Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Spotlight on Marriages

In a recent newsletter of the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS), the result of a recent survey was posted. It asked about: Ancestors’ Experiences with Love and Marriage. I thought the results were very interesting.

Some of the results of the NEHGS survey are as follows:

·         14%, At least one of my ancestors had an arranged marriage.   
·         21%, At least one of my ancestors had a broken engagement.   
·         36%, At least one of my ancestors had a fiancĂ© or spouse who was killed in a war.   
·         15%, At least one of my ancestors had a spouse who died within six months of their wedding day.   
·         32%, At least one of my ancestors died within six months of a spouse's death.   
·         15%, At least one of my ancestors was involved in a bigamous marriage.   
·         45%, At least one of my ancestors was married more than three times.   
·         5%, At least one of my ancestors was reunited with a long-lost love.   
·         60%, At least one of my ancestors was married 60 years or more.     

I could probably say yes to every question, except the bigamy one I believe. But it would take some time to go through my whole family list. Of the past five generations of my, and my wife’s direct ancestral lines this is what I can answer about the length of their marriages at least. All of the marriages ended with the death of one partner, none in divorce:

Relationship
Wayne
Linda

Years
Dates
Years
Dates
Parents
35
1939-1974
45
1931-1976
Grandparents
45
1914-1959
32
1902-1934
58
1895-1953
14
1908-1922
Great-grandparents
1
1891-1891
46
1857-1903
35
1884-1919
<43
1868-bef 1911
48
1866-1914
47
1880-1927
29
1851-1880


2nd Great-grandparents
35
1855-1890
48
1802-1850
41
1851-1892
<35
1846-bef 1881
<20
1848-bef 1868
<18
1833-bef 1851
51
1854-1905
60
1851-1911
8
1838-1846
<21
1850-bef 1871
54
1840-1894


57
1801-1858


43
1817-1860


3rd Great-grandparents
44
1826-1870
<74
1787-bef 1861
58
1819-1877
<41
1820-bef 1861
38
1823-1861
<46
1825-bef 1871
24
1827-1851
<13
1828-bef 1841
20
1825-1845


51
1820-1871


abt 29
1804-ca 1833


38
1811-1849


abt 55
1783-ca 1838


38
1790-1828



The furthest back I can go is to my 8th great-grandparents who married in 1630. He died in 1657 and she in 1685, so their marriage lasted only 27 years.

It’s an interesting exercise to see the longevity of your ancestors’ marriages. The short ones are all too sad, especially that of my paternal great-grandparents which last only one year when she died of pthisis (tuberculosis). I wrote about her on 23 June 2015.

The analysis also tells you that there is still a lot of work to do in finding when, where and how people married and long their union lasted.

It’s also great when you have a photo taken on a special day such as this one for Linda’s 2nd great-grandparents, James & Mary Walker in Elgin, Moray, Scotland on their 60th wedding anniversary, 6 February 1911.




Linda and I will celebrate 46 years together next Monday!



Wayne Shepheard is a volunteer with the Online Parish Clerk program in England, handling four parishes in Devon, England. He has published a number of articles about various aspects of genealogy and is a past Editor of Chinook, the quarterly journal of the Alberta Family Histories Society. Wayne also provides genealogical consulting services through his business, Family History Facilitated

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Moving 7 – The Miller Family Goes West…and North

I last mentioned the Miller family in a blog post on 18 August 2015 when my 2nd great-grandparents, John Conrad Miller and Hannah Tunstall Mayfield were married and moved to Cincinnati, Ohio. John and Hannah met in Indiana. I have a marriage license dated 5 May 1838 from Tippecanoe County. I assume the actual marriage occurred shortly after that date but no record of the event has yet been found.

The family lived for a while in Jefferson County, Indiana, probably near her father and siblings. Their first child, daughter Matilda Ann was born there in 1839. They then relocated to Cincinnati where their three sons were born: Thomas Benton in 1841, Isaac Mayfield, my great-grandfather, in 1843 and John Conrad Jr. in 1846. I believe that John Conrad Sr. died in 1846 but no death record or grave-site has been found to confirm the date and place of the event. He would only have been about 31 at the time.

John was born in Germany about 1815. We do not know when he immigrated to the US.  He apparently was a tradesman. Information from different sources, if they are correct and for the right individual, indicate he was a blacksmith (Cincinnati City Directory for 1839-40), involved in “manufacture and trade” (1840 US census) and saddler (Cincinnati Directory for 1843).
 
Migration routes of the Miller families
After John’s death, Hannah remarried to a man named Daniel Boone Watson, in 1854. They had two children together, in 1855 and 1857. The photo on this blog is of Hannah and all of her children, taken about 1886. Most of the Watson family packed up to go west in 1866 ultimately landing in Kansas. By then, Hannah’s three oldest children were married. Isaac’s oldest child was born in 1867, in Illinois, possibly along the route they travelled to Kansas.

By 1870 all of the Millers & Watsons were in Kansas. My grandfather, Edwin Miller was born in Manhattan, KS that year. They farmed in Riley County for over 15 years. In 1893 Edwin applied for a homestead in 1893 near Yukon, Oklahoma with the support of his father. I wrote about this homestead in a blog post on 1 April 2014.

