Friday, January 31, 2020

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks -- Well, Maybe 12 Ancestors in 2020

Last year I attempted to complete the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge and failed miserably.   I love the concept of the challenge but one ancestor per week is just too much so this year I'm modifying and adjusting to fit better into my life situation.   I am going to focus on one ancestor per month using one of the 52 Week prompts for that month.  Hopefully, I will find more success.

The first prompt of the year was a Fresh Start.   A fresh start is what I need to take with my four times great grandmother - Mary Ann Graham.   She is a brick wall and I don't know how to break it down.   This past week I watched a Legacy Family Tree Webinar entitled "Creative Hypothesis Development of Complex Geneology Problems" presented by Jan M. Joyce CG, CGL.   I was hoping to get some ideas to work through my brick wall.  One of the ideas that Jan presented was the idea of Simplification and Sharing.   First, you identify the challenge you are trying to overcome.  Then, you list the critical facts that you have pertaining to the challenge.  Finally, you brainstorm a series of hypotheses and share them for feedback.

So here it goes -

Who are Mary Ann Graham’s parents?

Facts related to Mary Ann Graham
  • She was born in 1815 based on her obituary appearing in the New York Herald on June 2, 1861.  It read - “West: On Saturday morning, June 1 Mary, the beloved wife of Edward West, aged 46 years and 9 months, The friends of the family are respectfully invited to attend the funeral without further invitation, from her late residence, No 37 First Avenue, this (Sunday) afternoon at 2 o’clock.  Her remains will be taken to Greenwood for interment.”
  • She died on June 1, 1861
  • There is no record of internment in the Greenwood Cemetery under the name of Mary West.
  • Census records state she was born in New York
  • It is assumed she married Edward West sometime between his arrival to the US, from England, in 1839 and the birth of their first child, Joseph, in June of 1841
  • Edward was a butcher that worked in the Fulton Market.  He came from a long line of butchers that remained in England
  • Edward and Mary had six children
    • Joseph - born June 20, 1841   ---- presumed to be named after Edward’s father Joseph West
    • Anna Augusta - born Sept 25, 1843 -- presumed to be named after Edward’s mother - Annaugusta Druitt
    • Edward - born 1845 - presumed to be named after his father, Edward West
    • Margaret - born  Nov 26, 1847 - no record of this being a family name on the West side of the family
    • George - born June 18, 1849 - Edward had a brother named George
    • Thomas - born June 15, 1852 - Edward had a brother named Thomas, also the name of his maternal grandfather
  • Joseph West, Ann Augusta West, Margaret West, George West, Thomas West as well as a Louisa Hartell West were baptized in the Church of the Epiphany in NYC on Feb 2, 1861.   Their parents/sponsors were Edward and Mary Ann West living at 99 First Avenue.
  • Joseph West’s Civil War pension file includes his medical death certificate listing his mother as Mary Graham born in New York City
My hypotheses

Mary's parents were probably living in NYC the year that she was born, so there is a chance that one of the Grahams listed in the NYC Directory could be her father.

Mary's father could be a butcher and that is how she met Edward West.

Her father's name could be one of her children's names especially since Joseph, Anna and Edward were named after family members. Could Margaret be her mother's name? Could her father's name be George or Thomas?

Your Suggestions

Does anyone have any ideas on things to explore, places to look, questions to ask? I am looking for feedback and ideas to break down this brick wall.