Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Rain, Rain and More Rainwater

Rainwater, newspaper, genealogy, family history, Cloudy Night Rainwater, Wood Rainwater, Night Rainwater, Lloyd Rainwater, Pearl RainwaterNames that are also common words add an extra degree of challenge to genealogical research. Among my ancestors I have names such as Cook, Bell, and Kite. You probably have similarly challenging names in your trees. 

My second great grandmother was a Rainwater, and as you can imagine, researching that name can be challenging. Whether researching in general databases, newspapers or a general Google Search, I frequently find myself wading through results such as rainwater baths, rainwater harvesting, and ads for artesian bath houses with water as-soft-as-rainwater. 

Thanks to classes taken from Lisa Louise Cooke and tips in her book "The Genealogist's Google Toolbox," I've learned tricks to help me narrow down those searches, but with a name like Rainwater, there still seems to be a variety of results sure to bring a smile. 

The two newspaper articles below are just a few examples:

Yesterday morning Mr. Rainwater, engaged at the store of March & Price, while standing on a tall step ladder arranging the price of an immense pile of seersuckers and ginghams they suddenly fell with a dull, sickening thud--we mean the prices.  The proprietors advised Mr. Rainwater to let them B flat.
Fort Worth Daily Gazette (Fort Worth, Texas)  1 May 1887 Sun page 5
accessed on September 30, 2015

and yet another:

     There can be water in banks the same as in wells and securities.  
     For instance:  The Rainwater Bank & Trust Co of Morriton, Ark. 
     Wood Rainwater is president of the bank; Cloudy Night Rainwater, vice president and Night Rainwater treasurer. Loid Rainwater and Pearl Rainwater are directors.  But somehow or other Pure Rainwater was left out. Ditto "Rain-in-the-face." 
The Pittsburg Press, October 20, 1913, accessed on Google Newspapers

Yes, Cloudy Night was a man's real name and no, they weren't Native American, but possibly they believed they were.  Cloudy Night Rainwater is in fact in my ancestry and since he is the only child I have listed for that family, I can see that I have some work to do on his family, among other Rainwater families. 

Recent contacts with Rainwater cousins have helped me focus a little more on my Rainwater side of the family and with that has come the realization that I have neglected them for long enough. Maybe it's time I wring out the records in search of my Rainwaters. 

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2015, All rights reserved


  1. Michelle,
    This post made me smile. With my husband's family name being Hall, I can relate to all the trouble with searches. OCR in newspapers can be a nightmare. The other names in our families that give me problems are Hunter, King, Long, Fisher and of course the colors....Brown, White etc. It keeps us busy doesn't it. I hope your Rainwater runs deep and you find lots of them.
    Happy hunting.

    1. Oh Diane, I bet you CAN relate. Thank you for your good wishes---and right back at ya!

  2. YES -- I have a family named Christian. You can imagine how many hits I get with that. Putting quotation marks around the name doesn't help.

    1. No, it wouldn't help one bit. Despite the tricks I have tried, on some websites, their search engine is limiting. Adding +genealogy in a google search can help somewhat although sometimes it limits it TOO much. Lisa really has some good tips but then the challenge is to remember the tips and hope the site allows for them.

  3. Enjoyed your story. I have a man with Rainwater in my Greene co., Ga. facebook group. It was the first time I've seen that surname.

    1. My Rainwaters were in Georgia much of the time as well---maybe there's a connection. Thanks for dropping by !

  4. Great post Michelle! My maiden name doesn't have the exact search challenges since it's not a common everyday word. However, not all Iverson's are related since it's a Scandinavian Patronymic surname. Iverson = son of Iver.

    On the other hand, my married name, Last, is a whole other story. Talk about common everyday words! :)

  5. I bet Last is a huge challenge! Although Rainwater is used a lot, it is not near as common a word as Last.

    It seems a common word for a last name is....well... rather common!

  6. Michelle,

    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

    Have a great weekend!

    1. Why thank you Jana! It's an honor to be included among your Fab Finds!