Is this week 51 or 52? I have lost track of the time. The first thing to do is evaluate what you have done the past year.
I went back and read what I had set for myself. My main goal was to send for death certificates. Actually, my husband and I drove to New Castle PA. I did not know you could not get them in person. It was a nice drive and the Pennsylvania countryside is pretty in the summer. What I learned was to call first, good thing it was only a 30 mile drive.
With just these few documents I have started another quest. The biggest surprise was the date on my great grandfather, Thomas Dowd (and the names of his parents) were not what was listed on some of his documents. The date he and Bridget had written on their marriage application was entirely different on his death certificate.
The date he had give was indeed belonging to another Thomas Dowd and the parents names were not the same. Is the first Thomas a cousin??? And the first Thomas an uncle of his father, or cousin of his father. To list your date of birth and have it belong to another person of the same name is not random.
The REAL great great grandparents are John Doud and Catherine Fitzmorris (Fitzmaurice) When I checked the listings of sponsors of Thomas and Bridget, a Richard Fitzmorris was on the Diocese of Pittsburgh list. Finding "real" great great grandparents was not part of my goal. I found that the women whom I suspected were my great grandfathers sisters, were indeed his sisters and I also found them with John and Catherine as their parents in the Glinsk Parish Church records
I also did not expect to find a cousin in Germany. My cousin, AS had started her blog about two months after I and I was so surprised when I got the notice that My Heritage had found 20 some matches.
AS's, mother is still alive and she was able to identify my Great Aunts in my Schridde Family Picture. Her mother had lost her photos in the war bombing. I found a lot of relatives. I found the names of two more great great grandparents. That was not part of my goals but it happened. AS was quite happy to get pictures of her great aunts too.
I started to search for the two people who my father in law went to place flowers on their graves in Union Dale Cemetery. "Some Civil War Guy" Chuck had said. Turns out that guy was Chucks great grandfather (Robert Stephens), and the second was most likely his son, James Stephens. Chuck did not think he had any relatives who fought in the Civil War. I found, through another cousin, he has a second great grandfather, Darius Anthony, who fought and died in the Civil War.
Next, was to find Robert Stephens wife, this one was a process and with the help of people on the Allegheny County Roots Web list I was able to find Olive Stephens and with the help of Chucks aunt I found her in Salem Ohio. On her obit I found the names of Olives parents, Jacob and Mary Bowser from Armstrong County PA.
It seems the Bowser Family is quite prominent in Armstrong County. The progenitor seems to be Matthias Bowser who came to the USA before it was the USA, circa the late 17th century. This requires a lot of searching to confirm this fact.
Neither of these four people were on my list to do. Jacob and Mary are definitely on my to do list for 2011. I am learning Jacob and Mary Bowser hard to find, in fact, extremely elusive. I know they are there and it will seem quite easy once they are located.. But I have to wait till the spring when the Armstrong County Genealogical Society reopens for the year.
I have no formally set new goals but I can sense them into 2011, with the Bowser's on the top of my list.