Wednesday, December 31, 2014

52 Ancestors: #52, Nehemiah Washburn, New Year's Baby

After my Christmas Child post on my great-great-granduncle Charles Sukeforth, it seems only fitting to end this year of 52 Ancestors with a New Year's baby: my five times great-grandfather, Nehemiah Washburn.

Nehemiah Washburn was born on New Year's Day in 1743, in Bridgewater, Plymouth County, Massachusetts. He was the third of six children of Noah and Mary (Staples) Washburn.1

Children of Noah and Mary (Staples) Washburn born in Bridgewater, Mass.

On 29 March 1770, Nehemiah married Ruth Egerton in Bridgewater.2 She was born 8 November 1747 in East Bridgewater and died 19 November 1836 in Northampton, Hampshire, Massachusetts.

Marriage of Nehemiah Washburn and Ruth "Eggarton", 1770

Nehemiah and Ruth had one one child that I know of, Jeremiah, born ca 1770 or 1771.

I haven't found a date of death for Nehemiah, but it was before 19 November 1836, as Ruth was described in her death record as the "relict of Nehemiah Washburn."3

My descent from Nehemiah Washburn:

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

  1. “Massachusetts, Town and Vital Records, 1620-1988,” database and digital images, ( : accessed 21 Dec 2014), Bridgewater > Town Records, with Births, Marriages, and Deaths > image 1102 of 1466, p. 379, birth of children of Noah and Mary Washburn.
  2. Ibid., image 1005 of 1466, p. 190, marriage of Nehemiah Washburn and Ruth "Eggarton," 1770.
  3. Ibid., Northampton > Births, Marriages and Death > image 729 of 2680, p. 471, death of "Ruth relict of Nehemiah Washburn," 1836.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

52 Ancestors: #51, Charles Sukeforth, Christmas Day Child

On Christmas Day in 1818, my great-great-great-grandmother, Polly Miller, presented her husband Robert with a bouncing baby boy, my great-great-granduncle Charles.1 Born in Washington, Maine, Charles was the eighth of the ten children I believe belong to this family.

Marriage of Charles Sukeforth and Elizabeth Fitch, 1850

Charles married Elizabeth Fitch on 29 November 1850 in Jefferson, Maine.2 It appears, however, that they had "gone to housekeeping" sometime earlier, as on 29 August they were enumerated as a household in Washington in the 1850 census.3

1850 U.S. census, Lincoln County, Maine, Washington, Charles Suckforth household
Charles and Elizabeth had two children:
  1. Etta L., b. 1851, married Hiram Chaplin
  2. John A., b. 1856, married Melissa Overlock

Charles lived his entire life in Washington, first as a cooper (in the 1850 census), then as a farmer (later censuses). He died of apoplexy on 4 March 1902,4 and is buried in Maple Grove Cemetery in Washington with his wife, who died in 1911.5

Charles and Elizabeth Sukeforth monument, Maple Grove Cemetery, Washington, Knox County, Maine

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

  1. Maple Grove Cemetery (Washington, Knox County, Maine), Charles and Elizabeth Sukeforth monument, read and photographed by the author, 14 Aug 2012.
  2. "Washington, Knox County, Maine, Marriages, 1811-1869," Original Records of Maine Towns and Cities: Town of Washington, digital images (pdf), CD-ROM, (Rockport, Maine: Picton Press, 2005), p. 32, Mr Charles Sukeforth and Miss Elizabeth Fitch, 29 Nov 1850.
  3. 1850 U.S. Census, Lincoln County, Maine, Washington, p. 575/37 (penned), p. 288 (stamped), dwelling 269, family 269, Charles Suckforth household; digital image, ( : accessed 15 Jun 2012).
  4. “Maine, Death Records, 1617-1922,” database and digital images, ( : accessed 8 Jun 2012), Charles Sukeforth, 4 Mar 1902.
  5. Maple Grove Cemetery, Charles and Elizabeth Sukeforth monument.

Monday, December 22, 2014

52 Ancestors: #50, William Green, Groton Proprietor

My 7x great-grandfather William Green was born around 1640,1 but who his parents were, or whether he was born in England or Massachusetts, is unknown.

William was one of the original proprietors and settlers of the town of Groton, Middlesex County, in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. It is thought that the first division of land was made as early as 1661; he appears on a list of the original proprietors made in 1678 by town clerk James Parker, with 14 "acre-rights" or shares, which may have been for roughly 50 acres per share.2 His land grant, unfortunately, does not appear to be one for which the records have survived, though several other grants refer to boundaries with his land. He served as a constable in 1675 and a surveyor in 1680.3

He married Mary Crispe, say 1660, undoubtedly in Massachusetts (Mary was born in Watertown, and their first child was born in Cambridge).4 They had eight children:5
  1. Mary, b. 1661, married Daniel Cady
  2. William, b. 1665
  3. Anna, b. 1667, probably d. young
  4. John, b. 1669, married Hannah ______
  5. Eleazar, b. 1672, married Elizabeth Prescott
  6. Hannah, b. ca 1676, d. 1682
  7. Elizabeth, b. 1680, married John Cady
  8. Hannah, b. 1683, married Hezekiah Whitcombe

