I have never wanted to scold a grandparent before, but my great-great grandmother Emma takes the cake!
Tracing her back has left me with about 60 years of her life figured out, and the first 25 years a complete mystery.
She died in 1945 at the age of 84, according to her death certificate from Taunton, MA. Her death certificate tells me she was born in Portland, Maine. Censuses from 1900 to 1930 also tell me she was born in Maine, except for one which lists Massachusetts. Her son's birth certificate (my great-grandfather Harrison Shaw) gives her places of birth as Maine as well.
But either they screwed up big time or her family dodged the 1880 and 1870 censuses!
If you look at the death certificate of my grandpa Harrison, it gives his mother's place of birth as Nova Scotia.
And the same goes for the 1888 marriage record of Emma Anna (Murphy) Regan and Erastus Bartlett Shaw.
I have checked the 1870 and 1880 censuses to no avail. I checked births and marriages in Massachusetts to see if Emma Anna Murphy's first marriage occurred there or if she was born there.
Her parents are usually listed as being born in Canada or England (her father) and Scotland (mother). The father has been listed as John Murphy and Patrick Murphy (so his name is probably John Patrick Murphy). Her mother is Mary Ann Frasher, but since I can't find any Frashers in Nova Scotia, I'm thinking she might be Fraser or Frasier.
Yes, I've checked NovaScotiaGenealogy.com to see if there are other children with parents by these names. Since Emma was born either in 1861 or 1863, her birth is not found in province registrations.
Since there isn't a province-wide index to the 1871 census, I have to guess at which towns to research.
Since she doesn't appear in the 1880 U.S. Census OR the 1881 Canadian census, I can only theorize that she was traveling at this time.
Or came to earth via U.F.O. in 1888.
I believe great-great grandma Emma must be upgraded from a "Brick Wall" to a "WTF???" ancestor.