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Menzies

Why I Blog

This Monday, I posted my Mystery Monday post on Duncan Walker’s family. When I first started posting Mystery Mondays, it was with the hope that some day I used the right keywords for a Google search to send answers my way. Maybe I’d get lucky and someone would be able to discern a place or the time period of a photo to help me.

This week, more then I expected happened. At some point last week, I received some blog comments from Grace Leonard (Hi Grace!). I quickly shot off an email to her because she’s connected to me through the Love/Menzies line and I just loooove that line (pun intended). Plus it’s so rare that I get people actually researching the same lines as me, I couldn’t let her comments go unanswered!

It turns out Grace is a little more familiar with the Love line then I am! In fact, she could identify Duncan Walker and his family! Oh gosh, it felt like Christmas! According to Grace and the dearly missed Everett Leonard, Duncan Walker married William Wallace Love‘s sister Martha! Now all I have to do is find the documentation to back it up!

Grace also let me know that it isn’t easy to get Jane Menzies-Love‘s death certificate. It’s getting harder and harder to get information about this woman and the circumstances surrounding her death! I’m thinking ordering the 1890 Essex County, NJ deaths microfilm from the Family History Center might be the best bet.  I’m chomping at the bit to get going on my New Jersey research and I think I might overcome my shyness to finally go in and order my first microfilm!

Also, a few changes:

As of yesterday I turned off the captcha filter on the website. I didn’t realize how much people hated it! No one complained to me about it here but if this makes it easier for people to enjoy my blog, then it’s a change I’m more than happy to make! I also turned off the requirement for an email address. Emails are never published on the blog, but they are viewable to me in the administrative side. I was only utilizing that to get back to people who were seeking family information. So if you’re looking for information, be sure to leave your email or look in the sidebar for my email!

Hopefully this blog will be easier to navigate in the coming months when my site redesign is finished. If I have to pull some late nights I’m determined to finish this once and for all! It’s driving me bonkers! I’ve mainly been focusing on the content, but now that I’m into a rhythm, I think it’s time to finally make that design I’ve wanted from the beginning!

Unknown Cityscape

Yes I am still incapable of posting without the use of a picture. 🙂

Finding Helen

I decided to take a break from my Mays family this weekend. I love them, but they’re migraines waiting to happen. Researching the Mays family gives me the same feeling I get after I’ve taken a dose of Benadryl. Like I’ve got a head full of fog.

When I got started, I just typed in Helen Menzies at FamilySearch. She’s one I have information on but I still wasn’t able to find her after she left the family house between the 1841 and 1851 England censuses. I know from William Menzies letter that Helen/Ellen was married to a man named Charles, who traveled, and she had more than one son.

I found this record on FamilySearch and it matches beautifully!

What I like about this record:

  1. I like that it shows the use of the name Ellen. Helen seems to have gone by that name on a day to day basis in her adult years.
  2. I like the husband’s name of Charles. For some reason the Scott also sounds familiar but none of my records show anything for that so I’m not going to put stock in that one.
  3. Liverpool, England as the place of marriage. The Menzies family spent a lot of years in Liverpool. It makes perfect sense that Helen would have been married there.
  4. Father listed as John Menzies. Helen’s father is John Menzies! It would be more extraordinary if John had a more unique name but I like that John matches.
  5. Birth year of 1833. I have Helen’s birth year to be around 1832 because of her entry in the 1841 England census.

What I don’t like about this record:

  1. I don’t like that the mother isn’t listed. I indexed British marriage records for FamilySearch though, so I know that they don’t show the mother on the record. What they do show is Father and father’s occupation. If I look at the microfilm and find Sawyer listed as John’s occupation, I’ll be 100% convinced.
  2. I don’t like the date of 1853. Helen isn’t living with her parents in the 1851 census, so where was she?

The next obvious step was to look at the 1861 census which would have been the first after Helen and Charles’ wedding.

