A Tale of Many Sisters: Finding Emma Carter’s Mother

Most of the times, my genealogy days turn into a long day of entering information into my family tree program of choice. I love the record keeping part of genealogy. The one part I didn’t realize I enjoyed so much is the mystery-solving aspect. Every so often, I can’t be satisfied with just entering names and dates and making lists of places to search newspapers for. Every once and awhile, there are members of my family that just jump out and say investigate me more!

Emma Carter was one of these people. Emma first showed up in the 1870 Census, living with Rachel Miller-Carter and her family. Emma was listed as being 8 years old. That presented a problem to me. Rachel’s husband, Levi Carter passed away in March of 1860. So was Emma an illegitimate child of Rachel’s? Rachel was listed as being 52 years old in 1870, so I was a little doubtful of that. I next started wondering about Rachel’s daughters. She had four daughters and three that were living with her in 1870: Betsy, Sina, Eliza. I eliminated Hannah, the married daughter because I had her tracked through my life. She is my 3rd Great Grandmother. If she was Hannah’s daughter, I would have either known about it already, or I wasn’t going to find out by my usual means. So I decided to eliminate her for now, but not┬ápermanently.

I jumped ahead to the 1880 Census, the first one to show relationships, to see what that would bring me in the way of information.

1880 U.S. census, population schedule, NARA microfilm publication T9, roll 0996. Brown County, Ohio. Lewis township, Higginsport precinct, ED 198, p. 342-C (stamped), dwelling 215, family 233, Rachel Carter; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com).

Luckily for me Emma was still living with her in the same household in the 1880 US Census. So now I know that Rachel is in fact Emma’s grandmother. From this information, I still don’t know who Emma’s mother is. The next step was to follow the daughters and Emma to see where they end up. Luckily for me some Brown County records are online at FamilySearch. I was a little worried about the 20 year gap between the 1880 and 1900 censuses. So I decided to try and see if there was a marriage record for any of Rachel’s daughters first. There was not. Then on a whim, I searched for a marriage record for Emma Carter.

Probate Court, Brown County, Ohio, 1879-1881, vol. 11, p. 551, no. 13812, for Chas W Hurdle-Emma Carter; FamilySearch (http://www.familysearch.org).

I was in luck to have found a marriage record for 1881! Now I had a place to search for Emma in 1900, but I couldn’t be sure this was my Emma without further evidence.

1900 U.S. census, population schedule, NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 1247. Clermont County, Ohio. Franklin township, ED 028, sheet 01-B, dwelling 11, family 12, Emma Hurdle; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com).

There are a few problems with this record, like Sina being listed as male (she wasn’t), and that she was widowed. I still haven’t found a marriage record for Sina, so I can’t confirm or deny that fact. What’s interesting is she is listed as a servant in the household instead of as a relation. So by this record, I’m still not sure who Emma Carter’s mother is, but I am positive the above marriage record fits with my Emma Carter. So I will follow Emma’s family into the next census to see what that brings.

1910 U.S. census, population schedule, NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 1160. Clermont County, Ohio. Franklin township, ED 029, sheet 02-A, dwelling 33, family 33, Hamer Hurdle; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com).

The 1910 Census answers all the questions that I first had and gives me two more. The question I had answered is the identity of Emma Carter’s mother. That I know is Sina Carter. However I now have two questions: Where is Emma Carter if Sina has 2 living children in 1910? Who is the second child, Lewis maybe?

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