22 March 2013

Missing Ancestor Report

Female ancestors are hard enough to trace when you only have their married name to go by, but have no information on their maiden name.  Typically in those cases you look to obituaries, marriage certificates and census records.  But my situation is different; I'd call it unique, but I am sure someone out there - if not many someones - have also come across a situation or two like mine. 

My Grand Aunt Mary Lindsey is missing; I say missing because I lose track of her in the records after 1920 and although my Grandfather, Walter Lindsey, had three pictures they didn't offer up much information other than one clue - an address.  The trouble is, the pictures are labeled with Mary's maiden name on one only and her given name on all three.  My Grandfather and his siblings did not have an easy 'Mayberry' childhood; my understanding is that at a very young age the children were 'parcelled' out to local (neighbor) or community farms to live and work - that is what became of Walter and Mary.  Walter lived and worked on several farms until he married my Grandmother and Mary (per 1920 census) was, by the time of 12 years of age living and working on a nearby farm.  She and Walter didn't see each other again until sometime between 1930 and 1946.  My Grandfather's one regret was that he and Mary just never seemed to connect; too much time and distance had separated them.  Though they tried.  According to the 1920 census, Mary and Walter's younger brother, William, was living in a children's home in York, Pennsylvania.  It is not known at this time, if he was adopted or whether he grew up in the home and when he came of age, moved on.  That will have to be another post.  Today's focus is Mary. 

My unique challenge is:
1.  I do not know if Mary ever married? 
2.  I do not know if Mary ever divorced?
3.  I do not know if Mary ever remarried?
4.  I do no know if Mary ever had children

These challenges make the traditional search for female ancestors, well, challenging, therefore I have embarked on a different and somewhat unique approach; The Missing Ancestor Report.  We've all heard and seen Missing Persons Reports, right?  What follows is the Missing Ancestor Report for Mary with what information is known about her, a 'snapshot' of the 1920 U.S. Federal Census and the three photos of her from my Grandfather's (her brother Walter's) collection.

Do you have challenging and/or missing females in your ancestory?  How are you approaching your search / research for them?  I am looking forward to reading your stories and learning your tips / tricks and methodalogies; and, with great anticipation, your success stories!



DATE OF BIRTH: about 1908
RACE: Caucasian              SEX: Female
PARENTS: Walter Cleveland Lindsey & Margaret Ethel (nee Learn) Lindsey
Siblings: Walter G. Lindsey; William G. Lindsey; Maretta G. Lindsey
HOME ADDRESS: 35 South Street, York City, York, Pennsylvania
Mary was last seen on the U.S 1920 Federal Census
Living in Upper Allen, Cumberland, Pennsylvania on a Farm
(Dwelling #42 / Family #42)
Living with
Emmuel Crone (Head of Household)
Minnie Crone (Wife)
Laura Crone (Daughter)
Lancaster Chester (Grandson)
Mary Lindsey is listed as ‘Not a Relative’ (Mary is 12 years of age)
Known Neighbors
Harry A. Gutshall (head of Household)
Mary E. Gutshall (Wife)
Hellen E. gutshall (Daughter)
Calvin Stone (hired Man)
Ruth Shunk (Servant)
Wilbur Eberly (Head of Household)
Maud E Eberly (Wife)
Russel S. Eberly (Son)
It is believed that Mary was sent to live and work in a neighboring home / community (it is believed / assumed for financial reasons); we do not believe that she ever returned home
We do know that Mary’s brother Walter G. Lindsey and his wife, Edith briefly reconnected  with Mary between 1930 & 1946
Mary's brother Walter Lindsey had the pictures posted in his collection; the back of one indicates that Mary once lived at 35 Andrew Street, South Beach, Staten Island,
New York
Sadly, Mary and Walter did not stay in touch over the years and nothing further is known about her and her whereabouts.  And, it is unknown whether she ever married or had a family
I am Mary's Grand Niece and I am very much interested in finding out about what happened to Mary and if she had a family (descendants).
Anyone having any information should contact
Missing 'leaf' reunited with Lindsey Family Tree
1920 Census
Photo A (side 1) - Date: unknown
Mary is on the left
Photo A (side 2)
Mary Lindsey
35 Andrew Street
South Beach
Staten Island
New York
Photo B (side 1)
Photo B (side 2)

Photo C


  1. I love this !! It is a wonderfully 'fun' way to keep all data in an orderly fashion, more visually appealing than a report format and in Mary's case, it also keep copies of known photos with her data.


    1. Thank you Char, I am so glad that you enjoyed it. When I was thinking about posting on Mary's status as a 'missing person,' I knew that I didn't want just a dry write up and I kept thinking about if she were 'missing' today what would we, her family and the authorities do to capture the nation's attention - we'd put up posters, get the most recent of pictures of her out on TV and we'd rally the nation. This post was my creative take on that. And, I've posted it on every genealogical Facebook page that I could think of.

      Thank you again.

  2. WONDERFUL idea and way to document what you do know, and making it obvious you're not giving up! LUV IT! Thank you for sharing!


  3. Connie, glad you enjoyed the post. Hope you'll visit Family Preserves again.

  4. I am amazed, I clicked this link on Facebook to see about a family member and his wife that I am having difficulty tracing - and this blog came up. My name Patricia (Maiden name is Lindsey). My father was Walter George Lindsey from Slippery Rock, PA. His father was William George Lindsey from Butler, PA. His father was Francis Lindsey from Butler, PA. His father was Francis Sr. living in that same area, 1785 to 1873 and served in the War of 1812. His father was Walter Lindsey born about 1760. I am having difficulty tracing Walter and his wife. Some research shows his wife to be a Mary however, I have found no actual proof of that yet. I know there was a Walter Lindsey in Chester county the same time period. There are some Revolutionary War records for in the name of Walter Lindsey which list different ranks and different locations. How do I trace my Walter from Western PA and also how do I find out his wife's first and last name? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. And are we some how related? Thanks, Pat

    1. Pat, thank you so much for stopping by; I'm intrigued about your family history. I will look into the information you've posted here to see if there is a familial connection, direct or indirect. And, I will also see what suggestions / help I might be able to offer.

      That said, I request your patience; my dad recently underwent open heart surgery and I am in Western PA caring for him, so time on the computer is somewhat limited, I promise I will get back to you on this as soon as I possibly can. How exciting! We may be connected.

    2. Tracy,

      Sorry to hear about your father and hope he his doing better. I understand your priorities.

      Yes, this is exciting that we may be connected. I was amazed yesterday when I linked to this page through Facebook and your information came up. Must be a reason for that. Whenever you have the time, I will be looking forward to talking and comparing notes. Have a wonderful day!


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    4. Pat, apologize for my not being sooner in getting back with you. If you'd be willing to take the conversation off line, you can email me at themeyers4@cox.net.

      I look forward to hearing from you. Tracy