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A lot of the people you look at, digging around in the records, are unremarkable. They do come more to life if you find a picture. Of course, if you knew them in person, there'd be things to love or hate, memorable and interesting individual characteristics. But those things often don't show up in public records and vital statistics.

But, every so often, you come across someone who jumps right off the page. Their lives may not have been easy, but from the distance of time across the decades and centuries, one is inspired to fill in parts of the story between the dots. Check below the squiggle for a couple of examples.

JOHN M. DORE (1840-1910)

John M. Dore (1840-1910)
Born: 5 Oct 1840

John's father was one of seven brothers, not one of whom lived to the age of 50. The family lived and worked in the small mill towns along the Salmon River, which forms the boundary between Maine and New Hampshire. John was the youngest of 5 children, and his parents' only son. His father died when he was 11 in 1852.

Marriage: 17 Jan 1857

He was married shortly after he turned 16, to a girl from across the river in York County, Maine. Mary Murphy was the daughter of an Irish immigrant father, a blacksmith, and a woman whose family settled in colonial days. At age 14, in the 1850 Census, she was employed as a maid. She was 20 when she married the fatherless only son, John M. Dore, 4 years her junior.

Their first child was born 18 months after the wedding, in the summer of 1858. A second had arrived in time for the 1860 Census, when John was 19. They had a total of 7 children, 6 of which were still living in 1900. (I've only found record of 6 of them.)

He left her, with three small children and pregnant, when he was 21 in 1861, heading off to war for 3 years. The Army highest rank he got to was sergeant. He came back, and there were more children. Despite what might have been an inauspicious start, they stayed married for over 60 years, until he died of tuberculosis in 1910. She lived another four years.

LUCY E. CONNORS (1875-??)

Littleton, Maine (Aroostook County)
Each place (and time) one searches for records has its own characteristics. In Maine, there's a lot of traffic back and forth across the Canadian border. In the case of Lucy Connor, the records are conflicted as to where she was born, but I think it was Canada. Born in 1875, arrived in the US 1881. She was born after the US & Canada 1870s Censuses, left Canada before their 1881 Census and arrived in the US after our 1880s Census. Since the 1890 US Census was lost to fire, that's a big hole in her story.

On plus side for information, Maine keeps good records. Marriage licenses record the names (including mothers' maiden names') of both partners' parents. Had Lucy wed in another state, I might not have known anything about her antecedents.

Her father's family (I think, I'm not sure) were farmers and lumbermen in the town on the map, Littleton, Maine. They were amongst its earliest settlers. Her paternal grandparents were from the other side of the border in Canada. Best I can tell, but I'm not sure about it. And I haven't found anything about her mother beyond the name, and no siblings either. So, all in all, not much. But here's what I have found about her, and why she's stuck in my memory.

  • Born 1875 - Bangor, Maine - New Brunswick, Canada - even Northern Ireland: who knows?  (not me!)
  • Married, 14 Jul 1894, to Ernest Porter (b. 1873.) It didn't last long. No children. It was the first of four marriages for each of them. He worked at various vocations over the years: laborer, sawmill, and last seen as a baker in 1930, New Haven, CT.
  • Married, 2 Oct 1897, to Milton Conners (b. 1875.) This didn't last long. Again, no children. The only occupation I've found for Milton is laborer.
  • Married, 1 Jul 1899, to George Pinkham Conners (b. 1846.) George was a farmer, and Milton's uncle. George's first wife, Harriet (Hattie), died in 1896 at the age of 46, after a 25-year marriage, with 8 children. Lucy stayed married to George for over a decade, and they had a son - Milton!! - her only child.
  • Married, 5 Aug 1915, to George Tenan (b. 1868.) They were divorced by 1918. No children.  He was another working class laborer, eventually buried in his hometown of Cherryfield, Maine (the "Blueberry Capitol of the World") at the age of 61

Lucy married and lived with her second and third husbands, the Conners nephew and uncle, in Cherryfield as well, where both husbands grew up.  Cherryfield, Maine has never been a large town; the most recent Census lists a population of only 1,232, up from 771 in 1970, down from 1,859 in 1900. One can be forgiven for wondering if they still talk about Lucy Connors there. The last record I've found of her was when her son registered for the World War I draft in 1918. They lived in Bangor, Maine then, mother and son. For all I know, she married again.

I'd love to see a picture of her.  Wouldn't you?

