08 June 2016

Homecoming: A Complete List of Doyle Siblings

Life as a genealogist really has not been the same since I took my AncestryDNA test. The connections I'm making to other relatives, including distant cousins, is proving to be so invaluable. We're able to solve mysteries better together than we can apart. Nowhere has that been more apparent than when I reached out to a distant Doyle cousin of mine named Mary Wynn Haupt.

By the time she and I connected, we understood plainly that our common ancestors were James P. Doyle (1851-1936) and Cora A. Lovelace (1861-1901), both of North Carolina. I was able to share quite a bit of information, as well as original source documents and photos, which I'm always happy to do. She in return has provided invaluable insight regarding many missing children from this family, including the daughter of James and Cora from whom she descends.

The confusion begins with the missing 1890 census. Because this was the only census on which James and Cora would have appeared together with the majority of their children (especially their daughters) at home, finding the names of all the children has been a continual research project of mine for many years. I've known I was missing several children for that long because of columns 11 and 12 on the 1900 census.


1900 U.S. census, Rockingham County, North Carolina, population schedule, Huntsville Township, p. 17-A (stamped),  dwelling 302, family 303, James P. Doyle and Cora Lovelace family; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 8 June 2016); citing NARA Microfilm Roll: T623_1215.


You'll see that James and Cora appear on this census record with four of their children: Margaret, Cora, William, and Calvin. According to column 11, by 1900 Cora had given birth to 8 children. Column 12 reveals that 7 of these children were still living at that time. As Mary Wynn and I pieced together the children for whom we had records, the breakdown was as follows:

  1. A C Doyle (1878- ?)
  2. Charles Miller Doyle (1879-1942), my ancestor
  3. Frances Doyle Moore (1882-1961), her ancestor
  4. Sarah Margarett Doyle (1888-1901)
  5. William James Doyle (1892-1969)
  6. Cora Alice Doyle (1893-1973)
  7. Calvin Dewey Doyle (1899-1979)
  8. Lula Mae Doyle (1901-1976)

Because Lula Mae Doyle was born in 1901, she doesn't count towards the children enumerated in the 1900 census. Between us we were able to find seven of James and Cora's children. We were still missing one. And based on the information we had, we also didn't know which one was deceased before 1900. With what we were looking for clearly defined, we outlined some things we could try to find the information we needed.

Mrs. Fannie Moore obituary,
undated clipping from unidentified newspaper,
papers of  Grandma Becky, ca. 1961,
image created by Mary Wynn Haupt, 2016.
Life got busy for both of us, as it so often does. Until today, when I heard from her again via email. She had great news to tell me.

She had found the missing Doyle sibling! Listed in her ancestor's obituary from 1961 were the names of her five living siblings:

  1. Mrs. Walter Puckett of Martinsville, VA
  2. Mrs. Ben Hundley of Leaksville, NC
  3. Mrs Ernest Smith of South Boston, VA
  4. Will Doyle of Greensboro, NC
  5. Dewey Doyle of Greensboro, NC

Mrs. Ernest Smith was a name she hadn't recognized, and she did some digging. Before long, she discovered that the full maiden name of the sibling we were searching for was Etta Florence Doyle (1891-1972). My cousin sent me a copy of the obituary in question, as well as a record of Etta's marriage she had found online at Ancestry.com. 

From there, we were also able to find a Find a Grave entry, a Virginia death certificate, and her appearance on the 1940 US population schedule of the census.

After adding the information for Etta into my Ancestry tree, I also added it to the universal tree on FamilySearch. As I did so, the duplicate screening revealed that someone has already created a record for Etta Florence Doyle Smith. She was not connected to her parents, and the descendant in question appears to have dead-ended with her. And thanks to the FamilySearch messaging system, we'll be able to reach out to whomever it is and let them know that we've made this connection.

All of this began with a single DNA test. I'd reached the end of what my research experience and information would allow me to piece together. I needed additional information that was not to be found. By reaching out to my cousin, we've been able to find the lost siblings of this family.

In a very real way, it feels like a very sweet homecoming--a triumph over the dispersed, forgotten, and unknown.