Saturday, October 16, 2010

Breaking through Brick Walls Part 3: Descendancy Research

Finding Uncle Claude

Part of the process I have learned when looking for descendants of my ancestors, is that you never know where they will pop up. Uncle Claude is a good example of that. I knew Uncle Claude existed. But I did not have any connection with his family and felt very hesitant to contact him. Plus I know he was born before 1930 as he was listed in the census and didn’t know how much help he could really be if he was still alive. Don’t every underestimate what an older relative can tell you!

One of the tasks I do with my Moore line is that I will do a “search” for my grandfather and his siblings. I know the word “search” takes in a variety of ways to go searching. Are you talking about Ancestry? Google? What are you talking about Laura? I search a few places for them about every four to six months.

One of the first places I search is Go to Family Trees | Search Family Trees. That easy, type in your names and see if you get any hits. This is a free site.

The second place I went to was You need an account on Ancestry, even if it is a free account. What I like to do for my favorite pay subscription sites is to join for a month at a time and rotate between my favorite sites. Go to Search | Public Family Trees and type in the names you are searching. I like searching for family trees because I can possibly find other cousins who have been bitten by the genealogy bug and have posted a tree. This is how I found Uncle Claude.

Every 4-6 months, I will type in my grandfather and his siblings to see if there is a tree that someone has posted and/or working on. I had done this a couple of times before and I admit it was frustrating not finding any strong leads. So imagine my surprise when I typed in Ellen Moore’s name, (yes my dear Aunt Ellen to the rescue again) and a tree pops up. The tree had three names, Ellen’s, her husband Claude, and their son Claude. There were some dates, but other than that, that was the tree. After doing my Snoopy Dance I emailed the owner of the tree. Her response to me was, “Who do you belong to?” I got a chuckle out of that line! We share the same Great Grandparents, Nathaniel Jackson and Minerva Cain Moore. Her father is Claude, and to me the cutest 93 year great uncle ever- Uncle Claude!

I immediately sent her what I had and we drew up plans to meet a day in June 2010. I admit I was nervous. I did not know if they would accept me or reject me as I feel I had been my entire life. Looking at Uncle Claude I could see the Moore in him, and I teared up. I never thought in a million years I would ever get to this point in my life where I would meet someone who could help me with my Moore Genealogy. Uncle Claude had stories, and names, and places. I could go back to look for the records and he was right on. What a great blessing to have an older relative that could pass on these stories to me and others so we can preserve them.

It was interesting talking to Uncle Claude because there were things I was able to tell him that he did not know. One was about my grandparents, his Uncle Vernon and Aunt Grace Moore. I asked him if he knew there were actually four children, he did not. I told him the story of how I came about Baby Grace’s death certificate and the story behind her death. He lightly wiped his eye and said, “I am sorry to hear that.”

Even though I had a good handle I felt on my grandfather and his siblings, Uncle Claude was able to fill me in on small details like Grady. Grady died young in Minnesota and I learned he was beaten to death for refusing to join a union. Uncle Jack (Jr) had a liking to the bottle, and he was found in his room dead. Bell had joined the Marines or Navy and ended up in Portsmouth, NH where he stayed. I was glad to know his name was “Bell” and not “Bill” as all the obituaries seemed to list him as. Lee ended up in Santa Barbara, CA following his in-laws from MN to CA in the 1940’s I believe. Ellen was the glue of the family. In Jack (Jr’s) obituary it stated they were waiting on her arrival for the funeral. One of the highlights of the day with Claude was a letter from his mother Ellen to my Grandparents. They had a great time reading the letter and the history that was contained in it. That was only one of the highlights! When he told me he had contact with all my grandfather’s siblings’ descendants, I once again welled up. Not only did he have contacts with their descendants, he has pictures!!! I have not gotten copies yet, but I know I will.

I am just grateful to know there is someone out there who knew our history. This leads me to believe I am not alone. When I hear of those who say they have hit brickwalls, there is no one alive to help them I say “Don’t Give Up!!” Tomorrow I will talk about other places to look and other searches you might want to try in searching for those ever elusive cousins.


  1. Wonderful, wonderful. Don't you love the, "who do you belong to?" You sure kept at it, and it paid off. Also, I gather Your uncle and 2nd cousin? don't live too far away, so perhaps you can meet again. Thanks for sharing this.

  2. You have skillfully illustrated the fact that the #1 quality required for successful genealogy research is "stick-to-it-iveness"!