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Any genealogist ends up with them ~ those ancestors that seem to appear from nowhere....

Instead of my usual long-winded/detailed descriptions of one family, I'm going to summarize several cases of people appearing from nowhere, choosing cases that have some typical problems for those searching for their ancestors.

Feel free to share your biggest puzzlers ~ and frustration at the research methods that haven't resulted in more information.....

Some ancestors I've found lots of records from marriage on, through children, census returns, and death, but nothing definite before their marriage.

For example, Nancy Batchelder appears in Salem MA in 1810, marries Lincoln Stetson (whose ancestry was easily traceable back to Plymouth Colony), has three daughters (only one of whom lived to adulthood), and then dies in Salem in 1857. Her age is consistent in census and death records, always a nice plus ;-) On her marriage and death records, her father is named as John and she is supposedly from Billerica MA.

I've traced several other women named Nancy Batchelder to rule them out. I've looked extensively at lots of women born in nearby towns ~ anyone named Nancy, Ann, Hannah, or born near the dates working back from her supposed age at death. There's no John Batchelder or other possible family in Billerica (or other nearby towns) to put her in. She's not listed in the big late 19th century Batchelder family history.

Overall, Massachusetts records in the couple decades after the Revolutionary War are less good than before the war or after the War of 1812.

Around the same time (1815), John T. Sears appears just down the road in Danvers MA, where he also marries someone from an established local family, Betsy Wilkins. They have a couple children and then John T. dies at sea, with the death recorded in Marblehead. Unlike Nancy Batchelder, John T. Sears appears in the big Sears genealogy ~ but the author cautions that he stuck John T. in an almost random family, with no real evidence that he belonged there. Like with Nancy Batchelder, only one of John T.'s children had children, so there aren't that many people looking for him.

Years later, Betsy and John T.'s grandson would ask about John T.'s origins ~ which gets recorded in a second cousin's family history papers this way (hand-written note my addition Photoshopped in.....):

Sample notes Sears argh

Occasionally, someone hides origins from more children..... a man showed up in Middletown CT, called himself Anthony Sizer, and said he was from the Azores ~ or maybe he was the son of a well-to-do French couple...... Again, he marries a woman from an established local family, Sarah Tryon, and they have a dozen children. His original name was supposedly de Zociura ~ which a distant cousin has been told by Portuguese speakers likely just means 'from the Azores.'

Mysterious appearances don't only happen in New England. I've got cases in Scotland as well, although many of these seem to lead back to Ireland, that genealogical black hole.

Edward James Arthur appears in records first in Galashiels, in the Scottish Borders, in 1867, when he marries Jane Keddie. He died in 1903, having spent much of his life at this pub across the street from his no longer extant house (he died after a little too much New Year's eve at another pub.....):

Ladhope Inn local pub since 1792

One other intriguing bit for Edward James Arthur. When he dies, the newspaper notice says "American papers please copy." Since I haven't found parents or siblings for him, I don't know who I should be looking for, or where in the US. The one person I know of in the family who immigrated to the US (his granddaughter, my grandmother) was a young school girl in Leith and twenty years away from her trip across the Atlantic.

He consistently says he was born in Ireland on various records (the 1871 census says Fermanagh). On his marriage record, he says his parents are Edward Arthur, a bookseller, likely still alive (as the record should say deceased if he isn't alive) and Mary Hood, also possibly still alive. I've found no trace of Edward the bookseller or Mary Hood in any other records ~ and having a family name that is also a first name makes searching less than easy.

Elizabeth Little, who married Edward Arthur, son of Edward James Arthur and grandson of Edward Arthur the bookseller (no, my family wasn't creative with names; Elizabeth Litttle's mother was also Elizabeth Little), has a different kind of dead end. On her birth record, instead of a father's name, says illegitimate. Turns out, that entry is not that uncommon in many Scottish mill towns of the mid to late 19th century ~ I've seen a couple parishes in the 1860s/1870s where 1/4 to 1/3 of the births have illegitimate instead of a father's name. [It was a little less common in th New England mill towns, but it was still not that unusual.....]

