Ancestral Journeys

Genealogical research and thoughts

  • David W. Suddarth

    Welcome to Ancestral Journeys, my genealogy research blog. Researching one's ancestors is like taking a journey back through time. Each of our ancestors have a story and those stories are waiting to be told. I hope to do that, as well as outline research methods and other information relating to genealogy and family history. Even if we do not share the same ancestry, I hope you will find some of the discussion and ideas of benefit. For my complete profile, click on the 'About' tab at the top of the page.

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1940 Census

Posted by dwsuddarth on 4 April 2012

My great grandparents, Thomas Francis Leddy and Kathryn Daley Rice Leddy on the 1940 census.

1940 U. S. Census, Addison Township, DuPage County, Illinois, population schedule, 6th Representative District, Elmhurst City, enumeration district (ED) 22-3, sheet 16A, house number 314, household 403, Thomas F. Leddy household; digital images, National Archives and Records Administration (http://www.1940census.archive.gov : accessed 4 April 2012).

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Patrick H. Leddy

Posted by dwsuddarth on 12 July 2011

Recently, I decided to take a break from the Suddarth line and have been conducting research on one of my relatives on my mother’s side of the family.  Although not a direct ancestor, he has turned out to be one my favorites.

Patrick H. Leddy is my great-grandfather’s brother.  His parents, Andrew and Margaret Leddy, both from Ireland, came to the U.S. in the mid 1800′s.  Settling first in Milford, Worcester County, Massachusetts and then in Reading, Berks County, Pennsylvania, they had five children: Mary A., born about 1855 in Massachusetts; Patrick H., born about 1857 in Pennsylvania; Margaret C., born 16 August, 1859 in Pennsylvania; Thomas Francis (my great-grandfather), born 15 November 1861 in Pennsylvania; and Barnard A., born 18 December 1864 in Pennsylvania.

The family moved to Amboy, in Lee County, Illinois sometime before 1870.  Around 1879, Patrick had gone to Leadville, Lake County, Colorado where he worked in mining.  In 1888, he had moved to Joplin, Jasper County, Missouri, where he continued his career in mining.  While living in Joplin, his brothers Thomas and Barnard joined him and together, they owned and operated the Golden Slipper Mine.  Patrick founded the town of Central City, Missouri (now a part of Joplin), which was destroyed by fire on 30 January 1900 at a loss of $10,000.  Insurance on the town was $5,000. Patrick must have found a way to rebuild, however, as the town is mentioned as in the ‘Biographical Record of Jasper County Missouri’, published in 1901.

Newspaper article about fire that destroyed Central City, MO
Missouri State Tribune, Jefferson City, Missouri
Page 4, Column 5
February 3, 1900

Patrick was also actively engaged in the Joplin community, taking part in the preparation of the Joplin exhibit of minerals for display at the 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York.  In addition, Patrick was a member of the Benevolent Order of Elks and helped organize the lodge at Joplin in 1899.

After moving to Joplin, Patrick married Rebecca Adiline Thomas, on 24 May 1899, in Nevada, Vernon County, Missouri, just North of Joplin.  Rebecca (known as Addie) was born in Wisconsin and had been living in Cherryvale, Montgomery County, Kansas with her family at the time.  Patrick and Addie had two children, Thomas A., born October, 1899, in Arkansas, and Margaret A., born around 1902 in Missouri.  Their son Thomas died before 1910.  A death record has been found for a ‘Son R. A. Leddy’, died 30 June 1900 at the age of 8 months.  I believe that the ‘R.A.’ stands for Rebecca Adiline, and that this is Patrick and Addie’s son Thomas.

By 1910, Patrick had moved his family West, to Fresno County, California, where he once again was engaged in mining, this time for gold.  According to the 1910 Fresno County, California census, he was working on his own account.  In 1912, the United States was in the middle of a Presidential election, with Woodrow Wilson for the Democrats running against Republican Howard Taft and Teddy Roosevelt, nominated by the Progressive Party, also known as the ‘Bull Moose Party’.  Voter registration rolls for California show that Patrick was registered as a Democrat for the general election, held on 5 November, so he most likely voted for Wilson.  Wilson went on to win the election, capturing 40 out of 48 states.

By this time, Patrick had left mining and in 1912 was working as a newspaper man.  By 1916, he had opened a store in the town of Shaver Lake, California, just Northeast of Fresno.  Around 1925, Patrick moved further out of the city, to Big Creek, where he was a storekeeper at Camp 21.  The Big Creek project was a major undertaking, building dams and powerhouses in the Sierra Nevada mountains in order to generate power for the growing area.  He is enumerated on the 1930, Fresno County, California census living in ‘Big Creek and Powerhouse 1′ and working as a merchant in the commissary building.  According to voter registration lists, he had retired by November of 1930.

