Does baby Dorothy belong in my tree?

gg - george eliot quote

Francis Cyprien Duval & Alice Hyde are my 2nd great grandparents.  They are pictured above with four of their five children who survived birth and infancy.  Their oldest son, Francis Henry (back left), is my great grandfather.

I have known about 5 of their children for years.  Slowly I have been finding little tid-bits that indicate there were additional children.

These are the five children who are well known to me:

  • Annie Marie Elvera Duval, 1899-1979
  • Francis Henry Duval, 1901-1996
  • Leon Howard Duval, 1907-1941
  • Dolores Lenore Duval, 1909-2005
  • Alexander Valmore Duval, 1916-1997

Notice the gaps?  Six years between Frank and Leon, and seven years between Dolores and Valmore.  Those are pretty big gaps for a Roman Catholic like Francis Cyprien Duval.

For a few years now I have known of two other children.  The first is a baby boy who was not named.  He was born and died on 15 February 1915 in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

The second child is referenced in the 1910 census for the family while they are living in Fairbanks, Alaska.  Alice is listed as the mother of 5, with 4 living.  That means that there is a child who was born and died prior to 10 February 1910.

So my revised list of children looks like this:

  • Annie Marie Elvera Duval, 1899-1979
  • Francis Henry Duval, 1901-1996
  • Unknown Duval, born and died prior to February 10, 1910
  • Leon Howard Duval, 1907-1941
  • Dolores Lenore Duval, 1909-2005
  • Baby Boy Duval, 1915-1915
  • Alexander Valmore Duval, 1916-1997

It seems likely that the child I learned of from the 1910 census belongs between Frank and Leon in that 6 year gap, but that is just speculation.

It now appears there may be an additional child.


A baby girl named Dorothy.

The Western Call, a BC newspaper, has a death and funeral announcement found in their 14 October 1910 issue that reads:


The death took place Wednesday morning of Dorothy, the infant daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Duval, corner of Twenty-sixth avenue and Martha street.  The funeral was held Thursday morning at 9.30 o’clock from the residence, Rev. G. A. Wilson Officiating.

Could this Mr. and Mrs. Frank Duval be my Frank & Alice Duval?

Most likely.


I know from an interview of their son Frank in the late 1970s/early 1980s that Frank and Alice left Alaska sometime after Alice’s father Henry died in 1907.  They were still in Fairbanks when the 1910 census was taken in February of that year.  I know that after they left Fairbanks they lived in Vancouver for a short time before moving to Lynn Valley, BC where they all lived until sometime after Francis Cyprien Duval’s death in 1919.

So once again, I revise my list of children for Frank and Alice:

  • Annie Marie Elvera Duval, 1899-1979
  • Francis Henry Duval, 1901-1996
  • Unknown Duval, born and died prior to February 10, 1910
  • Leon Howard Duval, 1907-1941
  • Dolores Lenore Duval, 1909-2005
  • Dorothy Duval, died 12 (or 11th) October 1910
  • Baby Boy Duval, 1915-1915
  • Alexander Valmore Duval, 1916-1997

Does baby Dorothy belong in my tree?


I think so.  I need more records to be sure.

But now I am wondering… how many other children are missing?



Note:  THANK YOU to Teresa from writing my past for suggesting I check out this BC newspaper site where I found the obit for baby Dorothy.  Of course that led me to additional searching including this site for BC City Directories.  I love the genealogy blogging community.  Our collective knowledge and sharing make genealogy SO MUCH better.  Thank you Teresa!




Unraveling the John Boles Mystery – Part One

Children of John & Christina Boles, 1891 Immigration record from London to Natal, South Africa.

Children of John & Christina Boles, 1890 Immigration record from London to Natal, South Africa.

John Boles is my 3rd great granduncle.  He and his wife Christina had ten children.  In 1890, the family disappeared from Scotland.  The ENTIRE family, just gone.  Three of the children had died at this point.  So I was looking for a family of nine.  A family of nine usually leaves a big footprint.  Not this one.

A kind stranger came across my 52 ancestors post about John.  She did a little digging and found this immigration record and emailed it to me.  A perfect match for John & Christina’s living children.

  • Isabella Boles, 1876
  • Christina Boles, 1878
  • William Montgomery Boles, 1880
  • Helen Boles, 1882
  • Elizabeth Boles, 1884
  • James Boles, 1887
  • Agnes Smellie Boles, 1889

But where are John & Christina?  The children are traveling with an Elizabeth Huntley, a 22 year old single woman, and a Chas M Boles, a 36 year old married miner.  I have never seen the names Elizabeth Huntley or Chas M Boles before.  Who are they and why were they accompanying seven children to South Africa?



