Wednesday, October 29, 2014

52 Ancestors: #41 James O’Brian (1823-1904), Carpenter, Farmer, Husband, Father...But Whose Son?


Climbing My Family Tree: Huron County, Ontario, Canada
Huron County, Ontario, Canada

Climbing My Family Tree: Sanilac County Michigan USA
Sanilac County Michigan USA

Edit to title (darn, that was embarrassing! Sigh.)

James O’Brian is my third great grandfather, and Ann McClean O’Brian’s husband. I have a transcription of an obituary for him, too, in the family papers. Again, I have no indication what paper it came from (I will provide cite when I find out but it probably came from the Brown City or Imlay City, Michigan newspaper). The original transcription is in a compilation of family documents done by George J. Lutz, in May 30, 1972. The compilation was given to my father by his sister for Christmas a few years ago.

James O'Brian Passes Away at the Age of 82 Years

Another of the old pioneers has been called hence by the grim reaper death and now lies at rest in the "silent city of the dead." while a large concourse of friends pay tribute to him in attending the funeral which was held from the M.E. Church at 1 p.m. today, Rev. E. Yeger officiating, and his remains laid to rest in the village cemetery, by the side of those of his companion, who preceded him in death June 23, 1902.

James O'Brian, one of the oldest pioneers of this section of the state, passed away at his home on North Second Street, this village at 9:30 p.m., Tuesday, December 13, 1904. His work was done, and well done. To him and such as he, was committed the task of subduing the wilderness and making it habitable for the thousands that should come after them, and we bow in humble submission to the will of him who doeth all things well, and pay our tribute of respect to this departed one, let us not forget that there still remains our midst, still walk our streets with tottering steps, a few of that sturdy band, but, like ripened grain, their heads are bent and white unto the harvest. The sickle of the great reaper is ready and soon they will fall beneath its keen edge. Let us honor them and speak to them kindly words of solace in the dark hours of loneliness caused by the loss perhaps of a companion. Let us not wait to strew flowers upon the casket and grave above their lifeless clay, but plant them now in their pathway while yet they may behold their beauty, and that their hearts and lives may be cheered and brightened.

Among the early settlers in this part of the state came James O'Brian, born in Belville, Ontario, 82 years ago. He lived there til 18 years of age, when he located in London, where 55 years ago he was married to Miss Ann McClean. They came to Michigan 42 years ago, settling in Maple Valley, three and one-half miles south of Brown City, on the farm now owned by Joseph Morris, where they lived until 1882, when they moved to Brown City. Mr. O'Brian was a carpenter by trade, which avocation he principally followed during his residency in Michigan.

Mr. O'Brian is survived by seven children, as follows: Mrs. Kate Clink, of Capac, Mrs. Jennie Dean of Akron, Ohio, Mrs. Elizabeth Henn of Burnside, Mrs. Margaret Hether of Maple Valley, John and Anna single at home and Mrs. George E. Harris of Yonkers, N.Y.

He was brought up in the Presbyterian faith which he held during his entire life.”

A very florid piece, isn't it? My first thought when reading it before beginning any family research, was that the writer didn't know him and was padding the piece to make it look longer. After I looked into Ann & James, realized the writer did know him – maybe the writing style of those first two paragraphs was in fashion in the early 1900’s? Did you notice that, again, I have an obituary that doesn't mention who his parents are? But, unlike last week, I don’t have a clue who James’ parents are.

Yet.

In the course of my research, I found James under several spellings of his last name, starting with Obrien, moving to O’Brien, and ending up with O’Bryan. We know from the obituary that he was born on July 12, 1823, in Belville, in Upper Canada (now Belleville, Hastings County, Ontario, Canada). He always indicated, whether in Canada or the United States, that he was born in Canada (Canada English). In one U.S. census that it states that both his parents were of foreign birth (1870 – the first after his immigration), but in the next two censuses (1880 & 1890) James stated his father was born in New York and his mother in Canada (Canada English).  

In his 19th year, James moved to London, Canada West (Upper and Lower Canada unified into one province called Canada; what became Ontario was then called Canada West in official documents). James would have turned 18 in July 1841, so that means he was in London for the 1842 Canadian Census. Ancestry.com doesn’t have that one but FamilySearch.org does; however, it is really hard to read and the only name listed is the head of household and all others in the household are denoted by counts in categories. I haven’t yet sorted out which Obrien is my James (there is a James but I’m not certain it’s my James because of the difficulty in reading the form). I’ll continue to work on figuring it out, but I don’t have it now.

The first record I found James in was the record of his marriage to Ann McLean, in London, Middlesex, Canada on 31 August 1848, by James Skinner, minister of the United Presbyterian Church in Canada. The witnesses were Hector McLean and John Collie.
 
Climbing My Family Tree: McLean-O'Brien Marriage Record (1848 London, Upper Canada)
McLean-O'Brien Marriage Record (1848 London, Upper Canada)
Click to make bigger


After the marriage, I first found the couple in the McGillivray township of Huron County, Canada province with their first daughter, Catharine Priscilla (1 yr old), in the 1851 Census. James and Ann were 28 years old. James was a laborer, and, oddly, the couple was listed as belonging to the Church of Rome (Catholic) – I would put that down to the census taker, as otherwise, the family always self-identified as either Presbyterian or Church of Scotland (pretty much the same thing).  In 1861, James and the family were still in McGillivray, living in a log home. James was now a carpenter, and James and Ann had four more kids (so, five total):  Catharine (9), Jane (8), Elizabeth (6), Margaret (3), and John (1). The oldest three girls were in school. Another daughter, Ann, was born later that year after the census as taken.

Two years later, James and Ann moved the family to the U.S.A, to Sanilac County, Michigan. Two more daughters were born in Michigan, Christy Jane in 1864 and Ellen in 1867. Christy died at 3 years, 3 months old; on her tombstone are the words, “sleep on sweet babe and take thy rest God called you home he thought best.” The family must have been broken-hearted.

The U.S. Census data differs a bit from the narrative given in the obituary, albeit not in major ways. By 1870, James, 48, owned and worked a farm valued at $2700 (it would be about $49,090 in today’s dollars) and had personal property valued at $600 (about $10, 909 now) in Maple Valley, Sanilac County, Michigan. Only son John was in school at that time. At the time of the 1880 census, James (57), Ann (50), two of their daughters (Anna, 18, and Ellen, 13) and son John (21) lived in Burnside Township in Lapeer county MI. James was a famer and Ann kept house. Their son John was a carpenter and daughter Anna was a domestic servant. The 1890 census forms were burned in a fire so we have no data for that year. In 1900, James (76), Ann (69) and the youngest three kids – no longer kids --  lived in Maple Valley Michigan. James listed himself as a house carpenter. John (41) was a carpenter, Anna (38), a dressmaker, and Ellen (33) was a school teacher.

When he was 79, in 1902, James lost Ann, his wife  and companion of 53 years; he lived only two years longer, before dying of pneumonia and old age at his North Second Street home in Brown City Michigan.

If you know anything about where James came from, who his parents were, and the rest of his life, and are willing to share that with me, please contact me by leaving a comment, or by emailing me at the address listed in my Contact Me page.

Climbing My Family Tree: Death Certificate: James O'Brian (December 12, 1904)
Death Certificate: James O'Brian (December 12, 1904)
Click to make bigger


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I really want to learn who his parents are, and what his early life was like, and whether he had siblings (and about his parents’ lives too!), and more about the rest of his and Ann’s life.

