Saturday, August 19, 2017

Save the NANDS

New Ancestor Discoveries (NANDs) on the AncestryDNA site tend to sneak quietly onto the main page and, after hanging out a while, they sometimes disappear. NANDs can be descendants of ancestors, but they can serve as clues. If your tree is not deep enough, like some of mine, the NANDs can be actual ancestors.

Quite a few NANDs walked off the pages of my family members recently. Sadly, one NAND that I wanted to research disappeared. A few wandered off my own page and onto the pages of other family members.

Having lost a cherished NAND, I decided it was time to keep track of the NANDs. I've created a spreadsheet that includes just the key information, including who the NAND was given to. You may want to keep track of your own NANDs, saving that information in case they walk away.

Not everyone has NANDs, so I'll show you what one looks like. David Donald Dickey and his wife, Margaret S Hayes, may turn out to be very important to me. They appear to be from my Mother's Pennsylvania lines, possibly through her Lake family or her Kerr family. Fortunately that couple wandered over to another family member. Here's a look at how they appear on the main page and what you'll see if you click into a NAND.

A NAND is a composite of a number of trees and can be a bit of a mess if some of the trees are messy. But a clue is a clue.

Here's my simple spreadsheet.

Now I'm saving my NANDs. You might want to save yours.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Who's Your Daddy - Part Three

Have you ever examined a confusing census record and wished you could go back in time and travel with that census taker? Perhaps there are extra or missing family members. Ages, birthplaces or relationships could be missing or wrong. Even worse, maybe the family is entirely missing in the index or in the microfilm. You'll never know how the census taker got their information. Was it a child, a senile adult, a neighbor or even personal knowledge and assumption?

Additionally, the US census images that we see on microfilm or online are generally not copies of the original census book. There are copies which were hand-copied from the original. When the copies were made, mistakes and shortcuts may have crept in. The copy that was sent to the federal government is usually the one that was filmed. The original book may be in an archive or may have been destroyed. I once had my hands on an original 1880 census book while looking for a court case in the vault of a county courthouse. At the time, I had no idea it was different than the microfilm. I missed my opportunity to examine it.

The 1850 census of Cass County, Illinois, is so full of errors that I try to validate every single piece of information. This post continues looking at the assumed children of Lindsay Lake.

The Mystery Children with Lindsay Lake

The children in the household of Lindsay Lake in 1850 are listed as:
  • Precious Moore, 16 (niece)
  • Joseph Lake, 14
  • Aaron Lake, 10 (female, whoops)
  • Jane Lake, 8
The date on the page is December 12, 1850. Did the weather play a part in the errors?

Lindsay had married multiple times. His wives by 1850 were:
  • Milly Carter, married  August 28, 1834, Morgan County
  • Mary Kinman, married April 23, 1846, Brown County
  • Caroline Evans, married October 12, 1848, Brown County
  • Mrs. Doratha Hatfield, married December 24, 1850, Cass County 
It is possible that the children listed with the surname Lake should have been listed with a surname of Kinman or Evans. It is also possible that the names and ages of Lindsay's children were just scrambled.

An Amazing 1845 Census

A state census of Illinois was taken in 1845. There are only three counties for which copies survive, one of which is Cass County. This particular census was similar to the 1850 census, as the census taker wrote the initial(s) and surname of each person in the county, along with their age. The other two counties are similar to the 1840 census.

The 1845 Cass County census is a gem. However, you have to study it very carefully, as the females and males were listed on different pages. There were approximately 500 more males than females, so the page with Milly Lake is many pages away from Lindsay Lake. Only by reviewing names before and after can family groups be identified. The Lake and allied families lived along the border of Cass County and Morgan County, so families living in Morgan County, though neighbors, are not included.

The census was completed on October 25, 1845. Females were on left pages and males on right pages. Free white females end on image 65 at Ancestry. The last three images are free white males, non-whites and summary. Look at the top of each page for whether it contains males or females.

Family members can be found on these pages and images:

Lucinda _____ Lake Carter page 112 (image 55)  John? Carter page 116 (image 57)
Angeline Lake "Carter" page 112
Rebecca Lake Hardy page 112  N Hardy page 118 (image 58)
Precious York page 114  (image 56)  John York page 132 (image 65)
Milly Lake page 114  Lindsay Lake page 132

Summary on image 68
Males 2972, Females 2484, non-white 15, total 5471

The Lake family, as shown below, included the following names:
M Lake 25 (Milly)
C Lake 6 (Cynthiana born 1837?)
L Lake 35 (Lindsay)
A Lake 9 (Aaron born 1835)
J Lake 5 (John born 1840)
J Lake 3 (unknown boy)
T Lake 1 (unknown boy)

Comparing the Census Years

Matching the 1845 census to the 1850 census, it appears that the name Joseph (14) in 1850 should be Aaron, while the name Aaron (10, female) should be Cynthiana or John. Child Jane (8) doesn't fit, but could be John.

