Jul 8, 2013

Chipping Away at My Genealogy Brick Wall

My biggest brick wall in my research is (and has always been) my great grandfather, Eugene Ellsworth Lammay.

According to family stories he vanished around 1920, rumored to have run off with another woman (his niece by marriage).  I have since found yet another woman he had children with, at the same time he was married to my great grandmother.  The desire to find out more about him and what happened to him is what got me started in genealogy.  Even after 30 years of research much about him is still a mystery.  But recently I discovered two records that have given me more info.

The first is two newspaper articles.  I came across this just by doing a random Google search on his name.  Eugene was arrested in May of 1888 for larceny.  He apparently sold a horse and buggy he had rented.  He could not pay bail so was sent to jail.  The second article in June 1888 says his sentence was deferred and released from jail. 

It was the Patriot Newspaper from Harrisburg, PA.  Eugene never lived in Harrisburg so I never would have directly searched that area.  But this paper published arrest and court records from all over the state, probably because Harrisburg is the state capitol.  I was a little rattled by this, maybe this guy who has been the center of attention in my research and a "colorful character" just was not such a nice guy. 

The second record was a city directory from St. Louis, Missouri.  Because I do not know where he went when he vanished I periodically search all city directories on Ancestory.com.  I found him listed in St. Louis in 1905.  I am 99% certain it is him because his name is not common (listed as Eugene E Lammay) and his occupation was bar owner.  He had owned a bar in Pittsburgh in 1901 so it fits.  He is also listed in the Pittsburgh directory for 1905.  But this fits with the family stories that he routinely came and went since his marriage to my great grandmother.  He also worked for the railroad so he could have easily traveled back and forth.  I have not found any evidence he had another family in St. Louis but it now gives me another location to keep in mind as I continue to chip away at this brick wall.

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