Who is Maggie Douglas? Part Two

Clydebank Townhall.  Photo Credit: Darrin Antrobus - From, CC BY-SA 2.0

Clydebank Townhall.  Photo Credit: Darrin Antrobus – From, CC BY-SA 2.0.

In Part One of the Maggie Douglas tale, I discovered Maggie’s existence.  Here’s a recap:

My great grandmother Mary Brown Young traveled from Scotland to Montana with her mother and siblings at the age of 7.  The first travel record I found was a border crossing record based on a ship manifest.  Along with Mary and her immediate family, Maggie Douglas was listed on the same ship.  She gave Mary’s father, James Young, as the person she was joining in the United States.  She claimed he was her cousin.

I had never come across a Maggie Douglas in my research.  Not even the surname of Douglas.  The record had quite a bit of information but I was really scratching my head about who Maggie was and how I was going to track her down.

I knew that Maggie last lived in Clydebank and that she claimed James was her cousin.

Okay, but what did she mean by cousin?  First cousin, second cousin, third cousin?  And then of course there is the whole removed business.  Because Douglas is not a surname in my tree I looked at the female relatives of James Young, his aunts in a few generations.  I checked for women that I had not fully researched and didn’t yet know the names of their spouses.  The trouble was, Young is a terribly common last name in Scotland.  Added to that is the fact that my Young family followed the naming tradition and the women are named: Mary, Elizabeth, Margaret, Janet, Jessie, Agnes, and Isabella.  Nothing else.  Talk about a needle in a haystack.  There is a good reason most of them lack spouses in my tree.  Trying to hypothesize Maggie’s parents was getting nowhere pretty quickly.  I moved on.

I knew that Maggie claimed her intention to join James in Montana.  I even had an address.  I started searching for a trail in the United States after the date of the border crossing record.  I knew that James and his family left Montana for Washington State before 1920.  I searched for a Maggie/Margaret Douglas born 1884 in Scotland with residences in Montana and Washington.

I found one possible census record:

  • Margaret Douglas
  • age: 40
  • Born about 1880 in Scotland
  • Home in 1920: Spokane, Spokane, Washington
  • Address:  109 S. Wall Street
  • White, Female
  • Year of Immigration: 1906
  • Head of household
  • Divorced
  • Parents both born in Scotland
  • She rented
  • Alien status, able to read, able to write
  • Occupation:  Housekeeper in a club

Close.  Definitely possible.  Flaws?

  • Her age was off by four years.  But, it was listed as 40.  A nice round number if you live in her building and don’t know her exact age.
  • Divorced.  Maybe?  I don’t know.
  • Year of immigration should be 1910 not 1906 but again, what if she wasn’t the one giving the information?

This address is 3.1 miles from where James and his family were living in Spokane in 1920.  That definitely seems like a point in favor of this being my Maggie.  The problem is that there was no way to know for sure.  No family members listed with her.

Working on the assumption that it was possible this was my Maggie, I looked for additional records.  I searched the Washington State Digital Archives for a death or marriage record.  I searched for the 1930 and 1940 census.  I searched findagrave and billiongraves.  Nothing.  No continuing trail.

I was not okay with giving up.  I decided to try my luck at finding her birth record in Scotland.  I’ll sum this part up really fast – plenty of time and pennies, no luck.

I wasn’t sure why, but I REALLY wanted to know who Maggie Douglas was.  I wanted to know if I was related to her and if I was, how?  But I was out of leads.  Nothing to go on.  With great reluctance I stopped my search.  I made a few notes for myself and closed the research file.

Do you feel sad?  I did.  Walking away from a genealogy puzzle is not something I like to do.  But all I had was one piece of a many pieced puzzle.  One piece is not usually enough.  This time it really wasn’t enough.  Not yet anyway.


To be continued…




My New Responsibility


I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I’m a Mormon girl.

My faith and religion are deeply important to me.  They are at the very foundation of who I am and what I value most in my life.  This here blog of mine is about genealogy and so I don’t talk about my personal life – much – which includes my religious beliefs.

But something happened recently that will effect my blogging habits.  I’m going to be unpredictable.  I’ll have time to write and read and then I won’t and then I will again.  It’s going to be spotty.  And I wanted you, my blog friends to understand why.

We Mormons are organized folks.  We meet in local units called wards that are based on geographical boundaries.  Each ward meets at a certain time on Sundays.  We have three meetings and spend three hours at church.  The first meeting is called Sacrament Meeting and is for everyone in the ward.  We sing a hymn, have an opening prayer, sing another hymn, take the sacrament, listen to speakers who are members of our ward, sing and pray again.  The last two hours are different.  Children have their own meetings called Primary.  Teenagers go to Sunday School for one hour and then to classes divided by age and gender for another hour.  Adults also have Sunday School and then the men go to Priesthood Meetings and the women go to Relief Society.

