Saturday, September 1, 2012

"...He Leaves Five Brothers, One Sister..."

This is part one in a series of posts on what happened to the Wood brothers after they left Canada.  My ancestor was Charles S. Wood who ended up in Michigan along with his brother, John.  They had a sister, Jane, who married Edward Maycock and went to British Columbia.  Their mysterious brothers were: Alexander, William, James A., George D., and Andrew.

I love it when the stars align and I'm able to devote a whole day to genealogy.  Those days are rare, but I got one this past week and what a special day it was!  I'm still a little dumbfounded with how it all unfolded and am continuing to process all my discoveries.  But, it was one of those genealogy research days everyone dreams of and one I think I'll always look back on fondly.  In short, one clue led to dozens of new people, facts and resources.

I began the day with no plan or direction beyond the fact that I knew I wanted to work on my oft neglected paternal side.  I also wanted to get some organizing done as well.  I decided to start there and began where I last left off, with the Woods.  As I was tidying up the digital files, I noticed that I had two copies of what I thought was the same obituary so I began re-reading them to see what, if any, differences there were between the two (there weren't any, I just somehow ended up with two of the same).  It was then that I was struck by a line in the obituary: "...besides the immediate family he leaves five brothers, one sister..."  That one line motivated me to re-examine a long stranding mystery - and actually solve it.

My ancestor was Charles S. Wood, one of eight children.  His family had come from Northern Ireland or Scotland to Ontario when he was a boy and he had lived there until shortly after his marriage when he went to Michigan (he would return to Ontario after a few years before coming back to Michigan permanently a few years after that).  For all of Charles' many siblings, most of their movements after reaching adulthood had been impossible to track.

From census records I knew who the siblings were: there was Charles S., then William, Alexander, John, James A., Andrew, George D. and Jane "Jennie," the only daughter.  Some while ago I had a little luck tracking Jane and John.  Jane had married a Maycock and moved to British Columbia.  John had also gone to Michigan, and it was his obituary from 1918 which mentioned five surviving brothers and one sister.  The sister was obvious since there was only one, but who were those surviving five brothers and was my Charles one of them?

This is a question I've tackled before but I could never get far.  After marrying, they all seem to disappear - at least from Canadian records.  Since two of the siblings (Charles and John) ended up in the US, it was a fair bet that that is where the mystery ones ended up as well.  But where?  Wood is a common surname, as were all their given names, and there were many Scotch-Irish and Canadian immigrants in the US throughout the years.

This time I took another approach: look for the uncommon within the common.  One of the mystery brothers, James, married a woman whose maiden name was rarer than the others, Brodhagen.  So what was my next move?  I typed "Brodhagen Wood" into Google and hit search.

It was here that I noticed a Find-A-Grave entry for a woman matching the wife of the mystery brother.  And what is more, she was buried with a James Wood and a woman matching the information I had for a daughter of theirs, born while they were still in Ontario.

Could these be my Woods... all the way in Missouri?!  Stay tuned...

1 comment:

  1. Love that phrase, "look for the uncommon within the common" -- could be so for most everything.

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