I have a couple of brick walls involving women in my Boothby line. Two of the women who married my Boothbys seem to have been born with a variety of last names. That is, I don’t yet have good evidence of exactly who they were.

The one I’m looking at here is my great great grandmother. There is general agreement that her first name was Elizabeth. However, her birth name has been variously reported as Divers, Stores, or Stewart. The first piece of information I found that named her specifically was the death certificate for my great grandfather, Alexander A. Boothby. I am lucky that this family was in Ohio from the early 1800s; Ohio is one state that has good access to digital images of death certificates and indexes for some that aren’t digitized. So I have digital copies of lots of Ohio death certificates. Including 4 of Elizabeth’s 10 children, the eldest and the youngest and two in between. I show the names of their parents from these 4 certificates below. These death certificates are where my collection of last names for Elizabeth come from. Unfortunately both James and Elizabeth seem to have died before Ohio started requiring death registration/certificates. There are also a variety of birth places listed for both Elizabeth and her husband James Boothby on these certificates. A problem for another day.

Based on my great grandfather’s death certificate, and no other good evidence, for a long time I thought Elizabeth’s name was Stores (or something like that).

Alexander Boothby's death certificate

Collins Boothby death certificate

Then I discovered that Stewart had been listed as Elizabeth’s last name  on Collins’s death certificate.

And he was much older than Alexander, so maybe he had passed along more accurate information.

Edward’s death certificate didn’t help (he also was older than Alexander); it listed Elizabeth with no last name.

Edward Boothby's death certificate

Finally, I found the death certificate for Mary Jane, the eldest child (that I have found so far) of James and Elizabeth. Her certificate said E. Divers.

Mary Jane B. Fiscus death certificate

This fits with information I got from a number of people on Ohio listservs that either said it was Elizabeth Divers or at least suggested it.

The documentation I can put together so far looks like this:

Maryland Marriages 1655-1850 lists a marriage for William Divers to Elizabeth Hanna, 12 Apr 1803 (Ancestry.com, accessed and printed 3/14/10).

The Methodist Circuit Riders Registry for Harford Co., Maryland (found in Google books) lists a number of children born and baptized to parents William and Elizabeth Divers, children born from 1804 to 1813, including Elizabeth Hanna born 12 Feb 1810. This is the right age for our Elizabeth Divers, based on ages and that she is listed as born in Maryland in every federal census found that named her. She is also listed as Elizabeth H. in at least one of the censuses.

11 Oct 1827 A James Boothby marries Elizabeth Divers in Brown Co., Ohio. Certificate of her parents filed; oath and presence of Josiah Boothby. [Therefore, it appears that both were underage to marry and that James is the son of Josiah. This information came to me from Lois Derrough, obtained on her trip to Ohio, June 2002] If she was born in 1810, Elizabeth would have been 17.

On the Divers side these are questions I am currently considering:

Did the Divers family migrate from Maryland to Ohio between 1813 and 1827 or was the certificate of her parents agreeing to her marriage sent from Maryland (see 1830 census)?  If the family didn’t migrate how, when, and why did Elizabeth Divers get to southwestern Ohio?

If the 1830 federal census of Harford Co., Maryland I find is William and Elizabeth, he was born between 1751 and 1760 (only adult man); the woman between 40 and 50 is the right age to be Elizabeth; there are 2 children in the household, one boy and one girl, both both in the age 10 to 14 range so born between 1816 and 1820. There is also an 1840 federal census for Harford Co. that includes a William Dever and two females: one woman the right age range to be Elizabeth and a girl age 15 to 19, who could be the girl from the 1830 census. These suggest that the Divers parents stayed in Maryland. at least through 1840.

On the 1850 federal census, an Elizabeth Courts (age 68 born in MD) lived in Ohio with James and Elizabeth Boothby and their children. She wasn’t living with them at the 1860 federal census, or in the 1840 one. Could this have been Elizabeth’s mother, Elizabeth Hanna Divers remarried and widowed? Her birthplace of Maryland fits with this possibility.

So it is possible, perhaps even likely, that my great great grandmother was Elizabeth Divers. But there are many questions remaining and nothing primary yet linking the James and Elizabeth Boothby who were my Alexander’s parents to Elizabeth Divers and a specific James Boothby (there was more than one in the area at about the same time).

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Death Certificate Summary:

Mary Jane Boothby Fiscus d Jun 7, 1917, age 85 7 mo 21 days. Father James Boothby, born in Clermont Co. Mother E Divers, born in Maine. Informant James C. Fiscus (of Oxford, Ohio, ?relationship). Buried Oxford Cemetery.

Collins Boothby d Nov 12 1926, age 88 1 mo 28 day. Father James Boothby, born in PA. Mother Elizabeth Stewart born in ME. Informant Chas Boothby (?son). Buried Georgetown.

Edward R. Boothby d Mar 20, 1928, age 78, 9 mo 24 days. Father James Boothby, born in Pennsylvania. Mother Elizabeth, born in Ohio. Informant Mrs. JF Butts (?dau). Buried Mt. Zion Cemetery.

Alexander Boothby d Jun 5, 1922, age 70 4 days. Father James B. Boothby, born in Main. Mother Elizabeth Stores, born in Penn. Informant John Boothby (?son). Buried Bethel Cemetery.

Mary Alice Dalton, granddaughter of Zebulon B. Coffin

Mary Alice Dalton, tintype

From the time I was very young, my mother would tell me that I looked like Cousin Alice when I pouted and talk about how Daisy (her nickname) would pout to get her own way.  And then she would stick out her own lower lip to show me how I looked.  There was an old picture, actually a tintype, of Cousin Alice as a little girl with her dog.  I was intrigued by the clothing and hair.  And I wanted to know more about her.  Where was she now?  Had I ever met her?  Would she ever come visit us?  Who were her parents?  And on and on.  My mother knew most of these answers and was happy to tell me. This was my father’s family and she had been trying to understand the complicated relationships for a long time.  There were secrets, things that were never spoken of.  And there was a pride in belonging to the Coffin family.  While she didn’t talk about the secrets until I was much older, she did explain the relationships.

There were also two very old photograph albums, with thick rigid pages with openings into which pictures had been slid.  She knew who some of the people were but not all.  And she could tell me stories about some of them.  They were all part of the extended Coffin family in southwestern Ohio but some of them had actually gone and lived in Argentina for a long time.  How exotic!  For a little girl growing up in the middle of Indiana this was all intriguing.  How could I not be interested?

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