Thursday, August 28, 2014

How do you solve a problem like Maria?

Mr GeniAus rarely takes to the dance floor but last night found him waltzing down our hallway to pay a visit to my study. He could barely contain his excitement.

The GeniAuses last whirl round the dance floor
We've had over a week of wet weather so Mr G. hasn't been able to get out into the garden and play on his tractor. Co-incidentally he had volunteered my services to help a couple of friends solve some geneamysteries. I didn't want to be distracted so I showed him how to use Ancestry and a few other tools to help these folk out. Once he had done this I suggested that he look for articles about his grandfather  in Trove, that has kept him amused and satisfied for hours as there are lots of snippets about Ern's trotting horses. Mr GeniAus doesn't 'do' genealogy!

Last night Mr GeniAus was very quiet until he came dancing down the hall. He had been on Ancestry (I hope it's ok for there to be two concurrent users on a personal account from the same house) trying to demolish a brick wall that had been bothering us for some years. It wasn't for a close relation but it was a case of someone disappearing into thin air that had us baffled. We could find no trace of Maria Gowans, daughter of Mr GeniAus' 3xGreat Uncle John Gowans, we still can't find her on the 1920, 1930 or 1940 US Censuses.

Why the excitement? He had found this death record from North Carolina:

Name:Marie Gowans Grosvenor
Gender:Female
Race:White
Age:88
Birth Date:27 Oct 1867
Birth Place:New Jersey, United States
Death Date:10 Dec 1955
Death Location:Asheville, Buncombe
Father's Name:Unobtainable
Mother's name:Unobtainable
Residence:Asheville, Buncombe, North Carolina

I tried to calm him down but he was convinced, we knew Maria was born in NYC around October 1867 but still..... Off he went down the hallway again, after a while he returned with a marriage to a Charles A Grossenor (transcription error?) from the New York Marriage Indexes and a burial record for Green-Wood Cemetery, New York where Maria's siblings are buried. I checked the grave number for Maria's burial to see if she was near her parents. 

BINGO - she is interred in the same plot. It's the grave we visited in New York last year, it is a fine grave with a substantial memorial but Maria's name is not etched upon it. We were standing at her grave and didn't know it. When we asked at the Green-Wood Office for information on the grave they would not tell us anything, we had to write in and hire a genealogist to get further info, I would have happily paid a small fee on the spot for someone to pull the record. Wouldn't have been nice if they had given some assistance to two Aussies who had travelled halfway around the world in search of their ancestors. I need to purchase the marriage certificate, find a probate record and see what I can dig up on her husband but I am fairly sure that we have found Maria. She married late in life and probably had no offspring so there are no living Gowans cousins for us to find from that branch. 

Mr GeniAus at the Gowans grave April 2013

Back to the dance floor, I think that Mr GeniAus now understands why we genies get so excited when break down a brick wall. He certainly enjoyed his first Genealogy Happy Dance.

12 comments:

Caitlin Gow said...

What a wonderful find! :)

Jackie van Bergen said...

Well done from the 'novice'!
Is he hooked now?

Shannon Thomas said...

Great job Mr. Geniaus! I love when I get closer to solving that nagging mystery!

Jenny Lanctot said...

Haha, Jill ... he "does" genealogy now :) What a great find!

Kylie Willison said...

What a great find and how lovely to be able to share your passion a bit more!

Jenny MacKay said...

I must remember that the next time it's raining (whenever that will be in the west). I have some brick walls I can send him to search,out. Lol.
Like you, I had an experience where we'd travelled a long way, although in Australia, where we weren't offered the assistance I would have hoped for and offered if in the same predicament. Came away very disillusioned and have since found that there is a burial record after all and I could have stood at the cemetery plot had we known. :-(

Kerryn Taylor said...

Go Mr. Geniaus! Ask if he'll help me find my gg uncle David Adams who is driving me crazy. I don't think I have much hope of getting my other half to "do" genealogy as he doesn't even "do" computers.

Janelle Collins said...

Uh-oh! Now it's started - he's had a taste of the addiction, will he keep on coming back for more?!

Alex Daw said...

How wonderful! I can imagine how pleased he must have been.

Rebel Hand said...

Yay for Mr G! Lovely dancing photo, too.

Heather Wilkinson Rojo said...

Is the phrase "genealogy happy dance" in your dictionary yet?

www.HungarianFamilyRecord.org said...

What a great story about "non-interested" spouse. I don't think mine ever touched Ancestry, let alone looked in the genealogy file cabinet !Never too late...

Too bad about the cemetery office. It's getting harder for researchers to work with them unless you know the quirks of their staff.

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