Monday, June 11, 2018

It Was Easy To Lose Track Of People

My son found souvenir postcards from NH down in Houston, dated from the 1930's. They are exactly one year apart, August 30, 1938 and 39, from the same sender on the seacoast to the same receiver on the Connecticut River. The texts are similar as well, polite nothings about having a nice time and the weather. What is different is the address.  Both are R.F.D. but the first is to Bellows Falls, VT and the second to Walpole, NH, just across the river. Also, one is to Mrs. Frank H. Moore and the other to Mrs. F.H. Moore. One signature is from "Annie E" and the other from "A.E.G." Same handwriting.

It would all be terribly uninteresting now, except to those who have tried to do genealogical research, or perhaps private detective work of some kind. This is exactly the sort of infuriating similarity of meanings that makes one darn sure that these people are one and the same but unable to prove it. Even the identical opening "We are having a nice..." is not quite enough.  The "same handwriting" proves it to you, but not for a genealogical record for others. Relatedly, this is exactly how people seem to disappear when you are researching them. We have a Franklin Moore in the 1930 census for Bellows Falls, and it says he has a wife but we can't make out the name.  Sarah? Sally? And then that's it. No further record. There's a Selma Moore in NH in the 1940 census in Walpole and she's close in age but not exact, only eight years older.  Selma was Jimmy's grandmother, she died in 1948. Her husband died years before, Jimmy thinks he might have been Frank, but he never met him, and everyone just called him Grampa Moore. We think they're the same person but we can't be sure. 

This is all changing.  These days you are informed you have a 3rd-5th cousin who tells you she is from Brattleboro and knows there is a Franklin Moore from Bellows Falls who was an older brother of someone in her line. DNA shows you are related to her, and she is related to Franklin.  Therefore, so are you, and Selma/Sarah/Sally are the same person.

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