By 1934, Patrick had disappeared from the voter registration lists.  His wife, Rebecca (Addie), had moved back to Fresno and was living at 1845 Hammond in the city.  A death record has not been found for Patrick, but I believe he died between 1930 and 1934, as the last voter registration list he appears on is for 1930 and his wife his listed in 1934 (I have not found a list for 1932).  Addie continued to live at the address on Hammond through at least 1944 and most likely up until her death.  She died in Fresno on 21 May 1949 at the age of 82.

My research into Patrick continues.  I would like to find out more about him and get an even better picture of his life.  He seems to me to have been an adventurer, working at various times in his life as a miner, a newspaper man, and a storekeeper.  Although not a direct ancestor, Patrick continues to intrigue me.

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Patience Suddarth

Posted by dwsuddarth on 9 July 2011

One of my most elusive and most intriguing ancestors is Patience Suddarth.  I first encountered Patience on the 1820 Crawford County, Indiana census.  She is enumerated as ‘Patience Suddreth’ and is the head of household, 26 – 45 years of age.  Also in the household are two young boys, one 10 – 16 and the other under 10 years.  Enumerated immediately before Patience is ‘James Suddreth’ and immediately after is Jeremiah Tadlock, husband of James’s sister, Sarah Suddarth.

There is definitely a relationship between Patience, James and Sarah.  Just what exactly that relationship is has not been confirmed.  James is 25 years of age at this time (born 1795) and Sarah is 17 (born 1803).  Looking at the 1820 census record, Patience would have been between 26 and 45, so she could be a sister to James and Sarah, their mother, an Aunt, or some other relationship.  It is also not clear from this record whether Patience is a widow or had never married (we cannot be sure that Patience is the mother of the two boys in the household).  I have found no other records for Patience in Crawford or surrounding counties in Indiana, and I do not find her anywhere in the 1830 census.

I do, however, find someone who could possibly be her in the 1810 census.  The 1810 Casey County, Kentucky census lists a ‘Peashant Sutheard’, head of household, between the ages of 26 and 45.  Additionally, there is another female in the household, under 10 years of age, making her born between 1800 and 1810.  There are also two young boys in the household, both under 10, so born between 1800 and 1810 as well.  Is this the same Patience Suddarth as was found in Crawford County?

I believe it is.  The age on the two census records agrees.  If this is the same Patience, she would have been born between 1775 and 1784.  James Suddarth, enumerated in the 1820 census immediately before Patience, enlisted at the Casey County, Kentucky courthouse in 1813 to fight in the War of 1812.  Additionally, James is found in Casey County tax lists for the years 1812 – 1814.  There is also a John Suddarth found in the Casey County tax lists in 1809 and then again from 1812 through 1815 and in 1817.  I have not found John in the tax lists for 1810, 1811 or 1816.  Neither John nor James are found in the Casey County census in 1810.

So, we know that there are Suddarths in Casey County at the time.  We also know that James from Crawford County, Indiana, is from Casey County, Kentucky and is found on tax lists there.  But what about the children found in the census records?

The Suddarth family of Crawford County, Indiana consisted of 4 brothers and 1 sister, according to a letter written by Jerry Suddarth in 1899.  These brothers were James, born 1795; Benjamin, born 1801; John, born 1811; and Lewis, born 1812.  The sister was Sarah, who was born in 1803.  In 1810, the female found in the household is the right age to be Sarah.  Of the two boys, Benjamin was born in 1801, so he would have been under 10 at the time of the census.  James would have been 15, so it is possible that a mistake was made in the census.   James could also have been in another household at the age of 15 and this is another child who died young.  I think that with all the other evidence, that either of these situations is very likely.  The 1820 census in Crawford County, Indiana shows two boys, one under 10, and the other 10 to 16.  I think that it is very likely that the one under 10 is Lewis and that the one who is 10 to 16 is John (he would have been 9 at the time; it is very possible that he was reported and/or marked as being 10.  James and Sarah are each in their own households in 1820.  Benjamin has not been found in 1820.

No other records have been found which mention Patience.  This is not surprising for a female at that time.  I am pretty confident that the Patience found in 1810 is the same as the Patience found in 1820.  If that is the case, then I believe that she is not a widow, but that Suddarth is her maiden name.  This of course leads to all kinds of questions, such as whose children is she raising, both in 1810 and 1820?  Are they hers and she was never married or are they the children of a relative that she has taken in and is helping to raise?  I am sure that there are many other possibilities, as well.  Patience will remain one of my favorite ancestors to research, hoping to uncover more of her life’s story.

