Filling In The Blanks: Part One

I’ve become a little bored with my research.  It seems I’ve lost my genealogy mojo.  With so many new resources becoming available, you would think I would have a renewed excitement.  The release of the Pennsylvania death certificates kept my attention for several months for research on my father’s side.  After mining that database for all my known relatives that died within the period covered and the recent discovery of a previously unknown stillborn baby girl that my grandparents had (see Why We Should Never Assume), the shine has worn off.

I need a new “project”, and I think I have a good one to work on.  I want to concentrate on something small and I wanted to pick something that my great Aunt Ruth could relate to.  Aunt Ruth is my maternal grandmother’s sister.  She is 92 and not in the best health.  My mother visits her regularly and tells Aunt Ruth about my research.  Aunt Ruth recently volunteered to take a DNA test, took it and we have received the results.  This has uncovered some new ethnicity that does not show up in my or my mother’s test (European Jewish…What?).
Note that I have interviewed my aunt in the past but do not ask her too many questions about the family anymore.  She seems much more comfortable just having casual conversation with my mother, so Mom gives me a report after every visit.  Sometimes it may take 3 weeks to get even a small tidbit from Aunt Ruth because she tends to ramble and repeat parts of her story several times.  I am not complaining, 92 years is a lot of years to remember!  Maybe being able to tell her some new stuff will prompt some old memories.

So I have decided that I want to find out more about my Aunt Ruth’s mother’s cousin Edna Henry and her parents.
Edna Henry was the daughter of William R. and Florence E. Henry.  William was the younger brother of my 2nd great grandfather Charles Dorsey Henry.  Charles, William and their father John Baker Henry had a blacksmith shop in the Govans area of Baltimore, Maryland. 

Why this family?
1.  Finding out more about this collateral line may help me break through my Henry brick wall.  I have minimal information on William and Charles’ father and grandfather.  I recently (well in May) found a death notice for John’s father Charles Henry.  I wrote about it in my post Come Out, Come Out Wherever You Are.
2.  I don’t know much about this family.  I have no birth, marriage, death information on Edna’s parents.  Nor do I know Edna’s mother’s maiden name.  I would like to fill in those blanks if possible.
3. My Aunt Ruth has mentioned Edna several times, usually with a giggle.  My mother says she also heard a few stories about Edna.  Apparently Aunt Ruth’s mother (my great grandmother) and Edna were close in their younger days, and my great grandfather did not seem to like Edna.  My mother remembers comments that “Pop-Pop” would make about “Mom-Mom Pisani” and Edna going down to the Naval Academy to hang out with the sailors.  Neither my aunt or my mother remember anything about Edna’s parents.
4.  I know that Edna was married but Aunt Ruth and Mom seemed to be a little surprised by this.  Aunt Ruth remembers that Edna went by another last name (she couldn’t remember what it was) but never met a husband.  Could be that he died early in their marriage, could be they were divorced, who knows?
5. Much of the information I have on this family is unsourced so this is a chance to go back and properly document the records I have for them.

I do not like long posts as I don’t want anyone to get too bored, so I will split this project into several posts.  I hope you find it interesting enough to follow along. 

Next up…Everything I already know about William, Florence and Edna.

Come Out, Come Out Wherever You Are

While at my local public library the other week I stumbled upon a tidbit of information on my 4th great-grandfather Charles Henry.  I have Henrys on both sides of my tree and Charles in in my maternal line.  I have no reason to believe that my paternal and maternal Henrys are related and have never found any evidence to dispute that theory.  The DNA results from my mother’s test seem to support this as well since she is not matched to any of my paternal Henry matches.
Also, the Henry surname is more common now but I have found that in the 1800s it hasn’t been all that difficult to track the different “groups” of Henrys.

The information I had about Charles before my library find was mostly derived from the U.S. Federal census.  No information on him was mentioned by any family members, bible records, pictures, etc.
I originally found him in 2003 by finding his son, my 3rd great-grandfather John Baker Henry in several U.S. Federal censuses and working backwards.