What I like about this record:

  1. Helen’s birth year and birthplace. I have a Christening record for Helen in Morton by Thornhill, Dumfries, Scotland. So this fits perfectly.
  2. Jane as the name of the oldest daughter. As per the Scottish naming patterns I posted about previously, this fits perfectly. Helen’s mother’s name was Jane Ferris-Menzies.
  3. James as the name of the oldest son. If you look at the marriage record above. James Scott is listed as Charles’ father. This also fits in with the naming pattern.
  4. John as the name of the second son. Again, the naming pattern fits. John was Helen’s father.
  5. Believe it or not, I like that Charles isn’t listed on this census. I know that sounds weird but from William’s letter, I got the impression that Charles was away from home for business a lot. In 1863 he was away from home when one of his sons passed away. So his absence fits in with what I know about the family. It would also make sense if the 29 year old John Scott is Charles’ brother and is living with the family while Charles is gone.
  6. Living in a suburb of Liverpool. Again in William’s letter, he mentions that Helen lives in Liverpool and he wants to visit her or have her come to him.

What I don’t like about this record:

  1. There isn’t anything I don’t like about this record. It’s all very helpful!

Another thing about this census record, it shows that Helen’s 2 older children were born in Liverpool and her youngest in Scotland. The 29 year old John Scott is also listed as being born in Scotland. If he is really Charles’ family, then this would make sense on why they followed the Scottish naming patterns so closely.

Menzies News

The last time I posted about the Menzies family, I didn’t know anything about the members of the family who stayed in England. Only a few snippets I had from some letters between siblings, William and Jane. Using clues from those letters and a marriage record from the FamilySearch records, I think I’m getting somewhere with mapping out William’s life.

On FamilySearch I found a Liverpool marriage record between a William Menzies and Ellen Patterson. At first I was thinking it wasn’t much help, because how could I be sure it’s my guy. Then I remembered the Love-Menzies Family Outline. It has a bunch of Menzies information written at the bottom. At the bottom were a bunch of Walkers and Pattersons. Sure if the wife married in, the Patterson name would be lost. It’s a little too coincidental for me though! I haven’t marked anything down yet, but I’ve made note of the marriage record. My next step was to search the 1861 England Census to see if I could find my William with a wife named Ellen.

Here’s the entry I found in the 1861 census. These are the things I like about it.

  • The age is close and the birthplace is a match.
  • William’s occupation is Mechanical Dentist. Since his sibling was a druggist, I don’t think a dentist is a far stretch for his occupation. Still shaky, but not a big red flag.
  • The children’s names and ages. Both Ellen and William are family names (even matches the maybe wife).
  • This family is living in Derby, England. William’s Letter seems to be postmarked as being written in Derby.

Here is what I don’t like about it:

  • The wife is missing from this census. William is listed as being married. So his wife could be away from home, or maybe she passed away. I’m unsure. The reason I don’t like this is that in William’s Letter, he gives his wife’s love to his family. The letter is dated 1863. So while it’s not out of the realm of possibility, it doesn’t exactly help prove anything either. So this really does nothing for the FamilySearch record or the census record. I’m still left with no real evidence about William.
  • Overall, this is just vague enough to keep me from adding it to my records. I’ve saved the image and made note of this family in my OneNote Notebook to come back to later.
  • The family disappears in 1871. I can’t seem to find them anywhere in 1871. Does this mean William finally made it to America like he hoped? Or maybe he moved somewhere else. Could he have moved to London and that’s where this family comes into play?

Here is a fun fact that has nothing to do with proving anything:

  • When I’m searching in these British towns, I always do a quick Google Maps search of the area to see if the surname comes up anywhere. I figure it’s worth a shot and fun to boot. In Thornhill, I did find a Menzies listed as living there still. In Derby, all I found were the Menzies Hotels chain. I tried to find more about the chain but I didn’t see anything about how and when the business was established.

