When starting my family tree research about a year ago, I didn’t have much information about any prior to my grandparents. Relying on the memories of my living family could only take me so far. At some point over the last few months, with the help of my parents, we discovered more documents filed away that could provide clues. One of these documents was my mother’s father’s death certificate.
I didn’t even notice at first, but this document provided some information I had been looking for: his mother’s maiden name. I had understood from oral history that my great grandmother Anna had a sister Lena, but didn’t know much more. With the death certificate, I was able to put a last name to Anna and Lena: Neckameyer. With this information, I had more ammunition for finding public records. I quickly found the U.S. Census record from 1920 pertaining to Anna and Lena and from 1930 pertaining to Anna, with both also including their father William and their step-mother Rose. Also included was their father’s mother, Fannie.
Around the same time, I also discovered a census record from 1910 that looked it might be the same family, but it also included two other siblings: Celia and Isadore. I didn’t want to accept this record as pertaining to the Neckameyers of my family right away, because they lived at a different address in 1910 (though not too distant from their location in 1920), the ages didn’t line up precisely, and oral history did not include Celia or Isadore.
With my mother confirming she recalled an aunt Celia, I didn’t want to dismiss the records so easily. After more sleuthing, I saw that Celia Neckameyer later married George Wacloff. The Walcoff family lived at the same address as the Neckameyers who, through their address on a marriage certificate, I had confirmed as my relatives. While by 1920 George and Cecilia had moved away from their families, I was able to trace the Walcoff family to the previous census to confirm George was in fact part of the same Walcoff family.
The fact of the marriage of Celia Neckameyer with George Walcoff, whose family lived at the same address as Anna Neckameyer, convinced me that Cecilia and her brother Isadore (sometimes known as Irving) were in fact the sister and brother of my great grandmother, Anna Neckameyer. By this time I had been tracing the Neckameyers in a separate tree, eager to discover any other clues that might help me connect the two families. Earlier this week, I merged the two trees, “accepting” Celia, Isadore/Irving, and their children into my family tree.