Favourite mystery in your tree?
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I've an ancestor named Esther Christener who is said (a story passed down in the family) to have been related to British royalty, but ran away with a young servant named John Carter (no, not the one from Mars, lol) when she was still a teenager. They emigrated to Canada around 1820, her family having threatened to retrieve her if they ever found her. I have no idea whether to trust her maiden name or not - or whether to trust this story about her or not!
She consistently responded to the Canadian census with information that her mother was born in Canada, her father in the United States (which would make him a United Empire Loyalist), but I can't find any record about Christeners in the province of Ontario at that time that fit.
I've looked all over for their names on passenger lists, etc. I'm plagued by the thought that if the story's true, they could have used assumed names so it's basically hopeless. If the story isn't, I've got some plain facts about where her parents were born and their last name, but they don't lead anywhere. It's a dead end either way so I should just leave it be, and yet I can't seem to give up on it.
His wife emigrated to Sydney, New South Wales from Cornwall in 1941 and lived there until a month before their wedding in 1949 .. I have a record of her sailing to Adelaide to be married.
I don't know where he came from, where he worked or how he met her; I just can't get any information at all. He is the mystery man of my family tree. I have scoured Ancestry.com and I have scanned the archived newspapers and what shipping lists I can; there is no mention at all.
The second mystery is new and I hope is resolved soon. I just learned that my second cousin three times removed married a man with the same last name as one of my childhood friends. I should say our, my brothers and sisters included, second family. Their last name is not very common so I think that there is a chance that we are, distantly, related.
His name was Edward Williams; that's just the second most common Welsh surname. The most likely US Census that he could be on is the burned 1890 census and state marriage/divorce records don't begin until 1906, long after he disappeared.
It you haven't yet discovered Genealogy.com I'd recommend it. There are boards for most countries and also for surnames. It is a bit hard to navigate until you know your way around but worth the effort. The Australian board is very active and helpful but I haven't much experience with the other community boards there.
Don't give up on your Edward Williams; with the help of a half-third cousin whom I met along my search we found our common great grandfather, Edward Davies, in Wales so it is possible but I would suggest buying a month's worth of access to Ancestry.com. Good luck ...
Thank you very much for the suggestion. I know Edward is out there somewhere and if I can find him I might find a whole new branch of the family as well. I have often wondered if he had a second family in Wales.
Sometimes it takes a long time to track down a missing person but it can happen. Last year a third cousin I had never heard of before contacted me after finding my great-grandfather on Find A Grave. She sent me her research proving the relationship to the family even though it was "irregular" but she is definitely related. I was able to give her 200+ years of family history going back to Nottingham, England. That sort of thing is half the fun of genealogy.
If you can get your tree onto the internet all manner of information surfaces; I was contacted by a third cousin who had been fostered out and took the name his foster parents gave him. He was looking for his father and found my family tree and contacted me. I was able to put him in touch with much closer family than I was and they were thrilled to discover another cousin.
The Davies family all seemed to have multiple partners - there was even a touch of bigamy in that line. As I said, my mother's family ...
The newspaper records in my home town mention several Germans being taken away to internment camps but don't give names, grrr! Very frustrating.
I can't find him listed on any of the records of immigrants from Germany or Eastern Europe; I know he was born about 1870 but he could have come over anytime between then and 1898. His father's name was Joseph but there's no record of his arrival in England either. It's like he suddenly materialised in Lancaster and married my g-grandmother!
The weird thing is I was brought up by my grandmother who was his daughter but at no time did she mention that her father was German...maybe she was ashamed to be related to the enemy!
This might be your chap: http://www.gedbas.genealogy.net/person/show/1123159544
His name is Julius Braun, he was born 1878 (so he would have been 20 when he got married), and his father's name is Josef/ph. I checked his place of birth; there is a Frauenburg in Austria, but given that all the places on the mother's side are located in former Eastern Prussia / today's Poland, it seems more likely that there was another Frauenburg around there.
I know he was Catholic, that's why Bavaria and Wurttemburg are indicated, also the fact that he was a pork butcher. In the UK, nearly all pork butchers were German and hailed from Wurttemburg.
