Category Archives: Genealogy Mysteries

A Tale of Many Sisters: Finding Emma Carter’s Mother

Most of the times, my genealogy days turn into a long day of entering information into my family tree program of choice. I love the record keeping part of genealogy. The one part I didn’t realize I enjoyed so much is the mystery-solving aspect. Every so often, I can’t be satisfied with just entering names and dates and making lists of places to search newspapers for. Every once and awhile, there are members of my family that just jump out and say investigate me more!

Emma Carter was one of these people. Emma first showed up in the 1870 Census, living with Rachel Miller-Carter and her family. Emma was listed as being 8 years old. That presented a problem to me. Rachel’s husband, Levi Carter passed away in March of 1860. So was Emma an illegitimate child of Rachel’s? Rachel was listed as being 52 years old in 1870, so I was a little doubtful of that. I next started wondering about Rachel’s daughters. She had four daughters and three that were living with her in 1870: Betsy, Sina, Eliza. I eliminated Hannah, the married daughter because I had her tracked through my life. She is my 3rd Great Grandmother. If she was Hannah’s daughter, I would have either known about it already, or I wasn’t going to find out by my usual means. So I decided to eliminate her for now, but not permanently.

I jumped ahead to the 1880 Census, the first one to show relationships, to see what that would bring me in the way of information.

1880 U.S. census, population schedule, NARA microfilm publication T9, roll 0996. Brown County, Ohio. Lewis township, Higginsport precinct, ED 198, p. 342-C (stamped), dwelling 215, family 233, Rachel Carter; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com).

Luckily for me Emma was still living with her in the same household in the 1880 US Census. So now I know that Rachel is in fact Emma’s grandmother. From this information, I still don’t know who Emma’s mother is. The next step was to follow the daughters and Emma to see where they end up. Luckily for me some Brown County records are online at FamilySearch. I was a little worried about the 20 year gap between the 1880 and 1900 censuses. So I decided to try and see if there was a marriage record for any of Rachel’s daughters first. There was not. Then on a whim, I searched for a marriage record for Emma Carter.

Probate Court, Brown County, Ohio, 1879-1881, vol. 11, p. 551, no. 13812, for Chas W Hurdle-Emma Carter; FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org).

I was in luck to have found a marriage record for 1881! Now I had a place to search for Emma in 1900, but I couldn’t be sure this was my Emma without further evidence.

1900 U.S. census, population schedule, NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 1247. Clermont County, Ohio. Franklin township, ED 028, sheet 01-B, dwelling 11, family 12, Emma Hurdle; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com).

There are a few problems with this record, like Sina being listed as male (she wasn’t), and that she was widowed. I still haven’t found a marriage record for Sina, so I can’t confirm or deny that fact. What’s interesting is she is listed as a servant in the household instead of as a relation. So by this record, I’m still not sure who Emma Carter’s mother is, but I am positive the above marriage record fits with my Emma Carter. So I will follow Emma’s family into the next census to see what that brings.

1910 U.S. census, population schedule, NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 1160. Clermont County, Ohio. Franklin township, ED 029, sheet 02-A, dwelling 33, family 33, Hamer Hurdle; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com).

The 1910 Census answers all the questions that I first had and gives me two more. The question I had answered is the identity of Emma Carter’s mother. That I know is Sina Carter. However I now have two questions: Where is Emma Carter if Sina has 2 living children in 1910? Who is the second child, Lewis maybe?

Anatomy of a WWI Uniform

So yesterday, my father impressed me with his instant knowledge of the uniform Ralph Leonard was wearing. So impressed, that I asked him to help a girl out and tell us all how he knew exactly what was going on.

1. His first clue was the anchor on the color. That tells him Navy.

2. The second thing he saw was the Marine emblem on that (I was right about that!). He says that most likely Ralph was attached to a Marine unit while he was serving.

3. The third thing he saw was the gold braiding around Ralph’s wrists and hat. This designates officers.

4. Lastly he knew it was WWI era by his gut instinct or the style of the uniform. Is that a scientific or technical answer? Of course not, but he was right and in the end that counts.

It Suckered Us All In

As I was writing up yesterday’s Mystery Monday post, I was reminded of the single, most consuming mystery I’ve ever had. It started when I first started going through the boxes of treasures/photographs/papers. When I first started scanning the photographs into my computer, I just labeled them UnknownMooreThorward-01 and so on. Funny enough, years after solving this mystery and they’re still named that.

Mystery Photo #1

This is the photo that launched the hours, months, years of frustration. Okay, so I’m exaggerating a tiny bit. It did take me years to solve this though. I would pick it up every few months and try again. I don’t know why I was so struck by this picture. I was just so curious about this building.

At one of our reunions, I brought the picture up on my laptop and asked around. Many members of my family chimed in. No one really knew where it was though. We dissected it many times. We were analyzing the routes that the cars were taking. My father thought he saw a crane in the back and chimed in that it was probably a temporary structure. I scoffed at that! Who would tear that kind of building down! That was nonsense!

