Heartache and Loss

Happy New Year, my friends! I wish a wonderful 2019 for you and yours.

As I mentioned in my last post, my resolution this year is to get my genealogical house in order. I have so much information, and because I haven’t been diligent in my housekeeping, I don’t even know what I have!

My first task is to clean up my digital desktop. It is a visual mess, cluttered with files downloaded or copied and pasted and sprinkled over my beautiful screensaver of photos of Norway.

As I was working on renaming and filing this morning, I came across a census from 1870 for William C. Kendall and Alice Jane Crew Kendall, 3x great-grandparents, through my mother’s mother’s side of the family.

They look like a couple who has had more than their fair share of sorrow, don’t they? The look on Alice’s face just about breaks my heart. She looks like a woman who needs some comfort.

I think I know why. So let me share what I learned today with you.

To beign, I renamed the file in the format I learned from Diana Elder at RootsTech 2018: year-file type-LAST NAME-first name-location. When files are named in this way, they are automatically filed in the folder in chronological order, making a nice little visual timeline.

So, the renamed census file now looks like this:

1870-census-KENDALL-william-alice jane crew-james-william jr-alice ida-charles-mary-randolph township-IN

As I pasted it into the KENDALL folder, I noticed other files that I hadn’t attached to my family tree software. In the software tree, I had only three children for William and Alice. But, in my folder was a handwritten record, seemingly copied from a family Bible, with the birth dates for nine children. Yes, nine


William and Alice were married in 1847.

In the 1850 census, they were listed as having one daughter, Sarah, my 2x great-grandmother.

In 1860, the children in the household were Sarah and James. But, according to the record above, William and Alice had had five children by 1860. Where were Winfield, John, and Samuel?

In 1870, the children in the household were James, William E., Alice Ida, Charles, and Mary. (Sarah was married and no longer living at home.) Nine children were born in the space of 22 years, with three little ones gone.

The back of the birth record page lists death dates for the family:

kendall-crew-family record (2)

Winfield, John, and Samuel, the second, third, and fourth children to be born, never lived to their second birthdays. As a mother, I can’t imagine the heartache of watching one after another of my babies pass away, knowing that I am absolutely helpless to do anything about it.

But, that’s not all. Alice died in 1876, at only 45 years of age, when her youngest child, Mary, was only about seven years old.

And, then in 1880, at only 19, young William died.

1876-headstone-kendall-alice jane crew

Only four of William and Alice’s nine children survived to adulthood.

The elder William lived until 1900, to age 75. As far as I could tell, he lived the last 20 years of his life without marrying again. I will guess that was self-preservation, avoiding the possible sorrow of more loss. 

‘Till next time.