Friday, July 20, 2012

Uncovering Hidden Branches

There have always been those tantalizing yet frustrating clues that there are more branches of the family tree than I can see from my present vantage point. As I near the final few items in the collection of personal papers from Agnes Tully Stevens—those last pieces that I still don’t know how to connect to the puzzle—I’m now sure those mysterious branches are indeed there.

My original goal, in starting out on this project after receiving this delightful stash last August, was to scan, organize, transcribe, and otherwise reshape this nondescript mass into material that can further my family history research. Putting it into a searchable format gave me a handle with which to organize and peruse the mess. Converting it to a digital form permitted me to preserve its current appearance and contents and also share it with others interested in these family lines. And yes, it helps me puzzle over those unconnectable names and—worse—maybe gives me some traction on identifying unnamed faces.

Many of the letters are now completely scanned, transcribed and awaiting the next step of being safely stored in an archival-quality storage container. For many of the photographs, this step will not come a minute too soon!

For some of the straggler items still awaiting my attention, though, I’m at a standstill, puzzling over how to handle them, categorize them, or do further research on them. Each, in its own way, has formed a brick wall.

Take this undated snapshot below. On the reverse, it has been carefully labeled “Coz Will Nevis + Kathy Flanagan.” I jump at the possibility of researching more Flanagans, that elusive branch of Agnes’ maternal grandmother’s line. There was another branch in Chicago—I know because of shadows and signs—but I can’t seem to find the smoking gun to provide adequate documentation. It will take lots of work delving into a time in Chicago history predating many civil records and, unfortunately, attempting a peek at private records before the Great Chicago Fire. Many of those records are non-existent at this time. I may never know about that branch of the Flanagan family.

As for the man listed in the photograph as Will Nevis, I’ve had no success finding any reasonable record that would not only identify a possible bearer of that name, but show the way which permits him to be called a cousin of anyone in this Tully family.

But for now—and fervently hoping a distant cousin online finds this helpful—at least I can add this one more picture to the stream of digital genealogical clues laid down over the last year via A Family Tapestry. 


  1. I think the name is Will Nellis. I saw a reference to a man with that name as a pastor at St. Mary's in Chicago c. 1917.

    Got bad wi fi connection. Might refind him later.

    1. Oh, dear...yesterday was a multi-tasking kind of day--and I can't walk and chew gum at the same time! Yes, it is Nellis. Thanks, Iggy, for correcting that for me. When I did the original search, I did look for Nellis, but no luck. Maybe this year with all the added resources online there will be some better leads.

  2. Ps the reference included upstate Michigan.

  3. Could "Coz" be short for "cousin?" Just a thought.

    1. Karen, that tantalizing "coz" is the carrot that keeps me following that stick! If only I could figure out who this "coz" is...I am not finding any likely suspects.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...