thegenealogygirl


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Photograph Showcase: Great Grandma Costello, Before She Was A Great Grandma

 

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Mary Brown Young Costello in front of her home at 7505 N Regal Street, Spokane, Washington.

 

I love this new-to-me photo of my great-grandmother, Mary Brown Young.  She has always been Grandma Costello to me.  We would visit her at the care facility where she spent many of her last years in Spokane, Washington.  She was a spunky little Scottish lady.  I wish I had paid more attention during our times with her.  She probably shared some stories with my Mom on our visits, but I don’t remember any of them.

We have very few photos of Grandma Costello.  This one comes from Aunt Barbara’s collection.  Aunt Barbara is the daughter-in-law of Mary Costello and has been one of my most valuable sources of information, photos, stories, and details on my Costello line.  I am so thankful for her!

 

I did a little bit of editing on this photo to clean up dust.  It’s a bit light so I also did a few other edits to create these two versions.  I can’t decide which of the three I like best.  Which do you prefer?

 

 

Happy Thursday, I hope you find a fantastic new ancestor photo today!

 

 


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Photograph Showcase: The End of My Brown Family Pedigree in Photographs

 

James

James Young & Catherine Brown

My Brown family from Scotland has been on my mind, heart, and blog for the last few weeks.  I wrote about my cousin Mary Brown Wood twice – here and here.  I shared a photo of my great-grandaunt Catherine Boles Young here.  Catherine is the great-granddaughter of my 4th great-grandfather Andrew Brown, who I wrote about here.

The more time I spent thinking about my Brown family, the more I found myself wishing for photos that likely don’t exist.

This lovely photo is of my 2nd great-grandparents James Young & Catherine Brown.  Catherine is the granddaughter of Andrew, the first cousin of Mary Brown Wood, and the mother of Catherine Boles Young, or Kate.

Catherine Brown is the end of the line for me when it comes to photographs in my Brown family.  But that wasn’t always the case.  Several years ago now, I reached out to a cousin who shared this and many other family photos with me.  Before contacting him, my photo pedigree ended with my great-grandmother Mary Brown Young, the daughter of James Young & Catherine Brown.  Maybe one day I will find another cousin who can help me push back my photographic pedigree a bit more.  But for now, I am so grateful to have this photo.  It sits atop my piano in a place of honor.

 

Happy Thursday, I hope you make a fantastic photo discovery today!  If not, I hope you will consider preserving and sharing a precious photo from your collection.

 

 


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Photograph Showcase: Kate & Bill – for just 5 years

 

img002 - edited, smaller

William Joseph Millan & Catherine Boles Young

Kate & Bill were both born in Scotland.  Bill arrived in the US first in 1907 when he was just 19 years old.  Kate arrived in 1910 when she was 11 years old.  They married on 4 September 1918 in Montana.  I imagine this photo was taken near that time.  What a beautiful portrait.  I love Kate’s dress!

Two years after they were married, Kate & Bill welcomed their only child into the world, Catherine Lucille Millan.  Young Catherine was born in Montana.  Kate would only live for three more years before succumbing to tuberculous meningitis on 18 July 1923.  She died just a few months shy of her 24th birthday and her 5th wedding anniversary.

Life can be bitterly unfair at times.  She served as a nurse, we believe during WWI.  She was my great grandmother’s only sister.  She was a daughter, a wife, a mother.  People loved her, needed her, and yet, she passed from this life too soon.

William would go on to struggle for many, many years.  He was not able to care for Catherine Lucille as a single dad working in the mines.  So, she was bounced around between relatives.  Eventually, she would marry and have three children of her own.

This photograph is one of very few remnants of Kate’s short life.  I hope her small posterity will find it here and treasure it.

