One of my favourite things about researching family history is getting to the bottom of a mystery – even if the mystery comes from a find in a record that initially just makes you sit up and go “Mmm?”.
Such as it was when I came across a census entry for a family enumerated as Holbrow-Burgess. A double-barrelled Holborow?! What?! I had never come across this before. Of course, several female-line Holborow families have used it as a middle name, but was this what was happening here?
I assembled my detectoring kit in a bid to find out – and discovered more than I had bargained for …
With the release of the 1950 US Census recently, I have been taking another look at what records can be found that pertain to my American families. I last blogged about my grandfathers almost 10 years ago so I thought it a good opportunity to share what I’ve found since then!
Do you ever have “Duh! How could I have not seen that?!” moments? No, me neither. Ahem. And of those moments – which I definitely don’t have – this is very much not one of those moments … if you see what I mean!
But it’s a bit of a reminder for me in terms of checking other sources when confronted with brick walls and blind alleys. And nobody needs to be ashamed to have such kicks up the metaphorical behind. It’s a good thing to flex those research muscles.
Even if the result does make you smack your forehead …
The father of my 3 x great-grandfather, Thomas Halliday Hurcombe, has been a question mark in my research almost since Day One. However, the potential identity has often been posited. It wasn’t until last night when discussing centiMorgans with a friend (consanguineous relationships!) that I realised that the means to test this hypothesis was not only within my grasp – but the answer was in my proverbial Inbox!
It’s interesting how undertaking new projects forces you to look at your tree and your research in new ways, and show up those pesky holes.
You know – those people who seem to evaporate like mist or (possibly even worse) apparate fully formed in front of you with kids and all but no sense of before.
I have two ladies on my father’s side who are very much of the disappear into nothingness variety. And, I’m not going to lie, it’s frustrating me!
The last time I wrote about my great-grandfather, Joshua ‘Jesse’ Lock Morey/Murray I mentioned that I’d found out he had joined the Royal Marines and was going to have to find his service record. That was back in May 2020. Shocking. However, at the end of July, my wonderful friend Carole added my request to her search list for a visit to the National Archives at Kew. And I remembered yesterday that I hadn’t done the follow-up post!
So here it is, and it seems that his scallywag ways weren’t restricted just to leaving his wife and kids for another woman (the latter being my great-grandmother).
Sometimes I feel that me writing here is shouting into the Void. Sometimes it doesn’t bother me, and sometimes it does. I enjoy every interaction that my research prompts, especially those from people who are related to the people I mention in my posts. Over the last few months one post especially has caused two specific interactions that I am thankful for, and in turn one of those has created a new family link. So this post is dedicated to Bret and Dori.
The post in question is actually one of my more popular (or at least most visited) posts: Witchy Witchness from way back in 2014 recounts how I am related to two of the accused witches of Salem (one through direct descent) through the Butterfield and Averill lines. But apparently it doesn’t stop there …
Fun topic for a mid-week evening quick blog, right?!
I know that I’m not the only one who trawls through newspaper archives searching for mentions of ancestors and other family members. So it was quite the surprise when I first came upon an article – somewhat calmly – stating that a James Holbrow had been killed by an employee of his in Willesden (north west London).
Quite an eye opening find.
It’s been 3 and a half years since I last wrote about George Marsh Halliday, and the one thing that always remained in the back of my mind was that I couldn’t kill him.
I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this here, but over the last fortnight or so I’ve been
shamelessly copying inspired by a friend to compile a ‘death tree’ to note any scary threads in my ancestors’ causes of death. Suffice to say that my mother’s side really need to be heart healthy – despite there being a number of ‘gaps’ on her American side.
On my search for death certificates, I realised that I hadn’t finished the story about my father’s grandfather, Everett Payne, and nor had I found an online death certificate for him. So I went hunting …