Sometimes I just don’t take my own advice. Or, rather it just takes me longer these days to actually do it.
My ggrandmother Georgia Harris’ line has always been problematic for me. Awhile ago, I made some headway in tracing her roots not in Jacksonville (Duval County) Florida, as oral history said, but in Madison County, over 100 miles west of Jacksonville. I was able to find her in a previous marriage and discover she had other children. I also found Georgia’s mother, Matilda, her stepfather, Perry Davis, and sister Ruth also in Madison. After that, the trail ran dry. I really wanted to find out whatever happened to Georgia’s mother, Matilda.
I decided one day last week to research Georgia’s only known sibling, Ruth Harris. Familysearch (don’t you just love them?) listed a marriage between Ruth Harris and a man named “Nish Torence” in 1910. Hmm. A search for his (thankfully) odd name in the 1920 census found the couple living in…drum roll…Philadelphia, Pennsylvania!
The names are mangled, but I’ve been around enough to know its them. And who is living with them? Drum roll #2…Ruth (and Georgia’s) mother Matilda!
In 1930, they had moved yet again and were living in Camden, New Jersey. By then, Nish was remarried to a woman named Mary (Baity), and had several more children.
A couple of thoughts. I am still surprised that so many of my ancestors moved around as much as they did. They are all over the place. And that’s a major reason many of us lose the trail. I see Nish worked on the railroad, so perhaps that was the reason behind their move. I get extra happy when they move to a big city from a rural area, because that usually means more and better records. I am now focusing in on Philadelphia, between 1920-1930, and *hoping* to be able to find death certificates for Ruth Harris and Matilda Davis.
From the SSDI, it appears that Nish lived in Camden until he died in 1970. Another online gift for me was his World War II Draft, which confirmed this is the right family:
Since I had the address, I went on Google Maps and found a picture of the home–it’s the one in the center:
I am *hoping” also to try to find some Torrence descendants that may still live in Camden. This would be phenomenal since I’ve never met anyone even remotely associated with this line. To have some new cousins would be very cool.
I’m still wondering why I didn’t find this sooner–as many times as I have told my students, “when you get stuck, search sideways, search the siblings!”. I am still thrilled. One of my favorite roommates in college was from Camden. Anybody out there in Philly or Camden want to do some research for me in those city directories, let me know.