Tuesday, July 30, 2019

COUSINS ~ Such a wonderful resource–What I learned about Mary Emily King (1921-2019) in one afternoon

Cousins!  We can have an unlimited number of them.  We all know that they are special members of any family.  Whether you grew up with them or you have met them along your life’s journey, they can be a source of joy.

I received a phone call a few days ago from a cousin I’ve met through my genealogy research.  She just happens to live within an hour of me.  She is a maternal 3rd cousin.  Our common ancestors are James Gillen Hunter and Susan Caroline Boggs.

She informed me that her Aunt, Mary Emily King, had recently passed away.  She knows that I like to try and stay informed about family events, births, marriages, deaths etc.

Yesterday I sat down at my computer to take a look at my Legacy database and see what I had entered for Mary Emily King, my 2nd cousin once removed.

I had her as the daughter of Joseph Edward King & Maria Rhoda Downing.  Having been the 5th child born to that couple. 
I had a birth date of “about 1920 in Indiana.”  That was the extent of my knowledge of Mary Emily King.

  • First I did a Google search to see if I could find an obituary for Mary Emily.  Most or many obituaries are published online now and a simple Google search of the name + obituary will bring results.  Sometimes I add the year also, depending on how common the name is
  • The obituary was a great source of information and confirmed what my cousin had told me.  Mary Emily died 4 Apr 2019.  The obituary gave her exact date of birth & place, the names of her parents, who she married & when, names of her family both living and deceased, her military service, other information about her life and her place of burial.  Doesn’t get much better than that.

  • OH!!  Did I mention there was a lovely photo of Mary Emily included with the obituary.
Screenshot from her obituary

  • The next place I looked for information was FindAGrave.  Even though Mary Emily recently passed away, you can, many times, find a memorial has already been created.
  • Sure enough there it was.  You can visit her memorial here #198091880.
  • Her memorial had links to memorials for her parents, her husband and one sibling.
  • I returned to Ancestry to add her husband’s name to my tree.
  • From there I was able to find more information about him, including family photos AND his birth & death certificates.  THAT WAS A BONUS I WAS NOT EXPECTING.
  • Interestingly, I cannot locate a marriage record for this couple.  I’ve tried specific and general searches on both Ancestry & Family Search.  Both Mary Emily’s and her husband, Harold’s obituaries give the same date and place of the marriage.  For now, that will have to do as evidence.  However, I will need more solid evidence and will continue to search.
  • By learning that Mary Emily & her husband had a daughter named Maria, I was able to locate her obituary (she just died last year).  This included all sorts of vital information about her, including exact birth date, marriages, children's names etc.
NOTE:  I have searched high and low for a marriage record for Mary Emily King & Harold Hanna.  According to both of their obituaries, they were married 12 Aug 1972 in Danville, Illinois.  HOWEVER, how is it they have a daughter born in 1947?  Could this daughter be from another marriage or relationship for either Mary Emily or Harold?
For now, I’ll finish this post and move on to the next boat load of information I have received from another cousin (whom I met online via FB groups and then discovered and confirmed via DNA, she is my paternal 3rd cousin!)


Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl

Copyright ©  2010-2019   Diane Gould Hall



  1. Cousins really are wonderful source of family history information. I recently connected with a previously unknown cousin through a FamilySearch message. She had shared a photo of my 2nd great-grandfather, his parents (my 3rd-great-grandparents) and all of his siblings. I'd never seen these photos before. It was awesome!

    1. That's GREAT Jana! What a treasure to have someone share those with you. I've had many of those experiences and they always make me feel grateful and blessed.


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.