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http://www.davemanuel.com/inflation-calculator.php; Archives of Ontario Series: MS248; Reel: 3, Ancestry.com and Genealogical Research Library (Brampton, Ontario, Canada), Ontario, Canada, Marriages, 1801-1928 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA; Canadian Census of 1851 & 1861; U.S. Census 1870, 1880, and 1900; Ancestry.com, Michigan, Death Certificate: The Library of Michigan, Michigan Death Records, 1897-1920; Rolls: 1-302; Archive Barcode/Item Number: 30000008530705; Roll Number: 74; Certificate Number: 4.




Friday, October 24, 2014

52 Ancestors: #40 Ann McLean O’Brian (1830-1902) Born in Strathdearn, Inverness-shire, Scotland, Immigrated to Canada, then USA (Michigan)

Flag of Scotland
Flag of Scotland

For various reasons, including inability to get into Ancestry.com for several days, a busy schedule, and a strong need for sleep, I didn’t get a lot of research done last week. Or not a lot that went anywhere, anyway. I kept running into twists, turns, confusions, and way-too-common names. So in creating a 40th Ancestor post, I decided to pull back and post about my third great-grandmother Ann McLean because I have a copy of a transcription of a delightful obituary for her in my family papers. So I’ll post my transcription of that, followed by a brief listing of what I’ve found about her.

 I am aware that obituaries are only as accurate as the extent of the knowledge of the person supplying the information (see post on Simon Wilcox and Lydia Sharp), and I haven’t had the chance to check out everything in Ann McLean O’Brian’s obituary yet, but it does provide a lot of lovely clues for any researcher (and one glaring lack!).

The below is a transcription of clipping owned by Lucille Robson, no indication what paper it came from (I will provide cite when I find out but probably the Brown City or Imlay City, Michigan newspaper ). Original transcription in compilation of family documents done by George J. Lutz, May 30, 1972. Said compilation was gifted to my father, by his sister [both living so names not provided in public].

Obituary – Ann McLean O’Brian

A GOOD MOTHER GONE

An exemplary Christian mother, having rounded out her full three score and ten years has laid down life’s labors and cares, and has gone home to reap the reward of a long life well spent, full of kindly deeds and Christian acts, which have wrought in the hearts and minds of those she has left behind, impressions of kindly remembrances that can only be effected (sic) by the passing of their own lives and by the passing of this soul through the pearly gates that stand ajar. Another one has been added to that spotless throng who have washed their garments and made them white in the blood of the lamb. By her death, a husband that has been her life companion, through prosperity and adversity, and who has shared with her the joys and sorrows for fifty-three years, is bereft of the one that was far more to him that all the world beside, a large family of grown children are left to mourn the loss of one of the grandest and best mothers who ever lived.

Mrs. James O’Brian was stricken with apoplexy of the brain at six o’clock a.m. on Monday, June 23. Dr. J.E. Campbell was quickly summoned and all that could be done for the sufferer was done, but she sank rapidly and passed peacefully away four hours later.

The old lady had been in her usual health up to the time she received the stroke. Only the day before, Sunday, she attended church in the morning as was her usual custom, and had done her usual shopping down town on Saturday. One year ago she had suffered a slight stroke of paralysis, which is given for the cause of the second and one proving so fatal in so short a time. The funeral was held from the M.E. Church Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. Rev. Adair of Marlette officiating. The internment took place in the village cemetery.

Deceased was born at Strathdairn, Scotland, September 16, 1830, her maiden name being Ann McLean. When still an infant she came from the old country with her parents who located near London Ontario, where she was raised. She was united in marriage to Mr. James O’Brian fifty-three years ago. They moved to Michigan about forty years ago, settling on a farm near Sharpsville, where they resided until twenty years ago when they moved to Brown City, being among the first settlers of the Village. Besides a husband, six children are left to mourn: Mrs. John Clink of Capac, Mrs. Jeanie Dean of Toledo, Ohio, Mrs. John Henn, of Burnside, Mrs. Noah Hether of near Deanville, John and Anna, single at home, and Mrs. George Harris of Marshall, Michigan. Two sisters and one brother also survive her: Mrs. Margaret Leach of Strathroy, Ontario, Mrs. C. Sullivan of Napier Ontario, and Alex McClean of Manitoba.

Mrs. O’Brian embraced the Christian faith in early life and continued to live a consistent Christian life till the end of her life, acting out in her everyday life, those principals which characterize the true Christian. She was not only a self-sacrificing and devoted mother to her children, but to the whole community in which she lived. It is safe to say that within her entire circle of acquaintances, Grandma O’Brian, as she was familiarly called, had not a single enemy. On the contrary everybody who knew her loved her as she had a kind word for everyone.

She joined the Presbyterian Church in Canada but since moving to Michigan had not united with any particular denomination, but lived a humble devoted Christian life.

The floral offerings were numerous and very pretty. One floral gift was especially appropriate and was much appreciated by the family, and that was a golden sheath of wheat.

 The family desires to hereby express their gratitude to the neighbors and friends for deeds of kindness and words of sympathy in this their hour of sore affliction.

Isn’t that a delightful tribute? She must have been a lovely person!

Did you note the glaringly missing facts? It doesn’t name her parents! Through my research so far, I’m pretty sure her father’s name is Hector McLean (which complies with family stories). Did you know that McLean was the 28th most common surname in Scotland in the 19th Century? And I will tell you, based on what I’ve been seeing, that Hector seems a very popular name amongst the McLean’s n Scotland, and in Canada, so I’m not comfortable yet saying which one is her father.  And as I’m not certain about him, it makes it even harder to be certain about her mother. It is looking to be either Janet MacGregor (which concurs with our family trees)  or Jane Frazer (which other family trees have married to the man who appears to be our Hector [because of the story about London, Ontario, which I’m going to hold back until I write about him]). Per the records I‘ve seen both women married a Hector McLean and there were kids in the household with similar names. Therefore I’m going to leave the question as to who her parents are and any more research as to their generation to a later day after this challenge is over and I have more time to spend worrying at the bones of one branch at a time. [Addendum: I just found Ann’s death certificate when I did a last minute check of SeekingMichigan.org as I was typing the end of this post(!) – actually was looking for a death certificate for one of the kids. I know that a death certificate is only as good as the knowledge of the person who filled it out, but it does help tilt the scales towards Janet….also a popular name. Sigh. I saw several couples names Hector & Janet MacGregor in records for several countries and states. Still holding this generation’s research of until after this project.]

Climbing My Family Tree: Map showing location of Strathdearn, Inverness, Scotland
Map showing location of Strathdearn, Inverness, Scotland
Found via Google Maps


According to the obituary she was born in Strathdairn, Scotland on September 16, 1830 (this appears to be a misspelling of Strathdearn as Strathdairn doesn’t exist and seems never to have existed).  Strathdearn is a valley situated by the River Findhorn 15 miles south of Inverness, in the Highlands of Scotland.  It is a very fertile land, and is currently known for its world famous malt whiskey distillery, hill farms and very good sporting opportunities for salmon fishing, deer stalking and grouse shooting, The current village of Strathdearn has a population of 550. I wonder how big it was when Ann’s family left it?

