thegenealogygirl


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One Last Tether

Rulon and Naomi family, from original

The Family of Rulon Powell Peterson & Naomi Skeen; back l-r: Marilyn Peterson, Ronald Skeen Peterson, Janice Peterson; front l-r: Lowell Skeen Peterson, Rulon Powell Peterson, Wayne Skeen Peterson, Naomi Skeen, Darrell Skeen Peterson.

 

From this wonderful family, only one remains.  One last tether to my Grandpa, his siblings, and his parents.  To living memories of growing up on a cattle ranch, working hard, serving others, helping strengthen a community, and serving God.

We lost Darrell first in 1947 at the tender age of 14.

Naomi followed in 1957.

Rulon in 1985.

Ronald in 1997.

Marilyn in 2013.

Janice in 2016.

And then last Sunday, on the 29th of October, Lowell slipped from this life.

I imagine that was a joyful reunion for this precious family that I love.

On Saturday we honored Uncle Lowell’s remarkable life.  As I sat there mourning with my family, listening to the accomplishments of a life well lived, I was in awe.  Uncle Lowell was a humble and kind man.  For me, he was a gentle reminder of the Grandpa I lost when I was just 20.  His voice, his manner, his movements, echoed those of his oldest brother.  I sat with him many times, sharing family stories, listening to him talk about the Grandpa that I love and miss.  But in all of those conversations, he never spoke about himself.  I always knew he was remarkable, simply for being him.  What I didn’t know was the impact he had on so many.  I could rattle off a list of accomplishments that would impress you, but I think the only one that really matters is that his entire life’s work and love focused on his wife, his 7 children, his 33 grandchildren, and his 12 great-grandchildren.  But for me personally, I will forever be grateful that he always made me feel loved and reminded me of my Grandpa.

And now, there is one last tether to this beloved family.  My Grandpa’s youngest brother, Uncle Wayne.  Like Uncle Lowell, he has a way of making me feel the warmth and love of my Grandpa.  I hope he stays with us for many years to come.

But it must feel so lonely to be the last.

 

 

This beautiful song is one that I have loved for many years.  It also happens to be one of the seven songs Uncle Lowell requested for his funeral.  Very fitting for a farmer and cattle rancher.  It was sung by his lovely granddaughters.  I hope you will enjoy it and be touched by his love for inspiring music.

 

Lyrics:

In the quiet misty morning

When the moon has gone to bed,

When the sparrows stop their singing

And the sky is clear and red,

When the summer’s ceased its gleaming

When the corn is past its prime,

When adventure’s lost its meaning –

I’ll be homeward bound in time

Bind me not to the pasture

Chain me not to the plow

Set me free to find my calling

And I’ll return to you somehow

If you find it’s me you’re missing

If you’re hoping I’ll return,

To your thoughts I’ll soon be listening,

And in the road I’ll stop and turn

Then the wind will set me racing

As my journey nears its end

And the path I’ll be retracing

When I’m homeward bound again

Bind me not to the pasture

Chain me not to the plow

Set me free to find my calling

And I’ll return to you somehow

In the quiet misty morning

When the moon has gone to bed,

When the sparrows stop their singing

I’ll be homeward bound again.

 

 


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The Mixed Up Case of the Two James Youngs & Janet Robertsons in Renfrewshire, Scotland

which James Young-01

In May of 2014, I had a happy breakthrough moment when I added another generation to my tree on my Young line in Scotland.  It was a major victory that had just been waiting there for me.  That discovery led to additional discoveries when I found parents for both James Young and Janet Robertson.  In just a few short weeks I had added two full generations and plenty of descendants.  It was exciting!

My excitement quickly came to a halt.

You see, I like to participate in building the Family Tree in FamilySearch.org.  So once I have researched a family well, I go into FamilySearch and try to update, source, add, merge, or whatever is needed, to help that Tree be as correct as possible.

When I went into the tree to add or attach James Young & Janet Robertson’s parents, I was faced with the most convoluted mess I’d come across yet.

This was my James & Janet with some of their children:

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Everything looked pretty good.  Some facts, sources, children, and grandchildren were (and still are) missing, but otherwise, this was all correct.

But then a troubling duplicate reared it’s head when I went looking for James Young and Janet Ferguson, James’ parents.  I found this:

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So what is the trouble exactly?  Oh goodness, where do I begin…

This James Young has the same birth and death dates and places as my James Young.  He also has parents with the same names as my James Young’s parents.  His wife also has the same name as my James Young’s wife.  His first two children listed have the same names, birth dates, and birth places as my James Young’s first two children.

