I'm trying to find evidence of a birth in 1860. I have his birth date and place from his death certificate and the census records loosely support that but I need something closer in time to when he was born. His obituary cannot be found which would not be closer, but still...
And he died intestate and rather poor. His wife was appointed administratrix over...almost nothing. (I hate those slim envelopes in the mail from courthouses most of the time and this was one of those times.) Again, not closer in time to his birth.
I first thought that since his mother had grown up Catholic and married in the Catholic church, it might not be so hard. After all, I already knew the Catholic records for Galveston, Texas were pretty easy to access.
However, the archivist at the Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston disabused me of that silly notion rather quickly with a thin envelope in the mail of her own. She also seemed kind of sad in her letter to me about not finding it or his marriage record. I was almost consoled by that. <grin>
So, it would seem this family line had a change in church denomination. Maybe. But I had no clue which denomination his father had been or what anyone else in the family had been.
I knew my guy had been married in Galveston because I finally obtained his marriage record. Only cost me a day of driving in the pouring rain with high winds and a Fitbit. (Yes, I lost my Fitbit that day either in the McDonald's I stopped at to go to the bathroom or at the courthouse or in either of those establishment's parking lots. Stupid thing had been popping off lately and it did one last time...in the pouring rain.)
When I got home and dried off I looked at the marriage record and transcribed it and the other lovely records I managed to wrangle from an obstinate clerk and then cooked dinner.
Several days later I'm looking in the Galveston, Texas newspaper not for my guy but his brothers. Everyone is prominent in this family because of their grandfather and great uncle and two are lawyers including my guy. However, other than being a lawyer and advertising his business, his paper trail is slim. (Of course.) His lawyer brother is in the papers too because he flirted with politics. So, I get lots of hits for both of them in the newspaper searches.
But his other brother?
A minister. At least, that's what his death certificate lists as his occupation and the census records too.
So, I was looking in the newspaper to see what I could see about the minister in this prominent family. And on the day this minister brother was ordained as a Presbyterian Minister up north, there was a 3 column write-up in the newspaper about it in Galveston. And I carefully began to read it. (Okay, I first skimmed it for personal family information which was at the end and quite abundant but I'd expect no less from this prominent family.) But then I went back and carefully read it from the beginning and then I recognized a name...
...a name of one of the ministers a part of my guy's brother's ordination.
I pulled out my guy's marriage record and voila. The minister who had married my guy had also been a part of his brother's ordination and according to the article was the minister of the First Presbyterian Church in Galveston who had been next on my list to look up in the newspaper but wasn't my first choice because I figured he'd pop up a lot in the search. (Could you imagine? The christenings, marriages, & funerals he presided over as well as the titles of the sermons he gave? Because it appears after looking him up those made the papers too.)
Of course, the city directories would have identified him as well, but I just thought, perhaps, since this was a prominent family in Galveston that my guy's minister brother would have showed up in the paper for...something. (And I had other clues I was looking for as well.)
And a quick Google search told me the church was still open. So I called and found out that their historical records are kept at the Rosenberg Library.
Of course, I already knew she meant the Galveston and Texas History Center which is the archives on the 3rd floor of the library which has an online searchable database of finding aids of their manuscript collections. And, presto — I have an inventory of all the church's records that they have.
Looks like I'll be going back to the Island to see what I can see. (I'll have plenty of steps. Just no Fitbit to count them. If you lose your Fitbit but you still step, does it count?)
But the clue was his brother was a minister.