thegenealogygirl


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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:

Ancestry.com. Border Crossings: From Canada to U.S., 1895-1956 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Original data: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, RG 85. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration.

Ancestry.com. Border Crossings: From Canada to U.S., 1895-1956 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com 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:

Ancestry.com. Border Crossings: From Canada to U.S., 1895-1956 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Original data: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, RG 85. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration.

Ancestry.com. Border Crossings: From Canada to U.S., 1895-1956 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com 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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Made My Day!

gg, i heart indexers

Last Tuesday I wrote a post entitled, “Just in case you need another reason…“.  My post was another small plug for indexing.  Why do I often plug indexing?  Because indexing is VITAL to genealogy.  And if I talk about it a lot, maybe it will inspire others to participate.  That day, two VERY cool things happened.

One reader, Amy, asked what indexing was and how to get involved.  Several comments later she wrote:

“Just did my first batch! I have a whole new respect for the indexers. I had one first name that was a pure guess on my part! Very interesting and very sad. Lots of children. People died of worms? Live and learn!

Thanks for introducing me to this!”

Wow!  I love that!

I write a simple little blog post about indexing and suddenly the world has one new indexer.  I was feeling pretty happy about the whole thing.

Then, shortly before I went to bed, I read another comment on that post that completely blew me away.  Elaine Davis said:

“I started indexing because of one of your previous blogs…6000 records later, I’m hooked. Anyone indexing who would like almost instantaneous answers to questions should join the Facebook group Share Batch Indexing, ETC. They are a wonderful group who will answer questions, review your batch, or send you virtual chocolate if you get a bad arb score!”

6,000 records?!!

Wait, let me try that again.

SIX THOUSAND RECORDS?!!!

 

Holy cow Elaine!  I am so impressed.  And so grateful.  That is 6,000 records that are now searchable online.  6,000 records that just might include some of the ones I have found lately.  6,000 records that help people like you and me make connections with our beloved ancestors.

I am deeply humbled that something I wrote inspired these two women to join the noble ranks of Indexers.

In case you didn’t know – I think Indexers are Genealogy Superheroes.

 

 


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Ancestor Story – Christina Boles – 52 Ancestors

BOLES, Christina & William Wise, 1902 Marriage Record

“South Africa, Natal Province, Civil Marriages, 1845-1955,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/KDCL-1MS : accessed 23 Sep 2014), William Wise and Christina Boles, 06 Nov 1902; citing Dundee, Natal, South Africa; 00416; 1795037.

Christina Boles is my 1st cousin 4 times removed.  She is the daughter of John Boles and Christina Montgomery.

Christina was born 1 October 1878 in Dalserf, Lanark, Scotland.  In 1881 she was living with her family – parents, and four siblings – in Torland Cottage in Dalserf.  Her father John, was a Coal Miner.

In 1890, Christina and her six living siblings left from London for Natal, South Africa.

On 6 November 1902, Christina married William Wise in Dundee, Natal, South Africa.  Her sister Ellen (or Helen) was a witness at her wedding.

This is all I know of Christina so far.  I hope I can learn more about her life in South Africa.  Did she have children?  Did she die in South Africa?  Most of all, why did she and her siblings travel to South Africa in the first place?


8 Comments

Photograph Showcase: Precious in her Polka-dots

My Grandma, June 27, 1936, Great Falls Montana.

My Grandma, June 27, 1936, Great Falls Montana.

Isn’t my grandmother darling?  I love her little shoes and socks.  And that dress!  I think it is very sweet.  The collar and buttons are lovely.  But her eyes.  I would know those eyes anywhere.  Even in black and white.  I love her, I am blessed that she is still living.

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