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Comment Preferences

  •  I know I said I'd do (17+ / 0-)

    ... a PhotoShop 101 follow up.  PhotoShop 102 if you will.  But it didn't quite come together, and I've had this entry in mind for some time, too.  So that's what it is for today.

    "Taxes are for the little people." Leona Helmsley (before she went to jail for taking that attitude a bit too far)

    by Land of Enchantment on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 09:26:03 AM PST

    •  Yes, I would definitely like to see a picture (8+ / 0-)

      of Lucy. She sounds a bit like my Great-Great-Grandmother Mary Frances Halford Hicks Matthews. She had one child as well and out-of-wedlock. Story goes that her parents wouldn't allow her to marry the father. She then went on to marry the husband of a deceased sister and after he died to yet another man who she outlived. I've not seen a picture of her either but, boy oh boy, what I'd give to lay eyes on one. She was a character, for sure. My Great-Uncle Ray used to sing her praises to the heavens... especially her bisquits and the Victrola she saved and saved and saved to buy for her grandchildren.

      Inspiration is hard to come by. You have to take it where you find it. --- Bob Dylan.

      by figbash on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 10:09:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  My guess is that (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        edwardssl, Jim H, figbash, brook, klompendanser

        ... there was a lot of drunkenness, and perhaps some violence in Lucy's world.  I wish I knew more about where she came from.  Even a single sibling!  Maybe she didn't have much family life growing up.

        The marriage to the second husband's uncle lasted over a decade, which leaves me wondering if it was the most kindness she'd ever known.  Maybe he was some kind of father figure for her?

        "Taxes are for the little people." Leona Helmsley (before she went to jail for taking that attitude a bit too far)

        by Land of Enchantment on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 10:24:17 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  BTW: Have you ever encountered (6+ / 0-)

        ... that victrola?  And you can't underestimate the value of a good biscuit!!

        "Taxes are for the little people." Leona Helmsley (before she went to jail for taking that attitude a bit too far)

        by Land of Enchantment on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 10:25:57 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No but I can't help but think it looked (5+ / 0-)

          a lot like the one my Granddad on my mother's side had in his house. Those "records" were so thick! And being a little girl I found the crank too hard to turn it was so high up.

          Yes, there is nothing like a good biscuit "Uncle" Ray's wife Aunt Grace made fantastic biscuits, too, as I can personally attest. And dumplings. Oh my!

          Life is neither a bed of roses nor a bowl of cherries for too many, then and now. Your Lucy and my Mary Frances were survivors!

          Inspiration is hard to come by. You have to take it where you find it. --- Bob Dylan.

          by figbash on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 11:09:14 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  John married at 16 (5+ / 0-)

    Wow, that's young for a guy.  But I guess he knew what he was doing, considering the length of time they remained married, eh?  Lucky thing for them he survived the war.

    Lucy sounds like a real character.  Makes you wonder what was happening in those marriages.  It must be frustrating not to find what became of her, especially since it really wasn't all that long ago, relatively speaking.   Then again, the detective work is half the fun - especially if you're eventually successful!  Anyway, the information contained in her death certificate could be very interesting, if you ever find it.

    •  I'm currently engaged in building (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      edwardssl, Jim H, figbash, brook, klompendanser

      .... my understanding of her various husbands.  It was only this morning that I realized her first husband also went on to marry three more times.  Brings to mind that old Johnny Cash/June Carter classic hit (here, a truncated version by Steel Magnolia):

      I'm disappointed not to have found more about her childhood.  More than nothing, that is!  My guess is that it wasn't easy.

      "Taxes are for the little people." Leona Helmsley (before she went to jail for taking that attitude a bit too far)

      by Land of Enchantment on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 10:53:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Volunteer call! (5+ / 0-)

    We're always on the prowl for more volunteers to host our Friday GFHC Open Threads.

    Here's our current schedule:

    Nov 23  figbash
    Nov 30  klompendanser
    Dec 7    figbash
    Dec 14  open for adoption
    Dec 21  open for adoption

    Can we get a few more December volunteers?  'Tis the season to share family stories and adventures!

  •  Where is everybody? (7+ / 0-)

    I hope this post can get more attention. It deserves it!

    Inspiration is hard to come by. You have to take it where you find it. --- Bob Dylan.

    by figbash on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 11:12:53 AM PST

    •  Quiet day, that's for sure. (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      figbash, Jim H, edwardssl, brook, klompendanser

      I never expect much traffic posting to this group.  We're a small backwater on Daily Kos; I like the "small" feel we've got going on.  I was so busy pulling this together (still looking up records this morning, frustrated at not finding more about Lucy's childhood/parents) I've not looked at the Rec List.  There's maybe big stories taking up the oxygen today?

