Wednesday, September 5, 2018
Got Something From a Go-To Place
When researching our ancestors, what do most people do but pursue their family history via the many online resources now available to us. So, to find out what I could about Rachel Webb, the woman in the abandoned photograph from the antique shop in northern California, of course I checked what documents I could find, thanks to Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org.
There is, however, one other go-to spot I keep on my must-see genealogy list: Find A Grave.
Fortunately, I found a memorial for Rachel Webb almost immediately. While it was great to find her listing, that also presented another twist. Rachel's memorial at Find A Grave includes a photo—a photograph different from the one I rescued in Sonora.
The catch was: the details were so tiny, I couldn't determine whether it was a picture of the same woman as the one I was looking for.
Again, there was a way through this dilemma. The volunteer who created the memorial happened to mention that the picture was "graciously provided by Cathleen."
I fervently hoped that either the Find A Grave volunteer was a Webb family member, or that this person could at least put me in touch with the source of the photo. I just had to see the face on this photo up close.
Rachel, as it turned out, was not buried far from her Chicago home. If you remember the map I posted the other day, showing her address in the Chicago area known as Evergreen Park, you'll realize the green area on the map, just north of her home, is actually a cemetery: Evergreen Cemetery. And that, shortly after September 4, 1930—now eighty eight years ago—is where the Webb family buried her.
Seeing that too-small picture, I decided to send a message to the Find A Grave volunteer, in hopes of seeing a bigger version of the photo.
I wrote. And waited.
Meanwhile, I was back to researching everything I could find on Rachel Webb and her family. After all, I'm quite curious to learn how a hundred-year-old photograph of a Chicago woman ended up in a small town in the northern California foothills.
About the time I followed the trail of each of Rachel's daughters and their descendants—finding nothing besides a couple weak leads to southern California—I stumbled upon several family trees at Ancestry containing Rachel and Francis Webb. Then, not on the links provided by the search engine at Ancestry, but by following links of links, I ran across the very photo I had seen on Find A Grave.
There is something important about provenance to a genealogist. Thankfully, Ancestry provides a way—though not a foolproof one—to ascertain just which subscriber was the first one to post the picture. For that first listing, a fair guess would be to assume the source of the photo has been determined.
In finding that earliest post, I noticed something special about the name of the provider. The subscriber's first name just happened to be spelled the same way as that of the person who graciously allowed the same image to be shared on Find A Grave.
It wasn't long after I sent a message, via Ancestry, to this subscriber when I received my request: an enlarged copy of the photo I had found on Find A Grave. Take a look for yourself and see if it isn't one and the same as our Rachel.
Better yet, the source for this photograph—not to mention the well-researched tree, itself—is actually a great-great granddaughter of Rachel and Francis Webb.
Above: Photo of an eighteen year old Rachel Lewis, not long before her 1856 marriage to Francis Webb in Marshall County, Indiana. Permission to include this photo here kindly granted by Cathleen, Rachel's great-great granddaughter.