Mystery Photo #2

A few months later I stumbled upon this photograph among the others. This one doesn’t show the structure very well, but it gives a bit more detail among the pillars. This one was taken on a different day I think. Here you can see something draped between the pillars and you can see what looks like balloons!

This set our family on all new tangents. My Aunt even showed the picture to some of her customers and got their input. We researched everything from European architecture to the Sesqui-centennial celebration of 1926 in Philadelphia. I went so far as to order a program on eBay from the event and even emailed the Boston Historic Society! No stone was unturned. Then one day I found a genealogy community online. I decided why not see what happens and I posted the first picture. In a twist of fate that is very common to me, someone posted back within a few hours!

This may sound silly and redundant, but have you checked out Victory Arches?

Oh.

Oh.

Silly me, I didn’t even know what a victory arch was! So I quickly put my Google-fu to the test! Here’s a simple Google Image search of Victory Arches. Holy canoli, I was back on track!

Oh.

I was eventually led to an expired eBay auction for this item. In fact, if you search for it today, there are even more images now! It turns out my structure was an Arch of Victory that was erected to welcome the troops home from WWI.

Arch of Victory at Madison Square, New York City, with men of the Twenty-seventh (New York) Division marching in a victory parade that was witnessed by hundreds of thousands of cheering spectators. The city turned out in masse to do them honor, and they received a tremendous ovation along the line of march. The avenue was packed from buildings to curbs.

This is why I love the internet. It took two years, and many hours of research for this huge family mystery to be solved by one poster on an internet message board. We spent many a hour at reunions discussing what this structure could be. My Dad always maintained that it was probably temporary. Well, you can bet he had bragging rights for a long time on this one!

Google Street View

It’s funny how different the street looks today, yet it still looks the same. I don’t know if you can tell from the size of the images but the buildings from the original photograph seem to all still be standing and look almost exactly the same!

I love to torture myself now. Sure one mystery was solved but that leads to more questions! Was my family in the hundreds of thousands of people welcoming the troops home? Were any of my relatives one of the troops being welcomed home? Gosh I love a good story!

Goodbye Brickwall, hopefully

Marriage Record for Robert J Moore and Mary E Johnson

It came yesterday! Well technically it came on Saturday. We usually get Saturday’s mail when we’re out getting Sunday’s paper. It’s just the way we work it. I can’t believe this baby was in the mailbox all night and I didn’t know it! I ordered this record online on August 1st. I was prepared to wait 4 to 6 weeks like normal. I can’t believe it’s already here.

I have to move past that though and actually look at the record. It was two pages. In fact I was very familiar with the format of it because I’ve been transcribing some marriage records like this for FamilySearch indexing in my spare time. The first page was a bit harder to read but it does give me a few things. It gives me the marriage date of 23 Apr 1896. So now I know that Robert married just 6 months before his mother passed away. It also gives the witness to wedding, one Sarah T Adams. Since the person marrying Robert and Mary was named J S Adams, I’m going to take a stab in the dark and say Sarah was his wife.

Now onto the page pictured on the left. The address of 1845 Broadway is actually new. I hadn’t seen that one. Looking it up on Google though, it’s not out of the circle that the Moores lived in during their time in Brooklyn and it’s almost right next to the cemetery where they would bury Robert’s mother in 6 months. Robert’s occupation as an Insurance Agent is nothing new to me. He definitely did that for awhile. Father was William H Moore. Still all good information. Oh wait, there it is. Mother’s Maiden Name. I won’t keep this from you. When it comes to finding out this woman’s maiden name I have the worst luck in the world. When I got the record out of the envelope, I was so scared to even look for this section. Imagine my surprise when it wasn’t blank! It’s always blank! Not this time though. Looks like her maiden name was Starret. I could be wrong but it’s definitely a starting point!

Now lets move onto Mary E Johnson. The only things I’d known about her was what was listed on censuses and William’s (her son) birth certificate. The residence of 196 Macon Street, Brooklyn definitely gives me a starting point for her. Imagine looking for Mary E Johnson in Brooklyn, with parents born in Ireland. Now we move down the record to her parents. Oh! Oh! I’m just going to cry now, both her parents are listed. Arthur Johnson as her father and Annie Moffot (?) as her mother! Of course, if anyone has better ideas for the mother’s name, just let me know. I’m open to discussion.

I did a quick search of Arthur Johnson with a wife Annie. Believe it or not, the best matches came to a family living in Babylon, New York in 1870 and 1880. I want to look in the New York State Censuses before I rush to judgement though. I especially want to look in the 1892 one. That would be 4 years before this marriage, so I would imagine that would be my best chance of  a good match!

Mystery Monday: Unknown Boys

Usually a Monday post would be something randomly thought up by myself, or it would have something to do with Madness Monday at GeneaBloggers. There is certainly enough madness to go around today. I’m deep into my 2010 Cleanup (Personal and Genealogy). On the genealogy front, I need to shape up my website a bit more in the design area. I would like a seamless transition between the main site and the blog. All my issues will be addressed in my next re-design. I just have to be patient enough to let them be for awhile!

