October 17, 2014

My Top 10 Genealogy Mysteries

My Top 10 Genealogy Mysteries

A Facebook friend recently posted her top 10 Genealogy Mysteries.  They aren't brick walls because there is probably an answer somewhere, just waiting to be found.

I thought this was a great idea and I am following suit with my Top 10 Genealogy Mysteries. Of course any help or suggestions for further research are welcome. 

Here is my Number 1 of 10 Genealogy Mysteries:

Elizabeth Jamieson nee Shuart born ca 1801-1805 in New York or New Jersey

Elizabeth Shuart was born circa 1801-1805 in New York or New Jersey. At some time before 1835 she settled in Upper Canada (present day Ontario) and married James Jamieson from Ireland. Evidence and clues point to her being the daughter of  Henry Shuart and Rachel De Graw.

The only confirmed census records I have found for Elizabeth is the 1851 census for Flamboro West, Wentworth County Ontario. The family consisted then of

* James Jameson, 65, b Ireland, cooper
* Elizabeth 50 b United States
* James 16 b Ontario
* Lydia 14 b Ontario (my ancestor)
* George 10 b Ontario
 James disappears after 1851.  I found their sons James and  George in Michigan in 1870 and George in 1861.

George Henry Jamieson

In 1870 George Jamieson is in Austin, Sanilac, Michigan and next door is his brother James Jamieson

In 1880 George is Boone, Wexford, Michigan

In 1900 and 1910 George is found in Peninsula, Grand Traverse, Michigan. In both these census records he states that his mother (Elizabeth Shuart ) was born in New Jersey. In 1920 in the same location he says she was born in England which is not correct, so quite likely someone else in the household provided the information to the census taker.

George states in census records that he immigrated to USA from Canada in 1863 or 1864 which means he should be somewhere in the 1861 census in Ontario and fits with my findings. 

George's death record shows the following:

George Henry Jamieson
Birth: 17 Mar 1843 - Canada
Death: 18 Sep 1929 - Peninsula, Grand Traverse, Michigan
Spouse: Emily Squire
Father James Jamieson
Mother Elizabeth Shuirit [sic]

James Jamieson Jr.

Now for the contradictions: In 1880 James Jamieson (brother of George above) is found in Chase, Lake, Michigan. He says his mother (Elizabeth Shuart Jamieson) was born in Pennsylvania.

In 1900 James is found in Amber, Mason, Michigan. Here he claims his mother's place of birth was New York.

In 1910 and 1920 James is in Ludington Ward 1, Mason, Michigan and again states that his mother was born in Pennsylvania.

James gives his year of immigration as 1860 and 1861 in various census records but I have not found him in any census for those years in either USA or Canada. I believe I have found him enlisting in the Civil War in a Michigan regiment as a Private on 14 September 1864 at the age of 26.

Lydia Jamieson Vollick

George and James' sister Lydia is my direct ancestor and she married Isaac Vollick sometime before 1858. She is found with Isaac in the 1861 census for East Flamborough Tp Wentworth County and I have a good record of their lives up to their deaths near Hillsdale, Simcoe County Ontario in 1917 (Lydia) and 1904 (Isaac)


Rumour has it that Elizabeth Shuart Jamieson remarried twice after her husband James Jamieson's death. One marriage was said to be to a man named Decker, another to a man named Hunt.
I  found an intriguing 1861 census entry for 1861 Beverley Twp, Wentworth County Ontario

Decker, Richard, local preacher, 80 married 1806, b NY, Methodist
Elizabeth, 53 b Canada West
One name above is George Jamieson, age 18 b Canada West, labourer. This fits with James Jamieson and Elizabeth Shuart's son George's year of birth. 
Richard Decker appears to have died in 1868. See his gravestone. My next find was a marriage record in Beverley Twp, Wentworth Co. Ontario on 14 Oct 1869

Robert Hunt, 71, widower, farmer, born Ireland, Waterloo s/o John Hunt & Ann m Elizabeth Decker, 64, widow, born USA, living in Beverly, d/o Henry & Rachel ( no last name given). wtn. R.E. & S.A. Jameson of Beverley on 14 October 1869 in Beverly

Could this be my Elizabeth Jamieson? Henry and Rachel were the names of her parents.