Relief Society is the largest women’s organization in the world.  It began in 1842.  Over the years this organization has been a powerful force for good in the world, caring for the poor and needy, providing relief for suffering, offering love, support, and instruction for it’s members.  The motto of Relief Society is “Charity never faileth”.  Charity in this statement refers to the pure love of Christ.  What a beautiful sentiment.

Relief Society sisters throughout the world meet every Sunday for an hour.  They sing, pray, participate in a gospel lesson, sing and pray again.  These women also have occasional activities during the week.  They learn skills that will help them care for their families, they provide service, and learn from one another.  I learned to tie quilts and make homemade bread at Relief Society activities.  I’ve helped with service projects and listened to women share their experiences.

Relief Society is a wonderful organization for women throughout the entire world.

I have recently been asked to be the Relief Society President in my ward.  I am now responsible to oversee our Sunday meetings, our weekday activities, and all other aspects of Relief Society.  I find my days suddenly filled with phone calls, visits, planning, and meetings.  I will busy for a while.  And my blogging will suffer.  But my soul will be joyful as I am blessed to get to know the women in my Relief Society.  To really see them and love them.

In fact, it’s already happening.  I spent my Saturday morning in the home of an elderly woman who was born and raised in Germany.  She is a widow who is lonely and feels like she doesn’t fit into her world.  She poured out her heart to me.  I listened, offered encouragement and most of all, I saw into her heart.  I now have a much deeper understanding and love for her.  That is what I am looking forward to with my new responsibility, moments like that.  Moments that will help me develop greater compassion and empathy for others.

So, please be patient with my unpredictability.  I still love genealogy with my whole heart.  I still want to share and learn with you.  And I will, when I can.


If you want to learn more about my faith, read here.  If you want to learn more about Relief Society, read here or watch this short video.

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Photograph Showcase: Strike a Pose?

Frank Duval

Frank Duval

This is my great grandfather, Frank Duval.  He and his wife owned a photography studio.  I would imagine that she took this photo.  I wonder if she posed him or if he came up with that on his own?  Looking at this photo, I wish it were in color – vivid living color – because his eyes were such a bright blue.  I would love to see them again in person.  I guess I should visit my grandma.  After all, she has his eyes.


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Ancestor Story – Helen Boles, the niece – 52 Ancestors

"South Africa, Natal Province, Civil Marriages, 1845-1955," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 25 Sep 2014), David Brown and Helen Boles, 06 Feb 1906; citing Dundee, Natal, South Africa; 02559; 1795568.

“South Africa, Natal Province, Civil Marriages, 1845-1955,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 25 Sep 2014), David Brown and Helen Boles, 06 Feb 1906; citing Dundee, Natal, South Africa; 02559; 1795568.

I have two women in my tree named Helen Boles.  I’ve written about Helen who was my 3rd great grandaunt.  The other Helen is her niece, my 1st cousin 4 times removed and the daughter of John Boles.  That is the Helen of today’s post.

Helen was born 8 May 1882 in Dalserf, Lanark, Scotland.  Because she was born after the 1881 Scottish Census, and she left Scotland before the 1891 Census, I only have her birth record, Ship Record, and this marriage record.

In 1890, Helen and her six siblings left from London, bound for Natal, South Africa.

On 6 February 1906, Helen married David Brown In Dundee, Natal, South Africa.  She was 23 years old at the time of her marriage.  She is listed as a spinster, her age is listed simply as ‘Age’, and consent for her marriage was given by her parents.  Were her parents John Boles & Christina Montgomery really there?  I don’t have any evidence yet that they went to South Africa.  Is this my first shred of proof that they were also in South Africa?  I don’t know, but I’m working on finding out!



National Family History Month

National Family History Month

October is National Family History Month.

Sort of.

It’s a bit of a puzzle to try to determine if it really is or isn’t.  Go ahead and give a whirl.  Maybe you can figure it out well enough to explain.  This is what I can tell you.  Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah has introduced and helped pass legislation every year for many years to designate October as National Family History Month.  I can’t find anything that indicates it has happened this year, but I like the idea so I’m going to celebrate whether some government agency put a stamp of approval on it or not.

How do I celebrate?

Well, I keep working on my family history like I always do but I add an extra element.  I post some small thing on Facebook everyday.  A photo, a short story or anecdote, a ‘did you know?’ about a record collection or website.  Just simple things each day.  I plan to do it again this year in honor of National Family History Month.  The month that may or may not be a thing this year.

Join me won’t you?  How will you celebrate?



