The next of kin case I helped resolve yesterday involved a woman born in 1905, who died in 1978. I’ve been working on it for several months. Using historic Oregonian newspapers, I was able to locate her siblings, and through one sibling’s obituary, identified her parents. All of them were deceased before this woman had passed. I then turned to find her sibling’s children, but was having no luck. Finding kin on someone who passed away so long along is a process of looking forward and back between generations, trying to find the link that comes forward to the present.
I turned to her father, a missionary, who emigrated from Wales in 1870, first to Canada, and then to the U.S. in 1882. I discovered that my decedent was the eldest daughter of his second wife. He had a first wife and one child before he arrived in the U.S., and several other children with his first wife here in the Pacific Northwest. Using Ancestry family trees, I located another person who was researching the first wife’s line, and messaged her. It turned out, she was also researching next of kin but for the eldest daughter of his first wife, That daughter died in 1958 in the Oregon State Hospital. Her remains were also unclaimed.
That researcher had identified the first names of two children of one of the siblings to the decedent she was researching. I was able to leapfrog off of her work, find a marriage record, and locate that now eighty year old woman living in the SE United States. She is the 1/2 niece to my decedent and the full niece to the woman who died at the mental hospital. It turns out that the missionary from Wales had not one, but two, daughters whose remains have gone unclaimed.