Despite demonized online genealogical sites these past few days, barring me from seeking the answer to one small research quandary—what, exactly, was the name of Kelly family descendant Ella Creahan’s second husband—I can’t say the time was passed without any light notes. Social media was abuzz with complaints over loss of access at Ancestry.com and related sites Find A Grave and Rootsweb.com, but some took the inconvenience with a measure of grace. Diana Haddad of Family Tree Magazine's blog Genealogy Insider summarized the best of the wry, smile-inducing observations regarding the denial of service attacks suffered by these companies in her post yesterday.
Hopefully, the tumult has subsided and those of us not spirited away by World Cup fanaticism can resume a measure of normalcy—which, in many cases, means getting back to some serious genealogy research.
As I mentioned yesterday, uncovering two dissimilar surnames for Ella Creahan’s second marriage—added, of course, to her first married name rendered alternately as Fulk and Faulk—got me curious. Which was the right rendition? I thought a visit to Find A Grave might resolve the Fulk versus Faulk question, if not provide clues to the second marriage’s struggle between records claiming the name was Timmons versus Tumison.
I had already attempted finding mentions for either surname via the Indiana GenWeb index for the local newspaper in Lafayette, Indiana, where Ella had, for most of her life, lived. Strangely, though the index ranges from 1902 through 1952, I couldn’t find reasonable possibilities for any of these surnames.
Find A Grave, which had stubbornly resisted my attempts to gain entrance for two whole days, finally produced a few hints. The first was the entry for Ella’s first husband, Homer Fulk—yes! It was Fulk—which corroborated his date of death as April 10, 1892. Taking a closer look at that entry, I thought the grave location looked familiar, so I checked back at Ella’s own Find A Grave entry. Remember, I had presumed she was buried in her parents’ family plot, since the grave location seemed to match. As it turned out, both she and Homer were buried at the same location in Saint Mary’s Cemetery in Lafayette.
So what about that second husband—Scott, whose surname was transcribed as Tumison for an index to the Tippecanoe County marriage records, but listed in the 1900 census as Timmuns? What was available on Find A Grave for him? After all, beyond that 1900 census, I couldn’t find any further sign of him in either version of his name.
There was a Scott Timmons listed in Find A Grave, but I can’t entirely be sure it is the same person as Ella’s Scott. For one thing, there is no entry for the date of birth of the one candidate that came up in the search results. A second item is that his record notes that he died, not in the city where he was buried, but across the state in Fort Wayne. Finally, his was not a burial in the local Catholic cemetery. This Scott Timmons died June 11, 1926, at the age of sixty one—making this a possibility—and was laid to rest in Spring Vale Cemetery.
There is, of course, one remedy to this puzzle. Remember, Ella’s own obituary was published back in the Monroe County newspaper in her first husband’s hometown, Bloomington. That’s the home of that nifty library which provides copies of obituaries for a modest service charge. Noting how quickly they turned around my last request, I suspect we will have the answer to these questions in a matter of only a few more days—as long as the library’s servers have not been attacked by the same high tech plague assaulting those others of our favorite online genealogy resources.