 1930’s, Vol 29 L thru Z.

Record, Muyrel L., died 24 Sep 1930, obituary 25 Sep 1930, a.k.a. Turner.

See attached file Obit-Muyrel Record Turner.jpg

I could find no information about Roy Turner. No listing of gravestone in Chippiannock Cemetery. If more information is required suggest direct contact with cemetery – it may be a burial without a gravestone.

4.  Birth Index of Rock Island County, IL 1922-1934, Compiled by the Blackhawk Genealogy Society of Rock Island and Mercer Counties:

Name: Turner, Leta Ellen; Father – Roy G.; Mother – Mayell; Birth – 1929; Record # 11225

5.  Rock Island / Moline City Directory 1974: Butler, Wm. O. (wife Leta E.), Lab Tech Rock Island City Water Purification Plant, Home 1925 9-1/2 St., Rock Island.

6.  Obituary Record Binders: Butler, Leta, Obituary in The Argus, Rock Island, IL, 21 Dec 1990 (copy attached – see Obit-Leta Turner Butler.jpg). No records of an obituary for William Butler.

7.  Shawn Butler – no records found in time allotted. However, a inquiry of finds news stories as recent as 2007 which list a Mercer County Deputy Shawn Butler. Since Leta Butler died in Mercer County this may or may not be her son Shawn listed in her obituary. Law enforcement personnel normally do not list contact information. Suggest direct contact with the Mercer County Sheriff’s department to attempt contact with this person.”

The obituaries were the key to solving the mystery.

So based on the obituaries, the following is believed to be true.

Leta and Bert Record had a daughter named Muyrll Leon Record (b. 25 Aug 1909, d. 24 Sep 190) and a son Burrell Aaron Record (b. 24 Sep 1912, d. 17 July 1968) .  Muyrll married Roy Turner (b. 1906, d ????).  Muyrll died tragically at the age of 21following two operations for an intestinal ailment,  leaving behind two children.  The two children were Clarence (b. abt 1927) and Leta EllenTurner (b. 9 Aug 1929, d. 22 Dec 1990).  Leta Turner married  William Butler on 19 November 1965 in Rock Island.  They had five girls and two boys.  One of those boys is Shawn Butler.  I think I found him living near Joy, Illinois, which is where he was living when his mom died!

So today, I sent three letters to addresses I believe to be where Shawn works and lives.  With any luck, I will be hearing from him in the coming weeks.  A few more Smith cousins have been added to the family tree.

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About the Author

Philip (Phil) Hayes is the CEO of Sirius Innovations, LLC. As CEO of Sirius Innovations, LLC, he served as a Technology Solutions Consultant and Web Applications Programmer for fortune 500 companies, large municipalities and hospitals. He is fluent in the SQL, ColdFusion, PHP and Javscript programming languages. He is also a power user of the WordPress Content Management System, commonly used for blogging. Phil's latest product development includes a service called 'Map The Past'. The advanced, yet easy to use functionality offered in this product will enable its members to "Walk in the Footsteps of Their Ancestors". Phil became a Genealogy addict when in 1998, his Uncle, Lloyd W Lewis, sat he and his wife down on the deck of his Uncle's Pennsylvania home and told them the story of his Great, Great Grandfather Henry W. Lewis, the Privateer. The story was so intriguing that Phil found himself yearning for more details. Hence…. Philip Hayes, the Genealogist was born. Leveraging his technology skills, Philip has grown and developed the family tree well beyond what his Uncle could have ever dreamed of. Combining the power of technology and the primary sources from historical documents, Philip developed his own family history web site, based on the Word Press Content Management System ( Upon publishing the site, it has inspired many people to develop interest in the family's history and has connected Philip to several undiscovered relatives and their family stories. Phil is a member of numerous historical and genealogy societies, including the Association of Professional Genealogists

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