Who is Maggie Douglas? Part One

Mary Young Costello, April 1988 in front of her home on Regal in Spokane, WA.

Mary Brown Young Costello, April 1988 in front of her home on Regal in Spokane, WA.

Last week, I read a post over on PastSmith that really resonated with me.  She has a few photos that are presenting potential relatives that she hasn’t been able to connect to her tree.  She has some interesting clues that may very well lead her somewhere.  She posed the following question:

Have you ever had to start midstream, so to speak, in research? This is the first time I’ve tried to connect someone to a person in my tree without starting with something concrete. It’s a little disconcerting!

I immediately thought of Maggie Douglas.  Her’s is an interesting research story.  I’m going to tell it parts.  Today?  Part one, an introduction.  Here goes…


That photo up there is my spunky great grandmother Mary Brown Young Costello.  She was born in Scotland and at the age of seven she, her mother, and her three living siblings left Scotland to join their husband and father in America.

Mary lived the remainder of her life in Montana and Washington State.  I have always had so many records about her that I was not particularly concerned with her immigration and travel records.  I knew when she arrived, where she lived and so on.  Well a few years ago I revisited the information I had on Mary and decided it was high time I gather the rest of the records I could.  That meant immigration and travel records were a must.  I found this: Border Crossings: From Canada to U.S., 1895-1956 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010. Original data: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, RG 85. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. Border Crossings: From Canada to U.S., 1895-1956 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010.  Original data: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, RG 85. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration.

You can see Catherine Young, age 36, with her four children Catherine, Mary, Alexander, and George.  As it turns out I wasn’t nearly as curious about this record as I should have been.  I made three big rookie mistakes – at first.  Mistake one – I found this and quit looking for other travel documents.  Mistake two – I thought this was the whole record.  Mistake three – I didn’t read the whole page.

Let’s break this down a bit.

Mistake one – Later, I had gained more knowledge and learned that there could be multiple travel records.  I needed to look for records from the port they left, the port in which they arrived, the Ship Manifest, and the Border Crossing record – they arrived in Quebec and crossed from Canada to the US.  Not to mention there is the possibility of a passport application, a passport, a naturalization record and probably others I don’t know about.  Each of those records has the potential to add new information.  Lesson: Don’t quit looking when you find record number one!  I’ve gone on to find two more so far.

Mistake two – Ummm, there’s this little thing at the bottom of the page.  It’s totally familiar to everyone.  We see them all the time and I apparently ignore them.  It’s an arrow.  A small little thing inviting the reader to click on over to the next page and see what is there.  Guess what?  What was there was page two of the document!  Page two, that added more information.  Page two that made me realize Maggie Douglas existed.  Here’s page two: Border Crossings: From Canada to U.S., 1895-1956 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010. Original data: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, RG 85. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. Border Crossings: From Canada to U.S., 1895-1956 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010.  Original data: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, RG 85. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration.

On page one, Catherine is listed on line 18, she is also on line 18 on page two.  On this page we learn that Catherine was traveling with $500 and that her passage was paid by her husband.  She and her children were traveling to James Young who was living at 829 Placer Street in Butte, Montana.  And here is where mistake number three comes in.  Let your eyes glance upward and see that whoever is listed on the line above Catherine is traveling to her cousin James Young living at 829 Placer Street.  What now?

I noticed that little fact a few YEARS after I originally found this record because I didn’t click to page two and I didn’t read the entire record.  Lesson:  ALWAYS check for a page two, and three and so on.  Read the ENTIRE record.

Back to Maggie.  Reviewing both page one and page two, this is what I know about Maggie Douglas:

  • Maggie Douglas
  • Age 26
  • Female
  • Widowed
  • Housewife
  • Able to read and write.
  • Citizen of Scotland
  • Race – Scottish
  • Last permanent residence: Clydebank, Scotland
  • Nearest relative in Scotland:  Brother-in-law D J Muir, Dock Street, Yoker
  • Final Destination:  Butte, Montana
  • She had a ticket that she paid for herself.
  • She was either traveling with $100 or $1,000.  You could convince me of either.
  • She had never been to the US before.
  • She was joining her cousin James Young who lived at 829 Placer Street in Butte, Montana.
  • She answered no to the next several questions – she wasn’t a polygamist, anarchist, cripple and so on.
  • She was 5’7″, dark complexion, brown hair, blue eyes, no identifying marks.
  • She was born in Clydebank, Scotland.

Once I had read through the record, I was completely stumped.  I had no Maggie Douglas in my tree.  No D J Muir in my tree.  No idea how Maggie and James were related.  Where on earth to start?

I was faced with doing exactly what PastSmith was talking about – I was being forced to start midstream.

To be continued…



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