Patience, NOW

by Laura

As the days ticked by and I patiently (NOT!) waited for my original birth certificate (OBC), I spent a lot of time looking for and researching the names of the folk I had discovered. has a plethora of databases that were readily accessed with the plan we had. But I was missing some vital information that would have narrowed down the choices I was given; specifically, the man that could be my maternal Grandfather, John McManus.

Type “John McManus” with a possible birth year (thank you, 1940 census!), and you get 715,525 hits. Indeed. Three-quarters of a million hits. Obviously, if I were to find “my” John McManus, I needed more info than just that.

Again, thanks to the 1940 census, I had wife and child names. Type that into Ancestry’s search engine, and it narrows down the possibilities. But  not by very much. So began my search for my family. Digging, digging into every possible record. Birth, death, marriage, immigration; city directories…and that’s when I began to get somewhere. City Directories, specifically for Buffalo, New York. There were only five “John McManus” listings for most of the 1940s and 50s.

At the same time, I was looking for John’s wife, according to the census, “Ellen”. Was Ellen my maternal Grandmother? She was even more elusive than Charlotte!  And that’s when I discovered Ellen wasn’t so much “from” Buffalo, New York.

Ellen seemed to be from Chicago. I was born in Chicago.

I waited for the Great State of Illinois to mail me my OBC… and I felt like I was beginning to get somewhere; somewhere close.