Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sarah Ann Fox

Census records are the mainstay of U.S. family tree research.  Even though the 1850 census does not list the relationship of an individual living in the household to the head of household, quite often relationship is implied.  The screen shot below is part of a page from the 1850 census for St. Clair County, Michigan.  It is for William Perry and his wife, Sarah Ann Fox.

I know that the first five children are children of William and Sarah.  Frances Rector appears after the children, but before the three male individuals living in William Perry's household.  I should preface this discussion with the information that William Perry worked as a lumber estimator.  It was his job to estimate how much lumber a wood lot would produce.  In other words, the profitability of the wood lot depended on his estimation of how much board feet of lumber it would produce.  He also would oversee the harvesting of the trees, keeping track of the lumber production.

The three males living in William's household are undoubtedly workers for one of his lumbering operations.  At least I cannot locate any more information on this trio.  Frances Rector is the individual that I was more curious about.  Who was she?  More importantly, why was she living in William Perry's household?  I've always found tracing every individual living in a person's household a requirement for solving a 'brick wall' ancestor problem.  

If you do a quick search of St. Clair County marriages you will find the 23 Nov 1856 marriage of Frances Rector to George Sills.  For years I had assumed this was the marriage of the Frances Rector living in William Perry's household.  She said she was 18 at the time of her marriage, making her birth year 1838.  This must be her.  You should always revisit your research, especially when new databases come online.  This is the case for the Seeking Michigan website.  This site is a must for anyone researching Michigan roots.  The image below is the death certificate for Sarah Ann Perry.

The death certificate states Sarah Ann Perry's parents were Joel Fox and Mary Forbes.  Remember, in my last post, I mentioned Henry Fox living a few households away in the 1840 census has a father Joel Fox.  The witness for the death certificate is Sarah's grandson, whom she raised after the untimely death of her daughter, Sophia.  The death record also gave me the date of death for Sarah.  The result of this I will discuss in my next post.

Remember Frances Rector?  I was playing around with the Seeking Michigan website and found a very interesting death certificate.  Whenever a database allows an 'advanced search' option, you should always select it!  I decided to search the Michigan death certificates for any record in which the 'father of the deceased' was named Rector.  The record below is what I found.

The death record is for Frances L. A. Delamater.  She dies in Saginaw and her parents are listed as John Rector and Mary Forbes.  Her date of birth, 1835, reasonably matches the date of 1838 for the child living in William Perry's 1850 household.  Could Mary Forbes have outlived Joel Perry and married a second time to John Rector?  If this is the case, Frances Rector was Sarah Ann's half sister!  Had I not revisited my research, I would never have uncovered these records.  I'll also discuss what I did with this record on my next post...

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