walkitout (walkitout) wrote,
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Great Uncle Elmer and Great Aunt Abby

I first learned about my Great Aunt Abby in a scanned newspaper clipping describing in exhausting detail (literally) my parents' wedding, the clothing, who cut the cake, blah, blah, bleeping, blah.

Who is "Aunt Abby"?

And so I went on a hunt for Aunt Abby, mostly by tracking the activities of the great-uncles who might have married her. First I had to realize that Elmer did _not_ marry Dolly (that was a completely different Elmer, which became readily apparent when closely inspecting the census that helpfully supplied mother's maiden name when Elmer was an adult). Now that I _didn't_ know where Elmer was in 1920 (and 1930), I had to figure out where he was. That led me to his Emergency Passport application at the American Embassy in London in 1920, when he really just wanted to get on a boat and go back home. What had he been doing for the last few years? He'd run away to join the army, and being too young to be accepted by the Americans he'd opted for the Australian Imperial Forces (I'm still waiting on their records on Uncle Elmer, purchased online through the Australian National Archives, which, incidentally, triggered fraud prevention on the credit card used).

After the war was over, he drove an electric streetcar for Belfast City Tramways. I've blogged about that.

Elmer next appeared on Abby Louise's application for naturalization in 1933, listing Elmer as her legal husband. Their marriage occurred in Montreal in 1927, which I tried to find through the Drouin collection, and mostly failed. It did not help that I had no mortal clue what Abby's maiden name was.

Today, I got to thinking. People forget all kinds of things, but they do not forget what year they were married in. And all kinds of transcription errors occur, but generally, the year the record was created is accurate. This was one of those rare instances where checking the "exact match" box made sense. And Drouin through Ancestry.com gave me one match that was obviously correct. Best of all, the handwritten marriage certficate (goddess love Quebecois record keeping, because no one else possibly could. _Handwritten_ in 1927. Seriously. WTF? They didn't have any civil anything until 1960.) included full address for Abby, her parents names (including mother's maiden), her parents address back in Belfast. Wow.

I was merrily filling in boxes, and checked the latest hint from ancestry, to discover it had her 1924 sailing. And _that_ has cousins in Montreal, which was her destination. Sweet.

It's not getting me any closer to finding out the kids's names, but that's okay. Maybe the fam will finally sit still long enough to be found in the 1940 census when it is released in 2013. Until then, I have lots of further avenues to pursue. . .

ETA: In the meantime, I was overjoyed to notice that I finally had the answer to what does Elmer's middle initial stand for. That name is _so_ conserved, I suspect it must be a maiden name somewhere up the tree. Which gives me another possibility for tracking earlier ancestry.
Tags: genealogy
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