But then.  There are problems.

The marriage date and place are different by two years and 1 parish.  This James Young’s wife Janet Robertson has a different birth date and place, and different parents from my Janet.  And, who are those last two children?  They don’t seem to belong to my James Young and Janet Robertson.

The more I tried to unravel this, the more confusing it was.  I started by looking at the marriage records for both couples.  I wondered if they were a duplicate couple who had banns read in a neighboring parish?  Had the record of the banns been indexed incorrectly?  It’s a pretty big stretch since the entire date is so drastically different, but I wasn’t going to rule it out.  Looking at all of the records – all four – made it quite clear that there were two couples.  One who married in Renfrew, Renfrewshire in 1823 and one who married in High Church, Paisley, Renfrewshire in 1821.

At this point I decided I needed to complete a surname study for both parishes.  For the next three years I slowly went through the microfilm records for these parishes every time I went to BYU to research.  I had a notebook.  Every event for someone with the surname of Young was recorded.  It was slow and tedious.  I didn’t have much time to give to it.  It felt like it would take forever.

But then!  Ohhhh, this is about to get good…

About six weeks ago, I started helping two different people with Scottish research.  I hadn’t been working on my Scottish lines recently.  I knew that the ScotlandsPeople website had been updated.  I’d gotten lots of emails about it.  I just hadn’t tried it out yet.  There were so many complaints about glitches at first, that I thought I would let the dust settle before I used it.  I had other parts of my tree to work on, so it was just fine.

As I helped these two different people discover the joys of Scottish research, it started an itch for me.  I wanted to work on part of my Scottish lines again.

One afternoon, about 4 weeks ago, I was zipping around my house getting stuff done.  I had the strongest impression that I should revisit one of my brick walls – Andrew Brown, my 4th great grandfather.  I dropped everything and gave it a look.  Over the next three days I completely demolished that brick wall and had the best time pushing my tree back several generations.  But that, is a story for another day.

As my Andrew Brown journey was winding down, I thought about my dusty notebook and my Young Surname Study.  It hadn’t gotten any attention for a few months.  ScotlandsPeople is so different now.  I thought I could probably complete the project from home now without having to buy too many records.  So I pulled out my notebook and got to work.

I am sooooo happy to say that on Tuesday, the 13th of June, 2017, I tackled the main goal of my Young Surname Study.  I had enough information to accurately separate the two James Young and Janet Robertsons and their children.  I carefully fixed everyone, sourced them, and made sure they are attached to the correct family members.  That Tuesday was a long and wonderful day.

Without going into too many confusing details, this is what I discovered.

The James Young who was attached to my James Young’s parents is a different man.  He did in fact marry a Janet Robertson in 1821 in High Church, Paisley, Renfrewshire.  But after that, there is no trace of either of them.  No children, no death records, no census.  I don’t know where they went.

The first two children – James Young b. 1824 and Thomas Young b. 1828 were actually the children of my James and Janet and were duplicates.

The daughter, Jean Young, who did not belong to my James Young and Janet Robertson, did not belong to this James Young and Janet Robertson either.  She is the daughter of John Walker Young and Janet Robertson who were married in 1828 in Neilston, Renfrewshire.  Her complete name is actually Jean Anderson Young and this little darlin’ has two birth and baptism records in two different parishes.  Luckily for me, the father’s unusual occupation of (Calico) Printer in Grahamston was listed on both of her records, along with the detail that she was the couple’s 2nd child and 2nd daughter.

The last son listed, Robert Young, was not the child of my James and Janet or of this James and Janet either.  He was the son of a James Young and Janet Robertson who married in Paisley, High Church, Renfrewshire in 1831, four years before his birth in the exact same parish and ten years after the marriage of the couple he was attached to.

In the end, this meant that the convoluted James and Janet were left with no birth and death dates and places for James, no children, no parents for James, and still attached to the parents for Janet.  Parents that I did not research, so I can’t say for certain they are in fact her parents.

My James and Janet are now attached properly to their children and parents.  Well, aside from the few children I haven’t fully researched and added yet.

