11 October 2014

Why Uncle Joseph Watson Matters

Research methodology suggests that we completely research the entire family and as a sibling of an ancestor. That is sound advice, but the reality is that in many cases there are aunts, uncles, and first cousins that really don't get researched. There is only so much time and only so many resources. Failure to research the entire family completely is more likely to happen if there more than adequate records on the actual ancestor of interest and tracing the actual ancestor is relatively easy.

Joseph Watson, an English immigrant to Chicago in the 1880s is one of those relatives. I didn't need to research him to locate the English origins of his sister Elizabeth (Watson) Frame who died Chicago, Illinois in 1919. There were plenty of records on Elizabeth and her family that provided information on her family's English origins. I didn't initially know about Joseph's immigration to Chicago, but it really wasn't crucial to my research on Margaret and her family.

And then I discovered Joseph died without any apparent children.

And that's when I got to thinking that he may be more helpful than I realized.

Elizabeth (Watson) Frame and her husband had several children, including my wife's great-grandfather William. This son William "disappears" around 1920. His wife and her family was unable to find him and it is possible that he stayed in touch with his biological family. And, if Joseph Watson died without children, William would have been an heir to Joseph's estate and mentioned in the subsequent probate file. The only problem is that I'm afraid Joseph Watson died in  February of 1930 in Chicago, Illinois, without any estate worth probating.

But it is worth looking. If there is was an estate for Joseph, it would not only have mentioned William but it would mention other relatives---some of whom lived in England.

[Thanks to my wife's cousin TD in Scotland for catching my error in this initial posting. I constantly referred to Elizabeth by her sister's name of Margaret.]