52 Ancestors Week 27: Solo

+8 votes

Time for the next 52 Ancestors challenge...

52 Photos and 52 Ancestors sharing bacgesPlease share with us a profile of an ancestor or relative who matches this week's theme:


Share below.

You don't need to share every week to participate, but those who do will earn badges. If this is your first time participating and you don't have the participation badge, or if you pass a milestone (13 shared profiles in 13 weeks, 26 in 26, or 52 in 52) let us know here. For more about the challenge, click here.

ago in The Tree House by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (1.5m points)


  1. Noun: a musical composition for a single voice or instrument
  2. Adverb: without a companion
  3. Verb: to perform by oneself


  • individual
  • single 
  • alone
  • solitary 
  • stag 
  • unaccompanied 
  • companionless 
  • friendless
  • solitary
  • unaided
  • unassisted
  • unescorted
  • unmarried

Susannah Sarah Davis came to Australia on board the John Renwick in Feb 1837. I have not been able to find any other family here and she made the journey solo! 
She wasn't in South Australia very long before she married George Henry Brasington in Nov 1837. They had one daughter 3 months later, but she passed away aged only 1 day. They then had another daughter, and soon after they moved to NSW. No longer was Susannah to be a solo traveller. 

22 Answers

+11 votes
Best answer

This story was told to me by Madeline Cohen, the wife of my second cousin.

In 1887, Madeline's great-grandparents, Jake and Hattie, age 17, were living in Riga, Latvia, and planning to be married. But Jake, afraid he would be drafted into the Russian Army, decided to go to New York, with Hattie to follow when he was settled. After a while he wrote to Hattie: "I am doing well in New York. I will send for you soon."

But Hattie did not wait to be sent for. With her dowry, which consisted of a feather bed and a samovar, she boarded a ship for New York.

When she arrived, not speaking a word of English, she found the place where Jake had been staying. But Jake was not there. He had gone to Hartford.

So Hattie, with her feather bed and her samovar, went to Hartford. But Jake was not there. He had gone to Garden City, Kansas.

So once again Hattie took her feather bed and her samovar and went to Kansas. Finally she caught up with Jake and they were married. Her solo journey was finally over. This remarkable young woman had traveled SIX THOUSAND MILES by herself, lugging her feather bed and her samovar for every mile.

But Hattie's travels were not yet over. After living a few years in Kansas, she and Jake were in the Oklahoma Land Rush and ended their journey near Tulsa.
ago by Joyce Vander Bogart G2G1 (1.6k points)
selected ago by Michelle Parker
+10 votes

My 4th-great grandfather Charles Witt was born in 1775 and lost his mother before he was nine years old. Oral history (flawed as it may be) speculates that he did not get along with his step-mother and parted from his family alone (solo) at a young age. He migrated to Kentucky where he met and married in 1801 to Agnes Logan, whose father had died when she was ten. Charles made his own way (solo) for most of his life, establishing himself without any aid from his family or in-laws. He became a successful farmer and herb doctor. From caves on his farm he mined saltpetre which was used to make gunpowder.

ago by Bill Vincent G2G6 Pilot (117k points)
edited ago by Bill Vincent
+9 votes

When family tree members are truly 'solo' they're the hardest ones to find, precisely because they have drifted away from family. There's my great uncle Stephen Pierson, for example, who disappeared around 1947 and wasn't found by family until 52 years after he died. He had apparently been leading a solitary existence. 

There are lots of family members who could be considered 'solo' because they stayed single. But you can see in the records they were not alone, for they stayed close and helped their families on many an occasion. 

• Stephen's sister, Anastasia, who married late and was widowed shortly after, was a like a grandmother to me :

Eva Lacroix, my great uncle's sister-in-law, probably didn't feel so 'solo' as a single woman. She's the one who made sure her brother, killed in action, had a proper headstone.

Other ancestors may have had 'solo' adventures crossing  mountains or the ocean or a continent. But I haven't found any! Maybe others in this feed will have stories to tell.

ago by C Ryder G2G6 Mach 6 (66.8k points)
+10 votes

2G Aunt Catherine (Walsh) Jacot traveled solo to Boston, Massachusetts, leaving her family behind in Ireland during the last famine in the late 1870's.  She settled in Boston, and married Swiss immigrant and restaurateur Paul Jacot in 1884.  Her nieces and nephew arrived from Ireland several years later and lived with her before establishing themselves.  Her sister Mary and brother in law Charles eventually immigrated as well just after the Irish Civil War began in 1922.

ago by Dorothy O'Hare G2G6 Mach 2 (24k points)
+12 votes

Teaching school out in early western Oklahoma was a very solo existence. To teach in these isolated one room school houses only required an eight grade education. My grandmother Nellie Long had to ride a horse 13 miles from home to get to this one room school house, and she felt very much alone, even though these children were there with her. She is pictured here on the left in 1917, the year before she married my grandfather who happened to be working on an oil well near the school.

