Every Genealogist has his or her Brick Walls.
Probably more than a few, if truth be told.
Brick walls are those family mysteries needing solving, those ancestors, lost in the mists of time, whose records are hard to come by, and so much more, as varied as can be.
One of my Brick Walls involved an Aunt. My Grandmother Iva Dougherty's older sister, to be exact.
I began to delve into this mystery in 2001, and solved it in 2002.
This is the story of my search for Golda Dougherty Sweatt, as told through various message board entries all those years ago (The only Photo I know of has her posing with my Mother, Mary Alice Wells, age 27/28, sometime in the Spring of 1957, in Pomona, CA.):
August 15, 2001:
"Genealogy goes Twilight Zone"
Good evening everyoone!
I'm barely at this genealogical thing again for a month and things are already going TWILIGHT ZONE on me. ;-D
I don't know what it means yet.
As you know I decided, on the spur of the moment, to dash off to the CHICAGO SHINDIG next month.
As you also know I've revived my Genealogical searching.
One person I'm looking for was last seen, and heard from, in 1958 as she left Pomona, Ca. to go to THE LITTLE SISTERS OF THE POOR in Los Angeles.
My Mothers Aunt (My Grandma's sister) was in her late 50's/early 60's at the time.
This morning I did a 411 and was given a phone number, not in Los Angeles, but in San Pedro to the south.
It seems the Sisters moved from L.A. in 1979.
There were no Sisters from the 50's or 60's there, and according to the lady I talked with, any records of residents and their fate would be housed in the MOTHER HOUSE.
While she didn't have at hand the former addy in L.A. she did give me the MOTHER HOUSE addy.
Doing an Internet yellow pages search I got the phone number.
I will call first thing in the morning, trust me.
Here's where it gets really interesting:
The MOTHER HOUSE is located outside CHICAGO.
In PALATINE, to be exact.
Am I meant to pay a visit to this place?
I don't know.
It is my hope that any records they have can be copied and mailed to me.
I will begin to learn more tomorrow.
I know a commuter train goes to PALATINE, and if I need to go there for some reason I will do so on MONDAY the 10th since my flight home is an evening flight.
There is REAL HOPE, after 43 years, that Aunt Goldie, who was lost and nearly forgotten, will be found.
The Sisters run a FACILITY for Seniors and when someone dies they are buried according to their wishes, tombstone and all.
To my way of thinking she is either buried in Los Angeles, or back in Owensboro next to her husband, Albert R. Sweatt (Abt. 1892 - 6/29/39), with whom she had no children.
Tomorrow morning ought to be interesting. ;-D
Aug. 16, 2001:
Well, I talked with someone in PALATINE.
She took my information and request, and offer to come to them if they are not allowed to copy and send me all the info they have.
She will pass it to the SISTERS, and someone will do the research and call me back.
Aug. 17, 2001:
Well, a side trip to PALATINE is out.
It seems that any records of ol' AUNTIE will be in SAN PEDRO, if anywhere.
Only the records of closed facilities, not MOVED ones, are sent to PALATINE.
The Palatine Mother Superior used to be COUNCILOR PROVINCIAL for the Los Angeles area and knows this to be the case.
I will call SAN PEDRO on Monday and talk with their Mother Superior and, hopefully, the Nun in charge of the Archives.
The call to San Pedro produced a deadend as there was no record of my Aunt.
And so the search went dormant for several months...