Friday, August 17, 2012

The Widow Jane Comes To American: Yeah, But Where?

Have been looking in earnest my GGM, Jane James Williams (1815 - ?) born in Wales and making an appearance in a photo taken in Troy, New York about 1900. She's found easily enough in Welsh records but once on US soil, she's hiding from me!

I need a place name for her - a city or county - before I can dig deep, so I started looking for an obituary for her. Searched, Old Fulton, and Also checked FindAGrave. There are a lot of Jane Williams out there! But not mine, at least as far as I can tell. Then I rummaged around cemeteries in and around Utica and Troy NY where there were a lot of Welsh immigrants.

And I've tried the US Census for 1880 and 1900. Sure could use that 1890 census, but who hasn't said that?! Then on to look at the New York state census for 1892. She doesn't show up in any of these.

Either I'm simply looking right at her and not recognizing her or something else happened to her. Maybe she died right after coming to the US after her husband died in 1868? But then why is she in that photo taken presumably about 1900? Did she remarry when she landed here and acquired a new last name... and if so I'll probably never find her? Is she not in Upstate New York at all?

I remember a lecture Joel Weintraub (no relation that we know of) gave on the 1940 US Census. At some point or other he said something like, all genealogy is geography. That stuck with me and I'm guessing that the missing Widow Jane is just such a case. I really do need to locate her geography!

Jane, oh Jane: come out, come out, wherever you are!

Photo of the day from the Archive:

Jane James Williams (1815 - ?)
Photo taken by Towne Studio, Troy NY

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