Two more records in Grey County Ontario were found which add to the mystery and may or may not be for my Elizabeth.

Firsr is the death of Robert Hunt, farmer, 88, born Ireland died on April 4, 1887. Second is the death of Elizabeth Hunt, farmer's wife, 82,  died on April 11, 1887. Rev. Husband of Holstein was the informant in both these deaths and Dr. Brown was the doctor for both.  I believe these could very well be my Elizabeth Jamieson and husband Robert Hunt.

The Genealogy Mystery

Is this my Elizabeth Jamieson? Did she marry secondly Richard Decker and thirdly Robert Hunt? Did she die in 1887 in Grey Co. Ontario?

Summary of my findings for Elizabeth Shuart

  • 1801-1806 born in USA to Henry Shuart & Rachel DeGraw
  • 1851 census Flamborough West, Wentworth Co. Ontario with husband James Jamieson and children George, Lydia and James
  • 1851-1861 probable death of James Jamieson
  • 1861 census Beverly Twp, Wentworth Co. Ontario with husband Richard Decker and son George Jamieson nearby 
  • 1868 Death of Richard Decker
  • 1869 Marriage of Elizabeth Decker, widow, to Robert Hunt
  • 1871 census  Elizabeth and Robert Hunt are  found in Egremont, Grey Co.
  • 1881 census Elizabeth (born USA) and Robert Hunt are in Egremont, Grey Co.
  • 1887 Deaths of Robert Hunt and Elizabeth Hunt in Egremont, Grey Co. Ontario
What do I want to know?
  1. I want proof that my theories of Elizbeth marriages and deaths are correct OR proof that they are wrong!
  2. I want to know when James Jamieson died and where he is buried.
Miscellaneous Information

Children of Henry and Rachel (DeGraw) Shuart are
  • Joseph Shuart born ca 1790  married Christina
  • Lydia Shuart born ca 1794 NY or Pennsylvania m1 Job Skinner and m2 James McGarry
  • Margaret (Peggy) Shuart born ca 1798 NY or Pennsylvania  married Adonijah Taylor
  • Mary (Polly) Shuart born ca 1798 possbily in Pennsylvania married Joseph Mellick
  • Ellizabeth Shuart born ca 1801-1805 New York or New Jersey m1 James Jamieson m2 Richard Decker? m3 Robert Hunt?
  • Hiram Shuart born ca 1810 possibly in Pennsylvania  married Catherine Alice Skinner.
  • possibly Leah Shuart

All of these individuals settled in Ontario. It is believed that their mother Rachel (De Graw) Shuart also settled in Ontario as a widow.


Diane Scannell said...

Thank you for opening this topic. I would like to share my Number 1 Genealogy Mysteries here.

Who was Eunice?

She was born in 1801, somewhere in Canada, per information on a cemetery extraction record on file in the Genealogical Society Library, Ameliasburgh, ON.

By 1823 she was married to Victory Sykes and was found listed with Victory as parents on each of their children’s marriage records. From the time of her marriage until her death, she lived in Sophiasburg, Prince Edward County, Ontario. All of her children were born in Sophiasburg according to their other records. I do not have Canadian birth records, or church records for the children. The Library and Archives Canada does not have a single entry for Sykes or Sikes in the database for births, marriages, and deaths, in the database for marriage bonds, or the list of licenses issued.

Eunice died 22 Jul 1841, and was buried in the Bethel-Doxee Cemetery where her headstone states “wife of Victory”. (Extraction of Bethel/Doxee Cemetery recording from Quinte Branch, Ontario Gen. Society and corres w/Amy Vader, Archive Volunteer (1998-2002). Cemetery Photographs.)

