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Blogging about things that matter to me. Photographing things I love - Instagram @debcyork. Writing about both. Only wine and chocolate can save us… You can also find me on Twitter (@debcyork) and Facebook. If you like four-legged views, try @missbonniedog on Twitter

Monday, 10 November 2014

Find A Brickwall!

Further to my brief post about the Find My Past freebie weekend, I have tried really hard this weekend to break down some brickwalls in the USA using my extra access.

My Anglo Indian great grandfather, Frederick Jackson Shaller, had a brother named William Charles Shaller who emigrated to the US from India well before Partition.  This much can be definitely said.  However, I could previously only find one marriage certificate for him despite someone else's Ancestry public tree naming two wives.  I was hoping that the US data would help to solve this conundrum.

However, the FMP freebie weekend has actually deepened the mystery rather than beginning to solve it.  I was able to access the transcript and original image for the 1930 US census and the person who I assumed was the second wife is shown quite clearly as having been born in Montana in the US whilst the two eldest of the three children and William himself are shown as having been born in India.
The ages given for William and this "census wife" Dorothea are 52 and 37 respectively.  The eldest son is 20.  There is a marriage certificate from Bombay in 1906 which shows William marrying "Effie Moore" but it is "Dorothea" with whom he entered the US via Boston in 1920.
The eldest son Leslie was born in 1910 and the middle child, a daughter named Dorothea, was born in 1912 - both, as I said, in India.  The naming of this daughter would seem to point to the "census wife" being her mother, if not the mother of Leslie also.  The third child William Aubrey was on the way when they emigrated and he was born in New York.  He was nine years younger than his sister.  It is one of his descendants who has put a public tree onto Ancestry.
So is Effie Moore actually Dorothea?  Or was William married briefly to Effie and then - at some point between 1906 and 1911 - to Dorothea?  Was Leslie born to Effie or Dorothea?  If the age of 37 on the 1930 census is correct, Dorothea would have been 13 in 1906 if she is "Effie Moore".  I do have other relations who married at such an age, in Anglo Indian circles but 1906 seems quite late for this still to be happening.  the others are mostly early nineteenth century.  I have not been able to find a birth or baptism record for Leslie, which might have helped.  It is yet another Anglo Indian brickwall.
Funnily enough, when I search various sites for "Dorothea Shaller" in India quite a few turn up - well, not masses like for Jones or something but more than usual for that surname! - and they all appear to be connected to my tree in some way.
I have started to think about whether "Moore" is the route to go down.  However, a first glance search proved to be quite disheartening - there are many Moores.... 
I hope, if you tried the freebie weekend, you had better luck.  Find My Past is a good service, although its redesigned website takes a bit of negotiating.  I still get confused by its "Record Set" and "Record Collection" filters.  I shall plod away at this brick wall for a very little while longer - the freebie ends at midday today!

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