My surname study is not complete.  There are still plenty of family members I need to finish researching.  But these are my big takeaways from my progress so far:

First – Don’t be afraid of a mess in FamilySearch.  You can solve it!  Even if it takes three years.  No one messed with the mess because I left a very detailed note on both James Youngs explaining my research project.  If you want to work effectively in FamilySearch – communicate!  Leave notes, sources, and good explanations when you make changes or additions.

Second – A surname study is an AWESOME way to really get to know a parish and a family or set of families.  You get a good sense of how many people live there and how they are connected to each other.  It took my best guesses, and some surprise people and facts,  and turned them into concrete conclusions.

Third – There are A LOT of James Youngs in the county of Renfrew in Scotland.  😉

 

Have you ever completed a surname study?  Would a surname study help your research?

 


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Memorial Day 2017

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Memorial Day 2017 with my family was really wonderful.

 

Part One:

 

While driving north to begin our adventures, we talked about the origins of Memorial Day, our cousin James Boles and his life and sacrifice, and where we were headed.

Part Two:

 

A picnic lunch with my 4th great grandmother, Maria Amanda Dolby Skeen at Lehi Pioneer Cemetery.  This sweet little cemetery is just a grassy park surrounded by trees and a flowing irrigation ditch.  There is only one marker sharing the history of the cemetery.  We know that Maria is buried there.  She was the mother of 9 children, 4 who pre-deceased her.  She died in 1854 at the age of 36, leaving her husband with 5 young children.  Maria and her family were Mormon Pioneers who experienced extreme persecution and were driven from one place to the next, finally traveling with the saints to what is now known as Utah.  A few short years after their arrival, Maria passed away.

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Part Three:

 

A few hours in the American Fork Cemetery.  We had a list of ten of my husband’s ancestors to look for, and 16 little star shaped flags to post on any veteran’s graves that had no decorations.  This year I couldn’t find actual flags so I had to make do with my Dollar Store find.

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This little darlin’ was so fascinated by everything about the cemetery.  He wanted to know all about every headstone he came upon.  He was searching for “soldier headstones” and “B-E-C-K”.

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He was so happy when he found his first “B-E-C-K” headstone.  Of course I missed his huge smile and caught his explanation instead.  😉

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Jacob S and Elizabeth H Beck, my husband’s 2nd great grandparents

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With my camera in hand, I obviously had to photograph any headstone that caught my eye.  I have a bundle to add to findagrave.

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It was a lovely cemetery visit, to a beautiful cemetery, in a fantastic setting, on a perfect day.

Part Four:

 

We made some new family memories exploring the beautiful Cascade Springs.

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Even the drive home was picturesque.  The summit took us to an elevation of 8060!

It was a Memorial Day to remember.

 

Happy Wednesday!  I hope you preserve a special memory today.

 

 

ps – Why do 15/almost 16 year olds insist on being ridiculous in photos?  Sigh.  My 19 year old recently told me I need to lecture his teenage brother and tell him to just smile for photos.  Haha, he was the scowler/face maker not so long ago.  A normal phase I suppose…

 


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Memorial Day Tribute – James Boles

photo 4

My marvelous middle child, Memorial Day 2014

Today is Memorial Day in America.  A day to honor those who died in service to our country.  A day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

For many, it has become the kick off to summer – a day for barbecuing and playing outside.  I suppose that even those who fail to remember the price that was paid for their freedom, are still a tribute to the bravest among us.  The whole idea behind defending liberty is so that there can be a peaceful place for families to live and work and play together.  A place of freedom.  Freedom to remember or not.

Today, I choose to remember.

Earlier this year I discovered another family member who died during military service.

James Boles.

James wasn’t an American.  He was born in Scotland.  At the tender age of three, James left his homeland bound for South Africa with his siblings.  He and his family were seeking a better life.

As a young, unmarried man, James drew up a will.  In simple terms, he left everything to his parents.  James was heading back to Europe.  This time it wasn’t to improve his own life.  It was to fight for the freedom of others in the Great War.  James was part of the 4th South African Infantry.

On the 13th of April 1918, James was killed in action in Flanders.

Today, I honor and remember my cousin, James Boles.

James, thank you for your service.

 

James Boles – my 1st cousin, 4 times removed.  Born – 11 October 1887 in Dalserf, Lanark, Scotland to John Thompson Boles and Christina Montgomery.  Brother to: Agnes, James, Isabella, Christina, William, Helen, Elizabeth, John, Agnes, John, and Alice.  Died – 13 April 1918 in Flanders.