We need more clarity to sort out the children. The 1855 census is an old style census, so doesn't help. By 1860, the family had gone through many more changes. So let's go beyond the census to a very simple solution.

Probate and Guardianship Answer the Question

There is a guardianship in Cass County that absolutely names the children of Milly Carter. Every child in the 1850 census, if truly a Lake, would have been a child of Milly Carter Lake.

Milly's father, Thomas Carter, had died in 1849. Milly's children, his grandchildren, were among his heirs. Guardianship at that time was about assets, rather than children, so the children needed to have a guardian for the assets they would inherit from their grandfather. The guardianship states that the children "have an interest in an estate not derived from their father".

On March 18, 1850, Lindsay Lake became the legal guardian of the assets of Aaron Lake, Cynthia A Lake and John Lake. The other two children from the 1845 census were not included, so either had died or were not Milly and Lindsay's children. None of the mystery children from the 1850 census were named.

The bondsmen with Lindsay were James Pointer and Jonathan Lake. Jonathan Lake died a few months later and he will be examined in another post. Scaled-down images of the guardianship follow.

This ends the proof case for the children of Lindsay Lake: Aaron, Cynthiana and John were his only surviving children in 1850.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Who's Your Daddy - Part Two

Continuing with the theme of online family tree errors, the best defense is a good offense. Creating well-documented online family trees ourselves is our best defense against errors. This blog is one way to present more complex proof cases than can be done within the limits of the Ancestry trees.

My ancestor, Lindsay Lake of Morgan and Cass Counties, Illinois, has been named as the father of random Lake relatives. In the last post we looked at proving a negative -- who Lindsay's parents were not. This time I'll prove a positive -- the names of the seven children who were heirs of Lindsay Lake and the correct parentage of two women who were not his children.

Not Her Daddy

Two women who have been incorrectly named online as children of Lindsay are Precious Moore, born about 1836, and Ellen Lake, born about 1844.

Precious Moore was enumerated with Lindsay Lake in the 1850 census. Some researchers have assumed she was a married or widowed daughter of Lindsay. She was not. Precious was his ward and probably his niece. It requires only one piece of evidence to determine her parents -- her biography in a county history book. Her father's probate adds context. Her story is told in the blog post Precious Serendipity.

Ellen Lake truly baffles me. I'm not sure why she has been mistaken for a daughter of Lindsay. In the 1860 census of Brown County, Illinois, Ellen is living with her parents, Margaret Ann Long and Israel Lake. She married Richard M Williamson on June 23, 1861, in Cass County. Richard and Ellen acquired land near Lindsay Lake and lived next to several other members of the extended Lake family in Morgan County. The 1870 census shows quite a list of related people living around Lindsay, including the Williamsons.

Ellen Lake Williamson is mentioned in the obituary of her brother, William Harrison Lake. The obituary appeared in the Meredosia Budget on May 20, 1905, and not only states their parentage, but also ties together several branches of the Lake family.
While a small child he was brought by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Israel Lake, to the immediate vicinity of Meredosia ...
He is also survived by one brother, Jonathan Lake of Clayton, and probably one sister, Mrs. Ellen Williamson, is still living. H.L. Lake and Mrs. Lourissa J. Hale of Meredosia are first cousins of the deceased.
Ellen Lake Williamson and her siblings were first cousins to the children of Jesse Lake and Mary Polly Riddle -- children who were raised by Harrison Lord/Laird Lake. That family relationship was explored in the previous post in this series. The addition of this obituary helps to document the relationship of three brothers: Jesse Lake, Israel Lake and Harrison Lord/Laird Lake.

Solved in Chancery Court, not in Probate

Lindsay Lake had a will, but it was not well done. It listed bequests to his minor children, but not his adult children. That omission triggered a court fight among his heirs and generated many pages of Chancery Court records in Morgan County, Illinois. The pages are scrawled and hard to read. However, the heirs were definitively listed in the court filings. There were seven children and a widow, but no other heirs. These are the seven children of Lindsay Lake (1813-1876):

Aaron Lake, 1835-1909, married Sarah Elizabeth Bosseck (my line)
Cynthiana Lake, 1837-1906, married Nathaniel Bert Fanning
John Lindsay Lake, 1840-1896, married Elizabeth C Keller
Josephine Lake, 1861-, married Charles T Kessler
George B McClellan Lake, about 1864-
Isaac H Lake, 1866-1943, married Sarah Slater
Susan A Lake, about 1872-

Following are copies of a few key pages from the Chancery Court case file. As always, I'm happy to share full size copies of this file by email, if you leave a comment with your email address, which will remain private.