Saturday, June 17, 2017

Ephemeral migrants and Wisconsin vital record duplicates

Three lessons from long day trip for research in central Wisconsin:

(1) DEEDS ARE GOOD. I often see family members who move west, stay briefly, and then go back home or strike out in a whole different direction. These folks are hard to track. They constitute another reason to look at all the deeds created by other family members who we already know stayed longer. I have an original four-page 1847 letter from Thomas Mozley to his younger brother Edward, extolling Wisconsin's climate (he'd been there a whole year) and a particularly promising site for Edward's smithy. Since Edward does not seem to appear there in 1850 or 1855, I assumed he never showed up at all. But he was there long enough to witness at least one deed created by another family member.

(2) VITAL RECORDS CAN BE WEIRD, but pre-1907 Wisconsin vital records are still wonderful. In this same family there appear to be at least three separate records of a single 1873 marriage: one apparently contemporary with the wedding (of course that's the one I didn't get to see before time ran out), one submitted in the 1890s, and one submitted in the early 1900s. I viewed the last two. They are largely in agreement, but the later one contains a bit more information than the other. Huh. How reliable is that? (Informants are not named; the evidence suggests that nobody paid attention to the earlier entries. All weddings should get such coverage!)

(3) I LOVE CHICAGO, BUT NOT DRIVING AROUND IT. There is no rational way for me to get to Wisconsin without navigating either Chicago or some suburbs. Getting up at 5 a.m. is not early enough. One alternative would work only if the marvelous State Historical Society at Madison is the goal -- take the Indiana airport shuttle to O'Hare, and then take the Wisconsin airport shuttle to the University of Wisconsin campus. Has anybody actually done this?

(4) I ALREADY HAVE A FOLLOWUP LIST FOR WHEN I GET TO GO BACK. First item: Learn how to count. Second item: Avoid weather. I saw large trees that had been pulled out of the ground, roots and all, by storms the day before.


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