When I was 8, my parent’s and Grandma (my mom’s mom) took me on a trip to Ohio to meet relatives of my grandmother’s, her 1st cousin, Dick, and his wife, Millie. I fell in love with them both instantly. They were friendly and hospitable and I felt they treated me like a grown up so they were definitely all right in my book. Their last name was Dowding. That was when I remember Dowding solidifying in my mind as a branch to my family tree.
Upon asking for more information on that family as I grew older, there wasn’t much to gain. My grandmother’s “Grandma Dowding” was an orphan and there was never any talk of her husband or a “Grandpa Dowding”. Many years of my life were spent with the understanding that my family tree would always be limited because no one had information beyond the orphaned “Grandma Dowding” and that seem to include her husband as well (I wrote about her last September in a post entitled “Alice Stone – Mystery“). My involvement and passion in family research came to the attention of a distant cousin of mine. She contacted me and offered to share information on the Dowding family. What she gave me was “fascinating” as all new genealogical information is to me. There was a new picture of Grandma Dowding with her husband, John James Dowding, and their two children, Richard and Mary Dowding. Along with the picture was a notation that read: “Little is known of John Dowding, he was a member of Christian Science Church. He was in poor health and developed an ailment that was treatable but because of his religion would not see a doctor, and consequently John succumbed to his ailment at the age of 40, leaving Elizabeth to raise their children.”
After plugging this information into my online genealogy database, it wasn’t long before a death certificate was produced. This document revealed that John James Dowding died of pneumonia. Sadly, he was only 40 years of age. Learning that he was a part of the Christian Science Church was absolute new information to me and most members of my family. Exploring further, it is a faith that embraces healing through spirituality and prayer over medicine. It was a new concept in the time of John Dowding and I’m trying to find out how he may have learned about it and where he may have attended gatherings. That may provide new insight to how my Dowding ancestors may have lived. There is no wonder anymore why there was so little known about Great Grandpa Dowding. He wasn’t around long for his children or his grandchildren to get to know him. But at least I now have a picture and a story that may help to open a door to find out more about my Dowding line.