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Mystery Monday

Mystery Monday: Duncan Walker’s Family

I love that I’m organizing my research. I love even more that it’s giving me an opportunity to look at every piece of documentation that I have in my possession. Before I started my organization, I was just so overwhelmed by the amount of stuff I had. It was tiring just to look at it. Now I’m making heads and tails of it and finding little clues where I didn’t notice them before. Something as simple as remembering to scan the back of a photograph.

Duncan Walker's Family

At first glance, you might think this is just a normal Christmas car. At least that’s what I thought at first. However, last week I scanned this into my computer and I followed the advice from Elyse Doerflinger’s ebook and I scanned the back too. Why didn’t I do that before? It’s so simple and I should have done that. It doesn’t matter now. The fact is I started my scan project last week and when I scanned the back of the above photograph, a lightbulb went off. In fact, this light bulb was probably one of the brightest light bulbs I’ve had.

As you can see, it says “Duncan Walker’s family.” Then it lists the names of the women in the photograph. The name Walker jumped up and hit me on the head! It was Walkers that are listed on the Love “Diner Tree”! They’re also listed on my Love-Menzies Family Outline that Llewellyn worked on at one point. I have this list in about four different stages, including handwritten. So now I just have to figure out how Duncan Walker is connected to the Loves!

What I know about this photo

  • Duncan Walker is connected to the Love side of my family.
  • This is probably where I inherited my horrible vision from.

What I want to know about this photo

  • How is Duncan Walker and his family connected to the Love side of my family?
Mystery Monday is a series I post here on Mondays. It is also a weekly blogging topic on GeneaBloggers. Feel free to post your own mystery photos and link me to them!

Mystery Monday: The Baby

Things I know about this photo:

  1. This photo is obviously someone from the Moore/Thorward side of my tree.
  2. This photo was taken at the studio of F.L. Huff in Newark, NJ
  3. This photo was taken in the late 1800s early 1900s

Things I think I know about this photo:

  1. I have no reason for believing that I’m right, but I think this could be Llewellyn.

Things I want to know about this photo:

  1. Is this in fact Llewellyn?
  2. When was this picture taken?

Next steps:

  1. I’m going to research more about F.L. Huff and how long exactly he was in business. I did a little searching around and found a pdf on early New Jersey photography1 This gives me reason to believe Huff could have been just starting up around 1869. He is listed in the 1870 US Census2 as being 27 and from New York. Hopefully if I learn more about his business I can narrow down who this baby could be.
  2. 1870 United States Census. Newark Ward 10, Essex, New Jersey. Page 362A. Dwelling 654, Family 959

Mystery Monday: Another Couple

Mystery Couple

What I know about this photograph:

  1. The couple is connected to the Thorward side of my family.
  2. They are the same couple from this Mystery Monday post.

What I want to know about this photograph:

  1. Everything else :p
  2. Who are they?
  3. How are they connected to the family?

Mystery Monday is a weekly series I do on Mondays. It is also a blogging theme used by other GeneaBloggers. Feel free to post about your own mysteries and maybe someone will be able to solve it someday!

Mystery Monday: Where?

Where am I?

My Mystery Monday posts usually have to do with the people in my photographs. That isn’t the case today. I’ve been wondering for awhile about where this particular picture is taken. I’ve had numerous inputs, one being around the Jersey Shore and others being another Jersey town. The only thing everyone agrees on is that this is Jersey. My questions about places aren’t usually solved quickly. Remind me to tell you about the Victory Arch photograph… In fact, I’ll write that up sometime this week. It’s a great story!

What I know about this photo:

  • It was most likely taken in New Jersey… somewhere.
  • It is most likely a member of the Thorward family.

What I want to know about this photo:

  • Where this particular house is?
  • Who’s house is this?
  • Who are the people in the photograph?
  • How are they related or connected to my family?
  • Where those awnings green and white? For some reason I feel like they were green and white?
  • Can I have a time machine to walk through these old houses? Pretty please?

Mystery Monday is a weekly series on my blog. It is now a Daily Blogging Theme at GeneaBloggers also! Feel free to post about your own mysteries and link me to them!

Mystery Monday: A Postcard

It’s been a crazy week here in Maryland! The last few days have been spent dealing with flooding and repairs to our roof. Now that those crazy rain totals are behind us, I’m getting back into my genealogy. Here is this week’s Mystery Monday.

Things I know about this picture:

  1. This picture is on the front of a postcard. I’m assuming it’s from the same time period of the George Thorward car picture. His isn’t on a postcard but in a decorative postcard-like envelope. It is also labeled with ” 1st Car 1905″ and has a picture of the Statue of Liberty on it.
  2. Most likely the picture was from New York City. I’d have to look it up again to be sure. I’m thinking it was from the 1939 World’s Fair in New York. In fact, the car looks like the 1904 First Rolls Royce.  Which would fit in with the 1905 date written on the George Thorward picture.