Church session records have no further details. The poor law records for that area aren't extant. Her three siblings have similar birth records. No father listed on her marriage or death records. Major dead end :-(

Shankendshiel, near Hawick, where Elizabeth Little was born in 1864:

Shankendshiel from distance

Francis McGee was likely a famine immigrant ~ and too poor to make it to the US, so he settled in Edinburgh, where he was a fish hawker/costermonger. He married Helen Cassidy and they had seven children in fourteen years before Helen died. From the few records Francis appears in, he was likely born in either Donegal or Fermanagh. On his death record, his daughter says Francis's father's name was Bernard McGee, but no mother was listed.

Whitehorse Close, where the McGees lived in 1861 (it's been spiffed up lots since then......historic pictures as well as here and here):

Edin Whitehorse Close Peter McGee birthplace

Another family that I'd like to find is one I'm not descended from: the Callaghans, who moved between Dundee and Edinburgh. Thomas Callaghan and Mary McGhie were married in Dundee in 1844, where James Trainor and Mary Farrell are their witnesses. 1845 sees a baptism for their daughter Margaret, witnessed by James Trainor and Margeret Toal. In the 1851 census, listed as Thomas and Maria Kalican (yeah for searches of census records that let one play around with just entering first names and birthplaces!), they are still in Dundee with a son Thomas, although baby Margaret seems to have died already.

In 1855 (that magical year at the start of civil registration for births, when lots of questions were asked, including where the parents were married) Thomas and Mary have moved to Hastie's Close in Edinburgh, where they register the birth of their son James, whose birth record includes the details of the Dundee marriage (to connect the records for the families in two different cities), that Mary had given birth to two sons and a daughter who have died and that Mary was from Ireland ~ Fermanagh is listed.

I've found no other records of this family :-( Did they move back to Ireland? On to the US or Australia? Or die (and, if so, where are the records)? Or are further Scottish records hidden under an unpredictable spelling of their name?

I've tried every variation of such an easily differently spelled name that I could think of ~ and with not only C and K as the initial letter, but some others (like H) which could be misreadings of handwritten records.

So why would I want to trace them? Well, the same day that the Thomas Callaghan and Mary McGhie of Hastie's Close register wee James's birth,  Francis McGhee and Helen Cassidy (yeah, them again....), also of Hastie's Close, register the birth of their daughter Catherine, born the same day as James. Coincidence? Or are Francis McGhee and Mary (McGhie) Callaghan related?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip jar (16+ / 0-)

    Signed up for this week's diary quite a while ago; should have known my schedule would fill up more than I thought it would, so I'll be in and out over the next few hours.

    The worst sin - perhaps the only sin - passion can commit, is to be joyless. (Gaudy Night, Dorothy L. Sayers)

    by mayim on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 07:30:22 AM PST

  •  I recced for a good diary, and a Salem mention (10+ / 0-)

    Don't know why, but I keep thinking about the old hometown this month.
     If you're looking in the old records of Salem, consider the writings held in the Essex Institute (now merged with the Peabody Essex Museum).
     I found one of my great greats wrote a book on warfare and was in the Essex Collection. Of course, I found this out long after I left Salem, but it'll be one of my first things to check out when/if I ever get back.
     All of the names you mention are still prominent in the area, and a lot of them were my friends.

    "The United States is a nation of laws: badly written and randomly enforced." -Zappa My Site

    by meagert on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 09:30:27 AM PST

  •  Fascinating stuff, mayim. (12+ / 0-)

    And I tip my hat to you (and to everyone) who tackles "foreign" lines. My American ones are giving me enough trouble as it is. :-)

    There are, in every age, new errors to be rectified, and new prejudices to be opposed. ~Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

    by slksfca on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 09:34:47 AM PST

  •  Fun! (10+ / 0-)

    Galashiels, Hawick, Edinburgh. You're taking me back to the summer I spent in Scotland. And of course Salem, Danvers, etc. are just up the road.

