Tuesday, February 18, 2020

2020 Prompt - Favorite Discovery - Ernest Wentworth Putman

Ancestor - Ernest Wentworth Putman born 1875 – great grandfather
Nancy to Paul Simmons to June Elizabeth Putman to Ernest W Putman to Perry WILLEY

Ernest W Putman @1884
My “Favorite Discovery” would have to be finding my great grandfather, Ernest Putman’s, father using DNA matches.  I had already established that Ernest’s mother was Mary Ellen Putman born in 1857 daughter to Joseph and Elizabeth Putman.

On August 8th, 2018, I found a match for a 4th cousin on Ancestry DNA and it was M.R. and a small tree1 was posted.  I needed to research this tree, find a family that was living in Vermilion County, Illinois near the birthplace of Ernest Putman and find a young man of the age to be Ernie’s father.

I started with M.R.’s father, Ralph Pearlean WILLEY, and was able to find his death certificate that stated he was born in 1900 in Missouri and his parents were Abe WILLEY and Lavinia Baker.2 

I researched Abe, Abraham WILLEY, and found his death certificate.3 He was born in Missouri in 1877 and his parents were Joseph WILLEY and Elizabeth Miller. The family had pretty-well settled in Missouri up to this time but where did Joseph WILLEY live before Missouri?

Joseph Andrew WILLEY appeared as born in 1833 in Ohio and his parents were listed as George W WILLEY and Minerva Tilleson.4  When I found Joseph WILLEY's death certificate, his date of birth was listed as 28 December 1833 born in Ohio.  But also listed in the Ancestry search was a family tree with Joseph WILLEY and his brother Hugh WILLEY born in Potomac, Vermilion County, Illinois.5   BINGO!  The same location as the Putman family. 

I decided to search the 1860 census for any WILLEY living in Vermilion County, Illinois. Hugh B Willey was the oldest one listed in Vermilion County, Illinois so I checked him out first.  Where did he live in Vermilion County? 

In the 1860 Ross Township, Vermilion County, Illinois, Federal Census H B WILLEY is 31 years old and his wife Sarah is 31 years old and children; Jane is 10, William is 8, Perry is 4.6  Hugh is also listed in the 1870 census and the 1880 federal census in Vermilion County. 

I find Hugh B WILLEY on the same page and only four residence away from Joseph PUTMAN who is 60 years old and wife Elizabeth. They are Ernie’s grandparents. BINGO!! 

Since Ernest was born in October 1875, did the Hugh Willey family have any sons that could possibly be Ernest’s father?  The 1870 Rossville, Ross Township, Vermilion County, Illinois federal census8 list Hugh WILLEY and Sarah WILLEY with their children: Jane is 20, William 17, Perry 14 and John 10.  William married in 1873, Perry would have just turned 18 in Nov 1874 and didn’t marry till 1879 and John died in April 1873 at age 12. Could Perry WILLEY possibly be Ernest Putman’s father?

1870 Vermilion County Census Hugh & Sarah WILLEY

Based on the DNA evidence and the census records in Vermilion County, Illinois, Perry Willey looks like the most obvious candidate for the father of Ernest W. Putman. In January 1875 Perry was 18 years old when Ernest would have been conceived.  Mary Ellen Putman had just turned 17 years old on December 27, 1874.

The 1875 Vermilion County plot map9 displays the Willey Farm one farm away from Joseph Putman's farm.  So, we have the Hugh Willey family living very close to Joseph Putman's family with daughter, Mary Ellen Putman who would be 17 and her neighbor Perry Willey 18 living nearby with his parents.

In conclusion, based on the evidence of many Ancestry autosomal DNA matches and the evidence found in federal census records and a property map of Vermilion County, Illinois, there is a strong indication that Perry Willey is the father of Ernest Putman.  This discovery reveals the family of my great-great grandfather Perry WILLEY and fills a gap I have had in my family tree. 

Nancy's DNA match to MR 
George W WILLEY - Common Ancestor

1 Ancestry DNA Results for Nancy Simmons Roberson,” database report, AncestryDNA, (dna.ancestry.com/matches: accessed 22 July 2018), predicted 4th cousin match for Nancy Simmons Roberson and M.R. sharing 49 cMs DNA; documented relationship 3C2XR. 
2 Missouri, Death Certificates, 1910-1962, Ralph P Willey, # S1-029940, accessed 3 Sep 2018, Ancestry.
3 Missouri, Death Certificates, 1910-1962, Abe Lewis Willey, # 14816, accessed 3 Sep 2018, Ancestry.
4 Missouri, Death Certificates, 1910-1962, Joseph A Willey, # 38022, accessed 3 Sep 2018, Ancestry 5 John Fuqua Family Tree, Ancestry.com, https://www.ancestry.com/familytree/person/tree/86106926/person/42532665684/facts, subscription database, accessed Sep 2018. 
6 1860 United States Federal Census, household of H.B. Willey, Ross Twp., Vermilion Co., IL, Page 287, family dwelling 1996, Ancestry 
7 1880 United States Federal Census, household of Willey Hugh B, Ross Twp., Vermilion Co., IL, ED 221, Page 10, family dwelling 86, household of Willey William, family dwelling 90 and household of Putman Joseph, family dwelling 92, Ancestry
8 1870 United States Federal Census, household of Willey Hugh B, Ross Twp., Vermilion Co., IL, Page 8, family dwelling 48, Ancestry 
9 Historical Atlas Map, Vermilion County, Illinois, W.R. Brink & Co, 1875, Danville Public Library.

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