Alan Crosby's blog: Solving the mystery of great aunt Edith

By Jon Bauckham, 12 May 2016 - 12:16pm

In the June issue of Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine, Alan wrote about his frustrations of being unable to trace his great aunt Edith. But shortly after going to press, the brick wall was finally broken...

Dr Alan Crosby is the editor of the Local Historian and a columnist for WDYTYA? MagazineThursday 12 May 2016
Alan Crosby
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Edith McBride Findmypast

Alan managed to track down a number of different records relating to his great aunt Edith, who adopted many different identities over her lifetime

If you’ve seen the latest issue of the magazine you might have read my ‘Off the Record’ piece about the problems I’ve had tracking down my mysterious great aunt Edith, who vanished en route from Wyoming to Los Angeles in 1914.

I have tried for many years to find her but without success... until now. Yes, that magical and exciting eureka moment struck not long after I wrote the article!

I searched Findmypast’s United States marriages collection, which had recently been uploaded to the site. And there she was – marrying in LA in the autumn of 1914 (admittedly, under a false name, which took some detective work).

In fact she had two false names and also a second married name – a French-Canadian one at that. It took a little while to piece together her movements after 1914, but they included Beverly Hills and Little Rock, Arkansas (we’re nothing if not adventurous in my family). I know now that she died in Little Rock in 1968 and is buried there, and that she had two adopted sons.

It’s fantastic to have discovered all this, thanks of course to the amazing resources of the internet and it certainly makes my annual subscription seem value for money.

Now the sleuthing continues. Most importantly, I want to fill in some of the gaps, to find out what happened to her sons, and to discover the answer to the most obvious question – why did she use two false names?

Had she been up to no good, I wonder – which, given the dodgy track record of my grandfather and his other siblings, is highly likely. Fingers crossed!

Alan Crosby lives in Lancashire and is editor of The Local Historian. He is an honorary research fellow at Lancashire and Liverpool universities.

 

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