 

Rest in peace dear cousin.  I will think of you today as I post small flags on the graves of veterans close to home.

 

H - Memorial Day 2014

My Littlest Sweetheart, Memorial Day 2014

 

 


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My 7-second, $450 Miracle

Scanned Image 101200097

John Costello, front and center, looking away and pointing.

John Costello is my great grandfather.

 

My Mom knew him.

He died when she was about 11.

But more importantly, his three children that survived infancy were all still alive until November of 2015 when Uncle Dan died.

I have been grilling them for years.  (Nicely)

But…

John Costello is my brick wall.

 

My most recent, most tantalizing, most consuming, most stubborn, solid brick wall.

My collection of tid-bits about him is so small.  And so precious.  Every little bit I add to my John Costello treasury is cause for celebration.  I have exactly 5 pictures of him.  That one up there, plus another shot from this same sitting.  And these:

 

Young and Costello males

L-R: Andrew Young, George Vickers Young, ?, James Young, Alexander “Sandy” Young, John Costello, the two little boys are Vince and Dan.

Young and Costellos

L-R: John Costello, Mary Brown Young, Andrew Young, Catherine Brown, James Young, Alexander “Sandy” Young, George Vickers Young, front: Virginia, Dan, and Vince Costello.

Mary and John Costello

from the back of the photo: Mary and John Costello, Mistrey Castle Phoenix, Arizona, Jan 1965

 

Over Christmas my Mom was in a “I-want-to-get-stuff-outta-my-house” mood.  Among other things, she sent me home with this super-cool-clear-vinyl-60s-mod-flowers-decorated bag filled with old film reels.  She said, “I think it’s mostly dive videos of my Mom, but there may be some other stuff from when I was a kid.”  Intriguing.

(My Grandma was a rescue diver, hence the “dive stuff” comment.)

 

What hidden gems might there be in this magical bag from the 60s?

 

At RootsTech I entered the Larsen Digital drawing and picked up one of their coupons.  After RootsTech I got an email from Larsen Digital to let me know I had won $50 toward their services.  A few weeks later, two days before my RootsTech coupon was set to expire, I was headed in the direction of the closest Larsen Digital drop-off location.  I hadn’t yet figured anything out about the film reels – which had dive stuff and which had childhood stuff – so I just took a deep breath and dropped it all off so that I could take advantage of my coupon and my $50.

The next day I got a call to confirm my order – my nearly $600 order.

Gulp.

 

The one consolation was that they hadn’t yet applied my coupon or my $50 prize.

So, $450 and one month later, I picked up my film reels.

But I was packing to go spend some time with my Dad, so I just threw the thumb-drive in my backpack without watching anything and off I went to good old Kennewick, Washington.

I forgot all about that thumb-drive until my Mom arrived back home from a little trip she had taken.  We had one day together before I headed back home.  During that one day we were both taking care of a few things – she was unpacking, I was packing, laundry, etc.

Sometime in the early afternoon, I passed my backpack and remembered the thumb-drive.  I pulled it out and said, “Mom, let’s see what was on those old film reels.”  We sat at the kitchen table and started watching together.

About 13 minutes, and two video files in, we came across something that absolutely took my breath away.

There was John Costello.

 

Alive, in color, and showing me a 7-second glimpse into his personality.

As soon as his face appeared on screen, both my Mom and I said, “Oh.  {in gentle wonder}  There’s Grandpa Costello.”  After his precious 7-seconds, his wife Mary appears and then my sweet, infant Mom is passed to her Grandma Mary by someone off camera.

That 22-second family moment, immortalized on an old film reel, felt like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, a priceless gift, a miracle.

A good friend taught me how to cut that little clip out of the longer video.

I think I have watched this 22-second video 100 times since last Thursday.  Especially the first 7 seconds.

How is it that those 7 precious seconds have told me more about John Costello the man, than the last 19 years of searching, pouring over records, and asking questions of his children and grandchildren?

I can’t explain it.

But those 7 incredible seconds were worth every single penny of the $450 I spent.

Every.  Single.  Penny.

 

And so my dear readers, I present to you, John & Mary Costello, in all of their color-filled glory.

 

 

My cup runneth over.

 

 

ps – There were 14 film reels in all.  The movies are positively filled with other treasures.  What a joy to have, and what a joy to share with my family.

 


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Rosey’s Girls – A Crazy Trip Down the Rabbit Hole

marrying mess

There’s that chart again – edited to include Rosey’s marriages and children.

