Monday, November 24, 2014

Doniciana and Doniciano-The Disappearing Twins

On 21 August 1881, Salome (Gonzalez) Gonzalez my 2nd great grandmother gave birth to her 9th and 10th children.  It is amazing the size of families our ancestors created, but to imagine having natural twins that far down the birth order in 1881 is incredible.  Luckily, in a time of high mother and infant mortality, she survived that birth and lived to be at least 83 years old.

When their father Nestor went to record the births in the Civil Register of Births for Santander Jimenez, Tamaulipas, they are named Doniciana and Doniciano. [1]

I had been combing the birth records of this town building this family tree.  Every time I added an addition name, I would then search for other marriage and death records trying to build out their lives. 

But the twins disappeared.  It was difficult enough to come up with either a Doniciana or Doniciano Gonzalez in records, let alone, finding good candidates based on birth year.  Sadly I assumed they had died young, so I combed the death records for the date directly following their births.  Nothing!  I was relieved but frustrated.  I moved on. 

Months later, I realized I had missed a whole set of baptism records.  Not that I was looking for one person in particular for I would spend hours in front of the computer reading records, page by page.   One night, while reviewing these missed records, I came across another set of twins for Salome and her husband Nestor.  They were named Maximiana and Maximiano.  How cute; but another set of twins for this poor woman!!

As I went about recording their baptisms, I was struck by the year.  The baptism record indicated the birthdate of the twins; it was the same birthdate as Doniciana and Doniciano.[2]

No wonder I could not find anything else out about them. Had they change their names or did the person recording their births get it wrong?  

Not that I am absolutely sure I found them in adulthood.  But that is another story.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Clementina Cross d. 1874 b. 1875 - How does that work?

From time to time I come across family records that can be confusing.   My great grandmother Clementina Maud (Cross) Page was born in Walberswick, Suffolk, England on 16 Dec 1875.  She was the daughter of Benjamin Cross and Rachel (Howard) Cross.

When I first started researching this line, I had plenty of records to indicate my g-grandmothers birth year. Imagine my surprise when she started showing up in the 1861 and 1871 England census. [1]

Or was it really her?

I assumed that there was in fact another Clementina Cross.  An obviously older sister.  I assumed that she had died at a young age, but had been unable to find a record to prove that point.

Tonight, I finally came up with a reference to her death.  In the England & Wales BMD death index, her death was recorded the 3rd quarter of 1874.[2]  I will now have to order that death certificate and see if it better explains her fate.

My g-grandmother was born year and a half later.[3]

Wouldn't it be strange to be named after a dead sibling?  Living in a household called by the same name as a sister that had been around for 15 years previous to you.

Interestingly, I believe I have found evidence of this practice on my Mexican side as well.

While I am sure that this was done to honor the dead, it's an interesting tradition that seems to have fallen away in our current culture.

Thankfully in my opinion.

[1] England 1861, Class: RG 9; Piece: 1179; Folio: 83; Page: 10; GSU roll: 542769.
{2} England & Wales, Free BMD Death Index, 1837-1915, 1874, 3rd quarter, Blything, Suffolk, 4a, 394
[3] England & Wales, Free BMD Death Index, 1837-1915, 1875, 4th quarter, Blything, Suffolk, 4a, 75

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Cleaning My Tree

When I first started this project, my aunt on my mother's side, gave me a lot of her previous research. Amongst the documents were many birth and death records she had retrieved from various record offices when she visited England.

In my overzealous state to "digitize everything" I scanned them on my home scanner.  The problem is my scanner bed was too small for many of the older records.  It would cut some of the edges off. At the time this obviously didn't concern me too much.  I just loaded up in my tree.

This is the record of my great uncle Albert's death in 1937.   As you can see the right edge is cut off.

I decided that this just wasn't good.  As I have mentioned before, I have been spending more time lately cleaning up my tree rather than adding to it.  So, I went to the local office store and handed over a stack of oversized documents and had them scanned.  Here is the difference.

Much better.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Dia De Los Muertos

Day of the Dead.

Since today is the traditional day to celebrate Dia de los Muertos, I thought I would write a post about one of my new obsessions

From their website "Find a Grave's mission is to find, record and present final disposition information from around the world as a virtual cemetery experience."[1]  The good news about Findagrave is they have members that are prolific "gravers."  Gravers will go through cemeteries and record as many interments as they can find.  Therefore, you may come across the grave of a relative that is under the management of someone not related to you.

Apparently I joined Findagrave about 11 months ago.   I know this because when I sign in, it tells me how long I have been a member.  I really didn’t get into it until about 2-3 months ago.  

I started becoming more involved once I asked to transfer management of my grandmother’s Raquel Gonzalez’s memorial to my account.[2]  They do not recommend gathering your families’ memorials to your care unless you are going to remain involved and create “meaningful and accurate” memorials.  So with transfer of comes responsibility.  The general rule to ask for transfer of management is “Transfer requests should be for direct relatives within four generations. This would be your siblings, parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.”[3]

I later found my grandfather, g-grandfather and aunt's graves under someone else’s management, so I asked for those transfers too.  They were all buried in a family plot together. I was on my way to being hooked.  You can link graves for spouses and parents to children.  I decided I was going to do my best to reunite as much of my family as I could. 

I have done a pretty good job of finding my great and great grand aunts and uncles.  Since you cannot link siblings directly, you really want to have parents to bring a family together.   If, after a diligent search, I cannot find someone I am looking for, I will add them myself if I know the information.   My information tends to come from death certificates, but remember they may not be accurate.

I have found is that the cemeteries in Mexico are greatly lacking in participation.  Whereas you may be able to find the cemetery’s name already in the database, there are rarely the number of graves entered as you will find in US cemeteries.  (FYI, the site has poor participation for Mexico records as well.)

I have added a couple of ancestors to cemeteries in Mexico.  I will do this only if the death record states where the body was buried.  If it doesn’t state it, I do not assume it!

I have been having a lot of fun, and have found it keeps me concentrated on more recent family rather than “seeing how far back I can go.”