Monday, November 1, 2010

Madness Monday, Ladies, Ladies, Your'e Driving Me Mad

Copyright 2010, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

I have two ladies in my research that are driving me wild, and have done so for YEARS.

Elusive Ella and Mary of Many Marriages. 

I have talked a bit about Mary.  I gave a hint about her in the post Tombstone Tuesday, Mary A Lashbrook.  Briefly, Mary was either married or seriously involved/living with at least 5 gentlemen.  We know a lot about Mary, but then again, there are these HUGE holes in her history.  She really has led us down a research path.

Then, there is Elusive Ella.  She really is Rebecca's Elusive Ella, and neither of us will admit to just HOW many hours of research and frustration we have spent on Ella.



As I frequently do when I am writing, I stopped writing and went searching.  Went right over to FamilySearch and typed in Ella's name, and in less than 15 minutes I found 3 dates and places for events in her life. 

Ella, well, she is a bit of a fibber, we have known that.  She says she married Riley J. Bliss, only no marriage has been found.  She told her son that Riley died in a construction accident, but reading of a LOT of newspapers failed to turn up any articles about that accident.  Riley was known to be alive several years after this reported construction accident.  Oh, and we do know that Riley was married to another woman, a first cousin of Ella's.  Does not surprise us, this is Elusive Ella.

She had 2 sons, one we know as James Jay Bliss, born 1892-93 in Chicago, Illinois, only we have never been able to locate a record.  Until NOW!  Not only did I find the record, but there is an image attached! His name on the record, John Jay Bliss. Does not surprise us, this is Elusive Ella.   Happy Dance!

Her other son, Frank R. (for Reynolds?) Bliss was born in New York City, we had a date of October 4, 1887.  Well, I found that birth as well (index only, no image, required follow thru has been noted).  Only the date on the transcribed information gives his birthday as May 4, 1887.   Does not surprise us, this is Elusive Ella.  Happy Dance!

Ella must have married, besides maybe marrying Riley J. Bliss, as she is known in official court documents as the bride of  J.D. Reynolds. Only J.D., never a given name for that "J".  Court records concerning Ella and her father in Rockingham County Virginia refer to her as Ella Reynolds until about 1893. 

So, who is J.D. and did she really marry him?? Until now, we could NOT locate any marriage record. However, this time I did find one on an index for Manhattan, New York City, New York. It is dated January 2, 1887 according to the transcription (again, it is well noted, GET a copy of this record).    J.D. is, according to the transcription, Joseph D., and even his parent's names are indicated (well, sorta, his mother's name is incomplete, must have been hard to read for the indexers). Does not surprise us, this is Elusive Ella.  Happy Dance!

Of course, we still have conflicting information and more questions.  Frank R. Bliss is born only a few months after his mother married Joseph D. Reynolds.  Hmmm.  Frank's birth index transcription names his father as Riley J. Bliss, NOT Joseph D. Reynolds.  We have always wondered about that middle initial of "R.", wouldn't you??  But, of course, this is Elusive Ella. 

So, the search for the facts of Elusive Ella's life continue, but we are 3 steps closer.  And, Rebecca and I are doing a bit of a Happy Dance.  (OK, truth be known, we are doing more than a BIT, we are outright boogieing down!  WAHOO!)

**Stay tuned for a future post about Mary of Many Marriage, AKA MOMM.



TennLady said...

I've found many date errors on those Family Search indices.

Nolichucky Roots said...

Seems Mr. Bliss was not so blissful. Congrats!

Apple said...

Happy day! I hope the actual records shed more light on who Frank's daddy really was. Married to one man but the child the son of another? T'was probably quite the scandal!

I was finally able to stop searching for one very elusive marriage record when a letter revealed that no legal ceremony had ever taken place.

Greta Koehl said...

Are those Happy Dancers dancing to "Stayin' Alive"? Just askin'.... But seriously, Elusive Ella sounds like a lot of fun ... to research. Congrats on the Happy Dances!

Lori E said...

Sometimes I think they are laughing at us from beyond.

Southwest Arkie said...

Ellareminds me of my Elusive Angeline. Wish I could do a happy dance for her, but alas, she refuses to give up her secrets. :-(