Ah the sins of my youth...I spent New Year's Eve day finally cleaning up my first Ancestry.com tree. I had so many duplicates and triplicates and even some quadruplicates. That tree is 11 years old, and I have my DNA results attached to it. I guess you could say I'm sentimentally attached to it. I didn't set out to clean it up. I meant to fill out a simple seven generation family chart for one of my second cousins, showing how far back I've gotten so far on a particular line (Moran) that we share. Then I ran into a problem. David John Kirkpatrick had two wives and a mess of children, and I couldn't tell from that old tree who their mother was: Margaret Miller or Flora McLeod. I managed to find a marriage record for David and Flora from 1886, and the children were all born before that date. I even found another daughter, Rowena, on someone else's tree that needed confirmation. It all snowballed with the first church record of one son's baptism which had his brother on the next page. Then I noticed that his brother had the same birthday. Twins! I checked the other pages next to the brothers and discovered that all the children were baptized on the same day and confirmed that Rowena was a daughter.
Hoping to ride yesterday's wave of success and productivity, I tried hammering at my Manley brick wall. Then I used a sledge hammer. Still nothing. So for fun I clicked on a tree that I started years ago for my best friend and saw that her mysterious grandfather had a leaf hint. At first I was a little disappointed that the hint was only for being on some other members' trees. Then I noticed that he had a different wife and children on two of the trees, so I cautiously texted my friend about it. Chalk it up to a bad memory; this was known information that I forgot. She reminded me that he's the mysterious grandfather with the unknown roots. Challenge: Accepted! I found him in the 1930 census with the first wife, first two sons, and a BROTHER. That also included their immigration year (1913). I found a death record with a really promising birth year for the brother that lists the mother's maiden name. I haven't confirmed that it's the same person with another document yet, but it looks good for now. Their last name had a different spelling when they came to the U.S., but it's very close. I found them in the 1920 census in Colorado and then the parents in 1930 in Nebraska with a new daughter. The daughter's birth state says Colorado. Then I found the parents and brothers on the Ivernia, arriving in Boston in 1913 heading for Brush, CO which is close to the town in which they were living in 1920. Bingo. I'd really like to find obituaries on the parents and children to try to confirm the mother's maiden name and any of their background information, but I pulled down a lot of bricks this afternoon.