William Green died in 1713, after 13 July (the date of his will) and before 27 October (which appears to be the date the will was proved). Among other bequests, he left one third of his "Moveable Estate" to his "beloved wife Mary Green" and the other two thirds to his three daughters Mary, Elizabeth, and Hannah. He named his son Eleazar executor, and signed the will with his mark.6

Will of William Green, 1713

My descent from William Green:

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

  1. Barbara M. VanAmburg Delorey, “All About the Green Family,” A Talk-A-Bout, 7 Mar 2010 ( : accessed 19 Oct 2014).
  2. Samuel A. Green, An Account of the Early Land-Grants of Groton, Massachusetts (Groton: n.p., 1879), pp. 13-14; digital images, Internet Archive ( : downloaded 21 Dec 2014).
  3. Delorey,  “All About the Green Family.”
  4. Frederick C. Warner, "Mary Green and Mercy Parish, Daughters of Benjamin Crispe of Watertown, Mass.," The American Genealogist (1987), 62:25-27; database and digital images, New England Historic Genealogical Society, American Ancestors ( : accessed 28 Oct 2014).
  5. Delorey,  “All About the Green Family.”
  6. "Middlesex County, MA: Probate File Papers, 1648-1871," database and digital images, New England Historic Genealogical Society, American Ancestors ( : accessed 21 Dec 2014), Volume: Middlesex Cases 8000-9999, pp. 9859:1-3, case number 9859, William Green (1713).

Saturday, December 20, 2014

52 Ancestors: #49, The Elusive Louis Robidas

Writing my most recent 52 Ancestors post, on Marie Pauline (St. Cyr) Robidas, reminded me once again that I still have not found a baptismal record for her husband Louis. In fact, I don't have a whole lot of information about my 3x great-grandfather, but what I do have conflicts wildly regarding his date of birth. Here's what I do know:

Marriage of Louis Robidas and Marie St. Cir [sic], 1849
Louis Robidas was born to Jean-Baptiste Robidas and Divine Girardeau, apparently in October sometime between 1827 and 1833, probably in either Trois-Rivieres or Pointe-du-Lac, St. Maurice, Quebec.1 He married Marie St. Cyr on 4 June 1849, at Saint-Norbert-d'Arthabaska, and was described as a "fils majeur" (at least 21, hence born no later than 1827).2 They had 11 children between 1850 and 1872, in Saint-Norbert, Wotton, Saint-Paul-de-Chester, and Sherbrooke. They appeared with three children in the 1861 Canada census in Chester West, Arthabaska County; Louis's age at his next birthday was given as 28 (hence born 1833).3

1861 Canada East census, Chester West, Arthabaska, Louis "Rabida" household
After that, aside from the children's baptismal records, there is nothing certain until 1921. Louis, widowed, age 91 (implying an 1829 birth), appeared in the 1921 census (in June) as a "logeur" in the Hospice du Sacré Couer in Sherbrooke.4

1921 Canada census, Sherbrooke, Hospice du Sacré Couer, Louis Robida
Not quite six months later, Saint-Michel-de-Sherbrooke buried one Louis Robidas, a resident of Hospice du Sacré Couer, and husband of the deceased Marie St. Cyr. He died on 28 November 1921 at the age of 91 (implying an 1830 birth).5

Burial of Louis Robidas, Saint-Michel-de-Sherbrooke, 1921
As you can see, there's little consensus on when Louis was born.

My starting point for Louis's birth was an entry in Claude Jutras's website, stating that Louis was baptized 26 October 1832 at "Trois-Rivieres ou Pointe-du-Lac."6 The date is very specific, but the ambiguous place means it couldn't be based on an actual baptismal record. Nevertheless, in analyzing other records, I worked on the assumption that the "26 October" part of the date probably has some validity.

I combed through the FamilySearch "Quebec, Catholic Parish Registers, 1621-1979" collection, browsing the register indexes (where they exist) or the registers themselves for the full potential time period in, first, the two parishes where I knew his parents had lived: La Visitation-de-la-Pointe-du-Lac in Pointe-du-Lac, and Immaculée-Conception in Trois-Rivieres; and then, in any other parish that existed at the time in the surrounding counties where they might conceivably have had a child baptized.

I could find no baptismal record for Louis in any of those places.

In addition to the handful of records which I'm certain belong to "my" Louis, I have located four census records in the intervening years that might belong to him, if you look at them with an open mind and a healthy skepticism about the accuracy of census records in general.
1871: No trace of Louis Robida. There is, however, a William Rabidoux household in Magog, Stanstead County, with a wife Marie, and children of similar names, in the right order, though somewhat younger than expected. Maybe a neighbor answered the enumerator's questions? William Rabidoux was said to be 38 (at last birthday), meaning born in 1832.7

1881: Louis and his family seem to have vanished utterly. His three younger sons would all marry in Lewiston, Maine, in the 1880s, but I haven't found any of them in the 1880 US census. It's possible that the whole family moved to Maine just after the 1880 US census and before the 1881 Canada census, with Louis and Marie returning to Quebec later.

