Finding Alice Farrar at Midnight

Like many genealogical researchers, my most effective research hours are after the world goes to sleep, Skype is shut down and telephones are hopefully silent.

The research agenda of these midnight forays is often set when I encounter a name in my database or in a record and wonder why I haven’t delved deeper into their lives.

Such was the case with my first cousin, thrice removed, Alice Farrar

Five years ago, I read a Missouri genealogy forum that mentioned a kind hearted librarian in Macon, Missouri who had transcribed all of the obituaries in the local newspaper from the mid-1880’s up through the early 1930-s. 

After a few telephone calls to Macon, I was eventually directed to this kind soul who agreed to send me copies of the obituaries of my family from her transcription file.

The obituary for Alice was short, but it gave me the name of her husband.  As we all know, finding the full name of a spouse in the not too distant past can be difficult because many of the records in that time period haven’t been released.

The obituary gave me the clue needed to find Alice and her family.  She had married William Butler Barnes.  Now I had a married surname to use in a search on the Missouri Digital Records site..


Alice was listed in the search results including a link to the image of her death certificate.




The death certificate said that she was buried in Ten-Mile.  Where is Ten-Mile?  II thought that I was familiar with that part of Missouri, but the name was new to me.

A quick search for it on Google Maps gave me its exact location.

Ten_Mile_ MO_Google Maps

Ahhh, Ten-Mile was basically a wide spot in the road, more of a geographic location than a settlement.  Where was the cemetery?   Even after zooming in, I couldn’t find it.

It was time for my old friend, Acme Mapper.   She rarely lets me down when I’m looking for small cemeteries in sparsely populated locations.

A quick change to Topographic view brought light on my hard-to-find cemetery.


Does that say “Cem” on the bend of the eastbound  road?  Yes, it does and a quick click on the zoom button brought the cemetery into focus.


The cemetery is located adjacent to a church!  That knowledge helps.  I wondered if Google had driven down that road taking photos with their photo car.  It only took a moment to find out.  The cemetery wasn’t visible from the satellite view, but ……


It was easy to see on the street level view.   …So that is where Alice and possibly members of her family are buried.


I wondered if there were records for them on Find-a-grave.  There wasn’t when I first looked through the records for that cemetery, so I added them after confirming they were buried there using the information from their death certificates obtained from the Missouri Digital Heritage site.


It only took a few clicks to link them to the records of  their parents and other family members that I’d added to Find-a-grave earlier.


A few years later, a fellow Find-a-graver, took photos of all of the headstones in the Ten-Mile Baptist Church Cemetery and added them to Find-a-grave in a Pay-It-Forward contribution for the benefit of the genealogy community.

Another late night genealogy foray had resulted in positive results.  Family records were found and supported with primary source documents.  A clue was  in the offing too. 

It was a clue to a document I’ve unsuccessfully looked for since the mid-1980’s.   The 1860 census was the only US Census that would lists my ancestor Eli Farrar after he and grandma followed their boys, John and Thomas to America.  Other than Eli’s name on his wife’s headstone, his name existed on no US record that I could find. 

Thanks to the 10-Mile Clue, It only took a half our to find his name on a census form.  I don’t know why the enumerator listed the spelling of Eli, John and Thomas’ surnames differently, but he did and the indexing transcribers further messed up the spelling, so a manual search was required.

There they all were, living together in 10-Mile.  I’d looked on Macon and all of the surrounding locations around it for them, but had failed to spot the 10-Mile records throughout the years.

Did my WhaHoo! wake my wife?  Yes, but it was unavoidable.  Christmas arrived when least expected that year.


How do you spend the wee hours of the night?  If you opt to stay up, hopefully you are putting the time to good use and are using all of the research tools available to us at this time.

Copyright (c) Lee Drew 2012-08-11 08:00:00
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About lineagekeeper

Family history research is a favored avenue of relaxation. It is a Sherlock-like activity that can continue almost anywhere at any time. By leveraging a lifetime involvement in technology, my research efforts have resulted in terabytes of ancestral data, earning me the moniker of Lineagekeeper. And yes - We are all related to Royalty.