Monday, August 22, 2016

The Unknowns

From this week's editon of Randy Seaver's Saturday night Genealogy Fun:

1)    I have many females in my family tree database without a last name.  One of those female first names is "Mary."  Do you have situations like this, where you don't know the surname of some females? [I call them LNU persons - Last Name Unknown.]

2) How many "Mary" persons without a surname do you have in your genealogy database?  How many of them are your ancestor?  

3)  If you have one that is your ancestor, have you looked recently to determine if there are more records online that might lead you to her surname?  Go look for one - you might be surprised!

4)  Tell us about your MaryLNU ancestors with no surname.  Perhaps someone will read it and help you out!

I keep a database that has collateral lines and many non-related people. If a family sounds interested, I’m likely to follow it for a little way to see if it connects to a famous person or intersects with my family, or gets to whatever point in the family that has caught my interest. Many of these families are put into the database in order to sort out who is a sibling, or who might be a cousin type of situation. They are sourced, but badly. In other words, they might have a source that they came off a tree on such a website, or from a book that never lists their sources. All of these are temporary items that need to be sourced and better researched if they were to be relied on for something other than an interesting diversion.

As I have many, many people in my database, there are well over 1,000 women with no last name. I have them marked with “--?--" in my database. I don’t like to use LNU for a surname as I have found that many beginners are confused by that and think it is an actual surname. I have heard a rumor, but never found actual evidence, that there actually is a surname of Lnu somewhere in the world! I also don’t like to use FNU (first name unknown) or MNU (maiden/middle name unknown) because they can equally cause confusion.

Possibly her house or that of a son
One female ancestor whose last name I would really like to discover is that of Jerusha Wooster (7 Aug 1781-24 Mar 1841). Her husband, Leveret Lyman Wooster was likely born in Connecticut, possibly Derby, not far from the coast. She was in New York State-- Columbia County in 1819 and Onondaga County in 1824 from the births of her sons. She was baptized into Plainville Christian Church in 1831 and is buried in the town of Lysander, Onondaga County along with a grandson. That burial is in the Old Presbyterian Church cemetery. Not much else is known about Jerusha.

It is noted that she was older (38 and 43) when her sons were born. Did she have more children earlier in life? Did she marry late? Or is her birth year perhaps incorrect? Her sons both have somewhat unusual names: Barclay and Dennis Kennedy. We don’t know where Barclay might have come from. There was a Dr. Dennis Kennedy that lived and practiced in Lysander during the time period that her second son was born. I assume that is where our “Dennis K.” as he was known as an adult, got his name. If she fits into this family, she would likely be a sister of his. I need to investigate the family further, as of right now, I have him as the only known child of Gideon and Elizabeth (Preston) Kennedy. Could this be the clue that leads us to who her family of origin was? Dr. Kennedy was born in Dutchess County just south of Columbia County and the family originates in Connecticut. A similar path of immigration to that of the Wooster family that Jerusha is married into. All speculation at this point, but if I find that elusive extra time, I would like to look into this mystery further and see if I can discover who Jerusha was!

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