Climbing my Family Tree: Strathdearn Valley, Inverness-shire, Scotland (by Dave Connor, CC license via Flickr.com)
Strathdearn Valley, Inverness-shire, Scotland (by Dave Connor, Creative Commons license via Flickr.com)

I don’t have anything on Ann until she, at age 17, married James O’Brien, in London, Canada West (which became London, Ontario, Canada after Canada became a country),  on  August 31, 1848, by Rev. James Skinner in the United Presbyterian Church in Canada. The witnesses were Hector McLean and John Collie. (I'll put a picture of the marriage record on my post on James O'Brian, which will go up in a few days.)

Three years later (1851) the young couple and their first child, Catherine Priscilla (aka “Kate”), age 2,  were living in the McGillivray district of Huron County in Canada West. Huron County was a mainly agricultural area then. Kate (1850-1938) later married John Livinstone Clink. 

In the next five years, Ann and James had five children: Janet “Jennie” (1852 – 1934, married Hiram Dean; Elizabeth (1853-1927, married John Henn – they were my 2nd great grandparents); Margaret (1857-1927, married Noah Hether); John (1859-1935), and Annie L. (1861-1908).

The family immigrated to the United States, moving to Sanilac County, Michigan, in 1863, but shortly they faced tragedy. The first child born in the United States was Christy Jane. She was born on December 23, 1864 but only lived just over three years, dying on March 29, 1868. She was buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Burnside Township in Lapeer County, Michigan. Their last child was Ellen L. (1867-1947, married George Harris).

Ann and James’ family moved back and forth between the adjoining Lapeer and Sanilac counties over the next thirty years (I’ll put more details in James O’Brian’s post. He will be # 41).

She died on June 23, 1902 of a cerebral hemorrhage, and was buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Burnside Township in Lapeer County, Michigan, where they had buried Christy Jane.

Climbing My Family Tree: Death Certificate for Ann McLean O'Brian


If you have any information on on Ann McLean O'Brian, her life, and/or her family, and are willing to share it, I'd love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below or contact me through the email address in my Contact Me page.  (If the email address doesn't work --one person recently had problems, although it works fine for most people - leave me a note in the comments to go look for the email. I get notified of the comments.)
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I’d like to find records for Ann’s birth and early years (her entire life until she married James!), which also means I’d like to figure out for sure which Hector McLean and Janet MacGregor are her parents and their lives.

When and on what ship did she travel from Scotland to Canada? More about her life in each country.

And I’d like to know what newspaper that obituary was printed in.

I'd love to find more newspaper mentions/articles of her.

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http://www.strathdearn.org/; http://www.british-towns.net/scotland/highland/invernesshire/strathdearn; http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~onhuron//history.htm;  Archives of Ontario Series: MS248; Reel: 3, Ancestry.com and Genealogical Research Library (Brampton, Ontario, Canada).Ontario, Canada, Marriages, 1801-1928 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

52 Ancestors: #39 William R. Sharp (1829 - ? after 1901 ?) - It's complicated

Climbing My Family Tree: Counties of New Brunswick
Counties of New Brunswick
William R. Sharp lived in Kings County, New Brunswick

This is my latest post for the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” challenge initiated by Amy Johnson Crow of the No Story Too Small blog. For more information about the challenge and links to the other blogs participating in the challenge, please click on the badge in the right margin.

I originally wanted to write about William R. Sharp (1829-after 1901), my third great grand-uncle as an example of how researching those who surround the person I’m looking at can make all the pieces fall together, because I was so excited that they did here!

….then I did that proverbial one last look before starting to write this article and a spanner was thrown in the gears! Ack!

So I decided to show what goes through my head when I’m assessing the documentary evidence I find, before I what I know of William R. Sharp’s life at the end.

The first thing I became aware of is that there were a LOT of William Sharp’s in New Brunswick in the 1800’s so the “R” is important even though I don’t know what it stands for. My William R. Sharp was born January 19, 1829 as the youngest son (or possibly youngest surviving son) of my 4th great grandparents, William and Sarah [??] Sharp, and little brother of my 3rd great grandmother, Lydia [Sharp] Wilcox.

I first found William R in the 1852 New Brunswick Census (that some indexer massacred – if you’ve got anyone in it, ALWAYS click through to look at the original document; it’s vastly different than what the indexer recorded for everyone I’ve looked at so far), at age 23, living with his parents, Lydia’sdaughter Racheal Wilcox and his sisters Susan (27) and Charlott (20).

Climbing My Family Tree: Ancestry.com's Index of the 1852 Canadian Census for New Brunswick
Ancestry.com's Index of the 1852 Canadian Census for New Brunswick
The part circled in pink is inaccurate - it intermixes 2 families on facing pages. (Come on, Ancestry, fix the indexing!)
[I've submitted corrections for each person I've looked up in this census.]


Climbing My Family Tree: 1852 Canada Census - William R. Sharp
1852 Canada Census - William R. Sharp, actual page
(Note Abraham & Eliza Sharp in the top family, I'll be talking about them, too.)

I next found him at age 42 in the 1871 Canadian Census living with a ten year old boy, named Sylvester Sharp; probably his son,  although that Census does not ask about relationships of household members.  William R is listed as widowed.  He is living next door to his parents, William, 81 and Sarah, 78. Both men are farmers. An 11 year old boy named George Cripps is also recorded in WR’s household but may have been simply over to play with Sylvester as there is a Cripps family a few houses (2 pages) away.

In the 1881 Canadian Census he is 51 and married to 35 year old Mary Ann Sharp. Also in the household is 20 year old Ernest S. (Sylvester?) Sharp. The age is appropriate to be the 10 year old boy of the last Census, and, this time, he is designated as WR’s son.  Another person in the household is Leila A.V. Sharp, 13, four younger kids and WR’s widowed mother. 

I was now curious because Leila had not been in the household 10 years ago, although she would have been three. So I started taking a closer look at Leila A. V. Sharp and William R’s wife Mary Ann. I found a birth record for Leila A.V.  Sharp indicating that she had been born to Abram Sharp and Mary Ann Boyle (as it turns out, that should be Mary Ann Bogle).  The record was a late registration and was attested to in 1932 by a Gordon Sharp (He is William’s grandson through his son Charles Z. A,).

Having found that I turned to Daniel F Johnson's NewBrunswick Newspaper Vital Statistics at the Provincial Archives of NewBrunswick, which was an immense help, in looking up everyone in this cascading search. The newspapers showed that Abraham had been married to two of the Bogle sisters, sequentially. He married Eliza Jane Bogle (21) [identified in the marriage notice as Boyle, but in the death notice – with her father named as well – as Bogle] in 1863; she died two years later. Two years after that Abraham Sharp married Eliza Jane’s younger sister Mary Ann Bogle on February 27, 1867.  The 1871 Canadian census shows Mary Ann (25) married to Abraham Sharp (41) and Leila Sharp was three years old. I haven’t been able to find a death or divorce date for Abraham, but in the 1881 Canadian Census Mary Ann and Leila are living with William R and Mary Ann is listed as his wife. In the 1991 Census, William R & Mary Ann are still married [the census indexer says Mary Ann’s marital status is S- for single. I think the indexer misread the F- for female – as an “S” because the document clearly indicates she is the W (wife) of the head of household (William R)]. Leila still lives with them, as do nine sons ranging in age from 17 to 1. (I’ll list all of his children at the end.)

In looking over the censuses, I discovered that William R. grew up about four houses down from Abraham’s family (see the census page pictured above). They were the same age; I bet they were friends. Abraham had a younger sister named Eliza. She may have been WR’s first wife. In searching the newspaper database for articles about WR I found that on June 5, 1865, the Colonial Farmer (newspaper), Fredericton, York Co, New Brunswick, posted a death notice: “d. Studholm (Kings Co.) 27th March, age 2 years 9 mos., Eben Augustus s/o William R. and Eliza SHARP.”