There are some family puzzles that take years to solve.  You gather bits here and there that don’t always make sense.  Slowly, you learn more, but the core questions remain.  Then more records become available and you add those to the bits you already have and suddenly you are able to tie things together in a way you couldn’t before.  That is exactly the meandering path that Aunt Rosey has sent me on.  And what a journey it has been!

Almost two years ago I wrote about all of the matrimonial connections in this part of my tree.  Then, nearly a month ago now, I wrote about the Robert Hyde – Rosey Hyde marriage and child.  The questions that post brought up led me to spend time on a serious review of my sources and follow up on every single lead I had.  That process led me to find a tiny little hint of Norma.

 

Finding Norma meant that I discovered Rose Elvera Hyde wasn’t new to me.  I had just forgotten about her.

In fairness though, I had first known her as Elvira Kingham.

Let’s take a little journey down the rabbit hole together, shall we?

 

Many moons ago, the first record I found about Rosey Hyde – that I knew FOR SURE was about Rosey – was this marriage record to Harry Grant Kingham in 1914.

 

Rose Hyde & Harry Kingham, 1914 marriage record

“British Columbia Marriage Registrations, 1859-1932; 1937-1938,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JDZN-H68 : 21 January 2016), Harry Kingham and Rosey Hyde, 19 Apr 1914; citing Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, British Columbia Archives film number B11378, Vital Statistics Agency, Victoria; FHL microfilm 1,983,706.

 

Rosey is listed as a spinster, which I had no reason to question.  I figured the record was accurate and thought I had found her first marriage.  The natural next step was to try to learn everything I could about Harry Grant Kingham.  I didn’t find much.  But I did find this US Consular Record.

 

KINGHAM, Harry Grant, 1915 US Consular Record

Ancestry.com. U.S., Consular Registration Certificates, 1907-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013. http://ancstry.me/2oJg9ew

I hadn’t yet become savvy about how complicated this family was when I first found this document.  It lists two daughters for Harry that were born prior to his marriage to Rosey.  I tried to research them and just couldn’t find anything about a Grace Kingham or an Elvira Kingham.  I made the natural assumption that they were his daughters prior to his marriage to Rosey.  I tried to find a first wife for him – even though he was listed as a bachelor on his marriage record to Rosey – no luck.

So what did I do?

I added two daughters to Harry Grant Kingham with an unknown mother.  The girls were not attached to Rosey in my tree.

Now, fast forward to a few weeks ago…

When I found Rosey’s death record and discovered she had a daughter named Rose Elvera Hyde Williamson, I had forgotten all about Elvira Kingham.

Thank goodness for that pesky little travel record that was generated when Rose Elvera Hyde Williamson went to visit her sister Mrs. Norma ?rance in 1945.  That record led me to revisit every source attached to every person connected to Rosey Hyde.

So there I was, suddenly staring at two different Elveras in my tree – Elvira Kingham and Rose Elvera Hyde Williamson.  But they were really the same person.  So I merged them.

I quit taking any parent child relationships for granted at this point and used every combo of names for each girl.  I also quit considering Rosey’s husbands as minor character actors in her life.  The girls used Harry’s last name so I needed to know everything about Harry that I could find.

The next notable stop down the rabbit hole was Harry’s WWI Canadian Expeditionary Forces Personnel File.  There were plenty of facts about Harry but there were two pages that were especially enlightening about Rosey’s girls.

 

HYDE, Muriel Grace, record

Library and Archives Canada; Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; CEF Personnel Files; Reference: RG 150; Volume: Box 5181 – 42; http://ancstry.me/2qc1mci

 

This particular image was page 38 of Harry’s file and it told me that Grace was actually named Muriel Grace.

 

KINGHAM, Norma Robertine, record

Library and Archives Canada; Ottawa, Ontario, Canada; CEF Personnel Files; Reference: RG 150; Volume: Box 5181 – 42; http://ancstry.me/2qc1mci

 

This image was page 50 of Harry’s file and is the second mention of Norma – Norma Robertine Kingham – to be exact.

Suddenly, Rosey’s three girls began to make more sense to me.  I updated Grace in my tree with the name Muriel Grace Hyde, added Norma, and away I went.

Ancestry.com very quickly added a few hints to Muriel, including this Washington State Application for License to Wed.

