Today was fun, for my trainee and me. We have a mystery. One pretty close to her.
We are systematically reviewing what we can find on line about her first 5 generations on her fathers side. She wanted to start here as the ancestors on her mothers side are mostly from Mormon Pioneers and she believes there is more work not done on her fathers side.
I did introduce her to http://findagrave.com/
We started this day with her fathers aunt on his mothers side. That would make this woman my trainees great aunt I believe.
The mystery began when we searched for one of the two sons this Aunt had: Geiger, his brother was Woodson, another cool name for doing on line research. Now the nice thing about giving your kid an unusual name like Geiger is that it isn't duplicated often. Unique names make searching oh so much easier. If only the Irish had figured that out. In my wife's line everyone is named Roger Sweeney or William. Even worse on the women's side is Mary and Martha.
OK, we searched for Geiger and found him. The mystery begins - Geiger was 3 years old in the census we found and he was living with his grandparents. No mom and no brother. Why? What happened to his dad, his mom, and Woodson?
By searching for Woodson we found he and his mom in a different census. Mom was listed as a servant of the household. A servant? Well, we could imagine why Geiger wasn't there: two young kids one being 3, but confirming so is part of the mystery, right?
We went to Google maps and determined that mom and Woodson were separated from Geiger now by 240+ miles.
We began to wonder what it must have been like for this family, and what happened to dad. At the end of the day, it's still a mystery.
So we detectives moved to the next census, 10 years later. We found Mom married to the 2nd husband with 4 more children at home.
Interestingly Woodson and Geiger were listed in this family using both their fathers last name + stepfathers last name and as step sons to the head of the household.
So, we then set out to determine who was the mother of these 4 kids. We were able to determine that mom married the new husband - father the next year after the census. We were able to document she was the mother of all the children. She was 24 at the time of the second marriage. She was 16 when she first married. It's almost as if we could make a T V show out of this mystery. We felt the emotions of our search, wondering about the trials of this family.
Still unknown at this time is what happened to Geiger and Woodsons father. Was he killed? How?
Further research turned up even more children, born after the second census we studied. This turned out to be a big family.
We have had trouble finding Woodson and Geiger at older ages. What happened to them? We tried using both last names. There is more work for us to do.
Oh, and she died several states away from where all this earlier living took place. That leads to more mysteries.
The coolest thing: my new trainee said, "I just love mysteries". She is on the right mission for sure.