A family tragedy…

Yesterday, while doing research on Mary, Elzy George’s wife, I decided to try and find information on her through their children. So I started with the newspapers, hoping to find obituaries that might be of assistance.

Elzy and Mary had at least six children that we know of, Amos was their eldest son, and the second child after Rachel. This is an obituary of sorts, but not the one I was hoping for:

Sad Death of Two Boys at Freeport, The Wheeling Register; Date: 04-13-1883; Vol.19; Issue: 297; pg[4]

These two boys were the sons of Amos and his second wife, Lydia Jane Glover, the boys were both 13 or less in age.

Something about Mary…

Rachel Hays Shepard

My great grandmother, Rachel Hays, was named after her grandmother Rachel George Hays, who had died around 1900. My mission for the past couple of years has been to find out what I can about Rachel George’s family.

It has been a very interesting journey so far. Using land records and online trees, that are of course not sourced, I have been able to piece together some parts of the puzzle. In fact one recent re-discovery, helped fill in more of the missing spots.

The current belief is that Rachel George is the daughter of Elzy George and Mary (possibly Baker).

Elzy was the son of William Absalom, jr., and Margaret and the grandson of William, sr. and Debra Ankrom.

The Ankrom’s are of Scottish descent. The Georges were probably Welsh quakers, I am still working on that.

I know most of this through my own research into the census records and land records and a few printed genealogies. But the big find for me, was a better confirmation that Rachel’s mother’s name was Mary. This happened when I was going over an 1870 census, a record I have had for several years, but until only recently understood the significance of.

When I transcribed the census record into Ezra Hays record in my genealogy file, I had a Mary George age 16 living with Ezra and Rachel Hays along with their two sons, Edmund and Ausborn, and a farm helper. I thought that Mary was probably a niece of Rachel’s living with the family.

However, while doing some recent census research for Mary, up popped this same census record which I didn’t remember I had. Only now I am looking at the actual image, and I see that the Mary listed, who I though might be a niece, was a 67 year old lady. Oh my goodness, this was probably Rachel’s mother. Which would make sense because she was a widow in the 1840s and had never remarried. So I had either transcribed the census record incorrectly, had a typo, or the earlier image had been hard to read.

This is an excellent re-discovery and swings the consensus of Rachel’s parents being Elzy and Mary more into the yes category. Earlier census records for the Elzy George family also indicate a connection because there is a daughter of an age of Rachel in the both the 1830 and 1840 censuses.

1870 Census records from Ancestry.com from Grant, Wetzel County, West Virginia. It covers two pages and Mary George is on the second page.

When Rachel was about 20 years of age she had an out of wedlock son, William George. We don’t know who his father is, as he is never named in any of William’s official records. This son lived by his mother and her new husband and sons, married, and had children of his own.

It is like pulling teeth on this family, but that is what makes research so interesting. I will be doing more GEORGE research in June when I head over to Salt Lake City again. Here’s hoping.

More union soldiers, a wedding and a death…

I am back from my trip to Salt Lake City. Who would think that a weeks vacation could be that exhausting.

I spent many an hour looking bleary eyed at microfilm. All in an effort to find something new about our  ancestors. I am happy to say that I did find a tidbit or two.

Firstly, until just this last week I had no idea when Jennie/Jannett Smith Rosa Lavelley died. I did know it was after 1870 and before 1898 (according to her ex-husband, Abram Rosa’s, pension). But this week I found a quit claim deed filed in Berrien County, Michigan labeled ‘Jannett Rosa, by heirs’ to Michael Smith [her brother]. The incriminating bit of information in that index entry was the ‘by heirs’ part. The deed was filed in 1877. Okay, it didn’t give me the exact date of death, but now I know that Jennie died between 1870 and 1877, a much shorter date range. Who knows, maybe a bit of digging in my own backyard will turn up more on that issue, after all she lived in Oconto.

Secondly, the Buchanan family has been researched by others, but some of what they have put out there is wrong. I now know that Margaret and William Buchanan died in Jackson County, West Virginia. Margaret in 1883 and William in 1891. I found their death records online. Easy peasy. Well, after Margaret died, William must have been feeling a bit lonely because he married again in 1884 to an Emily Duke. How do I know this, land records. William and Emily are selling land together to family, etc. in Jackson County in the 1880s. It took me a while to realize that the name of his wife was Emily in the deeds as I am mostly just photographing records and looking at them later. I am glad I did though. Now I can add Emily to the records. I even confirmed the marriage by finding their certificate online.

Thirdly, After learning about Emily, I dug around on Ancestry to see if there was something I missed about William Buchanan in their online records. William is the first Shepard side ancestor I have found to have been an actual soldier in the Civil War. He joined the Union’s 17th Regiment, Company D, Infantry. He was only in the war for about a year, the same as F. W. John. He appears to have survived the war without any incidents. But, he didn’t live long enough to file a pension having died in 1891. Emily his wife died by 1900, as we know from the land records. When she died the land she inherited from William, had to pass on to his children: Jane, Ebenezer, Rebecca and Sarah.

All in all I have had affirmed in my mind the importance of land records in doing one’s research. It can lead you to finding all kinds of little gems.

This is the page from the 1890 Veteran’s Schedule showing William Buchanan.

Who knew…a johnny reb wanna-be

Well it finally happened, something so unexpected I almost hate to share. It looks like we have ourselves a little confederate wanna-be in our family tree.

Fold3 is a great website for researching military history, and like other sites of the same nature they are always adding new content. So I was checking into a lesser researched ancestor by the name of Dallas Lemasters. This gentleman is of French Huguenot descent and married Mary Headlee in 1834, in West Virginia. Their daughter Lydia married Thomas R. Stackpole.

When the Civil War started in 1861 Dallas was in his 50s, so a little too old to be joining the ranks of soldiers to fight for his cause. Instead he and his brother Septimus along with Septimus’ son Jasper decided to join a party of civilian guerillas, whose intent was to fight the enemy, that being the Union Army, on their own. Unfortunately, for them, they were captured by the Union and imprisoned at Camp Chase in Ohio. At the time of their parole hearing, several citizens in the area Jasper was from recommended that Jasper stay imprisoned as they considered him a very dangerous man. Dallas and Septimus were released on their own recognizance in November 21, 1862 after signing an oath to protect and preserve the Union.

So far I haven’t been able to find out anything more about this turn of events, but I will keep on working at it.

Camp Chase in Ohio, Civil War prison camp for Confederates.