 

HYDE, Muriel Grace and Walter E Groome, 1924 application for license to wed

Washington State Archives; Olympia, Washington; Marriage Affidavits; http://ancstry.me/2q2GMMs

 

It certainly matched the few details I had about Muriel Grace.  The fact that the witness was a Robert Hyde was intriguing, but even more interesting to me was this line in the application: “…I further swear that there is no legal impediment to their marriage…and [they] are not nearer of kin to each other than second cousins.”

Hmmmmm… if that Muriel Grace was my Muriel Grace, and if that Robert Hyde was my Robert Hyde, did he feel sheepish signing that form and remembering that Muriel’s parentage was himself and his niece Rosey?

That is some genealogical irony right there.

Next, I pulled up the actual marriage certificate.

 

HYDE, Muriel G and Walter E Groome, 1924 Marriage Record

Washington State Archives; Olympia, Washington; Marriage Certificates; http://ancstry.me/2otrp2x

 

Muriel listed her parents as Robert Hyde, born in Sheffield, Eng and Alice Whiteley, born in Sheffield, Eng.  Robert and Alice are the two witnesses to this union.

What?!

 

Quick recap – Alice Whiteley Hyde is the aunt turned step-mom of Rosey Hyde.  At the time of Muriel Grace Hyde’s birth, Alice Whiteley Hyde was married to Henry Hyde – her first marriage and his second.  If she was ever married to Robert Hyde is was after she was widowed first by Henry, then by his brother Arthur.  She was the informant on Robert’s death record and listed him as the divorced spouse of Rosey, not as her husband.

So, was Muriel the daughter of Alice or Rosey?

If it was Alice, then Alice had a child with her husband Henry’s brother while she was still married to Henry, then after Henry’s death proceeded to marry a different brother – Arthur, before finally settling down to live with the third brother Robert when she was once again widowed.

That seems too crazy, even for this family.

Did Muriel list Alice as her mother – because Alice was there, conveniently had the last name of Hyde as if she was married to Robert, and had a different maiden name – in an effort to avoid an uncomfortable conversation about why her mother’s maiden name matched her father’s name?  Especially when the license required that bride and groom not be more closely related than second cousins?  Was that little question putting Muriel on the spot mentally?  Was it highlighting her uncomfortable past?  Was Muriel lying to save face?  Was she lying because she was embarrassed?

And, why was Robert at the wedding but not Rosey?  In 1924 Rosey was a widowed single mom with two girls at home.  Maybe she couldn’t afford to travel from Vancouver, BC to Vancouver, Washington?

I hoped that Muriel’s death record might reveal something, anything, but unfortunately it is an index only record on both the BC Archives and FamilySearch.  FamilySearch does hold the microfilm on which the record exists, but it is stored in the Granite Mountain Vault.  {I will probably take a little trip up to Salt Lake to view the film, I just have to remember how to request a film from the vault… That is, if that film is allowed to be viewed…}

But I digress, the index to Muriel’s death lists this:

 

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“British Columbia Death Registrations, 1872-1986; 1992-1993”, database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FLLT-LM9 : 13 April 2017), Muriel Grace Groome, 1936.

 

Muriel is listed as having a father named Robert Hyde.  I find no record of any children born to Muriel and Walter during their 12 years of marriage.

At this point I reviewed a few old family notes and letters.  Now be careful not to get lost here.  I found a letter written by Vera, daughter of Alice Hyde Duval who is the sister of Rosey Hyde.  Yes that’s right, both sisters named a daughter Elvera.  This letter written by Vera to my Grandma, mentions an old scrapbook that Vera kept.  She asked my Grandma if she wanted to have it.

I had a lightbulb moment and remembered that my mom’s cousin Heather had emailed me a few scans of an old scrapbook she had.  I dug through my emails and found those scans.  Among them was this page.

 

valmore 4

 

When Heather sent this to me all those years ago, I had NO EARTHLY IDEA who Mr. and Mrs. Peter Williamson were.  I did some basic searching but came up empty.  I figured they were important to someone in my family so I went ahead and added them to FamilySearch and uploaded the announcement.  But now?  The minute that image opened, I knew exactly who they were – this was a marriage invitation for the daughter of Rose Elvera Hyde and Peter Williamson.

Rosey was a Grandma!

