From the Ancestry
Christmas Brick Wall Follow-up
Thanks to all the readers who tried to help Santa with my Christmas present. Your suggestions, comments, search results, and encouragement were very much appreciated. This week we follow up on the "My Christmas Present" article by discussing some of the suggestions that were sent.
Finding My Own Stuff
For those of you who missed my last column, in a nutshell I am looking for information on an Ellen (Butler) Sargent, who lived with her husband Ira William Sargent in Warsaw, Illinois, in 1880 and was born ca. 1856 in Missouri. She had two children, Ida and Ella. That pretty much sums up what I know about her. Readers submitted at least two potential Ellens.
An Ellen Butler Gets Married
Several readers sent in an entry from the Illinois State Marriage Index:
Ellen Sargent married H. S. Chadwick in Adams Co, IL in 1887.
It seemed like a very promising lead given the name and year of marriage. Unfortunately when this Ellen Sargent Chadwick was further traced in later records, it became apparent that she was not the same Ellen Sargent who was living with Ira in 1880 and was the mother of Ida and Ella Sargent. However, she should not immediately be ignored either.
In the 1880 Adams County, Illinois census there is an Ellen Sargent listed, presumably the same one who later married H. S. Chadwick (and hopefully not the same one living with Ira Sargent about forty miles north in Warsaw!). In this 1880 enumeration, Ellen has children living in her household named Willie, Sarah and Alta. Willie most likely is a diminutive for the actual name of William. The 1880 census for these three children indicates their father (a Sargent) was born in Canada. Interestingly enough, this is where my Ellen Butler Sargent's husband was born. It may mean nothing or it may mean something. Research should continue on these children in attempt to learn the name of their father and to determine if there is any connection to my Ellen's husband, Ira William. Even though I wasn't technically working on Ira, it could be that learning more about him may result in more information on Ellen.
An Ellen Butler Lives in the Area
But, But What if She Wasn't a Butler?
In 1870, there is an Ella Butts aged fourteen, born in Missouri, living in the household of an A. J. Butts in Vernon Township, Clark County, Missouri. In the 1860 census, there is an Ellen Butler, aged six living in the household of A. J. Butts in Alexandria, Missouri. A township map of Clark County, Missouri indicated that Vernon Township is fairly small and does contain the village of Alexandria. Alexandria is across the Mississippi River from Warsaw, Illinois, where my Ellen is enumerated in 1880. The geography is a good "match." The main concern with this entry is that the surname is not Butler, but it is similar (Remember that my knowledge of the surname Butler comes from information Ellen‘s daughters provided long after Ellen "disappeared," so it may not be entirely accurate). The birth place of A. J. Butts is Kentucky (remember my Ellen in 1880 said her parents were born in Michigan). However, I am hesitant to ignore this family simply based upon a place of birth obtained from one census enumeration. While the last name is different, it is reasonably similar.
One quick thing I did was to locate A. J. Butts in the 1880 census. Fortunately for me, there is not an unmarried daughter Ellen living in the household. My continued research on this Butts family will continue in the following fashion:
Expand My Circle
Change One Thing
Hopefully we will have an update on Ellen in a future column. Unfortunately she is a work in progress and I don't already have the answer sitting in my files waiting for next week's deadline!
Michael John Neill is the Course I Coordinator at the Genealogical Institute of Mid America (GIMA) held annually in Springfield, Illinois, and is also on the faculty of Carl Sandburg College in Galesburg, Illinois. Michael is currently a member of the board of the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) www.fgs.org. He conducts seminars and lectures nationally on a wide variety of genealogical and computer topics and contributes to several genealogical publications, including Ancestry Magazine and Genealogical Computing. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website at www.rootdig.com/, but he regrets that he is unable to assist with personal research.
Michael John Neill will be speaking at the following upcoming events:
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