Tuesday, May 27, 2014

52 Ancestors: #21, "Great Grand Aunt" Georgianna: Real or "Honorary" Aunt?

In the first fully nominal census, in 1850, my great great grandparents, Jabez and Abigail (Faulkner) Kirk, had five children in their household in Warren, Maine. They ranged in age from 23 (my great grandfather-to-be Silas) through 21 (Eliza J.), 19 (Samuel), and 15 (Harriet F.)... and a 1-year-old baby girl named Georgianna.1 Now Abigail was 42 at the time, so it wasn't impossible that she was the girl's mother; just rather unlikely after a gap of 14 years. Nevertheless, I set out to document this "late" great grand aunt along with her brothers and sisters.

1850 U.S. census, Warren, Knox Co., Maine, Jabes Kirk household
Except... there weren't any further records of a Georgianna Kirk. Instead, ten years later, the grown children had all left home, leaving 10-year-old Georgianna with Jabez and "Abby"... but now she was listed as Georgianna Oliver.2 What was going on?

1860 U.S. census, Warren, Knox Co., Maine, Jabes Kirk household
While birth records from this era seem to be singularly non-existent in Warren, there is plenty of information to be had in Cyrus Eaton's Annals of the Town of Warren, particularly in the "Genealogical Tables" at the end of the book. And indeed, the tables of the Kirkpatrick/Kirk line partially solved the mystery: Eaton lists Georgianna in Jabez's family as "adopted," and also states that she married Alcander Jepson of Lewiston on 22 Aug 1874.3

Hoping for parents' names, I looked for that marriage record, which has her listed as "Miss Geogianna [sic] Oliver." Unfortunately, the record – one of those labeled "Copied from old records" – wasn't much help. It gave only the names of the bride and groom, their residences (both Lewiston), the date and place of marriage, and the officiating clergyman. Everything else is blank, including the parents' names on the reverse side.4

Well, in the mid 1800s in rural Maine, "adoption" would have been an informal affair, and it's almost certain that the birth parents would be near neighbors and/or relatives of the adoptive parents. So I went looking for Olivers in Warren. Three households before Jabez Kirk in 1850, I found Palmer Oliver, with five children aged 6 to 17 – and no wife.5
1850 U.S. census, Warren, Knox Co., Maine, Palmer Oliver household
That looked promising, so it was back to Eaton's Genealogical Tables, where I found Palmer Oliver, who married Elizabeth Montgomery (his second wife) in 1842, and whose last child was Georgianna, born July 12, 1849, married and residing in Lewiston. Finally, in 1877 Palmer Oliver was residing in Warren "in house he built on road to Andrews's Pt."6 It came as no surprise to find that Jabez Kirk was also "r. W. on road to Andrews's Pt."7

That still left the question of exactly how the Kirks had come to adopt Georgianna – were they actually related to the Olivers, or just close neighbors? The Montgomery name rang a bell with me; Jabez's and Abigail's graves are right next to those of William H. Montgomery and his wife Jane E. Were William and Elizabeth related? And how were William and Jane related to Jabez and Abigail?

All the threads came together when I traced the Montgomery family in Warren.
  • Remember 21-year-old Elisa J. Kirk in the 1850 census? Jabez's daughter's full name was Eliza Jane Kirkpatrick, known variously as Eliza J. or Jane E., and two years after that census, she married William H. Montgomery.8 So the graves next to Jabez and Abigail are their daughter and son-in-law.
  • William Montgomery was the son of Philip Montgomery and Olive Faulkner.9 As far as I can tell, Olive was Abigail (Faulkner) Kirk's sister.10 That makes William and his wife Eliza Jane first cousins in the Faulkner line.
  • Philip Montgomery was the son of John Montgomery and Julia Howard. And... he had a sister named Elizabeth... who married Palmer Oliver... and died July 17, 1849.11 Five days after giving birth to Georgianna. That makes William and Georgianna first cousins in the Montgomery line.
If you're having trouble visualizing this (I know I did!), here's a chart that hopefully clears things up. (Chester Frank Kirk, in the lower right corner, is my paternal grandfather.)

