Ancestor Story – John Boles, the disappearing man – 52 Ancestors


©Norman McNamee, photo of the cemetery surrounding the Manse of Dalserf, photo used with permission. Dalserf, Lanark, Scotland – I wish I could pop over and read those headstones! Maybe I would find some family members.

John Boles is my 3rd great granduncle.  He is the younger brother of my 3rd great grandmother Catherine Boles.  I really enjoy researching the Boles family.  I feel quite a connection to them.  John in particular fascinates me because he, his wife, and his seven children seemingly disappeared into thin, Scottish, air.

Here’s the skinny on John:

  • Born about 1852 in Carluke, Lanark, Scotland.
  • 1861 found John living as a young scholar in Carluke.
  • By 1871 he was a miner, still living with his family in Carluke.
  • 20 Feburary 1874 John married Christina Montgomery in Carluke.
  • Between 1874 and 1889, John and Christina had ten children.  Three of those children died before 1890.  All births and deaths occurred in Dalserf up until 1887, from 1888 to 1890 the births and deaths occurred in Holytown.
  • 1881 found John, Christina and five children living in Dalserf, John was a coal miner.
  • The last trace I have of this family is found in their son John’s death record.  John died 18 February 1890 in Holytown.  His cause of death was whooping cough, he was four and a half years old.

And then poof!  The ENTIRE family disappears just like that.

I have tried tracing them each individually.  I have searched in Scotland, Australia, and Canada specifically.  I have searched generally in ancestry and familysearch hoping to pick them up somewhere, anywhere in the world.  No luck.  At.  All.

John and his family are a mystery to me.  Did they get tired of life?  Tired of mining, tired of their children dying?  Did they decide it was time for a change?  Time to strike out into the world and leave Scotland behind?

I don’t know.  I hope I figure it out.  Maybe one of John’s descendants will see this and email me.  I hope so!


Records I have for John:

  • 1861 Census
  • 1871 Census
  • 1874 Marriage Record
  • 1881 Census

Records I can’t find for John:

  • Birth record in the Scottish OPR
  • 1891 Census
  • 1901 Census
  • 1911 Census
  • Death Record

Here’s the scoop on John’s family:

  • John Boles, born about 1852 in Carluke, Lanark, Scotland
  • Christina Montgomery, born about 1855 in Carluke, parents – William Montgomery, Agnes Smellie
    • Agnes Boles, born 9 April 1874 in Dalserf, died 24 July 1888 in Holytown
    • James Boles, born 2 August 1875 in Dalserf, died 23 March 1876 in Dalserf
    • Isabella Boles, born 26 December 1876 in Dalserf
    • Christina Boles, born 1 October 1878 in Dalserf
    • William Montgomery Boles, born 24 July 1880 in Dalserf (How sad that his older sister Agnes died on his 8th birthday!)
    • Helen Boles, born 8 May 1882 in Dalserf
    • Elizabeth Boles, born 19 January 1884 in Dalserf
    • John Boles, born 26 October 1885 in Dalserf, died 18 February 1890 in Holytown
    • James Boles, born 11 October 1887 in Dalserf
    • Agnes Smellie Boles, born4 July 1889, Holytown


Image found here.


My thoughts – FamilySearch Indexing Day

WorldwideIndexingBadge_EnglishDid you participate in the Worldwide Indexing Event hosted by FamilySearch?

My teenagers and I did.  I was honestly surprised that they were willing to join in.  This is not something they have an interest in.  They know what indexing is.  They have participated in helping index a batch or two on Family Night, but that’s it.

So why were they willing?

Well, FamilySearch did such a good job pushing this event.  It was announced repeatedly at our church.  The day the event began there was an especially detailed announcement at church.  Something about being challenged to participate by someone other than mom or dad softened them up.

After church the boys said they were willing to give it a try.  I went in before the event began and downloaded ten batches for each of the three of us so we could work offline if the system had trouble with volume.  Thank goodness I did!  The first several hours were rough on the system.  But we got work done anyway.  For a few hours we rotated turns on the computer and each of us indexed several batches.

I discovered something.

My 13 year old is a natural!  That kid was able to read almost everything on every record.  He would call me over occasionally to look at a name or a place.  Most of the time he already had a guess that was correct.  There were only a few names I had to spell for him.  I was very impressed.  Now if only I could figure out how to get him hooked on some form of genealogy.  :)

The final numbers for the event are impressive.  5.7 million records were processed during 24 hours by 66,511 participants.  Amazing!  You can read more about the final numbers here.

What a fabulously successful event.


The number of records on FamilySearch is growing much more quickly than they are being indexed.  The FamilySearch blog recently had a post detailing some of the changes in the new indexing program that will launch soon.  This paragraph is eye-opening:

“FamilySearch recently reached a significant milestone: one billion images of historical documents are now viewable on That’s one billion pictures of documents. Of those images, how many would you say are indexed and searchable by name? All of them? Half of them? Would you believe less than 22 percent?”

