I think this is Mary Boothby in about 1917

I think this is Mary Boothby

The evidence is amassing that Elizabeth M. Hockman/Earhart was not born to John Earhart and Margaret Shotwell.  Here is what I have found so far.

1.  Elizabeth Hockman, age 4, was enumerated with the John Arehart household in the 1860 census (taken 6/28/1860, which according to her daughter on the death cert would have been 11 days after her 5th birthday but if the census taker was sticking to 1 June as the date of record then 4 is accurate).  Also in the household were Margaret Arehart, Tillford Arehart, William Arehart (later AKA Samuel), and Ruth Shotwell, Domestic.

2.  Elizabeth M. Earhart was also enumerated with the John Earhart household on the 1870 census (15 years old, listed as helps mother) along with William S. Earhart (age 18, works out, Farm), and John C. (age 6, attends school).  It seems likely that Elizabeth/Mary lived with the Earharts until she married at 18 in 1873.  This was a very rural area, and the Earharts lived on a farm described as a mile or so off the main road, so I haven’t figured out what other records might show her presence at the Earharts between the two census points.  It seems unlikely that there is a city directory that would include the household.

3.  Tilford Earhart lived at home in 1860 and up to the time he enlisted in the Army in the Civil War in August 1862.  He died at home in 1866.  In 1888, Margaret made an application for a mother’s pension based on the death of her son due to his military service.  In 1892 there was a special hearing on this application and statements were again taken.

4. In her application for the pension, Margaret Shotwell Earhart did not ever mention a daughter.  She said in her sworn statements that she had borne two sons, one of them Tilford E. Earhart who had served in the Civil War and the other John Charles who was born during that War.  She clearly described the family as consisting of her husband, herself and the 2 sons.

5. John Earhart’s statement in the pension application  process also did not mention Elizabeth (or any daughter) but did also mention his sons.

6. The affidavits of 2 other individuals mentioned a nephew (and one named him as Samuel) who lived with John and Margaret and helped on the farm.  Margaret herself described her nephew Samuel as having stayed on and helped them around the farm until he was a young man although he had no legal obligation to do so.

7. At least one of the affidavits mentioned that Margaret had required “girl help” over the years (perhaps due to ill-health) but at times not had it (couldn’t afford it).  I’m guessing that “girl help” meant help with the work on the farm usually done by Margaret or any woman.

8.  In no description in the pension application of either Tilford’s death or the circumstances the family was in at that time was Elizabeth mentioned.  She would have been 9-10 years old at the time of his death in 1866.

In the early 1850s Ohio law directed that township trustees were responsible for the care of impoverished and destitute children and orphans.  Such children were placed in either institutions for the poor or with individual families to whom they were indentured.  Based on abstracts of the indentures of Green Creek Township, Sandusky County (found on the R.B. Hayes site) , children as young as 4 weeks old were legally indentured often to the age of 18.  Thus it is possible that Elizabeth might have been placed with the Earharts if she were orphaned or her parents were unable financially to take care of her.

9.  In registering the birth of their son M. K. Boothby in 1879, the parents were listed as Alexander Boothby and E.M. Hockman.  Their other children that I have found registrations for are all listed with her name as Earhart, although I have not found all of the children and the ones found were the later-born ones.  She was also married giving her name as Earhart.

10.  Confusingly there is a Hockman family in the same close area with a daughter named Elizabeth who was born about the same time as my ancestor.  Luckily, the 1870 federal census sheet shows both the John Earhart and the Delitha Hockman households within a few families of each other.  Thus I am pretty sure that there were in fact 2 different Elizabeth Hockmans.

11.  The only Hockman household to show up on the 1850 censuses in either Brown County or neighboring Clermont County Ohio besides the David Hockman family later the Delitha Hockman family, was a William  (age 21) and Cynthia A. Hockman (age 18).  I have not yet found them in the 1860 census nor subsequent ones.

12.  I have not found any record of the birth of a female  born to a Hockman  in Ohio in 1855, although there was not state-wide mandated reporting of births until the early 1900s.  Brown County did not register births until 1867, and although Clermont County registered some births from 1856 on, there is no Hockman birth found by search on familysearch.org.  No luck finding a Boothby family Bible which might have included Mary’s birth information.

I conclude at this point that Mary Elizabeth (or Elizabeth Mary) was born to a Hockman, taken in at an early age by John and Margaret Earhart and that she took their name whether there was any formal or legal relationship with them.  Still to be searched: court records, will/probate records, school records if they exist, church records if they exist.  My quest is not over, but some progress has been made.

