Friday, August 06, 2010

Unraveling a mystery

Genealogy is such a mysterious topic...lately I have been exploring the roots of my maternal grandfather. I met him a few times, but never really knew him. He passed away before I started my genealogical pursuits, so I was never able ask him any questions. I was quite lucky however, because his sister is still here, and was kind enough to share all the important details to get me started. She shared with me the info she had...names locations, and voila, I plug it in to ancestry, and..."the leaf." Yes, I use ancestry it is a wonderful way to keep everything organized, plus it has the added benefit of being able to collaborate with other members.

My grandfather's grandmother was named Lillian. My first (and last) meeting with Lillian was in 1910. She is living in Idaho with her husband Thomas U White of 12 years, and children Jewel, Marie, Ethel, Vilora, Louise, and Betty (Elizabeth?). The 1910 census tells me alot because some of the children are born in different states, and it tells me where Lillian was born, along with her parents, and Thomas' birth location and his parents.

Unfortunately Lillian passed in 1913 in Idaho, and in 1920 four of the six girls are living in a boarding school. Thomas is not found, and the other two girls are married. Lillian's death certificate only lists a father "John Burke" with a birth place of Missouri. Now, one of the things you have to understand each time you look at an old document, is that the information is only as good as the person giving it, or the person writing it down (sometimes two different people). So though its good to may not be entirely accurate. ( I will come back to this in a while.)

So ancestry has a wonderful service called "ask an expert." Which allows you to post a question to professional genealogists, and see what kind of answers they come up with. My expert found a 1900 census with a Lillian White who had been married two years, with one daughter (daughter and husband not listed). And she is listed as "visiting." She is visiting a family in Salem, Lewis, Missouri. My expert also found an 1880 census living in the same location my "1900" Lillian White is visiting, and there is a "Burk" family in 1880 with a daughter L.O Burk. However, the father's name is Albert, born in Ohio.This is pretty exciting. It is either my Lillian, or alot of very interesting coincidences. The husband says "no way" its a different father. So I ask my husband what my father's name is, and he tells me the name we call my dad (his middle name). Then I ask him where my father was born, and he tells me Florida. Both of these answers are wrong and the same situation that husband Thomas U White had when his wife passed away. I then told my husband my father's full name including first name, and his actual birthplace.

For me I still need more evidence to prove that the 1880 L. O. Burk and the 1900 visiting Lilian White is my ancestor. So for now I am exploring the Albert Burk family to see where he came from, and where his children ended up. It is surely exciting!

1 comment:

  1. How exciting! Several years ago I went to the University Library where the records are kept and was just as excited to get actual copies of the papers from my great grandfather and his brothers as they came over one by one from strange thing one brother is shown coming twice and one not at all! My guess is that that brother sponsored the other and the typist messed it up, thus he came twice and the other not at all (we know who came as their kids and grandkids live here!) is alot of work, but amazing! I put my tree on but I need to get to updating it!


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