Saturday, April 23, 2011



Every once in a while the diligent genealogist will find something very unexpectedly that has a value worth more than gold. My turn came a while back.

I have been researching a Bradley family that had its roots in Missouri. My great-great grandmother Susan Bradley Davis was one of the children of Thomas and Elizabeth Cockrill Bradley. I'd tracked down all of Susan's siblings except for one: Mandana (sometimes shown as Mandania). And of course the one you don't have is the one that keeps calling to you and drives you crazy! She married David Rice and subsequently disappeared.

Without going into detail, I'll just say that in a Deed book in Schuyler County Missouri I was checking to see what became of Thomas' property when he died. There I came upon a Power of Attorney issued to John G. Davis (husband of my Susan) to represent Mandana Bradley Rice, who lived in Amador County, California. This was such a surprise. I was at the Salt Lake City Genealogical Library when I found it, and I was probably that person you heard stand up and yell "EUREKA!"

Several months later Jerry and I were visiting friends in Lodi, California and they wanted to spend the afternoon gambling at the Indian Casino in Jackson. I begged off, telling them to drop me off at the County Archives in downtown Jackson by the cemetery and come pick me up when they were finished. (A true genealogist!) And as they were true friends, they did just that.

I found the people at the Archives to be exceptionally helpful and to have an exceptionally rich lode of material. Among what was shown to me was the picture above. It is a 4-generation picture of now-aging Mandana, with her daughter Mary Jane Rice Keeney (upper left), granddaughter Nellie Keeney Kent (wife of Walter E. and at lower right) and great-granddaughter Vivian Kent (upper right.) I paid to have a copy of the photo made for myself, and I gathered up all the data in their files and was sitting on the porch grinning when my friends came to pick me up. Believe me, I was the winner that day.

I encourage every single genealogist to find where the archived material is located in each county you research in - and see if you can get as "lucky" as I did. I did extensive research on Mandana and her family, and it is all posted on under their Family Tree section.

For anyone who wonders what else the Amador County archives might hold, take a look at their website:

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