In 1895 Ed and Mattie McDaniel met, fell in love and got married. Mattie had arrived in the Yukon area only shortly before with her sister, Rebecca, and her family, as I indicated in my last post here. Their courtship was a short one. According to ‘Becca, “Ed was a prosperous, young farmer with a fast team, and shiny, red-wheeled buggy, the catch of the county!" Through family correspondence, we even know what the bride wore: “…wedding dress was of tan challis, with mutton-leg sleeves, a snug-fitting double breasted bodice with four large cove red buttons, and a floor-length skirt.

The farm was to remain his but over the next decade Isaac apparently reneged and took back the lands, eventually giving them to his youngest daughter, Mabel. That caused some bitterness in the family and probably was the main reason why Ed packed up his young family in 1903 and went back to Kansas.

In 1914 the Miller family moved to Corvallis, Oregon. In a letter written to a cousin by my aunt, she described the trip as by train. There was a week’s stopover in Denver, Colorado, as one of my uncles fell sick with mumps.

My mother was born in Corvallis, OR in 1917 and spent much of her early childhood there. But the wanderlust and availability of almost free land in Alberta got to my grandfather and, in 1928, they made their way north, settling near a little town called Irricana (short for irrigation canal). There Edwin farmed until his 80s. He died of a stroke in 1953. My grandmother lasted only a few years and died in 1956.

Over three generations the Miller families had migrated almost 4,500 miles, from Ohio to Kansas to Oklahoma to Oregon and finally to Alberta, Canada.


Wayne Shepheard is a volunteer with the Online Parish Clerk program in England, handling four parishes in Devon, England. He has published a number of articles about various aspects of genealogy and is a past Editor of Chinook, the quarterly journal of the Alberta Family Histories Society. Wayne also provides genealogical consulting services through his business, Family History Facilitated

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Moving 6 – The McDaniel Family Goes West

When I wrote about the migration of my ancestors across the United States last, on 14 July 2015, I left off with my grandmother and her father and sister just leaving Virginia for Missouri. That was in 1894. Many of her sisters and brothers, with their families, had already migrated west. The rest of her siblings but one would follow within a few years.

Asa Harvey McDaniel, my great-grandfather, along his two youngest daughters, Martha Alwilda Jane (my grandmother) and Sarah Carnelia, left their Virginia home for the last time just before Easter 1894. We have a copy of a letter written to Asa by another daughter, Mary Saphronica (Molly) Davis, dated 18 April 1894 that acknowledged a letter from him sent from Missouri. Asa and the girls had travelled to Tarkio, MO, near where daughters Virginia (Jennie), Elizabeth and Rebecca – all of whom had married men of the Slemp family in Virginia – and son George McDaniel lived. Two other of Asa’s children, with their families, had also moved west by then: Eliza Bundy to Savonburg, KS in 1885; and John McDaniel to Norman, OK in 1892. Other brothers were to join their siblings later: James McDaniel to Norman in 1896; William McDaniel to Neosho, MO in 1899; and Isaac to Savonburg about 1906.
 
Map showing the probable routes taken by Asa McDaniel and his children in their move west
Asa and his daughters likely travelled by wagon from Virginia, possibly to Louisville where they might have boarded a train for the remainder of their journey. There was no easy route across the Cumberland Mountains at that time. When McDaniel families had moved west in the 1880s, the trains were just beginning to branch into Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. Land was opening up in the region which spurred migration of people seeking to start over or acquire new lands to farm. The McDaniels were part of that great push into the plains in the latter half of the 19th century and their moves appear to be directly tied to the development of the railroads.

(Map acquired 6 June 2016 from Central Pacific Railroad Photographic History Museum website)
Maps showing the railway lines as they developed offer a great perspective on how, when and why families moved to certain areas of the country. Prior to their arrival in the plains, it was an arduous task for people, especially those with children, to travel and the only way was in a wagon train.

Other information that has allowed me to put together the times of the moves are the research done by my aunt in the 1960s and ‘70s, correspondence between relatives and the various censuses taken in the regions. From these I found out when and where Asa’s grandchildren were born. This narrowed down the places where the families resided and the dates they lived there.

By the time Asa arrived in 1894, his children were well established in Missouri and Kansas. New land was opening up in Oklahoma which prompted the move of John from Virginia and Rebecca and her family from Missouri. Both settled near Oklahoma City. Rebecca apparently took her newly-arrived younger sisters, Martha and Sarah, with her when she moved from Tarkio, MO, to Yukon, OK.

Yukon is where my grandmother met my grandfather, Edwin Miller, and where they were married in 1895. (I will detail how the Miller family arrived in the area in a subsequent post.)

Asa moved south to live with his son, John, within a year or so of his move west. He remained there until his death in 1901.

By the turn of the 20th century all but one member of the Asa McDaniel family, Mary Saphronica Davis, were living in the Great Plains and a new era in our history was under way.


Wayne Shepheard is a volunteer with the Online Parish Clerk program in England, handling four parishes in Devon, England. He has published a number of articles about various aspects of genealogy and is a past Editor of Chinook, the quarterly journal of the Alberta Family Histories Society. Wayne also provides genealogical consulting services through his business, Family History Facilitated