1891: I found a Louis and Marie Rabideaux, aged 63 and 66 (hence born ca 1828 and 1825), in Eaton (about 15 miles east of Sherbrooke). The household includes three children surnamed Cloutier, identified as two nieces and a nephew. Conceivably, these might be the children of an unidentified brother of Celina Cloutier, first wife of Louis and Marie's oldest son Louis. If so, they would be the younger Louis's nieces and nephew by marriage, and thus loosely identified as so related to the elder Louis. But this is admittedly a pretty tenuous hypothesis.8

1901: Marie died in 1895, and I found a widowed Louis Robidas, age 69, with a date of birth given as 28 Oct 1832. Interestingly, this is almost the same as the 26 Oct 1832 baptismal date found on the Jutras website, and it's quite possible the date came from this census; the image is extremely fuzzy and low-contrast, and the 28 could easily be read as 26. Add in the fact that he's in the household of a Thomas Robidas, who happens to be Louis's youngest brother, and it would seem that this must be "my" Louis Robidas. There's just one little problem: his relationship to the head of household is given as "beau frère," or brother-in-law. So I'm still not sure I have the right Louis, but on the other hand I'm not aware of any Louis Robidas who would be Thomas's brother-in-law. Possibly, the census enumerator recorded the relationship incorrectly. I give this one a fair amount of credence.9

1911: Another "possible" find, a widowed Louis Robida with date of birth and age given as Oct 1824 (or possibly 1828; again, very fuzzy image), age 76. Of course, if the year is 1824, the age should be 86; if 1828, it should be 82. But the month of October is at least consistent! His relationship to the head of household, Napoleon Durand, is given as uncle; if this is "my" Louis, he's actually Napoleon's great-uncle. I'm actually reasonably certain of this one, but the age and date ambiguity leave it open to some question.10
In summary, I have the following possible dates of birth, of varying degrees of plausibility (note that certainty as to whether the record is "my" Louis does not necessarily correlate with plausibility of the birth year):

Which still leaves me without an actual birth/baptismal record. So when – and where – was Louis Robidas born? Well, I have a theory.

When I wrote my post #36, on Jean-Baptiste Robidas (Louis's father), I listed what I knew, or thought I knew, about Jean-Baptiste's twelve children. I've made a couple of discoveries since then, and it turns out there were only eleven.11 And now, I'm beginning to suspect there may actually be only ten.

According to my current information, the last five children in the family were:
  • Jean-Richard, b. 24 Apr 1827, Trois-Rivieres
  • Marie-Marguerite, b. 11 May 1828, Trois-Rivieres
  • Joseph, b. 27 Oct 1830, Trois Rivieres12
  • Louis, no baptismal record, apparently b. in October between 1827-1833
  • Thomas Damase, b. 29 Mar 1833, Pointe-du-Lac

It's important to note that I have located the baptismal records for all but Louis, so he has to fit in among these fixed dates. Where is there room for him?
  • It's clear that he cannot have been born in 1827 or 1828, despite his marriage record's claim that he had reached the age of majority. Jean-Richard and Marie-Marguerite don't leave any room for Louis.
  • Astute readers may note that I previously had Thomas listed as being born in 1834. That, like Louis's supposed birth in 1832, I had obtained from the Jutras website. It provided plausible two-year intervals between Joseph, Louis, and Thomas, so I didn't question it until I tracked down Thomas's baptism.13 As you can see, his actual birth in March 1833 makes it impossible for Louis to have been born in October 1832 (unless Thomas was quite premature).
  • Assuming he really was born in October, that leaves 1829 or 1831. Unless...

Unless Louis was actually baptized Joseph.

Baptism of Joseph Robidat [sic], 1830

Several points bolster this hypothesis:
  • Joseph was born on 27 October. Is it a coincidence that this is almost identical to the 28 October date from the 1901 census record that is quite possibly "my" Louis Robida?
  • Every one of the children is accounted for (now that I have the Maries and Marguerites straightened out), either by a burial record for an infant death, or by a marriage record, mostly followed by children, census, and eventual burial records. Every one, that is, except Joseph. There is not a trace of Joseph after that baptism.
  • When Joseph was baptized in 1830, the family already had a Joseph, born in 1815, and still living (he lived to the age of 82, in fact). While it wouldn't be unusual for a family to give two sons the same first (baptismal) forename, they would normally be distinguished by giving at least one of them a second forename... say, "Joseph-Louis."
  • The baptismal record is a bit garbled: the parents are given as "Baptiste Robidat" and "Divine Galerneautx" – still recognizable as Jean-Baptiste Robidas and Divine Girardeau, but perhaps an indication of a careless recorder, or one who was unfamiliar with the Robidas family. It's not hard to believe that he might have inadvertently omitted a crucial forename, recording Joseph-Louis as just Joseph. (His parents were illiterate, so they wouldn't have known.) Also worth noting is that the next baptism, on the same day, is also for a Joseph; perhaps the name was mistakenly recorded for both children.

