Digging through my family history last winter, I found more than I ever thought I would. Some lines go back to the Mayflower and beyond, though there are some that don't reach so far. All lines eventually fade into the fog of time, but there are certain branches that end prematurely. This "Family Sunday" column will be to introduce a few of my ancestors whose parents are unknown. Someday, I hope to learn more about them, and perhaps extend the lines back further in these cases. Here we go, some dead ends:
- Joseph B. Robinson. Born circa 1873 in Pennsylvania, he was my great-great grandfather. I previously mentioned him in my Ballinger column a while back, as he married Nellie Ballinger on October 24, 1895 in Bridgeton, NJ. Their daughter Effie was born in Philadelphia, PA, so I believe Joseph and Nellie were living there at the time, and Joseph may have been from there originally. They separated sometime before 1900, and by 1910 Nellie listed herself as "widowed" on the census, but that may have simply been to avoid the stigma of having her husband run off on her. So little is known about Mr. Robinson, I really would like to explore this line of the family further. There could be gold here.
- Mary Ann Wilson. Born August 5, 1837 in Miami County, Ohio. Died July 14, 1916 in Baldwin City, Kansas. Married Sylvester Tobias Counts on October 27, 1855. With all these dates and places, you'd think there'd be some hint about who her parents were, but no luck. For some reason, her heritage eludes me. She apparently had brothers who moved to Minnesota and founded a town named Wilson. The surname is so common, and every other woman was named "Mary" back then, so it is very difficult to find positive paternal records for her. I'm sure somebody out there has an answer.
- Richard Kirton. Born circa 1830 in England. He moved to Kentucky sometime around 1850, though it's difficult to find records about anyone from the old country. His wife was Ellen Hyler. His sons were Nelson & Sidney.
- Caroline Royal Sheppard. Born March 19, 1833, Died April 6, 1904. Married Daniel Woodruff Henderson on September 28, 1849. Family lore says she had 20 children who lived to adulthood, though I've only found records for 15 of them. She's another ancestor who just popped up out of nowhere (aka southern New Jersey). Digging through the Henderson line has been a daunting task, though from my previous column about them you can see I have made some progress. I wish I could find a few photographs from this side of the family. I'm sure some cousin has a few, but tracking living relatives is sometimes harder than learning about dead ones.
- Mark Bailey. Born in 1796, married Bethia Hubbell around 1816. Nobody I've talked to is quite sure where Mark came from, though some suspect it was either Connecticut or Vermont. I suspect the latter, as Vermont's birth records from the 18th century are spotty at best (while Connecticut's are pretty reliable). I'm wondering if he's related to any of the Baileys of Maine, such as the founders of "Baileyville." Regardless, I'd like to know where he came from for certain.
- James Ballinger. Born circa 1800 in Pennsylvania. His wife was Sarah Sutton (born in NJ), and their sons were Benjamin (my 4x great grandfather), and William. It was exceedingly difficult to uncover James. For months, I thought Benjamin would be as far back as I'd be able to go, but then I found a marriage certificate for Benjamin's brother, William. The certificate listed the groom's parents, and the state they were each born in. Thus, I was able to push the envelope back further into the fog of history, though details remain sketchy. There were a lot of different Sarah Suttons born in New Jersey around 1800, and I haven't found much else about James yet, though time may reveal more.
There are many more dead ends throughout my family tree, but these are some I would really like to work on. If anyone has any information about these people, do not hesitate to contact me. The truth is out there, somewhere!