Tuesday, June 25, 2013

What We Are Looking For Can Determine What We Find – Part Two

So, when last we left our incredibly intelligent, dazzlingly beautiful and thin heroine, (hey, it’s my blog, I’ll be who- and whatever I want to be!!) she had just signed up for one of Michael John Neill’s classes on “Organizing Genealogical Information.”

Our first class assignment had to do with charts. Michael gave us many examples of using charts to help solve a specific problem or to get a clearer picture of an issue. We were to create a chart dealing with one of our own problems. Hah, I thought. I’ll show him that charts can’t help with everything.

 So, Mr. Herbert Amos Evans became the focus of my chart. The first thing I put in my chart was what I did know.  I would then make rows for missing information along with ideas about what records to search. It wouldn’t take long because I had precious like known information. I quickly recorded what I had from the marriage register and the 1910 census. That census was particularly unhelpful. My guess was that the information was provided by Gertrude as her place of birth and her parents’ places of birth are correctly listed while Herbert and his parents are listed as being born in “the United States.” (Another reason I had decided on the dead end scenario years ago.) I even included the information from my Mother’s baby book with the caveat that it was most probably supplied by someone who had never met any of the people involved.

Finally I thought about those divorce papers I mentioned yesterday. I didn’t know that they would be all that worthwhile because Herbert had never appeared or answered the complaint so none of the information would have come from him. I did vaguely remember an advertisement being put in a Chicago paper so I decided to go over them and see if there was any information to record in my nifty chart. The Chicago information was no help – it states that the summons was sent, “…in an envelope addressed to Herbert Amos Evans at Chicago, Illinois.” I can’t imagine the point of that as there had to be a number of people with the same name.

In spite of that, I kept reading, and there, staring me right in the face, was the fact that he was last known to be living with his mother IN CONNEAUT, OHIO! Seriously that must have spontaneously appeared in the record just as I was reading it because surely it was never there before. Of course, before I was so focused on Gertrude and Ruth that I clearly just skimmed over that little nugget of information.

As another odd coincidence, I had been working on something on Find-A-Grave and since I was there I just decided to search on the off change that Alma might be buried there. Normally this would not be my first research strategy, but I was on the site so I typed in "Evans" and filled in the county in Ohio where Conneaut is located – and up popped not only a memorial, but one with a picture of the stone AND her maiden name AND the names of her parents! She is buried with her husband – whose name is John, not Henry but in further research I did over the weekend, I am convinced this is the right person.  Her name, incidentally, is Almeda.

All of this allowed me to find, on FamilySearch, Herbert’s first wife and his third wife, both of whom he married in Ohio. I had been half-heartedly doing random searched in Minnesota. I had even listed searching Minnesota marriages and divorces to find his first marriage in my chart as a research strategy.

I am SO very excited to have this “new” family to research. Many of my previously know lines have only been in the country since the mid-1800’s and I have most all of those fairly quickly back to the immigrant ancestor. I even have some generations back in a few of the countries of origin. This will allow me to do research in the US much farther back than I’ve ever gone before – which is just a very exciting prospect for me. Interestingly enough, that memorial on Find-A-Grave was only put up earlier this year. So I guess the time was just right for me to find good ole Herbert.


  1. Congratulations on your breakthroughs, Diana! A lot of times I find that coming back to something and looking at it in a different way helps me, too. Guess that's what keeps research exciting :) Oh, and I think you described yourself perfectly!

    1. Thanks so much Shelley ~ you are my favorite person for the day!! It continues to amaze me how often going back to a problem solves it - I guess I've just learned more as I continue on my genealogical journey.

  2. Hi Diana,

    Congrats on your find!

    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in my Fab Finds post this week at http://janasgenealogyandfamilyhistory.blogspot.com/2013/06/follow-friday-fab-finds-for-june-28-2013.html

    Have a great weekend!

  3. I enjoyed reading your posts, Diana. It's amazing what we find when we really just stop and look at what we have, isn't it?

    1. Hi Miriam ~ Yes!! Or re-look as the case may be :-)


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