Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Amazing clues about Nellie Williams, Grandpa John's first wife!

On Monday night I found a neat link:

I was browsing around still trying to track down info on my paternal Grandpa's first wife, Nellie Willams...and came across this site. It looks very interesting so thought I'd share. I've contacted someone named Garth Ulrich; he has written a book about Dovre Lutheran Church in Spalding SK. There isn't much written about Spalding to begin with, so any clue is a hlep!
Nellie Williams is buried in Bigstone Cemetery, according to the info online, and Garth Ulrich has posted a picture of her gravestone. I wish to learn how in the world to know for sure if this is the woman I'm looking for. Hopefully he will be able to point me in the right direction!

I posted the above on a FB genealogy page. Things took off from there! I contacted Garth Ulrich through the book link website, and he replied on Tuesday evening.
This was his reply:

"Hi Loretta,
It is very interesting to hear from you. The Bigstone Lutheran Congregation of Spalding, SK disbanded in the 1920's, but burials continued in their cemetery for sometime after. Many of the graves had no markers and the cemetery fell into a state of neglect over the years. In the 1980's or 1990s I began gathering what information I could on the congregation and the cemetery. My great-grandmother's cousin left some names of those buried in unmarked graves (he  grew up in Spalding but moved away as an adult). I do not know the source of his names, but one that he named was Mrs.
Williams. This is the only source I have that says she was buried at the Bigstone cemetery. When the marker was erected with the names of all those known to be buried there, her name was included.

Since then, I found in the newspaper a note of her death, and also the death of her son the year previous. Neither mention a place of burial. Perhaps the son is also buried at Bigstone?"

Isn't that thrilling? I speedily sent another email, inquiring if this Mrs. Williams was listed by first name and if she had a predeceased son named Harry. Here is Garth's reply: (I also asked about his Dovre-Lutheran church history book) He will be sending me the copies of her death notice for a small fee.

"My great-grandmother's cousin was Raymond Voldeng, born 1922.

The obit does not mention her first name, but that she was the wife of John G Williams, and she was born in Wales. It mentions being survived by son Wallis among others, and predeceased by son Harry.

The church book makes no mention of anyone in this family. It is mainly a transcription of all baptism, confirmation, marriage and funeral records from the Lutheran churches in the Spalding area. (Only Dovre still exists).

Death, etc. certificates in Sask. are very expensive. You can look here https://www.isc.ca/VitalStats/Pages/default.aspx
also look at the Genealogy section-that is the type of certificate that you would want as it includes all the info off the original. They had started putting records online, but it was not kept up unfortunately."

I was so excited I ran to tell Robert and Matthew my news and they were impressed.
So there you have it! This is my third big breakthrough in genealogy research online since I began this marvelous hobby in Nov 2011! Garth is going to send me copies of the obituaries by mail. He is charging me a small fee which I don't mind paying at all.

It really does pay to do research online and to have patience about it and to methodically hunt down clues.