Ada Ball McConnell: Family Historian

One of the early family historians in Oregon branch of the Robbins family, was Ada Ball McConnell.  Ada kept a small notebook where she recorded family data, from the earliest information she knew about the family up births and deaths in the late 1950s.  I am currently the custodian of this family treasure.

Ada Orena Ball was born in 1873 at Fort Simcoe on the Yakima Indian Agency in Washington.  Her parents were Larkin and Nancy Adeline (Robbins) Ball; Nancy being the daughter of William Franklin and Melvina (Myers) Robbins, who brought her as a child from Decatur County, Indiana, to Oregon in 1852.

Ada Ball McConnell (1873-1971)

Ada’s father, Larkin was the sutler or miller at Fort Simcoe for about three years, before returning to Oregon.  Ada was brought up in Oregon, where she met and married her husband, Aaron McConnell.  Ada and Aaron never had children of their own though they help look after their many nieces and nephews.  The couple lived in Butteville on the Willamette River, where they farmed until Aaron’s death in 1942.

Ada lived a very long life, passing away in 1971 at the age of 98, but she had quit updating her family record several years earlier.  In the 1960s my mother asked about the “family tree” that Ada kept, wondering if it could be borrowed for copying, but Ada wouldn’t let it get away.  At the time, without the ability to scan documents or take something into a copy center for reproduction, her response was understandable.

                                                                                                          By the late 70s I had received what was basically a typed copy of the family record, though I didn’t recognize it at such.  That information was the foundation on which all of my family research was based.  Years later, one of Ada’s grandnieces passed along Ada’s “Robbins Family Record” to me to be its current caretaker.  There was very little new information in the book for me, but I was pleased to see all the inserted clippings of

obituaries that Ada had added over the years.  Many families have their longtime family historians and we are grateful to have had Ada.

(Jacob Robbins-William Robbins/Absalom Robbins-Nathaniel Robbins/Nancy Robbins-William Franklin Robbins-Nancy Adeline (Robbins) Ball-Ada Orena (Ball) McConnell)

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