Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Beginning of My Journey - Finding My Mother's Ancestors in Indiana

The Families of Andrew Jackson Loy and Clara Jones, Bartholomew County Indiana

Thirty some years ago, my first genealogy research trip was to the Mesa Arizona Family History library to find out about my mother's family of eight.  I was a new convert to the LDS church and had been drawn to the family history program.  I was not a stranger to historical research but had never done  genealogy so I had no idea what my journey would be like and I can tell you it has been amazing.

My mother, Louise Loy, the second to youngest child of Andrew Jackson Loy and Clara Jones of Indiana, had always joked that her and her siblings were "hatched" since she had no information about her parent's lives before they moved to the plains of Colorado. Of course I thought researching  would be a perfect opportunity for me to search them out and tell their stories!
Flora Rosa Louise Loy
I gathered what little information she had, and set off to the library for my big adventure. I knew that her parents came from Columbus, Batholomew County, Indiana to homestead in Colorado. I started with the 1900 census forms and searched for her father's family, the Loy's, line by line. Not a Loy to be found, but it seemed very odd that they had so many Asian families named Soy in that region. ( I know the researchers reading this are really laughing right now.)  Since my grandmother's surname was Jones, I thought I might have better luck searching the 1880 census index and I was very excited to find her along with her parents and brothers and sisters right away.  At the end of that day, I at least felt like I had accomplished something significant to report to my mom when I called her that night.

At the time, I had just signed up for correspondence classes in genealogy and one of my first classes was on Palaeography, the study of old handwriting. As I went through the lessons, imagine my surprise to find out that the letter "L" back in the day looked like an "S".  When I realized that all the "Soy" families were "Loy" families I could hardly contain myself! 

Being a stickler for research notes, I already knew which rolls I had looked at on my previous trip so on my next trip to the library, the results were much better.  It's hard to describe what I felt when I saw my mother's parents listed in their first home together on the census and expecting their first child. I tried to absorb every detail, and through bouts of tears I studied the street and house numbers, their neighbors and all the information on the form. Later, in the rolls, I was also able to find what would turn out to be my grandfather's family, names she had never heard.  Later that evening, when I called her in Colorado with the news, she was amazed that the information was out there to be found. After her famous "I'll be darned" she joked, I guess we weren't hatched after all! 

I have been truly blessed by genealogy. Those first few months of research on mom's family led to decades of research and a career of helping others search for their families and write their stories. I still never cease to be amazed that around the most unexpected corner, information I have searched for over the years suddenly becomes available, and I'm always thankful for all the extra help and inspiration my past and present family gives that guides me along my path.

Mary Ellen

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