 I could not find anything about William R after 1901. However, in the rest of her life (through about 1940 –when I lose her) Leila lives with one or the other of William R’s (& , I  thought, Mary Ann’s) sons listed as “sister”, most of the time with Charles Z.A., except in 1917 when she traveled to Germantown, PA to visit with “her brother, William Ray Sharp”. In the paperwork for the trip, she listed her half-brother Elbert as her closest relative.

Climbing My Family Tree: U.S. Record of Aliens Pre-examined in Canada, Leila Sharp 1917
U.S. Record of Aliens Pre-examined in Canada, Leila Sharp 1917

So what is the spanner in the works you ask? Well, in my last check of Daniel F Johnson's New Brunswick Newspaper Vital Statistics at the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick just before sitting down to write this, I found a newspaper, The Daily Telegraph, dated 7 May 1873,  which announced a marriage: “m. At the Parsonage, Studholm (Kings Co.) Dec., by Rev. C.W. Dutcher, William R. () / Miss Mary Jane GRIGG, all of Studholm. (According to John R. Elliott's Kings County New Brunswick Marriages Register C & D page 60 - William R. SHARP (Studholm) & Mary Jane GRIGG (same place) lic. 5, Dec., 1872 - by C.W. Dutcher (Wes. Minister) - wit. A.J. SHARP & Mary A. SHARP dated at Millstream 10 Dec., 1872”.  Another, different, marriage for WR, witnessed by his friend A [braham]. J.  Sharp and his wife Mary Ann, no less!

It occurred to me that I should check to see if FamilySearch.org had anything helpful, as Ancestry.com did not (I looked).  After doing a search for Mary Grigg, on FamilySearch, the first thing I saw was a birth record for James Wilton Sharp, born September 13, 1873. The record said that his father was William R. Sharp and his mother was Mary Jane Grigg. On the other hand, the birth record itself, when I looked at the original document, is an attestation, made on May 1, ­1940, by Charles Z A Sharp, saying “I am his brother and have before me our Parent’s Family Bible record and it reads James Wilton Sharp born Sept 13th 1873 and this book was written in at the time of birth by my father. Our parents are both [?]” (See picture.} Notarized in the town of Sussex, County of Kings, Province of New Brunswick, the 1st day of May, 1940.

Climbing My Family Tree: Birth Record for James Wilton Sharp, 1873
Birth Record for James Wilton Sharp, 1873, attestation by  brother Charles in 1940

The problem here is that this attestation is, at best, hearsay, created 66 years after the event, and was attested to by a person who was not yet born at the time of James’ birth and who thus cannot have any independent recollection of the event. Charles was born six years after James. The attestation seems to imply, moreover, that Mary Jane Grigg, and not Mary Ann Bogle, is Charles’ mother as well.

I have not seen the family bible referred to by Charles Sharp, and I have no way of knowing if any records contained therein were truly kept contemporaneously, or if they are written clearly in a manner that forecloses upon any possible misinterpretation.

The only references to Mary Grigg in Ancestry.com I can find in New Brunswick are to a 6 year old child in 1851 (William was 23 then), and, all other, later references show a Mary married to a Grigg man, and list children with entirely different names than the ones that have been showing up with William R. This is not to say that the records I’m looking for don’t exist but that with a reasonably diligent current search I have not been able to find any such records; even so, it is possible that the length of the marriage occurred between censuses. In the next census Mary Ann is listed as William’s wife (& Leila is there).

I have observed in the documents my own family have left that children do not always know details regarding their parents’ lives and that stories get twisted and assumptions become accepted fact. Therefore, I will not accept as entirely credible the two birth records, attested to decades after the fact, without direct or circumstantial corroboration.

The only truly contemporaneous records I have before me are the census documents. While people have been known to lie to the government, it is rare that they remember a lie consistently over ten year intervals. Accordingly, for me, the most credible documentation in this case is the census records.

The second most credible would be the vital statistics index of the newspaper announcements, as the newspaper accounts are fairly contemporaneous, bearing in mind that any transcription includes the possibility of typographical or transcription errors, but it appears to be a trusted resources amongst family historians by what I found when I Googled it.

I also consider as credible evidence the contemporaneous travel records of Leila Sharp taken at border crossings (Manifest of Alien Passengers Applying for Admission, and a U.S. Record of Aliens Pre-Examined in Canada), and Voter’s Records (Canadian or U.S.) because they are business records kept in the regular course of business.

The credible evidence suggests the life of William R. Sharp is as follows:

William R. Sharp was born on January 19, 1829, as the youngest son (or possibly youngest surviving son) of my 4th great grandparents, William and Sarah [??] Sharp, and little brother of my 3rd great grandmother, Lydia [Sharp] Wilcox.

In 1852, he was 23 and living at home with his parents, probably helping to work the farm. Also at home, were his sisters Susan (27) and Charlott (20) and niece, Rachael Wilcox, recorded as age 11.

Sometime around 1860, he married a woman named Eliza (perhaps his friend Abraham J. Sharp’s younger sister? I don’t know, but they were neighbors as children and people frequently married neighbors back then), and had two sons, Ernest Sylvester Sharp (1861-? I lost him after 1881) and Eben Augustus (1862-1865). But by the 1871 Canadian Census, he was 42 and a widower, farming and living with his ten year old son Ernest Sylvester, next door to his parents. He indicated that he was of English origin and belonged to the Church of England.

On December 5, 1872, he married Mary Jane Grigg. His friend Abraham J Sharp and his wife Mary Ann were witnesses.  But by the time of the 1881 Canadian Census, William R. was married to Mary Ann (who had previously been married to Abraham J. Sharp and had one child, Leila Agnes V. Sharp, by him. Per the record of her marriage to Abraham, her maiden name is Bogle); her daughter Leila was living with them. He was a farmer. William R was listed as of Scotch descent and Mary Ann as of Irish descent; they were Wesleyan Methodists.

It is possible that four of William’s sons were born by Mary Jane Grigg, from the timing of the census and the attestation by Charles as to James’ birth. Mary Jane possibly died in childbirth of the fourth one or shortly thereafter, which could account for the quick marriage to Mary Ann as William would have needed someone to help him care for four children under seven, one an infant. William and Mary Jane’s children would be: James W., born September 13 1874 he moved to Alaska in 1891 and became a naturalized citizen of the U.S, in 1908); Frank Hedley, April 10, 1875 (he moved to Alaska in 1891, at age 16, and became a U.S. citizen in 1910); William, bn December 29, 1876 (he married a Massachusetts woman and moved to the states, eventually settling in CT.); and Charles Z. A., bn September 13, 1880 (he stayed in New Brunswick).

William R. and Mary Ann (Bogle Sharp) had five sons that I know of: the twins Auritus Lee, bn December 31, 1881 (he went by Lee -- & I don’t blame him! -- and moved to Saskatchewan, then back to New Brunswick) and Fred Irwin, bn. December 31, 1881 (he and his family lived in Saskatchewan; he died in 1955); Herbert Etsey, bn. February 3, 1836 (I lost him after 1901, age 15); Elbert, bn, February 26, 1888 (he stayed in New Brunswick); Iven, bn. April 19, 1890 at age 16 he moved to Alaska in 1906, became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1908).