    I've got plenty of people I can't trace backward or forward. Drives me nuts. I hate it when people disappear into the ether like that. Although I bet some folks, in the 19th century, did in fact disappear into the ether.

    My own grandfather, whom I knew well, cannot be found in the 1930 or 1940 U.S. census. I've got him in 1920, and the family was listed at the same address as late as 1928, but in the 1930 census someone else is living there. My grandfather's older brothers show up in the 1930 census, living together nearby. My grandfather's father also shows up nearby, with his new wife. But my grandfather (17 then), his sister (22), and their aunt who largely raised them (46) are nowhere to be found. Ditto 1940 census. Strange.

    Republicans...think the American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it. Harry S. Truman

    by fenway49 on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 09:53:23 AM PST

  •  Cool diary. I especially love the photos (9+ / 0-)

    of today's Whitehorse Close vs that last historic photo you linked to.

    Yup, same buildings, but what a difference!

    I had a couple of my German immigrant families that seemed to appear out of nowhere.  There was one family in particular that I really struggled with finding their origin.  I collected every U.S. civil and church record I could on the parent's and the children.  I collected family narratives.  I went through census records, passenger manifests, you name it.  I even tracked, as best I could, the trip that the wife took back to Germany for a visit 30 years after immigrating.

    I narrowed it down and eliminated possibilities until I finally came up with a small area of a region that had about 25 Catholic parishes whose churchbooks were on film with LDS.  So, I devised a plan to order the microfilms for those parishes, two at a time, until I found them, starting with towns beginning with  'A'.  Luckily, I found them in the first two microfilms in the town of Ankum.

    I don't know if they had been deliberately hiding their origin, but I did find it little curious that in all the documents I had collected, they didn't name their origin town once.  The only "scandal" I could find was that they had deliberately given the wrong marriage date when they registered as members of the Catholic Church in Iowa.  They had actually married a year later than they claimed, and she was very obviously pregnant at the time of their marriage.  Since they always described themselves as "staunch Catholics", I know it was something they would have desired keeping secret.

  •  I've got my share (10+ / 0-)

    Of both Magically Appearing Relatives and total dead-ends due to intentional obfuscation of data.  I know at least one of the MARs is due to an intentional (and seemingly random) name change, but many of them just appear out of nowhere, even in places where there ought to be better records.

    It doesn't help that one wing of my family has virtually no records left at all.  A courthouse fire did in much of the official paperwork, and a crazy great-uncle consigned the family Bible to the fireplace to hide ... well ... whatever it was, it seems he may have won.

    Along with opposition from pretty much anyone like a close living relative, those have conspired to limit my interest in the topic, sadly.

    "All opinions are not equal. Some are a very great deal more robust, sophisticated and well supported in logic and argument than others." -Douglas Adams

    by Serpents Choice on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 10:02:11 AM PST

  •  Where for art thou, Volunteers? (6+ / 0-)

    Lo and Behold, our current schedule

    Jan 25   marykk
    Feb 1    GrumpyOldGeek
    Feb 8    fenway49
    Feb 15  open for adoption
    Feb 22  open for adoption
    Mar 1    open for adoption

    Anyone want to host a fun-filled Friday GFHC Open Thread?  It's really easy.

    Plus, it cures warts, whitens your teeth and improves your sexual prowess.  So, why wouldn't you want to host?

    Any takers?

  •  One of my greatest mysteries... (9+ / 0-)

    ...is, oddly enough, my paternal grandfather. He is an elusive character who died before I was born, and I've had the devil of a time getting hard facts about his life.

    Dad always told me his father was born in Pierre, South Dakota. But some records I've found since would indicate that he was actually born in Iowa, where his parents lived until the mid-20th century. And every record I've seen, including his WWI draft notice, gives him a different year of birth from 1890 to 1900.

