Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Will the Real Bernard Slowey Please Stand Up?

Working with the momentum from my "epiphany" the other day, I was trying to determine which Barney/Bernhard Slowey belonged with my family.  It has not been an easy road.

I started with my tried-and-true Excel spreadsheet.  I listed out the pertinent details that might differentiate the two men down the left side of the worksheet, then the sources from which I intended to extract the information.  Besides, I think better with a spreadsheet.

Because I had them both listed in the 1930 census, and technically I'm supposed to be working backward anyway, I figured I would go back to the 1940 and see what I could find.  I wasn't expecting to find the REAL Barney because he died on 12 April 1939 (according to his death certificate).

Unfortunately, 1940 was a bust.  As were 1920, 1910, etc.  I was only able to find duplicate Barneys in the 1930 census.  I found no Barneys in the 1880 and 1900 censuses at all.  I was beginning to think that Farney (faux + Barney) was part of an elaborate conspiracy to throw off my research (I'm still kind of leaning that way ...)

So I decided to kick Barney and Farney to the curb and concentrate on Fisabel (wife of Farney).

I found Fisabel on the 1940 census living with granddaughter Adella (daughter of Hans and Mary Hansen) in 1940.  She is listed as "single" and not "widowed," but Hans and Mary are next door, so I feel pretty confident she is "Fisabel."  Farney is not listed on the next page or anywhere nearby.  However, as luck would have it, Fisabel was chosen to answer the supplemental questions.  It turns out that she was married more than once, the first time at age 16.  She has had 12 children.  

I could not locate the REAL Isabel anywhere in 1940, although on the 1910 census, it does indicate that her marriage to Barney is her first, and they were married 32 years prior (in approximately 1878).

I found someone named Isabelle Slowey listed in the 1935 South Dakota state census (card no. 566).  Her maiden name is listed as McKethie (pretty close to McKeachie - and the same as Barney listed on his census card (no. 567)).  Honestly, I'm not sure anyone in the family knew how to spell her maiden name.
Isabelle's death certificate
Barney's death certificate
Barney's 1935 census card
But wait ... her address ... it's 112 West 5th.  In Yankton.  That's the same address (well - 5th vs. 6th) as Adella's family in 1940 and the address she and Farney shared with the Hansens in 1930!
1935 census card
Isabel Slowey's death certificate
1940 US census
A cunning, sadistic picture was beginning to emerge.  I think that Barney/Farney and Isabel/Fisabel (intentionally or not) found a flaw in the system.  The enumeration date for the Hansen address was 3 April.  The enumeration date for Barney/Isabel was 25 April.  I'm beginning to wonder if Farney/Fisabel were visiting the Hansens when the enumerator came by, and then by the time the enumerator got to their actual address, they were back home.  Of course, this is pure speculation on my part.  But it makes a little bit of sense because the inaccurate information provided by (probably) their son-in-law would not match what they told the enumerator themselves.

Obviously this is going to take a LOT of additional research, but now come the real questions.  Was Isabel really married before?  Why did she say it was her first marriage?  Did she really have 12 children?  Where are all these other children (I only show the couple had 7 children, but there IS an 11-year gap between the last two)? 

I'm beginning to understand how Barney and Isabelle both died from senility.

Do we share any ancestors? 
Please email me at lostancestors [at] gmail [dot] com


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