So as of now, my working hypothesis is that "Louis Robidas" was born 27 October 1830, in Trois-Rivieres, and baptized Joseph-Louis Robidas at Immaculée Conception Church in that city. He probably never used the baptismal "Joseph", with an elder brother with that name in the household.

This would explain why I can't find Louis's baptism; why there's no sign of Joseph after his baptism; and why the family would name a second child Joseph when the first was still living.

True, that still makes him under 19 at his marriage to Marie St. Cyr – hardly a "fils majeur" – but then, his bride was not quite 20, and she was supposedly a "fille majeure." Both fathers were present at the marriage, so presumably they approved.

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

  1. His siblings born 1815-1823 were born in Pointe-du-Lac; from 1825-1830 were born in Trois-Rivieres; and the last child in the family was born in Pointe-du-Lac.
  2. Saint-Norbert-d'Arthabaska Parish (Arthabaska, Quebec), parish registers, archive copy, 1849, folio 16r/v, M.8, marriage of Louis Robidas and Marie St. Cir [sic], 4 Jun 1849; digital images, “Quebec, Catholic Parish Registers, 1621-1900,” FamilySearch ( : accessed 18 May 2012); citing “Quebec Catholic parish registers. Quebec County Catholic Parishes, Canada”. Although dated 4 Jun and numbered M.8, in the archive copy this marriage act is found in the middle of July between B.72 and M.9, with another, different M.8 recorded in June. In the 1845-1850 church copy of the register, it is found in the correct order in June.
  3. 1861 Census of Canada East [Quebec], Arthabaska County, ED 2, Township of Chester West, p. 4 (penned), p. 160 (stamped), lines 24-28, Louis Rabida household; index and digital images, ( : accessed 4 May 2012).
  4. 1921 Census of Canada, Quebec, district 205, sub-district 12, Sherbrooke, p. 53, Hospice du Sacré Couer, line 4, Louis Robida; index and digital images, ( : accessed 1 Nov 2013).
  5. Saint-Michel-de-Sherbrooke (Sherbrooke, Quebec), parish register, archive copy, 1921, folio 66v, S.64, burial of Louis Robida, 29 Nov 1921; database and digital images, “Quebec, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967,” ( : accessed 18 May 2012), citing Gabriel Drouin, comp., Drouin Collection, Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Institut Généalogique Drouin.
  6. Claude Jutras (, Site de données généalogiques ( : accessed 8 May 2012), listing for Louis Robidas, child of Jean-Baptiste Robidas and Ludivine Girardeau, in "Index général des mariages".
  7. 1871 Census of Canada, Quebec, district 141, Stanstead, schedule 1, sub-district C, Magog, p. 16, dwelling 51, family 64, William Rabidoux household; index and digital images, ( : accessed 15 Dec 2014).
  8. 1891 Census of Canada, Quebec, district 149, Eaton, schedule 1, sub-district g2, pp. 18-19, dwelling 51, family 75, Louis Rabideaux household; index and digital images, ( : accessed 22 May 2012).
  9. 1901 Census of Canada, Quebec, district 187, Richmond and Wolfe, schedule 1, sub-district h, Stoke, p. 6, dwelling 55, family 55, Louis Robidas in Thomas Robidas household; index and digital images, ( : accessed 22 May 2012).
  10. 1911 Census of Canada, Quebec, district 192, Richmond and Wolfe, schedule 1, sub-district 37, St. Camille, p. 1, dwelling 4, family 4, Louis Robida in Napoleon Durand household; index and digital images, ( : accessed 22 May 2012).
  11. It seems that the alleged Marie (born 1829) who married George Paquin was really Marie-Marguerite (born 1828), and the Marie-Marguerite who married Louis Mosly-Reid was really Marguerite (born 1820).
  12. Immaculée-Conception Parish (Trois-Rivieres, Quebec), parish register, 1830-1836, folio 13v, baptism of Joseph Robidat, 1 Nov 1830; digital images, “Quebec, Catholic Parish Registers, 1621-1900,” FamilySearch ( : accessed 20 May 2012).
  13. It's recorded under "Damas Robidas," so it wasn't immediately apparent that this was Thomas.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

52 Ancestors: #48, Marie Pauline (St. Cyr) Robidas

My 3x great-grandmother, Marie Pauline St. Cyr, was born 24 October 1829 in Nicolet, Quebec, Canada, and baptized the following day at Saint-Jean-Baptiste Catholic Church in Nicolet. She was the oldest of five children of Jean-Baptiste Deshaies dit St. Cyr and Victoire Lemire. Although she shared her first name with her two sisters (Marie Henriette and Marie Philomene – Marie was a very common first name for French-Canadian Roman Catholic girls), as an adult she was called simply Marie. (I haven't yet tracked down her sisters to see what names they used.)