  • Charles does not appear in the 1900 U.S. Federal census, neither does his son John.  I did locate a death date for John of 1896 and Charles does not seem to appear in any other households in the 1900 census.  I assumed he was deceased by 1900.
  • Charles appears in the 1880 U.S. Federal census in Waverly, Baltimore County, Maryland as the widowed, 78 year old father of John B. Henry.  He is listed as a wheelwright who was born in Maryland and both his parents were born in Maryland.  He has dropsy.
  • He appears in the 1870 U.S. Federal census in the 8th District (Ellen Gowan Post Office) of Baltimore County, Maryland as a 66 year old living in the household of John B. Henry.  His occupation is listed as “as of family” and he was born in Maryland.
  • He appears in the 1860 U.S. Federal census 8th District (Cockeysville Post Office) of Baltimore County, Maryland as a 56 year old Wheelwright born in Maryland.  In this census he is the first person listed in the household, the others being his son John Baker and John’s wife, 3 children and a 13 year old black female whose name is hard to read.
  • He appears in the 1850 U.S. Federal census 1st District of Baltimore County, Maryland as a 48 year old Wheelwright born in Maryland. He is the first listed in the household, the others being his son John Baker and a 24 year old black female named Malinda Howard.
  • He appears in the 1840 U.S. Federal census 2nd Collection District of Baltimore County, Maryland.  Since only the head of household is listed I estimate that this is the correct Charles Henry based on the other heads of household on the page compared to the same in the 1850 census.  Listed in the household is a white free male between 10-15 (I assume his son John), a white free male between 30-40 (I assume Charles), a white free male between 40-50 (unknown), a black free male under 10 (unknown) and a black free female between 24-35 (unknown).
  • He appears in the 1830 U.S. Federal census 2nd Collection District of Baltimore County, Maryland. Again, I am assuming it is him based on the other heads enumerated on the page.  I do not think that Charles has a “tick mark” because although he is named, listed in the household is a white free male under 5 (I assume his son John), a white free female between 10-15 (unknown), and a white free female between 20-30 (unknown but maybe Charles’ wife?).
  • I did not find Charles in the 1820 U.S. Federal census but I didn’t expect to.  He would have been a little young to be head of household in 1820.  I did find a John Henry in the same area as the later censuses for Charles.  Since Charles’ son was named John, could this be Charles’ father?  I noted that but haven’t gone any further,

Next I checked the Baltimore City Directories for the years between 1870 and 1900.  I started with 1870 because the 1870 census had Charles living in the Cockeysville area of Baltimore County (therefore not listed in the Baltimore City directory) and the 1880 census had him living in Waverly (listed in the Baltimore City directory).

  • I found the first listing for these Henrys (John B.) in the directory in 1879.  So I assume it was around this time that the family moved from Cockeysville to Waverly.  However, Charles was not listed in the directory until 1882. 
  • Charles is listed in the directories for 1882 through 1884 as a Wheelwright in Waverly.  John B. Henry, Charles D. and William R. Henry (John’s sons) are listed as Blacksmiths in Waverly.

Based on that I figured, Charles was born about 1803 in Maryland and probably died in the mid 1880s.
Cursory searches in the Land Records (at the time not so easy to navigate) did not turn up any records for Charles.
Searches in the Baltimore Sun archives (through the library) were tedious and yielded nothing on Charles.
Searches in the State archives for Baltimore City yielded nothing on Charles.

So, that is what I had until my library visit.  I was not there to do family research but I decided to take a look in the Maryland room on my way out.  I perused the books, mostly the same ones I have looked at in the past. Then I spotted a new looking book “Index of Obituaries and Marriages in the (Baltimore) Sun  1881-1885”.  I thought to myself, “Well, I had already searched the Sun and not found anything so this is probably useless”.  But, I had to take a look anyway.  It was published in 2009, so I am pretty sure I haven’t looked at this book.
I searched my typical surnames and then got to the Henrys on page 224.
Charles D. Henry married Charlotte V. Blatchley in 1882.  I know that, this is my 2nd great-grandparents, nothing new. 
I almost missed the entry right above that line:
“Henry, Charles (81 yrs.) d. on 83-Jan-4 [83-Jan-6: 2B, 4E].”
Wait, 1883 – 81 = 1802.  That is close.  I quickly logged into the Sun archive, pulled up the Jan. 6, 1883 edition and turned to page 2.

HENRY-On Thursday, 4th inst., CHAS. HENRY, in the 81st year of his age.  
His friends and relatives are requested to attend his funeral, from his late residence, Waverly, Baltimore county, at 10 A.M., this Saturday, 6th instant.

Promising, right age, right place.  On to the second article on page 4.

Mr. Charles Henry, who died at Waverly on Thursday at the age of 81 years, was one of the oldest citizens of Baltimore county. He formerly resided in the vicinity of Cockeysville, but he removed to Waverly some seven or eight years ago, where he carried on a blacksmith and wheelwright business up to the time of his death.  He was highly esteemed by his neighbors as an honest and useful citizen.

Wooooohoooooo!  I am 99% sure that this is him, I have to leave that 1% just in case.
Temporary exhilaration.  I am so happy to have found his obit, but a little sad that there was no burial location listed.  Grrrr.
But, now that I have a death date it is time to do some more searches.  Off to another library to search some more local newspapers that are not available on-line, another check for a death certificate and some more cemetery searches.

So far my new searches haven’t given me any new information but I’m refreshed by this new lead.  Hopefully I will have a good update on this ancestor to blog about soon!