Monday, February 20, 2012

Brick Wall Dismantled

Since I started researching my family tree my biggest brick wall has been my paternal grandmother. She died shortly after my parents were married and by the time I started asking about her the only close sources I had were my mother and my older sister. The only paternal grandmother I knew was my  step-grandmother (my grandfather's second wife) who insisted that we call her "Aunt Lorraine."

The initial information I was given was that her name was Margarite Mary Smith (my sister, Margaret Mary said that she was supposed to be named after her and they didn't find out the mistake until the the birth certificate was issued), and she died before my parents were married in 1955 (possibly 1950).

When I entered this information in I got no results that made any sense. I set it aside and worked on other lines.

In the meantime, I cancelled my subscription to and otherwise stepped back from research as life, as it has a habit of doing, demanded my attention.

Then, early last year (don't know when - no research log then), my cousin Susie visited and brought pictures and a funeral card for our grandmother which showed the day she died.

Margaret Mary (Smith) Hunsicker

Funeral Card

She also gave me some pictures and the names of her parents (Michael A. Smith and Elizabeth Dickson.
Elizabeth and Michael Smith
At the time my only research activity was matching family trees on I got no matches so I set this aside.

Recently I became interested in my family tree again and started listening to podcasts including the excellent ones provided by Lisa Louise Cooke. I renewed my subscription to

Today, I entered the above information for my grandmother and her parents and found a 1910 US Census that included Margaret Smith and the rest of her family (including siblings). I now have my grandmother's immediate family including her eight siblings. A 1900 US Census provided the birth year and month for her parents and her older siblings.Since (per the same census) Elizabeth immigrated from Scotland in 1887 and Michael's parents were born in Ireland, further research will have to cross the pond.

It was very exciting and satisfying to bring down this long lasting brick wall and I look forward to climbing this particular branch of my family tree in the future.

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