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Tracking Down Ann's Sister

The Search for the "Girl who had Gone Upcountry"

One challenge that I thought I would never win, was the search for Ann Lawrence SMITH's sister. The girl who had married before her sister arrived, and "gone upcountry." I started with the surname Smith. Great. A less common name and I could have searched the shipping indexes for females roughly the same age with the same name. However, having attempted to locate Ann's entry (Ann Smith - 1865... 10 by that name.) I decided this might not be fruitful. OK, try to find out Ann's sister's names by the Scottish records... Birth - Ann Smith. Not located. But marriage of Lawrence Smith and Margaret Ewan found. Good... doesn't help find Ann's sister.

Give up.

Get Ann and Alexander's marriage certificate. Look - witnesses! James Smith scribble. And Margaret Smith scribble. Buggar.

Show certificates around at reunion. Think the word is Vial, but what sort of a name is that? Or occupation. Vial? I've heard that name says Auntie Mavis. Hmmm. Vial - unusual name. Better than Smith. And the woman is Margaret Vial - same name as Annie's mother. Hmm. Connection?

Spend a day in the LDS Family History Centre at Templeton. Vial is an unusual name, and what's more, I can track the births, deaths and marriages right through the generations. Children named Lawrence. This is getting better and better. Spend some time at the National Library in Wellington - Intention to Marry filed for James Smith VIAL and Margaret SMITH. Same last name as Ann. Margaret arrived in Otago about five months ago. It fits!

Finally, take a risk and order the death entry of Margaret. Parents: Lawrence SMITH (Painter). Margaret EWING. Bingo! I can't believe that I proved the family story.

It doesn't end there... recently I dialled the phone number of a certain VIAL in Christchurch. He was amazed at the connection, and informed me that GORDON was one of his middle names. He had never known why.

My Genealogy Gateway