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Sunday, January 23, 2011

My Methodology assignment on hypothesis studies

I'm back to completing my certification again and working on my third methodology course. In this assignment we were asked to chronical a hypothesis we tried to prove/disprove and this was my submission.  It's a bit long winded but captures the 2 year experience in my proving my hypothesis was correct.....

Oral history of my husbands great great aunt Irene was that she died at a young age (before 20) in Grey County Ontario  where her father had purchased a farm.  My father in law who moved to Grey Co not far from his grandfather's farm tried to determine where she was buried.  His research did not turn up anything and he assumed she was buried on the farm.  He knew she was not buried with her parents who were buried much later in Toronto.  I knew she was born in 1898 in York Co and a few years ago I went to the Archives and searched through the death registration index looking up all the records that could be a possible match from 1899- 1920 but could not find anything.

My hypothesis was that she died later and in the Toronto area.

I discovered at the time and found the family in the 1901 census in York Co.  From this I was able to determine that her first name was stated as Esther.  Since none of my husband's family could tell me exactly when the family moved to Grey Co and I did not have an ancestry account I relied on automated genealogy to research the 1911 census.  Most of Grey County had been transcribed but I could not find them.  York Co still had alot of areas that had not been transcribed.  I started to manually read every sheet for York but then figured I should transcribe them at the same time so I spent months helping to transcribe York County in the census.  Eventually almost all of the census was transcribed (not entirely by me of course) but I still couldn't find them.  I reached out to the automated genealogy community and finally someone was able to find them in York.  Their family name (and all of the first names) had be enormously misspelled by the enumerator....   I now knew that the family was in York in 1911 and Esther was still alive. Based on this I knew the family moved to Grey sometime after 1911 but had returned to York where 3 of their sons were attested for WWII.  In the midst of my transcribing of the census (which I really enjoyed)I was able to get a copy of Esther's birth registration and confirmed that she was Esther Irene.   I was also able to find the birth registration of many of her siblings and of 2 brothers who died as infants and were buried in York County.   I went back to death registrations and finally succeeded.  She died of TB in 1928... in Toronto. Her parents's address was listed as the same address in Toronto where they lived right up to their deaths.  I was hoping the registration would list the cemetery but it didn't so I still couldn't be sure she was actually buried in Toronto.

Next, I found her parents marriage registration which listed St John's Norway in Toronto as the church they were married in.  It is beside an extremely large cemetery.  Her parents house in 1911 was across from this church and up the road from the cemetery.  By this time, I had amassed quite a collection of death registrations for the family and contacted the cemetery for some lookups then went for an all day visit.  The records are still on index cards and the cemetery has 80k+ people interred there but I was able to get photocopies of everything (a very nice genealogical windfall).  They were able to provide me burial details about 15 relative but not Esther.  A year later and armed with more ancestors who I suspected were buried there I gave it another shot and they found her.  She is buried in the same cemetery as her two infant brothers, her grandparents, aunts and uncles, sister in laws, nieces and nephews all who sadly are all in unmarked graves.


  1. Just wanted to say that your note in the side column of your blog made me smile. AlmostDunn.
    We know we are never quite Dunn when it comes to genealogy :-)
    Theresa (Tangled Trees)

  2. Welcome to the Geneabloggers family. Hope you find the association fruitful; I sure do. I have found it most stimulating, especially some of the Daily Themes.

    May you keep sharing your ancestor stories!

    Dr. Bill ;-)
    Author of "Back to the Homeplace"
    and "13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories"

  3. Thanks for the Welcome Bill and Theresa. I agree genealogy research will never be done :)