I looked for a very long time to find the parents of my 3X great-grandfather Samuel G. Hopkins (the notorious counterfeiter). Thanks to his criminal activity, the records of the investigators for the Secret Service gave me the information I needed to get their names. (Read that post HERE.)
It took a long search and a good bit of luck to find the book that tied in my Samuel's father Richard Hopkins to the rest of the Hopkins clan. But his mother, Mary Ann Gover, would prove to be a lot more elusive.
Like the Hopkins, the Gover family is quite large in Maryland. They also intermarried with the Hopkins family many, many, many times throughout history. That sure made finding Mary Ann's parents difficult.
I dug through deeds, death records, probate, newspaper archives, census records, plus more in both Baltimore and Harford Counties. And I really couldn't find anything. All that I knew was that they had married in November, 1817 at the First Methodist Episcopal Church in Baltimore city. But that church had no other info on Mary Ann.
I had found an old book about the Friends Burial Ground on Harford Road in Baltimore that listed Richard & Mary Ann's daughter Anne Eliza Hopkins as being buried there. Two of Richard's sisters that Anne Eliza lived with were also buried there. But I really never considered that Mary Ann and/or Richard could be Quaker seeing how they were married at a Methodist Episcopal Church. Oops! Genealogy 101 - Don't make assumptions!
I had gotten pretty much to the end of ideas and hope for finding Mary Ann's family. So I contacted a genealogist I know that specialized in Harford County families. He looked through a few books that he had and found a listing for the Baltimore Monthly Meeting of the Society of Friends (Quakers) that named Mary Ann in one entry of the Women's minutes.
The entry stated that Mary Ann Gover had married Richard Hopkins outside of and contrary to the Quaker faith! Unfortunately, there was no other information about her family or where she came from. I went online and read all of the Quaker records for the Baltimore meetings that Ancestry had recently put online. But I didn't really find anything else that led me to my goal. (The older records from Maryland that have not been extracted into book form can only be viewed in Annapolis or at Swarthmore College.)
A couple of weeks later I got an email from the genealogist and he told me that he had found an Ann Gover, her husband and minor children Philip, Priscilla and Samuel all moving from Deer Creek Monthly Meeting in Harford County to the Baltimore Monthly Meeting in 1812! Yippee!. Mary Ann Gover followed a couple of months later.
About three years ago, I had found a death notice of Ann Gover who had died in Baltimore in 1851 at age 85, and the funeral was being held at the residence of Samuel G Hopkins, which was the name of my 3X great grandfather. I made a note of it at the time saying "Maybe his maternal grandmother?" and tried to find more information on her to either prove or disprove a relationship.
One of the first books I checked was the same one that had given me Richard Hopkins' parents and grandparents etc., Colonial Families of the United States. But the only entry in that book of someone named Ann marrying a Gover did not fit in a logical timeframe to be mine. Here is the entry on p. 364 of the Hopkins section of the book:
It was killing me! All the family's given names completely matched up to the names of children in later generations. Everything made sense except for the date of their marriage which was written in the book as 11 August 1761, which put their births about 1740. The newspaper Ann Gover had been born in 1766 if you went by her published age at death.
The genealogist looked back through the Quaker Records of Northern Maryland (by Henry C. Peden) and found where on 22 September 1791 a Samuel Gover, son of Phillip and Mary Gover, deceased, intended to marry Ann Hopkins daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth Hopkins. It also listed their actual marriage, both under Deer Creek Monthly Meeting.
So I pulled out the Colonial Families of the United States book again to cross check the dates in the the Gover section, p. 190. It was then I realized that the author had put the marriage date of Ann Gover's husband's parents 30 years before instead of Ann's and Samuel's actual marriage date of 1791!
With this mixup sorted out, I had everything I needed already in my database for these two parents of Mary Ann's since I had familiarized myself with all of them. They are so many different degrees of cousins. One couple, Gerard Hopkins & Margaret Johns, are in Richard & Mary Ann's tree like four times!
I now have Mary Ann's ancestors back into the early 1600s, thanks to these wonderful Quaker records, two of the books which I now have in my personal library.