Wednesday, October 31, 2012

ASK - Just Ask!

The other day I was digging around online in the hopes of finally finding more information and documents on my 3rd greatgrandparents on my mother's line (mother's mother's mother's mother and father).  The ORMSBEE line, sometimes spelled Ormsby.  I could find them back to the early 1800s, but no further.  One more of those brick walls that didn't seem to have any chinks at all.

I had first discovered my greatgrandmother's parents' surname Ormsbee from a wedding invitation pasted in my greatgrandfather's Souvenir Album.  (See my other blog  in which I am slowly going through every page of the Album, inventorying and identifying items pasted there - I'm only up to page 7!).  Oh good, I had  thought at the time several years ago - an interesting unusual name to research.  Surely I'll be able to find these ancestors!  But I could not find much at all past a few Censuses, a few social notes in old newspapers, and an obituary for Jacob ORMSBEE.  On a limited budget and living on the opposite side of the continent,  I am quite dependent on free online or local resources for these New York and other New England region ancestors, as well as one commercial site. Plus WorldCat of course, for any published items available within a few hours' drive from Vancouver BC!

This weekend, I'll be having a short consultation with a local genealogy expert (as part of a genealogy visit), and I had put forward Jacob ORMSBEE as the person I wanted some assistance on finding his ancestors.  I suspect he must have been listening to me choose him for research...  Because this is what I found the very next day - here below is just one of the several photos (used with permission) from the recently updated FindAGrave Memorial page for Jacob.

I casually wandered over to FindAGrave to his grave posting, only to find an updated Memorial page for Jacob and his wife Sabra, sometimes known as "Sally".  In this posting was new information:  his parents' names - Arnold & Hannah Ormsbee, and his wife's father as S. Towers.  The posting also listed two more little girls after the three children I already knew of: one living to age 11, the other to age 3.  Sad, so sad to lose children at any age, but to lose two of one's children, the younger ones, seems so sad to me.  I found new wealth of detail ... "interesting but not impressive",  as my rather sarcastic mother used to say.

Where was the source to back up all this new-to-me information?  Was it credible?  Just because it's posted doesn't mean it's accurate, as anyone who does family history will know!  So I decided to write the photographer and ask where he got all this new information?

I immediately got back a quick reply that he and his friend are methodically updating memorials on this large cemetery with the details found in the Cemetery office Burial Register books.  Whatever was written down at the burial, in the book, details about relationships, dates, names, all usually given by the family. Amazing.  Relatively credible, so to speak (sorry for the bad pun). 

After several emails back and forth, I have given him more details about a missing older sister of my greatgrandmother, and clarified a few more details, as well as asking him more about the very large ORMSBEE-GRAVES obelisk on the plot. Unfortunately there's almost nothing engraved on the obelisk - it's more of an identifying post for the entire plot.

This morning he let me know he's emailing me a copy of the Cemetery burial register page which has details for "everyone buried in the plot"  - 16 people, several generations, with the cause of death for each one (if given) as well. Imagine!

All this wonderful information, just by asking politely.  And thanking very appreciatively, as well!

Ask.  Just ask.  You never know what you'll receive in return.


Carol said...

Wonderful stuff Celia! Congrats! Well done!

Celia Lewis said...

Thanks Carol - I do believe Jacob knew I was serious about finding more info about him! And isn't it lovely to find such helpful volunteers -?


Family, friends, and others - I hope you enjoy these pages about our ancestors and their lives. Genealogy has become somewhat of an obsession, more than a hobby, and definitely a wonderful mystery to dig into and discover. Enjoy my writing, and contact me at celia.winky at gmail dot com if you have anything to add to the stories. ... Celia Lewis