Searches at the online site for the Quinte Branch of OGS reveal 5 records for Victory and two mentioning Eunice. At least one each for Victory and Eunice reference the above mentioned cemetery extraction. The other 4 references for Victory are for a different man, who I have not been able to connect to my family. The second reference for Eunice is, I believe, new since my last contact with a research volunteer.

Eunice named her first son Alphens (or Alfred) Carpenter Sykes. It is possible her maiden name might have been Carpenter.

Eunice named her second son Delavergne Sykes. I have found the surname Delavergne in Quebec records, and this may have been her maiden name. I have also considered de Lavergne as a possibility, but without a marriage record for Victory and Eunice (using any of these surnames), I can not place her in a proper family with her parents.

Eunice named her third son John F. Sykes. All records located for him (very few) give only a middle initial. Eunice had two other sons, William and Edwin/Edward who had no middle name or initial, and two daughters with middle initials -- Sarah C. and Harriet S.

Eunice’s husband, Victory Sykes, remarried (Anna D.) sometime after Eunice died (no marriage record found) and he moved his famly to Dane County, Wisconsin where they finally left a nice paper trail. Victory died 05 Jan 1870 and is buried in Forest Hill Cemetery in Madison, WI under a headstone bearing the insignia of the Knights Templar, the Cross and Crown.

No Canadian census records exist for the 40 years of Eunice’s life and she appears to have escaped being mentioned in any documents, manuscripts, or histories of church or county. Eunice is my number one genealogy mystery!

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Diane - nice challenge! You have done a lot of work but have you seen this mention of your Eunice's burial? It is in a page of James Noxon's account book.


Also you might want to look for tax/assessment records for pre 1841. Many townships have them.

Next, what about land records? Did you search the CLRI? You can read about that at http://www.olivetreegenealogy.com/can/ont/clri.shtml

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Diane- continuing...

In Journals of the Legislative Council of the Province of Canada, Volume 1, is ref to Victory Sykes, shoemaker, in Sophiasburgh. It is dated Feb 1831. You can view it here


Anonymous said...

Can anyone post a mystery case?

Diane Scannell said...

Lorine, Thank you for the links to James Noxon's account book, and the Journals of the Legislative Council. Both were new to me. I also had not looked at land or taxes. Until just a year or two ago, access to the Canadian records has not been "easy" from the States and sadly some tasks get pushed to the back burner when other lines are easier to research.

In 2007 I was fortunate to be able to visit Ontario and during my trip I met with the lovely volunteer who worked with me on the records available in the Quinte Branch of the archives, as well as the local libraries and historical societies. In addition to visiting one of the libraries, we also visited the cemetery where Eunice is buried.

Seeing the record stating Victory was a shoemaker was very interesting. I have (some where in my papers from Amy) a news clipping about the tannery owned by John Carrington and Victory Sykes burning ca 1858. After Victory moved to Madison, Wisconsin, he continued to work as a tanner.

Things get a little sticky here and this may become my Mystery #2. I mentioned before a different Victory in the area. My Victory was born 27 Apr 1801 in Dorset, Bennington, Vermont while the other Victory was born in 1824 in Boston, married to Caroline Rutter in 1851, had a son Alexander Van Alstine Sykes who married Emma Martin and had two sons, Royal Harold Sykes and Lorne Martin Sykes. I wrote to Lorne before he passed away, but never heard from him. This Victory died in 1908 and is buried in Glenwood Cem., Picton, as is Alexander.

Another researcher has posted on the Genforum query pages that this Victory was the partner of his relative, John Carrington, in the ownership of the tannery. One of my cousins believes this to be the same man in spite of the different birth year, but I have too much information on both men and know they can not be the same individual. So, who was the partner in the tannery? My Victory or the man 23 years younger?

In any case, this side track doesn't offer any clues to Eunice... *grin* ... so I'll leave that for another day.

I will follow up on the tax and land clues you suggest. Thank you for your interest and help!