Sunday, July 17, 2011

Finding Greatgrandmother Ferguson

Have you ever gotten a document that you thought would help but only helped to confuse you further? That was the way it happened when I was trying to find the origins of my greatgrandmother Rose Etta Ferguson. Actually I found two of them equally bewildering, but ultimately I was able to use them with a little detective work. The first piece of documentation I sought was her death record. Her son, my grandfather, George A. Dunn, gave the information on the death record. According to his info she was born in 1865 in Madison, Jefferson County, Indiana. That part was true - at least that was what was in the family stories. Also her father was listed as Dave Ferguson but no mother was listed. From there I went to get her obituary but found that didn't help much only giving names of children and the approximate time she had moved to Johnson county. I made an attempt to look her up in the census. I did find a Dave Ferguson in Jefferson county in 1880 but with no daughters by that name. I felt that it was the right family or some sort of family to Rose Etta but I needed more. Next I decided to get her marriage record to my greatgrandfather, George M. Dunn. They being married sometime after 1882 in Indiana I had a good chance of finding a complete marriage application with more family data reported on it. What came next was amazing but it helped me to finally find her. On their marriage record her name was listed in 2 ways. At the top it read George M. Dunn to Lusetta Ferguson, married Feb. 15, 1892. At the bottom where both signed she had written Rosetta Ferguson. If this little piece of information hadn't been on there I never would have found her and what's more amazing is that whoever chose to index these marriages had enough common sense to include both names. Thank you, whoever did that, you saved my life!!!! The next piece of information that was puzzling was her father's name was listed as John B. Ferguson and mother as Lydia Lovell. So now I had to decide, who did I trust to report the correct information? My grandpa who said his name was Dave or Rosetta herself who said her father's name was John - did she give the info or did her husband? I never would have doubted my grandfather before until now. So I took all this information and combined it to help me look for Rose Etta Ferguson in Jefferson county. There she was in the 1880 census living with her father, John B. Ferguson and mother, Lydia Ann, under the name Lusetta at about the right age. The next piece of information that helped tie it all together was this Dave Ferguson I had found earlier turned out to be John's brother and was living nearby. It's curious how names can be changed around but still have a ring of truth to it. There's one question I have never found the answer to - why did Rose Etta change her name from Lusetta? No one in my family ever seemed to know about her other name. All it took was some odd pieces of information and with some good hard detective work the true facts came to the surface.

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