The Washerwoman’s Genes

February 22, 2006

Half the twins is better than none

Filed under: Washboard — by WWG @ 6:01 pm

I found one of the twins. This would be one of my paternal uncles: an infant who died three months after his birth. I knew my father had twin siblings who died young; he never told me their names, only just referred to them as “the twins.” No one seems to know any more about them.

But I was searching around in the Italian Genealogy Site’s vital records databases, and I realized one of the twins might have been called John. The repeating names in my father’s family have helped me find footholds for stepping back in time, but the name John seems to skip a generation. Or not. So I searched, found nothing, meaning what? One possibility is that the name had been so misspelled or misinterpreted that it didn’t come up even in a sounds-like search. (Four-syllable last names are very susceptible to becoming alphabet soup.) I switched the “m” and “n” around, and up it came: an infant John, with a very weird last name, born and died in 1917 in Kings Co. I sent away for the certificate, and bingo: my grandma and grandpa are listed as his parents. His name is misspelled on the top of the certificate, but his father’s last name is correct!

That’s the second deceased sibling I’ve found; Rachel died at age 4 in 1919. She was easier to pick out: her surname is spelled correctly. I saw the name Rachel and I knew she was mine: my grandmother had a sister named Rachel.

But there should be another twin. I’ve searched some likely first names, pairing them with fractured versions of our surname, but with no results. James? Catherine? Walter? And many others. The census is no use: these children were born and died between the censuses.


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