Start With What You Know
Welcome back to our exploration of Laura Jessie Lomax’s Longfellow Birthday Book and our research into her life, family, and journeys.
As we reviewed in this first post, the name “Laura Jessie Lomax” is handwritten on the first page with the date 12/25/17. In searching the entries of the pages, Laura’s birthday is entered on January 21 (1874) in Williamstown, Missouri.
Searching the FamilySearch.org Wiki provided no results for Williamstown, Missouri. However, a quick internet search using Google shows us some great details about the town. This may be a great time to mention how much we miss the website MooseRoots. We can still find most of the data that fantastic resource used to provide but be patient as you’ll have to visit multiple sites instead of the one.
Google showed us Williamstown, Missouri includes zip code 63473. With the website UnitedStatesZipCodes.org, we can learn interesting statistics and demographics for zip code 63473, including population, real estate, employment, schools, and a critical detail for our search, county. Williamstown, Missouri is in Lewis County. Returning to the FamilySearch.org Wiki, we can explore a robust list of genealogical resources for Lewis County, Missouri. Additionally, websites Lindpendium, Histopolis, and Cyndi’s List can provide great genealogical and historical information for a surname or geographic place.
One site we’re ridiculously excited to introduce you to is Genealogy4D.com. More on this in a later post but if you’d like to see an amazing resource, we encourage you to check it now!
Missouri Vital Records
From the FamilySearch.org Wiki, we see that Missouri birth records, at the state level, weren’t required until about 1909. It’s wise to search available resources for Laura’s 1874 birth but for this post, we’re going to skip to searching FamilySearch.org and Ancestry.com databases for anything “Laura Jessie Lomax.”
One search (all collections) result in Ancestry.com looks promising: Web: Missouri, Death Certificates, 1910-1962 at http://s1.sos.mo.gov/records/archives/archivesdb/deathcertificates/.
Are you sitting down? Database searches take time, success takes strategy, and results require patience. At least that’s what the staff here at More Roots Than Branches often repeat. But this search result,1 as a general “let’s just see what we can find” inquiry from a single entry in a birthday book, is amazing!
From this death certificate, we can see the decedent Laura Jessie Lomax shares the same birthday as written in Laura Jessie Lomax’s birthday book. Additionally, we can see a listed father’s name, mother’s name, and a detail of “none” for the name of a husband or wife. It is reasonable to suspect that this death certificate is for our Laura. That’s fantastic!!
Further searching entries of the birthday book pages reveal a possible entry for Laura’s father. An additional entry in October might be for Laura’s mother but additional research is needed on both names.
Using the certificate information, plus the entries for Laura, her father, and her mother, we’ll explore state and federal censuses to identify family members. We’ll match those names and places up with entries in our Laura’s birthday book!
Until next time, please teach someone, something!