Sunday, May 6, 2012

Part 9: The Great Pain

The name, James and birth date is clearly noted on the family paper.

 Entry 9: The Great Pain

Scrutinizing my treasure trove of records, the name James, birth date 22 February 1877 was clearly listed under children on the family record page. But he did not appear on any census transcripts. What had happened to him?  The question prompted a more thorough examination of the family’s time in Ely Vermont as his birth clearly took place at this point in the family history. This led to yet another revelation. The name Ely was actually Vershire. The Cornish mining community had changed the name from Vershire to Ely in 1878 to honor the owner of the mine; but economic tensions began to swell in the area leading to a reversal of the moniker in 1881. This meant that my exploration and photos of the railroad stop now called Ely was likely not the exact spot the Simons’ family called home. At that point I realized another trip to Vermont would be needed. But the question of James Symons remained. Determined to prove his existence, I wrote to the Vermont Clerk’s office.
When his birth certificate arrived, I was faced with a harsh reality. While it confirmed his birth on the exact date written on the family paper, it forced me to consider his absence in the memory of the living Simons’ family. This, along with the notable exclusion of James Symons on any subsequent census records, opened my eyes to the tragedy of Mary Ann’s life. Her son must have died.
Writing again to the Vermont clerk, I requested her help in searching for James in the death records. At this point I was beholden to so many: the kindness of the Cornish Parish clerks, those in the Cornwall Family History Society, the clerks at the Marquette County Courthouse, and now another person made it her quest to solve the mystery of James, with no death date to guide her. The only clue was his absence in the United States census of 1880. Had I paid more attention to the census records, I would have noted his absence earlier.
The clerk's reply email, just a few days later, further unraveled the complexities of Mary Ann. James had died, just five months after birth on 30 July 1877 of Cholera Morbus. Mary Ann experienced the loss of a child. I felt a jab. There is no greater pain. 

The birth and death certificates of James Symons.

No comments:

Post a Comment