ago by Alexis Nelson G2G6 Pilot (205k points)
This is a great photo, Alexis.
Thank you Pip for your comment.
Wonderful photo Alexis thank you for sharing
Thank you Susan for your sweet comment.  One thing I do know about these children is that they were not affected by the flu epidemic the next year, 1918, because they were so isolated.
+10 votes
For Solo I am going to highlight two of my great aunts who lived solo lives. In otherwords they were never married. They had no choice really. They were both born profoundly deaf. These were my grandmothers sisters. - Mabel and Edith Burrow.


ago by Robynne Lozier G2G6 Pilot (769k points)
+10 votes

John Quin

For the solo theme I have decided to share a photo of my grandmother's grandfather John Quin. Grandfather Quin spent a lot of time solo parenting. Unconfirmed family stories have him leaving Ireland to travel to Australia in the late 1860's to prepare a home for his wife and young sons. The story goes that it was 10 years before he built up a place in Australia enough and had enough means to bring out his wife Bridget and the boys in 1875. 

What is known and confirmed is that over the next 6 years John and Bridget had another son and three daughters before Bridget died giving birth to their fourth daughter in 1881. 

John never remarried and raised his children including his newborn daughter Louisa (my great grandmother) alone. A pretty impressive solo effort I think. 

ago by Rosalie Neve G2G3 (3.1k points)
+10 votes
After my grandfather died about 1965, my grandmother Amy born in 1902, lived alone until she died from a stroke at the age of 97, she died two days before christmas in 1999
ago by Jennifer Robins G2G6 Mach 4 (47.2k points)
+9 votes

Miss Zoe Thekla Baur was a teacher and librarian and born traveler! She was born in North Dakota in 1908, but traveled and worked all over! Newspaper reports have her  attending William Jewell college, Liberty, Mo., before she obtained her A. B. degree at Central Missouri State Teachers' college, Warrensburg, Mo. She took courses in library science at the Tennessee, Montana and Denver universities.  She worked in schools and libraries in North Dakota, Pascagola Mississippi, Billings Montana, Sheridan Wyoming, Brady, Nebraska, Millerburg Missouri, Slater Missouri, Stillwater Montana, Oshkosh Wisconsin, Ripon Wisconsin, King Hill Idaho and Spokane Washington! (and maybe more) She passed in 1993, still a Miss.

ago by Lyn Sara Gulbransen G2G6 Mach 3 (34k points)
edited ago by Lyn Sara Gulbransen
+7 votes

My first cousin 4x removed Robbie Howie https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Howie-657 never married. He came from Scotland with his widowed mother to Illinois in 1839 and they were among the first settlers in the Scottish Settlement in Argyle. When his sister and her husband died he took in two of their five young sons. 

ago by Joelle Colville-Hanson G2G6 Mach 8 (85.6k points)
+6 votes
My great great grandfather immigrated to the US from Ontario, Canada in 1880; the rest of the family followed him the year after.
ago by David Hughey G2G6 Pilot (915k points)
+7 votes
I agree with C. Ryder about solo people being the most difficult to trace.  This is why we turn over every stone.  It often happens that a younger child in a family, often a son, leaves the area of his birth and heads out exploring.  When a census taker comes along in his new area the person may not give accurate information as to his birthplace, age, parents' places of birth, and so forth.

Such soloists can often be found in later years living with the families of siblings.  It is essential to trace siblings in order to tie these families together.
ago by Margaret Summitt G2G6 Pilot (101k points)
+6 votes
I think the best example for me would be my great-grandmother Elsie May Mimms, who had to raise her 3 children by herself. She didn't divorce my great-grandfather until the mid-1950s, but they were separated before the divorce (not long after their youngest child was born) and he had two sons with another woman during this time, so it was probably clear to her that things weren't going to work out. She had him arrested in the early 1950s for not paying maintenance money for the children. She remarried in the 1960s but after the death of her second husband I imagine she must have felt quite lonely, at least from time to time, as although family visited her very frequently there can't be someone visiting 24/7.

My great-great-grandfather Horace Dowding had a sister Alice Minnie Dowding who never married or had children.

My maternal grandmother is also divorced and spends most of her life living alone. Due to health problems she sadly doesn't feel comfortable being visited (regardless of the pandemic).
ago by Thomas Dowding G2G6 (7.9k points)
edited ago by Thomas Dowding
+4 votes
#52Ancestors this week goes solo looking at a potential music career for an ancestor of mine. However, was he really a musician for the White House band? How do I research that? https://allroadhaverhill.blogspot.com/2020/06/52-ancestors-week-27-solo.html
ago by Chris Ferraiolo G2G6 Pilot (324k points)
+5 votes

Sarah Jane Hildreth Smith, (Hildreth-1414) my great, great grandmother, had a beautiful singing voice. She sang at request in many different churches. It is reasonable to presume that some of these singing engagements were solos. 

ago by Marion Ceruti G2G6 Mach 4 (49.2k points)
+4 votes
Week 27 - Solo. This week I'll choose Mary Agnes (Murphy-14054) Russell, whose husband took off on her, leaving her to raise the remaining kids solo. She had 10 children, but only the last ones were remaining, when we've found newspaper articles of her seeking legal recovery for abandonment of the children. Of course, in those days, when it wasn't as easy for women to go out and get work, it was much harder to look after a household if your husband took off.
ago by Ben Molesworth G2G6 Mach 2 (25.7k points)
+4 votes

Almost every branch of my tree has families with lots of kids.  However, my one grandfther was an only child - a solo kid without siblings.  Paul Edward Ranck (1911 - 1995) was born 1-1-11.  