This union of Carole Rose Williamson and Gordon David Zilke produced at least four children.  Of those four children, at least one has died.  But the other three may be living.  I did a little Facebook digging and found a small cluster of living descendants.  Because this whole thing started from the position of thinking that Rosey was a gay barber who had no children, I was completely shocked to discover that Rosey has living descendants.  I was not expecting that at all.  I wonder if any of them know anything about Rosey?  I wonder if any of them have pictures of Rosey?

Because I think I do.

Duval - mystery marriage

I think this photo is of Rosey Hyde & Harry Grant Kingham at the time of their marriage in 1914.

I’m getting sidetracked again…

At the time of Rose Elvera Hyde’s Marriage to Peter Williamson, she listed her parents as Robert Hyde, born in England, and Rose Hyde, born in Golden, BC.

 

HYDE, Rose Elvera and Peter Williamson, 1927 Marriage Record

“British Columbia Marriage Registrations, 1859-1932; 1937-1938,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:JD8Y-NXZ : 21 January 2016), Peter Williamson and Rose Elvera Hyde, 04 Jul 1927; citing Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, British Columbia Archives film number B13753, Vital Statistics Agency, Victoria; FHL microfilm 2,074,506.

 

At the time of Rose Elvera Hyde’s death, her parents are listed as Robert Hyde, born in Sheffield, England, and Rose Whitely, born in Golden, BC.

 

 

The records for both Muriel Grace and Rose Elvera Hyde are inconsistent in identifying their parentage.  But they are clearly describing the same grouping of people.  Were these inaccuracies intentional or accidental?  Were they hiding something?  It seems like it.

This leaves one more daughter – Norma.  The daughter that is definitely not a child of Robert Hyde.  Norma, the daughter of Rosey Hyde, and Harry Grant Kingham.  Norma, who led me deep into the rabbit hole.  Norma, who changed her name to Barbara.  Norma, who deserves her own post.

So here I am stuck in this mental loop where I just can’t seem to reconcile everything.  Part of me wants to believe that Rosey’s birth is the key.  That Rosey isn’t really the daughter of Henry Hyde and Ann Whiteley.  That maybe, just maybe, Rosey is the child of another couple, but that Ann and Henry took her in for some reason.  That reason wouldn’t be hard to come up with.  They were living in the extreme west in a very tiny little speck of a town.  So maybe Rosey is my adopted 2nd great grand aunt.  And just when I think I have myself good and convinced that this might be the case, I talk myself back out of it because there is no baby girl born in Golden, BC on the date that Rosey claims as her birthdate.  No baby girl of ANY name born in the entire year of 1883 in Golden, BC.

Where does this all leave me?

I’m not sure.

There is a story here – that is for certain.  It’s not a traditional story.  But man is it intriguing.  I have a few more records I am trying to scrounge up that I hope will shed some light on the core question – were Rosey Hyde and Robert Hyde both husband and wife AND uncle and niece?

  • I have reached out to the appropriate agency to try to get a copy of Robert and Rosey’s divorce decree – if it exists.
  • I have requested a copy of Alice Whiteley Hyde’s probate record.
  • I have ordered the Homestead File for Alice Whiteley Hyde and Henry Hyde’s homestead in Alaska.
  • I have requested any records about this whole lot from the church in Alaska that Alice Hyde Duval’s oldest son was baptized in – maybe there will be another event for that family in that church.
  • I need to get my hands on the image of Muriel Grace Hyde Groome’s death record if I can.
  • And lastly, I am currently building a spreadsheet with everyone’s entries in the City Directories to help me understand the timeline even better.  It is very enlightening.

 

And that, my friends, is where I am at.  Still undecided.  Still searching.  My core question is most likely unanswerable.  But I am so glad that I asked the question because I have learned so much more about this part of my family.  I have learned so much more about Rosey.

Rosey has become a very different person to me.  The picture of her life in my heart is very delicate and intricate.  There are details that come from the nuances of the records that lead me to believe that Harry was the great love of her life, that Neil was a loving old age companion, and that Robert, well, Robert seems to be the villain.  I don’t know if that’s fair, but that is who he is becoming in my mind.

Thank you for journeying down the rabbit hole with me.  Don’t get lost, it can be scary down here.  Head back up to light if you can.  😉

 

Happy Wednesday, I hope you make a fascinating genealogy discovery today!

 

 

ps – Despite all of the records that I included, there are so many that I did not include.  Among those are a few international travel records for Robert, Rosey, and the two older girls.  Hmmmm…  

 

pps – If you happen to be one of Rosey’s living descendants, email me – amberlysfamilyhistory {at} yahoo {dot} com.  Let’s put our tid-bits together and make this picture as clear as we can.  That is, if you can forgive me.