Things I want to know about this picture:

  1. Who is the family posing in this picture? I’m not sure but the girl looks familiar. So I might have more pictures of her in my files somewhere.
  2. Was this in fact taken at the World’s Fair? That would give me a date on the photo to better place the family.

Mystery Monday is a weekly series that I do here on my blog. It is also a blogging theme at GeneaBloggers now. Feel free to post your own mystery photos or stories and comment with the link!

Mystery Monday: Henry Mays

The photo I was going to post today will have to wait. I was entering the Mays family into my family file yesterday. The Mays family is always a frustration for me because the sheer amount of them. They also loved to name their kids the same 10 names. It wasn’t uncommon to have 3 cousins, named William, and they were all born within a year of each other. That’s not what I’m writing about today though. My mystery is with Henry Mays.

He first shows up in 1900 with John and Celia Mays. He is listed as their son, with a birth date of 1885. This was always a little sketchy for my Mom because this puts him at 13 years younger then his nearest sibling. I did find another male child that was still born in 1875, so that pushes it to 10. Still, that is quite a leap. Mom always suspected that Henry might have been John and Celia’s grandson, born to their daughter Nancy. Nancy was 15  at the time of Henry’s birth. There is absolutely no evidence of this though so he’s John and Celia’s son in my mind.

John Mays household, 1900. Devils Fork, Elliott County, Kentucky.

All is well with the family through the 1910 census. It’s in 1920 that things get complicated. John and Celia moved to Clermont County, Ohio between 1910 and 1914, when Celia dies there. Their son William Harmon Mays, also moves to Clermont County with his young daughter after the death of his first wife. His second wife will give birth to my grandfather there in 1923. Nancy was a mystery for a while. She didn’t move to Ohio with her family. I eventually found a death record for her under the name Nancy Ann Sparks. This led me to her household in 1920. She was married to Andy J Sparks and lived in Rowan County until her death. (I’m still missing her in 1930 though, she died in 1938.) Henry disappears. There are two Henry Mays’ in 1920 living in Rowan County, Kentucky.

Henry Mays, 1920 Census search

Funny enough, both of these households have wives named Martha. They are definitely two different households. I checked to be sure. My next step was to check on FamilySearch to see if there was a marriage listing for Henry.

FamilySearch Kentucky Marriage Records search

The only thing I don’t like about this record is that it doesn’t give Celia’s maiden name but otherwise everything fits. I’m more than a little disturbed by a 31 year old marrying a 13 year old but maybe the age is wrong.

1910 Census. Farmers, Rowan County, Kentucky.

Oh, maybe the age wasn’t wrong. My next step was to sort out where the family was in 1920.  The problem is neither Henry Mays from above fits at all. So instead I looked for Cordie’s family to see if Henry and Cordie were living with them. It’s a logical move since most of Henry’s family moved to Ohio.

Donohew household, 1920.

Now I’m confused. Cordie is still living at home, her age is still aged 13 (should be 16 by this time), and she’s listed as widowed? So now I have no idea what happened to Henry Mays. Your guess is as good as mine. I haven’t been to find any death record for Henry anywhere. Even a check of Elliott County came up blank.

Mystery Monday: Beulah Miller

In the same batch of travel photos as the last Mystery Monday entry, we have these two.

Things I know about these photos:

  1. The name written on the back is Beulah Miller.
  2. The pictures were taken at the same time as the Alma Lycett picture. (sometime between 1923 and 1926)
  3. The trip was most likely with Llewellyn’s church, though I can’t confirm it yet.

Things I’d like to know about these pictures:

  1. Really I’d just like to connect the picture with it’s proper family! I know how wonderful it is to have a picture, so I’d love to know who Beulah belongs to!

Mystery Monday is an ongoing series I’m doing here on my blog. It’s also now a GeneaBloggers blogging theme topic. Feel free to post about your own mysteries!

Mystery Monday: The London Strangler

The article you see to your right was given to me by my Aunt Diane. Basically, her box of good stuff and my boxes of good stuff came from the same place! So she had a bunch of stuff that she gave me copies of when I first started researching heavily. In fact I think all of my Menzies documents were in her box.

Basically the article states (you can click it to view it full size), ‘Lady’ Menzies and her daughter were found dead in their home one morning. There’s even a bolded part that says “Airports and seaports got the descriptions of a middle-aged man and a handsome bearded young man with pierced ears”. To be honest this sounds right out of a modern paper!

Mystery #1: When does the article take place?

This was actually my first big challenge in genealogy. Trying to figure out when this way. Until I figured that out I wouldn’t be able to figure out who the article was talking about. After a lot of searching in various Newspaper databases, I found over 20 printings of this event. It took place in February of 1954! All the articles were a little different but they all gave mostly the same information.