Posted in Census, Genealogy, Indiana, Kentucky, Methodology, Suddarth | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Will of Dicey A. Davis

Posted by dwsuddarth on 16 May 2011

Following is a transcription of the will of Dicey A. Davis, daughter of Benjamin Suddarth and Nancy Wright.

Will of Dicey A. Davis
Washington County, Indiana
Will Book F:185-186
Written 6 March 1886; proved 1 May 1886

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Dicey A. Davis Will

In the name of the Benevolent Father of all, I Dicey A. Davis of Hardinsburg, Washington County, Indiana, do make and publish this my last will and testament.

First – I give and bequeath to my brother Greenberry Suddarth all the property of which I die possessed both real and personal without inventory or appraisement, he, my said brother, paying the expense of my last illness, burial expenses, and tombstones for my grave said stones to cost about $5000. He, my said brother Greenberry Suddarth to hold my residence and lot known and designated as Lot No 5 as layed down on the platt of Ellis addition to the town of Hardinsburg, during his natural life and to give a home during that time, if she should live so long, to my sister Mary Lynn.

Second – At his death, I give and bequeath said house and lot as above described, to Sanford E McIntosh and John R. Cravens without inventory or appraisement, and hereby empower them to sell same and convey it, at public or private sale at their discretion, and dispose of the proceeds as follows, after paying expenses of of sale and all other necessary expenses, they shall buy four setts of tombstones good plain substantial stones, and place them as follows: one sett each at the graves of my father, Benjamin Suddarth, my mother Nancy Suddarth, and my brothers Blackwell and John Suddarth. If there be any money left, I hereby instruct my executors to pay into the hands of the trustees of the Hardin Cemetery or graveyard (the cemetery where my father mother and brothers as above named are buried) to be by said trustees used at their discretion in beautifying and improving said cemetery.

Third – I hereby appoint the aforementioned Sanford E. McIntosh and John R. Cravens or either of them my executors of this my last will and testament.

In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 6th day of March 1886.

Signed by Dicey A. Davis

Dicey A. x Davis

as her last will and testament, in our presence, and signed as witnesses by us in her presence -

Henry C. Fouts
Sanford E. McIntosh

Proof of Will

State of Indiana, Washington County, ss:

Be it remembered, that on the 1st day of May 1886. Sanford E. McIntosh one of the subscribing witnesses to the within and foregoing last Will and testament of Dicey A. Davis late of said County, deceased, personally appeared before James M Taylor, Clerk of the Circuit Court of Washington County, in the State of Indiana, and being duly sworn by the Clerk of said Court, upon his oath declared and testified as follow that is to say: that on the 6th day of March 1886, he saw the said Dicey A. Davis sign her name to said instrument in writing as and for last will and testament, and that this deponent at the same time heard the said Dicey A. Davis declare the said instrument in writing to be her last will and testament and that the said instrument in writing was at the same time at the request of the said Dicey A Davis and with her consent attested and subscribed by the said deponent & Henry C Fouts in the presence of said testator and in the presence of each other as subscribing witnesses thereto, and that the said Dicey A. Davis, was at the time of the signing and subscribing of said instrument in writing as aforesaid, of full age, (that is more than twenty one years of age.) and of sound and disposing min and memory, and not under any coercion or restraint, as the said deponent verily believes, and further deponent says not.

Sanford E. McIntosh

Sworn to and subscribed by the said Sanford E McIntosh before me, James M Taylor, Clerk of said Court at Salem, the 1st day of May, 1886.

James M Taylor Clerk

In attestation whereof, I have hereunto subscribed my name and affix the seal of said Court.

James M Taylor Clerk

State of Indiana, Washington County, ss:

I James M Taylor, Clerk of the Circuit Court of Washington County Indiana do hereby certify that the within annexed will and testament of Dicey A. Davis has been duly admitted to probate and duly proved by the testimony of Sanford E McIntosh one of the subscribing witnesses there that a complete record of said will, and of the testimony of the said Sanford E McIntosh in proof thereof has been by me duly made and recorded in Book F at pages 185-6 of the records of Wills of said County.
In attestation whereof, I have hereunto subscribed my name and affixed the seal of said Court, at Salem, this 1st day of May 1886

James M Taylor
Clerk Circuit Court Washington Co.