      "Taxes are for the little people." Leona Helmsley (before she went to jail for taking that attitude a bit too far)

      by Land of Enchantment on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 11:17:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Can't see any reason why it's so slow. (6+ / 0-)

        I just want "our" folks to show up. It wasn't that long ago that an Open Thread diary would get up to 90 comments or so. I liked that.

        Inspiration is hard to come by. You have to take it where you find it. --- Bob Dylan.

        by figbash on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 11:25:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm here. Trying to recollect Dore family info (6+ / 0-)

          that I've stuffed away in the back of my mind and maybe somewhere among the 30,000 other people in my loosly couple extended family tree.

          I've spent many weekends at a cabin on the shore of a pond where the Salmon Falls River forms the channel.

          I remember finding lots of Dore / Door / Dort. etc. cemetery markers throughout the area. I've even met some folks named Dore who own property on the same lakeshore.

          So I'm digging around for pictures and trying to refresh my memory about one of the more unusual discoveries that (I think) relate to the Dore family.

          Regardless, I LOVE finding pictures of the people, their families, and everything about the places they lived, worked, celebrated, etc.

          "Never wrestle with a pig: you get dirty and the pig enjoys it"

          by GrumpyOldGeek on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 11:38:00 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  I've been lurking (5+ / 0-)

      for the past several weeks. Mirroring what I've been (not) doing in genealogy.

      Though I have made 2 new contacts this week - one emailed me from WikiTree. She's related through my paternal grandfather's family. I was able to give her a lot of information on the Volga-Germans.

      Another I contacted after noticing a DNA match between him and my Dad and the fact that one of his listed surnames (Weidmann) is one I recently discovered in my tree from back in the early 1700's. Didn't quite make a connection, but it's still a possibility.

      One person I'd love to learn more about in my tree (though not likely) is this possible Weidmann connection and her mother. In fact, what I do know about her and her husband and my open questions about them might make for a nice short diary. I guess it's time to volunteer again - it's been awhile!

      On a related front - it looks like my planned trip to Germany next summer to personally investigate this branch of the family is off. I was going to go while my wife was playing soccer in Italy - but a knee injury has most likely put the kabosh on that. On the bright side, I can now use that money to just hire a professional genealogist from Stuttgart to do the work for me!

      •  Germany (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        figbash, Jim H, edwardssl, brook, klompendanser

        I don't much know the language, and totally don't understand the geography, history and politics of the place.  I did get a "Brief History of Germany" book awhile back, with the idea that maybe learning some of that would help me understand the parts of the family from there.  Maybe one of these years I'll read it.  

        Half my family tree's mostly been in the US (or North America for those Canadian border crossers) since the 1600s, and there seems to be so much material amongst them that I've not much turned my attention to European ancestors.  I know there's stories of what motivated each one to cross the Atlantic, but I'm yet to be highly motivated to explore those stories.

        Good luck on sorting the German stories out.

        "Taxes are for the little people." Leona Helmsley (before she went to jail for taking that attitude a bit too far)

        by Land of Enchantment on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 11:37:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Good to see you, Jim. (5+ / 0-)

        I was getting worried there.  

        Inspiration is hard to come by. You have to take it where you find it. --- Bob Dylan.

        by figbash on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 11:38:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Several people recced without commenting (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jim H, figbash, edwardssl, brook, klompendanser

          (Silky for one example of that.)

          "Taxes are for the little people." Leona Helmsley (before she went to jail for taking that attitude a bit too far)

          by Land of Enchantment on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 11:52:03 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I plead guilty to that. (3+ / 0-)

            I try to read and rec every diary here- because they are all exceptionally well done and interesting to any fellow 'digger of roots'. Some days I've just not been up to pulling my thoughts together. Health issues and far too many interactions with insurance people trying to reconcile my need for oxygen have been taxing - as many of you may, unfortunately, know.

            But enough of that! This diary hit a familiar note. I recently discovered that the Great-greatGrandfather my Dad had expressed such fondness for (and for whom I had reams of research) wasn't my Great-greatGrandfather at all! Which has sent me on a so far fruitless journey to Rockport, Me. Really need to get back to more focused digging!

            Here or not - posting or not - I have both respect and affection to everyone who calls this special place home!

