Tuesday, June 9, 2020

2020 Prompt - Uncertain - John Smith

John Smith  (1805 – about 1845)
My 3rd great grandfather

Nancy Simmons to Josephine Martin to Edward Martin to Nina Wilcox to Margaret Smith to John Smith

As a genealogist one topic of discussion is how do you research ancestors with common names.
Like Brown, White…or Smith! And better yet how do you research an ancestor with the name John Smith!  Yep, my 3rd great grandfather is a John Smith. I have several leads but most are uncertain.

John Smith married Catherine Dingman about 1828 probably in New York but that is uncertain.  They had seven children from 1829-1843 but in the 1850 census his children are listed in the Cayuga County, New York Federal census with only their mother, Catherine.

1850 Victory, Cayuga, New York Federal Census

 The oldest child being 21 and the youngest seven.  So, I believe John Smith died sometime between 1840 where he is listed in the 1840 United States Federal Census and 1850 when Catherine is listed in the United States Federal Census alone with the children. 

1840 Victory, Cayuga, New York Federal Census

John's oldest son, Henry O Smith, died the 26 Oct 1915 in Azalia, Monroe County, Michigan[1] and on his Michigan death certificate his father is listed as John Smith and mother, Catherine Dingman, both born in New York.  

Henry Smith Death Certificate - Died 26 Dec 1915

His next son, John David Smith, died 6 Aug 1908 in Milan Twp., Monroe County, Michigan[2] and states on his death certificate that his father is John Smith born in Vermont. I am uncertain about this information since the informant was his granddaughters' husband, Benjamin Auten. 

John Smith - Death Certificate - Died 6 Aug 1908

His daughter, Mariah Smith VanDyke was born in 1833, son Cornelius Smith born 19 October 1836, daughter Margaret Ann Smith Wilcox born 26 Mar 1840, son Daniel Wesley Smith, born 29 Mar 1841 and daughter Miranda Smith Libbey born 5 Apr 1843, all had their father, John Smith, born in New York.
Maranda Smith Libbey - Death Certificate - 25 Oct 1931

In the 1855 New York state census it asked what county each person was born. Catherine has four of her children living with her in 1855 with the oldest being Cornelius who is born in Montgomery County in 1836 and Margaret born 1840, Daniel born 1841 and Miranda born 1843 all born in Cayuga County.[3]  Since John and his family are listed in the 1840 Cayuga County, New York Federal Census[4] and the last child was born in 1843, we can certainly state that John died sometime after 1842 in Cayuga County, New York. 

 Several years ago, I spent a few days researching in Cayuga County probate records for a John Smith married to a Catherine. After hours of rolling through microfilm I found a John and Catherine Smith but as I dug in deeper to find the actual probate record, I discovered this John and Catherine did not have the same children!

All I really know for certain about my 3rd great grandfather, John Smith, is that he was born sometime between 1800 and 1810 in the state of New York. I believe he married Catherine Dingman sometime in 1828 or early 1829 since his first child Henry was born in October 1829. But that is uncertain because Henry might not be their firstborn child. I am still uncertain when and where John Smith married Catherine Dingman. I know that he had at least seven children but that is uncertain because we do not know if they had any children that might have died young and were not listed in census records. In conclusion, I know very little about this my 3rd great grandfather of mine and hopefully digging deeper into New York records might reveal more information about who is John Smith!

[1] Ancestry.com. Michigan, Death Records, 1897-1929 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. https://search.ancestry.com/cgibin/sse.dll?dbid=60872&h=3494095&indiv=try&o_vc=Record:OtherRecord&rhSource=1561
[2] Ancestry.com. Michigan, Death Records, 1897-1929 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. https://www.ancestry.com/interactive/60872/44471_354663-00073/1279335?backurl=https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/112844346/person/220105931115/facts
[4] Ancestry.com. 1840 United States Federal Census, Victory, Cayuga, New York; Roll 270; Page 308Victory, Cayuga, New York; Roll: 270; Page: 308. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.

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