Sometimes, a quest to discover more on an ancestor’s line not only finds a researcher coming up empty-handed, but burdened with more questions after the search than before beginning it.
Couple that challenge with some temporarily downed Internet resources for genealogical research, and those persistent questions just have to be set aside for another day.
I had run into some difficulties, once I had discovered that Michael Creahan of Lafayette, Indiana, had been married to a woman descending from our family’s Kelly line, trying to trace what had become of all the descendants. So far, I’ve documented my trails as I explored the family of Michael and Bridget Creahan’s daughter Anna. I’ve also begun a tally of findings for their older daughter, Ellen.
And then, suddenly, I couldn’t get on the Find A Grave site to confirm some details I was seeking. Compounding that issue, the next night’s research session found me wrestling with an uncooperative Ancestry.com—which, judging from their Twitter stream, had been experiencing technical difficulties of their own.
That, of course, leaves me unable to show you some other material I had found—indexed records containing abnormalities that were frustrating, at the least, and demanding corroboration of documentation at best.
What I can mention, while all research action online comes to a screeching halt, is that Iggy is on the right trail, with the information he shared in some comments yesterday. The 1900 census information he posted from Ancestry—if I can ever get on the site to check it out again—is very likely the same record I had located on FamilySearch.org.
The trouble with online access difficulties, when researching genealogy through sites like Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org, is that Ancestry would have allowed subscribers to view all the census details—like years of marriage and the mother’s number of children—while FamilySearch, depending on year of the census record, may or may not allow this more detailed view. Of course, right now, I can't tell what Ancestry's record shows because each attempt brings with it a frustrating error message. Perhaps, if I put this one to bed, I can hope the morning will bring better accessibility.
Fortunately, in general, in the case of the 1900 census, we can look—at both sites—at the details of the digitized record. In addition to the year of marriage for the former Ella Fulk (or Faulk), which Iggy had mentioned, we can see via FamilySearch.org that Ella claimed to be mother of only three children—all of whom were still living—thus confirming that all three of the Timmons children in the 1900 household were not Ella’s.
That presents some other research pursuits, for which the current online obstacles will keep us at bay. First is the question: why three Fulk children? The news report that Iggy had provided of Ella’s husband’s passing—Homer Fulk from Bloomington, Indiana—had indicated that the couple had had only two children. Which one of the three in the 1900 census wasn’t theirs? After all, Homer’s brothers had evidently predeceased him; perhaps one of these “children” actually called him “uncle” rather than “daddy.”
Another problem was the actual name of Ella’s second husband. Remember my mentioning, a while back, the spelling woes I had encountered in researching this Creahan line? One entry I had found yielded the spelling as Csehan—admittedly far afield from the other spelling variants, as well as one coming from the less reliable source of a transcribed index.
In that “Csehan” entry, the woman was listed as “Ella T. Faulk Csehan.” Why the Faulk before the Csehan? It makes it appear as if Csehan was her former married name, and that the correct maiden name was Faulk, not Crehan. If it weren’t for the corroborating facts of Ella’s parents’ names—Michael “Cseham” and Bridget Kelly—I might have lost confidence in this resource entirely.
Add to that loss of confidence the added difficulty of this husband’s name rendered as Scott W. Tumison—certainly not the Scott Timmuns that was provided less than a year later in the census record.
What I’d like to do—once everyone gets their websites up and running again—is search for the burial records for each of Ella’s husbands. I’m presuming I will find Homer Fulk’s burial information in Lafayette, Indiana, as he had died in that city, rather than in his hometown of Bloomington. But if so, why wasn’t Ella buried along with him? Understandably, if her second husband had been previously married, at his passing he would be buried with his first wife—but I’d still like to track that one down, too, if only to resolve what, exactly, his surname should be. There’s quite a difference between Timmuns and Tumison.
Then, for additional corroboration, I’d like to find further records on each of the children, mainly to confirm the parents’ names. After all, there is always that possibility that this isn’t the right Ella. I’d sure want to know that before pursuing this line any further—wouldn’t you?