Monday, October 10, 2011

A Feisty Grandmother, A Sealed Vital Record, and Other Modern Day Hurdles

Let's face it, talking to and getting information from the living is great, but sometimes it gets a little sticky too. I've been trying to figure out my husband's family, especially the Italian portion. There has been some confusion on how to spell the Italian name. So I asked my mother-in-law if she could ask her mother, for some copies of documents that might help me figure out the spelling of the name in question. The response from grandma? "What does she want that for!?" Alrighty then. So I sigh and roll my eyes. After all I'm a genealogist, one feisty grandma is not going to stop me, right? I've ordered her divorce record, which might give me her maiden name. If it doesn't, then the record will probably give me the marriage date and place, so I can then send away for the marriage certificate, which will have her maiden name. No biggie.

I'm also in the process of filling out a DAR application for myself. For those of you who don't know, when filling out the DAR application, you have to provide birth and marriage records showing the connections. I discovered that I don't have documents for the most recent people. After all, I know my mom is my mom, and her parents are her parents. Another (more pressing) reason I don't have these documents is that it is a rather sticky topic. My grandparents married each other and divorced. Then went on to marry other people. Well in the process my grandmother legally changed my mother's last name, and sealed the original birth certificate. Guess what birth certificate I have. The one with the wrong last name. I took a moment to think this through and asked my mom if she has her baptism paperwork. No she doesn't, but she remembers the church. "It's that one in Pismo on the main drag, or what used to be the main drag." Hhmmm... commence big sigh and a little hair pulling. I should add here that my mom lives on the East coast, I live in Tennessee, and the church she is talking about is in California. I lived in California for a while, and I've been to Pismo twice. I have no idea what she is talking about. But, that's okay! I googled it and I think I've narrowed it down to one church. I'll call them tomorrow.

Next, I need my parents marriage certificate. My parents divorced when I was a year old and my father passed away many years ago. Apparently my mom has a copy of it somewhere.... in a box. She moved six months ago and has a vague idea of where it might be. She's working on it. I'll give her a couple of weeks. I might just have to order a copy.

Finally, a while back I emailed another relative for information.... nothing, nada, cue the crickets. Never heard back from them. I'm on my own. But that's okay, whenever this situation arises I tell myself, "You're a genealogist. Figure it out!" I've already made progress and have sent away for a (hopefully) ground breaking record.

Sometimes working with the dead is easier.


  1. love it, yes the dead love all the attention, and the living can be oh so difficult

  2. Working with the dead is DEFINATELY easier. But then, where would the challenge be? LOL

  3. You are so right! Sometimes the ancestors are more willing to give up their stories than the living.

  4. I live about 45 min from Pismo, Cinamon. Let me know if you want me to run up there. It's a lovely place, so I wouldn't mind an excuse to visit! :-)