Monday, December 17, 2012

Well-connected and Psychic Friends

I have a friend who's sister is a medium. Regardless of how you feel about psychics, this woman is no joke. I had never had a reading before until I sat with Mary. She said the most amazing things to me; things no one could have possibly know. And I am sure everyone who goes to a psychic and is taken by what they say says just that, "She told me things no one else could possibly know." But could they tell you the story I am about to share with you?

Several things really stand out to me from that reading but most memorable was Mary saying to me that it was wonderful to read someone who knew their family history. It made it easy for me to understand who she was connecting with. Without getting into all the details she shared with me, towards the end of the session Mary said to me, "You're going to come across two family names in your research; Williams and Evans." It didn't strike me as remarkable at the time; I mean, they aren't that uncommon of names. In fact, I completely dismissed the Williams name because my Cousin Kelly has recently married into a Williams family. I took what Mary said with a grain of salt and filed it away.

She asked me, "Who is David?" I shrugged. I didn't really know a David. I had worked with a few. My father's cousin had a son named David, but I don't really know him well. Nope, I didn't know any David really well.

Not more than 3 days later I was going through some family papers, papers I had looked at a hundred times if I had looked at them once, and there on my great grandmother, Mayme Sharp's boarder crossing card from Canada into the United States I noticed a name. Mayme listed that she was headed to Lowell, Massachusetts to see her Aunt Belle EVANS. EVANS. And Mary's words floated back to me.

Who was this Evans woman? I don't recall finding an Aunt Belle in the research I had done. Now I was on a mission. A mission that would take me a very long time and depend upon the kindness of well-connected friends.

I began searching census records for Aunt Belle. I came upon a Belle N. Evans married to a Fred Evans in Lowell, Massachusetts. Since the time of my reading I had befriended a genealogist in Massachusetts; whose name was...wait for it...wait for it....David. It never really struck me that now I knew a David. Sincerely, I had almost forgotten that Mary had asked me about a David.

I called upon his expertise to helped me locate a marriage certificate for this couple even though I was not 100% sure that this Aunt Belle was really my great-grandmother's aunt; she could have been a friend of the family as is often the case with that side of my family. There are many instances when very close family friends are called Aunt and Uncle despite the fact they are not related; it can and often is just a term of respect. Sometimes Aunt and Uncle are titles given to near relatives too. For example, I call my father's first cousins Aunt Ro, Uncle Charlie, Uncle Ed, etc. So was this Aunt Belle really an aunt to my great grandmother?

David helped me to secure this document:

If you look at the details about Isabelle you'll see her last name is listed as no-other-than Williams. What?!?! Yes, Williams, the surname of her first husband. And in parentheses after the Williams you will see the name McLean. 

Great-grandma Mayme Sharp-Gardner's mother's name was Lydia McLean-Sharp. My great-great grandmother's parents were Donald McLean and Elizabeth Walker-McLean; this I knew! Without a doubt I also now knew that Isabelle Nancy McLean-Williams-Evans was the sister of Lydia McLean-Sharp. Aunt Belle was absolutely the biological aunt of my great grandmother Mayme Sharp-Gardner.

And there it was; Williams and Evans. Staring me square in the face were the names I was told I would research. A document I probably would not have seen if not for the help of David. Mary is no joke.

And Aunt Belle played a pretty critical piece in my family's history. She was the person who facilitated my great-grandmother's move from Canada to the United States. Several generations before this line had lived in New Hampshire but moved up to Canada for land. Here they were moving back to the U.S. in the 1910s for work. Had great-grandma Mayme stayed in Canada someone else would be writing this blog. I'm grateful to Aunt Belle.
As I always tell my researching cousins and friends when their hit their genealogical brick walls; some ancestors just do not want to be found but some, oh some relatives most definitely want to be found, definitely.


  1. I love telling it. I kind of hope Aunt Belle is happy I tell it too.