We have a house full tonight. My youngest son's children have a day off tomorrow so they are spending the night. I have a five year old and six year old sleeping in my guest room and a two year old asleep in a pack and play in my bedroom. Tomorrow morning a first grader and a third grader will be here at 7:00 a.m. for breakfast before they get on the bus and another two year old will drop by around 7:20 a.m. to spend the rest of the day while mom is at work.
What am I doing? Staying up all night chasing those leaves on Ancestry.
My great grandmother is one of a large family of semi literate farmers. The inconsistent spelling of all their names is a challenge. When I began doing genealogy, my favorite thing was that every single piece of paper or document I found for my great grandmother had a different spelling of her unique name. I have branched out into her brothers and sisters.
To further complicate matters, the handwriting and spelling on our county records prior to 1900 is pretty interesting, too.
There were at least six daughters in this family that I have found county birth records (this was before birth certificates). The four I am struggling with are Ella (1863), Ida (1864), Eda (1868) and Edith (1869). It isn't just me that is confused by the similar names. The website and other subscribers are mixing them up or combining them, too. I am positive these are four sisters with different birth years. They are listed on census records together as children and I have found marriages for Ella, Ida, and Edith. But what happened to Eda (sometimes Ada)?
Eda was 12 years old on the 1880 census. Unfortunately the 1890 census is the one that burned. She may have already been married by then. Or deceased. I have spent the night reading her sister's obituaries for clues. They mention three other siblings (all leave out the baby boy who was born in 1867 that must have died shortly after birth) and information on the other sisters, but not Eda. Eda must have proceeded them in death. I cannot find a marriage record in our county for her - but boy, I came close! I have been searching for Eda for a while.
Tonight I thought I found her! Unfortunately I made several mistakes, the first being that I am up too late for this type of investigation. I found a marriage record for "Ada" to a Mr. Smiley. My Eda would have only been 12 years old, but that could have happened in this family (my great grandmother married at 15). Her father did sign the license that she was underage. Mr. Smiley did not have a first name, only initials, C. A. I looked for him everywhere. I did find two references in Ohio newspapers around this time period, but they were quite the distance from here. I also looked in nearby states. Where did he come from and where did he go? I searched obituary lists for him. Nothing.
Finally I got out the paper and pencil (why do I try to use the internet for everything? I do not have an internet brain). And, wait. The wedding month and year are the same as her older sister Ida's. And Ida's husband's name is Charles A. And his last name does start with an S. And, I guess if you were sounding it out and mumbling and spitting, you could turn it into Smiley.
So my marriage register for Ada and C. A. Smiley was actually the marriage registration for Ida and Charles S*****y. In my defense, because this is such a dumb mistake and time waster, all the other trees I have seen for Ada and Charles have them marrying in a nearby county, not this county. My brain is just fried. And I still don't know what ever happened to poor Eda.
Now it is 1 a.m. and in six hours I need to feed breakfast to six children and a grandfather and then spend nine hours trying to entertain four grandchildren aged 6 and under.
I guess I will do what I should have done a few hours back and go to bed.
* Have I gone to bed? Of course not. I suddenly remembered the gravestone transcriptions for our county which are online. I went through all the spellings of the last name (5) and found a stone in a small country cemetery with a few of these family members. And I am keeping in mind that this family is scattered across a few of these small cemeteries in that area. There is a small stone that says "E. T." which would be her initials as well as a ton of other people's initials. There is no date or any other inscription at all. I do not believe there are any records for this cemetery either. I sure hope this isn't all I can find. And I hope that I will really give up for now and go to bed.