Thursday, August 29, 2019

Following a Different Line

As we learn more and more about the family represented in several century-old photographs abandoned in a northern California antique shop, it becomes clear that finding a descendant to whom we can bestow these treasures is still challenging. We know the pictures are connected to the family of Samuel and Annie Tucker of Oregon, but despite boasting a large family, the Tuckers have not gifted us with a simple path from these great-great grandparents to the present.

It already appears we may not find any living descendant of eldest son James Tucker's only child. There are, however, seven other siblings whom we can attempt tracing. Going in order, the next oldest child would be the Tuckers' daughter Eva. Let's see what can be discovered about her—and her descendants.

According to the 1900 census, Eva was born in March of 1887, back in Illinois, before the Tucker family moved first to Nebraska, and then completed the trip all the way to Oregon before 1900. Though she and her younger sister Maud—whom we've already met—were so close in age, in their family photograph it still looks pretty clear whom we can identify as the oldest of the two girls.

By December 14, 1905, Eva had married a man by the name of Robert Francis Rawlins. While the marriage index gives very little information about Eva's husband, we learn from the 1910 census that he was working as an electrician in Spokane, Washington.

We also learn from that 1910 census that its enumerator had horrible handwriting—particularly frustrating in that it bars us from understanding where this Robert Rawlins came from. From what we can decipher from the census, he was an immigrant to the United States, claiming an arrival in 1904. His country of origin was somewhere in the English-speaking world, though the transcriber of the original document interpreted the scrawl to state, "Austria."

One other detail we could determine from that 1910 census was that Robert was almost ten years older than his bride—perhaps leading to the situation Eva found herself in, not much later, in which she and her young son Francis were left without him at his passing in 1918. Though there was no photograph accompanying his Find A Grave memorial, a volunteer gave Robert's place of birth as Grafton in New South Wales, Australia—thus, if correct (though unsourced), solving the mystery lingering from that 1910 census entry.

Thus, young Francis was left fatherless at about ten years of age—and widow Eva soon did what many women did in such a situation: remarry. That's when we realize that, once again, this family has crossed paths with names we've already researched in this quest to reunite abandoned family photographs with their subjects' descendants.

Above: Say, where? Excerpt from the 1910 U.S. Census for Spokane, Washington, showing the line items on left column for place of birth for Robert, Eva, and Francis Rawlins; the upper line is difficult to interpret (Aut? Ata?) for Robert's place of origin. Image courtesy


  1. Perhaps the enumerator could not spell -either of them -so we are left to find our own words......

    1. Fortunately, with so many resources now at our fingertips, we have ways to work around such dilemmas!


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