1890s marriage in China

+2 votes
I've never been able to find a source for the father of Dora. I believe the spelling of her last name at birth was Magowan, but it could have been Macgowan, or another variation.

Since she was born in 1891, in China, I don't think there are many sources available. I've tried Family Search and Ancestry, with no success. She passed away in Arizona in the 1980s, and to my knowledge never had children. Since her grandfather was a missionary, I searched records for any Magowan/Macgowan surname, and none mentioned her mother or Dora. Dora was probably adopted by her step-father, so her last name in some places prior to her marriage was given as Emens.

Does anyone have any ideas about where I could look?
WikiTree profile: Dora Wright
in Genealogy Help by Susan Hughes G2G6 Mach 3 (37.0k points)
Where / how have you looked so far?
I have searched their (Dora's and her mother's) names in FamilySearch and Ancestry. Also, some missionary related publications.
I hadn't thought of Missionary publications .. good thought (even if it yielded nothing).

I'm interested in any answers you get, because I have several "born in China", or "married in China" folk on whose biographies I am working -- and am having the same difficulty in finding actual records -- or even transcripts of records.   One lot I know have to have married "not in England", because two of his kids (not hers) were born in Hong Kong, and the 3rd of his sons (the mother of whom may, or may not, be the same as the mother of the first two) was born in England (so I have her last name, but nothing more).  These kids were staying with her brother at the time of a census, or I wouldn't even know what little info I do.

I had thought of National Archives, but came up dry.

Melanie (or anyone who is researching missionaries in China).
I created two free space pages, one for the Chinese Recorder and Missionary Journal (1868-1902). Many volumes can be accessed online, so they can be searched for a name.
The other free space page is for a book in my possession (not available online) that contains memorial letters sent to my great-great grandfather on the death of his wife. That book is Mary Jane (Scott) Farnham. On that free space page, I listed the names of people who sent letters and whose letters are in the book.

That would be a great resource.  Thanks for  putting it together.

Unfortunately, my Missionaries were not American, so are unlikely to be covered.
There are some from other countries also, included in both the Journal I mentioned and the memorial book.

When I get a few spare moments from following rabbits, I will take a good look.  smiley

Another helpful book is Memorials of Protestant Missionaries to the Chinese. This book includes names of family members and dates.

That just gives me more to read!  (Turner, F S . . . . . . . . 252)

1 Answer

+3 votes
Best answer

It is common to register the birth of a child abroad with a local consulate, so it would seem the records of the U.S. Consulate in Shanghai would be your best bet.  The National Archives says birth records prior to 1910 may be in the central files of the U.S. Department of State - https://www.archives.gov/research/foreign-policy/state-dept/genealogy - and the U.S. Department of State takes about consular records for China from 1845 to 1950 existing.  I wish I had a clue how to access them.


Search the name Dora Emens on this page - https://dochero.tips/rg-59-general-records-of-the-department-of-state.html.  It talks about a specific box that has records that relate to Dora Emens.

by Roger Stong G2G6 Pilot (186k points)
selected by Susan Hughes
Thanks Roger! She also worked for the consulate.

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