Hello to all, my sincerest apologies for my lack of blog posts. Yikes! It has been almost a month.
It’s been a very interesting month attempting to dig up more Golden Treasure; in fact, I have had many stumbling blocks of recent.
My first glitch was the US government shutdown. I know, a Canadian having a problem with the shutdown, unthinkable! My one go-to site has been the Library of Congress website. This site is filled with unbelievable amounts of information, including archives of United States newspapers… which are FREE!
Not thinking, on day one of the shutdown I visited my favourite goldmine of a site, only to find it blank with very tiny writing, indicating the website would be unavailable until the shutdown ended. *GASP* I won’t lie; I went through a withdrawal period. I visited this site daily and I knew this wasn’t a good situation. Sixteen long days later, the shutdown ended and my anxiety faded.
I was on the verge of a breakthrough… finding out who Terance’s Father was. That’s right, a piece to the missing puzzle – finding out where my Great-Grandfather came from, but more importantly, a clue to where Terance came from, and where he vanished.
According to Ancestry.com records, all roads led to Rome. And by Rome, I mean New York City. This setting fit perfectly into stories and bits and pieces of information I had heard through the family. According to Ancestry.com, Terance’s father was a man named Timothy Golden, born in Ireland and immigrated to New York.
Meanwhile, I contacted the Winnipeg Vital Statistics office to obtain Terance and Catherine’s marriage certificate – this document would have both of their parent’s names listed in print. Upon learning this document would take 6 weeks to process and mail, I continued on with my Ancestry and Library of Congress searches.
With the information I collected on Ancestry.com and the Library of Congress website and Chronicling America , I pin pointed as many bits about Timothy that I could, making an ultimate discovery that he was an NYPD officer in the early twentieth century. COOL RIGHT? Articles, upon articles documented Timothy as an outstanding Police officer, and later Sergeant. Several articles indicated scandal within the force, with the famous Chief Byrnes, whereupon many of the senior officers were forced into retirement… dun, dun, dun, which included Tim. This was a direct result from the President of the New York City Police Commission, Theodore Roosevelt’s (future U.S President) drive to rid corruption within the Police Force. This was guilt by association for Timothy.
So what did I do next? I hit google and started searching my little heart out. I stumbled upon another Blogger who had documented his own experiences with his own family genealogy. John, (http://currach.johnjtierney.com/) discovered his own family roots within the NYPD; his site was a valuable tool where he also included the contact information specifically for archived material through the NYPD. Gold Mine!
Within an hour I had a handwritten letter sent off to the NYPD. About a week later I received an email from a lovely Sergeant letting me know there was a discovery, not the greatest; yet it was a discovery none the less. Five weeks later I had a real snail-mail document waiting for me in my mailbox, addressed from the New York City Police Department! (Boy, I have never been so happy to receive mail, ever).
With anticipation, I ripped open the envelope to find a polite letter, and an explanation as to what was delivered to my door.
Hmmm… at first I wasn’t quite sure what I was looking at. In fact, I thought they made a mistake and scanned or made a really terrible photocopy. Nope.
What I found was a full 8.5×11 sheet with Timothy’s full name, rank and what I believe was his employee number. The rest of the page was blank, with one big ink smudge in the middle. Hmmm…
Well alrighty then! I re-read the letter to have a better understanding of what was sent:
Enclosed is one (1) record regarding Sergeant Timothy Golden for your review. Unfortunately, a thorough search of Department archives and personnel records failed to locate extensive documentation concerning Sergeant Timothy Golden. Please be advised genealogical information concerning members of the New York City Police Department from the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century is often extremely limited.
Fair enough, good game. Although this wasn’t the best document, I was still grateful for obtaining such information. If anything, this simple piece of paper was evidence Timothy did exist and work for New York’s finest.
Fast forward to this week, another letter eagerly waiting to be opened, from the Winnipeg Vital Statistics office! With excitement brewing, I opened the letter knowing it was Terance and Catherine’s Marriage certificate – solidifying my finds about Timothy as Terance’s dad.
AND then my heart sank.
It sank so low, I could feel it pulsing in my feet.
Terance’s dad is Tom, not Tim.
The marriage certificate identified what I had LEAST suspected.
Weeks of “findings” down the drain.
Moral of my genealogy story: Be weary on Ancestry, wait the amount of time you need to in order to obtain legitimate documents. Be patient, it’s not like these people are going anywhere 😛
Back to the drawing board for this kid…