On 4 June 1849, Marie married Louis Robidas at Saint-Norbert d'Arthabaska, Quebec. The marriage was witnessed by her father and by his, Jean-Baptiste Robidas.

Over the next 23 years, Marie and Louis had at least 11 children (a suspiciously large time gap between Jean and Georges suggests there may be at least a couple of missing offspring there):
  1. Louis Robidas (AKA Louis Rabideau) (1850-1921), married 1) Marie Celina Cloutier, 2) Marie-Beatrice Croteau
  2. Joseph Robidas, b. 1852
  3. Jean-Baptiste Robidas, b. 1853
  4. Marie-Marguerite Robidas, b. 1855
  5. Alfred Robidas (1856-1920), married Olive Breton
  6. Louise Robidas, b. 1858
  7. Marcelin Sinaie Robidas (AKA Samuel Rabideau) (1861-1904), married Alvina Doyon dit Moreau
  8. Jean Robidas (AKA James Rabideau) (1863-1939), married Vitaline Mary Lemay
  9. Georges Robidas (AKA George Rabideau) (ca 1870-1901), married Domithilde Samson
  10. Anastasie Robidas, b. 1870
  11. Alred-Dominique Robidas (1872-1873)
Marie and Louis appeared in the 1861 census in Chester West, Quebec, but so far have eluded discovery in the 1871, 1881, or 1891 censuses. Judging from the locations of their children's baptisms, they moved from Arthabaska to Wotton in Wolfe County about 1851; to Saint-Paul-de-Chester in Arthabaska County around 1860; and to Sherbrooke sometime between 1863 and 1870.

A number of their children emigrated to Maine and New Hampshire, altering their surname to Rabideau. On 11 July 1870, Marie and Louis Robidas stood as baptismal sponsors for their oldest son's first child, Peter Louis Rabideau, born three months earlier in Milan, New Hampshire, and brought by his parents to Sherbrooke to be baptized at Saint-Michel-de-Sherbrooke.

Marie died 10 May 1895 in Bromptonville, Quebec, and was buried the next day at Sainte-Praxède-de-Brompton-Falls Roman Catholic Church in Bromptonville. Louis outlived her by 26 years, dying in 1921 in Sherbrooke.

My descent from Marie St. Cyr:

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

Saturday, December 6, 2014

52 Ancestors: #47, John and Alexander McLellan, Father and Son from the Hebrides

It wasn't just her father's McIntyre line that my great-grandmother Rose Ann McIntyre could trace back to the Isle of South Uist in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland; her mother's McLellan line came from the same remote island.

My 4x great-grandfather John McLellan was born Iain Mac Gill’Fhaolain, ca 1745, on South Uist, the son of Dòmhnall Mac Gill’Fhaolain (Donald McLellan). He married Catriona Nic A’Phi (Catherine McPhee), also born on South Uist. They had seven children on South Uist; the eighth, James, was born at Indian River, Lot 18, P.E.I.:
  1. Donald McLellan (ca 1770-2 Apr 1866), married 1) Mary Gillis, 2) Christina McDonald
  2. Catherine McLellan (ca 1774-1866), married Peter Hickey
  3. Angus McLellan (ca 1775-8 Oct 1859), married Sarah Gillis
  4. Archibald McLellan (ca 1784-4 Apr 1867), married Ann "Nancy" Morrison
  5. Alexander McLellan (ca 1786-22 Mar 1867), married Sarah "Sally" McCormick
  6. Roderick McLellan (ca 1788-29 Dec 1860), married Mary McDonald
  7. Philip McLellan (ca 1790-21 Mar 1867), married Flora Morrison
  8. James McLellan (ca 1792-24 Dec 1867), married Flora MacKenzie
In 1790, John and his brother Angus, with their families and three of their four sisters, emigrated to North America with a group of other settlers from South Uist. While their intended destination was Glengarry, in Upper Canada (now Ontario), the ship's captain claimed that a smallpox epidemic prevented him from taking them there, and landed them instead at Charlottetown, St. John's Island (later Prince Edward Island). The Scots were persuaded to remain on the Island by the proprietor Lot 18.

Prince Edward Island, 1834. Red outline is area shown below.

John and Angus settled at Indian River, Lot 18, where their children all remained, except for John's two oldest sons, Donald and Angus, who moved across the bay to Grand River, Lot 14.

Richmond Bay area. Lot 14 is on the west side of the bay on the Ellis (Grand) River.
Lot 18 is on the east side of the bay just southeast of Princetown.

John McLellan died in 1822 at Indian River. His wife Catherine is presumed also to have died at Indian River, but the date is not known.

John's son Alexander, who emigrated to P.E.I. with the rest of the family, was my 3x great-grandfather. Born about 1786, he married, around 1804-1808, Sarah McCormick of St. Andrews, Lot 37/38, P.E.I. They lived at Indian River and had nine children. Alexander died 22 March 1867 at his home in Indian River.