Climbing My Family Tree: KIng's County New Brunswick Parishes
KIng's County New Brunswick Parishes: William R. Sharp lived in Studholm Parish

In 1891, William R. Sr. and Mary Ann were farming and living in Studholm, Kings Co., New Brunswick with all of the kids, except Ernest, and Iven, who was born later that year. They were all listed as Methodists. 

In 1901, William R. (72) and Mary Ann (55) were living and farming with Charles (21), Auritus Lee (19), Herbert (15), Elbert (13), and Ivan (10).  His son’s William R (24) and Fred (19), and Mary Ann’s daughter, Leila 33), lived and farmed next door. William says he is of English origin and Mary Ann is of Irish origin.

And that is the last I know of William R. Sharp. If anyone knows more and is willing to share, please contact me by leaving a comment or emailing me at the address on the Contact Me page.


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I would like to know more of William R's childhood, when he died, and perhaps get a look at his will. If I could find more newspaper articles it would be great for allowing me to "see him" better. He's not direct line for me, but I'm still curious.

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Canadian Census for 1852, 1871, 1881, 1891, and 1901.  The Daily Telegraph, 13 March 1863; The Religious Intelligencer, Saint John, dated 24 March 1865 The Religious Intelligencer, dated 15 March 1867; Colonial Farmer (newspaper), Fredrickton, York Co, New Brunswick, June 5, 1865; The Daily Telegraph, Saint John, St. John. New Brunswick, CA, 7  May 1873; U.S. Naturalization Records for William's sons.  images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-159378-649276-83?cc=1726660 : accessed 13 Oct 2014), 1866-1869 > Late registrations > 1866 (Atkinson)-1869 (Trites) > image 573 of 1161; citing Provincial Archives, Fredericton.. National Archives and Records Administration; Washington, D.C.; Manifests of Passengers Arriving at St. Albans, VT, District through Canadian Pacific and Atlantic Ports, 1895-1954; National Archives Microfilm Publication: M1464; Roll: 347; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service; Record Group Number: 85. National Archives and Records Administration; Washington D.C.; Records of Aliens Pre-Examined at Saint John, New Brunswick, Prior to Admission at the U.S.-Canada Border, compiled ca. 1917 - ca. 1942; National Archives Microfilm Publication: A3450; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787 - 2004; Record Group Number: 85. http://archives.gnb.ca/Search/NewspaperVitalStats/NameIndex.aspx?culture=en-CA; "New Brunswick, Provincial Returns of Births and Late Registrations, 1810-1906," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XTSG-CVR : accessed 14 Oct 2014), William R Sharp in entry for James Wilton Sharp, 13 Sep 1873; citing Mount Middleton, Kings, New Brunswick, certificate , Provincial Archives, Fredericton; FHL microfilm 1943962.




Wednesday, October 8, 2014

52 Ancestors: #37 William (1789 - 1871) and #38 Sarah [??] (1793-1882) Sharp – Who They Aren’t

Climbing My Family Tree: Flag of New Brunswick
Flag of New Brunswick
This is my latest post for the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” challenge initiated by Amy Johnson Crow of the No Story Too Small blog. For more information about the challenge and links to the other blogs participating in the challenge, please click on the badge in the right margin.

I don’t know all that much about who Lydia Sharp Wilcox's parents, William and Sarah Sharp, are yet, but I’m finding out more about who they aren’t.  Not too bad considering I just discovered them last week!

The Book of Wilcox (see Lydia’s story and the George Wilcox story for an explanation of the Book of Wilcox) said about Lydia: “Lydia Wilcox born September 17, 1810 in King County Province of New Brunswick, Canada, moved to Ontario November 1849, removed to Michigan March 1856. Maiden name Lydia Sharpf, mar’d November 1833. (Emphasis added.)” A little further down on the same page, William D. Wilcox describes Lydia as “a typical short, squat Dutchwoman” but Lydia was not a Sharpf, and she was not Dutch.  They may have inserted of the ‘f’ at the end of Sharp because of their perception that she was Dutch.

I first discovered Lydia’s parents when looking for the daughter the Book of Wilcox said she and Simon left behind in New Brunswick with Lydia’s parents when the rest of the family moved to the portion of the unified province of Canada (Canada West) directly above Lake Erie.  The New Brunswick portion 1851 (taken in 1852) Census of Canada East, Canada West, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia on Ancestry.com is improperly indexed (the indexer intermixed different families on opposing pages into one)– you MUST click through to look at the original document to see who is in a family grouping. I found Lydia’s daughter, Rachael Wilcox, in Studholm, Kings County, New Brunswick, listed as “GD [granddaughter]” to the head of household, William Sharp (61) and his wife Sarah (58). William indicates he is of English descent, and is a farmer. Also living at home with them are their children: Susan (27), William R. (22), and Charlott (20).

Climbing My Family Tree: Wm & Sarah Sharp -1852 New Brunswick Census
Wm & Sarah Sharp -1852 New Brunswick Census

I next found William and Sarah in the 1871 Census of Canada, in the parish of Studholm, Kings County, New Brunswick. William was 81 and Sarah was 78. William was a farmer. He indicates he is of English origin and Sarah is of Irish origin. They both belong to the Church of England. [Definitely not Dutch.]

In the 1881 Census I found Sarah, 88, living with her son, William R.’s family, where, the census taker indicates he is Scotch and his mother is German. Sarah is still shown as a member of the Church of England, while her son’s family is Wesleyan Methodism. (I’m not going into a lot of detail about William R. because I’ll be posting about him, #39, later this week, as an example of finding details about a person by searching collateral members of his family. [Still trying to catch up on the 52 Ancestors challenge – this should be Week 41; I’m gaining on it.]). Sarah was listed as a widow.

Knowing that William had died before 1881, I started trying to find when he died. Fortunately, the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick has a searchable database of those people buried in the cemeteries in New Brunswick, including those old ones no longer in use. Via that database I found that he had died just a few months after the last Census, at age 82, on October 18, 1871, and was buried at the Church of the Ascension cemetery in Apohaqui,  Kings County New Brunswick. Sarah was also buried there after she died on December 25, 1882, at age 89.  Knowing their ages at death and their death dates gave be approximate birth years for William (1789) and Sarah (1793). Also in that cemetery were a few other Sharps that other that Trees on FamilySearch have included as William and Sarah’s adult children, two of whom where daughters that the Provincial Archives indicates were married to the same man (hopefully sequentially) who also had the surname Sharp – I have seen another woman sequentially marrying two Sharps of different families in my research (not helpful, guys!) so I was aware there was another Sharp family in the area.. I have included them in my tree but with a picture that indicates that I am not sure they belong there (if I don’t find another connection I’ll be taking them off the tree).

Sarah and William’s children are as follows (the ones marked with an asterisk are children only mentioned in other Trees, to my current knowledge: Lydia Sharp (1810-1893; Mary Sharp* (1812-1854); Elizabeth Sharp* (1814-1883; Jacob Sharp* (1816 - ?); Bathseba Sharp* (1817-1862); Julia Sharp* (1822-1900); Susen Sharp (1825 - ?); William R. Sharp (1829  - ?) Charlott Sharp  (1831 - ?)