The article goes on to explain ways the new system will streamline things to allow for indexing and arbitration to be accomplished more quickly.  You can read more about that here and here.

One billion images?! 


But only 22% are indexed?

We have work to do my friends!  Some good indexing work is in order.

And FamilySearch?  How about making that Worldwide Indexing Event a regular thing?  Like maybe quarterly, or even better – monthly.

Because it seems that - If you plan it, they will come.  All 66,511 of them.


Back to School Sales Make Me Happy


I love this time of year!

School is one of my favorite things.  Fresh pencils, crisp paper, smiling students and teachers, routines & structure, learning – all things I love!

I also really love Back to School sales.  I can’t resist buying boxes of crayons, colored pencils and markers to add to my stash.  But the best item to buy this time of year has to be notebooks and composition books.  The prices are lower and there is a larger selection.  I like to stock up.

Why my love for notebooks?  Well, when I am working on something I like to use a notepad of some sort to jot things down.  Those notebooks end up being filled with great gems.  Some are used for interviews, others for tracking microfilm, sorting out complicated families and on and on.  Because I am generally using several notebooks at one time, I like to try to buy notebooks that have some sort of design so I can easily tell them apart at a glance.

This year there happened to be a very large selection of designs for a nice, low price.  So I stocked up!

What supplies do you consider essential when you are researching?


And They’re Off!


My oldest, first day of his Junior Year of High School!


My middle one, first day of 7th grade – first year of Junior High!


My little pal who hangs out at home with me and likes to pull the cushions off the couch.


My window-box, totally unrelated to back to school except for the fact that I always take it’s picture on the first day too.

Summer is over!

I sent my darling kiddos off to school last week and all is well.  My tiny fella and I are happily settling back into our routine.  Time to get back to some good family history blogging!

See you tomorrow.


Still Here!

Carter & Harrison, bear lake, 2014

My little fellas, Bear Lake, 28 June 2014

I’ve been itching to get back to my blog – there are so many things I have to say, and so little time!  Here are a few of the big genealogy things that have been on my mind:

  • I created a fabulous mini book for our family reunion to help the great grandchildren learn more about our family.  It was awesome!  And even better, the kids loved it and worked on it.
  • Facebook groups for genealogy – which are your favorites?  They can be great and well, not so great.
  • FamilySearch indexing day was amazing.  I’m so impressed with their final numbers!  My two teenagers participated.  Can I just say I was completely surprised?  It turns out my 13 year old is pretty excellent at deciphering old handwriting.  Now I just need to figure out how to get him actually interested…  Did you join the fun?
  • Today is Pioneer Day.  I have lots of Mormon Pioneers in my tree.  Today is a tender day for me as I consider the many hardships they endured.  Last night my 13 year old offered our family prayer.  Among other things he said, “Please help us to remember the real meaning of Pioneer Day.”  Such a sweet moment for my mother heart.  I love this quote – “Can we somehow muster the courage and steadfastness of purpose that characterized the pioneers of a former generation?  Can you and I, in actual fact, be pioneers [today]?”  – Thomas S. Monson.  Do you have any Mormon Pioneers in your tree?
  • I have one more LARGE family reunion this summer.  I am one of the three people in charge.  I need to come up with some sort of activity, some family history type activity.  I have a few ideas brewing…
  • Who Do You Think You Are? started back up!  My favorite show.  Do you watch?
  • My family and I have discovered a new {to us} show on Netflix – Alaska The Last Frontier.  I am in love with this show because I have three generations in my family that were involved with homesteads in Alaska.  There were two homesteads, one was completed, one was not.  The one that was completed was started by my 3rd great grandfather Henry Hyde.  He died before it was completed so his wife Alice Whiteley Hyde completed it without him.  Watching this show has really opened my eyes to how difficult life is in Alaska.  I am gaining new respect and admiration for this part of my family with every episode I watch.

I’m still here, soaking up every bit of genealogy goodness I can find in the world.  See you in a few weeks!




My Fellas

Summer has arrived at our house.  I suddenly find my spare time reduced to a sliver.  There are big things going on at my house.  My oldest started his first job – hooray!  I’m busy running everyone around, going to the library, and the park, and on walks.  I have to fit in lots of board games, and play-doh time, and coloring.  I get to find ways to distract my almost 13 year old from the ‘I’m bored!’ statement.  I’m moving from one kid to another all day long.

We also have a big reunion coming up in a few weeks.  We have lots of company coming over the next three weeks.  And a few other pretty major things eating up time.  I’m still fitting in genealogy almost every day.


I have run out of time to write about it.  And to read about it.

So, it’s summer break on my blog.

That doesn’t mean I won’t post all summer, just that I will only post when I have time.  This Fall, I’ll be back in full swing.

Happy summer break!

ps- Don’t I have beautiful children?

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