Sunday, September 11, 2011

Amanuensis Monday - Two Steps Forward and One Step Back

Did you ever feel like you were doing some kind of weird genealogical dance researching your family history?  I'm feeling that way right about now.  In mid-August I wrote a post "Wisdom Wednesday - I Live For These Moments".  In it I talked about a revelation I had about finding a missing (and most likely deceased) family member who disappeared from family history.  Bessie Dugan nee Quirk died in 1918 shortly after giving birth to her daughter, Elizabeth (Betty).  Betty was found in the 1920 census living with her father and his siblings in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.  She was no where to be found in the 1930 census, but her father, Dennis Dugan, was remarried.

Family lore never passed on anything about Dennis, or Betty for that matter.  We had actually assumed that she died at the same time as her mom.  The newspaper clippings that stated the baby was well but the momma wasn't didn't change that view.  It wasn't until I started researching and found the above mentioned that we collectively began to wonder, "What ever happened to little Betty?"

My previous post's revelation was that if I researched the step-mother's obituary that perhaps Betty would be mentioned in it.  Either as having predeceased her or, hopefully, had survived her.  So I contacted the local Bethlehem, PA newspaper "The Morning Call" and asked for help getting to back issues.  They directed me to the library that holds the microfilm and they had a brilliant online search tool.  I was able to input Dennis' 2nd wife, Rose Dugan's, name and she popped up with the date of the obituary.  I also found Dennis' obit.  I didn't find Betty/Elizabeth.

So I paid the small fee to have the articles printed out and sent to me and I got them this past week.  The excitement was, and still is, there at having received this information, but it didn't answer the question I was looking for.  I will most likely continue to delve into this collateral line to find out the question of, "What happened to Betty Dugan," but for now, I'll simply share her step-mother's obituary.

The Globe Times - 13SEP1982
"Mrs. Dennis Dugan

Mrs. Rose King Dugan, 87, formerly a guest at Cedarbrook Annex, Fountain Hill, died today in St. Luke's Hospital.  She was the widow of Clarence Steager and Dennis Dugan.

Born in Bethlehem, she was the daughter of James and Ellen Larkin King.

She was a member of Ss. Simon and Jude Catholic Church, Bethlehem.

Surviving is a son, James J. Steager of Fountain Hill; two daughters, Sister Joan Dugan of Philadelphia, and Mrs. Mary Phillips of Bethlehem; a sister, Mrs. Anthony Reiser of Bethlehem, eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

A son Francis preceded her in death in 1956.

A mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in Ss. Simon and Jude Catholic Church, 730 W. Broad Street.  Call one hour prior to services Wednesday evening.  Burial will be in Holy Savior Cemetery, Bethlehem, at 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

The Charles M. Downing Funeral Home, 835 Broadway, Bethlehem, is handling arrangements.

Memorials may be made in her name to Ss. Simon and Jude Church."

[The Globe Times, Sep. 13, 1982 pg B4:Col3]

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