Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Mystery Monday Update 2: Women, Who Art Ye?

This time last week I was planning a series of quick trips down to South Jersey to dig deeper into my Shepherd/Kilson research. These are the families that I am related to through my mother’s father, Louis Shepherd, and my goal was to continue chipping away at the mystery of how exactly his mother, my great-grandmother Katherine Shepherd, was related to the Kilsons. You can read my original Mystery Monday post here and an update here. Long story short, Katherine’s mother was one of three women - Rose Sheppard, Bertha Kilson and Eleanor Petite - who were probably sisters, but there wasn’t much solid evidence of this at the beginning of this journey.

Well, good news! I found another piece of the puzzle! Here is the obituary for Bertha Kilson’s daughter, Eleanor, published in the October 25, 1968 edition of the Salem Standard and Jerseyman:

Note that surviving her are “cousins, Mrs. Catherine Sharpe” – as in, my great-grandmother – “and Louis Sheppard of Washington, DC.”

It’s still not a smoking gun – for me that would be birth records for each woman showing they have at least 1 parent in common – but this is yet another document providing evidence that Eleanor and Catherine had parents who were siblings, and it’s a document produced during the historical period of interest. Eleanor was the last of the Kilsons to pass away, and none of them had any children, so I wonder if it was Katherine herself who provided the information? If so, it’s proverbially “straight from the horse’s mouth,” at least in terms of what she believed to be true about her family. Actually, it wouldn’t be the first time Katherine said that she and Eleanor were cousins: I’ve posted the picture on the right before, but I didn’t post the reverse:


But, I’m still holding out for the birth records before I call this mystery solved!

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