I Know Where Mary is Standing!


A few weeks ago I wrote about John Boles, my 3rd great granduncle who just up and disappeared.

And then the coolest thing happened!

I got an email from a stranger named Helen.  She came across my blog post and got curious.  She decided to do a little digging and she found my family.

In South Africa.

I had not even considered South Africa before.  She sent me a few documents she had found and I happily reviewed them and updated my tree with her excellent and accurate information.  She also mentioned that she lives in Carluke, Scotland and would be happy to help in the future if I needed anything.

I instantly thought of this photo of my great grandmother.

Mary Brown Young, Scotland.

Mary Brown Young, Scotland.

I told Helen about the photo and asked if she might be able to recognize where Mary is standing.  She replied that Carluke is a very small place and it’s quite possible she would be able to recognize it and to please send it to her along with Mary’s birth date.

So I did.  I included Mary’s birth date and the address at which she was born – Chapel Street.  I clicked send and wondered if I might finally know where Mary was standing.

A few hours later I received Helen’s delightful reply:

“I recognised it the moment I saw it, and when I saw the address Chapel Street I knew exactly where it was.”

She included photos from google maps.  I compared and sure enough, Mary is standing in front of 76 Chapel Street, Carluke.

I finally know where Mary is standing!

She is standing in front of her home.  The home in which she was born.  And that home is still standing.

One day, I hope to stand in front of this home too.

Once again I am overwhelmingly grateful for the 52 Ancestors challenge.  My one post led to a kind stranger solving two of my genealogy mysteries.  Thank you Amy and thank you to my new friend Helen.  I am so grateful.

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Answer to “Who Is On That Swing?”

Estelle Duval on swing

Estelle Maffit, Montana

I originally posted this photo with the comment that I wasn’t sure if this was in fact my great grandmother Estelle.  At the prompting of a reader I reposted the photo with some additional images to compare.  In that post I listed facts and photos but did not share my thoughts.

You, my wonderful readers, all believe this image is in fact Estelle.  Thank you for the input.

Now, my thoughts.  When the photo loaded in the original post, I was surprised.  It was the largest I had seen this photo so far and I was struck with how different Estelle looked from all of the other photos I have.  Something about it reminded me of her older sister Hi.

Then, as I gathered other photos and looked at their faces carefully I drew the same conclusion that you all did.  I believe this sweet photo is of Estelle.  I think the things about her face that caused my initial surprise are the way her brows are scrunched and the roundness of her cheeks.  The brows are likely scrunched because of sun.  Her rounder face is probably attributable to her younger age, position of her head and the lighting.  And of course, Estelle and Hi are sisters so they are bound to favor each other in different positions and settings.

Thank you for weighing in.  And thank you Deborah for prompting me to share.  It was a good exercise.  I drew my own conclusion, kept it to myself and then got oodles of confirmation from each of you.  Thank you all!

This small photo that I have loved well, will continue to be a treasure I can attribute to my great grandmother Estelle.


Cousins All Around Me

Me & a bunch of my first cousins.

Me, my two sisters & a bunch of my first cousins.

Growing up, I loved spending time with my first cousins on both sides of my family.  My definition of ‘cousins’ was formed by these interactions.  For me, cousins are good.

As I have gotten older my world has expanded.  I understand cousin relationships beyond first cousins.  I’ve gotten to know some of my other cousins.  I also cherish those relationships.  I love making a connection with someone who shares an ancestor.  I love to see that we share traits, habits, mannerisms, opinions, values, and simple things that must be genetic or learned from our common ancestor and passed down.  Case in point, check out the hand positions in the above photo.  No one told us how to stand, only to turn to the side and squeeze together so we would all fit.

I love meeting new-to-me cousins through my blog and online trees.  The relationships that develop are awesome.  We share information, stories and photos.  For me, cousins are good.

What has really surprised me over the years are the few times when I have learned that someone dear to me is also my cousin.  This sweet moment has happened three times.

1 – When we purchased our first home, we had amazing next door neighbors.  Their two kids were about the same age as our two kids.  The husband and wife were almost exactly our same ages.  We became fast friends.  After a few months of living there, we found out that our two husbands were 3rd cousins.  Their grandmothers were first cousins, close first cousins.  That meant our children, who were each others best friends, were 4th cousins.  Such a fun discovery!

