Need some help with Family Tree

Hi all! Short version: I need to find out what children’s home my Great Grandparents put my grandfather in when he was 3 yrs old. It was in Missouri and he was born in 1895 in St. Louis.

Long version: I have no idea what my G. Grandparents names are, either one. I know they were born in Missouri as was my Grandfather. Apparently his Aunt went and got him and raised him, and no, I don’t know her last name. All I got from my mother was Aunt Lou. I’m not even sure if that’s her given name or a nickname. And she would be my G. G. Aunt. I know they had a few children and no clue as to why they gave him up at 3 yrs of age. He grew up and got married early and then divorced (nope, don’t know her name either) then he married my grandmother when she was 16 and he was like 30 yrs old or something. :fingerwag: There was a bit of an age difference.

My mother is of no help at all, neither is my one uncle who is supposed to be the one who knows everything about the family history. My mom and her brothers and sisters don’t even know their own grandparents names!!! Can you believe that?? :shock: Apparently they weren’t ever discussed. I assume because of her marrying at such a young age. Who knows.

Does anyone know how I can get this info?? I realize its quite a long shot, but I’m desperate to find it. I have a 1 yr subscription through Only cost me $40!! Quite a steal!! I’ve tried the Census’ and the One world tree thingy on there and zippo. I did try family search also and came up with nuthin’.

What should I do?? I mean it’s not like he wasn’t a functioning member of society. He had 4 children and he was a painter for a living. On the 1930 census it says that he served in the first WW, but according to my uncle that’s not true. Is it possible they screwed up that census?? Everything else is correct on it, but apparently not that.

If you can’t help me, thanks for letting me vent, if you can, I will be your friend for life. :wink:

The only thing I can suggest is working with what you do know. Input all of the names of relatives you are sure of, and, keep checking back to see if the One World Tree(?) has turned up any info as well. Apparently gets info from the One World Tree and will match up common names. For instance, my mom and dad were able to find quite a few famous people we’re related to because the names my parent’s entered in also match names of family members of our “famous” relatives. What it does is lists the people and their probability of relation. You can also look back and see how each family member ties into each family (if that makes sense), through the family tree.

Other than that, I have no idea. Sorry I couldn’t help more!

You need to start by working backward from the present time. Get a copy of your mother’s birth certificate, which should have her father’s name on it. (I am assuming since you talk directly about your mother it is her grandfather not your dad’s) From there, see if you can find a marriage license, property records or anything about your grandparents that would give you some more information. If you get your grandfather’s name, then I would search birth records for that name in the St Louis area. There has to be a birth record most likely even if the parents names are missing. You don’t say much about your mom’s birth just that her dad was much older than her mom, but she has a birth certificate and I would certainly start there.
You can do a search of childrens’ homes and orphanages around the time of your grandfather’s birth through property records, sometimes hospital info and such. If you have a name of any kind you can most likely get a bit more information.

**PS if you don’t know where your mother was born, I would certainly talk to her about as far back as she remembers where she lived. I would certainly start with birth records in Missouri, then do a state by state search if you have to.

Good luck to you. My husband is big into geneology so I will ask him tonight if he has any more tips about what you should do. I think this is what he would suggest.

First of all, I doubt the service in the war is incorrect (unless the gentleman in question fibbed about it) because that info comes directly from the person/people involved.
Have you tried USGENWEB? It’s a project built up of databases and information from all over the US. You can search state by state, and often county by county. I’d try there, and see if there are any records online from the state first. I know in IL they have marriage records online (but only for a certain period of time…can’t remember the cutoff year) and they encompass the whole state. Also, if you have an idea of the county he was raised in, you can try using their resources. Some have volunteers that will help you in doing lookups or at least pointing you in the right direction.
Good luck! I know how frustrating it can be…I’ve traced back to my ggggrandfather on my dad’s side only to hit a dead end. He came from New Jersey, and according to census records so did his parents, but I have absolutely no way of finding out who they were as I’m talking back into the late 1700’s early 1800’s, and most of their records have been destroyed.

