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January 27, 2016

Solving a Challenging Genealogy Puzzle: Finding Rachel Part 3

For anyone just joining me, you will want to read  Solving a Challenging Genealogy Puzzle: Finding Rachel Part 1 and Part 2 before you read Part 3.

Here is what I have accomplished so far in my search for Rachel.

I put together a decent timeline of Rachel Van Slyke during her lifetime. I discovered a couple I believe to be her parents. Just to remind everyone, my theory is that James H. Van Slyke, possibly born Pennsylvania and Sarah Ann McCready, probably born Missouri were Rachel's parents.

Here is a summary of what I found on James and Sarah Ann:

* April 1841 James Van Slyke of Van Buren Co. Missouri marries Sarah Ann McCready in Henry Co. Missouri
* April/May 1843 James H. Van Slyke of Van Buren Co. receives land in Bates Co. Missouri
* March 1856 James Van Slyke receives land in Jasper Co. Missouri
* July 1859 Sarah Ann Van Slyke marries James Wilkerson in Jasper Co.
* 1860 Rachel Vansback [sic], 9 years old is living with James Wilkerson's mother in Jasper Co.

Since James Van Slyke and Sarah Ann McCready were married in 1841 and Rachel was not born until 1850, I suggest there may have been other children born to this couple between 1841 and Sarah Ann's second marriage in 1859.

So my next research decision was to search census records for any Van Slyke individuals born in Missouri 1841-1860. (I chose 1860 as the end year assuming Sarah might have been pregnant with a Van Slyke baby at the time of her marriage)

So as not to prolong the suspense, I found two Van Slyke males born at the right time in the right place to be siblings of Rachel. Here's the summary for William M. Van Slyke born February 1842 Bates Co. Missouri and James Franklin Van Slyke born January 1853 Missouri. My census research was done on  Note that "nf" means "not found"

William M. Van Slyke aka Slack aka Vanslack 1842-1909 James Franklin Van Slyke aka Van Slack 1853-1937 Rachel Ann Van Slyke aka Bridges 1850-1931
1850 n.f. 1850 n.f.  - not born yet 1850 n.f.  - not born yet
1860 Census Prairie, Chariton,Missouri William Slack [sic] age 17 1860 n.f. 1860 Census Jackson, Jasper County Missouri. Rachel Vansback [sic], 9 living with Wilkerson family
18 May 1864. Warrensburg Larceny charges re stealing a horse from “Mrs. Pitts”. Residence given as Henry Co. Charges dismissed (as Van Slack) 1870 Grand River Township, Henry County Missouri. James Vanslike [sic] age 16 with Lewis family 1868 Benton County Missouri. Rachel Van Slyke of Benton Co. marries Alfred E. Bridges of Henry Co.
3 Sept 1864 Enlisted at Warrensburg MO 45th Inf. MO age 22 (as Wm M Van Slyke) married 1870-1880 1870 Census Grand River, Henry Co. Missouri. Edmund Bridges a farmer age 27 born Ohio, wife Ann 20 born Missouri 
5 July 1865 St Louis MO
1 Oct 1865 re-enlisted 50th Inf MO
1880  Tebo, Henry, Missouri. James Van Slack [sic] 26 with wife Elzina. parents b PA 1880 Census Windsor, Henry County, Missouri. Rachel 24 (recorded as Reichiel) born Missouri married to Edmon [sic] 37 born Ohio
1 Oct. 1865 marriage record for William Van Slyke marrying in Benton Co. to Louisa Teter. Bride and groom living in Pettis County 1890 n.f. 1900 Census Windsor, Henry County Missouri. Rachel A. Bridges, 50, born January 1850.Married to Alfred E. Bridges
1870 n.f. 1900 Census Jefferson, Johnson, Missouri. James F. Van Slyck 47, pa b. PA, ma MO 1910 Census Franklin Street, Windsor, Henry County, Missouri. R. A. Bridges, 60 years old. Married to A. E. Bridges age 67
1880 Windsor, Henry Co. Missouri 1910 Census Green Ridge, Pettis, Missouri. James. D [sic] Van Slyke 57. pa b. PA 1920 Census Franklin Street, Windsor, Henry County, Missouri. Rachel A. Bridges, 69 widow
1890 Special Census for  Surviving Soldiers, Widows of Civil War: Rich Hill, 2nd Ward, Bates Co. MO 1920 Felt St. Windsor, Henry, Missouri. James F. Van Slyke 67. pa b. PA. ma MO 1930 Census for Windsor, Henry County, Missouri. Rachel Bridges, 80 year old widow in Windsor, Henry County. Pa born in Pennsylvania, ma Missouri
1900 Keokuk, Lincoln Co. Oklahoma misindexed as Vandyke on Ancestry. Pa b PA, ma OH 1930 Census El Dorado Springs, Cedar, Missouri. James F. Van Slyke 77. pa b. PA Feb 25 1931 Windsor, Henry Co, MO - bur: Feb 26 1931 Laurel Oak Cemetery
16 Aug. 1909 Widow Filed for Civil War Pension Death 21 Dec. 1937. Registered Bates Co. MO, burial Windsor, Henry Co. MO.  shows dob Jan. 11, 1853. Mother Ann McCready ---

Naturally there are more clues and information to be found on each of the images for these records above.  We can see at a glance that the father is most often listed as born in Pennsylvania so that is certainly a clue I would follow further. 

The circumstantial evidence is strong (notice the geographic locations) and supports my theory that James H. Van Slyke and Sarah Ann McCready had at least three children: Willliam M. born February 1842, Rachel Ann born January 1850 and James Franklin born January 1853. 

It seems quite plausible that James the father died or deserted the family and that Sarah the mother remarried. I have found no trace of Sarah or her second husband James Wilkerson after their marriage in 1859. The fact that the children seem to have gone to live with other families makes me suspect they may have died soon after their marriage. 

In part 4 I will list all the circumstantial evidence that leads me to my conclusion that James H. Van Slyke and Sarah Ann McCready were the parents of Rachel Ann Van Slyke who married Alfred Edmund Bridges, and that Rachel had two siblings - William M. Van Slyke and James Franklin Van Slyke.


T said...

FINALLY! Someone who uses the words circumstantial, leads me to believe, and all those words that are appropriate in our sometimes never ending search for facts. Especially when those facts can't be proven. If nobody wrote it down circumstantial is all there ever will be.

jeannemb said...

how do i find part 4??? want to know what happened.

Olive Tree Genealogy said...

Dear unknown:

See the labels at the bottom of the post? Click on the one called "Finding Rachel"

Wendy Callahan said...

I'm enjoying this, because what I think is the answer to my most frustrating brick wall is built on strong circumstantial evidence. Reading this series is a great reminder that it's not just about filling out a pedigree chart. We need to use timelines and put together entire family groups to find our answers sometimes!

Olive Tree Genealogy said...

Wendy I am so glad you are finding this series helpful! I loved doing them - solving the puzzle is the best part of genealogy :-)