I had been taking a break from genealogy. After a while you hit walls. Names begin to swim together. Dates become confused. Or at least this is how it works for me. But now I pulled my notes out and started looking into it again. A couple of things had improved for me.
The Old Fulton NY site had started indexing Buffalo newspapers for one. It’s got a horrible search interface, but I slogged through and began to clear up some mysteries.
On my mom’s side, I was even able to clear away a whole mess of people who it turned out we had no connection to.
And on my dad’s I began to strike pay dirt. His grandfather had a sister named Celia and I’d been working on and off with a couple of her descendants. We found obits and marriage announcements and began to figure out what was accurate and what the census takers had gotten wrong. In order to answer a few more questions, at a certain point, not that long ago, I ended up becoming a member of this large park-like cemetery in the center of my city so that I could look up their records online.
There were still a few large puzzles. I tried once again to figure out what had become of the elusive Uncle Bonnet and his daughters, Goldie, Ethel, and Dora. And I focused on my Grandma Jennie’s brothers. There were three: Abraham (Abbie), Nathan, and Lewis Schwartz. The only one I really knew anything about was Lewis and what little I had was sparse.
Most importantly I started looking at my source material with a fresh eye again (I am still doing this). Transcription mistakes were corrected and I began taking trips out to local cemeteries to take photos of graves. In addition to using the dates, I put them up on Find a Grave.
Mother’s day this year. It was rainy and windy, but I trooped out to the big cemetery again to look for the graves of some first cousins. It was nasty and miserable—you really start to rethink things when you’re on an exposed hill when there is lightning in the distance—but I finally found my people. I got what I came for and began heading for the car.
And then opposite to where I had been, I saw a tombstone for Nathan Schwartz.
Not daring to get my hopes up, I decided to take a picture. Worst case scenario, I’d put him up on Find A Grave—somewhere, someone would be looking for him. When I got home, I pulled up his burial permit on the cemetery site and sighed. He was not my great uncle. Rather he was the child of a Bennett Schwartz and a Rose Feldman.
I’m a librarian and I had this information so I put it all up on Find a Grave and then because I was feeling generous, I thought, let’s see if anyone has either this Nathan and/or his parents on Ancestry.com. I would pay it forward.
I found a couple of people and sent it off and didn’t think much more about it for an hour or so. Then after supper, I pulled out my mom’s notes and saw this:
To be continued . . .