My descent from John McLellan:
  • John McLellan + Catherine McPhee
  • Alexander McLellan + Sarah "Sally" McCormick
  • Mary Ann McLellan + Neil McIntyre
  • Rose Ann McIntyre + Dominic Murphy
  • William George Murphy + Glenna Rabideau (my maternal grandparents)

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


Most of my information about the McLellans comes from two derivative sources:
  1. “The MacLellans of Indian River and Lot 8”, typescript, hand-dated 29 Dec 1999, Marshall K. Kirk Research Files, privately held by Kathy McCracken, Virginia Beach, Virginia. I believe this document was written by George Sanborn, a specialist in Prince Edward Island genealogy and a colleague of Marshall Kirk.
  2. Peg Gillis Feirtag and Edna Cudmore, “The Descendants of Donald (Angus-Don-John-Phillip) MacLellan”, web page, Dave Hunter, The Island Register ( : accessed 17 Nov 2014).

Friday, December 5, 2014

52 Ancestors: #46, Angus McIntyre, Immigrant From the Outer Hebrides

All the Prince Edward Island ancestors of William George Murphy, my maternal grandfather, emigrated from the British Isles. But while his father's immigrant Murphy ancestor Michael came from Ireland, his mother's McIntyre immigrant ancestor Donald (or possibly his son Angus) arrived on the Island from another island: the Isle of South Uist, near the southern end of Scotland's Outer Hebrides.

The Outer Hebrides of Scotland
The remote Isle of South Uist (or Uibhist a Deas in the Scottish Gaelic tongue) was held by the MacDonalds of Clan Ranald. Following the defeat of the Jacobite armies at the battle of Culloden in 1746, the government began suppressing the Gaelic language and the Catholic religion throughout the Hebrides and the Scottish Highlands, causing many of the Catholic tenant farmers to emigrate to North America. A large proportion of the emigrants from South Uist ended up on what was then known as St. John's Island, a British colony renamed Prince Edward Island in 1798. (Prince Edward Island did not join the Dominion of Canada until 1873.) The major 18th-century immigrations were in 1772 and 1790, though smaller groups arrived at various times between and after those larger groups.

Rose Ann McIntyre's lineage has been traced back to Domhnall Mac An t-Saoir (Donald McIntyre), born about 1745 on South Uist. He married Mairead Domhnallach (Margaret MacDonald), also of South Uist, in say 1770. It's uncertain when they emigrated to P.E.I. – in fact, it's possible that Donald may have died on South Uist before Margaret and their children emigrated, in which case his son Angus would be my immigrant McIntyre ancestor. There is no record of Donald on P.E.I. beyond Margaret's 1851 burial record at Saint Mary's Roman Catholic Cemetery in Indian River (Lot 18), P.E.I., in which she was called the widow of Donald McIntyre. If he did in fact emigrate, he must have died before 1798, as he does not appear in a census taken that year.

Children of Donald McIntyre and Margaret MacDonald, probably all born on South Uist (possibly incomplete, order uncertain):
  • Donald McIntyre, d. between 1854-1860, married Mary Morrison
  • Angus McIntyre, b. say 1785, d. between 1840 and 1851 in Barbara Weit, Lot 19, P.E.I., married Ann [Hanna] Gillis
  • John McIntyre, married Flora Campbell
  • Catherine "Peggy" McIntyre, b. ca 1785, married Donald McLellan

My descent from Donald McIntyre:
  • Donald McIntyre + Margaret MacDonald
  • Angus McIntyre + Ann Gillis
  • Neil McIntyre + Mary Ann McLellan
  • Rose Ann McIntyre + Dominic Murphy
  • William George Murphy + Glenna Rabideau (my maternal grandparents)

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

  1. Marshall K. Kirk, “All McIntyre, Gillis, & McLellan Baptismal Entries from Registers of St. Andrews, Lot 37, 1809-10; St. John-the-Baptist, Lot 17, Miscouche, 1817-30; & St. Augustine, Rustico, 1812-24. Collated by families & with additional data from the register of St. Mary’s, Indian River, 1838-1860; gravestones; census listings; etc.”, undated typescript, Marshall K. Kirk Research Files, privately held by Kathy McCracken, Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

52 Ancestors: #45, Whatever Happened to Chester L. Kirk?

Way back in Part 3 of the Chester F. Kirk saga, I mentioned, in a sidebar titled "What Happened to Nellie and Chester?", that Chester's son Chester L. and his mother Nellie Crosman appeared to have dropped off the face of the earth after she registered his birth. And indeed there were no death or census records to be found, and "no plausible Chester of any surname, born in Maine in 1893 with a mother named Nellie." Well, I wasn't about to let a half-uncle just disappear without a trace.