 

 

 

2014-01-31 17.02

Research
* Earhart project:   I received the Civil War pension file for Margaret Earhart applying based on her son Tilford’s death.  This record was pulled and scanned for me by Pamela Loos-Noji at Kinwork Connections.  I found her by using the Association of Professional Genealogists website’s Find a Professional section.  Easy peasy.  Pam was very responsive and I had the file of 81 scanned pages in less than a month.  I’m still reading through this 81-page gem and getting ready to transcribe at least some of the affidavits, which look like they contain much useful information.  Unfortunately, so far I don’t see any reference to my Mary Elizabeth Hockman.  But hope springs eternal.  Realistically, reading through this file and transcribing is likely to be my major project for this short month.

Organization

I see that once again I have a set of goals that mostly aren’t getting accomplished.  I will try to do better this month.  Honest I will.
* Pick a family group in Evernote that is tagged To-Analyze and enter into my database.  The information isn’t going to jump in all by itself (drat!). I actually did get started on this one in January. I got some of the Boothby information transferred and organized but then, as usual, got distracted by searching online for the details to fill out the picture. So now I have images of Boothby certificates or registers sitting on my desktop along with a couple of Earharts and a couple of Justices. So back I go to try again.
* Pick a group of census records and really learn how to enter them in Clooz – a program which I really like my early experience with but which I need to learn to be more proficient using.
* Type notes from Maine trip and file information.  Figure out next steps.  Since this is my Boothby family line, I will make the family group from my Evernote files to start on the Boothbys. Also since I can travel pretty easily to Maine, even doing a day trip for some places, I need to keep myself focused on this goal.

Education
* I am registered to watch a webinar titled “Find Your 17th-c. New England Ancestors with NEHGS” which I am looking forward to.  I recently seem to be reading and listening to books set in the colonial period of the U.S.  Nathaniel Philbrick’s Mayflower was a good listen as an audiobook and I’m still listening to Woody Holton’s Abigail Adams.  I am addicted to podcasts and audiobooks to make my hour-plus each way commute pleasant.  It makes a huge difference.

I’ve been thinking about my Earhart/Hockman question and trying to figure out what difference it makes anyway.  Why do I care whether Mary Elizabeth was a Hockman or an Earhart child?  I know, from my sister-in-law as well as my professional training,  that your adoptive parents and their families are your own, and they have a huge influence on your experiences and tastes and opinions.  They play a major role in making you who you turn out to be.

So why is it that I find myself not doing much to trace the families of John Earhart and Margaret Shotwell?  (I do actually have some information on each of them and their family lines, a fair amount on the Shotwells, much of it acquired before I focused on Mary;s origins.)  Every time I see something that would lure me in the direction of tracing one of those lines I make a decision to postpone doing it, waiting to finally figure out what family my paternal great grandmother really came from. 

This leads me to the question: what is it about researching my family tree that gives me such a kick?  Why do I do it?  One answer is that I *really* want to know where it all began.  Where did I come from?  What roots anchor me to my particular place in this great big world?  For me, these desires mean knowing my direct ancestral roots (along with all the collateral ones).  I want to know the stories of each person, and that may well include being part of a family not biologically related (or perhaps biologically related on one side and not the other).  However, I have a strong need to know who each of the biological parents was as a starting point.

Thus, for now anyway, my solution is to list Mary as unknown in terms of her relationship to John Earhart and Margaret Shotwell.   Given the time period of her life, and the place, I may never be able to tease out the information about her family of origin. 

The searching I have done to try to answer my questions about Mary raise intriguing questions about the John Earhart-Margaret Shotwell family. Did they really adopt (at least informally) two children? Was it the middle two (William S. and Mary E.)? If so why the 20+ year gap between their two biological sons? Were either of the adopted children related to one or the other parent’s family? So far I haven’t found any evidence that Mary was related, but I also don’t have any evidence of her birth other than that provided on her death certificate where the information came from Mary’s daughter. Likewise I now have a death certificate for William Samuel Earhart which says that his father was John Earhart, mother was unknown, and that he was born in Bethel, Ohio. The information on this death certificate came from William’s wife who he met once he left his parents’ home and Ohio. So was John Earhart fathering children in the next county west, and then taking them in? Or is this a case of multiple people with the same name (John Earhart was not an uncommon name, there were several in the area during this time period, and they were probably all related in some way.)

Happy New Year!new year 2008-5

Research
* Earhart project: I received the death certificate and an obituary for William Samuel Earhart from the Wyoming State Archives. The death certificate lists John Earhart as his father, mother unknown, and birthplace as Bethel, Ohio. These pieces of information raise further questions about the Earhart family I’m searching. I need to continue to look for vital records for Margaret (Shotwell), John, Tilford, William S., and John Charles Earhart. I have marriage and death records for Mary E. (Hockman), but no birth found yet under either name. I do not have birth records for any of the other children either. The records I do have for John and Margaret show them recording their marriage in Clermont County, Ohio in 1840 but by the 1850 census they were in Clark Township, Brown County, Ohio and stayed there through the rest of the censuses they were alive for.
* I’m still procrastinating on getting the pension file for Tilford Earhart that was filed by his mother Margaret. Unfortunately this file is not yet available on Fold3.com, except for the index card, so I am going to have to send to NARA for it.
* Go back to Evernote To_Analyze tagged items for one family and transfer the information to RootsMagic and add the source or note.
* Having trouble with my use of the photoduplication service at FamilySearch. I think it is my email address or how it handles certain kinds of emails coming in. Frustrating.