2 – Several months ago I was working in Family Tree on FamilySearch.  I noticed that some photos had been added to my 3rd great grandfather Lyman Stoddard Skeen.  I looked at the user name and thought it would be an interesting coincidence if that person was who I thought it was.  I clicked on the name and saw their email address.  Sure enough, it was a woman who lives in my neighborhood.  A woman who taught my son piano lessons for a few years.  A woman I find completely delightful, a friend.  And as it turns out, my 3rd cousin once removed.  You know what sweetens that deal?  Her son and his family live a few houses down from me.  Fourth cousins right there!

3 – Just last week almost the same thing happened.  I noticed that some changes were made on my 2nd great grandfather Heber Albert Huband by someone with a familiar name.  A woman who I work with at my local FamilySearch Center.  A woman I have gotten to know as we have collaborated, attended each others classes, and assisted patrons.  She has become a friend, and now I know she is also my 4th cousin once removed.

I LOVE discovering that my friends are also my family!  For me, cousins are good.  Really, good.  I love feeling as if I have cousins all around me.



My thoughts – FamilySearch Indexing Day

WorldwideIndexingBadge_EnglishDid you participate in the Worldwide Indexing Event hosted by FamilySearch?

My teenagers and I did.  I was honestly surprised that they were willing to join in.  This is not something they have an interest in.  They know what indexing is.  They have participated in helping index a batch or two on Family Night, but that’s it.

So why were they willing?

Well, FamilySearch did such a good job pushing this event.  It was announced repeatedly at our church.  The day the event began there was an especially detailed announcement at church.  Something about being challenged to participate by someone other than mom or dad softened them up.

After church the boys said they were willing to give it a try.  I went in before the event began and downloaded ten batches for each of the three of us so we could work offline if the system had trouble with volume.  Thank goodness I did!  The first several hours were rough on the system.  But we got work done anyway.  For a few hours we rotated turns on the computer and each of us indexed several batches.

I discovered something.

My 13 year old is a natural!  That kid was able to read almost everything on every record.  He would call me over occasionally to look at a name or a place.  Most of the time he already had a guess that was correct.  There were only a few names I had to spell for him.  I was very impressed.  Now if only I could figure out how to get him hooked on some form of genealogy.  🙂

The final numbers for the event are impressive.  5.7 million records were processed during 24 hours by 66,511 participants.  Amazing!  You can read more about the final numbers here.

What a fabulously successful event.


The number of records on FamilySearch is growing much more quickly than they are being indexed.  The FamilySearch blog recently had a post detailing some of the changes in the new indexing program that will launch soon.  This paragraph is eye-opening:

“FamilySearch recently reached a significant milestone: one billion images of historical documents are now viewable on That’s one billion pictures of documents. Of those images, how many would you say are indexed and searchable by name? All of them? Half of them? Would you believe less than 22 percent?”

The article goes on to explain ways the new system will streamline things to allow for indexing and arbitration to be accomplished more quickly.  You can read more about that here and here.

One billion images?! 


But only 22% are indexed?

We have work to do my friends!  Some good indexing work is in order.

And FamilySearch?  How about making that Worldwide Indexing Event a regular thing?  Like maybe quarterly, or even better – monthly.

Because it seems that – If you plan it, they will come.  All 66,511 of them.


FamilySearch News


FamilySearch has announced two features that have me excited.

First up is ‘Hinting’.

Yep, just what it sounds like.  They are working on their own version of the shaky leaf that Ancestry uses.  If this sounds intriguing to you, you will need to participate in Family Tree on FamilySearch in order to use this feature.  It hasn’t been launched yet but is scheduled for ‘soon’.  You can read more here.

Second up are some tools new to the Descendancy View – ‘Data Problems’ and ‘Research Suggestion’.

In Family Tree you can change the view to Descendancy View for one of your ancestors and then click your way through their posterity in list format by expanding and closing things.  It gives you the ability to take a top down approach from one of your ancestors and see if all of their descendants are accounted for.  Off to the side there are now little icons that will indicate if the system believes there is a ‘Data Problem’ or if it has ‘Research Suggestions’ for you.  I have seen several that say things like, ‘Possible data problem, this individual lived for more than 120 years.’  Then I can go right to the person and check it out.  Either I have really awesome genes or someone made a little typo and I need to fix it.  You can read more about these new tools here.

Those FamilySearch folks have been working hard to make their website a powerful, free tool for genealogists.  Have you tried out Family Tree?  What do you think of it?