St Clair Cemetery, Mt Lebanon, Allegheny Co, PA

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

No Such Luck

Fairy tales. Isn't that the definition for genealogy without
documentation? Sometimes, you can't prove a line conclusively, but you
can show overwhelming evidence to support what you think is true. I'm
starting on a new journey into one of my lines. It will be a difficult
task and will take time. So, I've come to the brilliant conclusion to
include you in my search for the facts.

I have the death certificate for my greatgrandmother on which her
mother's maiden name is listed. I have made contact with a distant
cousin who is descended from one of the mother's siblings. Now to
prove what we think is right.

My cousin has graciously supplied me with some wills and old pages in
the handwriting of his ancestors. This information is great and will
lead me to the correct areas to search for more clues. Together, we
have documented the family in the 1850, 1860 and 1870 Federal Census.
The first hurdle which I have yet to overcome is the death date of the
mother. She is living with her widowed mother in 1850, marries before
1860, is listed in 1860, and is absent in 1870. Did she die? Could
she have died in childbirth as the youngest child was born just before
the census? The rest of the family is listed with her husband. Hmmmm..
Ok-- maybe she died.

Another day, another puzzling discovery. I have in my possession a
letter from 1898 in which the author tells my above mentioned
greatgrandmother that she, the author, had "promised your mama I would
write to you." Hmmm. Your mama? Since I know her father did not
remarry, is it possible she was still alive? But where? The family is
all there in the Pittsburgh area.

I have searched high and low for years now for proof of her death, or
even proof she could have been alive in 1898. No such luck. I have
tried to check the local TB sanitariums to see if she was an inmate
there. Either the lists are unavailable or incomplete. No help there.
I have looked in the local newspapers for an obit. No such luck. I
have checked the church which the majority of the family attended. No
such luck. I have tried the cemetery where her descendants and
siblings are buried. No luck there. I haven't found any burial site
for her husband, who died in an 1849 cholera outbreak. So many people
died so quickly that there may have been no marked grave.

I have even found a picture of her sister-in-law and her brother in our
family Bible. I know the names are right--- the census backs me
up,but where is she?

Right now, I am at a loss. I keep looking. Perhaps, one day, you will
hear me shout joyfully as I say, "Told you so."

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