Mystery #2: Who is ‘Lady’ Menzies?

The victims from the article are at first listed as ‘Lady’ Menzies and her daughter (Mrs Isobel Victoria Chesney). Over the next few days, papers are printing a little bit more. It turns out Mrs. Mary Menzies was the owner of an “old people’s home”. She was known by the name ‘Lady’ Menzies by everyone. She styled herself as Lady because her husband, the late Thomas C Menzies claimed he was the 10th baronet of the clan Menzies. However, peerage officials made an official announcement that despite Thomas’ claims, the title had become extinct. Mrs Menzies daughter, Isobel led quite an adventurous life. Depending on which article you read, police sorted through 3,000 to 4,000 “love letters” to get clues as to what happened. The letters dated back to 1934.

Mystery #3: Did they ever catch the killer?

Yes they did, and it’s a doozy folks! Once I found out the year and month of their murders, I was able to follow up pretty quickly. It turns out Isobel’s husband, Ronald Chesney was the culprit. Police believe Mr Chesney killed his wife to “get her 10,000 pound ($28,000) legacy and marry a pretty German sweetheart”. Five days after the murders Mr Chesney shot himself dead in Cologne, Germany after his girlfriend refused him. Apparently, she wasn’t impressed by his actions. That’s when the crazy details really started coming out. Ronald J Chesney was actually, John Donald Merrett. He was even tried for the murder of his mother in 1927! The jury gave a verdict of “not proven” in that case. Ronald/John was even the subject of a TIME Magazine article in March of 1954!

So what’s the mystery here?

Really the mystery I have is how this family is related to my Menzies family. I have a great clue in Thomas C Menzies and his claim. At first I was worried that the daughter, Isobel, was the Bell Brodie that was sending letters to Jane T Menzies. I quickly realized it was a completely different person. It should be noted that this Isobel Menzies lived in London and Bell Brodie lived in London, just in the 1860’s. So that could still be part of my connection. Also, do we really have that connection to Castle Menzies or did I inherit Thomas Menzies wishful thinking?


There were many, many news articles on this event. If you really want to have fun, try to NOT find this story in a newspaper of your choice! I’ll list just the ones I have copies of:

  1. 12 Feb 1954. Police Seek Stranglers. The Frederick (Maryland) News.
  2. 12 Feb 1954. Scotland Yard Investigates Double Murday. Ames (Iowa) Daily Tribune.
  3. 12 Feb 1954. British Claimant to Title and Daughter Slain. Bedford (Penn) Gazette.
  4. 12 Feb 1954. Strangler Kills 2 Women in London. Joplin (MO) Globe.
  5. 14 Feb 1954. Love Letters Sifted for Murder Clues. The Daily Independent (Kannapolis, NC).
  6. 15 Feb 1954. 3,000 Letters Received by Slain Woman. Fergus Falls (Minn) Daily Journal.
  7. 17 Feb 1954. Smuggler Added to Bizarre Murder List. News-Tribune (Fort Pierce, FL).
  8. 25 Mar 1954. Two Deaths Said Murders. Fergus Falls (Minn) Daily Journal.
  9. Mar 1954. Not Proven. TIME Magazine. Retrieved online (Nov 2007, Sep 2010): link.

Mystery Monday is an ongoing series I do on the blog, it is also now a GeneaBloggers daily blogging theme option! So let’s hear those mysteries!

Mystery Monday: Alma Lycett

I have a huge series of photos that look to be Llewellyn and some friends on a trip. This could coincide with the travel places in the front of her diary, or it could be a whole other time. After discussing it with my Aunts, they said most likely it was a Church trip. That makes the most sense to me also. This picture is a little different from my usual Mystery Monday photos. I know who this is. Her name is Alma Lycett. I know this because it was written on the back of the photo and I made sure to label the file when I scanned it. A quick census search shows the closest match in age and name is Alma M Lycett, who lived in Norwalk, Connecticut. Llewellyn’s travel list shows her visiting Middletown, New Haven and Hartford Connecticut in July of 1923. Interesting.

I’m really putting this photo up for anyone who may be searching for Alma someday. Hopefully I’ve used the right keywords to bring someone here.

Mystery Monday is an ongoing series of photos I’m posting that have some kind of mystery attached to them.

Mystery Monday: The Return

Things I know about this picture

  • My Grandfather is the young child front and center. The older girl is holding him up.

Things I want to know about this picture

  • Who are the other children?
  • If they are related, which side of the family are they from? William’s? Llewellyn’s?
  • If it is through Llewellyn, then is it through the Thorwards or the Loves?
  • It could be a collection of children from different families, a family reunion maybe?

Mystery Monday is an ongoing series I’m doing to showcase the photos I am having problems identifying. I hope one day someone will land on the site and recognize a relative!

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