It can be difficult, especially when names are unknown, but sometimes even a small piece of information can lead to a major breakthrough.

When I was researching my own ancestry I ran into a dead end with my father’s mother. She was Native American and growing up I always thought she was Cherokee but I couldn’t find any information on her. Eventually, through talking with various family members I learned that she was in fact Apache. That small piece of information led me to a wealth of information about her and her family members.

You just have to keep diggin, checking whatever records, family bibles, talking to people, etc until that one little piece comes up.

You’ve received a lot of good advice - genealogy takes patience and digging and learning which family rumors tend to be true and which tend to be false. I finally found out what happened to my great-great grandfather who had “run off to the Alaskan Gold Rush” and never come back, but it took a while.

I’d try to get your hands on your grandfather’s death certificate and work backwards from there. That should give you a date of birth, and often a city and state. See if you can find his obituary, too. While that’s not officially documentation, a small-town obituary can often point you in the right direction for finding out more. Then look for his 2nd marriage certificate (and any newspaper announcements). Then look for his 1st marriage certificate (and any newspaper announcements). By then you should have enough information to track down his birth certificate (provided one was issued).

Note: quality of vital records varies greatly from state to state. I have ancestors from New York State and find that records before 1850 are pretty poor (and they got there at least 100 years before then). Also, don’t be afraid to take your time picking away at this question - a little bit here and a little bit there and eventually it will all become clear.

:doh: Of course!! The birth certificates!! How could I have forgotten about that!! I had to do that for my Dad’s side to get the correct spelling of his grandmother. Oy Vey. Silly me. Thank you so much for reminding me of that. :thumbsup:

Thank you everyone for your help. Yes, I do know that just even one letter will give me a ton of info. I took out my G. Grandfather’s middle initial and ancestry found 6 hints! With just one little letter. And some of them matched too, so that was cool.

I’ve been doing this for about 6 weeks now, pretty much non-stop so I’m in family tree overload. :teehee: As annoying as it is that mother doesn’t know any info on her grandparents, it’s kind of been a blessing to take a break from it all. It is just all so fascinating to me to learn all of this stuff about my ancestors. I’m having the time of my life.

As for the military ‘goof up’, when I tried finding his info on their military searches I couldn’t find him listed there either. And when I asked my uncle he was quite adament that my grandfather did not serve in the war. I don’t know who to believe.

How do I find his first Marriage certificate?? No one knows her name or where they were married. It was either in Missouri or Wisconsin.

Bailsmon, if they were married and the records are collected on the state (as opposed to county) level, you should be able to find it based on HIS name. So, search for marriages for HISNAME in Missouri and Wisconsin during your best guess time period (I would guess this would be sometime between when he was 20 and 30, since that’s when his 2nd marriage was). If you have to search county by county, it could take a very long time so hopefully the records are consolidated for the entire state. Then, let’s say you have 4 possible matches. Since marriage certificates usually include a birthdate, you should be able to narrow it down from there. (Marriage certificates will also sometimes give you the parents’ names, too, which makes tracking down the next step easier.)

Here is where DH and I found a ton of family tree information when we were searching.

I believe we used the World Connect section to find them. Start with what you know and go from there. Ask every family member who might have information to help with names, birth dates, marriage dates, etc. And be prepared for some errors. Name misspellings are common.

We also found some good info here.

ETA: Okay, I just read more thoroughly and see you already tried this. Hmm… let me see if any of my other links might help somehow.

Maybe some of these will help.

Wow, thanks Jan!

As for the birth certificates, I think I may be in trouble. They only have the records back to 1910 and my grandfather was born in 1895. Ugh, I’m going to call and see if they can help me in any way, but I’m not holding my breath.

As for the marriage certificates, see I have to pay for the copies of these items. For the birth, death and something else, it costs me $15 whether they find it or not. No, that’s not a lot of money, but I’d rather send them the cash knowing I’m going to get something in return. And then for the birth certs. they want the parents names and the mother’s maiden name!! That’s why I’m getting them!!

