Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Genealogy: Sometimes Outrageous
There I was, sitting at my desk, doing my usual DNA dash through the generations. This time, I was focusing on my mother-in-law's Flowers line. You know my usual routine: push back as far as I can in the generations, then map out the descendant lines for each of the children of that "founder" couple I had identified.
I had recently been working on two Flowers brother from that line who had married two Ambrose sisters. Joseph, my mother-in-law's direct ancestor, had married Elizabeth Ambrose—likely in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, sometime before the 1804 birth of her oldest son—while Joseph's brother, John Henry Flowers, had married Elizabeth's sister Susannah.
I had already worked the line down to the present for my mother-in-law's family—a tedious effort, considering this traditionally Catholic family dutifully produced about a dozen offspring per generation. But now, in an effort to document the possible cousin relationships for any upcoming DNA matches, I had begun the long slide toward the future with the line of Joseph and Elizabeth's siblings, John Henry and Susannah.
In turn, I took each of John Henry and Susannah's children, found documentation on their spouses and then their children. Then, for each of those children in birth order, I identified their spouses and children. With this routine, successive waves of research washed me up on the shores of the present, where I could also wade into corollary material, such as obituaries and other newspaper articles, bringing me in many cases right up to the current.
Emerging out of the 1800s and into the earliest data of the 1900s for one of these descendants, I happened to run into another Ancestry researcher who had attached not one, but several newspaper articles in that individual's file. I clicked over to take a look at these "hints."
Mind you, by now, I was working on a descendant of the oldest son of John Henry Flowers and Susannah Ambrose, named Matthias Flowers. He had married a woman of another surname which has become a familiar name in the Ohio county in which they settled, Perry County. Their oldest son James—at least the first one I could find—had, in turn, married another early Perry County resident, Mary Farley. In keeping with the character of that close-knit Perry County community, one of their daughters, Nora, had married a Perry County native with another of the longstanding Perry County surnames—Daugherty.
It was while researching this couple's descendants that I ran into the set of newspaper clippings that caught my attention. The eldest son of Lewis James Daugherty and his second wife, Nora Flowers, apparently left home and traveled far to the other side of the continent. Why he left his Ohio home, I can't yet say, but his departure must have been after the 1920 census—perhaps even following the 1922 death of his mother.
It wasn't until I found the newspaper clippings embedded among the hints for Arthur James Daugherty, fourth cousin to my mother-in-law, that I realized the reason why I couldn't find any marriage, census, or even death records for him in Ohio. He was now in southern California.
At least, that's where he was for the morning of April 30, 1927, when an event that sparked coverage across the state was summed up in the headlines from an unidentified newspaper at Ancestry: "Student Aviator Shot Down on Air Field at Gardena."
With an introduction like that, you know I had to take a closer look.