 

img002, smaller

Here is the original scan.  The handwriting in blue ink is Aunt Barbara’s, and the writer of the penciled words is unidentified.  This photo was loaned to me by Aunt Barbara to scan.  I am so glad.  I did have a previous scan of this photo that was done on an all-in-one scanner several years ago.  It wasn’t nearly as detailed as this version.  Notice the photographers mark in the bottom right as seen below:

img002 - edited, studio name

 

 

Happy Thursday, I hope you make a wonderful photo discovery this week!

 

 


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Photograph Showcase: James & Catherine Young

YOUNG, James and Catherine with small child

James Young & Catherine Brown are my 2nd great grandparents.  James and Catherine were both born in Scotland, as were their first 5 children.  Their youngest son was born in America after they immigrated.

This photo of James and Catherine comes from the collection of my GrandAunt Barbara, James and Catherine’s granddaughter-in-law.  This is the most recent photo I have ever seen of James and Catherine.  They both died in 1945 in Spokane, Washington.  James in January and Catherine in July.

The photograph is labeled simply “Young 2”.  I do not know who the child is.  Yet.  Once I do, hopefully I can narrow down the date of the photo.

But for now I am just happy to have this great photo of my 2nd great grandparents hanging out in these cool yard chairs.

 

Happy Thursday, I hope you make a new ancestor photo find today!

 

 

ps – If you are anything like me, you have probably been paying attention to the news surrounding Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.  My son is currently serving a mission for our church in South Carolina.  He is safe and will likely spend the next few days, or more, helping with clean-up.  Depending on the extent of the damage in his area, he may be donning a yellow “Helping Hands” t-shirt and working with a larger crew.  You can read more about Mormon Helping Hands here.  If you know someone who has suffered damage to their home and is struggling with clean-up, they can request help from the Mormon helping Hands program – no matter what faith they belong to.  Additionally, if you have been wanting to donate to a service organization that is helping people rebuild in Texas, Florida, or elsewhere, you may wish to consider donating to the Humanitarian Fund of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (those Mormon folks who are helping clean up).  100% of donated funds will go to help those in need.  All labor is donated and funds are used for supplies.  You can donate here and leave a note in the “Comments or instructions” section with Hurricane Harvey or Irma listed.  If you choose to donate, you will receive an official receipt around tax season.  Every little bit helps ease suffering and begin the long process of rebuilding.  ❤


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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:

Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 2.18.49 PM

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:

Screen Shot 2017-06-12 at 7.46.36 PMScreen Shot 2017-06-12 at 7.46.02 PM

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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Who is Maggie Douglas? Part Four – Conclusion

The Hesperian - the ship that Maggie Douglas, Catherine, Catherine, Mary, Alexander, & George Young sailed on from Scotland to America in 1910.  Image found here.

The Hesperian – the ship that Maggie Douglas, Catherine, Catherine, Mary, Alexander, & George Young sailed on from Scotland to America in 1910. Image found here.

You can catch up on my search for Maggie Douglas in parts one, two, and three.

 

I felt so tantalizingly close!

I knew Maggie was somehow connected to the Douglas family.  One strong possibility was that Maggie had married one of the sons of Alexander Marshall Douglas and Margaret Young.  With this in mind I started researching each of those boys.  I purchased their birth records first to get a precise birth date and full name.  Then with this information I looked for death records for the boys knowing that the death records would list their spouses.

Slowly I was building the details of this family when I found this death record.

Alexander Marshall Douglas, deathSo what does this record tell me?

Alexander Marshall Douglas, son of Alexander Marshall Douglas and Margaret Young, brother of Barclay Douglas who lived on Dock Street in Yoker, died 2 February 1910.  His cause of death was a comminuted fracture of the skull.  He died in Western Infirmary in Glasgow and his usual residence was 19 Trafalgar Street in Dalmuir.  He was 31 and a Journeyman Ship Plater at the time of his death.  But the big deal, the cause for excitement, is that he was married to a Margaret Tait!

Margaret Tait just might be my Maggie Douglas!

My next step was to get Alexander and Margaret’s marriage record to compare her age to my Maggie Douglas.

