Thursday, June 9, 2016

Genealogical Journey: Cousin Bob

Still drunk on the accomplishment of having found out that Timothy O'Sullivan was my Great-grandfather Charles' first cousin, I then wanted to take the genealogy research in two different directions.  First, I was having so much fun finding and connecting with distant cousins, I continued to research my ancestor's siblings in hopes of finding more of them.  After all, now I could definitively tell them how we were related to Timothy O'Sullivan.  With a little co-operation, I would be able to put together a family tree of all relatives to date descending from my great-great-grandparents Denis and Elizabeth Sullivan.  Second, I wanted to continue researching ancestors beyond Denis and Elizabeth Sullivan.  If any of my distant cousins didn't know who they were, perhaps the information that Great-great-grandpa Denis had a brother named Jeremiah could lead me to their parents.  Jeremiah was Timothy O'Sullivan's father Timothy's grandparents are also my ancestors; three times great-grandparents. 

I started with relatives that Drew knew; he had met them as a child.  George Rogers was the oldest son of Elizabeth Sullivan Rogers and Michael Rogers.  I chose a male to trace because even though "Rogers" was a common last name, it would stay the same if George had a son.  He did and it did.  Through census and military records, I was able to determine that I had the right George Rogers ( 1885-1950) but I needed to pin down his spouse's name to find children.  I asked Drew if he knew her name, as there were several military records with the name George Rogers.  Drew couldn't answer my open ended question except to say, "That is a good question, what was his wife's name?" Then I asked him if it could have been Corie or Coralee as I found records with those spouses' names connected to men named George Rogers.  There are often several sets of records with a couple that has the same first names, no matter how unusual you think it is.  That was the case with Coralee and George Rogers.  I had to narrow them down by location.  He said he thought so, "Coralee, that was it"!  Drew knew they lived in the Washington, DC area so I had three place to check:  the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.  I had lived in Washington, DC prior to moving to California, so my familiarity with the area helped in the research.  The Find A Grave website and online obituaries led me to learn that George and and Coralee had a son also named George and a daughter named Helen.  Helen married a man with a very distinct last name and I actually found her living descendants first.  However, he kept mentioning Helen's husband's line of the family and I could not seem to get him to understand that that I was related to him through Helen, not her husband.  So I returned to Helen's brother George, hoping to find his descendants.  George had two sons, one named George and the other named Robert or Bob.  I found this out from their mother's recent obituary.  It is always bittersweet finding and obituary.  I am sorry for the family's loss and that I didn't get to meet the relative that had passed; so much family history knowledge goes with them.  The sweet side of the obituary is that living relatives were mentioned.  I called both Bob and George and left messages on their answering machines saying who I was and that I hoped they would call me back.  Several weeks had passed and just as I was beginning to think I wouldn't hear from them, Bob called. 

He was away on one of his trips ( he had the travel gene, another sign I had the right person) and recently returned home.  He recognized the name Sullivan and seemed interested in the genealogy.  We talked about present day family, and how he came to live in Minnesota ( job).  I asked if he had blue eyes.  He said yes, confirming in my mind anyway that they came from the Irish Sullivan genes.  I immediately recognized by good when I asked him if he had a big head.  He laughed when he heard that and said he had been told that at times.  I meant to ask if he had the stereotypical big Irish head that some men have.  We chatted a bit longer before he said a now familiar sentence to me: "You know we are related to that photographer." 

No comments:

Post a Comment