Friday, August 9, 2019

Learning More About Maud

In researching families with common surnames, we find ourselves double- and triple-checking details to make sure everything aligns correctly. There likely have been, for example, hundreds of Samuel Tuckers out there, adding to the challenge of determining whether we have selected the right identity for the abandoned family photograph I found in an antique shop in Sonora, California.

At the start, all we knew was that the Tucker family was in Wahoo, Nebraska, at least long enough to sit for their portrait at a photography studio in that location. By the time of the next census record—I was guessing this might have been the 1900 census—there was no Tucker family fitting the right description in the whole of Saunders County, let alone the county seat of Wahoo. That's when the hunt began for where Ralph, Jim, Eva, Maud, Frank, Elmer, and Annie Tucker went.

By the time of the 1900 census, a Tucker family including all those names did show up, but they weren't anywhere in Nebraska. In fact, they were half a continent away in Oregon, along with the patriarch of this family, whose name we learned was Samuel. Whether this was the same Tucker family as the one in the photograph from back in Wahoo, we're still pondering.

The past two days, we examined the possibility of whether a hint about Tucker son Frank—killed in World War I—confirmed we had located the right family. Today, we'll look at the second hint provided on the back of the photo. Whoever was kind enough to label the photo had noted, "Maud is Mom B's mother."

Well, there was a Maud in this Tucker family in Oregon, but that's not yet reason to shout the victory. During the decade in which this Maud Tucker was born—census records indicate she likely arrived in the late 1880s—at least 4,200 other girls were given the same name, putting the name Maud seventy-fourth in the top two hundred names for girls born in that decade, according to the "Popular Baby Names" page on the Social Security website. So there could feasibly be some other Maud Tuckers out there.

Let's see what else we can discover about this Maud. We've already learned that she married a man by the name of Burt Purkey, and that their family lived in Pocatello—just as the front page newspaper report of her brother Frank's death had affirmed. In fact, they were living in Pocatello back at the time of the 1910 census, showing us that Burt and Maud had three daughters. Would one of them turn out to marry a man whose surname begins with "B"?

The three Purkey daughters, according to this 1910 census, were named Evelyn, Dorothy, and Corinne. The oldest, Evelyn, was married in 1925 in Bannock County, Idaho, to a man named William Hillard. We can eliminate this couple from our search for "Mr. B."

The next Purkey daughter, Dorothy, also married in her home county, two years after her older sister's wedding. Like her sister, Dorothy married a man whose name did not qualify him as "Mr. B." either. Dorothy's groom was Sam Smith.

Fortunately, our third try produces a winner. At the end of 1929, and still in their home county of Bannock, youngest Purkey daughter Corinne married a man named Edward Brockman. Corinne, then—as long as we have the right Tucker family to begin with—would be the one who could qualify as "Mom B" in our photograph's label.

As it is, the more details that dovetail between what we can find of this Oregon Tucker family and the family who posed for their portrait back in Nebraska, the more likely we are to have identified the right family. This process may seem tedious, but remember here, we're talking about a surname that is very common in the United States. Introducing the additional restrictions of having to match multiple other requirements helps increase the certainty that we have located the right family.

Now that we have more information on just who Mom B was, next week we can look at a few other details that align nicely with this scenario. And then, we can start examining possibilities for returning this abandoned photograph home to family members.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...