Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Famous People Can be Hard to Find

As most of my followers know, I have had a lifetime obsession with my family history. My children make disparaging remarks about vacations that also involved a trip to a local cemetery. In July. Or August. In 95 degrees plus weather. Or maybe that June trip to Missouri when it was 104 degrees in the shade. And we parked right in front of the graves and didn't know it until the next day when we came back with the section number.

In a way, this post is about cemeteries. It concerns Find A Grave which is probably the largest virtual cemetery. I was browsing it last night and found Hugh Robert Wilson buried in Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago, Illinois. Unfortunately, it was not Hugh Robert Wilson who married Alice Tousey, but their son. Or maybe that is fortunately, because it was their son, Hugh. One thing I did not know was that Hugh, Jr. was a United States Ambassador. This can be a good thing and a bad thing. Ambassadors spend most of their time abroad. It's their job. So it's possible unless they are doing either a spectacular job or an abysmal job, it might be difficult to locate them in records of the day.

I was lucky enough to find Hugh and wife Katherine and son Hugh Robert living in Switzerland in 1930 where he was the U.S. Minister. I also find him in 1920 back in Washington, D. C. where his much traveled toddler who was born in Switzerland also resides. Unfortunately, Hugh is nowhere to be found in 1910.

At this point, I moved to Passenger lists. Hugh, being in the diplomatic corp, traveled to and from Europe a lot. I have it from his obituary that he studied Political Science in Paris. In 1907, I have him returning from France via third class. In 1930, he is returning as the Hon. Hugh R. Wilson. In 1938, he is returning to the US after being recalled from his ambassadorship to Nazi Germany, the Hon. Hugh R. Wilson. In March of 1945, again returning home, this time via the Queen Mary . I can't even imagine the thought of cross the Atlantic during wartime. To me the most interesting cross was in 1944 when he flew in a military transport from Scotland to Newfoundland to New York.

So you never know who or what you will find in your family tree and if census fails you, look to other sources.

1 comment:

  1. I am also related to the Hugh Robert Wilson family. My Great Great Grandfather was Milton H. Wilson, who is the uncle of Hugh Robert Wilson the Diplomat. I am on Facebook as are some other Wilson brothers descendants. Please look me up if you wish or email me. Nancy Alton Schloss,