        •  Thank you :-) (5+ / 0-)

          and all this time I was just being lazy...

          I had been going like gangbusters for over a year getting started on my family tree, I think I just needed a break. And now I need a kick in the pants to get back on the saddle.

    •  Hi Figgy (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Land of Enchantment, Jim H, brook, figbash

      I wish I'd been able to participate more today than I've been able to.  Every time I sat down to do that, I've been pulled away.  

      In fact, a couple of hours ago I had the Food and Drug Adm show up to do an exam/sampling of an import shipment belonging to one of my clients.  Those always make me nervous, but seems he was just doing a random check.

      Then had a meeting with my boss.

      Then was fighting with the color scanner (still isn't working)

      And on and on.

      Oy.  Another glorious Friday at work.

    •  Well as for me (3+ / 0-)

      I've been sick as a dog since a couple days after the election. Been sitting up reading when I can, but when your head is acting as the Ronco Mucous Keeper 9000, trying to string more than a few words together is a................ um......

      Meddle not in the affairs of dragons... for thou art crunchy and good with ketchup.

      by Pariah Dog on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 04:50:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Memory jogger - A woman who died of "piles". (7+ / 0-)

    Yeah, I know that's not exactly something one would want to be public information, but it's definitely something that's unusual and memorable. It's public information because it showed up in a US Census Death Schedule. It was a woman who died in Acton, ME and I was going to be there that weekend.

    So I just HAD to find that cemetery monument and add a picture to my collection.

    I think this is the woman buried in the South Acton Cemetery (I could be wrong about this):

    It's an interesting epitaph, for sure:

    She Hath Done What She Could

    "Never wrestle with a pig: you get dirty and the pig enjoys it"

    by GrumpyOldGeek on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 02:19:46 PM PST

    •  I think I shall steal that! (6+ / 0-)

      It's better than one of the several I've always thought should be mine: How the hell do I know?  It seems I've spent my life trying to answer questions. Lol

      Inspiration is hard to come by. You have to take it where you find it. --- Bob Dylan.

      by figbash on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 03:27:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's a pretty good one (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        figbash, Jim H, Land of Enchantment

        It's better than Lt. Samuel Gerrish whose monument I found in the Winchester, MA old cemetery:

        "He weighed 360 pounds"

        That's for real. I HAD to take a picture of that one, too. It's somewhere in my collection.

        "Never wrestle with a pig: you get dirty and the pig enjoys it"

        by GrumpyOldGeek on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 02:15:31 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Nice bit of unusual info for us geneology buffs, (3+ / 0-)

          though. It sounds like a little bragging to me. One of my grand-uncles always talked about some fellow he lived in the same town as he who was considered to be the "world's tallest man." The found people who exceeded the physical norms to be some sort of specimums.

          I found this little bit published in a local history of Coshocton Co OH about my 4th G-Grandparents

          He was a powerful man physically, and his good dame was by no means diminutive in stature. Their family consisted of 16 children, 10 sons and 6 daughters, whose aggregate weight, it is said exceeded 3200 pounds.
          Anyway, I like both inscriptions very much. The one I saw that I've never forgotten was seen in an old boneyard near Lexington KY. It said: Mother, the only friend I ever had. I had to photograph that one.

          Cheers. Take care of yourself.

          Inspiration is hard to come by. You have to take it where you find it. --- Bob Dylan.

          by figbash on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 03:20:04 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  better late than never, I guess (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Land of Enchantment, brook, Jim H

    due to some stresses in my world lately, I got a late start today. Then, just as I was going to duck downstairs to the Barnes & Noble with my nook to check out the open thread, this nonsense started a couple of blocks away

    http://www.kare11.com/...

    and we were "encouraged" to stay put for a while. Anyway, here I am.

    Loved these snippets LoE... I am a sucker for intriguing grandcestors. Particularly when they have a lot of marriages.

    Have had a couple of long-distance encounters with the families of both of my maternal grandparents' families. In both cases people were thrilled to open up research lines they'd been stuck on for years. One of them is descended from my grandpa's half brother ... he sent me a picture of a promotional calendar my half-great-uncle used in his business in the early 1900s -- great picture of a woman with a pompador hairdo topped off with a huge hat ... and lots of pink and purple flowers. I'll have to get that uploaded to a diary one of these days.

    "If you are sure you understand everything that is going on around you, you are hopelessly confused." Walter Mondale

    by klompendanser on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 05:28:45 PM PST

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