    I've also recently learned that he had a sister or two, one of whom lived to be 104, nearly making it to the new millenium. I knew nothing about his siblings as he supposedly ran away from home as a youngster and was raised by his maternal grandparents. I do know that he changed his last name to theirs.

    Here is a rare picture of him as a very young man, which I discovered while going through my father's things after he passed away:

    There are, in every age, new errors to be rectified, and new prejudices to be opposed. ~Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

    by slksfca on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 10:18:58 AM PST

  •  I love mysteries (8+ / 0-)

    It's so satisfying and rewarding when you finally solve it, but so frustrating when you are not able to after months or years of trying.

    One of the mysteries in my own family tree is on my dad's side- his surname, actually. We found the earliest known ancestor who got a land grant in NC, then later in GA in the 1740's. No one seems able to trace his ancestors beyond that because his name- both first and last, is so common, there are a number of them with the same names living in or around the same area at around the same time. DNA testing of one of his descendants reveals that he is related to a line from England, and, IIRC, my ancestor's line probably originated there, rather than in America, in other words, he was an immigrant.

    Another mystery is that no one seems to know who the parents of my g.g.g. gfather were, also from the same ancestor. I've read comments on message boards saying he was an illegitimate son of Mary (my surname), but no evidence to corroborate that.

    Live your life. Take chances. Be crazy. Don't wait. Because right now is the oldest you've ever been and the youngest you'll be ever again.-- some wise person on the Internets.

    by raina on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 10:41:09 AM PST

  •  scandals (8+ / 0-)

    Would illegitimate births be scandalous? There are a number in my dad's line, beginning with the g.g.g. gfather I mentioned above. It seemed to me, from census records that those who had babies out of wedlock still lived in the same area as other family members, so I guess they weren't shunned?

    Live your life. Take chances. Be crazy. Don't wait. Because right now is the oldest you've ever been and the youngest you'll be ever again.-- some wise person on the Internets.

    by raina on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 10:45:47 AM PST

    •  My paternal grandfather... (7+ / 0-)

      ...(who I wrote about in my other comment) may or may not have been illegitimate, which might possibly be why he took his maternal grandparents' family name. But I just haven't been able to find out for sure...

      There are, in every age, new errors to be rectified, and new prejudices to be opposed. ~Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

      by slksfca on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 11:02:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Depends on the time and place..... (8+ / 0-)

      In the era in Scotland I'm most familiar with, the samples I've run into have the child living with grandparents in many (but not all) cases. In most of these grandparent cases, the mother is usually off working in the mills or as a domestic servant, and the grandparents are farmers/shepherds in more rural areas.

      One interesting fact for Scottish law: if the parents of a child were not married to each other but not ineligible to marry (not already married, not underage), a subsequent marriage between the parents legitimized the child ~ whether the marriage happened 3 minutes or 3 decades after the child's birth.

      In the older Elizabeth Little's case, she had four (at least) children and never married; all four lived with her (while her husband's aunt had followed the rural grandparent format for her child born before her marriage). Same father for all of the four? Don't know :-(

      Wonder if DNA testing will improve enough in my lifetime to provide more information....there was one son, but I haven't been able to trace any children for him to try to talk someone into getting tested ~ and even if I did, there's not guarantee that Elizabeth the younger and her brother had the same father.

      The worst sin - perhaps the only sin - passion can commit, is to be joyless. (Gaudy Night, Dorothy L. Sayers)

      by mayim on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 11:10:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I've got one that will likely never be resolved. (7+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    edwardssl, slksfca, mayim, Jim H, fenway49, brook, hayden

    A child from an unmarried woman, the father not named back then.  Abiel Twitchell, b. 1663, only child is son Benoni Twitchell, b. 1682.  Passed down notes say "Our great shame"  Some things will never be known.  People DO keep secrets; not everything comes out.

