Friday, February 25, 2011

Mary AND Her Daughter Make Me Contrary

For 2011 my genealogy goal was to find my great grandmother Mary.  I detailed in a post the challenges I was facing in finding information about her.  I had hoped, with all my focus on this one task, that I was going to be making quick progress where I hadn't before.  What is that saying about the best laid plans?? :)

With expectations of finding more details on Mary, I requested her daughter's (Una/Viola) birth certificate from Illinois.  No birth certificate was found.  I reviewed Una/Viola's funeral book again slowly, but there is not any mention of a mother, Mary or any father.

Lucky for me, Una/Viola died in Missouri and our Secretary of State's Office has death certificates from 1910-1960 available online for free.  Una/Viola died in 1960, so I was actually very lucky!  After downloading the certificate I started extracting the information it contained.  The parents are listed as Joseph Evingham and Martha Smith.  This was the first reference I had found of her father's name, that information by itself was exciting.  However, Martha Smith?  Smith?  Really?  Is Mary a common nickname for Martha?  I didn't think so and this now creates more questions.  Is the Mary listed in the census records with Una/Viola really Martha and is it a coincidence that the man listed as a servant has the last name of Smith?

I am now off to see what I can find about Joseph Evingham and Martha Smith in Ohio and Illinois.  I will also continue to research Una/Viola in an attempt to find more references to her parents.  The quest continues!!


  1. I think you are on to something, Jenna! I've been following your search for quite some time now and whenever I'm looking around in Nebraska resources, I'll include Evingham and Amherst in my searches, thinking I'll find something, too! You never know, another Map might show up!

    You're living out your real life episode of Who Do You Think You Are.

    And you WILL find everything. Eventually.

  2. It looks as if in your census above, the mother is using the Evingham name possibly indicating that Joseph has predeceased the census and her mother took a job as a hired servant.

    It could be possible to find the obit for Joseph indicating who his children were as well as his death certificate indicating wife's name. Also, you may find a will for him which will help to clear up some associations.

    This is so interesting!

  3. Mary is the head of the household, daughter is Una and servant is Charles. It's hard to tell if the marriage indicator is a M for married or a W for widow. On the next census she is definitely listed as a widow, so I do have a 10 year time span that he could have died in. I have a lot of records yet to search for. Thanks for your comments!

  4. Ugh. A Mary AND a Martha? AND Smith? I've got those too. Are you sure we aren't related? LOL. Just not the same locations. *sigh*