I haven't talked about my Genealogy obsession lately, so let's do that today.
I've spent the last few months assisting a fellow searcher, pardon the pun, dig up some information on his ancestors.
I signed up to be a photo volunteer on Find A Grave earlier this year.
If you sign up to take photos of gravestones near you, every time someone goes on FAG and asks for a photo to be taken and it's in your area, you get an email with that request. You don't "have" to fullfill it but they send the request to you so you know another one has been made.
Back in July I received notification that a photo was requested for a headstone in a town nearby.
This was a cemetery I wanted to go poke around in but with it being the peak of Summer and the worse possible time for me to be galumphing through graveyards in the heat and humidity I just couldn't do it then. Heck, visiting my own ancestor in OH in June in 90 degree heat about did me in! lol
The photo volunteers are not very active around these parts so I went ahead and emailed the gentleman and told him I'd give his photo a go but it would have to wait until the Fall but I wouldn't officially "take" the request so that if someone else wanted to give it a shot before I got around to do it, they could.
After we communicated and he was happy to wait on me, I went poking around his family tree. He had a genealogy website for his many branches that I perused and then I went onto Ancestry to do some digging too. The photo request was for a headstone for a young child.
This gentleman lives in England, as does the bulk of his family and ancestors. Seems 2 of his great great grandfather's brothers decided to hop a steamer for the USA in 1880. They settled near the area were I live today. The records on their whereabouts/activities gets sketchy from that point.
Here is one of the few photos of the older brother I found from his passport on Ancestry. This was taken years after he emigrated here and was found in a passport from when he went back to England to visit family around 1923.....
Plus this researcher in the UK didn't pay the extra $$ on Ancestry for access to the US records(the foreign records for him). So I went about researching this side of his family. I did lots of his grunt work for free since it provided me a learning experience and helped made me a better researcher, so we both gained something from the attempt.
I also was searching only from free records(aside from & outside of my ancestry subscription) and wasn't paying for any access or official documents, which made finding information that much harder.
One of the brothers who emigrated to the US married in this area and there is record that the wife gave birth to 12 children. 8 of them are known, but only 6 made it past childhood. I helped fill in with those 6 where they went/what they did/whom some married and he was able to find from there some living descendants of one of these siblings.....they only sibling who's line seems to have survived from either of the emigrating brothers.
Here's a photo of the younger brother with his wife and the 4 oldest children who survived infancy. My friend obtained this photo from the surviving line of relations.....
2 big breakthroughs I made for him where finding the death record and the will of this brother who emigrated and I found out the identity of the woman he married and the family she was a part of. He wanted to find the marriage certificate(which we still can't locate)as that's the 100% sure way to id the wife's last name/family.
But I found on the record of one of their children's baptismal church entry record of a sponsor with a different name, then I found that family, their migration/ship records/census records/where buried/etc. and all the evidence leads us to this sponsor being the wife's younger brother.
And to go further, the wife's family emigrated from the same region of the UK as the 2 brother's my friend was researching. This means he can connect with a whole other large family there in the UK.
As a bonus I found evidence that in the wife's family, most of her siblings left the US after a short time and set sail again for Australia, where quite a large contingency of this clan have flourished there as well.
My friend has gained a large number of new family from these discoveries!
When I was finally able to walk the cemetery for him to find this headstone, I turned up nothing. Someone put all the burial records for this cemetery online, however 2 things made this a fruitless task....1-this cemetery is MASSIVE! It's acres upon acres large and it's not laid out in any organized, methodical way. It seems to be one of those that they just filled it up and added a new piece of land as they ran out of room.
This town back between 1850 and 1920 was a Boom Town for the coal mining industry. It grew so fast and was a major city for it's time. Once coal mining declined there the city fell into ruin and now it's a sleepy little rundown place with nothing but empty store fronts and crumbling buildings and a lot of people who for whatever reason can't/won't leave. Needless to say there are few jobs and rampant poverty and despair there. The city has lost about 60% of the population from what it was at it's high point. Every census the population shrinks another 10% as the old people die off.
The cemetery is not well cared for either now.
Hubs and I were in there for 3 hours and we didn't even begin to cover it all.
AND 2-we can't find anyone in charge who has any kind of plan of "whom is buried where". With a cemetery that large, it's a wild goose chase unless you can at least narrow down where someone is suppose to be planted. Since this person we are looking for was an infant, and the family was young and didn't have much money, we think the grave may not be marked or have a headstone, in which case looking for one is pointless. If we could find a burial map, at least we could have the information of where her grave is located.
We'll continue to try to locate someone with the burial plans for the cemetery in question. My friend was able to find out where the younger of the two brother ancestors is buried(the same cemetery as a sister of his wife I found out), so I told him I'd put a Memorial up for the brother on Find A Grave and put out a photo request, just in case there is a headstone for him. I'll request too, that they look around for any other headstones with the brother's surname, as well as his wife's maiden name to possibly find any more of her siblings or parents, if buried there.
I also connected with my 3rd cousin once removed on my mother's side of the family a couple of months ago. I went trolling through some message boards and found a question from him on his grandmother's maiden name, which was my mother's maiden name. I noticed too that he has a different last name and I was trying to track down an ancestor with that last name who married one of the sisters of my great grandfather. It runs out we share a pair of ancestors born in in 1795 & 1805. I also found we share ancestors as well through another family line, through his grandfather's surname, so we are related by birth and by marriage.
My cousin is retired and a generation closer to our ancestors and I've been able to connect him to the rest of the family lines, besides his direct descendant from our joint ancestral pair and he's been able to fill in some gaps/dates/names/details for me in his direct line. Unlike most of the other researchers I've come across in this year who I share family with, he seems to want to be related to me.lol Ok, that didn't sound quite right.....he wants to continue to have a connection with me, both as "kin" and as a fellow ancestor hunter. 8-)
You wouldn't believe some of the people I've run across this past year while doing genealogy! Ok, if you've done genealogy you WOULD believe it....lol There are plenty of researchers who won't share the information they have. It's a hostile world really.....they guard their records and data and hoard their dead people. It's madness I tell you, madness! And if you DARE want to be friendly with someone who is related to you, well, that just isn't done.
Another brick wall that got knocked down for me was finding out the maiden name of my grandfather's brother's wife.
I remember this Great Uncle fondly, you may have seen I posted his photo for Veteran's Day in this post HERE.
I've just begun to research him and I had a post planned about him but that's for another time.
I remembered that his wife was named Edith but since I didn't have the maiden name or any marriage documentation yet I was laying awake at night trying to wrack my brain to recall it since I am sure at some point as a child I heard it.
But that just gave me a headache and made me lose sleep.
My Great Uncle had died young in the 1970's and I lost track of his wife. I figured she remarried and might still be alive so I thought searching for her was pretty hopeless at this point with what resources I had available to me.
I had requested the transfer of the Find A Grave memorial someone made for this Great Uncle many months ago and they had never responded to my request.
About the time I posted about him for Veteran's Day, I got a notice that his Memorial on F.A.G. had been transferred finally! When I went to look at it and put his photo on there, I found that someone else had taken a photo of his headstone and lo and behold!......Edith was there on the stone sharing his resting place and her maiden name was included!
Now I have that information and a new branch of the family tree to meander around.
And the funny thing I see now that I've poked around a bit in her family......Edith's mother is from the same family that my 3rd cousin once removed.....the one his grandmother married into.
Weird how this whole "who is related to whom" thing works, huh?