Friday, June 03, 2016

Mysteries and questions

Mysteries and questions are what got me hooked doing genealogy, many years ago. My sister had found our great-grandfather in the 1900 Warren County, Iowa census, and with the help of a cousin, we found his will, since he died soon after 1900. But what was described in his will did not seem to match the family we had seen in 1900. And of course there is no 1890 census to consult, so real digging and thinking was required.

And so it has continued. Every time I've gone back over stuff I've found before, I see it with new eyes, and it both teaches me to see what I didn't see before, and always also raises more questions.

The latest: one of my mother's cousins was listed as a widow, living with her family of birth and young child in rural northern Missouri in the 1900 census. So of course once I found the name of her first husband, I searched for their marriage record and his death. And then I found him, apparently alive and well, living with his family, in the same county. You can see the census image on his page, http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Boyd-6597.

Now, this could be an entirely different person, perhaps? Boyd is a rather common surname, and some of the other names don't match. But Almarion? Not too many men about with that name! So I'm thinking that either the marriage was one of convenience, or fictional. I know that she married later, although I've not found that marriage record either. Now: what happened to Almarion?

Fortunately right now I have a subscription to MyHeritage.com, which makes it easy to find people, link them up, and prove their existence with census images and other public records, as well as check with some other online databases such as FamilySearch family tree, other MyHeritage trees, Geni and Wikitree.

Wikitree is fantastic! Now that I'm using it heavily, I find more and more profiles I can link to, and contribute to, rather than have to create them all. I hope by uploading census images and other information, I can find more prospective cousins to upload family photos, letters, and stories concerning their ancestors and relatives. My focus right now is to find all the recent* relatives I can on MyHeritage, and create wikitree profiles for them. It's a bit of work to add the spouse, children, sibs and parents for each person, and link each image to all the people, but it's well worth the work, in my opinion. The wikitree experts are very helpful, too.

When my daddy died it comforted me to write little stories I remembered about him. This is one lovely way to use Wikitree. Another is to upload photos and other documents, which I am doing now. My ultimate goal is to connect with cousins and do more difficult research, further back in time. But while I have MyHeritage, I will use it until I have sucked all the relatives out if it that I can find. Join me, cousins!


*recent means those found in the 1940 census. Living people's profiles are private by default on Wikitree.

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