Friday, September 1, 2017

Oh, Edna. If This IS You, Just Too Sad for Words

Copyright 2017, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

The other night the 1921 Canadian Census became available online, thanks to the Library and Archives of Canada.  

I hit up the search engine late in the evening, cause, well, I had to.  Sleep?  Nah.  Search. Ya!

I went first to Nova Scotia to see what I might find on Man's Fenton clan there.  I found the enumeration of William and Ida (Jarvis) Fenton and noted there were 2 adopted sons in the household.  Both with the surname of Sisco.  I dug around, messaged with a Fenton researcher I share with and we identified both.  

My fast and furious searches and clicks and shocked findings are a blur now, so, to tell you the chronological search is just about impossible. Plus the fact that as the night grew cold and old and the new day dawned (meaning I searched until about 2 AM in the morning), and I grew tired, ok, MORE tired, well, the gut kept screaming, this is IT, THIS IS IT!.  But, I was so taken back by the revelations, that I knew I had to try to sleep on it, and redo the research and make better notes, and really give this all some time to seep into my core.

The short of it is, that I went to the Nova Scotia Vital Statistics site and I searched Sisco, and I started looking at just about every Sisco birth, marriage and death available.

Before I go on, I would urge you to read my story about Man's grandmother, Edna May Fenton Stevens.  Pay particular close attention to her MIA years, 1901 to 1918.  Also, note, that we have installed a headstone for Edna and Arthur since I wrote this post in 2010.  I'll be here after you read her story - - 

So, you read it?  From the piece, you saw this right?

"She does not appear on the 1911 census.  In fact, from 1901 until 1918 we have no idea where Edna is or what she is doing."

In all these years, despite many hours of researching, and even a quick trip to Nova Scotia last year, I never found another hint of any kind at what happened to Edna.  Not. One.  Hint!

But, while hunting Sisco, I found this birth record.  Please note, this is only part of the record.  From the top, name of the child, sex, birthday and place, name of father, maiden name of mother, residence of father, occupation of father, place of birth of father and race of father.

Note the name of the mother.  Edna May Fenton. As far as I know, and believe me, in this game, we never assume we know it all, there is only one Edna May Fenton that lives or lived in this area of Nova Scotia.  Man's grandmother.

You know I went looking for a marriage.  And, there is one, sorta. There is no date or place of the marriage.  Her age is not given.  Her name is noted as May Fenton.  There are no parents names. The record does not state where the parties of the marriage were born.  No name of the person that married them.  In other words, we have his name:  Alvin Sisco; her name:  May Fenton; his age is given as 21, he is a bachelor, she is single, and he is a labourer and they both live in Yarmouth.  You can find it on that Nova Scotia site, search for Sisco, marriages, 1908.

OKKK, from here on out, I am going to just list events in time line fashion.  Since I am sure in my own heart, but, feel still a bit shaky at the paper trail, please take this with a grain of salt.  I may have the wrong Edna May Fenton.  (It happens.) My findings so far, all events in or around Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada.

1908 Alvin Sisco and May Fenton at least file some paper work indicating a marriage between the two.

March 25, 1909, Muriel Sisco is born to Alvin Sisco and Edna May Fenton..

May 15, 1910, Alice May Sisco is born to Alvin Sisco and Edna May Fenton.

May 8, 1911, Bernie Sisco is born to Alvin and Edna May Fenton.  More on Bernie later.

1911 Canadian census we find Alvin born Sept 1887; Edna born March 1890; Muriel born March 1909; Alice born May 1910; Bernard, born May 1911 (he is listed as one month old).  Also in the household are David and Arthur Sisco, whom, I have determined are Alvin's brothers.

Jan 29, 1912, Alice May Sisco dies, father Alvin.

April 13, 1912, William Sisco is born, father Alvin, mother Edna May Fenton.

June 22, 1913, one "Bernard" Sisco dies, father, Alvin.  Age 13 months.  It is my belief that this is actually William Sisco born on April 13, 1912.  Given name in error.  From grief and ongoing health issues of the father, as:

August 14, 1913, Alvin Sisco dies, he had been ill for well over a year.

Now, extra notes I have gathered and am still working on:

That Bernard Sisco born May 8, 1911 is found living with William and Ida Fenton on the 1921 census as an adopted son.  Bernard Fenton dies in 1934.  Birth date of Bernard Fenton is the same as that of Bernie Sisco.  Parents listed on death certificate are William and Ida Fenton.  I know, it is muddy.  Bernard Fenton who died in 1934 is the same as Bernie Sisco born May 8, 1911.

Muriel Sisco marries one Roland Archibold Jacklyn.  The marriage record names her father as Alvin and her mother as Edna Fenton.  

You bet the search continues. And, yep, I am still in a bit of shock.  After 26 years of research, I figured I would never find Edna from 1901 to 1918.  There is still the time period of 1913 to 1918.  How did she get to the greater Detroit area to marry Man's grandfather?  Where is Muriel between 1911 and 1935?

Is this even close to being correct?

If it is, Edna gave birth to 4 children, 2 of whom subsequently died, and her husband died as well.  All of this took place from 1908 to 1913.  Five short years.

Just too sad for words.



Charley "Apple" Grabowski said...

Very sad! Why did she leave her children with her parents? Did all four die of the same thing? You've found Edna and now she's piling up more questions.

Mel said...

It sure sounds like you're on the right trail, Carol. Wow! Edna sure had a lot of grief in a short amount of time.

Carol said...

She left one son with her father. I don't know what happened to the eldest daughter from 1911 to 1935 - - yet.

Why Edna left them, I have no clue, I have to suspect, emotional distress?

Daughter Alice died from tuberculosis meningitis.

Son Bernard, who was really William, died of consumption.

Husband Alvin, died of TB.

There seemed to be a lot of TB and related diseases in that area in those years.

The son Bernard that died in 1934, Pulmonary TB.

Edna had a half sister, Dollie, she died of TB and Dollie's first hubby, Arthur Sisco, also died of TB.

Kathy Reed said...

I really enjoyed this read. That amount of TB is totally out of proportion with what could reasonably be expected. I have other questions -- I'll wait and see how this develops. This is why we do it! Love to see a brick wall coming down.

Carol said...

I'll say, it is just unreal after all this time to knock those bricks about.

Kathy Reed, please do ask, any time, you may have a question that I have an answer to, or you may ask something that will bring down more wall. I have no problems with questions, they are good!

Thanks Mel, it has been quite the week! I am still reeling from those losses in such a short time frame, I really understand Edna more now.

Miriam J. Robbins said...

"The muddiness." I like that phrase. It describes why we can't often find them...or when we do, we're not 100% sure. That's when it's time to write up a conclusion, like you did, and explain the discrepancies to the best of your ability. And then, wait it out to see if time unearths more records and/or explanations.

Great job, Carol!

Carol said...

Thanks Miriam. Yes, I am sitting back and waiting for others to question or add anything they suspect, or know. Sitting back also allows me the opportunity to adjust my acceptance levels. Man says, you found it, congrats, don't fret, it's right. He's good for my ego! LOL

Sherry - Family Tree Writer said...

It sounds like you have the right conclusion, but oh my goodness, such heartache! Maybe Edna was ill herself for a time, too.

Sherry - Family Tree Writer said...

Very interesting, by the way!!

Carol said...

Thanks Sherry. I have to wonder if she were not ill as well. Many more questions, hopefully, at some point, I will find the answers.