Monday, September 22, 2014

Granny Whetstone's Missing! (And I can't find her.)


Yes, dear Granny Whetstone, Mom's own kind and gentle grandmother, is missing. There she is above with her husband Joseph Hampton Whetstone (1858 - 1939). No, she didn't wander off just now. She's been gone since right around the time I was born. And yes, she's missing from the records. Oh, sure, she's right there in the census records from 1870 with her House family in West Virginia all the way through the 1930 census in Frostburg, Allegany, Maryland. She's there except for a birth certificate but that's to be expected because it's West Virginia in 1865, right after the Civil War and West Virginia is a brand new state, so no birth record for her... and by way of extension, for me. By the way, she was born April 5th and the war ended April 9th. I wonder if there ever was a birth certificate for her?

But I can't complain too much (even though you know I'm going to) because of one census return for Granny and her family. Here it is and you'll notice that she and her husband are there, as well as Mom - Virginia - and her parents, Emma and Cambria Williams. And look, they are all named and the relationships are named too! WOW! Jackpot! Three generations in one record.

Isn't this cool?!
Alright, that's nice but what I really want is Granny Whetstone's death certificate. I have the rest of my great grandparents death certificates and I need hers too. So I emailed my guy who knows his way around the Maryland State Archives and off he went to get her death certificate as well as that of her husband, Joe. When I received his package in the mail there was no death certificate for Granny. WHA?? I couldn't believe it. So I went on the Maryland State Archive myself and tried to find her in the index. Got nothin'.
Then I noticed a discrepancy in her death year. Her tombstone says she died in 1945. Just look at this photo of it and see for yourself.
Mom's tree and it says that she died in January of 1946. Now I'm really confused because if I think about it, maybe that's not right either. Mom remembers - and I asked her about this many times over the years - that after she had me in October of 1946, she spoke with Granny on the phone and Granny said, When are you going to bring that baby over so I can see her? So Mom did, and Granny saw me, and presumably I saw her too. It was winter, Mom said, which in Western Maryland can come anytime really, but usually from November and until about April. That would make it late 1946 and into 1947. And Mom remembers that she took me to Granny's home of many years, on Midlothian Road in Frostburg. So maybe Granny Whetstone passed in January of 1947.
Grand pop Whetstone had passed on August 15, 1939, and Mom remembers it well. She and Dad were to get married that day but cancelled until the 21st because Joe died then. Granny continued to live in their home until she passed, as Mom has said.
So what's with the missing death certificate? And what's with the multiple death years? I'm at a loss.

Mom, Virginia Williams, on the left and her sister, Dot, on the right Flanking their mother Emma Susan (Whetstone) Williams in the light dress and Granny Kate, in the dark dress.
Katherine (or Catherine depending on the record) Elizabeth (House) Whetstone.
Photo, mid 1930s.
I seriously needed Granny Whetstone's death certificate because I'm working on Mom's application to the NSDAR. The DAR for short, or Daughters of the American Revolution, requires exact and accurate documentation in the preparation of your application. Death certificates are a boon to the applicant because it ordinarily includes birth and death dates as well as the names of both parents and therefore proved the vitals of that person as well as provide a link back to the previous generation.
But my Maryland State Archive guy sent a note with the things he did find stating in blatant terms, "She did not die in Maryland."
I was in shock. Shocked and maybe a little depressed at how much more work this was going to make for me. Now what the heck was I going to do? I have no vital records for Granny Whetstone. She's just plain missing.
More in the next post.

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1 comment:

  1. I hope you find her. I've found a couple of ancestors who died in a different state than I expected. The most surprising was my great grandmother who lived in California but died on the train headed for Canada. Since the first town they came to after she died was in Oregon, they took her off the train there and recorded the death in Oregon.