Friday, October 22, 2010

Will the real Joel Fox please stand up...

I find creating a table of facts can sometimes illuminate an otherwise confusing problem.  I listed what I know about Sarah Ann Fox's father Joel Fox and Henry Fox's father Joel Fox.  The information is displayed in the table below.  I hadn't realized just how much information I had collected.
Sarah Fox's Joel
Henry Fox's Joel
Date of Birth
Circa 1795 to 1802
Prior to 1786 based on birth of Henry
Place of Birth
Saybrook, Connecticut

Birth of Henry Fox in CT
Before 1820 Mary Forbes
Before 1810 Ellathene Mac
Birth of Gustavus Fox in CT
Batavia, Genesee, New York
Deerfield, Oneida, New York
Birth of Sarah Fox in Deerfield, NY
1827 - 1830
Clinton, Macomb, Michigan
Deceased based on birth of Frances Rector
Looking at the table of information, I am almost certain I am looking for two different Joel Foxes.  Notice how Henry’s Joel Fox had at least 2 children by 1810, but when I see the 1820 census for Sarah’s Joel, he has only one female child living in the household.  He should have had two male children in the household, too.  Of course I guess you could argue that the two boys may have been living somewhere else.  The other thing that makes me think there are two Joel Foxes is Henry’s Joel is living in Batavia, New York in 1815 and in 1820, Sarah’s Joel is living in Deerfield, Oneida County, New York.  Is it impossible for these records to represent the same Joel, obviously not; however this would be the opposite migration route for the vast majority of pioneers.  It would be like a fish swimming upstream.
The map below shows the common migration route immigrants took as the western areas of New York became open to settlement.  The road our ancestors traveled down is called the Great Genesee Trail.  It’s my understanding this was an Indian trail of great antiquity.  What jumped out at me is that the trail starts in Utica, New York and ends at Buffalo, New York after going through Batavia, New York.  If Henry’s Joel moved to Canada in 1823, the obvious crossing spot would have to be Buffalo.  So what does this map mean?  It means that both Joel Foxes likely came through Utica! 
The nice thing about making a timeline table is that it points out areas for further research.  So now the Fox hunt is on again.  First, I thought I would try to find Henry’s Joel Fox in the 1820 census.  This would almost guarantee I have two separate Joel Foxes as I already have Sarah’s Joel Fox in Oneida County, New York.      

1 comment:

  1. Reading about your Fox Hunt makes me feel that I am not alone in an elusive ancestor hunt. Only the name that is evading me is Bowser and in Western PA.