2022 Genealogy Wish Grants Winner!Read Now
2022 Genealogy Wish Grants Winner!
The 2022 Genealogy Wish Grants Winner has just been announced! Congratulations to Connie Dexter Spicer of Ohio, who won this year for her decades long brick wall story!
About This Year's Winner
Connie Dexter Spicer has been researching her family history and genealogy since she was 17 years of age, 45 years ago! She has been following Know Who Wears the Genes in Your Family for close to a year, while being an active participant.
A Tough Choice
There were many entries for this year's first Genealogy Wish Grants! It was down to two compelling stories that made it a tough choice. The most compelling story was that of an unknown parentage, but a decades old brick wall story was chosen for all other criteria being met.
This Year's Story Entry
"So, my backstory is simple enough. I’ve been researching my family since I was 17 – a scant 45 years ago. I had my DNA done within a year or so after it was offered by Ancestry.com. I have it uploaded at FamilyTreeDNA.com, MyHeritage, maybe others.
My brick wall is the parents of my paternal great-grandmother, Josephine Johanna Swan: namely, her father, Joe Swan and (especially) his mother and father. Great grandma was a lovely lady – quiet but strong-willed, according to my dad. He felt as if Grandma Josie and his Grandpa Ed raised him, but he never really knew anything about her because, while she was an amazing cook, she wasn’t much for talking!
Grandma Josie’s father Joe, who I later identified as Lawrence Joseph Swan, was the only son of one Arabella Swan. I have no other name for Arabella, other than she is listed in documents and directories as the “widow of Joseph Swan”. But I have no proof of any marriage, so she may have 1-taken the name of her son’s father, 2- made it up completely or 3-I just haven’t found the record yet.
1880 Census records from Tippecanoe County, Indiana, show her as born in 1827 in Canada to Irish parents. Not Canadians, not English or American. I have not found her in any other census in the US or Canada, thus, I suspect she was not a Swan when she immigrated from Canada.
Her son, Joe Swan, was listed as a clerk in a railroad office in 1880 Lafayette, Indiana. Arabella was listed as 53 years old, which makes her born about 1827. I found them (earlier) in Fort Wayne, Indiana where his career began, and hers in taking care of him was keeping house. Later records show him in Tippecanoe, Indiana working the Wabash line and then after he married my 2 times great grandmother, to Detroit working the railroad there.
My goal is twofold:
Priority 1 - to try to locate additional clues for finding out the truth of who Arabella is or to confirm or refute my own hypothesis, and in locating some type of death or burial record or marriage record (or both) for her, should those exist…to try to determine her true lineage. I have a strong hypothesis based upon a name-only search as to who she “could be” or “should be”. There are tons of coincidences, but nothing that flags it down and says “yeah, here’s the end-go here next”.
Priority 2 - I would also like to try to locate a death or burial record or something for Joseph, who apparently fell off the earth some years after the birth of his son, Joseph – aka Bud Swan. It’s possible he left the family by rail, abandoning them. It’s possible he died on the rail lines or elsewhere, effects unknown. He could have been in jail, though I never found any stories like that. Maybe he was a cad who ran off and started another family elsewhere? Or maybe he got caught in a compromising position by a jealous husband? Or maybe he did something brave and heroic on a train and was injured or killed?
I know it would be quite difficult to break down these brick walls in a scant few hours of research, but I would offer all the documentation and results that I currently have to try to break it and build on my Swan family background.
Isn’t it interesting, that like the story of the ugly duckling, the cygnet is born “ugly” and becomes beautiful with time? We might have that here in my Swans. And, regardless of the good, bad or ugly, I’m ready to know the truth. I hope you’ll agree and curiosity will get you involved! Thank you for considering my Grandma Swan's family."- Connie Dexter Spicer
Thank you to all of this year's first Genealogy Wish Grants applicants! I hope you all continue to follow and participate! Don't forget to apply to Genealogy Wish Grants 2023, details coming soon! The entry start date will be posted on my Facebook Page, my Facebook Group, my blog, and on the Genealogy Wish Grants page, so stay tuned!
Leave a Reply.
Evalogue.Life, Heart of the Family, Molly's Canopy, Climbing My Family Tree, Cami Mayer, Field Genealogist, Ancestor Detective, DNA Breakthroughs, Your DNA Guide, Ancestral Findings, Genealogy Tip of the Day, Family History Daily, Genea-Musings
I hope my family history and genealogy blog on genealogy research tips, resources, events, and more, along with my own genealogy journeys, will help you in your research and in building your family tree to learn more about your ancestors and family history to preserve for future generations to come!
Come visit me at Know Who Wears the Genes in Your Family if you're interested in starting your family history journey, booking me for your next speaking event, or family history and genealogy heirloom products!