April 26, 2005

Talking to Aimee's Nephews

It's been a busy few weeks. The end result is that I've spoken with two of Aimee Moser's nephews today and have a lead on one of her sons!

It all started one lunch when I decided to try a new technique. The problem I had was that I lost Aimee Moser's tracks after Carlos Moser died in 1915. The 1910 census didn't list her and Carlos with a child, so I assumed they didn't have children. Direct descendents are the best because they tend to keep the stories alive more so than neices, nephews,and cousins. Hopefully, she had remarried and had children and I could track them down. Before today, I was doubtful of ever knowing, or of her having children because she was 34 when Carlos died.

I knew her as Aimee Lyon Moser, so I assumed Lyon was her maiden name. But, I didn't know where she was from and no Aimee Lyon showed up when I did a search on any census. Also, on Carlos' death certificate, she gave a hotel's address, implying that she actually lived somewhere else. I assumed she either lived in Marathon, or Boquillas. So, she could have stayed in the US after Moser's death, or gone to Mexico. I simply didn't know.

I had a hunch that she might have been from St. Louis because of two facts: 1) The tramway was designed by a St. Louis company, A. Leschen & Sons, (there were about five tramway manufacturers in the US at that time), and 2) F.C. Morehouse, the president of the International Mining Company, was called back from St. Louis after the Glenn Springs raid. So, St. Louis seemed like the most logical place to find Aimee Lyon. It was a hub for mining equipment and it had a nice sized Jewish community. Two things a Jewish mining engineer would need, even if he spent most of his career in Mexico.

I searched the 1890 and 1900 Census for Lyon in St. Louis and reviewed them one by one. It didn't take me long to find her and the best news was, she had two sisters and a brother! Turns out, she was never indexed the census, which is why she never showed up.

I kept looking, but I lost the brother and his family after the 1920 census. They were in LA. Ditto her one sister. I was hoping I could find a living nephew or niece who could talk about their Aunt Aimee.

But her youngest sister, Estell was in the 1930 Census in El Paso, and she had eight children! Surely, I was going to find someone who knew something. I felt as if I was ascending from a night dive in the ocean. You're in a dark world and you only see a little bit of this fascinating place. As you ascend and return to your normal life at the surface (or in this case, the present), you feel more bouyant and familiar.

On a lark, I typed the youngest son's name into Google, with the words "El Paso" and found an article about him! He's 73 and a baseball manager of a minor league team on the east coast. So I emailed him. He wrote back hours later saying he didn't know much about Carlos and Aimee, other than he heard talk about Carlos in the family and that Aimee had married a man named Mayer after Carlos died. He directed me to his 93 year old brother in LA.

So this was great. This was the first time I had any contact with any one who knew Carlos Moser. For a year, I have been trying to track the man down and all I had was a few facts. I had no picture, no family stories, no history books, nothing. Now, he was becoming real. I feel like I've known him for a year, but all I could do was ad my imagination to a few facts. But now, I'm beginning to really know him through the eyes of people who knew him.

Also, using familysearch.org, the Mormon's genealogy web site, I had found an Aimee Lyon married to a Max Mayer but that was sometime around 1906. This was confusing, as that would have been before Carlos, yet she listed her marriage to Carlos as her first marriage, according to other research I had done. So, I tracked down all the Max Mayer's in the 1920 census and found one married to an Aimee, but the handwriting looked like it could have been "Annie". I dismissed the record from familysearch.org as a dead end, a transcription record. But, this one email from a gentleman who said he didn't know anything, really helped. He confirmed she in fact did marry a Max Mayer and it was the same Aimee Lyon who had married Carlos Moser. It put an important piece into place for me.

So, I called the oldest brother, Aimee Moser's nephew. As with so many calls, he said he didn't know much. And...how can you press someone who's 93. So it's always a delicate dance of getting them to talk and not asking too many questions, even though I've waited a year for this opportunity. Stuff that they think are inconsequential are vitally important to the story. So the thing to do is to get them to talk.

He was a young child at the time of Moser's death. But, he remebered Moser as kindly, a loving man, and liking children. Even though the nephew graduated from UT El Paso (or the Texas School of Mines as it was called during the time), he knew nothing of Moser, nor of Morehouse, nor of McQuatters.

He did say Aimee remarried, had children, and was well known in the community under her new married name, Aimee Mayer. So now, I've got a whole bunch of leads: first, the son, and second, Aimee's married name. She was active in the community, someone may have interveiwed her!

A great day!

Posted by Joelg at April 26, 2005 09:38 PM | TrackBack
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