Friday, October 24, 2014

Sometimes, I Just Want To Kick Myself


      Finally a day off, nothing calling for my time.  So of course instead of tidying up my house or garden I thought I'd just sit in front of my computer for a few hours... more or less.  Every now and then I get the urge to organize my genealogy files in the hope that future generations will be able to decipher them.  Naturally I get distracted and that doesn't happen, but my intentions are good. 

      Now I noticed I still hadn't found an obituary for Milo Galloway, and I really, really need to do that.  While looking for Wayne County, NY newspapers that might contain this item, I found one that was supposedly available at the Ontario County Historical Society.  I was a little skeptical about that group having a Wayne County newspaper so I went to their site where I discovered a search function had been added since my last visit.  I plugged in the surname Galloway, and sat back.  I was surprised at the number of hits that were generated, and scrolling down through them I came to the marriage category.  My jaw dropped as I read, Galloway, Phebe E. married Daniel Gray!  I've been looking for that marriage for a long time to clear up the true parentage of Ellen Galloway, (or Gray depending on the census year).  I had searched all the Ontario County sites except this one--because last time I looked it was not searchable.

     The link in the previous paragraph will give you the details, but briefly, Ellen Galloway appeared at first to be the youngest daughter in the Russell Galloway household, but several censuses later, she was listed as a granddaughter and her surname suddenly changed to Gray.  Either she married, or she was a Gray all along.  If she wasn't Russell's daughter, her parent had to be his eldest daughter Phebe about whom I knew nothing.  I needed to find a marriage to a Gray for either Phebe or Ellen.

     Now that I had a first name for Phebe's husband, I could do a real search!  (See how easy it is to get distracted?)  In the Google search box I typed, "Daniel Gray" "Phebe E. Galloway", and up came "Ontario County Marriages and Deaths From the Ontario County Messenger".  There it was in the January 15, 1851 edition--

 "At Vienna New Year's morning, by Rev. S. Hawley, Mr. Daniel Gray and Miss Phebe E. Galloway, both of Phelps." 

      I had done searches for this marriage before, but I didn't have the husband's forename, or the bride's middle initial, and that made all the difference.  Next I turned to the 1850 census to see if I could find Daniel Gray.  And find him I did, living in Phelps with Russell Galloway!  I hadn't looked at that census in a long time and in my defense, the last time I did I wasn't looking for anyone named Gray; this is the point at which all illusions of competence flew out the window.  He was right there all along, hiding in plain sight.  

1850 Russell, Harriet, Phebe, Erastus, Selecta, George, twins Edward & Edwin and Daniel Gray
     Unfortunately, I have hit another wall, I cannot find anything more about this couple.  I believe they both passed away not too long after their daughter's birth since Ellen was raised by her Galloway grandparents from at least age 4, but all my searches have been in vain.  No obituaries, no grave stones, no deeds, nothing at all, and it's about 30 years too early for a death certificate.  

     My current plan is to visit the Historical Society to see if their records hold more information, and then the Wayne County Historian to see what I can find there.  I know from land records that the senior Galloway's moved from Ontario County to Wayne County around 1852, and that by the time the NYS 1855 census was taken, Phebe and Daniel were no longer living with them.  I have searched the Ontario County census for that year, and not finding Phebe and Dan, now need to examine  the Wayne County version, (not available online), to see if perhaps they moved to Wayne County as Phebe's father Russell did.

     So what have I learned today, other than that the marriage did exist and Ellen was the product of that marriage?  Well, I learned to re-check sites because new things do get added, and re-check old records you already have for bits you may have forgotten that now make sense.  And never, ever give up, as they say on the X-Files, "the truth is out there"!


  1. Ellie, I bet you were ecstatic to run across that discovery! Yes, I heartily agree with your assessment: it's always worth it to revisit old files and sites. New material is being added all the time. I only wish there was a universal finding aid for all those tiny Society websites and all those resources. Genealogy gems seem to be salted away in all sorts of pockets of the Internet. Proficiency in Google is about the best we can hope for.

  2. Jacqi, Wouldn't it be nice if such a finding aid was a reality? Especially one that could get to the "hidden" internet.

  3. What a great example of how important it is to revisit files (and database websites). I have personal experience with the former, in which a Census enumeration held an answer to a question I did not even have when I first looked at the listing. Your post title says it beautifully.

  4. Hi! Thanks for commenting, I've found you never know what might unexpectedly turn up and surprise you. It keeps it fun.

  5. Great advice to re-check sites. Because as you said, new information may be added that wasn't there when we searched before.

  6. Ellie,

    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

    Have a great weekend!

  7. This is such a great reminder. It has me wondering what sites and databases I need to revisit.

  8. Me too Michele, I've been doing that lol. Thanks for commenting

  9. A great lesson! And certainly a good discovery for your research.

  10. Thank you Wendy, one less thing to wonder about!

  11. Ellie, that was certainly more fun than cleaning the house!