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Posts Tagged ‘Muskingum County’

My paternal grandmother’s mother Frances V Ogan has been a mystery due to the fact that there is nothing that reveals her parents. The family story suggested that she had been left on a doorstep as a baby. The first census that I was able to find for her in the early 2000s was the 1880 census because that particular one was free to view. Her parents were listed as born in Ohio so that gave me hope that she knew that information. As the years went by and access to other census records opened up for me, I soon discovered the first census taken after her birth in 1846.

In the 1850 census in the Evan and Susannah Ogan household is a person with the name of Francis Foster, age 3, and born in Ohio. The person is marked male. The adults in the household, both born in Virginia, were both aged 64 – too old to be the biological parents of young Francis. They were living in Rich Hill township of Muskingum county, Ohio.

In the 1860 census there is a 13 year old Frances Foster – this time listed as female – living in Cumberland township of Guernsey county, Ohio – a distance of almost 6 miles from Rich Hill township. Frances is living in the Evan and Susan Ogan household. The adults are both listed as 73 years old.

Ten years later in 1870, 23 year old Frances Ogan is still in Guernsey county residing at the Eagle Hotel in Cambridge township. She is listed as a cook born in Ohio. Susannah Ogan had died five years before, and Evan was back in Muskingum county living with his 56 year old son Peter’s family.

For awhile I tracked Evan’s and Susannah’s children to see if any could be Frances’ biological parent. Nothing seemed to fit. I keep coming back to the surname used in the first two censuses – Foster. Did Evan and Susannah know that her birth name was Frances Foster? Or did they give her that surname because she was a “foster’ child? And what do I make of the fact that Evan and Susannah seemed to move soon after the 1850 census to a neighboring county and then move back once Frances is deemed an “Ogan” and out on her own? Could this have been a case of Evan and Susannah taking in a neglected child and moving in order for any birth family not being able to  find them? Was Frances related to them through a nephew, niece, cousin or dear friend? What could possibly move two people who had raised many children and were empty-nesters to raise a very young child? I may never know the answers, but I’m forever grateful that Frances had two people who took care of her in order for her to go on and marry a widower with three children. My grandmother was the youngest girl of the eight children they went on to have together.

This is a post in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge for Week 5. For more information or to sign up to participate (all free!!), check out Amy Johnson Crow’s post: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

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31daystobettergenealogy

Amy Johnson Crow is hosting an online learning experience called “31 Days to Better Genealogy.” If you haven’t signed up for this, you can do so here. There is also a closed Facebook group that you can request to join after you sign up for the daily newsletter. You will receive a daily email and during the day, Amy posts a live video on the Facebook group. All members of the group are encouraged to work on the tip of the day, report their results, help and encourage each other.

Today’s tip was to explore the Digital Public Library of America website. Amy said that searches on it are a bit like Google. The DPLA has a bit of everything and some items do not even pop up from a regular search engine. So I thought I would give it a whirl to see what else I could find concerning my ancestors in Coshocton county, Ohio. Here is where Bright Shiny Objects happen so I knew I would need to be focused on what I was searching for (Day 1’s tip was to be more specific and asking the right questions).

As the search results for “Coshocton county Ohio” appeared, I noticed off to the side was “History of Muskingum County, Ohio.” Hmm, I thought. New focus and new question. Would that digital book have any new information concerning my 3rd great-grandfather, Abel Lewis? So I clicked on that topic, the digital book appeared, and in the “search this text” box I entered Lewis.

Sure enough, one of the first items that appeared concerned Abel Lewis and the Masons in Muskingum county. This was new information for me. The text mentioned that “On Saturday, the 25th day of May, 1805, William Raynolds, William Smyth, Levi Whipple, Daniel Converse, Abel Lewis and Lewis Cass, held a meeting in Zanesville, and, ‘after becoming known to each other as- Master Masons, in the manner prescribed by the rules of the craft, entered into conversation respecting the practicability and propriety of procuring a charter, authorizing them to hold a Lodge in this place…'” (Source: Everhart, J.F. 1794. History of Muskingum County, Ohio, with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Prominent Men and Pioneers. F.J. Everhart and Company. 1882. Hathitrust. Electronic material. Digital image. p187. Digital Public Library of America. http://dp.la : accessed 4 October 2016.)

Another entry mentioned exactly where Abel Lewis lived after he had completed his term as Postmaster (he also had been an Ohio Supreme Court Clerk and surveyor) in 1812.

In the past, I have just glossed over items at the DPLA because I wasn’t thinking about searching for things. I was searching for names. The tip for today has really opened my eyes. I see many hours of more research in the DPLA ahead for me!

 

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surname cloud

In a previous article – Tracking Julia – I lamented that I could not be sure that my great-great-grandmother, Julia Ann Lewis House, was the daughter of Abel Lewis. That changed about a month ago when I found a news article that reported:

Mr. Geo. J. Lewis, daughter Julia, son and family, of Zanesville, were visiting his daughters, Mrs. Alex Jennings, Mrs. John Wagoner, and sister, Mrs. F. A. House, and other relatives.

BOOM! Happy dance! George Lewis was the son of Abel Lewis and Nancy Johnson Robinson. If his sister was Mrs. F. A. House (Florus Allen House), then that would mean that my 2nd great-grandmother was George’s sister.

Two things that I found very serendipitous about that small news clipping from the November 2, 1886 edition of The Coshocton Tribune (Coshocton, Ohio):

  1. It lists George’s daughter, Julia but doesn’t list the name of his son.
  2. It mentions that they will visit Mrs. F. A. House but the “other relatives” are not named.(1)

Today, I located a Quaker meeting record from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania that mentions that Abel Lewis left that location many years previous to the date of record – 1808 – living in Zanesville, Muskingum county, Ohio and had married. (U.S., Quaker Meeting Records, 1681-1935, Ancestry.com, Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014, Provo, UT, USA, Haverford College; Haverford, Pennsylvania; Minutes, 1803-1812; Collection: Philadelphia Yearly Meeting Minutes; Call Number: JK2.6 : accessed 12 Mar 2012.)

In the Muskingum Marriage Records (database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-18858-10888-51?cc=1614804 : accessed 12 March 2016), Muskingum > Marriage records 1804-1818 > image 59 of 135; county courthouses, Ohio.), Abel Lewis married Nancy Robinson were married on May 26, 1805 by William Newel, Justice of the Peace.

Now, if I can just figure out who Abel Lewis’ and Nancy Johnson Robinson’s parents are!

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Summer in the mid-1960s (not sure which year).  This picture was taken at my paternal aunt’s home in Zanesville, Ohio.  Pictured left to right: my 1st cousin, June (my dad’s oldest sister’s daughter), my Aunt Eva and Uncle Bervil (my dad’s brother), my Aunt Gertrude (Dad’s oldest sister), Eric (June’s grandson), and me.  Notice the span of ages between my first cousin – who has a grandchild a little younger than me – and me!

I haven’t seen June or Eric since the real early 1970’s. The last time I saw my Aunt Gertie was in the summer of 1972.  I saw my Uncle Bervil and Aunt Eva for the last time in the late 1960’s.  Luckily, I am now in touch with their son, grandson’s, great-granddaughter’s, and their daughter.

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