Monday, June 8, 2015

Matrilineal Monday - How I messed up my GPS

Why am I writing about a Global Positioning System on my genealogy blog? And how did you mess it up, Deb?

OK first things first - I'm not talking about the Global Positioning Systems that some people have in their vehicles.

I'm talking about the Genealogical Proof Standard that the Board for Certification of Genealogists has had in place for several years. More information about it can be found here.

Many times when researching a particular parent to child connection we begin creating a GPS without knowing it. You know the ones where you have a hunch, theory, funny feeling or sneaking suspicion that person A is the child of person B. But you can't find a document proving it. So what do you do?  NO - give up is not the answer I was going for! If you're like me you start pulling all of the documents you can get your hands on for those two people.

This is what I had done for Charity, wife of Jesse Lile, the grandfather of my great-grandmother (Annie Elizabeth Lile Shofner). I had found Jesse Lile connected to my great-grandmother Annie Elizabeth Lile in several documents. So I had been able to piece together that she was illegitimate and his granddaughter.

So with this new branch of the family I started getting information about Jesse, his wife and their children. I find them in the 1870 Green County, Kentucky listed as:
Lile, Jesse H - 38 year old White Male Works on Farm born in Kentucky
Charity          - 39 year old White Female Keeping House born in Kentucky
Henriahreta  -14 year old White Female no occupation born in Indiana
Euphama     - 11 year old White Female no occupation born in Indiana
Mary H.       - 7 year old White Female no occupation born in Indiana
Wow what a bunch of unusual names. Of the three girls, which I suspect are daughters, two of them have very unusual names for girls of this time frame.

So I follow them backward to the 1860 census where I find them living in Switzerland County, Indiana. This makes sense because the daughters are all listed as being born in Indiana. So I find them as:
Jesse H Lile - 27 year old White Male Farmer born in Kentucky
Charity J      - 29 year old White Female no occupation born in Kentucky
Henrietta     - 5 year old White Female no occupation born in Indiana
Eupamy      - 1 year old White Female no occupation born in Indiana
Here we have them 10 years younger with the same girls as listed in 1870, minus Mary H who has not been born yet.

At this point I was starting to try and find a marriage date and place for them. Well I kept looking.

1850 finds Jesse in his parents household living in Hart County, Kentucky. Well maybe they got married there.......oh crap did I say Hart County Kentucky! I did....well that pretty much spells doom on finding a marriage for them. Most of Hart County records were destroyed in a 1927 courthouse fire. Now I know not all of Hart County's records were destroyed, but enough of them were to make finding a marriage record for them very difficult.

So, I start going back over the information I do have to see if I overlooked something that might help. You know the whole Friends, Associates and Neighbors.

Oh, here's something. In the 1860 and 1870 censuses Jesse and Charity are living next door to a Banta family. Pretty cool in itself but what makes this even MORE important is that they are two different Banta families. Hmm, interesting.

In the 1870 Green County Kentucky census I find a William L Banta age 42 and what appears to be his wife and children living next door. Oh look he was born in Kentucky and his wife and children were born in Indiana.

While in the 1860 Switzerland County Indiana census living next door to Jesse and Charity is a Samuel H Banta age 33 and what appears to be his wife, Susan H age 28 both born in Kentucky with Mary E age 8 and Susan J age 5 both born in Indiana.

Well this picture is getting really interesting know. Oh wait what's this: on the other side of Jessie and Charity in 1860 is a Alexander Harper age 68 born in Scotland with a wife named Euphema age 52 born in Kentucky. This CAN'T be a coincidence, can it?

Ok so I go back to the 1850 Hart County Kentucky Census (playing the odds that Charity is living there) and do a search for any person with the name of Charity living in the county. Hmm, I find 5 and 2 of them have the Banta last name, while only one of these two are the age of Jesse's wife.

Well let's look at this Charity Banta's family structure:
Banta, Albert  - 47 year old White Male farmer born in Kentucky
           Mary    - 51 year old White Female no occupation born in Kentucky
           Samuel H - 24 year old White Male farmer born in Kentucky
           Susan       - 19 year old White Female no occupation born in Kentucky
           William L - 22 year old White Male no occupation born in Kentucky
           Charaty    - 19 year old White Female no occupation born in Kentucky
           Hanah R.  - 11 year old White Female no occupation born in Kentucky
Jackson, Euphama - 39 year old White Female no occupation born in Kentucky
Holy Cow, what a nice little package I have here. Several things jump out at me at once. First both Samuel H and Susan listed here are not children of Albert and Mary. Samuel H is their child, Susan is his wife and they are the next door neighbors of Jesse and Charity in the 1860 Switzerland County Indiana census. Second the William L listed here is the 1870 Green County Kentucky neighbors of Jesse and Charity. Third Euphama.....that's really all that needs to be said about that! I mean how can you not tie this family to my Charity.....I have the Euphama link.

So now I think I have Charity's family......her maiden name is Banta. I was able to prove it (to my satisfaction) using a pretty descent Genealogical Proof Standard. I will get a couple more records that Jesse and Charity generated over their lives.....
his second marriage record, their children's marriage record (hoping it lists their mother's maiden name), Charity's 1898 obituary from the newspaper (big help there - she's listed as Mrs Jesse Lile - no maiden name), his Civil War Pension file (yeah that would be nice to get - it has his second wife listed - maybe it will have his first wife's maiden name.....nope none that I see), his obituary, his will......
yawn yawn, nothing that PROVES Charity's maiden name. Well it's good that I have the proof standard to go by.

Fast forward 5 years (or so) I am now explaining my theory to a distant cousin on the Lile family.
The cousin's email to me (paraphrased) oh, yeah that's good Deb....yeah I see where you're going with this....oh could this be them? I did a google search for Charity Banta and found a marriage record in Ripley County Indiana.
I then look at the link she provided me and wow oh wow it's them getting married in 1855.....I do a little happy dance and then a little more digging and find Euphama Jackson marrying Alexander Harper in Ripley County in 1855. Then I follow Charity's father forward in the census and find him living guessed it Ripley County Indiana in 1860.

Good times. So all is well with proving Charity's maiden name....I put a descent argument together that she was a Banta...then it was proven by the marriage record. Yeah.....Wait what is this in Jesse's Civil War Pension file (that I've had in my possession for several years)....
"That the soldier was previously married to Charity J Banta January 14, 1855, who died....."
Seriously....are you kidding me? I had it in my records for the last 2 years.....So two documents that messed up my beautiful GPS!

Of course I am writing this as a joke. Me "messing up my GPS" is just another way of saying I should have analyzed the documents I already had in my possession. But I am also excited to know I had a theory and was able to get the documents together to prove it.

Hope you enjoyed, glad you stopped by and please come back again ;)

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