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Posts Tagged ‘Pennsylvania’

In my post a year ago, My Nash Connections, I mentioned my 3rd great-grandparents – Alexander and Elsy Nash. Elsy’s maiden name has been reported to be Winninger or Winger – and several variations of those names. With my Ancestry subscription that came with my new Family Tree Maker software, I thought I’d do some more digging.

Clicking the “leaf” next to Alexander’s name brought up seven different records.  The very first one was the Pennsylvania (PA) Minesinger Family Tree.  It listed Alexander’s wife as Elsie Minesinger.  Well, it was a start.  I had to start checking that information out and see what documentation I could find before believing that Minesinger was the maiden name I’d been looking for.

There were no source citations listed for their marriage and the citations listed for Elsie’s birth and residence came from a census after her marriage to Alexander.  Still nothing that answered any questions.  Elsie’s parents were listed as Joseph Minesinger and Christina.  Since Christina had been Alexander and Elsie’s daughter’s name, and the reason my grandmother’s middle name was Christena, I thought it was a clue.  However, I also knew that whoever put together that information, could have just deduced the woman’s name was Christina.

Since most of Alexander and Elsy’s children were born in Henry County, Indiana, I knew that the couple had moved there from Pennsylvania.  Looking to see if there were any other Minesinger families in the Henry County area – perhaps a purported sibling of Elsy, I found John Minesinger living two doors away from Alexander and Elsy in the 1850 US Census for Henry County.  In the 1860 Census, they are shown right next to each other and again 2 doors away in the 1870 Census.  There is also a “Christean Minesinger” buried in Lebanon Baptist Cemetery – which is where Alexander, Elsy and three of their children are buried. 

It’s not enough information for documentation that Minesinger is the Elsy’s maiden name – but it’s more than I had a year ago.  I will continue to search for other records – church, christening, etc. until I am satisfied that I am on the right track.

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The parents of my great-grandfather – Joseph Napolean Wilt – were Israel Isaac Wilt and Christine (or Christena) Nash.  I haven’t delved into the Nash family very deeply and wonder if I’ve really scratched the surface.  One of my resolutions, posted in I Resolved To . . ., is to pick another branch of my family to research. After all, my grandmother’s middle name was Christena – after her grandmother. 

Christena Nash was the daughter of Alexander Nash and Elsie.  Elsie’s name has been spelled Elcie, Elsy, and Elsie.  Her surname has been listed as Winninger or Winger – and several variations of those names.  Christena was born in 1837 in Pennsylvania. 

Alexander Nash was born the end of May in 1808 in Pennsylvania.  His parents remain a mystery to me although in the 1880 US Census, Alexander listed his father as born in Maryland and his mother as born in Pennsylvania.  A man named Alexander Nash is in the 1840 US Census enumerated in Beaver Township, Green County, Pennsylvania with 1 male age 0-5, 1 male age 30-40, 1 female age under 5, 1 female age 5-10, and 1 female age 20-30.  This leads me to believe – although not documented – that Alexander is the older male as he would have been 32 in 1840.  Elsy born in mid-July 1813, would have been 27 years old.  Their oldest three children are reportedly: Sarah Nash, born in 1829; an  unknown son born between 1835-1840; and my 2nd great-grandmother, Christena, born in 1837.  I found Sarah’s information through the Henry County Genealogical Society on an index of the Lebanon Baptist Cemetery in Henry County, Indiana.  She had died on August 21, 1850 at the age of 20 years, 7 months, and 27 days and was listed as the daughter of Alex and Elsie Nash.  Her mother was only 15 when she was born.

Alexander and Elsy were enumerated on the 1850 US Census in Prairie Township, Henry County, Indiana.  His age was listed as 42 and her age as 38.  Children in the household included: “Christy Ann” (Christena), Sarah, Alexander, Catherine, and Nancy and Elsy (appearing to be twins).  If the young male enumerated in the 1840 Census had been their son, he had died prior to the 1850 Census.  Sometime between the two censuses, the family had moved from Pennyslvania to Indiana. As the younget girls, Nancy and Elsy, were listed as born in Pennsylvania and were age 4 in 1850 – their move to Indiana had been recent.

The 1860 US Census shows the family living in the same place.  Even though Sarah was to have died in 1850, there is a Sarah still enumerated with the family – something further to be researched.  One thought is that she actually died in 1860 and the indexer either made a typo when putting the date online or couldn’t read the headstone.  That would also mean that there was an unknown daughter in the 1840 census and Sarah was actually born in 1839 and Elsie hadn’t been as young as if Sarah was born in 1829.  It might also explain why the family didn’t show up in the 1830 Census – they might not have been married yet and still residing with their respective families.  Children, besides Sarah, included in the 1860 Census include Alexander, Catherine, Nancy, Elsy, and Mary.

Alexander died on April 14, 1883 and Elsie died on May 3, 1890.  They are both buried in the Lebanon Baptist Cemetery.  They had a son, Wilmot Nash, born on April 9, 1848 who died at age 2 on June 11, 1850.  He is buried close to them.  Their daughter, Christena, also died before they did – on August 18, 1876. 

