Intuition or Distraction?

Scholefield Family Tree

I tried to run additional searches for Mary Virginia Scholefield McMillan. Knowing that she went by the name Jennie, or Ginny, I searched using the second spelling. Why you might ask? Well, because the ranked search on will pull up Jennies automatically among the results.

I ended up zeroing in on a Jennie M. McMillan who lived in Otselic, Chenango, New York. In 1900, she is living with her husband James C. McMillan, born Nov 1858, and they have been married for one year. The same in 1910 except her name is indexed as Jenney M. McMellon. By 1920 she is a widow with A. as her middle initial and a boarder in the home. In 1930 she has two boarders. Jennie reportely never had any children.

Unfortuntately, a gut feeling is not enough to connect this Jennie into the tree. She is the right age — born in Aug 1861 according to the 1900 census — and her birth place and those of her parents match what we know. However, since those three places are all “New York,” they are not unique enough to point to this woman and say that she is the one.

So, here I sit with a woman who looks like she could be the one I am looking for, an hour of searching for her in the censuses, a run through of the cemeteries posted online, and a search of the Chenango County GenWeb to see if I could force her to fit. No luck.

And…if that weren’t enough, James’s occupation in 1910 is pretty normal (carpenter), but in 1910 he is a ginseng digger. Yup, ginseng. Being a curious person, off I go to Google to learn about ginseng. Apparently, the plant grows quite well in central New York. There are even populations of wild American Ginseng in the forests of the area, and Ginseng growing workshops are offered on a regular basis in central New York. This is aside from all the information out there about how to use ginseng for cooking and medicine.

My gut still likes this Jennie M. McMillan (M. for Mary?), but additional research will be needed to see if my gut is right — or just hungry.

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