Next I searched the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick to see if they had anything else on the Sharps of New Brunswick, and they did! An annotated monograph of The Sharp Family of New Brunswick! So I excitedly printed it out to read a lunch at work. Sigh. They aren’t our Sharps – they live in a different county in New Brunswick, descend from Alexander Sharp of Edinburgh Scotland, by way of New Jersey, and they have entirely different names repeating in their tree than we do in ours or than were in our Sharp branch.  The two counties were 235 kilometers (about 146 miles) apart, which was a huge difference in the 19th century.  [As an illustration, the Pony Express had a route about 232 KM long from Halifax to Victoria Beach, Nova Scotia in the mid-19th century that they rode, nonstop, changing to fresh horses every 19 KM (about 12 miles), and changing riders halfway through the trip. It took a minimum of eight hours.]   Sigh. So at least I know who they aren’t (too bad, that family had some fascinating stories).

Climbing My Family Tree: The Pony Express
The Pony Express


Ours will be equally fascinating when I find them. I have found pedigree charts on FamilySearch.org that purport to take our Sharps back to the 1600’s. It gives Sarah a last name, too, but I have been unable to find it so far, on my own in any credible source.  There are other pedigrees on line that purport to be of our family that vary in certain was from those at FamilySearch. I’m going to explore the information in the pedigrees charts and personal pages, and see if I can find documentation to attach my people to theirs and to confirm them. If this is our family, during the Revolutionary war we were Loyalists who, after the war were among those offered free land by the British in New Brunswick and moved en masse (about 33,000 people).  It will be interesting to see if I can make the connection.

If you know any more and would be willing to share, I would be so grateful. Please leave a comment or send me an email at the address in my Contact Me page.

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There’s a whole lot more I’d like to know about William and Sarah:
Sarah’s maiden name
Their marriage record
Anything about their life before 1851
Whether the asterisked kids ae really their’s
I want to check land and probate records
Who their parents were
Basically as much as I can find out.
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Friday, October 3, 2014

52 Ancestors: # 35 Simon (1809-1904) Wilcox and #36 Lydia Sharp/Sharpf (1810-1893) Wilcox -- in which I disagree with The Book of Wilcox

Climbing My Family Tree: Death Certificate of Simon Wilcox
Death Certificate of Simon Wilcox


This is my latest post for the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” challenge initiated by Amy Johnson Crow of the No Story Too Small blog. For more information about the challenge and links to the other blogs participating in the challenge, please click on the badge in the right margin.

As I mentioned in last week’s post about George & MaryJane (Currier) Wilcox, I have a copy of “The Book of Wilcox” [typed pages stapled together], sent to me by my grandfather Owen Carl Henn which states it is “copied from a paper prepared by Laoma Sanford in 1971” and that it traces my Wilcox family branch back to Simon’s father, who it says is Mortimore Willcock. It also includes some family stories and some descent charts. Unlike some of the written family stories or trees passed down in my family, this one does cite its sources: “1. a psalter printed in London in 1822, with dates recorded by Simon Willcock (now in the possession of William D. Wilcox; 2. Family Bible of William R. Wilcox, copied by Mrs. Floyd Wilcox (whereabouts unknown); 3. Family Bible of George B. Wilcox (in possession of Mrs. Hazel (Henn) McArthur); 4. Family Bible of Charles H. Wilcox (now in possession of Mrs. Pearl Chamber).” I have no idea where those family Bibles & psalter, or the referenced copies thereof, are now and have never seen them. The Book of Wilcox also refers to obituaries and oral recollections collected by Ms. Sanford, and she notes some discrepancies between her sources, most of which are in regard to Simon Wilcox’s birth. And what little I’ve found in regard to his birth contradicts all of those contradictions as well.

Climbing My Family Tree: My copy of the Book of Wilcox - sent to me by my grandfather
My copy of the Book of Wilcox
 sent to me by my grandfather probably 30 years ago
My Dad's name is redacted as I promised not to name the living in my blog


Like with all research done by someone else, I keep an open mind and try not to rely on it too much as family stories twist over the years, and details get lost, and others get grafted on – particularly the further back from the writer’s generation one goes. I discovered that initially in researching my Mom’s side of the family, and I re-discovered it in comparing my research to some of the documents that have come down through my Dad’s side of the family, including Lucille Robson Henn’s book Members of the Flock (some small details and some large, some I haven’t posted about, and some I have, see my post on Andrew Henn.) In researching Simon Wilcox, and, necessarily, his parents, I think I’ve come across another one of those places where my research is going to diverge rather sharply from the accepted norm in the family set by the Book of Wilcox, but more at the level of Simon’s father, than Simon, and this entry is [mostly] about Simon and Lydia. (And it figures that the major break came after I’d thought I’d written 99% of this entry, and had started to consider pictures/illustrations, and I was just doing one more check on one detail, lol. )

The Book of Wilcox states that Simon was born on April 12, 1809. It includes a transcription of an obituary, found in the George Wilcox Bible, (that I haven’t found otherwise yet), which states that Simon was born on that date in Maine, subsequently moved to New Brunswick. In the Book of Wilcox, Laoma Sanford also states her father (William D. Wilcox), told her that Simon was born in Ireland but ran away from home and came over on a cattle boat as “a young lad.”

The claim that Simon was born in Maine in 1809 is problematic in that Maine did not separate from Massachusetts and attain separate statehood until after the War of 1812, finally becoming an official separate state on March 15, 1820.  I have not been able to find a birth record yet, anywhere, for Simon, but on the 1851 Census of Canada East & Canada West and the U.S. Censuses of 1860 and 1870, Simon reported that he was born in New Brunswick (before the country of Canada was created).  The Maine/New Brunswick confusion could have its roots in the ongoing border disputes between Great Britain’s border claims for what became New Brunswick  (at one point that area was almost called New Ireland) and the United States. The final border was settled on in 1842, but the map below showing the various claimed borders and disputed land shows for several years a substantial chunk of land was claimed by each country. If Simon was born in a place that was part of the disputed lands, later ceded to Maine, it could explain why he stated he was born in New Brunswick most of his life and at the end of it his obituary reported that he was born in Maine.

Climbing My Family Tree: Disputed borders between New Brunswick and Maine to 1842, when settled
Disputed borders between New Brunswick and Maine to 1842, when settled.
By User:Magicpiano [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


I’ve not found anything yet to support the claim that Simon was born in Ireland and came over on a cattle boat as a “young lad”, but I may be poring over ship’s passenger lists at Olive Tree Genealogy  in the future to see if I can substantiate it, if my most recent possible breakthrough doesn’t pan out.

The Book of Wilcox states that, according to information written in the psalter by Simon, Lydia Sharpf Wilcox was born September 17, 1810 in King County in the province of New Brunswick, and that she and Simon Wilcox married in 1833 in that province. It does not name her parents.

Simon and Lydia had eight children while they lived in New Brunswick, three of whom died within two years of birth (birth dates courtesy of the Book of Wilcox, The ones I’ve marked with an asterisk I’ve not yet found anywhere else but in the Book of Wilcox):  Eleda Wilcox Campbell (August 24, 1834 –December 16, 1868); William Robert Wilcox (November 27, 1835 – June 5, 1924); Rachel Wilcox (August 12, 1837 - ?); George E. Wilcox* (June 12, 1839 – June 21, 1839); George Butler Wilcox(October 9, 1840 – March 19, 1928); Abner M. Wilcox (September 10, 1843 – January 1, 1917); Amanda Wilcox* (December 20, 1845 – October 24, 1847) and Mortimore N. Wilcox* (November 14, 1848 – April 28, 1850).

