Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Change in Schedule

The feature advertised for this space at this time was the final installment of The "French Negroes" of Illinois: Prairie du Rocher, A Great Story Indeed! However we've made an executive decision to postpone that final installment. Yesterday, the Bloggcast Center received an e-mail from a very important source who has additional information that would be relevant to that final episode. So rather than go ahead with what we had produced and then change or add to it later, we decided to wait until we receive very shortly the new information from this particular source. I will say that this is a very credible source with extremely pertinent information about Prairie du Rocher and its history.

So in the meantime, here is something else that has been going on.

The Sanford Family Probate

A couple of entries about the Sanford family of Milam County Texas and their wills attracted a great deal of readership and introduced me to a number of Sanford researchers around the country. As a result I learned a number of things. A couple of us worked through several problems collaboratively. For example, one researcher had identified a son of Reuben Henry Sanford Jr. as "David" Sanford. I helped that person determined that in fact the son's name was Daniel Henry Sanford. On the other hand, that person helped me with a mystery that has perplexed several Sanford researchers. Reuben Henry Sanford Jr. had married a woman named Catherine in Texas. Reuben and Catherine had two children: a girl named Susan and the aforementioned Daniel. Daniel was born about 1863. Catherine died sometime after 1863. A number of Sanford researchers have been at a loss to know what Catherine's maiden name was. We worked through that problem and came to an answer ironically because of a mistake I had made. So here's another lesson to be shared.

On the 1870 census of Milam County, Daniel Sanford, age 6, was living in the household headed by Hazzard P. Hale and his wife Lucretia. I surmised that Reuben's son Daniel had gone to live with a relative after his mother Catherine died. The 1870 census doesn't show relationships, so from that record alone it would be difficult to come to a conclusion about this. But the 1880 census has Daniel Sanford, now 17 years old, still with the Hale family but now identified as a nephew. I further surmised that if in fact he was a nephew, then Lucretia was his aunt. If Lucretia was his aunt, then she was Reuben Henry's sister, so I reckoned. The other researcher, a Sanford relative, was quite certain that there was no Sanford daughter named Lucretia. So we set about to find alternative explanations. One explanation, of course, is that if Lucretia wasn't Henry's sister, then perhaps she was Catherine's sister. But how to determine that if we didn't know Catherine's maiden name?

Then it occurred to us, separately, that if young Daniel was living with a relative after his mother died, whereabouts was his sister Susan? Well, the answer was found in the 1870 census. Susan Sanford, eight years old, was living with one D.J. Evins and his wife Susan. Armed with the realization that Evins could also be Evans, the other researcher set off in pursuit of Lucretia or Catherine Evans. In Maury County, Tennessee, in 1850, we found Daniel J. Evans, his wife Susan, and their two daughters Catherine and Lucretia. So now we can be fairly certain that Reuben Henry's first wife was named Catherine Evans and that she was born about 1827 in Tennessee. We also know why her children were named Susan and Daniel. I still don't know when or where or how she died, but knowing her name is a big deal.

By the way, documents such as the Sanford wills are always available to you--just ask me!

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