    That said: I'm interested in the ones that leave the family behind, strike out on their own.  Some might be black sheep, others adventurers or visionaries.  They always interest me a little more than the ones who stay in the same place, keep the farm, raise respectable families.

    A personal bias, I guess.  But also because I like stories, and those are the places you find the interesting stories.

    What do we make of the contrast between heroic teachers who stand up to a gunman and craven, feckless politicians who won’t stand up to the N.R.A.? -- Nicholas Kristof, NYT --

    by Land of Enchantment on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 10:54:04 AM PST

    •  I agree with you. (7+ / 0-)

      Those with the more interesting stories are the ones I like to find out about.

      Like my great-great aunt, Margaret "fat Maggie" Johannes.  My cousin and I have been trying to find out more about her because she lived a more ... oh ... full, independent and adventurous life.  So we find a snippet or two here and there about her, and hopefully someday we'll be able to piece together the whole story of Margaret.

    •  If you haven't seen it.... (7+ / 0-)

      Interesting article about the use of Benoni as a name in colonial New England.

      Benoni Twitchell is mentioned ;-) so I'm guessing you have seen it, but linking here as it is interesting to read about a cultural significance to a name (and possible hints to further research) that most people today won't notice.

      The worst sin - perhaps the only sin - passion can commit, is to be joyless. (Gaudy Night, Dorothy L. Sayers)

      by mayim on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 11:22:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks for the article! (7+ / 0-)

        Very interesting. I have a direct ancestor named Benoni - I went back to the tree and saw that his mother, then 36, died giving birth to him in 1672. He named one of his own younger sons Benoni as well but there isn't any readily apparent scandal or tragedy attached to the Junior.

        Republicans...think the American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it. Harry S. Truman

        by fenway49 on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 12:05:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I'd not seen that (7+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        fenway49, mayim, Jim H, edwardssl, brook, hayden, slksfca

        Very interesting.

        In a different sort of case, there was someone in the tree called Jared Sparks who was born illegitimate, and made a great success of himself in life.  He's even got a wiki page, having been President of Harvard College, and host to DeToqueville who wrote about him, amongst other things.  A few generations back, a family researcher found that someone in the family claimed to be his father, presumably that came later on after he made something of himself.

        What do we make of the contrast between heroic teachers who stand up to a gunman and craven, feckless politicians who won’t stand up to the N.R.A.? -- Nicholas Kristof, NYT --

        by Land of Enchantment on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 12:13:37 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Strange experience (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Land of Enchantment, edwardssl

        I just read this article this afternoon and learn something new. Then four hours later I get on the train and take out a Plymouth history I was reading. Very first paragraph I read:

        On 30 October 1667 Thomas Delano was fined for "haveing carnall copulation" with his wife before marriage...The parents obviously felt the shame of their situation, for they named [the resulting child] Benoni, a Hebrew name meaning "child of sorrow," more commonly used by New England colonists for a son whose mother died at his birth.
        Just strange.

        Republicans...think the American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it. Harry S. Truman

        by fenway49 on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 06:08:33 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  My neck of the woods (7+ / 0-)

      They lived in Medfield, right? I just took a ride through there earlier this week.

      Republicans...think the American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it. Harry S. Truman

      by fenway49 on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 12:12:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah (7+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mayim, Jim H, fenway49, edwardssl, brook, slksfca, hayden

        I've got family way back to early Massachusetts Bay Colony on both sides.  Lots and lots of 'em.  I like the family lore, for example, about the one who was jailed as a witch at Salem, but then escaped from jail.  (Or maybe got released, though escaped sounds more fun.)  And so on and so forth.  Lots and lots and lots of 'em.

        What do we make of the contrast between heroic teachers who stand up to a gunman and craven, feckless politicians who won’t stand up to the N.R.A.? -- Nicholas Kristof, NYT --

        by Land of Enchantment on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 12:18:00 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Fun (7+ / 0-)

          Mine are all through one great-grandfather. Everyone else comes from immigrants who got here long after the Revolution. But even with only 1/8 I'm still swimming in colonists from Mass. Bay, Plymouth and Connecticut.

