Any serious (or even casual) genealogist can tell you that there are always going to be tantalizing puzzles, nagging gaps, and teasing bits of information that beg to be dealt with. Often they are not even about direct ancestors or close cousins, but the presence of an unanswered question alternately attracts and exasperates, and simply cannot be left alone.
Here are a few of mine:
Lewis Hartwell Thompson, was born 1836 in Virginia, died 1913 in Fairfield, Solano County, California, and is buried in Corning, Tehama County. My great-grandfather’s brother-in-law, he was said to have once been a member of the notorious Vigilantes at San Francisco’s “Fort Gunnybags”
I’d like to know something about his early life, and who his parents were.
Lewis's son, Albert Kelsey Thompson, was born 1868 in Oregon. The 1900 census for Vallejo, also in Solano County, lists him as a single day laborer. His parents are in San Francisco, as is a brother. But he is not shown ten years later, unless he is the “A.F. Thompson, age 42, b U.S.” (wrong middle initial, right age) aboard the Steamship Catania, moored at San Franisco’s Powell Street Wharf. There is no mention of him in his father’s 1913 obituary, and he is not buried in the Corning family plot.
What became of Albert?
My great-great-grandmother, Jaley Grant, was born about 1787 in Virginia, and married Frederick Howard 1817 in Bath County, Kentucky. She is in the 1860 census for Crawfordsville, Montgomery County, Indiana, with widowed daughter Maranda Kelsey (who later married the above-named Lewis Thompson), but by 1866 Maranda is out West and one can surmise that the aging Jaley has probably died. But when? Where?
Oh the questions, the questions.
On a completely different subject:
Did you know there is an Icelandic app for kinship? Apparently most of the population shares descent from a group of ninth century Viking settlers, and an app has been ceated to access the online database which holds genealogical details of nearly all of them. A recent Associated Press article said: “In Iceland, a country with a population of 320,000 where most everyone is distantly related, inadvertently kissing cousins is a real risk.”
“Bumping” smart phones with the app sounds an alert if the owners, contemplating intimacy, are closely related.