Organization
* Pick a family group in Evernote that is tagged To-Analyze and enter into my database. The information isn’t going to jump in all by itself (drat!).
* Pick a group of census records and really learn how to enter them in Clooz – a program which I really like my early experience with but which I need to learn to be more proficient using.
* Type notes from Maine trip and file information. Figure out next steps. Since this is my Boothby family line, I will make the family group from Evernote to start on the Boothbys.

Education
* Watched the webinar about how to get around lost records by Karen Clifford, which was helpful. For January I need to go back to the webinars for my two pieces of software, RootsMagic and Clooz and work on learning to use them better. I know I’m missing things in each program that would be helpful.

For our GRIP course we were asked to describe a research problem for discussion with the class.  I wrote up the basics of what I knew about Mary/Elizabeth Earhart (or Hockman) Boothby.  I included the information I have posted here before.

The fun part was having everyone in the class read my problem and then ask questions and make suggestions about what to do next in my search for Mary’s true parents.  At the time I wrote it up, I basically had all of the places she appeared in the Federal Census, the information about her marriage to Alex Boothby, the registration information for some of her children, and her death certificate information.  Her youngest daughter, my grandmother Carrie, was the informant on the death certificate so not a primary source for any of the information I was interested in (like her parents or her date of birth).

The consensus of the GRIP class was that I needed to do a timeline of some sort to help me decide whether there was truly a second Elizabeth Hockman of about the same age (as it appears at first blush on the census records I had).  This turned out to be quite easy once I was back home and had access to all my documents and saved records.  The first census I found Elizabeth Hockman on, in the John Arehart family, was the 1860 census and she was listed as 4 years old.  This census was taken on 28 June 1860.  The one showing a David Hockman family which included an Elizabeth Hockman aged 5 was taken on 9 June 1860.  So they could have been the same child in two different places at two different times.  The 1870 census, however,  showed the two families on the same page 5 households apart, one Elizabeth M. Earhart and one Elizabeth Hockman.  This argues that there were two different girls.  Lastly, on the 1880 census, Elizabeth E. Hockman was still living in her mother’s household (census taken 4 & 5 June 1880) while Mary E. Boothby was married and living with her husband and three sons (census taken 7 & 8 June 1880).  It seems unlikely that first Elizabeth was at the Hockman’s using the last name of Hockman and 3 days later at home using her married name of Boothby.

The next set of suggestions were ways to look for who this Elizabeth Hockman of mine might be.  Did her father have sisters who might have left a daughter?  Did her mother?  Was her older brother married when he died?  This wouldn’t really explain the Hockman name.  Then there is the possibility of finding probate records showing a guardianship or the death and will of a possible father.  Once home, I also decided that I need to look into the death of Tilford Earhart, her older brother, who served in the Civil War.  Margaret Earhart, their mother, applied for and seems to have been granted a pension based on Tilford’s service and death.  I am now trying to find out if this pension file has been digitized by Fold3 and if I can get the pension file that way.  I also need to add Tilford to the list of probates to search for.

At this point I come to several conclusions.  The David Hockman family that had an Elizabeth was not the family that Mary/Elizabeth Hockman Earhart was born into.  Although the two families lived in the same small area of Brown County, Ohio, for much of their lives, making it more confusing to figure out, Elizabeth daughter of David and Delitha Hockman was not the same person as Elizabeth/Mary Hockman Earhart.   The John and Margaret Earhart family seems to have included 2 biological children and 2 “adopted” children.  Since the censuses did not list relation to head of household until 1880, it is difficult to be sure which of the children were which.  Tilford was born within a little more than a year of their marriage, suggesting to me that he was a biological child.  William S. Earhart and Elizabeth Mary were born within a couple of years of each other, and John Charles followed 8-10 years after them.  The only clue so far is the 1900 censusEarhart, Margaret - 1900crop which shows Margaret Earhart living with John C. and his wife Emma, listed as mother of head of household, and reporting that she was the mother of 2 children, 1 of them living.  Since we know that Tilford was dead by 1900 and that Elizabeth Mary was still alive, and William S. was also still alive (at least based on later censuses showing him in Wyoming), this suggests that John C. was her son and that the middle two children were adoptees.

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