          Since none of us knew about this, we don't have lore passed down to us, but I've been tracking down all the stories I can find out there. We have some great and some very iffy people.

          Republicans...think the American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it. Harry S. Truman

          by fenway49 on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 12:55:12 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Escapees (6+ / 0-)

          I'm 97% certain of a lineage on my mother's side (the only confusion is over two generations that really overused the name Elijah), back to a young man (and by young, I mean he lied at his enlistment...)  who fought in the Revolutionary War, was captured, escaped, and rejoined his company.

          Unfortunately, that's just about the only line that goes far enough back to have anyone interesting.  So many people that just seem to be ghosts of history, even in the eras of census records...

          "All opinions are not equal. Some are a very great deal more robust, sophisticated and well supported in logic and argument than others." -Douglas Adams

          by Serpents Choice on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 01:03:57 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  MARs (yes, I'm stealing it too) (7+ / 0-)

    My most perplexing one is my mother's maternal grandfather's father's family. I've mentioned it before.

    A Harris family in Maryland in the 1860 census with only a mother (?) and a number of children - the youngest 10 years old. Nowhere to be found in the 1850 census. After 1860, only 2 of the sons can be traced further (one is my gg-grandfather). No marriage or death records for the daughters, no death records for the mother. Nothing.

    Maryland is not a good place to have to research in this time period. Their records don't go back much unless your family happened to belong to a church which apparently mine did not until my gg-grandfather was married.

    There's even a question as to whether or not he had a first wife. And if so, what happened to her? There is an entry in the Maryland marriage index (as in no details, just a date and the name of the bride and groom) with his name as the groom and another woman as the bride. But then there is a church record a few years later for him and my gg-grandmother.

    I have only found 2 living male descendants of this gg-grandfather (they may have sons and grandsons, I haven't contacted them yet). Still trying to decide how to ask for a DNA sample.

  •  MAR (7+ / 0-)

    I have some who disappear, but a few I can't trace back. Two in particular stand out.

    The first is an ancestor named Melison Curtis, my 4x-ggm. She married my 4x-ggf in Barnard, Vermont in 1798. His brother also married someone named Curtis. Nobody knows the parents of either of these Curtis women. There are several Curtis families listed in that county in the 1790 census, but the histories of those towns have biographical sketches on those families that don't mention these daughters. Settlement in Vermont hadn't been going on that long at the time, so they might have come from somewhere else after 1790, but I had no more luck with the 1800 census.

    Some online sources had her as "Melison Curtis Cott" and I learned why when I drove up there to see the original records. The record says, "Gaius Perkins and Melison Curtis both of Barnard" and the handwritten "both" could easily be taken for "Cott." An example of the stuff you'll find on the internet that's wrong.

    The other deals, as many of your stories have, with possible birth out of wedlock. My other 4x-ggf was named Riley Adams. He was born in 1788 in Charlestown, N.H. His mother was named Ruth Ellsworth, and the birth records don't list a father. The town clerk of 1905, who transcribed the early books onto modern forms, huffily wrote "Riley (called) Adams." Riley had a brother, Thomas, born in 1790, and the same thing: Adams, no father.

    There is one Adams in town in the 1790 census. He is listed with 3 females, presumably a wife and daughters. That Adams may have been widowed; in 1800 he married a reasonably prominent woman and had several more children. There were dozens of other Adams men in the county, but some lived quite far away.

    Riley married in about 1810 and moved his young family to Quebec for some time, then back to Vermont. He listed his father's birthplace as "England" on the later censuses. Haven't found any Adams in that area born in England. There were not that many immigrants coming in after 1750, as this one would have.

    I've not found much on Ruth Ellsworth's possible ancestry either. There were Ellsworths in the area, but none match up. The area was truly frontier in the late 1700s and I can't find a thing.

