New Discoveries

This past week I have focused a little less on my own family tree and a little more on things like findagrave and the archives project. I don’t mind entering census data for the archives project so I have done a good amount of that, but I also decided to help with find a grave. I looked at grave requests for Spartanburg area and also near my home in Carlisle (I figured if I gathered all the information for my sister ahead of time I could bribe her into going to find some graves for me some day). For Spartanburg, I decided to work with Greenlawn Cemetery because that cemetery isn’t too far, and also there were a lot of photo requests. I gathered all the information, spoke to someone on the phone there, and eventually just went up meeting in person. The man who looked up all the information and location of the people I was looking for was extremely helpful and nice!! I thought finding graves would not be as time consuming as it is! In 40 minutes time I only managed to find two graves, but I still have a lot more time and more people to discover.

Although I have been focused more on some other things, I also have been looking into my own family tree. As I mentioned before, my Grandma Smith is really interested in genealogy as well so she has been extremely helpful!! Her mother, Ella May Brooks, was the one who was in an orphanage, so records have been difficult to find. We both have been trying to find out more, especially because we don’t even have records of her parents. She was born in Santa Fe, New Mexico so I had been pretty unsuccessful with records. However, I decided instead of searching her place of birth as New Mexico, to search it as if she was born in New York because I know that census records aren’t always correct, and I made an awesome discovery that previously hadn’t shown up in my hints! A picture is below, but I found a 1920 census record (when she was 14) from an institution called the House of Mercy. The women were listed as inmates, so I knew that that meant it was in fact an orphanage and all the info I already had on Ella matched perfectly. When I googled the House of Mercy I found out more, and even confirmed the match more because nuns were apart of this institution (My grandma told me that Ella wanted to become a nun at 16 because she lived in a convent/orphanage).Image

I was so happy when I found this record because it gave me a lot more information and hopefully somehow I can find someone to talk to about more records from the House of Mercy (haven’t gotten that far yet though). My grandma also mentioned before a letter that she had that was written to her mother, Ella, from a nun. She sent me a copy of this letter which part of it is below.Image

Unfortunately it doesn’t say the year, but this is still really great! My grandma also gave me a typed up copy that makes it easier to read. I’m inserting that as well! The letter is from Saint Mary’s Convent so I have to see if that is related to the House of Mercy or if it is something different.


I am very grateful to have so much help from my grandma with this. At this point, I have so much information and different things to explore, but not enough time I feel like! I’m still working on putting in photos on my family tree and exploring hints but there just seems to be so much to do still! My grandma has sent me tons of other stuff as well that I have been scanning into my computer, but haven’t put on my tree yet (The stuff she has sent me is amazing! I have found out so many things about my maternal side because of her. Unfortunately, my paternal side of Farrisi and Brewster is where I’m lacking information). I’m kind of crazy with organization so it’s all been taking me a while to get everything how I want it and in the right place. Anyways, my search continues!


One thought on “New Discoveries

Comments are closed.