So this is where I’m at with the Menzies clan right now. I’m holding off on doing any heavy duty research until I’ve finished adding everything back into my good family file. Once I’ve done that I’ll probably order some of the microfilms from the Family History Center to get a little clarification on some of the Menzies children.

William’s Letter #2

After much debate with myself, I’m pretty sure this isn’t a second letter, but the second page of the first letter. I say that because of the context and because there wasn’t an address at the top of this one. So there ya go! Please note that I’m transcribing this as it is written. So spelling and grammar aren’t my fault! 🙂

click for full size image

Dear Jean, We have our troubles hear as well as you have in America all our troubles seems to come at once. I am very sorry to inform you, that Sister Ellen lost one of her little Boys last Saturday afternoon he died of Dropsey brought on by Scarlet Fever. Sister Ellen is in a sore way about him. There was no person at home but herself. Charles is in Alexandra Egypt and expects to stop there if he can get work he will be very much put about when he receives the news of the loss of his son. I would have gone down to Liverpool if I could off been spared Ellen was to bury him last Tuesday. I want her to come and spend a few weeks with me has soon as the wether gets warmer. I hope she will it will do her good I have forgotten to state in Alex letter that I shall be most happy to receive poor George. Lickeness, God Bless him I sincerely hope he is alive I will make Brothers Jamesh ?? as soon as I have time tell him to write a few lines to me when he as time you will please give mine and my wifes & childrens love to my mother and all my brothers and sisters and receive the same yourself. I will send you and mother a nice present before long you will excuse this short letter has I am afraid of its being over weight. Write soon again and believe me to remain your ever affectionate and loving Brother

W Menzies

William’s Letter #1

I was writing up a post about William Menzies. When I tried to find the entry where I transcribed his letter, I couldn’t find it! It’s here somewhere, but for some reason it’s disappeared and it’s not tagged with the Menzies surname. Don’t worry, I’m going to fix issues like these when I redo the site (which is still ongoing, code is so consuming but I love learning it). In the meantime, I’m going to devote this entry to William’s letter so it’s easy to find. Then I’m going next door to play with the dogs because I think I need a dose of cute.

click image for full size

Depot St Rosehill  (? Could be wrong)

Derby Jan 15 /63

My Dear Sister Jean,

I now avail myself of the present opportunity of answering your very affectionate and ever welcome letter, and at the same time thanking your for sending me the lock of poor Margrets hair which I intend having put in a broch. I am very sorry to hear such bad news from my Dear Friends in America and feel very much for my poor Mother. I wish I was there to comfort her in all her trouble. I expect to come and see you all some day has I am quite sure I will never stay in England all my life as I am quite tired of it, I want to come and see you, and I will never be satisfied until I do come if it is only for a visit for a few weeks. I am happy to learn that Brother John has been doing so very well has to aquire property and will be most happy to hear of his arrival amoungst you all in New York. I supose he is not married yet, let me know if your next if soon is the case

That’s where the letter ends. There’s possibly another page to the letter. This is just a photocopy given to me by my Aunt Diane. There are several more letters also. Possibly more than I have. I’ll post the second letter tomorrow!

Mystery Monday: The London Strangler

The article you see to your right was given to me by my Aunt Diane. Basically, her box of good stuff and my boxes of good stuff came from the same place! So she had a bunch of stuff that she gave me copies of when I first started researching heavily. In fact I think all of my Menzies documents were in her box.

Basically the article states (you can click it to view it full size), ‘Lady’ Menzies and her daughter were found dead in their home one morning. There’s even a bolded part that says “Airports and seaports got the descriptions of a middle-aged man and a handsome bearded young man with pierced ears”. To be honest this sounds right out of a modern paper!

Mystery #1: When does the article take place?