His wife Susannah was CofE so their children were brought up as Catholic but very unusually when they reached school-leaving age they were allowed to choose whether to continue as Catholics or follow their mother into the Anglican church - hence my grandmother and my part of the family are Cof E but many of my cousins are Catholic. Julius got excommunicated due to his liberal stance!
rfb, I know Julius was 28 when he married (marriage cert) so it's unlikely that your Julius is him but thanks for looking and I'll do some research re Frauenburg.
I have considered that Julius's family may have gone on to the US, leaving him behind for some reason. There was a scam used by the captains of the ships taking emigrants from Germany, they landed people at UK ports, telling them they had arrived in America. Since most of the emigrants had no English they were none the wiser and by the time they found out the ship would have sailed on.
Also, the cheap way to get to the US was to travel to England landing on the east coast, then walking overland to Liverpool to board the ship to America. Many people didn't realise how far it was and decided to stay in England, or perhaps didn't have the cash to pay the fare. Julius may have got separated from his family or chosen to stay here.
One interesting thing - my grandmother thought he was from Yorkshire, according to her he had a very strong Yorkshire accent. You don't acquire that as an adult so probably he came to England as a young child and lived in Yorkshire before moving to Lancaster.
Another point - a German friend told me that Germans often use their second name as their everyday name, their first name is only used on formal occasions. So if Julius is his second name that may explain why he's difficult to track down.
If he was catholic, it's probably unlikely that he was from Eastern Prussia, you would then rather expect him to be Lutheran, except if he also had Polish roots. Typical catholic regions also include Saxony and Rhineland (around Cologne).
> second name: That was typically the case when the first name was Johann (and Anna, Maria or Johanna for women). In any case, I would expect all names (or at least the first name + the name the person goes by) to be listed on official documents.
After going back and looking closely at the sources I realized that there were two John Christian Herringtons from Harrison County Kentucky. One served in the Army of the North and one road off with Morgan’s Raiders in service of the rebels. The discharge papers I have are from the Army of the North but a handwritten note, in red ink, says that an application for a pension was denied because this was the second Herrington. Did both John Christian Herringtons from Harrison County, Kentucky apply for a pension with the same paperwork?
I know that my dad’s paternal side fought for the Union and long suspected that his maternal side were rebel sympathizers, his father’s given name is Sherman Lee, after two opposing generals. I am sure I want to get the service records for both J C Herringtons and look for a common ancestor named John Christian Herrington. Still, I am not sure what will tell me for sure which J C Herrington is truly my ancestor.
The other line is at the other end of the social spectrum - a family with a criminal bent. There are records of my director ancestor Thomas Arment from the 1841 census in London until he and his son, Thomas, were nabbed for receiving stolen goods in 1849. (Son Thomas was transported to Australia but father Thomas didn't last long enough, he died on a hulk shortly after he was incarcerated). But where did Thomas Arment come from before he ended up in the Big Smoke and what was his wife Sarah's maiden name?
All these Thomases, it's enough to make my head hurt!
We could be related to:
Sir Francis Drake
Still searching some archives, but my mother's side might have a link back to William Wallace (Irish clan that fought with him at Falkirk, I think? As I said, still researching that one.)
Plus, my surname has both English and Welch roots. So finding the proper lineage is proving difficult, since one of the many birth records locations burned in the 1300s.
I sent for a copy of their marriage license from the New Jersey State Archives and only had to wait three weeks. It turns out Edward was living in New Jersey at the time and so was my great-grandmother Alice. I suspect they were living together because (surprise #2) the marriage date is almost two months after my grandmother was born.
Anyway I now know his father was Peter Williams and that his mother's maiden name was also Williams. New Jersey didn't require the mother's first name back in 1891. So now I can start looking in Wales.
Short of DNA testing I will never know and unless anyone but me bothers to decipher a handwritten will with no capital letters or punctuation, no-one will ever suspect, but for the sake of future generations I feel obliged to at least acknowledge the possibility.
I note that Ancestry and its various subsidiaries are offering some online training in Native American research. This seems to be some kind of webinar with 100 people per scheduled session in the next week or two. The cost is about US$40.
I was mildly interested because there are supposed to be a couple Native Americans in my lines but the traditional sources have made it quite difficult to uncover the clues necessary.
Genealogy, for every answer, you get new questions! :)