Monday, September 5, 2022

Chasing the Wandering Immigrant's Story


Happy Labor Day! If you were expecting a post today about the history and importance of Labor Day—or even a discussion of how my ancestors once celebrated the day in its nascent years—I'm afraid today will disappoint you. If, however, you realize that planting such a pre-recorded episode here so I could be out enjoying the holiday with current family would be the perfect blogging strategy, think again; today's expected highs should spiral above one hundred ten degrees around here. I'll likely be hunkered down in an air-conditioned corner, scouring online resources for missing ancestors—and hoping we don't experience a power failure.

The search is on to locate documents to verify the wandering immigration story of James Murdock, successful businessman of Lafayette, Indiana—and, conveniently, brother-in-law to my husband's second great-grandfather John Stevens. See? In-laws can be useful for some things. (Can you tell the heat brings out the snarky side of me?)

Theoretically, we should be able to find documentation of James' parents, John and Sabina Murdock, in each of the places recorded in James' biographical sketch in one of those ubiquitous volumes published around the late nineteenth century. That means there should be some paperwork with their names in Wayne County, Indiana. And Vermillion—wherever that is. (County? City?) Some place in New York state might chime in with a record or two, although hope of finding the right Murdock family within a state the size of New York may be a daunting task. And finally, there might even be some sign that the Murdocks did indeed land first in Canada.

Now do you see why it might be a good thing that this holiday has been coupled with a weather report like this heat wave? I'll need every single roasting hour of it to pore over all those records. And you know how boring a recitation of such reading can become; hence I'll spare you the sausage-making aspect of genealogy.

In the meantime, another question just hit me full in the face: what about Sabina? There is one particular fact about James' mother that has me wondering about possible family connections. But before I can deal with that question, first I'll need to explain some details about Sabina. We'll spend some time tomorrow to introduce Mrs. Murdock.

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