In 1849, Simon and Lydia left New Brunswick with most of their family. But, the Book of Wilcox indicates that they left their daughter Rachael in New Brunswick with the Sharps, but does not name them. The 1852 New Brunswick Census shows Rachael Wilcox, 11 years old (should have been 14),  living in Kings County, New Brunswick in the household of her grandparents, William (61) and Sarah (58) Sharp, and their children: Susan (27), William R. (22), and Charlott (20).  I wonder why Rachael was left behind?

In the years leading up to the 1840’s New Brunswick was heavily protestant, but since the start of the potato famine in Ireland, there had been a large influx of Irish Catholics, and a corresponding increase of Orange-Catholic tensions (the Orange Society was a community organization and fraternal order of Protestants in the Provinces), which culminated in riots in 1847 in Woodstock, New Brunswick, and another larger riot, in 1849,  involving a 1000 people  in St. John, New Brunswick, in which 12 people died. In the Book of Wilcox, Simon’s grandson recalled that Simon marched in the Orangeman’s parade every July 12 in Marlette, MI, as long as he was able, & wore orange on St. Patrick’s Day. It is possible that he and Lydia felt this rise in tension between the two religious factions endangered his family which may have encouraged them to move their family to a safer area, where other Free Will Baptists were moving to in droves.

Climbing  Family Tree: Map showing Oxford County in (now Ontario) Canada
Map showing Oxford County in (now Ontario) Canada
By Vidioman [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


Simon and Lydia moved, in 1849, with the rest of their family, to Blenheim, Oxford County in the unified province of Canada (in what later became the section of Ontario just above Lake Erie). A history of Oxford County, by Thomas S. Shenston, published in 1852, described Blenheim, as one of the three largest townships in the county. It was “good land and well timbered, and the best watered of any township in the county…”  It was the first settled but was not much improved until the mid-19th century, when it made rapid progress. It was during this period that the Free Will Baptist evangelists came to Oxford County, and a Free Will Baptist church was organized in Blenheim Township. While a large number of them came from the United States, a significant portion also came from the Maritime Provinces. At first the family lived in a shanty (see George’s story for a picture. Simon and his oldest son William worked as coopers, according to the 1851 Canadian Census (taken in 1852). The census does not list an occupation for George (12) or say that he was in school; Abner (9) was in school, and baby Charles was less than a year old. During the period they lived in Blenheim, three more children were born to Lydia and Simon (birth dates supplied by the Book of Wilcox): Charles Harding Wilcox (August 9, 1851 – June 27, 1933); Jane Wilcox (August 25, 1853 – September 17, 1860) and Simon U. Wilcox* (December 20 1846 --??).

But Blenheim turned out to be just a way stop on their journey and Simon & Lydia and part of the rest of the family moved on to Michigan, where tall trees and fertile farmland beckoned. In the 1900 U.S. Census, Simon stated that he entered the U.S. in 1856. The earliest record of him I’ve found so far is the 1860 Census, which shows Simon and Lydia, William, Abner, Charles, and Jane living in Rutland Michigan  (in Barry County). Simon farmed, on property he valued at $1200, and maintained a cooperage as well. [Eleda had married Jabez Campbell in 1851 in Canada, and they later moved to Michigan as well; Jabez moved the family next door to Simon & Lydia after Eleda died.] By 1870, Simon and Lydia and their youngest son, Charles, lived in in Burnside MI in Lapeer County. At age 62, Simon was working as farm labor, while Lydia kept house, and Charles (18) was at home. Simon indicated that he was a citizen of the United States. In the 1880 Census, Simon  said her was a farmer; he was 71 & Lydia was 70. The census shows that they are living with their son, Charles (28), his wife Ida (21), and their infant son Melvin.

There is no copy of the 1890 Census as most copies were destroyed in a fire in the Commerce Building in Washington, DC.

Lydia (Sharp) Wilcox died in January 1894 at the age of 92.

On June 20, 1900, when the census was taken, Simon (91) was a retired farmer, living in the home of his son, George, a farmer; but in this census he indicates that he is not a citizen.  Also in the household were George, 58; his wife, Mary Jane, 57, their son Arthur (22), daughter Mertil (17), son Russell, 17; and daughter Ethel (15.). 

Simon died four years later on August 10, 1904 at the age of 95, in the home of his son George. The death certificate stated Simon died of “senile delability”; it also indicated that his father was Robert Wilcox, not Mortimore as the Book of Wilcox states.

I had not been able to find anything on Mortimore Willcocks/Wilcox after several weeks of searching, and had decided just to wait until my next pass through the family to try more vigorously. But tonight, as I was finishing up this post, I tried searching Robert Wilcox, the father listed on Simon’s death certificate. I found a Robert Wilcox, approximately 23 years older than Simon, born in New Brunswick, and later living in Blenheim Township,Oxford County, in the Unified province of Canada, at the same time Simon is there. Robert was a Free Will Baptist and worked as a Cooper  in Blenheim; his wife, Jane, was too young to be Simon's mother but may be a second wife.  later Robert and his wife lived in Sanilac County Michigan (which is adjacent to Lapeer County where Simon lived). To me, this looks like there is a strong possibility that Robert is Simon’s father. This idea is reinforced, to my mind, by the name of Simon’s oldest son William Robert Wilcox – was he named for both of his grandfathers? I will be looking to follow this trail further in the future and see where it leads.

 Simon was survived, according to the obituary by his four sons, William and George of Burnside Township, Abner of Berrian County (sic), and Charles of Marlette, Michigan, and one sister, Mrs. John Smith of Port Huron, Michigan.

Climbing My Family Tree: The 4 sons of Simon and Lydia Wilcox (William, Charles, Abner & George)
The 4 sons of Simon and Lydia Wilcox (William, Charles Harding, Abner & George)
Found on an Ancestry.com tree and used with permission of Kerry Rose

If anyone has any information they would like to share with me on my Wilcox or Sharp families, I'd love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below or email me at the address on my Contact Me page.

Edit: I just realized I never said how Simon and Lydia were related to me. They are my third great-grandparents. My grandfather's (Owen Carl Henn), mother's paternal grandparents. The descent is Simon and Lydia (Sharp) Wilcox, to George Butler Wilcox (m. Mary Jane Currier)  to Myrtie Mabel Wilcox (m. Owen James Henn) to my paternal grandpa Owen Carl Henn (m. Anna Mae Bennett) to my father, then me!

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I’m missing George and Lydia’s entire childhood. I’d like to find more about that, for both of them.
 I’d like to fink a marriage record for them.
I need to look further into the possibility that Robert Wilcox is Simon’s father, and trying to find out who his parents are.
I want to check property, probate, and naturalization records for all.


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Death Certificate of Simion Wilcox. 1851; Census Place: Blenheim, Oxford County, Canada West (Ontario); Schedule: A; Roll: C_11745; Page: 17; Line: 4 (1851 Census of Canada East, Canada West, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia ). U.S. Censuses for 1860, 1870, 1880, and 1900. The Book of Wilcox by Laoma Sanford (1971); The Oxford Gazetteer: Containing an Abstract of Each Census of the County of Oxford, and the Townships Comprising it, by Thomas S. Shenston (Hamilton, C.W. by Chatterton & Helliwell. 1852.)[Found as a Google e-book at https://play.google.com/books/reader?printsec=frontcover&output=reader&id=fQ8lAAAAMAAJ&pg=GBS.PA1 ]; Pioneer Baptist Work in Oxford County, by Zella Hotson, found atwww.ourroots.cahttp://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~canon/research-topic-church-religion.html; History of New Brunswick. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_New_Brunswick; Historical News section of the website of the Irish Canadian Cultural Association of New Brunswick, http://www.newirelandnb.ca/Stories/Historical-News-Introduction.html ; http://new-brunswick.net/Saint_John/enter.html ;


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Happy Blogiversary to Me!