So I started hunting for any trace of Nellie Crosman, assuming that probably the reason I couldn't find her was that she had married after Chester L.'s 1893 birth and before the 1900 census. But despite the fact that Maine's marriage records are pretty complete starting in 1892, there was no sign of Nellie. So I decided to look further afield – and struck pay dirt just across the border in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where Nellie Crosman, age 36, born Durham, Maine, married William F. Mitchell, a 53-year-old sailmaker born in Thomaston, Maine, both residents of Gloucester, Massachusetts.1 But the date of the marriage was 13 November, 1907, which certainly didn't explain why I couldn't find Nellie in the 1900 census. So I went looking for William F. Mitchell in the 1900 census, to see if I could find any possible connection to Nellie.

Marriage of William F. Mitchell and Nellie Crosman, 13 Nov 1907, Portsmouth, N.H.
I found a connection, all right: Wm F Mitchell, sailmaker, was head of household in Bath, Maine, with wife Nellie M, purportedly married for seven years, with a 5-year-old son Linwood A. Their ages, states of birth, and William's occupation all match up exactly with the William and Nellie who tied the knot in Portsmouth a full seven years later.2

1900 U.S. census, Bath, Sagadahoc, Maine, Wm F Mitchell household
The 1910 census finds William F Mitchel [sic] in Gloucester, Massachusetts,3 still a sailmaker, with his wife (strangely, listed with a given name of "Crosman"), and their now-15-year-old son Linwood A. The Mitchells have now supposedly been married for 17 years.4 At least they were consistent about the fiction that they were married before Linwood's birth!

1910 U.S. census, Gloucester, Essex, Mass., William F Mitchel household
Conspicuously absent from both censuses is any sign of Chester L. Kirk, who should have been 6 in 1900. I was beginning to think perhaps he had died as an infant, after all, and the record was either lost or hopelessly mis-indexed. Granted, in both censuses Nellie stated that she had had only one child, who was living; but I've seen many such census records that ignore children who died in infancy.5 And in point of fact, Nellie had had another out-of-wedlock child, by another father, prior to Chester: Arthur Crosman was born 31 October 1892 in Lewiston and died of cholera in August 1893 in Lisbon Falls.6 Since she definitely failed to mention at least one deceased child to the census enumerators, it would hardly be surprising if she failed to mention a second one.

About this time I realized there should be a birth record for Linwood Mitchell, who, according to the 1900 census, was born in December 1894 in Maine. And indeed I found his birth record in the card index... sort of. There is no contemporaneous birth record. Typed additions to the pre-printed card form make this a "Basis Record of a Birth" (emphasis added) taken "From a Deposition,"  received by the Wiscasset town clerk on 14 November 1936.7 In other words, it is almost certainly a (very) delayed birth registration intended to establish Linwood's age for Social Security purposes, and the deposed date of birth – December 17, 1895 (a year later than indicated in the 1900 census) – is in fact the same as the date reported in the SSDI upon Linwood's death in 1979.

Which begs the question, why wasn't his birth registered at the time? I think it was registered. Let's look at two birth records:7, 8, 9

Linwood Arthur Mitchell birth record7
Place of Birth: Wiscasset
Date of Birth: December 17, 1895
     Chester L. Kirk birth record8
Place of Birth: Newcastle
Date of Birth: Dec. 17, 1893
Now, it's possible that Nellie Crosman gave birth to two sons, each on December 17, two years apart; that the first one died in infancy without leaving an extant record; and that the second one got born without leaving a contemperaneous record. Possible, but how likely, given that Maine's birth, marriage, and death records were standardized in 1892 and are pretty complete from that point on?

But, you may say, Linwood Mitchell's birth record was attested to by the midwife, Mrs. Walter Peverly. Why would she, if it wasn't so? Well, aside from the unlikelihood of locating a midwife who actually remembered the details of a birth some 40 years ago, it turns out that Mrs. Peverly was née Jennie Isabel Crosman – Nellie's older sister. The Peverlys lived in Lisbon Falls, 40 miles from Wiscasset – quite a trip to make in 1895 in the dead of a Maine winter to deliver your sister's baby, especially considering that Jennie had given birth herself just four months previously.

Two more points of reference exist for Linwood Arthur Mitchell:
  • His WWI draft registration (5 Jun 1917) gives his birth as December 12, 1894, in Bath, Maine.10 The month and year correspond to the 1900 census; the date might be a slip of the pen. He was only about 8 or 9 when they left Bath, and he might well have just assumed he was born there.
  • His WWII draft registration (26 Apr 1942), on the other hand, gives his birth date as December 17, 1895, corresponding to the "Basis Record of Birth," but, curiously, says he was born in Damariscotta – just across the river from Newcastle – instead of Wiscasset.11
And finally, it's worth noting that William F. Mitchell, sailmaker, was living in Bath in 1897. Living on the same street was Herbert E. Crosman – Nellie's older brother (he moves to Portland sometime that year, while William remains in Bath until 1902).12

So this is my hypothesis about what happened to Chester L. Kirk:
Sometime soon after Chester's birth, single mother Nellie meets William Mitchell (40-ish, single, and childless), perhaps through her brother Herbert E. Crosman. Nellie moves in with William, who informally "adopts" Chester and renames him Linwood Arthur Mitchell, but they neglect to get married until some ten or more years later, five years after William moves his family to Gloucester, Mass. Nellie has another son, William L., in 1912; then William F. dies from heart disease in Gloucester on 10 September 1914.

