Saturday, November 26, 2011

Serendipity

Last Tuesday, I was one of three members of a panel discussing "Finding Who You Are".  It was suppose to be a little like the show "Who do you think you are?"  in that we were to highlight an interesting ancestor and how we found them or something about their life.   I chose Cassie McCarley,  John William Evans, and John Golightley.  I worked diligently on a Prezi presentation which had copies of documents, how I found the information, and in one case what I am going to do to finish solving the puzzle.  

The first, Cassie McCarley, was a daughter of my Great Grandparents who died when she was 3 years old.  I became interested in her when my Grandmother told me that they didn't know why she died but that she had been playing in the yard.  She ran into the house to tell her Mother that there were Angels playing in the trees.  Cassie became ill that evening and died.  I wanted to prove that Cassie did exist and find out as much about her as I could.  I found her on the 1900 Census as a 1 year old, but for years afterwards I found nothing else.  Eventually I found an affidavit of birth for her in the McCarley / McDuffie Chickasaw Indian file.  It said at that time that they were living in Ryan, Indian Territory which matched the census record.   I searched for a death record, newspaper obit, and cemetery record, but found nothing.  I was resigned to not finding anything else about Cassie. 

Tuesday morning before my program that evening, I received an email from the digitalization and archives mailing list of the Library of Congress.  The email was announcing an update of a newspaper project.  In learning how to use the database, I searched for the surname McCarley in Oklahoma.  A newspaper article popped up, which I quickly added to my program for that evening.