    Republicans...think the American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it. Harry S. Truman

    by fenway49 on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 12:41:29 PM PST

    •  I love the "both" to "Cott" story (5+ / 0-)

      That is so typical of genealogy!  

    •  Curtiss & Curtis (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      edwardssl

      Last year, around netroots in Providence, I visited some early cemeteries in CT.  Photographed much of what was there, and have uploaded some of that to findagrave (much more needs doing there.)

      There were Curtiss and Curtis early settlers in CT, in abundance, so your Vermonters might tie back there.  I'm not clear about the differences between the two, as I found some overlap between the two.  One can imagine people clarifying, no I'm one of the two-S Curtiss's; not one of those one-S Curtis's.

      What do we make of the contrast between heroic teachers who stand up to a gunman and craven, feckless politicians who won’t stand up to the N.R.A.? -- Nicholas Kristof, NYT --

      by Land of Enchantment on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 06:34:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Surprises do happen. (5+ / 0-)

    I recently discovered that the gentleman we've called Grandpa Hyde all these years has no blood connection to us at all.

    Going back to nail down the marriage record between GH and Margaret was confusing. In one instance her maiden name is "Rannells" and another it's "Hurley".

     While time-lining what I did have -I never said I was organized - I noticed that  Great-Grandma's birth date preceded the wedding date. Like about 6 years!

    Though the tale that unfolded is surely sad, it also showed me why Grandpa Hyde was so beloved by my Dad and his siblings.

    Margaret had been married in 1854 to a young man with whom she had 2 children (a son in 1856 and a daughter in 1858) before he went off to war. After his return they had a third child, the daughter who became my Great-Grandmother.
    Then tragedy struck and Margaret's husband and 2 oldest children died in the space of 3 months.

    From all I've heard over the years, Margaret and her daughter found a safe and loving harbor when Grandpa Hyde married "them" in 1871. I think I'll keep him!!

    •  What a great story. (5+ / 0-)

      Brook, your post may have been put up too late for most of the people on this thread to have read it.

      But it was very interesting.  If you could find any of the newspaper clippings or other info to flesh out the story, it would make a terrific diary for GFHC, and I know the others would appreciate it, as I did.

      •  You're very kind, hayden. (5+ / 0-)

        I mean to try a diary again when life stops interfering!

        In this matter though I only have the dry data. This was never talked about in the family -which was why it threw me for a loop at first. I suspect there may be related secrets. Margaret had one child, a girl, with G Hyde who looks to have never been married and may have been institutionalized in later years. There's also an unexplained, short-lived move to Baltimore, Md.

        There's no doubt that G Hyde was a constant presence in the family - I do have pictures of him but none that I can swear to include Margaret.

        While I've been able to draw quite a lot from Massachusetts
        records - there are many unavailable online and I'm stuck in California.

        •  I'm stuck in Massachusetts (4+ / 0-)

          Where it's freezing. If there's anything you want me to look up, let me know.

          Republicans...think the American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it. Harry S. Truman

          by fenway49 on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 05:59:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •   I'm sorry it's cold there (4+ / 0-)

            we warmed up today, but earlier in the week the avocado farmers were resorting to helicopters to keep the crop viable!

            Thank you very much for the kind offer. I'll keep it in mind. If I can ever help you in any way, just ask!

            Secret I never shared: love your name. My great-grandparents lived not far from Fenway I think. On Keswick.

            •  It warmed up (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              brook, edwardssl

              Last night was pretty cold, today it's back in the 40s so not too bad. Hope you stay warmer there!

              Keswick is a very short walk to Fenway. It's just around the corner from the Fenway trolley station.

              We go all over the state and beyond on a pretty regular basis, so if there is something at a town hall or the NEGHS you can use, don't hesitate to let me know.

              Republicans...think the American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it. Harry S. Truman

              by fenway49 on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 09:41:56 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

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