Thursday, July 20, 2023

The Dog Ate my Research


Today might have been the day I posted about finding Will Nellis and Kathy Flanagan, the two unexplained subjects of a photograph found in the papers of Agnes Tully Stevens. And I am working on finding those two somewhere in Chicago.

My goal had been to look for Will under either the spelling of Nellis or Nelles, since the handwriting wasn't clear on the photograph's inscription. While there were a few possibilities—ranging from birthplace in Ireland to Canada to Illinois to, of all places, in Germany—none of them struck me as strong leads. Forsaking that effort, I tried my hand at looking for baby Kathy Flanagan, with similarly lackluster results. I even tried looking for marriage records intersecting the two surnames, all to no avail. Perhaps the best way to sum this all up is to pull out the old, sorry, childhood excuse: the dog ate my homework.

Well, that is not entirely untrue. There is a dog. And he has taken up a large chunk of my day, lately. Our family somehow inherited him during the Fourth of July fireworks mania, which must have terrified the poor animal, who then ran scared until he jumped the fence into the yard of the friend whose house and dog my daughter has been watching while he is on vacation. Rather, I should say that the dog adopted us. 

While quite a handsome animal, quick to learn and sweet tempered, he has not been an easy subject for adopting out, so to manage two German Shepherds at the same time—the friend's dog and this new "foster" dog—I've been driving into town to help with daily dog walking the other end of a twenty minute commute. That easily eats a morning's worth of research time, alone.

Meanwhile, though stymied by the Nellis and Flanagan puzzle, during my "spare" time, I did happen to run into a few other details which make me determined to follow this Flanagan connection even more. I am beginning to wonder whether my father-in-law's ancestors were conducting an early version of a One-Name Study for Flanagan, or whether there truly were other family members by that name. We'll take a look at two more Flanagan stories next, while in the background, I'll keep grinding away at finding an answer to the Nellis and Flanagan photo.

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