This was actually my first big challenge in genealogy. Trying to figure out when this way. Until I figured that out I wouldn’t be able to figure out who the article was talking about. After a lot of searching in various Newspaper databases, I found over 20 printings of this event. It took place in February of 1954! All the articles were a little different but they all gave mostly the same information.

Mystery #2: Who is ‘Lady’ Menzies?

The victims from the article are at first listed as ‘Lady’ Menzies and her daughter (Mrs Isobel Victoria Chesney). Over the next few days, papers are printing a little bit more. It turns out Mrs. Mary Menzies was the owner of an “old people’s home”. She was known by the name ‘Lady’ Menzies by everyone. She styled herself as Lady because her husband, the late Thomas C Menzies claimed he was the 10th baronet of the clan Menzies. However, peerage officials made an official announcement that despite Thomas’ claims, the title had become extinct. Mrs Menzies daughter, Isobel led quite an adventurous life. Depending on which article you read, police sorted through 3,000 to 4,000 “love letters” to get clues as to what happened. The letters dated back to 1934.

Mystery #3: Did they ever catch the killer?

Yes they did, and it’s a doozy folks! Once I found out the year and month of their murders, I was able to follow up pretty quickly. It turns out Isobel’s husband, Ronald Chesney was the culprit. Police believe Mr Chesney killed his wife to “get her 10,000 pound ($28,000) legacy and marry a pretty German sweetheart”. Five days after the murders Mr Chesney shot himself dead in Cologne, Germany after his girlfriend refused him. Apparently, she wasn’t impressed by his actions. That’s when the crazy details really started coming out. Ronald J Chesney was actually, John Donald Merrett. He was even tried for the murder of his mother in 1927! The jury gave a verdict of “not proven” in that case. Ronald/John was even the subject of a TIME Magazine article in March of 1954!

So what’s the mystery here?

Really the mystery I have is how this family is related to my Menzies family. I have a great clue in Thomas C Menzies and his claim. At first I was worried that the daughter, Isobel, was the Bell Brodie that was sending letters to Jane T Menzies. I quickly realized it was a completely different person. It should be noted that this Isobel Menzies lived in London and Bell Brodie lived in London, just in the 1860’s. So that could still be part of my connection. Also, do we really have that connection to Castle Menzies or did I inherit Thomas Menzies wishful thinking?

Sources

There were many, many news articles on this event. If you really want to have fun, try to NOT find this story in a newspaper of your choice! I’ll list just the ones I have copies of:

  1. 12 Feb 1954. Police Seek Stranglers. The Frederick (Maryland) News.
  2. 12 Feb 1954. Scotland Yard Investigates Double Murday. Ames (Iowa) Daily Tribune.
  3. 12 Feb 1954. British Claimant to Title and Daughter Slain. Bedford (Penn) Gazette.
  4. 12 Feb 1954. Strangler Kills 2 Women in London. Joplin (MO) Globe.
  5. 14 Feb 1954. Love Letters Sifted for Murder Clues. The Daily Independent (Kannapolis, NC).
  6. 15 Feb 1954. 3,000 Letters Received by Slain Woman. Fergus Falls (Minn) Daily Journal.
  7. 17 Feb 1954. Smuggler Added to Bizarre Murder List. News-Tribune (Fort Pierce, FL).
  8. 25 Mar 1954. Two Deaths Said Murders. Fergus Falls (Minn) Daily Journal.
  9. Mar 1954. Not Proven. TIME Magazine. Retrieved online (Nov 2007, Sep 2010): link.

Mystery Monday is an ongoing series I do on the blog, it is also now a GeneaBloggers daily blogging theme option! So let’s hear those mysteries!

Surname Saturday: Menzies

To be quite honest with you, I’ve started this post 8 different times. Each time I used way too many details then I really wanted to use. It’s just once I get started, I can’t stop! So here’s the run down on my Menzies family, without all the not-needed details.