Alexander and Maggie, MarriageHot dog!  Margaret was 20 at the time of her marriage in 1905 giving her an approximate birth year of 1885.  Based on the travel document that started it all, Maggie Douglas has an approximate birth year of 1884.  An excellently close match.

The last fact I could confirm was Maggie Douglas’ place of birth.  On the travel document she listed her birthplace as Clydebank, Scotland.  The record I needed to confirm that Margaret Leckie McPherson Dempster and Maggie Douglas were the same person was Margaret Leckie McPherson Dempster’s birth record.

It was pretty easy to find with that big old name.  Margaret was in fact born in Clydebank.  She was the illegitimate daughter of Robina Dempster and Archibald McPherson.

I found Maggie!

 

Maggie was born to unmarried farm servants.  At the age of 20 she was working as a Machinist in Yoker when she married Alexander Marshall Douglas.  She was married for 4 1/2 years before she was widowed.  Her husband died in February of 1910 and in October of 1910 she left Scotland for America.  She traveled with my great grandmother Mary Brown Young, Mary’s mother Catherine and other siblings.  Maggie was traveling to her cousin James Young in Montana.  James is actually the 1st cousin, once removed of Maggie’s husband.  James is my 2nd great grandfather.  Maggie’s husband Alexander is my 1st cousin 5 times removed.

So why all the fuss about Maggie?

She’s not one of my ancestors.  She’s not even one of my relatives.  She married into my family.  Why does she matter?

She matters because I could feel her story.  I didn’t know what that story was but I could feel it.

Here was a young woman who left the country of her birth bound for America in 1910.  She traveled with my great grandmother who was 7 years old.  Can’t you just see Maggie holding Mary’s little hand, helping her board the ship?  Can’t you just see the little lot of them – Maggie, Catherine and the children – saying goodbye to their homeland, standing on the deck of a large ship watching the shore fade into the mist?  I can see them.  Maggie was part of Mary & Catherine’s story.  Maggie helped my ancestors make it to America.  Maggie matters to my story.

Since beginning my series on Maggie Douglas, a cousin of mine read my first post and sent me an email with the following details:

“When I was showing Mary [my great grandmother] one of the photos of the my grandmother [my 2nd great grandmother Catherine] and family, there was a lady dressed in a kilt.  I had asked Mary Costello about her
and Mary said that was probably Maggie Douglas.  She said that “she was always around”.  She said the kilt (uniform) was her dad’s and that Maggie was wearing it.  She said that Maggie moved to southern Idaho.

Attached is the back of a postcard from Maggie to my grandmother.  Notice the post mark of Idaho and the date of 1914.  I know my dad was interested in contacting Maggie as well and it seems to me that Hamer was mentioned.”

And here is the post card:

Maggie Douglas postcardIt is addressed to my 2nd great grandmother Katie Young, 812 South Jackson St, Butte.  The postmark is 1914 in Idaho.  The card reads:

“Dear Katie,  I have not time to write you  I am so busy  tell all the folks I was asking for them  having nice weather  hoping to see you soon  Alex & Walter send their…”

Oh boy!  Alex & Walter?  I’m thinking Maggie may have remarried and had a child.  I may have figured out who Maggie Douglas is, how she fits into my tree, when and where she was born and a rough idea of why she traveled with my family to America, but I don’t know the end of her story.

Maybe my cousin can dig up a few more clues for me from the family archive.  Maybe the names Alex & Walter and Idaho will be enough for me to find an ending.

I have more research to do!

Maggie’s story definitely has more.

But for now I am so delighted that I finally know the answer to the question Who is Maggie Douglas?

 

 

Thank you to pastsmith who prompted me to write this series with her question:  “Have you ever had to start midstream, so to speak, in research?

 


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Who is Maggie Douglas? Part Three

Aerial view of Yoker - with Dock Street visible.  Image from Googlemaps.

Aerial view of Yoker – with Dock Street visible.  Image from Googlemaps.