The interwoven Montgomery/Oliver/Faulkner/Kirkpatrick lines. Click on the image for a larger view.
So Georgianna is not my "real" great grand aunt. She's actually the first cousin of the first cousin (and husband) of my "real" great grand aunt Eliza Jane (Kirkpatrick) Montgomery. That, and her informal adoption by Eliza Jane's parents, I think are enough to make her at least an "honorary" great grand aunt.12

Although Georgianna apparently never used the Kirk surname, she must have had a close bond with her adoptive family. She had three children with Alcander Jepson, and named each of them, in part, for her adoptive parents:
  1. William Jabes Jepson (1875-1949)13
  2. Abbie S. Jepson (1877-1877)
  3. John Kirk Jepson (1878-1957)14
Georgianna ended up outliving two husbands. Alcander died in 1891, and four years later she married a widower, Talbot G. Lawrence,15 who died in 1924. Georgianna died in 1927. Alcander Jepson and Talbot Lawrence are buried together with "their wife, Georgie," in the Herrick Cemetery in Lewiston, Maine.16
Monument for Alcander Jepson, Talbot Lawrence, and "their wife, Georgie," Herrick Cemetery, Lewiston, Maine

(Note: This post is in response to Amy Johnson Crow's "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" challenge at No Story Too Small.)

  1. 1850 U.S. census, Lincoln County, Maine, Warren, p. 3 (penned upper left), p. 167 (stamped), dwelling 17, family 18, Jabes Kirk household; digital images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org : accessed 10 Dec 2010).
  2. 1860 U.S. census, Knox County, Maine, Warren, p. 317 (penned), dwelling 304, family 319, Jabes Kirk household; digital images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org : accessed 6 Mar 2012).
  3. Cyrus Eaton, Annals of the Town of Warren, in Knox County, Maine, Second Edition (Hallowell [Maine]: Masters & Livermore, 1877), pp. 567-8; digital images, Google Books (http://books.google.com/books : accessed 11 Dec 2010).
  4. “Maine, Marriage Records, 1705-1922,” database and digital images, Ancestry.com (http://search.ancestry.com/search : accessed 30 Apr 2012), Alcander B. Jepson-Miss Geogianna [sic] Oliver marriage, 1874.
  5. 1850 U.S. census, Lincoln County, Maine, Warren, pp. 2-3 (penned upper left), dwelling 14, family 15, Palmer Oliver household; digital images, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 26 May 2014).
  6. Eaton, p. 595.
  7. Ibid., p. 567.
  8. Ibid., pp. 567, 589.
  9. Ibid., p. 589.
  10. Both Abigail and Olive were from Maitland, Nova Scotia, so I find it hard to believe that the two Faulkner women are unrelated.
  11. Eaton, p. 588.
  12. For a discussion of honorary aunts, see #14 in my 52 Ancestors series, The Not-So-Honorary Aunts.
  13. "United States, World War One Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org : accessed 26 May 2014), William "Jabres" Jepson, serial no. 4270, order no. A-4346, South Paris, Oxford County, Maine. The card is typed, and I feel certain that the "r" in his middle name is a typo.
  14. "United States, World War One Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org : accessed 26 May 2014), John Kirk Jepson, serial no. [illegible], order no. A-1220, Lewiston, Androscoggin County, Maine.
  15. “Maine, Marriage Records, 1705-1922,” database and digital images, Ancestry.com (http://search.ancestry.com/search : accessed 26 May 2014), Talbot G. Lawrence-Georgia N. Jepson marriage, 1895.
  16. Find A Grave, database and images (http://www.findagrave.com : accessed 26 May 2014), memorial #112607218 for Georgie Oliver Lawrence, memorial and photo by "HaleyCookFromMaine" (20 Jun 2013); citing Herrick Cemetery (Lewiston, Androscoggin Co., Maine).

No comments: