Saturday, June 10, 2017

Yes, there were two deaths in the family that week.

Oh, how I wish I had been citing my sources when I first began my tree on Ancestry!  I don't know that it would have changed the story I'm about to tell you, but it would be great to know where I got the information about these ancestors.

I'm still getting ready for the Dean reunion in August and I'm really having a blast. I'm researching people who have been in my tree for years but who are collateral ancestors; not in my direct ancestral line. People I have not taken the time to dig into before.

As I mentioned in a post last week, I've been searching in Google Newspapers, I've also been searching in Ancestry for baptismal, marriage and burial records as well as census records and obituaries. So many dots are connecting for me as I work on all these people one after the other and I find myself wishing at least three times a day that I had been more interested in these details when my grandmother and her siblings were alive, but I digress.

Last week I mentioned that I found death notices for John Dean, my 2nd great-grandfather, Bessie Nimmo, his wife and Elizabeth Louden, Bessie's mother. What I found was this.

From The Sherbrooke Examiner, June 18, 1897

Almost the entire column has information about members of my family, but the first thing that surprised me was the comment that there were two deaths in the family that week. As I read on I found information about Elizabeth's death but also about someone I didn't know; William Millin from Belfast and his now widow, Martha, who were living with the family. I called my mother and she wasn't familiar with the names nor had she ever heard that we had family from Belfast. She thought maybe he was a farm hand but his burial record said he was a carpenter. It was a mystery and, I thought, likely to remain so.

A few days ago I discovered Martha again. Four years after the death of her husband she was captured in the 1901 Census of Canada living with John and Bessie's daughter Lizzie (now Elizabeth Morrissette) and her family. Again, we asked ourselves, who was this person that family members kept providing a home for her? Was it just out of duty because her husband had met his accidental death at the family farm? Could she be family? The census offered no clues, under relationship to head of household, it just said Martha was a pensioner.

Then yesterday afternoon I was looking at a tree that my mother had been writing out in 1988 when things suddenly came together for me. Bessie Nimmo had two sisters, Martha and Margaret, and a brother, Charles, and my mother had scribbled some details for them at the top of the chart. The dates looked familiar. I went into Martha's record on Ancestry. I have a photo of her, the photo at the top of my post. I enlarged it (which you can as well by clicking on it), I looked at the writing on the bottom. I gasped. Martha's husband was not William Miller - he was William Millen!!! I ran to my box of photos and turned the photo of Martha and William over...Belfast!

Martha Millen of Belfast was Aunt Martha. William Millen was family. There were indeed two deaths in the family that week.


Wendy said...

For goodness sake! It's amazing how often old notes make sense years later and how a detail you have looked at a thousand times can suddenly become "new" information.

Marian B. Wood said...

Wow! Anna, this is a wonderful discovery. I agree with Wendy, you just never know when a detail you've looked at for years suddenly comes into focus slightly differently because of newer information that enables you to make that extra connection!