Fast forward to 1936. Linwood, now married with two children, needs to apply for a Social Security card and asks his mother for his birth certificate. He may never have known that William Mitchell was not his father! His mother gets her sister, Jennie Peverly, to make a deposition saying she was the midwife at Linwood's birth, and naming William Mitchell as his father. She kept the December 17th date, but for some reason postdated it by yet another year, to 1895 (wonder how Nellie explained that to Linwood, if she'd been claiming 1894 for 40 years?), and selected Wiscasset (about 10 miles from Newcastle) as the place of birth. No one at the Wiscasset town office would be likely to have any reason to doubt the deposition, and certainly wouldn't associate it with a registered birth in Newcastle.
Map showing Wiscasset, Newcastle, and Damariscotta, Maine13
Of course, I can't prove (lacking DNA evidence) that any of this is more than just speculation.

Linwood Arthur Mitchell died in January 1979 in Manchester, Massachusetts, and the SSDI reported his date of birth as 17 December 1895 – just as that 1936 deposition stated.14 His grave marker likewise says he was born in 1895.15

Linwood A Mitchell Sr grave marker, Pleasant Grove Cemetary (Manchester-by-the-Sea, Essex Co., Mass.)

Is this the grave marker of my half-uncle? Was he really Chester L. Kirk, with a new name and an adjusted birth year? And if he was, did he ever know that William Mitchell wasn't his father, or that he had a double-handful of half-brothers and -sisters? Or was it all just a series of coincidences, and Chester was one of two half-brothers that Linwood never knew?

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

  1. "New Hampshire, Marriage and Divorce Records, 1659-1947," database and digital images, ( : accessed 9 May 2014), William F. Mitchell-Nellie Crosman marriage, 13 Nov 1907.
  2. 1900 U.S. Census, Sagadahoc County, Maine, Bath, ED 209, sheet 8A, dwelling 139, family 183, Wm F Mitchell household; digital images, ( : accessed 9 May 2014).
  3. Evidently they moved to Gloucester around 1902, as William was in the 1902 Bath city directory and in the 1903 Gloucester directory.
  4. 1910 U.S. Census, Essex County, Massachusetts, Gloucester, ED 293, sheet 4B [possibly 9B], dwelling 67, family 92, William F Mitchel [sic] household; digital images, ( : accessed 9 May 2014).
  5. Quite possibly the mothers in such cases felt, with justification, that the question was an insensitive invasion of their privacy.
  6. “Maine Vital Records, 1892-1922,” digital images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 6 Aug 2014), birth of unnamed child to Chas Libby and "Nellie", 31 Oct [1892], and death of Arthur Crosman, son of Chas Libby and Nellie Crosman, Aug 1993, age 9 months; the birth record has "D93 Arthur" noted on the upper left corner of the card, while the death record has "B 92" in the same location.
  7. “Maine, Birth Records, 1621-1922,” database and digital images, ( : accessed 9 May 2014), "Basis Record of a Birth" for Linwood Arthur Mitchell, 17 Dec 1895 (received by town clerk 14 Nov 1936).
  8. “Maine Vital Records, 1892-1922,” digital images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 9 May 2014), birth of Chester L. Kirk, 17 Dec 1893.
  9. In both cases, the place of birth is ostensibly the father's residence. I have found no indication that Chester Kirk ever lived in Newcastle, or that William Mitchell ever lived in Wiscasset (though the latter is at least plausible).
  10. “United States, World War One Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 9 May 2014), Linwood Arthur Mitchell, No. 10, Order No. 1435, Gloucester, Massachusetts, precinct 1, ward 5, 5 Jun 1917.
  11. “United States, World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942,” digital images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 9 May 2014), Linwood Arthur Mitchell, Serial Number U2948, no Order Number, Gloucester, Essex County, Massachusetts, Local Board 71, 26 Apr 1942.
  12. Directory of Bath and Surrounding Towns, 1897, Vol. II (Boston: W.E. Shaw, 1897), p. 124, entry for William F. Mitchell, and p. 85, entry for Herbert E. Crosman; database and digital images, "U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989," ( : accessed 10 May 2014).
  13. Google Maps ( : accessed 30 Nov 2014).
  14. “Social Security Death Index,” database, ( : accessed 9 May 2014), Linwood Mitchell, SSN 011-07-4924.
  15. Find A Grave ( : accessed 9 May 2014), database and digital images, memorial # 88317533 with grave marker photo for Linwood A. Mitchell, Sr (1895-1979), created by "Kate" (10 Apr 2012); citing Pleasant Grove Cemetery (Manchester-by-the-Sea, Essex County, Massachusetts).