For the first week the challenge was “Fresh Start”. This is very appropriate since I finally broke through a brick wall recently and I can give my Great Grandmother, Sarah Jane Page a fresh start.
I wrote a blog about her in June 2014. At that time I knew very little about her and I asked for any hints on discovering more. Thankfully some of my great readers did just that! So I have spent the last 6 months researching further and several entire generations unfolded before me.
In the blog ( http://tinyurl.com/kujaxr8 ) I told about the 8 mysteries surrounding Sarah. The first Mystery was what happened to her first husband James R. McDowell? I have discovered that James was still alive in 1895 as he signed and gave permission for their 16 year old daughter Leona to get married.
For Mystery #2, I will have to assume that my Great Grandfather, Pleasant Smith must have been murdered sometime between 1882 and 1887. This is much early than I had originally thought. Also for this Mystery I found that there may indeed be some truth to how Pleasant died. Over the past 4 months I have found 5 Smith cousins that I didn’t know existed. It has been great. In talking about the family history I heard the same story as I told about his death from 2 of these cousins. They brought it up first so I feel it has more merit than before.
For Mystery #3, I discovered the name of Sarah’s’ 3rd husband. It was John Carter Farris and they were married in 1887. John Carter Farris died in 1892 and they had no children.
Mystery #5 was who Pleasant Smith married to before my Great Grandmother? I found that he had married a woman named Charity Smith in 1869 and that she is the mother of my Uncle Pleasant Smith Jr.
In Mystery #7 we find that Sarah was listed as “divorced” in the 1900 Census. Upon further examination we find that her Step-son/Brother-in-law gave the information and it was incorrect. James was found in Southern Missouri working for a coal camp in 1900. They were just separated by necessity.
There is still a lot of mystery surrounding this small branch of my tree but I know if I stay diligent I will continue to fill in those little blanks a little at a time. Unfortunately this is not how I typically do things. I prefer the “bulldoze your way through” method. I guess I am learning patience.
I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.: