Finding Baby Harry
by Trent Smith
(New Albany, Indiana, USA)
Baby Harry's Headstone
I'll never forget a certain ancestor I found one Christmas season a few short years ago.
His name was Harry Edward Moyer, born 24 February 1899. I zeroed in on him because I noticed nobody else on FamilySearch had found his wife. He seemed to have no sources. I decided I'd do right by him and complete the research.
Try as I might, I could find no census records and no marriage record for him.
Finding the Unexpected
In the course of my research, the one thing I did find on him eventually was a church register in Northampton, Pennsylvania on Ancestry
. It showed that this ancestor who I thought was a full-grown man had been born in February of 1899 and buried in April that same year.
For reasons unknown, the poor little guy had died when he was only eight weeks old.
Being a father of very young children, one of whom ended up in the emergency room at three weeks old for breathing issues, I couldn't help but feel for little Harry Edward Moyer and his mother, Maggie Reppert Moyer. As bad as it was to watch the nurses sticking tubes and needles into my baby boy, I just can't imagine what it must have felt like for Maggie to helplessly watch her little one suffer and die! I'm sure I felt Maggie's sadness in addition to my own as I was doing the research.
I felt very strongly that Maggie had agonized over the loss that little boy until her dying day in 1970 and ever since. My finding him and including him our family records seemed to give her a closure and a peace she had not known before.
Thinking about the whole experience still brings powerful emotions to the surface.