Armed with all that information, I went online. I didn't know if the Pushards had a long history in Montana, and since I was starting with people too recent to be in the 1930 census, I went to the FamilySearch Montana, County Marriages, 1865-1950 database. Nothing came up for Pushard, which I kind of expected, as Jimmy's parents wouldn't have gotten married until the 1960s. I searched for Sterle, and found a marriage for Joseph Sterle, son of John Sterle and Frances ____ to Annabelle Young, an apparent sister of Ruth Young who married my great-grandfather Jim Harris after he and my great-grandma Edna Craddock divorced. I still haven't determined whether Joseph is related to the Pushard-Sterle family I'm related to, but it is an interesting possibility I intend to pursue later.
Since that didn't pan out like I'd hoped, I went to Ancestry.com and tried their newspaper database. I stuck with Montana newspapers only, and did a search for Pushard. I found a baptism notice for Charles Hoskin, son of Charles and Mrs Charles Hoskin. (That's one thing that I find a little peculiar about old newspapers - the wife is very often identified only as Mrs. Hoskin or Mrs. Charles Hoskin, not by her own first name). The article said baby Charles was sponsored by aunt Linda Hoskin and uncle Gerald Pushard. That caught my eye, because Jimmy had mentioned having an uncle Gerald, and I hadn't thought to search for him. (Note - sideways genealogy does pay off!!) It also said that the baby's grandparents attended - paternal grandparents Mr. and Mrs. William Hoskin, and maternal grandparents Mr. and Mrs. John Sterle. Now my ears really perked up! Uncle Gerald Pushard + grandpa and grandma Sterle = good chance of a connection!
The goodies didn't end there. It said the baby's great-grandparents were Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Coulombe and Howard Pushard, all of Gardiner, Maine. The Coulombe name I didn't recognize, but the Pushard name I sure did. I asked my grandpa what he knew about the Pushards, and he didn't know that family too well (seems my aunt was only married to David Pushard for a few years) but he thought they were from Maine. I've written before about my grandpa's amazing ability to recite generations of descendants from anyone really connected to the family, so I really trusted his instincts on the Maine connection.
So I went back to the FamilySearch beta site, and found they had a database of Maine marriages, from 1771 to 1907. I searched for Virginia and Earl's marriage in that database - but no luck. I searched for Virginia and John Sterle's marriage - but no luck. I went back to Ancestry, and searched their Maine marriages 1892-1996 database - and hit paydirt. There was a marriage in 1948 of John Sterle to two Virginias - on the same day. One was Virginia Pushard, the other was Virginia Coulombe. It turns out, Coulombe was her maiden name (I have since found her birth record confirming her parents were Joseph Coulombe and Annie Peaslee). Thus she married John Sterle under the name of Virginia Pushard, and the license or whatever record this was taken from likely mentioned her maiden name of Coulombe as well. This record helped explain the names in Charles Hoskins baptism record, too. If Virginia Coulombe and Earl Pushard divorced, with Virginia remarrying to John Sterle, then it was Virginia and Earl's daughter (whose name I still don't know) that gave birth to Charles Hoskin. And it was Virginia and Earl's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Coulombe and Howard Pushard, listed as baby Charles' great-grandparents. It took a few minutes and some mapping it out on a spreadsheet to get it all straight in my head, but once I had figured out what I had, I was feeling pretty excited by this point. What I'd learned up to this point was:
Earl's father was Howard Pushard
Earl and Virigina Coulombe had married and divorced in Maine
Virginia had remarried in Maine to John Sterle, and then moved to Montana with David, Gerald, and an unnamed daughter
Howard was still living in Gardiner, Maine when his great-grandson Charles Hoskin was born
Not content to stop there, I kept going through the newspapers to see what else I could find. It was very interesting! There was an article in 1960 about Gerald Pushard enlisting in the Army, where he would train in cable splicing, and a follow-up article about his completing the cable splicing course. I also found articles in 1964 about his marriage to Carol Parnell, complete with photograph. Seems the Pushards kept popping up in the news, which made for easy tracing of the family.
Now that I knew a bit more about the family, I thought I'd try to go back to the 1930 census and find Earl and his father Howard, where Earl would have been a young man. I knew Howard was living in Gardiner, Maine in 1958, and hoped that he'd stayed there for a long enough time to find him in the census. As it turns out, that's exactly what he did.
I found Howard's family in Gardiner City, Kennebec county, Maine. It was a pretty large family - Howard, his wife Bessie (which was new info for me), and eight children - Earl, Clyde, Kenneth, Frances, Gerald (uncle of the Gerald mentioned above), Donald, Grace, and Clifton. The kids ranged in age from 17 (Earl) to just over 2 (Clifton). I haven't done any research yet to know what happened to the rest of the kids, who they married, etc. But it seems that there were a lot Pushards in Maine to do research on, from this generation alone.
I went back a decade to find Howard and family in the 1920 census, and again struck gold. This time, the family consisted of Howard, Bessie, Earl, Clyde, Kenneth, Frances, and the father-in-law Laforest Rines, giving a possible maiden name for Bessie. The ages all matched, the names and birth order matched, and the father-in-law was an added bonus.
There was a bit of a twist, however, when I went to look for Howard in the 1910 census. I have found Howard, but in this census he's married to a woman named Ina, with a baby whose name looks like Italy, but I hope isn't. So it seems Bessie Rines wasn't his first wife, but his second. A search of Ancestry.com's Maine Birth Records 1621-1922 database showed he and Ina had two children after "Italy", a girl named Elma, and another girl whose name was not recorded. Finding out what happened to those children and Ina is, of course, another project entirely. Ancestry's Maine Marriage Records 1705-1922 database confirmed Howard's marriage to an Ina Pollard (though the birth records for their second two children list her maiden name as Ida James, with the birth information being the same), and another marriage record of Howard to Bessie Rines states Howard was divorced and this was his second marriage.
Ancestry had one more find for me that night - a birth record for Howard Pushard. It gave Howard's full name as Howard Lincoln Pushard, born April 25, 1888 to Loring Oliver Pushard and Abbie Ellen Rines. It appears that it's a delayed birth record, as the date the record was filed by his mother with the local clerk was July 6, 1942. The record states that Howard was the 8th child, but by the time of filing only four other children were still living. That matched what was given in the 1900 census, where it was stated Loring and Abbie had had eight children and six were then living (two apparently died between 1900 and 1942), with only Howard living with his parents.
To sum up what I found:
Loring Pushard is the earliest Pushard ancestor found so far. He was born in September 1844 in Maine. He married Abbie Rines, and they had 8 children, last of which was Howard Lincoln Pushard.
Howard married Ina Pollard and had three girls with her. They divorced and he remarried to Bessie Rines, with whom he had eight more children, with Earl Pushard being the oldest child from this marriage.
Earl married Virginia Coulombe, daughter of Joseph Coulombe and Annie Peaslee, and had at least three children - David, Gerald, and a daughter. Earl and Virginia divorced, and Virginia remarried, and moved with the kids to Montana, as stated above.
David married my aunt Eileen, and had three kids, one of which was my cousin Jimmy, the fifth generation of the Pushard family as I have so far traced it.
Not a bad find for a couple of days' research, eh? Now to enter it all into my database and stop doing research for a while, until I can at least get caught up on all I've found and received over the last few weeks.