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  - ?), and 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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