My Menzies officially start with the marriage of John Menzies and Jane Ferris/Farish. Her last name could be either. I’m using Ferris in my database with an AKA of Farish, just to be safe. I recently found the Menzies family in Parish Registers that were indexed on FamilySearch. It shows the marriage of John and Jane on 27 May 1825. It also goes on to show the births and christenings/baptisms of their first 5 children (James, Margaret, Alexander, Helen, John). You can read about the place they are from in my last Google Earth Adventure. Their last 5 children (William, Charlotte, Mary, George, Jane) were born after the family moved to Liverpool, Lancashire, England. I’ve found 2 of the children in Parish Registers there.

In 1853, most of the family packed their bags and moved to America. Alexander was already settled there as a druggist and the family was living with him in 1860. I still have to trace the family that stayed in England. As for the family in America, I’ve found most of them in the New York City area. They seemed to stay close to each other. There are still some gaps to fill in but I hope to fill them in soon. It was from this original family that the Menzies married into the Loves.

Now we’ll get on to the bit of mystery from the naming patterns of yesterday. I did find a family that does match up very well with my Menzies family. If I’m correct, this is one more generation back. Looking at the Parish Registers for Morton by Thornhill, Scotland, I really think I may have discovered John’s parents and siblings (Mary, Alexander, Jean, Helen). Just using the search terms of Menzies in Morton by Thornhill brings up all kinds of matches that would fit into the naming pattern. I can’t just add them though because there isn’t any evidence of this connection. I did find a birth record for a John Menzies born in 1804. It lists his parents as James and Helen. These names match perfectly with the naming pattern if it is true. A lot of the kids also fit in with the siblings names. This isn’t concrete evidence though, so I can’t add them to my tree yet. I have set up a separate file just for these Menzies offshoots. I’m hesitant to add them to my new, improved file for now.

Next on my Menzies To Do List:

  • Locate a death certificate for Jane T Menzies-Love and her parents. I know all 3 died in America, most likely New Jersey.  I have a fear of sending away for New Jersey records, but I’ll just have to overcome it.
  • Find the England branch of the family and expand them if I can.
  • Fill in the missing censuses for the American branch. Most importantly John and Jane Menzies in 1870.

GEA: Thornhill, Scotland

It’s been awhile since I’ve done a Google Earth Adventure. They’re fun, I need to make more time for them! I’m still in the process of collecting my data for the Menzies family. Just when I thought I was at a stopping point, I found another lead this morning. Never ending! I just have to say I love the FamilySearch indexes. Sure I can’t confirm until I set eyes on the record myself, but since I knew the maiden name of Jennie Menzies-Love’s mother I’m pretty positive about what I’ve found. So thank heaven for the California Death Index listing the mother’s maiden name! Since most of my Dad’s family stayed in New Jersey, I fretted over ever getting my hands on more records. Little did I know a bunch of New Jersey people headed west to California in the 40’s!

Anyway, back onto the Google Earth part. I found that John Menzies and Jane Ferris’ first five children were born in Scotland before the family went south to Liverpool, England. I plugged some search terms into FamilySearch’s Scotland Birth and Christening Records. Voila! I have a place! Morton by Thornhill, Dumfries, Scotland, UK. All five children born in Scotland have Christening records there and John and Jane have a marriage record there. In fact I think I found John’s birth record there too 😉 The only problem I had was that there was no Morton on any maps I looked at. I’ve run across this in the United States though, so I don’t fret too bad.

I started with Thornhill. That still exists. It just so happens there is a Morton Street that runs through the center of Thornhill. So this is where I tried my luck with a Google Earth Adventure. I figured the worst that could happen is I spend another pleasant morning touring Scotland from the comfort of my home… Too bad I was already dressed, pajamas would have made it better! Best case scenario is I’d find a church along the street.

My first thoughts were, “What a quaint little street!” Then as a long time user of Google Earth, I knew I should probably do a 360 view and see what’s around.