Getting back on subject, since I don’t want to bore you guys with constant website nitpicking. I decided that since I have 1,000,000,000.9 unsolved photo mysteries, why not showcase one every Monday. Maybe someday, a person will come along that can help me solve it. It’s also a great way for me to let my extended family see a lot of these photos!

Mystery Monday #001

Clicking on the photo will open the full size version.

The background behind this photo is… nothing. There was nothing written on the back, there isn’t a group of photos anything like it. This photo is just thrown into the box of treasure. It’s not from my Mom’s side, so that puts it in the New Jersey, New York side of the family. Of course, that side came from Ireland, England, and Germany. So your guess is as good as mine about the origin of this photo.

This photo is my personal property. Please don’t copy or reproduce it without first asking me.

Another Menzies Letter

I’ve got another Menzies letter here. There was quite a bit of correspondance between the cousins/siblings in America and London. I’m certainly not complaining! I couldn’t quite make out the date of this letter, but if it is 1888 (I think it might be), I imagine Jennie Menzies-Love’s home life is starting to deteriorate. This would lead up to what happens in 1890. I’m going to get my hands on an article of that as soon as possible!

Glencoe May 8, 18??

My Dear Cousin,

Whatever is the matter with you, is any of you sick, or are you tired of your country cousins, please drop me a card and let me know, I wrote you a long letter, and I sent one of my Husband’s photo, but no answer yet. I could not wait another day, I thought perhaps you were sick – I have had a very hard winter with cough and pain, but thank god I am now a great deal better. I walked to our Church yesterday. I was so pleased to be able to walk that distance and Bob was just as proud as if I had went five miles, he said it meaned? good to have me along again, and today I am going out to make a few calls, everyone was so kind to me when I was sick, if I keep gaining? I am going to London next week to have my photos taken. Then I will send you one dear cousin Jennie.

After you left it seemed to me that I had not seen half enough of you, but perhaps we will meet again, I would like you to send me Mr Loves, yours and some of the childrens photos. I just got Maggie’s today it is a splendid one. I had a letter from Bell last week. They are all well. Jessie has moved to? miles away mean Mr Bech shop? – I am going down there in June also over to Charlies at the Lake shore near Sormia? I will write you from there. I wish you could visit there with me, they have a large house right at the Lake. Bob says if I gain ten pounds this summer he will buy me a gold watch and chain. I am going to try but I do not want a watch as my health is so poorly that it would seem foolish. Sister Agnes was here three weeks, I had a letter from Harry Cormack he is in San Francisco, he has gained five pounds lately. Jane is away at London next Saturday. I don’t know when she will be home, Andrew is busy the children are well Jennie Simpson is with me yet is going  to leave in the fall. Bob is kept very busy, is going to take a holiday and visit Charley this summer if he can get a man for a while. Sister Mary Ann was down lately they are all well. Also ??? Armstrong poor old Lache blind but very well, Harry Ferris & Jennie are getting along nicely at river also Mary Clanahan, Mr Allen & all your river friends. I wrote a long letter to Aunt Margret in N? today, she has been poorly lately. Bob joins with love to Mr Love yourself and family, kiss again and pray for me, write soon.

Yours lovingly,

Maria S Cha????? (Maybe Chamberlain/Clanahan, it is smeared too much to tell for sure)

Overall, my Menzies research is really coming together now. I just need to get my hands on some of those New York Marriage Records to be sure. So hopefully next week, I can get some more answers!

Menzies Mysteries

One of the many mysteries I’ve always had with my family tree is the Menzies family. Yes I’m pretty sure they came from Scotland, though some lived in England also. When I got my boxes of documents and photos, one of the many things in there were a whole bunch of miscellaneous articles about Menzies people. Nothing ever said how each person was linked. The closest I got was the Menu Tree.

Now that I’m getting better at researching, I think I may be starting to fill in some blanks, literally. The only clue I had to my Menzies connection to start with was Jennie Menzies’ mother, Jane Farris-Menzies, living with Jennie and her husband William W Love in 1880. That gave me a starting point. That’s what clued me in to how these random Menzies articles could be important. One was an Obituary for Alexander G Menzies. Another was an article about a ‘London Strangler’ who murdered a Lady Menzies and her daughter one night in February 1954. I still don’t know how those people are related but I am getting closer.

Yesterday I was searching for the Love family on Castle Garden. I was hoping to find William W Love in the time period that was indicated on the 1900 and 1910 census. Hopefully he would have been coming over with his mother and father so I could verify that. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find anything that was definitely him. I then decided to take a walk on the wild side and plugged Menzies into the search, just for fun. I didn’t have an immigration date as my Jane/Jennie Menzies-Love died in 1890 (wait till I find the article chronicling that!). I did however know her mother’s name and estimated birth date. I found the above Menzies in my search. My next step was trying to locate this particular family to see if it met up with my Menzies family or if they were two separate families.

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