Saturday, September 23, 2006

Questions about my grandmother search

Questions about my grandmother search

[...] I feel you just might know the avenues that I can take to find my
grandmother Lula Inda MILLS. I have searched for her for over ten years. I
am about to give up. Lula Inda MILLS married my grandfather Walter G.
WILSON, Indianapolis, Indiana 1909. On the certificate she signed it Louise
Mills. She went by Louise most of the time. They had three children: Emmett
Wilford, Edna Evelyn, and Walter Lee WILSON (my Dad).

When my Dad was about two years old she left and never returned. My Dad and
his brother and sister grew up in an orphanage until they were in high
school because my Grandfather couldn't take care of them. In the 1930 census
my grandfather still listed her with the household but listed as absent. I
have no idea as to if and when there was a divorce, I couldn't find anything
on it.

All I know is that she moved to Chicago at some time. She married someone by
the name of Bill. I was told that he was some sort of policeman or security
officer in Chicago. They thought possibility that her new married name was
MUELLER, but not sure. No one could give me a time of marriage or any other
info. She was to have died in Chicago. I don't have a date for her death
other than I know when I was in grade school, 1950s she had already died.

I have spent hours trying to find her on any census. I was told that she
lived in Jamestown, Indiana prior to her marriage to Walter G. WILSON. I
have searched all the records there and no listing of any type.

Also I was told that her father's name might have been Charles MILLS.

I have been going on the assumption that her Aunt was named Clara or Carla
Inda MILLS. I remember a picture of this lady and it had belonged to Louise
MILLS and on the back it had written my precious and that her death date was
either 1900 or 1902.

I was able to obtain the marriage certificate for Walter G. WILSON and
Louise MILLS but that is just about the only info on the certificate other
than the clerk.

I haven't been able to find any other data. I have searched so long and
tried and going to give up. I have no one to ask any questions of and no
paper trails. [...] I thought possibly you might know where else I could
turn. I didn't want to bother you, but I am on my last bit of hope on her.
And I apologize for the interruption. Hope you are having a great day. Thank
you for your time.

First, you need a (((HUG))) for persevering with your grandmother's
research. Please be sure to type all this information into NOTES for your
grandmother in your genealogy program. Your personal observations and
recollections are all any of us have to go on at this point. We want to
leave a big trail for others to follow. Now take heart, and realize there
ARE other options.

-- You have the marriage certificate or a copy of the marriage return. Look
instead for the MARRIAGE APPLICATION, which should list at least names,
ages, place of residence before the marriage. If she was under 21 at the
time of the marriage, local laws may have required her parent or guardian's
permission. This is particularly true for the late date of marriage you are

-- Check the LOCAL NEWSPAPER for the marriage announcement, which should
list more details and next of kin. These are often on microfilm through the
local library and hopefully are available thru ILL Inter-library loan.

-- Check BIRTH CERTIFICATES for your father and his siblings, to see if the
birthplaces of the parents are listed. This would give you another place to
look in the census for your grandmother as a child.

-- Check both ANCESTRY & HERITAGE QUEST ONLINE census indexes for your
grandmother under all possible first names and initials. I have found some
individuals through one index that I couldn't find using the other index,
and vice versa. Also check for Charles and for Clara/Carla. When you do find
her, make note of her birthplace and that of her parents for future

-- Consider IDA as an alternative interpretation of the handwritten
lettering of your grandmother's first name. Also Edna is one of
Louise/Inda's children's names. So perhaps Edna is a family name?

-- Look at a MAP to see what towns were around their place of marriage.
People often didn't travel too far to get married even when eloping. The
state line may be close by, if you consider travel by boat, train or car
and not just by horse-drawn carriage. This would give you other states to
search for her in the federal and state census enumerations, where she would
have appeared as a child in her father's household.

-- Work the angle of the 2nd marriage in Chicago, Cook County, Illinois. The
marriage books are usually loosely indexed by both bride and groom names.

-- Search and make your own postings to the MILLS surname message board, to
see what others are doing in their allied line research. The ones at seem to be used more than most genealogy message

-- Check previously compiled genealogists at:
and . While these findings aren't without their
mistakes in lineage assumptions, it will give you clues and perhaps another
research with whom to compare notes.

-- Check out to discover links to online help and
databases that might assist with your research. I recommend checking back
every 3-4 months or so as additional resources come to light.

THERE ARE SEVERAL BOOKS WRITTEN ABOUT SEARCHING FOR A FEMALE ANCESTOR. You can pick them up today at, as I just checked availability for you.

FEMALE ANCESTORS: Special Strategies for Uncovering Hard-To-Find Information
About Your Female Lineage. 1998. Betterway Books. ISBN: 1558704728.

-- Schaefer, Christina. THE HIDDEN HALF OF THE FAMILY: A Sourcebook for
Women's Genealogy. 1999. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company. ISBN:

FOR SOME REASON these additional thoughts come to mind. Ol' Myrt here is not
sure if they will prove helpful.

-- Clara might be your grandmother's mother. WHY? Consider that "Aunt"
Clara/Carla MILLS would have had to remain unmarried for her to retained the
maiden name over the years. Women didn't tend to take back their maiden
names after a divorce until the mid-late 20th century in the US. The term
"precious" would more aptly to one's mother than to one's aunt, particularly
where that mother died while one was a child or young adult.

-- Consider that both Charles and Carla/Clara are very easily confused from
the handwritten form of either name.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
227 Bellevue Way NE PMB 544
Bellevue, WA 98004

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