20 Nov 2012

free wi-fi, very tasty loose ends, but too much beach glare

It couldn't be more perfect.  It's November, and I have a paid job which effectively means I am the only person anywhere near the beach in this wonderful Eurasian seaside location.  It's hot, the waves are moving in synchrony with the palm trees and the white-washed walls of a carefully preserved hotel are easing my lower back as I pen these words.
I owe various Wi-Fi hotspots a great debt of gratitude for allowing me to plumb the wonderful new databases now online these past few months.  I have interesting lines of family history enquiries in the States, Australia, Cornwall, Devon, Ireland and elsewhere to mine.  I am only a few clicks away from my preferred action point - sticking a letter in the mail.
But I cannot summon up the will to 'finish the business'.
Some examples of the juicy loose ends I've not tracked:
* Frances Louise Dixon, who died at Crossville Tennesee a farmer's widow in 1931 and whose death certificate not only names the mother (born 1814 England) but it's all been indexed as well.  Will I find a country singer or two among her descendants I wonder.
* Mary Rapson, the much ignored half-aunt of my ancestors (one of whose samplers we have), who predeceased both her parents, but not before she took over the linen works at Trannack Mills, Sithney, Cornwall.  And whose grandson rebirthed himself as a successful Devon farmer, yards away from the Crediton smallholding where I first learnt the magic of the farming cycle, some years later...
* Robert Harding, who slips through all the cracks but turns up in 1911 with a birthplace of Oughterard, Galway.  You can only find him on the familysearch database if you are searching for 'born Ireland'.  He has to be one of my tribe and his Brixton-reared offspring have me on the run.  Also his brother Edward, whose family hopscotched around the marriage records here and in Eire.
* E D Scott, who supplied uniform to the Yankees in the Civil War of 1862.  His diaries are at Duke University, in one of the Carolinas.  And the 1940 census shows his only grandchild in tornado-strewn Ladysmith Wisconsin.  I bet there's some stories there for the asking.
* RWF, my relative who left his wife and family in Illinois for a new life with a very different partner in Anchorage Alaska.  His daughter appears in the 1940 census for Washington state, and thanks to findagrave, I can easily spot her grandchildren in the telephone directory.  What's holding me back....

Somehow the prevalence of sunshine is keeping me away from family history.  But like all great addictions, it's going to come back in full force, most probably when I get back in England.  As Mary Queen of Scots said when she landed at Leith to a cold Scottish people in 1561, 'the best is yet to come'.

And I have a great project for the new year, assuming there'll be any time at all...

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