Saturday, January 18, 2014


Yesterday I decided to work on a particular branch of the family, the BOGGS line.  I began by looking at my 2nd great grandmother, Susan Caroline Boggs 1842-1913.  She’s the nearest Boggs to me, so it seemed a good place to begin.  I already know a lot about her, dates of birth & death, burial location, three marriages, nine children etc.  And have documentation for most of that information.

Here is a screen shot of the family.

BOGGS_Susan & HUNTER James
Family Group Record for James Gillen Hunter

What do you suppose is the first thing I do?

I look over at her husband, my 2nd great grandfather, James Gillen HUNTER and see that I still don’t have a location for his death or his burial. 

I checked the sources I have attached to James and here is what I see.

HUNTER_James_source list

You can see that my source for his death date is a handwritten family tree from my grandmother, Florence Bowden Milne.  That’s it.  That’s all I have for any reference to his death.  

NOTE:  My grandmother, Florence Bowden Milne, who is mentioned often in this blog, was also a genealogist.  She kept a LOT of records on the family.  We have found very few errors in her records.  She died in 1986.  Wouldn’t she just love to be here now and have all the online resources that we all have?

Here is a screenshot of her reference to James Gillen Hunter on her handwritten family tree.  You can clearly see she recorded his death date as 25 Aug 1884.

HUNTER_James screenshot from family tree

After reviewing this information, and for what reason, I don’t know, I clicked on his parents, Rev. Isaac C. Hunter & Emily Gillen.  They are my 3rd great grandparents.  

What do I see when I look at Emily Gillen?  

No date of death or burial location.  

GILLEN_Emily family group screen shot
Family Group Record for Emily Gillen

This lack of information on both Emily Gillen & James Gillen Hunter goes back a good 8-9 years.  I have hunted and I have searched, again and again.  Because these are my direct line ancestors it is very important to me to find out as much as I can about them.  

  • I looked at all sources I had for Emily Gillen. 
GILLEN_Emily source list
  • I reviewed those sources, just like I reviewed the sources for James Gillen Hunter.
  • I conducted another search on both and Family Search.  Nothing new found.
  • What I didn’t do were any Google searches.  NOTE:  I should have, and that is a mistake.
  • I decide that my next best move is to put this out there to my fellow researchers on a particular Facebook group I belong to.
TIP:  Facebook is a wonderful source for information and collaboration.  If you haven’t yet discovered the value of joining genealogy groups on the site, I urge you to do so.  You can find the groups by doing a search on Facebook for “genealogy,” entering the name of various counties or states you are researching, or find out from other genealogists how they use Facebook to assist their research.  I have been using the site for 6-7 years now for just that purpose.  Should that be a future post on my blog?  How to use Facebook?  Or do all of you already know?  I do know my readers are very smart.
  • I belong to several county specific groups on Facebook.  In this case I decided to post my “problem” on The Lawrence Register group (Lawrence County, Ohio) for both James Hunter and Emily Gillen. And on the Boyd County, Kentucky Genealogy & History group for James only, as he was living in that county in 1880.
Here is the post I put on those group pages yesterday.

This post went on The Lawrence Register group page as both James Hunter & Emily Gillen lived in Lawrence County, Ohio at one time or another.

Problem: I need to find a death record and/or burial location for two people that I've been researching for 10 years. I've searched every kind of way on familysearch and Ancestry. No shaky leaves on Ancestry for them either. Hoping maybe someone out there can help. Here's the two that I need:
Emily/Emilia GILLEN born about 1810 in PA died after 1870 (last census I have for her) and she was in Illinois then. She was in Ohio in 1850 & 1860. First married Rev. Isaac C. HUNTER 1828 in Lawr Co. he died, then she married David POPE in 1846 in Columbus, OH (don't know what became of him), then she married Joel STOVER in 1858 in Lawr Co. He died after 1870 - nothing on him after that.

Second person - same problem - can't locate any death or burial records.

James Gillen HUNTER (son of the above Emily & her first husband), he was born 1832 in Ohio and died 25 Aug 1884. Where did he die? Where is he buried? He lived in Lawrence Co and then lastely in Covington, KY.
I've got census records, Civil War Draft Reg., marriage records etc. but no death or burial records for these two. Any suggestions, ideas or help welcome. Thanks in advance.

For the post on the Boyd County, Kentucky site I took out the information about Emily and only posted for James Hunter as he was the one who lived there.

These posts were put on the site at about noon yesterday, 17 Jan 2014.  I immediately began to get remarks from those I have known on the Lawrence Register site for many years.  A couple of people wished me luck.  Always good to know your friends are pulling for you.  But, then, within an hour of my post comes an entry from my cousin, Amy (a 4th cousin, once removed) who lives over in Denmark.  We have never met in person, but have been exchanging information online for several years.  She is a very good researcher and we have enjoyed sharing with one another.

This is what she wrote:
“Emily died on 6 Dec 1887 and is buried in Old Bethel Cemetery, Belmont, Wabash County, Illinois.”

What?  Where did this information come from?  Amy swears she told me this last year, but I don’t remember ever hearing it.  Was I busy at the time?  Did I miss her message?  I don't know.

The next entry from Amy was a link to for Old Bethel Cemetery. (How nice was that?)

I immediately went to the site and scrolled down the page to the letter S.  I knew that Emily was married 3 times and her last husband’s name was Joel STOVER.  I certainly had searched under that name many times.  

Lo and behold here is what I found.

Stover_Emily on interment-wtih red arrow

Can you see me doing my genealogy happy dance? 

girl with purple top jumping for joy

Here is how Emily’s information on the Family View looks now.  Much better, don’t you think?

GILLEN_Emily with death date

I still don’t have a death date or burial location for James Gillen Hunter.  But, that doesn’t mean I won’t find it or have someone share it with me.

I have created a memorial on for Emily (memorial #123610787) and requested a picture of her headstone, if there is one.

Next, I will try to locate a death certificate or record online, or send for one, so that I can verify the information posted on the cemetery website.

Now you know the story of how I found out when my 3rd great grandmother died and where she is buried.

Oh, and let’s review.  What was my original mission when I started yesterday?

       To research my Boggs line

Isn’t it funny how our paths can go off in a different direction?  Sometimes I feel bad about that and think that I’m not focused enough and should try to stay with my “mission.”  

LESSON LEARNED:  You never know where that other path may lead or what you will find.  As long as it ends with us knowing more about our ancestor than when we started, then it’s all worthwhile.

Happy hunting,

Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2014   Diane Gould Hall


  1. Great post, thanks for taking the time to share a real-life problem and a solution process. I'm inspired!


I look forward to reading your comments. If you have any connection to the people mentioned in this blog, please let me know. I write about mine and my husband's ancestors and would welcome new information or meeting a new cousin or two. Thanks for visiting and come back soon.