Further research will include the 1870 and 1880 US Census records for Alexander and Elsie; Indiana marriage records on their children; headstone transcriptions; other Indiana county records; and looking into Nash families in the Beaver Twp and Green County areas of Pennsylvania.

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Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (ca. 1966)
Photographed by Gene Amore
Digital image taken of slide held by Wendy Littrell (Address for private use)

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There have been several times in the past where I’ve come to a brick wall – more like a cement wall – unmovable and indestructable.  When I’ve come to a screeching halt in my research, I’ve generally focused on either other activities or other names in my ancestry.  I think it is usually a case where I’m looking so hard at one thing, I can’t see what’s right in front of me.

However, there are still some brick walls that I haven’t been able to even knock one brick out of in order to see a little glimmer of light from the other side.

Parents (and therefore their ancestors) of:

  • William Amore (my 2nd g-grandfather) b. Feb. 6, 1828 in Troy, albany, NY d. Feb. 9, 1896 in Franklin Twp, Coshocton County, Ohio.
  • Charlotte Imons (my 2nd g-grandmother, wife of William Amore) b. Aug. 4, 1828 in Ohio d. Oct. 9, 1862 in Coshocton County, Ohio.
  • Frances Ogan (my g-grandmother, wife of James Emory House) b. Nov. 29, 1846 in Ohio d. Feb. 18, 1915 [I posted about her story here.]
  • Julia Lewis (my 2nd g-grandmother, wife of Florus House, mother of James) b. Dec. 24, 1815 in Ohio d. Oct. 6, 1899 in Coshocton County, Ohio.
  • John Blazer (my 3rd g-grandfather) b. abt. 1812 in Ohio d. Unknown probably in Indiana.
  • Martha McManaway (my 3rd g-grandmother, wife of John Goul) b. abt. 1801 in Germany or Rockingham, Virginia d. Oct. 7, 1855 probably in Indiana.
  • Frederick Goul (my 5th g-grandfather) b. in Germany. (No information on his wife either.)
  • Jacob Johnson (my 3rd g-grandfather) b. Dec. 11, 1787 in New Jersey d. May 2, 1855 in Center Township, Rush County, Indiana.
  • William Shields (my 4th g-grandfather, father of Ann Shields, father-in-law of Jacob Johnson).
  • Thomas Stanley (my 4th g-grandfather).
  • Sarah Smithey (my 4th g-grandmother, wife of Thomas Stanley).
  • George Mullis (my 4th g-grandfather) b. 1768 in Wilkes County, North Carolina d. 1833 in Surry County, North Carolina.
  • Johnathan Wilt (my 3rd g-grandfather) b. abt. 1800 in Virginia.
  • Catherine Hollinger (my 3rd g-grandmother, wife of Johnathan Wilt) b. 1799 in Virginia.
  • Alexander Nash (my 3rd g-grandfather) b. about 1808 in Pennsylvania. (No information on his wife, Elsy’s, family.)

My research has included checking the census records for the areas in which they died and going backwards as well as any other on-line documentation – wills, marriages, births, deaths, obituaries and newspaper articles.  I’ve also asked living family members what they have heard about ancestors in case oral histories have been passed down.

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Before I get into the “meat” of this post, let me say that for the last few days I’ve been frantically searching for the text of this.  I knew I had written it, searched all through this blog looking for it, searched through my document files on my hard drive in case I’d written it but not posted it, and then today decided that I might have posted it pre-genealogy blog on my personal blog.  Voila!  Found it!  Most of the following was posted to Hello . . . Is This Thing On? on February 25, 2008 and is titled Searching for Rachel.

So I spent part of the weekend looking for Rachel – she is (or was) technically my great-great aunt.  My maternal grandfather’s, mom’s sister.  All I knew about Rachel is the year she was born and that at the time of my great-grandmother’s death in 1930 she was listed on the obituary as Mrs. Rachel Givens from Missouri.  No one knew what her husband’s name was and typically at that period of time if a woman is listed as Mrs. (her name) Surname – that generally means they were widowed or divorced.  Awhile back I finally found her in the 1900 census living in Kansas City, Missouri with her husband, Morris and 2 step-sons, William and Wheeler, and a 1 yr old daughter – (looked like) Shawn.  So yesterday after realizing that I was going to have to spread the net out a little trying to find her in the 1910 or 1920 censuses, I started using variations of the Givens.  Finally after I spelled it without the “s” on the end, I found Rachel and Maurice (spelled differently) in 1910 about the same place they were in 1900.  This time there were additional children.  Wheeler was now listed as Charles W., “Shawn” was no where to be found but Mary (about the same age as “Shawn” would have been) was there along with a son, Nathaniel and a son Arthur A., and twin daughters, Pearl and Mearl.  Rachel had listed that she was the mother of 6 children but only 5 were living – so somewhere in there was a child who was stillborn or died sometime between 1900 and 1910.  In fact I ran across the Missouri death certificate (thank you Missouri for digitizing the old death records!) so I now have a more complete look for this elusive branch of the family.  I found William in the 1920 census already married with children.  Now in 1920 Morris and Rachel were living in Wyandotte County, Kansas – so they hopped the state line somewhere in the 10 years previous.  I’m not sure my great-grandmother ever saw her sister after Rachel moved to Missouri from Indiana (where she was born and grew up).  So now I’m trying to locate Morris or Maurice in the 1890 census to see who he was married to before Rachel when the 2 oldest boys were toddlers.  Since Rachel grew up in Indiana, need to figure out if she was in Missouri visiting other relatives when she met Morris or if he was living in Indiana when they met.  I did find a Givens family living down the street from some of her relatives – but no Morris in the family – maybe he was visiting them (his relatives) when they met and he whisked her off to marry & mother his 2 children. 

