Ancestor Story – Elizabeth Montgomery Boles – 52 Ancestors

Marriage record for Elizabeth Montgomery Boles.  "South Africa, Natal Province, Civil Marriages, 1845-1955," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 16 Sep 2014), William Workman White and Elizabeth Montgomery Boles, 20 Apr 1912; citing Ladysmith, Natal, South Africa; 00495; 1795573.

Marriage record for Elizabeth Montgomery Boles. “South Africa, Natal Province, Civil Marriages, 1845-1955,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 16 Sep 2014), William Workman White and Elizabeth Montgomery Boles, 20 Apr 1912; citing Ladysmith, Natal, South Africa; 00495; 1795573.

Elizabeth Boles is my 1st cousin four times removed.  She is the daughter of John Boles & Christina Montgomery.

Elizabeth was born 19 January 1884 in Dalserf, Lanark, Scotland.  She was the seventh of ten children.  In 1890, she traveled to Natal, South Africa with her six living siblings aboard the Ship Methven Castle.  They departed from London.

In 1912, Elizabeth married William Workman White in Natal.  Her sister Agnes Smellie Boles was a witness at her wedding.

This marriage record is an important part of my search to discover what happened to Elizabeth, her parents and siblings.

My next task in learning the rest of Elizabeth’s story is learning about Natal, South Africa – the history and the record collections.  It appears that FamilySearch holds a large collection of films for Natal.  I see some microfilm time in my future.  I want to know if Elizabeth had children and when she died!

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Unraveling the John Boles Mystery – Part One

Children of John & Christina Boles, 1891 Immigration record from London to Natal, South Africa.

Children of John & Christina Boles, 1890 Immigration record from London to Natal, South Africa.

John Boles is my 3rd great granduncle.  He and his wife Christina had ten children.  In 1890, the family disappeared from Scotland.  The ENTIRE family, just gone.  Three of the children had died at this point.  So I was looking for a family of nine.  A family of nine usually leaves a big footprint.  Not this one.

A kind stranger came across my 52 ancestors post about John.  She did a little digging and found this immigration record and emailed it to me.  A perfect match for John & Christina’s living children.

  • Isabella Boles, 1876
  • Christina Boles, 1878
  • William Montgomery Boles, 1880
  • Helen Boles, 1882
  • Elizabeth Boles, 1884
  • James Boles, 1887
  • Agnes Smellie Boles, 1889

But where are John & Christina?  The children are traveling with an Elizabeth Huntley, a 22 year old single woman, and a Chas M Boles, a 36 year old married miner.  I have never seen the names Elizabeth Huntley or Chas M Boles before.  Who are they and why were they accompanying seven children to South Africa?



I Know Where Mary is Standing!


A few weeks ago I wrote about John Boles, my 3rd great granduncle who just up and disappeared.

And then the coolest thing happened!

I got an email from a stranger named Helen.  She came across my blog post and got curious.  She decided to do a little digging and she found my family.

In South Africa.

I had not even considered South Africa before.  She sent me a few documents she had found and I happily reviewed them and updated my tree with her excellent and accurate information.  She also mentioned that she lives in Carluke, Scotland and would be happy to help in the future if I needed anything.

I instantly thought of this photo of my great grandmother.

Mary Brown Young, Scotland.

Mary Brown Young, Scotland.

I told Helen about the photo and asked if she might be able to recognize where Mary is standing.  She replied that Carluke is a very small place and it’s quite possible she would be able to recognize it and to please send it to her along with Mary’s birth date.

So I did.  I included Mary’s birth date and the address at which she was born – Chapel Street.  I clicked send and wondered if I might finally know where Mary was standing.

A few hours later I received Helen’s delightful reply:

“I recognised it the moment I saw it, and when I saw the address Chapel Street I knew exactly where it was.”

She included photos from google maps.  I compared and sure enough, Mary is standing in front of 76 Chapel Street, Carluke.

I finally know where Mary is standing!

She is standing in front of her home.  The home in which she was born.  And that home is still standing.

