Monday, November 24, 2014

10 Genealogical Mysteries

These are the mysteries in my family tree that I think are the most readily solvable.  These mysteries aren't all that big, but sometimes it is the smaller, seemingly solvable "?" which yield the biggest returns.  (This post was inspired by this one at One Rhode Island Family.)

1.  Charles S. Wood (1842 - ?)
When and where did Charles die?  This question bugs me to no end.  I can "guestimate" that he died between 1910 and 1920.  When his wife died in October of 1910, he was the informant.  I have not been able to find him in the 1920 US Census and indeed, his son had taken over the family farm by 1915.  He apparently did not die in Michigan, where he lived for over thirty years, or in Missouri where two of his brothers lived.  He also does not appear to have died in Ontario, where he had family, or British Columbia, where his sister lived.  Charles had family in New York, but so far I haven't been able to find a death record or obituary for him there either.

So where do I look from here?  I still want to explore New York some more as well as Kansas (his family lived on the Missouri side of Kansas City) and Iowa, where his son briefly lived in the 1910s.  For a long shot, he also had a brother and nephews who had mining interests in Colorado and New Mexico and a niece who lived in Alberta. I also want to know if Charles left a probate file in Michigan (I haven't been able to find one yet) which should give a notation of when and where he died.

2.  and 3. Niels Christian Nielsen (1850 - 1940) & Engeline Christine Petersen (1855-1932)
I'd like US arrival records for these two.  I believe Niels arrived between 1872 - 1874 and Engeline around 1871.  They were married in Oak Harbor, Ottawa, Ohio in 1874 and moved to Mt. Eden, Alameda, California not long after.

I plan on getting Niels' naturalization record (he naturalized on 15 July 1881 in Alameda Superior Court) but I don't expect much information.  Beyond that, I really don't know what to do.  I have done broad name and date searches and found nothing.  I feel like these records ought to exist, but maybe they just don't...

4. Martha Wadd (Tock) (1823 - 1861)
I'd really like a death date and location for Martha.  Family story says that Martha died when her daughter, Emma, was two.  Emma was born in January of 1859, which makes a calculated date of 1861 for Martha.

Exploring cemetery records for Calais, Washington, Maine/St, Stephen, Charlotte, New Brunswick is my first order of business.  After that, all I can think of would be church records.

5.  Aaron and Mary Paulina Doyle (? - ?)
When Peter Doyle died during the Siege of Fort Erie his children: Heman, Aaron and Mary Paulina, became eligible for, and received, a pension.  I know nothing about what happened to Aaron and Mary Paulina after this.  Aaron might have been adopted by a family in the neighborhood, the Nobles, but I'm not sure.  The children's mother remarried a few years after Peter's death and left Vermont not long after that, eventually settling in Wisconsin.  Heman doesn't appear to have traveled with the family further west than New York so I wonder if his brother and sister also stayed behind.

I just need to explore New York records, particularly in the Buffalo and Rochester areas.  I also need to explore a candidate Aaron Doyle who lived in Bristol, New York.

6.  John W. Wyman (ca. 1775 - 1843)
John Wyman was the attorney who handled my 5th great-grandmother's (Charlotte Clara Smith) messy divorce.  Not long after it was final, the two married.  They seem to have been very happy together and Charlotte's children and grandchildren appear to have thought very highly and lovingly of him.  Although I'm not related to John, I'd really like to learn more about him.  What adds to my interest is that John's nephew, Capt. John W. Patterson, married a niece of Charlotte's (Charlotte Smith Mott).

A John William Patterson was born in 1806 in Northborough, Massachusetts to James Patterson and Louisa Wyman.  Louisa's parents were John and Hazadiah Bowker Wyman.  I'd love to find a link connecting these folks with my John Wyman.  I have several avenues, but I'm most excited to explore the Worcester Co. probate files coming online (ever so slowly).

7.  Josiah Beam ( 1811 - aft. 1901)
Add this to the list of ancestors I can't find death information for.  Online family trees have him dying in 1905, but I can find nothing to corroborate this.  What is odd is that I can't find a death or cemetery record for him in Ontario and I've never found even hint of him leaving Canada.

Josiah had family in Ohio and Michigan in addition to Canada.  I need to do a broader search for him in those places.  His name is also easily misspelled, which is something else I need to be aware of.  I also need to contact the cemetery in Ontario where his family is interred to see if they have any records pertaining to him.

8.  Joseph Allen (ca. 1824 - aft. 1880)
Joseph lived in little Weathersfield Twp. in Trumbull County, Ohio for many years.  As far as I knew, he was always a farm hand and never farm owner.  That is until I found a list of persons losing their land due to delinquent taxes in The Western Reserve Chronicle from 1872.  The only Joseph Allens in Weathersfield in the 1870 US Census are my Joseph and his eighteen-year-old son, Joseph T.