Maggie Douglas first appeared on a travel record for my great grandmother.  She claimed to be the cousin of my 2nd great grandfather.  That record began a research journey that has been both fascinating and frustrating.

In part one, I wrote about the travel record and the details I learned about Maggie.  In part two I shared the search strategies I tried based on the information I had from the travel record.  Sadly I found nothing and had to walk away from the Maggie Douglas puzzle.  Today’s portion of the story is full of unexpected discoveries that bring me right to the brink of finding Maggie Douglas.

 

Time had passed.  I wasn’t thinking about or working on figuring out who Maggie Douglas was.  She had slipped to the back of the research files.  Her puzzle had become silent in my mind.

And then, last Mother’s Day I enjoyed some quiet research time – heavenly.  Even better were the results of that time.  I stumbled across a mess in Family Tree on familysearch.org.  A mess created by someone else.  A mess that prompted me to fully source my, at that time, current end of line individual – James Young.  In sourcing and sorting out the tangle, I ended up searching once again for his death record and I found it.  This added another generation to my tree, another James Young and his wife Janet Robertson – my 5th great grandparents.

After pushing back a generation I did what I always do, I worked on searching for their descendants.  I have identified 8 children.  So far I have found spouses for 4 of those children, children for 3 of them, and spouses for several of those children.  Among the children of James Young and Janet Robertson is a daughter named Margaret Young.

Margaret was born in 1845 in Renfrew, Renfrew, Scotland.  In 1869, she married Alexander Marshall Douglas in Renfrew.  The name Douglas caused a little niggle in the back of my mind.  A niggle that wasn’t enough to bring to mind why that name mattered but a niggle none-the-less.  I spent several days working on learning about Alexander and Margaret.  Slowly I identified their children – 9 in all.  I discovered that Alexander died at the age of 41 leaving behind Margaret and several living children.  She lived 7 more years.  At the time of her death none of her children were married.

I focused my research on their oldest son Barclay Douglas because of his less common name.  I found a 1915 marriage record to a Mary Cameron Muir.  Again with the niggling, Muir – not a name in my direct line anywhere but I have a few Muirs that married into my tree, I wondered if that was what I was thinking of…?  I didn’t know so I returned my attention to Barclay.  I found him on the 1901 Scottish census as the head of household with 4 of his siblings and a housekeeper.  In 1911 I found him living with his younger brother William in the household of David & Isabella Muir.

There was that Muir name again.  I wondered if David was brother to Mary Cameron Muir, Barclay’s future wife.  After several records I was able to prove that David and Mary were in fact siblings.  The proving also established that David’s wife Isabella was Barclay’s sister.  A brother and sister from my Douglas family had married a brother and sister from a Muir family.

I went back to the 1911 census and studied it more carefully to see if I could identify any other siblings living on that street.  First thing I checked was the name of the street – Dock Street, in Yoker.

And then all of those nigglings came crashing together.  Douglas, Muir, Dock Street, Yoker.  Maggie Douglas?  Oh yeah, Maggie Douglas!

I started clicking like a mad woman opening up all sorts of tabs so I could compare documents and facts.  I suddenly wondered if Maggie Douglas was the youngest child of Alexander Marshall Douglas and Margaret Young.  Alexander and Margaret had a daughter named Margaret Young Douglas born 1877, died 1878.  Maybe they had one more child at the end that they named Margaret?  Maybe she was so young when her mother died she didn’t stay with her older siblings?  I scoured the 1901 census looking for a Maggie/Margaret Douglas that matched the facts I had about Maggie Douglas from the travel record.  No good matches!

And then after a feverish 45 minutes or so I more carefully reviewed that travel document again and saw that it said Maggie Douglas was married.  Married?!  Darn it, I missed something important again?  Married.  Douglas?  Not her maiden name?  I knew Maggie was somehow tied to this family.  The Douglas family, the Muir family, and the Young family.  But I didn’t yet know how.  I was so close.  So incredibly close.

Who is Maggie Douglas?

 

to be continued…