Daily Archives: March 7, 2016

Research Strategies

I have spent the evening looking at lateral parts of my tree. Specifically the family of John Bourke and Mary Jennings. Their daughter, Bridget, was Walter Basquill’s second wife and my great-great grandmother.

Some folks just follow their tree up and ignore the sideways growth. I think that’s a huge mistake. Looking at siblings and even cousins gives important context and can help solve mysteries. Like the mystery I like to call the Myles Basquill Problem.

I can find no trace of any such person. My grandma said that her mother talked about a sibling named Myles, who had drowned in a pond. And that is literally all I know. I don’t know when he was born or how old he was when he died. I don’t even where he fell in the order of children or which of Walter’s wives was his mother.

I have two clues, though. Looking at Bridget Bourke’s family, she had a brother named Myles, as well as uncles named Myles on both her mother’s and father’s sides. It’s possible that Walter’s first wife, Mary McHugh, also had relatives named Myles, but as yet I have no way of tracking that because I don’t know who her parents were. I think, though, that it would make a certain amount of sense if Myles were my great grandma Nell’s younger brother. That sort of thing would haunt you for life, right? I get the impression that she didn’t talk much about her life in Ireland, but she did mention Myles. And she did so in a way that made an impression on my grandma.

I wouldn’t have put those two clues into the same context, if I hadn’t been researching laterally, looking at my great-great grandmother’s family.

But that all leads me to a new problem.

I can find baptismal records for a bunch of Bridget’s siblings, but not one for her. I had a baptismal date for her, but the source for that was Pat Deese’s transcripts. Those are all hosted on Rootsweb, which is down right now and will be for at least another week. Normally that wouldn’t be a big deal, but the baptismal date I have for Bridget is in conflict with the baptism of one of her siblings. Both dates cannot be true. Something fishy is going on, but I can’t figure out what.

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