Happy 1st Blogiversary to Me!
photo credit:by puffclinty via photopin cc


My first post on this blog was on September 20, 2013. Since then I have made 70 posts; so while it’s not daily, I averaged a bit over once a week (with a hiatus from mid- June to mid- July 2014 while I packed, moved, and unpacked). Well, it was more than once a week until I started the 52 Ancestors series, but since I am a beginning family historian as well as a beginning blogger, I am researching each Ancestor I profile in the week before the post goes up (& not getting a lot of sleep as a result!). But I am so glad I chose to do the 52 Ancestors challenge, even as a beginner because it has pushed me to post each week, pushed me to do more research and utilize more and more sources and pushed me to learn the context of my ancestors’ lives so as to be able to tell a better story.

Blogger provides very interesting statistics on the blog that I can look at set for a day’s capture, a week’s, a month’s, and “all time” – which is one year now! I find these stats fascinating so I thought I would share them with you as a way of celebrating my blogiversary.

While I initially thought this blog would be read, if at all, only by my family, I admit I’ve done everything I can to promote each post. I’ve made the blog searchable, and have loaded each post with specifically chosen search terms, and each picture uploaded is titled with the ‘name of what it’s about.jpg’ so they are searchable that way too & label them so that they always show up linked to my blog name (I see my blog pictures in Google images – too cool!). I put ways to subscribe to my blog on it, ways to share it, and a couple ways to search it to make it easy for readers to find their way around it and to come back and read more.  And after I put up each post, I then post it to Facebook so my family can see it, and to Google+, and to Pinterest, and to Twitter to try to draw readers in general and find possibly find new-to-me “cousins” that might want to share family information,  maybe become friends (yep – it’s cousin-bait!). I also gained readers from those following the blogs doing the 52 Ancestors challenge.  I know that I am reaching more people than just my family because according to Blogger I’ve had 9716 page views this year! Even if my family were reading this, they don’t add up to 9000+ page views! Wow!

Blogger also shows me where in the world my audience this past year lives (or at least where they were reading me from):

Climbing My Family Tree: 1st year audience Blogger Stats screenshot
Screenshot of Blogger page showing origins of my audience this 1st year


I am not at all surprised that my biggest audience is from the United States. But I am drop dead astonished that my second biggest audience is in Turkey??!  Thank you very much, but why?! The next eight countries (countries, wow!) in my audience are: Germany, France, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Canada, Russia, and Spain (this week I had two from Japan, too!). While I know that some of those are folks who just landed on the page by accident; some stayed and read, and some came back. I thank every one of you who has read or now reads this blog! (For an anniversary present, would you please say “Hi” in the comments if you read this? I’d like to “see” you.)

The top ten all time most viewed, or read, posts this year have been:











It’s too hard to choose my own favorite posts. I love all of them for different reasons. I love the research on the person, and the side research to put them in a bit of context, the writing, and, surprisingly, I really like finding just the right pictures to helpfully illustrate my stories -- although I admit I never imagined I’d have to research French, German, and Canadian copyright law to pick pictures for my blog posts! (Ack!)

But the absolute best thing about the genealogy research and the blog is meeting new friends and “cousins”. The other bloggers I read and comment on have been ever so nice, and have helped me improve my blog or find something I couldn’t (still so grateful Dara found my grandparent’s marriage record) or tell me where to look for something, and just plain encouraged me. And then there are the people I’ve met online, who read my blog or saw my Ancestry.com tree, who I discovered I’m related to in various ways  and who are so nice and encouraging to a newbie, and to whom I’m so grateful for all their help: Jimmie F. gave me the photos of John Erwin and Crawford Erwin and told me stories about the Erwin brothers in the Civil War; Deb G. who just sent me a whole bunch of information and photos on the Erwin’s, especially on a part of the branch that I’d stalled out on; Jeff H. who gave me information for far further up my Hartman branch than I’d been able to nail down; Gary McC who gave me a picture of my great-aunt Etta Genora Hartman Archer after she moved to Oklahoma; Pam B. who sent me a whole book on the Whonsetler/Wonsetler/Wonsidler/Vonsidler Branch (wife of Samuel T. Hartman) and friended me on Facebook [& I had a terrific time meeting her and her husband at the Battle of Johnstown re-enactment last weekend]; Teeny I & Susan S-D who sent me a whole bunch of photos of the Bailey’s and of the Snyder’s – turned out Teeny is Mom’s 1st cousin and she’s told me all sorts of stories about the Snyder’s, and about the Bailey’s, and they both friended me on Facebook; Roger B. who told me how to find Edward Carleton Bailey’s death certificate; Bob T. who gave me all sorts of information from his research into the Henn family and answered questions and gave me permission to use Rosa Henn Strauss’ gravestone picture via email while on vacation in Germany(!); and Kerry R who gave me permission to use the pictures from his Ancestry.com tree of the Wilcox family on my blog posts.

photo credit: woodleywonderworks via photopin cc


The hardest part about getting all this lovely helpful material is that each time I get something (the most recent is the information Deb sent), I really want to forsake my current research and dive back into the section to which the new information applies. But when I took on the 52 Ancestors Challenge I did it with the intention of trying to cover representatives of my whole family (the branches up from each grandparent) in this year. Just doing basics, and when it gets hard or complicated, moving on to the next branch, with the understanding that I’d come back to everyone after the Challenge was over. And I told my family I was going to do that, and my Dad has been patiently waiting while I covered Mom’s side of the family and I also want to finish the Challenge with his side of the family before going back and playing with all these lovely gifts I’ve been sent by new-to-me cousins. So I’m going to finish it first.

What do I plan to do in the next year of my blog? Catch up with (I’m 5 behind) and finish the 52 Ancestors challenge. Then starting in January the flavor of the blog will probably change a bit. I don’t intend to do an Ancestor profile a week – maybe one or two a month – as I would like to catch up on my sleep. I’ve gotten very little sleep this year doing this project (you have to realize, even beyond the original research each week, and the finding of illustrations, I only type using two fingers and a thumb on one hand -- it’s not the fastest method in the world [at work I talk to the computer and it types]). I’d also like to read the occasional book. I miss it. J

Even so, I’ll probably actually post more often, albeit shorter posts: following some of GeneaBloggers' Thomas MacEntee’s blogging prompts and shorter piece descriptions of what I’m doing & finding. I also need to update the supporting pages of my blog, especially the favorite blogs and Resources page (I have so many bookmarked pages for Canada, it might get its own Resource page - although I haven't quite decided yet). I intend to start going back through the tree, trying to incorporate what I’ve been sent, and trying to push each branch a bit further back, and blog about that, too. Plus occasional ancestor bios/Ancestor Highlights. I like blogging. It helps me see what I have found – I like seeing it as a story and not just lists of documents. And I really like making new friends via the internet - for an introvert like me who finds it difficult sometimes to talk to new people or call anyone, the internet is a perfect venue (believe it or not, in real life, I’m sort of quiet …until I get to know you). You'd never guess from the length of these posts or my emails, would you?


Thank you for reading my blog this last year, and to those of you who have helped me, G+’d a post, Shared a post, Pinned a post, or Retweeted me, thank you ever so much! It’s been lots of fun! Hope you stay around for next year.