Wednesday, November 18, 2015

It's not good enough!

I had a really helpful and cheerful person in the Oakland, California, area work with me over the past couple weeks to figure out if the Mary Davis Nickerson in his cemetery was mine or not. There was already a photo of her headstone on So he very helpfully (cough) took a high-res photo of it, after he (with my help) found it. I guess he thought that's what I wanted, despite what I told him.

I thanked him and told him I appreciated his trouble and his work, but mentioned that I needed some information about that woman, so I'd know it was my relative.

His comment was: What are the odds that there would be another Mary Davis Nickerson in this county? And my thought was: Do you know how common those names are? Mary? Davis? and Nickerson? Really. California had five million people in it in 1927, when (we think) she died.

He really *was* as helpful as he could be, but just matching a name is not good enough.

I come from a family with a common name, too, and it's not good enough. I could tell that boy stories to curl his hair about names repeating down the generations until your eyes cross and you stutter just talking about them all.

Also, no researcher worth her salt would accept "Oh it must be her" as good enough. For pity's sake.

So I'm still on the trail of Mary.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Bits and bobs of hunting the fam

I am currently on the track, I hope, of a great-great-aunt's final resting place. She is the only one in her family to leave our home state, and the only one to not be buried here.

Unfortunately, she has a very common name, Mary Nickerson, and about six of them died in California in her same time frame. But I'm tracking down the matter of IF the one I'm chasing is actually my relative, by pestering (oh very politely) the funeral homes and the cemeteries involved. By the way, the Nickersons seem ALL to be from Massachusetts.

In other news, I've found that the website Findagrave dot com has been helpful, but has missing information in this case. I had no idea anyone was ever buried without a birth date OR a death date! Why?

Once I realized that Findagrave is a wiki, I began connecting family "dots" to one another. That's rather fun. I added a life story in one case, to an uncle, and an obit, in another case.

Some kind person responded to a request for a photo for another relative, upon the posting of the photo of the tombsone, I also found out that this person has a less-than-accurate birth date on the tombstone.  As a newbie, I can only assume that wrong dates are much more common than I had imagined.

When a death occurs, questions are asked and answered, and sometimes the information is just in error.

AND I found Nun's name in a diagram of the family cemetery. Haven't found out yet if he's really there, but why else would his name be on that map? Questions, questions!