Quite technically, he was born right at midnight 31 December 1910 / 1 January 1911.  The doctor asked his parents which date they wanted on his birth certificate: 31-12-10 or 1-1-11.  They chose the latter because it was easier to remember.

ago by SJ Baty G2G6 Pilot (915k points)
+5 votes

My grandfather, Harold "Hal" Knott Rammel (1892-1930) was a man of many talents ... 

One of his skills was performing as a "solo" magician ... he work both as an non-professional and a professional ... although his main job was as a newspaper editor.

His stage name was a play on his real name ... "The Great RaMel".

Below is a photo of him performing the appearing and disappearing balls trick.  This was about 1910 ... then one of the ads for one of his shows.

ago by Bill Sims G2G6 Mach 7 (70.2k points)
+3 votes

The person who immediately came to mind for this was my wonderful Aunt Ruthie, https://www.wikitree.com/index.php?title=Morgan-11239&action=edit  She was under 5 feet tall, and when she was a child, she said, she was afraid of everything.  But the auntie I remember was fearless.  She told of the years when she was on the high school faculty in Brooklyn NY in the 30s.  There was a student brandishing a switchblade, and he stood more than a foot taller than she was.  "You give that to me, this minute!" she commanded.  "Yes, Miss Morgan!" The tall kid said sheepishly, and dutifully handed the weapon to her.  She worked in hospitals in NY and Philadelphia, and taught home economics as high school and college level.  She never married, but that isn't the reason why the word "solo" resonated with me for this.  She had a beautiful singing voice, and sang in church, but also sang solos at weddings and special occasions. She sang at my parents' wedding.  She also was on the radio during the depression and war years, teaching homemakers how to make do with alternate ingredients during shortages.  When I was a kid, I wanted to go on the rides at the Fireman's fair.  My mother, who was in her 30s, didn't like rides.  "Wait until Aunt Ruthie comes, she'll take you!"  And she did.  Ruthie was in her 50s, and was happy to take me on the rides.  Later, she suffered from an allergic reaction to aspirin, which put her into a coma, and left her voice and motor skills impaired.  She couldn't sing solos then, but her spirit never failed her.  When she was in her 70s and I was a young adult, I wanted to go swimming at the lake. She said I must not go alone.  So she went with me.  I always love that memory, because I was a strong swimmer, and had no fear of the water.  Aunt Ruthie couldn't swim, couldn't talk above a whisper then, and would not have been able to summon help if it were needed.  Of course, it wasn't.  But I knew she was protecting me.  And I think she still is. She was an indomitable person I am happy to have had in my family. 

ago by Carolyn Adams G2G6 Mach 3 (38.5k points)
edited ago by Carolyn Adams
+3 votes

I've selected my maternal 2X GGF, Antonio Giorgio-63 (Anthony George) from Scarmagno, Turin, Italy for this week's "Solo" theme. Antonio arrived 'solo' from Italy to the United States around 1871. He married Elizabeth Dunstone Stephens in 1881 and they had nine children. Interestingly, in 1920, at the age of 68 years, Antonio arranged for a passport to travel 'Solo' to Europe in order to promote his business to sell a patent liniment that he developed.

Antonio G. GiorgioAntonio Giorgio passport application, p.2

I remember my maternal grandmother and her sisters sitting around the kitchen table, perhaps around 1960, joking about the 'snake oil' that 'Grandpa George' was trying to sell and that the money would have been better spend on his family. I wish I had asked more details about the liniment that he created, if it had a name, and if he had sold any in Milwaukee before trying Europe. Now this information is pretty much lost in time.

ago by Carol Baldwin G2G6 Pilot (249k points)

Related questions

+13 votes
56 answers
851 views asked Jul 1, 2019 in The Tree House by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (1.5m points)
+10 votes
14 answers
235 views asked Jul 2, 2018 in The Tree House by Robynne Lozier G2G6 Pilot (769k points)
+15 votes
37 answers
786 views asked Jun 22 in The Tree House by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (1.5m points)
+12 votes
35 answers
513 views asked Jun 15 in The Tree House by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (1.5m points)
+10 votes
31 answers
416 views asked Jun 8 in The Tree House by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (1.5m points)
+9 votes
36 answers
697 views asked Jun 1 in The Tree House by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (1.5m points)
+15 votes
39 answers
654 views asked May 26 in The Tree House by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (1.5m points)
+8 votes
33 answers
532 views asked May 18 in The Tree House by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (1.5m points)
+14 votes
35 answers
662 views asked May 11 in The Tree House by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (1.5m points)
+12 votes
32 answers
512 views asked May 4 in The Tree House by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (1.5m points)

WikiTree  ~  About  ~  Help Help  ~  Search Person Search  ~  Surname:

disclaimer - terms - copyright