Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Gotta love genealogy and instincts

It was an interesting weekend for me on the genealogy front. Facebook changed the design of the 'groups' so that they look like other pages and it makes it easier to post queries, especially for genealogy groups. So I thought I would try it out at the Norwegian group I joined some time ago. And between that and posting to a local message board I think I may have (with a LOT of help mind you) just cracked the mystery of my 2nd great grandmother Julia (Nielsen, Olsen, Johnson) Ring.

I posted my query first to the Norwegian group just to see if anyone had any suggestions. This was last week. After getting some suggestions and websites to try, I went to my library and used Ancestry Library Edition. There I found a passenger listed for a Julia Olsen who's final destination was Chicago. The time period when she left SWEDEN was right, but it didn't provide any other information. Upon a suggestion from a member I posted another query this time to a local message board, specific to Cook County, Illinois. I got some suggestions and provided additional information. One member on the board, Robert, took it upon himself to do some digging and like me went with intuition when looking for the elusive Julia and her first husband, who's name I only suspected was on the birth record of one of her sons.

This morning he sent me images of Julia's birth record and her name Julia JOHNSDATTER, as well as the birth record of Anton Julius Olsen, her first child AND her first husband Karl Peter Olsen. I was completely blown away (and still am) to the point I had tears in my eyes. This brick wall seemed to be getting higher and higher with no end in sight but thanks to Robert and his intuition I think I can (I hope) find other records including when Carl came to America because my ancestor, Albert John Ring, was born in Chicago and Carl IS his biological father.

There is still a mystery to be solved though; according to Anton's birth record, Julia and Carl Peter were married AFTER he was born (somehow I had a feeling about that). The mystery is how Martin, Julia's 4th and last child with Carl Peter, wound up with his father's name being Martin Olsen on the birth register. But I have found the records that Robert sent me at FamilySearch, now that we're sure they were born in Norway and NOT Sweden. That was the other sticking point to this mystery. The marriage record shows the names of their fathers so with that I can try to find their mothers and maybe Carl Peter's birth record.

Instincts and intuition are something all good detectives use when they have a difficult case they need to crack. The same holds true for genealogists since we are in a sense detectives ourselves. I've relied on my instincts more than once but this time I had to get some help and they were the ones that went with what their instincts were telling them and it paid off. I am more than confident that Robert found my 2nd great-grandmother, her first husband and their first child and I want to thank him for doing the digging in places he thought to go. This wall is slowly but surely coming down and once it does let the bricks roll. :-)

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