 

 


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Unraveling the John Boles Mystery – Conclusion

BOLES, John Thompson & Christina, headstone

John Thompson Boles & Christina Montgomery Boles headstone, Stellawood Cemetery, Durban, Kwazulu-Natal.  Photograph by Maureen Kruger for the Gravestones in South Africa project on the eGGSA website.

John Boles is my 3rd great granduncle.  The disappearance of his entire family from Scotland in 1890 has been a mystery to me for several years.  With the discovery of the existence of his possible estate file, and the microfilm containing that file, I ordered the film from BYU and looked forward to learning new details that might finally answer my two big questions:

When did John Boles leave Scotland for South Africa?

and

Why did John Boles move his entire family of 9 to South Africa?

 

After ordering the microfilm containing his possible estate file, life got busy and I didn’t make it over to BYU to view the file before RootsTech.  So, I decided to look up the file while in Salt Lake City at the FHL.

To my utter delight, I found both John’s 27 page file and Christina’s 2 page file very quickly and made several discoveries.  The important first discovery was that they contained information that confirmed these estate files were about my John and Christina Boles.

MONTGOMERY, Christina, 1927 Estate File

Christina Montgomery Boles’ death notice.

The biggest discovery was that John and Christina had two children after they settled in South Africa – Alice and John.  They are listed as children numbered 10 and 11 on Christina’s death notice.  Child number 12, Isabella Miller, belongs in position 3.

I also learned that John owned land, several pieces of very nice land.

durban-bay-map

1930 map of Durban Harbour, from the collection of Allan Jackson.  Used with permission.

At the time of his death in 1935, John owned land that was part of the Farm Sea View.  This development is found west of Durban Bay just north of the sizable Clairmont Estate.

In addition to the land, John owned shares in several different mines.

He also had quite a list of movable property, nice furnishings, a piano, and many other possessions acquired during the years he lived in South Africa.

John and Christina’s estate files did not enlighten me on when they came to South Africa, but they did open my eyes as to why they came.

In Scotland, John was a coal miner.  This was not a life that afforded opportunity.  He would never own land.  His daily existence was hard and his earnings were meager.  His children would work from a young age and live a similar life.

In studying the estate files of John, Christina, and their children, I discovered that the entire family experienced a much better life, financially, in South Africa than they ever would have experienced in Scotland.  They helped manage mines and stores.  They owned land and homes and movable property of value, as well as shares in several mines.

This knowledge is bittersweet for me.  They went from being the poor workers to managing the poor workers.  My understanding of South African history and apartheid is limited, but it’s broad enough to know that my Boles family benefited from this cruel system.  I am happy that they were able to experience more comfort and safety in their new life but I am also saddened to know that it came at the expense of others.  History is complicated.

When they came is still a bit of a mystery.  I reviewed the documents I currently hold for this family and have this timeline:

  • 4 July 1889, Agnes Smellie Boles is born in Holytown, Lanark, Scotland and her father John is the informant.
  • 18 February 1890, John Boles dies in Holytown, Lanark, Scotland.  The informant is not his father John Boles, but his uncle Alexander Boles.  It is possible that John has already left Scotland for South Africa at this point.
  • 5 November 1890, the 7 living Boles children travel to Natal, South Africa aboard the Methven Castle, traveling with Chas M Boles.  A recently found record indicates that their father John Boles, residing in Dundee, was the surety name for the children.

John left Scotland sometime after 4 July 1889 and before 5 November 1890.  While I haven’t found an immigration record for John or his wife Christina, I know that neither of them traveled to South Africa with the children.  Did they come together?

My original goal in learning more about John Boles was to hopefully learn more about his parents, my 4th great grandparents.  Unfortunately, learning the end of John Boles’ life did not add new information about his parents.  I did learn more about John, Christina, and their children.  I do feel a sense of closure for their family, but as is the case with most research, I now have more questions than when I started.  Fortunately the questions are not essential to my research so I will be able to put them away and move on to other members of the Boles family.

It was a fitting end to find an image of John and Christina’s headstone pictured at the top of this post.

This research journey from Scotland to South Africa that John and Christina took me on deserves two follow-up posts – one about FamilySearch records and one about South African records found in various places online.

Happy Thursday, I hope you make a fantastic genealogy discovery today!