Saturday, April 16, 2016

Finished Family Line Questioned...Part II

Back in October 2015, you may have read along as I lamented the false sense of security I had about a "finished" family line. Several genealogists had recorded that my ancestor, Henry Bowser the husband of Catherine Long, was the son of George Bowser and Elizabeth Moyer.

A cousin connection and a new document brought up some questions of Henry and his true parentage. Now, Henry Bowser Sr. and Mary Bowman were a possible candidate for his parents. Read more about that here.

I went to work collecting every record I could on Henry, George, Elizabeth, Henry Sr., and Mary. Without giving away too many details (because I plan to use this in my certification portfolio), Mary's obituary gave her true relationship to young Henry. He was her nephew.

By default, I might have assumed that George and Elizabeth had to be his parents. After all, there were only two couples in question. Right? Nope. When further researching this problem case, I found another possible parent. Daniel Bowser of the Montgomery county area turns out to be another father possibility.

I had to put this research question aside for awhile, but today I picked it up again by chance. I was "cleaning up" some digital documents and found something I had saved. It was Henry and Catherine's marriage record. Actually, it was a duplicate marriage record. Why had I saved two, I wondered? I noticed that they were two different types of marriage record. This one was a small handwritten list. The source citation of each document indicated that these two records were recorded in two different volumes of marriage records held at the Montgomery county courthouse.

I had overlooked this little paper because I found the more detailed marriage record. Though I had not deleted this extra record, I had subconsciously pushed it aside. When I looked closely, right there in black and white, it said "Henry Bowser of Danl."

This is a great find! I am heading over to the probate and guardianship records for the county now.

It just goes to show that "finished" family lines are not always finished. New records are being found each day and make all the difference. The research others had done was not bad research. With what they were able to access in the 1980s, they made the most logical parent choice for Henry. Now, it is our responsibility to check that work and make sure nothing new has come to light.

Happy hunting my fellow genealogists!

Want to learn more about overlooked techniques for finding hidden treasures in your family history? Head on over to my webinar presentations at Family Tree Webinars. If you have a subscription, you can watch any of the webinars for free. If not, you can see a free preview and make a one-time purchase to view the entire webinar. I think you'll especially like:
"Enriching Your Family History by Finding Pictures and Stories"


  1. Congratulations on a great find in your "finished" family line. And an interesting find for your portfolio Amie. ~ Cathy

    1. Thank you Cathy! It will go down as one of my most memorable genealogy finds!

  2. I should think so especially when it will be part of your certification portfolio. Happy huntings!

  3. You never know what you might find... that you already have in your possession! Happy Hunting!

  4. Amie,

    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

    Have a great weekend!

  5. It's amazing how we can see "new" things when we return to records we already have. Great find!


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