Wednesday, March 24, 2010

New family genealogy troubles.

Well, as you know from a few posts back my hubby's cousin is getting into the "genealogy thing."

She emailed me last night saying, "I think you have the wrong Henrietta for my Pop, Joe's mom.  She died in 1985 and her last name was Coffee at the time."  (She had remarried and her new husband was Joseph Coffee.)  She goes on to say that she attended the funeral in 1985 and the last name "Zeigler" was never mentioned.  I thought to myself, She was being buried as a Coffee not as a Zeigler.  Plus, cousin was just a child then, so how much did she remember.  I know I don't remember much of my great-grandma's funeral.

So she was wondering how come I had Joseph Reilly's mom listed as Henrietta Zeigler?  For she never heard that name so it can't be the right name.

She also saw in a 1920 Newark, NJ census a Joseph Reilly married to a Helen and they had one child Edward.  She was sure that had to be the correct family since Pop had a brother Edward.

It took a lot of self control and calming down before I wrote her back.  How dare she question my work?  She is only a newbie. Ok, I know I have to get over that.  I can really be a bratt at times.

I scanned and forwarded a copy of Pop's (Joseph Reilly) death certificate which had his parents names listed.  His mother was Henrietta Zeigler.  The informant was none other than........... dear cousins, MOM.  I said, "Maybe you should ask your mom what she might know."  I then sent her a copy of the 1920 Census page I had from Newark NJ.  The family highlighted was Head:  Joseph, Wife: Henrietta, Son:  Joseph, Son: Edward. 

What dear cousin forgot to remember is, we can't make the family history up from stories and our memories.  How many times are our memories incorrect in some way.  I then had to mention there are probably 50 different Joseph Reilly family's in Newark at that time.  Most of them had at least one son with the same name.  Also we need to keep in mind birth order, Joseph was older then Edward but still a small child and would be with the family.  We need to be more selective at which family we claim as ours.

This morning I got a response email saying, "If the Death Cert. says that is her name it has to be true."  You know me I wrote another long response letting her know Public Records are sometimes wrong.  Records are only as good as the people that gave the information can remember or want you to know.  That is why we should always check multiple records. 

I had to admit I didn't look into this woman very much - I was to busy focusing on others, that happens.   I filled out and mailed a request letter for Henrietta's SS-5 form first thing this morning.  Hopefully, this will clear things up and also give us her parents names. 

That is all I have to say for now.  Helping a friend with a 20 year old Brick Wall.  I remember before I even started researching and was just a kid she was trying to find these people.  I used to tag along.  Yeah, she is 25 years older than me.  I have a thing with having older friends.  I guess, I always related better with people my parents or grandparents ages.  My husband tells me, I am an 84 year old woman in a 34 year old body. LOL.

1 comment:

  1. I am just amazed at all of the effort and time you need to put into finding this information! And I know how frustrating it can be when someone questions all of the hard work and time you have put into something. I am enjoying your family history.