A ten year research wall, one which I had been banging my head against without so much as a lead. That wall now gone, the path to my family name and it's ancestors were waiting for me. This will be easy now right? Ancestors will be falling out of the sky like snowflakes too heavy to fly. Right? Or not I suppose. I should have known, having researched for those ten years that any question to be answered in the world of genealogy could only be followed by more questions. Hard questions, and the reality with it that said questions would not be guaranteed answers.
So the beginning then? The beginning is my wish to know what the Nelsons were, who, when and where. The initial wall was George Augustine Nelson, my paternal great grandfather. The final reason that wall fell is in the story linked above, but the reason it stood for so long is many. The ten years of research sounds more impressive than it is. Year one of those ten is year one of my experience with genealogy altogether. Add to that the slow addition of even basic records to digital form, my off and on again commitment to genealogy as a teenager at the time, and finally what can seem like simple things now that I've learned over that time.
Meet the new wall, George Scott Nelson and Margaret W. Nelson (Hassett)
At first glance, not much of a wall. Three out of four parents I feel pretty good about, still working on Mary E and her proper maiden name. The real wall is George and Margaret after the birth of Francis in 1903. They never clearly appear on a document I have found after that.
One of the first records I found for Margaret was a private user story on Ancestry titled, "Margaret Hassett Nelson Missing". The user did not respond to my pleas for even a private glance at the article. For all I knew, Margaret went missing and never showed up again. I scoured digital archives of the Lewiston Sun Journal for what seemed like days. Finally I found an article, "ONLY A PIPE DREAM", printed the 4th of December, 1901. I have not yet found how the rumor started but a yet to be found article in the Portland Sunday Times reported "Mrs. Nelson" missing. The local paper made it my 2nd great grandmother's home, where she quickly quieted the rumor, stated that she had merely gone to Boston to see her husband who was in the navy there (my great grandfather, George, who I have yet to confirm such service.
At that point in my research I had very little to show. George Nelson, or at any rate some George Nelson, appeared on several US census in the New England area. Below is an example of one I found for 1910, Boston. No age, and he is crossed out...and maybe a female with him? I don't know enough yet on how lodgers were usually treated in censuses.
That's the best I can do for George at the moment. Margaret is another story. Margaret can be found on the 1910 census as a house keeper in Boston for a Mr. William Mcallister, along with three of her sons, John Andrew Nelson, George S. Nelson Jr and Francis Nelson. All ages and stated births of parents being appropriate. Margaret states being married, and correctly for 20 years. Her oddity, having birthed three children with three still alive. Yet in the 1900 US census (with George) she has three sons, George A., John A. and 7 month old Eugene....who should be the fourth child not listed in 1910. On top of that, in 1900, she states four birthed, three alive? So should 1910 read "5/3"? I know to not expect the truth in all cases but my ancestors were better than that...right?
Okay, still there? Those that remain at the end will get a gold sticker (a comment gets you two!). The 1920 US Census.
What's this? Margaret is still a house keeper just not the house keeper but the wife of Mr. William J. Mcallister. Francis appears to have switched last names as well as have his father's birthplace to Massachusetts, rather than George's Maine (Daughter Violet was in the 1910 census as just William's). I've had no luck finding the Mcallisters after this. Any of them. Francis is a ghost too, Nelson or Mcallister.
This is were it truly goes cold for me, George, and Margaret. I still have a lot of digging to do, newspapers to read, City Directories to sort through. The process of filling out the lives of George and Margaret's children has been underway for a few days...hoping that something will lead me back to one of the them, regardless of the ending.