Oh. Well, that’s a little anti-climatic. The sad thing is the church had a For Sale sign on it. I wonder how much an old church in Scotland costs? Probably more than I could afford.

For those keeping track of my previous GEA, the very first one was a tour by Castle Menzies. I’m positive I can link my Menzies there eventually.

I’m certainly closer than I used to be! Thornhill is about 2 and a half hours south of Castle Menzies location. Not exactly a day trip in the 1800’s but it’s a lot closer than New Jersey, which is where I was before today.

Well, since my goal was accomplished I might as well keep looking around more, right?

I really do long to visit quaint little towns like this. I just love the buildings.

Full Disclosure: Starting with this picture I switched to maps.google.com. For some reason my Google Earth is messing up so I have to re-install it and see if that will help. I’d rather not talk about it though, I’d rather look at the Scotland buildings.

There much better! I think what I love about looking around Scotland and other countries is how much older the buildings are. I’ve got a million houseplan books that show me what these old houses look like on the outside and the floor plans on the inside, but there’s nothing like seeing a real version of it.

Back to Morton Street. I love how green Scotland is. I know everywhere else is green too. It’s just that everytime I open a random street view in Scotland, it’s just so green!

I really do wonder how old these buildings are.

Then I came across this. I was curious as to what all the busses were there for. A quick Google Search told me this is Wallace Hall Academy. Well not the bus activity, but the building I couldn’t really get a look at. The original Wallace Hall Academy was established in 1723. In 1972 Wallace Hall Academy merged with Morton Academy at Thornhill (!) and they moved to the building they are in now. The revelation got me to thinking about Morton parish again. It’s got to be here somewhere!

When I looked up Closeburn, the original site of the Wallace Hall Academy, I found a little nugget of information.

The hamlet of Gatelawbridge, 2+12 miles (4 km) east of Thornhill, is on the boundary of Closeburn and Morton parishes near Crichope Linn.1

It’s still not on the map, but looking through the street views between all three places (Closeburn, Gatelawbridge, Thornhill) I found a few more churches. So I don’t know which one my ancestors were christened in. I guess I’ll just have to take a real trip to Scotland some day and check them all. It’s a dirty job but someone’s got to do it!

Disclaimer: Google owns the images I used in the entry. I am making no profit from these images. Please don’t sue me Google, I own nothing of value except for the Mini-Oreos I ate on this trip.

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Closeburn,_Dumfries_and_Galloway

Mary Menzies-Winters

I’ve been hard at work tracing down my Menzies ancestors. I thought I didn’t have much on this line of the family. Then I found a few things that helped me over a brick wall. So now I’m trying to go slowly and search out these families. For anyone keeping count, though I don’t know why ^.^, my new family-file is up to 270 people. This is all sourced information without me going bonkers on the “allied families”, so this is a big accomplishment for me. It’s so hard for me not to go crazy collecting relatives.

I thought I’d share one of my interesting finds with Mary Menzies-Winters. Mary is the sister of my 3rd Great Grandmother, Jennie T Menzies-Love. She was born around 1840 in Lancashire, England (most likely Liverpool). According to a listing I found on the Love-Menzies Family Outline, she married a man with the surname Winters. So that was my first step in locating her after she disappears from her family household. I found her in 1870 in New York City living with her husband Jacob Winters and their 6 children. By 1880, Jacob was gone and Mary had remarried a man named Theodore Thomas. When I went to the 1900 census, I’ll be honest, I did I quick search for a Mary Thomas, but nothing came up. So I just set out to find her children. My reasoning was, if her children were centrally located, most likely that’s where I’d find Mary.

Thanks to FamilySearch’s Manhattan Marriage Index, I had some married names to try for Mary’s girls. Girls can be so difficult if you don’t have any clues about their marriages. I found a marriage record for Mary E Winters and John Thomas Brent. So then I searched for the pair and found them in Putnam County, New York. Everything matches up perfectly. Mary living with the family helps to verify the marriage of her daughter. So then I set about finding the rest of Mary’s children in 1900.

