Did You Use All of the Information in the Documents?


One of my bad research habits is to quickly look at a record I have found for a vital statistic date, a geographical location or a familial connection. In the process I overlook information that could help me complete my overall research objective.

In past posts I wrote about Gordon Frederick Campbell and his three wives. I don’t always delve into the background of wives but in the case of his second wife, Elizabeth Dosenberg, I did so. I was curious as to her maiden name since it did not appear on the marriage registration for Gordon and her. Elizabeth’s United States Petition for Naturalization contained the information that she had a son, John Edward Dosenberg, which hinted strongly that her marriage to Gordon was at least her second one.

I was fortunate in that I had made contact with two of Gordon’s daughters, Phyllis (deceased) and Shirley, a number of years ago. Both provided me with basic information as best they could remember it. Both of them referred to Elizabeth as Edith which was interesting. This would not be the first time that I came across a “given” name different from the official one. I tend to keep both names in my research files and try to find out the reason for the use of the unofficial one.

Phyllis noted that Edith [Elizabeth] died in Seattle in mid-April of 1951. I checked the death records on the Washington State-Washington Digital Archives and found the death of only one Elizabeth Campbell listed for 1951. There was no death of an Edith Campbell in 1951 in the database. Unfortunately I could not access the digital image of Elizabeth’s death record and would have to pay for a copy of it. Wishing to do as much as I could without extra cost I decided to mine the abstraction of the document. This Elizabeth died 21 May 1951, age 49, at Seattle, King County, Washington. No spousal information was given. Her parents were listed as Frank Ripley and Emma Ward.

Analysis of Known Information
I combined the above information with what I had extracted from the other documents that I had in order to compile this data:
Age 49 in 1951=birth in 1901– death certificate
Birth date from Petition for Naturalization – 11 June 1901
Place of birth from Petition for Naturalization – Oldham, Lancashire, England
Entry to Canada at Halifax September 1913 on vessel Megantic from U.S. Border Crossing Manifest
Parents names Frank Ripley and Emma Ward from Elizabeth’s death registration

Passenger Lists
Research in passenger records made a lot of sense after looking at the above information.
I found the following when I searched for an Elizabeth Ripley born 1901:
Arrived 6 September 1913 at Quebec via vessel Megantic, departure from Liverpool
Ripley, Elish ? age 36 to husband, quarry, Cochrane, Alberta
Ripley, Eliza, age 11
Ripley, Edith, age 7
Ripley, Edward, age 9

I then looked for Frank:
Arrived 21 May 1913 at Quebec via vessel Megantic, departure from Liverpool,
Ripley, Frank age 46 quarryman to Calgary, Alberta

Canadian Census Records
This information looked promising so I searched for the reconstituted family in the 1916 Census for Alberta and found the following:
Ripley, Frank age 41, quarry, immigration to Canada 1913 [for all] Ripley, Emma age 38
Ripley, Eliza age 15
Ripley, Edward age 12
Ripley, Edith age 10

We now have Emma rather than Elish so it would appear that I tracked the correct family. By the time of the 1921 Census Eliza was not listed with the family. When I searched on her name in the 1921 Census I found an Eliza Ripley born in Canada who was not a candidate. Serendipitously at the top of the same page I found an Edith Dosenberger, age 20, born England, who arrived in Canada in 1913. Any searches using variations of the surname Dosenberger had not been fruitful so this serendipitous search was gratifying.

Provincial Archives of Alberta Marriage Records
Hypothesizing that she had married a Dozenberger in Alberta shortly before the 1921 census I then checked the marriage indexes on the Provincial Archives of Alberta website. I found a 1921 marriage between Edith M. Ripley and John Dosenberger, both of Calgary. Eliza’s sister Edith was still at home age 14 at the time of the 1921 Census of Alberta so that eliminated her as being the one getting married. The use of Edith when Eliza had a sister named Edith is confusing but I decided that I had to order a copy of the marriage registration to see if it provided any explanation and/or her parents’ names. Unfortunately the document had not arrived by the time that I had to post this.

I am considering sending a request for an obituary search for the Elizabeth Campbell who died in 1951 to the Seattle Genealogical Society. I’ll let you know how I make out in a future post.
Alan Campbell
The Ontario Genealogical Society
© 2018


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