When dancing with the ancestors the smallest clue can cause a brick wall to come tumbling down (cue John Couger Mellencamp song)! This has happened to me on more than one occasion.
The most recent incident occurred during my search for information on my Grand Aunt Mary (aka Mollie) Clark, one of my paternal grandmother's half-sisters. I was actually utilizing my 7 day free trail on newspapers.com and looking for her obituary. I finally found the obit, but kept scrolling through the articles and came across . . .
This was from the May 7, 1953 edition of The West Carroll Gazette, a Louisiana newspaper. Mrs. J. C. Morgan is Mollie's sister Euphemia. I didn't have a clue as to the identity of the rest of the relatives.
Mollie had three full sisters: Lucy, Francis Ida, and Euphemia. Lucy went off to Mexico and died at some point, or so the family story goes. Francis Ida had been murdered (there will be a blog post about that at some point) in 1947. She had four half-sisters: Ollie (deceased in 1935), Octa, Osie (my grandmother) and Clara. None of them were present. None of the names in the above notice were familiar to me.
So, what's a person to do? Why, go into Ancestry and search the names. Yes, I know, I only had initials, but . . . initials do work. The first few searches - J. E. Hamby Fairfield, Alabama, R. L. Broadhead Fairfield Alabama - did not yield results. For whatever reason I tried George W. Hamby Tuscaloosa Alabama next and . . . BINGO! RESULTS!
A bit more digging and I found out that George W. Hamby was the son of George Washington Hamby and Laura Francis Clark! BINGO!
Mollie's husband was Thomas C. Clark. So, I knew Laura had to be related. I just had to figure out how she was related.
The thing is, for all my efforts, I had never been able to determine the parents of Thomas Clark. I had tried, oh, how I had tried, but I hadn't had any luck. Not to mention, too many people on Ancestry linked wrong information to him. Ugh!
So, now that I had the name Laura Francis Clark, I had a stepping off point. Some more searching and I found out that her parents were William Clark and Louisa Taylor. I found Laura on the Census Record with her parents and siblings in 1860 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. She married in 1869.
So, I then tried to track her father to 1870. No Luck. Next up, her mother, and I found her in 1870, still in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and . . . son Thomas C. Clark was on the Census Record as well.
So, with a bit of perseverance (and luck, never discount luck) on my part, I was able to determine that the other relatives were nieces and nephews of Mollie through her husband's side of the family.
I also discovered that George W. Hamby's brother is J. E. Hamby, i.e., James Earley Hamby while researching things on Ancestry.
I then did some more digging on newspapers.com and found this notice . . .
This notice was in the April 23, 1953 edition of The West Carroll Gazette. The notice means that Mrs. R. L. Broadhead is Nellie Broadhead, Mollie's niece; and that Mrs. G. Jordan is Prilla Jordan, another niece. I haven't researched these two more in-depth, but my guess is they are also children of Laura, or perhaps one of the other siblings of Thomas Clark.
So, when dancing with the ancestors don't discount the fact that our ancestors put notices in the newspapers about the events of their lives. Sometimes, those little snippets of information can lead you down a path of discovery that causes brick walls to come tumbling down.
Mrs. G. Jordan aka Mrs. Prilla Jordan is Perillia Ostein Hamby, daughter of James Earley Hamby and Charlotte Goins. This would make her Mollie's great niece.
Mrs. R. L. Broadhead aka Mrs. Nellie Broadhead is Nellie Francis Hamby, daughter of James Earley Hamby and Charlotte Goins. This would make her Mollie's great niece.
And thus, with a bit of effort on my part, I have discovered the names of all the relatives that came to visit Mollie due to her serious illness.