Ah, I am stuck between a rock and a hard place at the moment. I must find some dynamite to get this boulder out of my way. I’m going to check out all those sites Jan. And call the state of Missouri. I’ll let you know what I find out!!

Have you checked the 1900 census? Or whatever year is close? We are lucky to have a National Archives within 5 miles so we can just go there and search them. We actually had a great time searching there. The things you find back then are sometimes really funny. Like a whole family of Caucasians and then one chinese guy listed as cook. Or a whole bunch of unrelated young women in one home… wonder what they were doing…hmmm… :teehee: It’s kind of like a library in there…quiet…so once in a while you’d hear someone yelp when they found someone. :teehee:

I know there are some census records online, too. Not sure what this has.

Oh look… 1900 census records! This may be the wrong year, but since they are online others are too.
DH found the last link he was looking for in civil war records… very cool! I, however, am stuck in 1800 because before that they were in Luxembourg and records are difficult if not impossible to find. :shrug:

Yep, I’ve tried the 1900, 1910 and the 1920, nada. It lists him married with my grandma and uncle in the 1920 census. But the 2 earlier ones, it doesn’t.

I just called the state of MO and I have to have at least one parents name for the birth certs or they can’t do it.


Well I guess I’m going to have to dig a little deeper and harder and see if I can’t stumble onto something.

Oh boy… how about looking at old photos? Any of those around with a name on them?

Was there a family name that was very common that they might have used?


If you know some other persons name that is related to them…brother, sister, aunt, cousin…sometimes you can get to the info that way.

What we were trying to do for DH’s side was to find a connection with Mary Todd Lincoln, but we only had names back so far, too. We did massive amounts of research on what we knew and eventually we found one name and then went with that. I have to admit that this was probably easier somewhat because of the famous names, but it’s never easy. Oh and yes, we did find the connection. :wink:

So I dug out my copy of the Red Book, since I’m not familiar with Missouri searches. Here’s some (perhaps bad) information.

“No vital records were kept on the state level before 16 August 1909… A non-compulsory birth registration law was adopted in Missouri in 1863 and provided that county recorders of deeds could record births on request. These births are recorded in the regular deed books (or in marriage books) and are not indexed. Registration was sporadic…In the city of St. Louis…births from 12 July 1870 through 1910 [were recorded]. It is estimated that only about 60 percent of the births from this period were recorded…in 1883 Missouri passed a state law requiring the recording of births and deaths at the county level. Ten years later this law was inadvertently repealed. Compliance was poor. Most counties have these registers, but there is enourmous variation as to how complete and/or comprehensive they are…Marriage records are held by the county recorder of deeds. Prior to 26 June 1881 no marriage license was required; the marriage was recorded at any convenient courthouse.”

A lot of records have been made available electronically since this book was published, but I find that their information about dates for records is pretty good.

If it makes you feel any better, I can’t get a copy of my grandparents’ marriage certificate, even though I know all the details about them (birth dates, parents, places of residence, etc.). The courthouse in the county where they got married (they eloped) had a fire - no more records. :frowning:

Jan & Cftwo, you have helped me so much and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. :hug:

I called St. Louis county MO and they sent me to the state level due to the date my grandfather was born and then she told me I needed the names of his parents and his mothers maiden name. So as I said before that’s a closed door at this time. I was thinking of trying my other uncle. He lives in CO. I think it’s a long shot, but at this point I’m desperate.

I just find it amazing that they don’t know their own grandparents names. That completely boggles my mind. But on the other hand, I guess since they gave my grandpa up at 3 yrs of age, I wouldn’t want to talk about them either.

Such skeletons in this closet of theirs…

Cftwo: In regards to the fire at the courthouse for your grandparents, my Dad’s father was born in Oct. of 1905, in San Francisco, CA. And we all know what happened in April of 1906. Big fire. Bummer. Of course everything after April of 1906, there is a record of!!! Isn’t that just my luck…oy vey.

I’m off to look into some more websites from you girls. :hug: