Sunday, February 8, 2015

The 4 Rs of Genealogy

OK, I've been AWOL from this blog for a couple of years. I had a project that took over for about two years, so genealogy was sporadic. But I'M BAAAACK!!!

I've had a few cool discoveries in the past few months, so I will share them with you.

I run hot and cold on family research -- sometimes I'm so tired of not finding stuff that my drive wanes a bit. During those periods, I go to my Ancestry tree and track peripheral lines forward in time. I love seeing what happened to people, plus I love finding living cousins to share info with, so this helps to get me over my "bored" hump.

Other times, I'm ticked at my brick walls and that makes me go back and rethink, reanalyze, reassess and renew the search.

My Phillips family are real buggers. Everything happened in the difficult period of 1800-1850: before civil registration of vital records and before the census showed everyone in a household by name.

The patriarch, Richard, blessed me with a goldmine of a will written one day before he died in 1861. (Read about it HERE) His son that I descend from died in 1857, his wife died in 1865 (the same day as President Lincoln!), leaving their children to be raised by Richard's wife, their grandmother Margaret. Only one of Richard's children lived a long life.

Due to those early marriages, I don't know either woman's maiden name. Their religious affiliations look scattered about, so it ain't gonna be easy to find them!

So over the summer, while employing the four Rs, I decided to dig into the man that was co-executor of Richard's will with Margaret. John H. Kinsley is on the 1860 Census in Philadelphia as a 37 year old blacksmith living with what appears to be his mother. Not much help. Can't find him for sure in 1850 or 1870, so I head to Genealogy Bank to see what may be in the newspapers. This marriage announcement appears on May 30, 1847:

He was married to a Caroline B. Phillips! She would be of the correct age to be Richard's daughter. But, since she wasn't in Richard's will, nor mention of her children, that meant she hadn't lived until 1861.

(I did finally find them living together in the 1850 Census, close neighbors of Caroline's brother Charles and his wife, my 3X great grandparents.)

Between newspapers, death records and cemetery/funeral records, the sad tale unfolded. Their daughter Kate died at age 2 in March, 1853. A month earlier, John Jr. died at 9 months of age.

In April of 1855, Caroline gave birth to a baby girl named Caroline. Then the mother died on May 9th. Baby Caroline only lived until August 10th. This poor family!

John himself remarried and had two daughters. He died in 1903 at age 78. A lot of Ancestry trees have this John with a different first wife and a passel of kids. But the plot record at Oddfellows tells the real story. John was buried with his first wife and their three children (and his mother). We are certain it's the same man because his grown daughter Jennie is listed as holding the deed and ordering a grave marker when they were all moved to Lawnview in 1951.

Coincidentally, Caroline's sister named one of her daughters after her, before Caroline died. That Caroline had one child, named Caroline also, but they both died shortly after the baby was born.

Had I not gone digging for that executor, I never would have known Caroline B. Phillips even existed.

I have a whole section of my website devoted to this family, with documents attached HERE.

UPDATE: I found the little marker on their graves in the huge field at Lawnview, thanks to the wonderful groundskeeper. I was skeptical (you always hear about bodies not actually being moved where they say they are) but this place took their job very seriously. They said if there was no obvious remains at the original grave, they dug up the dirt and boxed it up for reburial here. That makes me happy!

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