Thursday, 5 January 2017

Finding Aggie Pate and expanding my DNA pool

One of the stories I remember my mother and aunt telling was about their cousin Aggie Pate, who lived in California but visited Montreal, and by all accounts, was a ton of fun. But as usual, any specifics about her life were absent from those stories. I wondered often if she was my mother's auntie Aggie, but was assured decidedly not -- Aggie Pate was not at all like auntie Aggie.

As usual, the repeated use of the same names in my family often caused confusion in trying to keep it all straight. In the case of the name Agnes, this came from my 3rd great grandmother, Agnes Cowe Young (abt 1800-1866), who was called Nancy. None of her several grand daughters and daughters named Agnes had Nancy as a nickname. All were called Aggie. Confusion all around!

My most recent lost in genealogy research day--there can be many--came about inadvertently. Don't they all?

Berwick Advertiser
13 Jun 1882
A few days ago, I was researching my Youngs in really old issues of the Berwick Advertiser on Find My Past when I came across the 1882 marriage notice of one of my grandmother's aunts, Elizabeth Young (1857-1930) to Matthew Cockburn (1856-1914).

After adding this information to my tree, I found so much more on Ancestry and Find My Past, that I soon had added their eight children born between 1883 and 1901, only two of whom died in early childhood. It's interesting that although Lizzie and Matthew were married at the local register office, they had all of their children baptized at the local Anglican church.

Matthew Cockburn died in 1914 in Berwick upon Tweed, but before he died, his eldest surviving daughter, Agnes or Aggie left for better opportunities in Canada, arriving in 1911 in Montreal, where my grandmother, her cousin, Dorothy was by then living. One brother followed in 1914, and the rest of the siblings, including their mother, arrived in 1920 and 1922, never again to return to live in Berwick upon Tweed.

I can well imagine that they saw my grandparents, mother and aunt often during the 1920s in Montreal. Five married in Montreal, in all cases to men and women from Scotland. One, Peter Young Cockburn (1892-1949), served in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, signing his attestation papers in Montreal just a few short months after he arrived from England in 1914. All but one of the Cockburn family, including great auntie Lizzie, moved on to California, settling and staying in the Los Angeles area for the rest of their lives.

Among those who married in Montreal was Lizzie and Matthew's daughter Agnes Young Cockburn (1884-1953), or Aggie, who married a man named Tom Pate in 1914. I had found Aggie Pate. It's one of those ah hah/sit back in your chair and push away from your keyboard to feel the enormous satisfaction of finding a lost relative. That feeling never gets old.

Here is Aggie's 1928 certification of naturalization signed in Los Angeles. American records like these are big finds, especially for women, who are so often overlooked. Aggie was petite, just 5'2".

Aggie and Tom Pate travelled to Los Angeles from Montreal with my grandmother's Auntie Lizzie in 1927. Sadly, Auntie Lizzie died less than three years after that move, in 1930. She was able to know her three small grandchildren though.

I've added all of these Cockburn cousins and their spouses to my tree. Several were childless though, including Aggie and Tom Pate. The two who had children? They had small families. All the Cockburns and their spouses are buried in the same Los Angeles-area cemetery. Still, in adding all of these new relatives to my tree, I'm hoping that my DNA matches will increase.

These discoveries reminded me--not for the first time--to remember to go through newspapers online for clues.

The never ending story continues....



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