Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sorting out the Marys

It has probably happened to almost everyone who works on their family tree. You find a record in an area that you know your relative either lived or had living relatives and might have visited. You get excited. "One more record to verify Aunt Mary's age! Woohoo!" You quickly add the record to your family tree and move on to the next tantalizing hint or quivering leaf.

And then, perhaps later that day, or months later, you discover that the person in the record you so excitedly added to your tree was not your relative. Or the person is related to you, but the record is attached to the wrong relative. You correct your error and move on. You may even forget it happened.

Until you discover that someone else either copied your work (OK, so we share finds), found the same record you did and made the same error, or copied someone else's mistakenly linked record. You politely contact the person and fill in the blanks, so he or she can make the corrections for your ancestor.

And that person counters with something like, "Are you certain?" Are you? Have you kept up with your documentation? If you had to prove it, could you?

Yep, you guessed it! This just happened to me. Two Mary's with the same maiden name and almost the same year of birth, born in two different states, marry two Frank's with the same surname, born in the same state and county about 10 years apart. Below is my reasoning and proof. How did I do?

Theory: Mary E. Heise Root of Camden and Columbia, SC is not the same person as Mary Root, wife of Francis Root, buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Southington, CT (FindAGrave memorial id 68137812.)

Proof: We are dealing with two Francis Roots and two Mary Roots. Francis and Mary Root live in South Carolina in 1850 and 1860, although Francis is deceased by 1860. Another Francis and Mary Root live in Connecticut in 1850 and 1860, although Mary dies in 1853.

A Mary Root appears in the 1860 Columbia, SC census and the 1850 Camden, SC census. Her age on both is consistent with her being the same person. Although her husband, Francis, is absent from the 1860 census,

A Mary and a Francis Root are enumerated in the 1850 census, living in Southington, Connecticut. They have children, and these children's names do not correspond with the names and ages of the children of Mary and Francis Root in the 1850 Camden, SC census or the 1860 Columbia, SC census.

The names and ages of the children of Mary and Francis Root in the 1850 Connecticut census correspond with the names and ages of the children of the 1860 Francis and Bridget Root, living in New Haven, Connecticut. This would be consistent with Mary Root of the 1850 Connecticut census dying in Connecticut in 1853 and her Francis remarrying prior to the 1860 Connecticut census. Family trees I found for this Francis Root list his parents as Amzi and Anna Root. I have not verified this Francis Root's parents, so please do not quote this as fact.

Also, in the 1860 Connecticut Francis Root census record, he has a daughter aged 9, Anna. This also fits with the other name on Mary Root's Oak Hill Cemetery (Southington, CT) tombstone: Annie, died 1867, aged 16.

1850 Southington, CT Census                                               1860 New Haven, CT Census
Francis A Root 27                                                                  Francis A Root 37
Mary Root 30                                                                         Bridget A Root 31
George D Root 7                                                                    George D Root 17
Levi F Root 5                                                                         Levi F Root 15
Charles E Root 2                                                                    Charles E Root 13
Polly Thorp 64
                                                                  *under the age of 10; not on 1850 census
                                                                                             *Anna M Root 9
                                                                                             *James H Root 2
                                                                                             *Bernard W Root 11/12

                                                                   ** not on 1860 census
1850 Camden, SC Census                                                     1860 Columbia, SC Census
Francis Root 40                                                                      **dies between 1850 and 1860
Mary Root 29                                                                         Mary E Root 40
Maria Root 13                                                                        **married
John Root 10                                                                          John L Root 21
Francis Root 9                                                                        Francis B Root 20
Ida Root 4                                                                              Ida H Root 15
Caroline Root 1                                                                      Caroline C Root 11
Elizh Root 17                                                                          **married

So, we have two Francis Roots and two Mary Roots. The two Francis Roots may be related. I haven't finished that research yet. However, the two Francis Roots are not the same person. And the two Mary Roots are not the same person.

I am still trying to locate documentation on the date of death and place of burial for the SC Francis (Frank) and Mary Root. If you have any clues, please share.