I only found a marriage record for the oldest daughter this morning. So I brought up Ancestry and plugged the information into the search. The only difference from the marriage record is that Elizabeth’s husband is referred to as Tom and not William. That doesn’t bother me too bad because he could go by his middle name. (edit: After reviewing the image more closely, he is listed as Wm but there were numbers written over his name making it hard to read.) Then I noticed that Mary is listed as living with the family. Well, alright. I checked the enumeration dates on both households. Both are listed as June 1, 1900. My only guess is that Mary probably lived with both families during the year. Maybe leaving the crowded city in the summers. I can’t tell which house she was actually at on June 1st. I’m just happy I found her son Frank without too much fuss!

Then I plugged Mary Winters into the 1900 Census search. Just to see if maybe she showed up in her daughter Jane’s house too. Hey, it was worth a shot! Of course, I kick myself for not trying her first married name before moving onto her children, but it all worked out in the end.

Menzies Leaps and Bounds

I’ve made some great advances in researching the Menzies line of my family! I’m very excited about what I’ve found. This adventure started when I decided to sign up for a 7 day free trial of World Vital Records. I thought maybe this would be a cheaper way of being able to access the UK records I’ve been holding off on. Well, after a few hours of trying to get some of the image viewers to work, I just went ahead and upgraded my Ancestry.com membership. Even if I only have the World Membership for one year it’ll be worth it to me! I’m still going to check out World Vital Records for the rest of my trial, but I’m just more comfortable with the Ancestry format. I’ll probably do an entry on navigating World Vital Records at the beginning of next week to test it out some more.

Once I upgraded my Ancestry, It was like being let loose! I went right to work. If you’ve been reading for awhile you’ve seen a small amount of progress being made on the Menzies front. You can read that progress by clicking the Menzies tag in the sidebar, or you can just take a quick peek at the more informative entry: Menzies Mysteries. That entry will show you that I’ve found where the Menzies immigrated to America in 1854. They briefly stayed with son (presumably), Alexander, who had already immigrated and set himself up as a ‘Druggist.’

My first find was in the 1851 England Census. With the Menzies immigrating in 1854, this census should be a great start for me to continue “across the pond.”

I found the family (you can click the image for a full size view if you’d like) in Liverpool, England. That is the exact city they sailed from in 1854. From this census, I learned an awful lot. First thing is that John was a Sawyer before leaving England. I don’t know if he picked the profession back up in America, because I haven’t found him beyond the 1860 American Census. What I like about this is that it confirms for me that Alexander is in fact John and Jane’s son. Here he is listed as 21 years of age and an Apprentice Chemist & Druggist. This information lines up perfectly with his 1860 New York information for both age and occupation. This census also confirms the “brother James” mentioned in a letter William wrote to his ‘Dear Sister Jean’. Having such great luck on this level, I decided to test my luck and go for the 1841 census. The family should still be living in Liverpool if the children’s birthplaces here are to be believed.

Once again, I got really lucky! Here are all my usual suspects, except I have a few extras. Margaret was present when the family sailed to America. However she wasn’t listed with the family in 1851. I’ll have to try and figure out if she was married before going to America. If she did that’ll make a possible 3 marriages for her! Helen, aged 10 is a great find for me. In the letter from William he talks quite about about Sister Ellen and her troubles, including her husband Charlie being away when their little son passed away. Charlotte, aged 4, is a mystery to me. This is the first I’ve heard of her. I’ll have to see if she married young, or unfortunately passed away young. Either way something happened to her. She wasn’t mentioned in William’s letter, so I’m assuming she passed away because she didn’t sail with the family to America.

Overall, I think finding these census records makes me fall in love with the letters passed down through the family. Being able to prove these people in the letters actually exist is a great triumph for me. I think I’ll be talking about it for a long time yet!

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