One day, I hope to stand in front of this home too.

Once again I am overwhelmingly grateful for the 52 Ancestors challenge.  My one post led to a kind stranger solving two of my genealogy mysteries.  Thank you Amy and thank you to my new friend Helen.  I am so grateful.

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Answer to “Who Is On That Swing?”

Estelle Duval on swing

Estelle Maffit, Montana

I originally posted this photo with the comment that I wasn’t sure if this was in fact my great grandmother Estelle.  At the prompting of a reader I reposted the photo with some additional images to compare.  In that post I listed facts and photos but did not share my thoughts.

You, my wonderful readers, all believe this image is in fact Estelle.  Thank you for the input.

Now, my thoughts.  When the photo loaded in the original post, I was surprised.  It was the largest I had seen this photo so far and I was struck with how different Estelle looked from all of the other photos I have.  Something about it reminded me of her older sister Hi.

Then, as I gathered other photos and looked at their faces carefully I drew the same conclusion that you all did.  I believe this sweet photo is of Estelle.  I think the things about her face that caused my initial surprise are the way her brows are scrunched and the roundness of her cheeks.  The brows are likely scrunched because of sun.  Her rounder face is probably attributable to her younger age, position of her head and the lighting.  And of course, Estelle and Hi are sisters so they are bound to favor each other in different positions and settings.

Thank you for weighing in.  And thank you Deborah for prompting me to share.  It was a good exercise.  I drew my own conclusion, kept it to myself and then got oodles of confirmation from each of you.  Thank you all!

This small photo that I have loved well, will continue to be a treasure I can attribute to my great grandmother Estelle.


Cousins All Around Me

Me & a bunch of my first cousins.

Me, my two sisters & a bunch of my first cousins.

Growing up, I loved spending time with my first cousins on both sides of my family.  My definition of ‘cousins’ was formed by these interactions.  For me, cousins are good.

As I have gotten older my world has expanded.  I understand cousin relationships beyond first cousins.  I’ve gotten to know some of my other cousins.  I also cherish those relationships.  I love making a connection with someone who shares an ancestor.  I love to see that we share traits, habits, mannerisms, opinions, values, and simple things that must be genetic or learned from our common ancestor and passed down.  Case in point, check out the hand positions in the above photo.  No one told us how to stand, only to turn to the side and squeeze together so we would all fit.

I love meeting new-to-me cousins through my blog and online trees.  The relationships that develop are awesome.  We share information, stories and photos.  For me, cousins are good.

What has really surprised me over the years are the few times when I have learned that someone dear to me is also my cousin.  This sweet moment has happened three times.

1 – When we purchased our first home, we had amazing next door neighbors.  Their two kids were about the same age as our two kids.  The husband and wife were almost exactly our same ages.  We became fast friends.  After a few months of living there, we found out that our two husbands were 3rd cousins.  Their grandmothers were first cousins, close first cousins.  That meant our children, who were each others best friends, were 4th cousins.  Such a fun discovery!

2 – Several months ago I was working in Family Tree on FamilySearch.  I noticed that some photos had been added to my 3rd great grandfather Lyman Stoddard Skeen.  I looked at the user name and thought it would be an interesting coincidence if that person was who I thought it was.  I clicked on the name and saw their email address.  Sure enough, it was a woman who lives in my neighborhood.  A woman who taught my son piano lessons for a few years.  A woman I find completely delightful, a friend.  And as it turns out, my 3rd cousin once removed.  You know what sweetens that deal?  Her son and his family live a few houses down from me.  Fourth cousins right there!

3 – Just last week almost the same thing happened.  I noticed that some changes were made on my 2nd great grandfather Heber Albert Huband by someone with a familiar name.  A woman who I work with at my local FamilySearch Center.  A woman I have gotten to know as we have collaborated, attended each others classes, and assisted patrons.  She has become a friend, and now I know she is also my 4th cousin once removed.

I LOVE discovering that my friends are also my family!  For me, cousins are good.  Really, good.  I love feeling as if I have cousins all around me.



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