Update on this post: When I wrote this, somehow I completely forgot that I won’t be locating the 1890 census anytime soon since almost all of it was destroyed in a fire. 

I’ve found Maurice (born September 1857) living in his parents’ household in the 1860 Census in Columbia Boro, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  Parents listed are Nathaniel and Catherine Given.   Catherine’s maiden name was discovered to be Waltman as listed in Familysearch.org.  The couple was married on March 22, 1853.  They had four sons and two daughters (George, David, Maurice, William, Laura and Saloam).  The marriage ended (probably by Catherine’s death) and Nathaniel then married Sarah Emma Stout on April 16, 1867.  They had four daughters and three sons (Carrie, Florence, Grace, Annie, Franklin, Washington and Walter). 

Maurice was found in his parents home in the 1870 Census living in 8-WD Harrisburg, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania.  He was not found in the 1880 Census even though his parents are still in Dauphin County. 

On October 17, 1887 his first son, William Albert Given, was born in Strong City, Chase County, Kansas.  According to his death certificate, William’s mother was Elizabeth Rose.  She is also thought to be the mother of Charles Wheeler Given, born December 22, 1889.  It is likely that Elizabeth died in the next few years.

Maurice went on to marry my great-great aunt, Rachel Blazer and their first child, Mary, was born in Oct. 1898 according to the 1910 Census (this is probably the child listed as “Shawn” or a misspelling of “Sarah” in the 1900 Census born Oct. 1898).  Mary is listed as age 12 on the 1910 Census which would put her birth around 1898.  The family is living in Kansas City, Jackson County, Missouri in the 1900 and 1910 Censuses. 

Also in the 1910 Census Maurice lists that he has been married twice and Rachel lists one marriage.  They report that they have been married 13 years putting their marriage date about 1897.  Rachel also lists that she has given birth to 6 children with 5 of them living.

The 1920 Census shows the family living in Kansas City, Wyandotte County, Kansas with their two sons and two daughters (Arthur, Nathaniel, Pearl and Mearl).  Throughout the Censuses, his first name is spelled as both “Morris” and “Maurice”.  The surname varies from Givens and Given. 

I’ve located Maurice’s death date on the Kansas Historical Society website under Fraternal Necrologies.  He was a member of the I.O.O.F. and died March 6, 1930 (which would have made Rachel a widow at the time of my great-grandmother’s death in May 1930).

William, the oldest son, died on December 17, 1946 of carbon monoxide poisoining (ruled accidental on the Death Certificate).  According to the Social Security Index, Charles died in September 1976.  There is no other information on Mary.  Arthur died in June 1959 according to the SSDI.  He was buried in Mount Hope Cemetery.  His obituary lists those who survive him as his wife, Maude; daughters, Juanita and Alice; and sons, Lawrence, William, James and George.

Daughters, Mearl and Pearl, have not been located past the 1920 Census.  Nathaniel was located in news articles and died on May 1, 1984 in Topeka, Kansas.

A listing on the Missouri Birth and Death Records Database shows that Rachel (spelled Rachael) and Maurice Givens had a daughter born July 17, 1908 at 1650 Madison in Jackson County, Missouri.  This record shows Maurice was born in Pennsylvania and Rachel was born in Indiana.  Since a daughter wasn’t found on the 1910 Census born about 1908, I’ve made the deduction that this is the child that had died. 

Did Rachel ever return to Indiana to visit her mother, Malissa Goul Blazer, before Malissa died on March 7, 1907?  Did she ever see her two sisters, Katie Blazer Johnson, or Martha (Mat) Blazer Noonan Hardman, again?  Or her brothers, John and Wesley (who had moved to Champaign County, Ohio before 1900)?  Did her children or grandchildren ever travel East to meet or visit with their Blazer or Goul relatives?  And what did Rachel look like? (This mystery may be solved!  Stay tuned for a future post!)

And why does Rachel interest me if she’s just my great-grandmother’s sister?  I think it has to do more with the solving of a mystery than anything else.  I found one of Rachel’s grandson’s still living and have a letter to be sent off to him.  Possibly he can fill in some of the blanks or put me in touch with other descendents of Rachel and Maurice.

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