Sunday, July 19, 2009

Taking a break from Bromagems

After the Genealogy Trails fiasco, which I still haven't decided on one way or another, I thought I might need to take a step back and revisit some other research problems I've put on the backburner. There are two main problems, three if you want to count one problem that extends to the son of the subject, and they all pretty much deal with gaps in location from one point in time to another.

The first issue is what happened to George Ward. He appears in Newark with his wife and two children in the 1900 census and I can't seem to find him in the 1910 census, although the death certificate for his wife, Elizabeth B./Bessie, is from Manhattan in 1905. No obituary or death notice for her has been found. I have started to look at the George Wards listed in the 1905 NYC city directory and the 1905 NY census but have fallen into the common problem of having quite a few men with the same name, and even some of those men being listed with the same occupation that George had in the 1900 census, mechanical engineer. So it looks like I pretty much have to just go through the list and track all of them over time to see if any of them could be the George I'm looking for. Then I need to track him and find out where he is hiding within the 1910 census. I'm pretty sure that he is not living with either of his children in that year because I believe I have found his son, and possibly his daughter although I'm not 100% sure on that one yet. I have found his son, Raymond in parts of NY and later in NH through military draft cards, but lose track of him after about 1943. I have a feeling that he died somewhere in NH but don't have a date range so it's hard to say for sure. Pretty much though, the problem of what happened to George seems to be a matter of starting with what I know and working from there. Don't they all start that way? It's going to take some time though.

The other problem is similar, but the starting point isn't quite as clear. I have two sisters right around the turn of the century. One is an unmarried woman and the other is a widow, and coincidentally the mother of George Ward from the above problem.

Barnstable County, MA is one of those wonderful places that has digitized images of deeds and from that I was able to find a deed transferring land upon the death of the unmarried sister, Isabella Hopkins, to the widow, Margaret Hopkins Ward. The deed states that Isabella was "of Washington, D.C." and that she died in 1904. I've been trying to place Isabella at the time of the 1900 census but she does not appear in the city directory and I haven't been able to find her in the census for that year. The closest I've come is locating her in the 1891 Washington, D.C. city directory. No obit or death notice has been found for her. Here's where it really gets interesting though. I haven't been able to find Margaret in the 1900 census either, and I have her death information which states that she died in NY in 1907. So in theory, both women should show up in the 1900 census and yet neither of them have been found yet. So that's my other issue, where are Isabella Hopkins and Margaret Hopkins Ward? I thought of the possibility of Isabella marrying later in life (she would have been about 61 y/o in 1900) but the transfer was written up after her death and she was shown by her maiden name, so unless she was married and divorced between 1892 and 1903 I don't really think that's a possibility. And I don't have much of an idea of what to do about Margaret. She happened to die in a resort town, Clifton Springs, NY, which was known for the healing effect of its hot springs. So I don't think that was where she was living. Finding a will or administration for her would be ideal, not only could it clear up some things about where she had been living but it could also help me figure out where her son, George was at the time of her death. But without knowing where she was living, I don't know where that file could be.

And those are the two issues that I'm going to take another stab at here in the near future so I'll probably be doing a bit of chatting here about it. First step though, I'm going to get started on the timelines for both and see if I get any bright ideas from that. Wish me luck!

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