Is she a Saxbury or isn’t she?

December 4th, 2016 by Barbara

The problem with transcriptions with no source record or image is knowing whether or not the transcription itself is correct or if incorrect information was actually published.

It started when I ran across this obituary while on the hunt for someone else.
LENA (SAXBURY) WHITAKER , 87, of the Illinois Veterans Home formerly of Baylis. died at 11:34 a.m. Monday (Feb. 5, 1990) in Schapers Hospital at the home. Mrs. Whitaker was born July 12, 1902, in Griggsville a daughter of James and Mar Saxbury. She married John L. Whitaker on Nov. 27, 1917, in Pittsfield. He died in 1982. Mrs. Whitaker was employed for several years for the former Brown Shoe Co. She was a member of Baylis United Brethren Church and more recently attended All Faiths Chapel at the Illinois VeterĀ­ans Home. She was a member of the Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary, American Legion Auxiliary, World War I Barracks 44 Auxiliary and Royal Neighbors of America. Survivors include a son, George R. Whitaker of Millstadt; three daughters, Lillian Campbell of Milton and Hilda Browner and Hazel Henthorn, both of Quincy; 15 grandchildren; 37 great-grandchildren; and 10 great- great-grandchildren. Services will be conducted at 10 a.m. Friday in All Faiths Chapel in the Illinois Veterans Home by the Rev. William S. Warford. Burial will be in Greenmount Cemetery. Visitation will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday in the Duker and Haugh Funeral Home and Friday from 9 a.m. until time of services in All Faiths Chapel. Memorials may be made Disabled American Veterans.
Contributed by Billie Browning

As usual, when I run across an item I may need later, I go ahead and enter it in to my database so it is one less thing to search for when the time comes. But, wait a moment, I don’t have this individual in my database at all so let’s find James and Mar, who I assume should be Mary or Margaret. Well the only close match in my database and the father would have been 12 at the time of birth and his wife’s name is Anna, nope, surely not them. On to census records to see what I may have missed. Another strike, no Lena is coming up in a Saxbury household in Illinois and since she was born in 1902 and married by 1917, she would only appear on the 1910 census with her parents anyway. Sigh.

Now let’s try another route, look for John and Lena in the 1920 census and see which Saxbury family is near them and attempt to back track. Small community, everyone seemingly lives next door, this should work. Again, nothing on the census, but wait, up popped a marriage record. Ha, it is for John Whitaker and Lena Brannick, not Saxbury, on November 27, 1917 and I already have a James Brannick married to Mary A. Saxbury in my database with minimal data. Now we are getting somewhere, or are we?


On to confirm that Lena is really a child in that particular Brannick household. A search of the 1910 census for James and Mary Brannick turns up empty handed, no matter how many ways I try to misspell Brannick, they are just not there. So wanting to give up at this point, yet determined to solve this mystery so we will try this the hard way, search Pike County Illinois for any head of household named James with a wife named Mary, there can’t be that many James married to a Mary, right?! Ha, we know better, so finally let’s add Lena’s name to the search and … Bingo! Indexed under James Purmide, never would have come up with that misspelling on my own. Knowing what the last name should be, I can clearly see the correct name is Brannick and not quite sure how they came up with Purmide. The ages of James and Mary, their number of years married, and the entry for Harry all match what I already have in my database, and at the bottom of the family list is Lena at the correct age! Mystery solved for the moment and now I can get back to the one I was originally searching for, if I can even remember who that was anymore.

So now the question goes back to the transcribed, with no source or image, obituary. Did the original obituary really say Lena (Saxbury) Whitaker or did the transcriber add the (Saxbury)? Did the text stop at James and Mar Saxbury or did the transcriber get sidetracked and miss a word or two? A search of GenealogyBank and bring up nothing, so this will require a trip to the library for a leisurely stroll through microfilm. By the way, I am worse than a kid in a candy store when you put me in a room full of microfilm!

While she is Peter Saxberry’s great-granddaughter, I am not yet working on that particular line, other than the few hours it took me to sort out that she was a Brannick and not a Saxbury, at least now I do have her and her immediate family in my database so when the time comes to work on that line I am just one step ahead. And tracking down a hard copy of the original obituary is on my to-do list!

Posted in Ah The Joys Of Research

Leave a Comment

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.

About Saxbury Family History

Dedicated to researching the Saxbury surname worldwide!

This site contains tidbits of information found as our research progresses. Feel free to add your comments and/or thoughts to any of the information found within this site. If you have information to contribute, please use the contact page to send me a note.

While browsing the site, you may find some items that are password protected. The information contained in the protected post is public record, however due to its content I felt it best to limit the viewing. Email me if you need access to any protected posts.

Thank you for visiting.

Barbara Saxbury-Freeman