Saturday, February 20, 2010

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: A-HA!

Once again it is time for Randy Seaver's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun. So here are tonight's instructions:

1) Think of any number of genealogy events or moments that make you have a genealogy happy dance, an ah-ha moment, or a genea-gasm.

2) Tell us about them in a blog post, in a comment to this blog post, or in a comment on Facebook.

I didn't know until I was 10 years old and my cousin told me, that her mother and my mother, sisters, had been intra-family adoptions. Their father died in a railroad accident in 1917, when my mother, the youngest of three, was not quite a year old. They were adopted by uncles and their wives. I've told the story before here, so in a nutshell I'll just say that I never knew my mother's biological mother, my grandmother Ruth Nave. She lived a sad life, according to my aunt, had at least one other marriage if not two, and her last husband's surname was White. The other thing my aunt told me, about 30 years ago now, was that Ruth Nave died in 1951.

So one day I was at home not feeling very well, and I was messing about on the Internet and I decided to go hunting for grandma. I was at the website of the city of Logansport, Indiana, where my grandfather grew up. I remembered something about a Mount Hope Cemetery, so I went looking at the cemetery's website, which was linked from the Logansport website. There I found my great-grandparents in their family plot, and an apparent grandson that I had not known about buried there, too. I also found my grandfather, Benjamin Franklin "Frank" Reed, whose tombstone was marked B. F. Reed. He was not buried in the Reed family plot, however, but with his in-laws, Teter Nave and his wife Lizzie. Odd, I thought, because the Reed family had made the funeral arrangements and held the funeral from their home, according to my grandfather's obituary. Either they had acceeded to a wish from their not-terribly-favored daughter-in-law, or this was their way of saying to their son, of whose wife they did not approve (according to my aunt), "You made your bed, now you lie in it!"

But where was my grandmother? The tombstone marking my grandfather's grave also had my grandmother's name on it, as "Ruth, his wife." Her birth year, 1892, was on the stone, but the other date was missing. Was she not buried there? She had married again -- had she and her subsequent husband even stayed in Logansport? I couldn't search all the listings, because there were some 80.000 interments in that cemetery. So, feeling dejected, I closed the browser and was going to get up from the computer until I remembered what my aunt had told me: She had a husband whose surname was White, and died in 1951.

So I went to the index listing at the cemetery website, and there she was -- Ruth White, died 1951. And she was indeed buried there in the Nave family plot, right next to my grandfather, her first husband. Mr, White, then, must have been an understanding fellow. I later obtained a transcription of her death certificate from the Cass County (where Logansport is located) Health Department, and the informant on the certificate was Harold White.

Well, that was an A-HA moment, for sure, finding the grandmother I never knew and never would know, except to know where someday I need to visit her and let her know that her granddaughter thinks of her from time to time.

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