I think it likely one these Joseph Allens was the person on that list, and more probably the older of the two.  I'm planning on exploring land records some more in the hopes of learning more.

9.  The Tock Sisters
I know very little about the early years for Mary Elizabeth (1849 - 1935), Martha Ann (1854 - 1875), Sarah Jane (1857 - 1898), and Emma Sophia (1859 - 1928).  I think after their mother's death (see #4 above) they went into different households.  The four girls never appear in a census all together, with Emma missing from both the 1860/1861 and 1870/1871 Census enumerations.

The girls that do appear in these census years are living with some member of the Harris family in Calais, Maine/St. Stephen, New Brunswick.  I'd really like to know what the connection was between these two families.  Family story goes that Emma was born while her mother was visiting family in New Brunswick - would this be the Harris family?

I need to explore the Harris/Barnes/Temple family some more, especially in British records.

10.  Orange County, North Carolina
One thing has become abundantly clear in looking at my DNA results: I have some sort of connection with many of the Quaker families who were located in the Orange Co. area of North Carolina.  Some of those families also relocated to the Orange Co. area of Indiana, where my mysterious Masons and Webbs were.

Finding the connection(s) involves a lot of early 19th Century and earlier research, which isn't the easiest but still doable.  I think probate files and land records in North Carolina and Indiana should be my first look.  I already have taken the FAN approach and have some candidate people/families in particular I'm going to look at first.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Surname Saturday: McFadden

I'm not related to the McFaddens but their close relationship with my Wood family makes think there is a deeper family connection, namely that they originated in the same location in Scotland or Ireland before both families came to Canada in the mid-1850s.

I do know that before the Wood family came to Canada, they were in County Cavan, Ireland.  For how many generations and from which town specifically, I do not know.

James McFadden was born around 1825 in Ireland.  He married Margaret Ragan, who was born around 1823 in Ireland.  James and Margaret had three known children:
  • Margaret, born ca. 1858.  "Maggie" married Alexander Wood in Wolverton, Blenheim, Oxford, Ontario, Canada on 5 January 1876.  The family was in Medina, Orleans, New York at the time of the 1880 US Census.  However, they returned to Canada and Margaret died in Chinquacoury, Peel, Ontario on 2 September 1886.  Margaret and Alexander had three known children: Helen Beatrice Wood (Cawston), Arthur William Wood and James Alexander Wood (who was born and died in 1886).
  • Mary Ellen, born 10 December 1859 in Blenheim.  Mary Ellen married John Morton in Blenheim on 28 May 1884.  The family resided in the Ayr Twp. area of Waterloo, Ontario.  They had the following: Norman Wood, Margaret Smith Wood (Stonehouse), and Elizabeth Annabella Morton (Babcock).  Following John Morton's death, Mary Ellen married secondly William Wood.  This second marriage was brief as William died in 1926.  Mary Ellen returned to Ayr and died there on 4 November 1936.
  • Dorinda, born April 1865.  Dorinda is living with her future brother-in-law, William Wood's family in Lockport, Niagara, New York at the time of the 1900 US Census.  Dorinda would marry Stephen Loads and live in Medina until her death on 30 October 1937.
Perhaps I'm grasping at straws, but I do feel like learning where the McFadden and Ragan families originated from will help me in my Wood family research.  In any event, if anyone knows anything about the origins of any of these families, I'd love to know.

Friday, November 7, 2014


I've seen many spellings for her name: Didame, Dedamia, Diadimia, etc.  But, she seems to have been known as 'Damie' to her friends and family.  Though, to my second-great-grandmother, she would have been known simply as 'mother.'

Recently, I was lucky enough to find an obituary for Damie.  I say lucky because I really wasn't expecting to find anything at all.  Damie died in 1895, when obituaries offering any biographical information weren't usually given for a farmer's wife in rural Michigan.

"Mrs. Chas. S. Wood of Rolland, died on Tuesday, May 7, 1895, after a very [s]evere illness from cancer of seven months duration.  Damie Beam was born in Oxford county, Ontario, September 10, 1851, and was married to Mr. Wood March 3, 1870, and with him came to Oakland county fourteen years ago, and four years later they moved to Rolland, this county.  She leaves a devoted husband, two daughters, four sons and three grand-children to mourn her untimely death.  Mr. Wood wishes to return thanks to his neighbors and [f]riends for their many kindnesses dur[i]ng his great trial." From the Isabella County Enterprise, 17 May 1895, page 5.

Damie also had a father, Josiah, who survived her as well as numerous siblings - most all of whom still lived in Canada.  Among those three grandchildren who survived her was my great-grandfather, Joseph J. Allen.

For anyone wondering where I found this, it is thanks to Central Michigan University's CONDOR, which has issues of the Isabella County Enterprise up to 1927 online and freely searchable.