Dicey A. Davis Will

Posted in Genealogy, Indiana, Suddarth | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

A Busy Summer as the Search Goes On…..

Posted by dwsuddarth on 3 September 2010

Wow, has the Summer gone by quickly.  It has been a very busy one, but I have been able to get some research done.

Back in June, I attended the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research held at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama.  I highly recommend this for anyone who wishes to strengthen their research.  The Institute is one week-long and offers courses for everyone from the beginner to the advanced researcher.  The course I took, Advanced Methodology and Evidence Analysis, was exceptional.  Along with the outstanding course offerings, the chance to meet and network with fellow genealogists is worth the trip alone.  I will definitely be heading back next year to further my genealogical education.

Of course, since I was on the road, I spent some time doing some research.  Unfortunately, the research part of my trip was not very fruitful.  I spent some time at the Kentucky State Archives reviewing court cases from Casey and Lincoln Counties for the early 1800′s, hoping to find some mention of the Suddarths or collateral families.  Nothing.  I searched old newspapers on microfilm at the Lexington, Kentucky Public Library.  Nothing.  I read deed books cover to cover at the Casey County Courthouse.  Nothing.  This happens sometimes; it is a part of the research.

I was fortunate, however, to find the marriage record for James and Malinda Suddarth’s son, James.  James was born about 1835 in Crawford County, Indiana.  In June of 1857, a marriage license was issued for James B. Suddarth and Sarah Sullivan in Washington County, Indiana, just to the North and East of Crawford County.  It is not known if the couple actually married, however.  The license was issued, but the return was never completed.  Neither James nor Sarah are found in any census records after 1850 (James is enumerated with his parents, James and Malinda).  It is presumed that James had died by 1860, although no record of this has been found.

The most interesting part of the record is that it gives James’ middle initial.  The middle initial is ‘B’, the same as for his brother, David B. Suddarth.  It is thought that David’s middle name is Barnett, which could be a family name, possibly the maiden name of his mother, Malinda.  The fact that James also has the middle initial ‘B’ provides just a little more evidence that the name Barnett is a family name.  Of course, it is possible that James’ middle name is not Barnett.  We do not know for sure.

I will be conducting more research on James and Malinda’s son, James.  Among the questions I have are, did he and Sarah have a child together?  What actually happened to James and Sarah?  Did they ever get married?  As usual, lots of questions, few answers.

James B. Suddarth – Sarah Sullivan Marriage

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Sister Sadie

Posted by dwsuddarth on 28 April 2010

In Jerry L. Suddarth’s letter to Mary Suddarth, dated 6 November 1899, he mentions that his grandfather, James Suddarth, had a sister, Sadie.  Sadie is a nickname for Sarah and there is a Sarah Suddarth in Crawford County, Indiana at the same time James is there.

Sarah Suddarth was born about 1803 in either Virginia or Kentucky.  The only two census records she is named on are the 1850 and 1860 Crawford County, Indiana censuses.  In 1850, her place of birth is recorded as Kentucky.  In 1860, her birthplace is recorded as Virginia.

By early 1817, Sarah had come to Southern Indiana, most likely with her brothers.  On 20 February 1817, Sarah married Jeremiah Tadlock in Harrison County, Indiana.  Jeremiah is enumerated on the 1820 Crawford County census immediately after Patience Suddarth.  James Suddarth is enumerated immediately before Patience.  Jeremiah’s household contained 1 male under 10, 1 male 16-26, 1 female under 10, and 1 female 16-26.

The Tadlocks most likely knew the Suddarths in Casey County, Kentucky and two families probably traveled together to Indiana.  There is an Elisha Tadlock in Harrison County as early as 19 February 1817, just two days after the marriage of Jeremiah and Sarah.  In addition, Elisha Tadlock appears on the 1810 Casey County, Kentucky tax list and on the 1811 Lincoln County, Kentucky tax list.  Just like John Suddarth in Casey County, Kentucky, it does not appear that the Tadlocks owned any land in Casey or Lincoln Counties.

Not much of the information in the letter about Sarah Suddarth is new; it had been uncovered in previous research.  However, it does tell us that she was known as Sadie and this fact could help down the road in other research.

Jeremiah Tadlock – Sarah Suddarth Marriage

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Four Brothers From Indiana

Posted by dwsuddarth on 8 April 2010

In a previous post, I mentioned that there are four men in Southern Indiana in the early 1800′s who may or may not be brothers.  It has always been assumed that they are brothers, but there has been no evidence found to support that conclusion.  That is no longer the case.  In the letter written by Jerry L. Suddarth, he mentions that his grandfather, James, had brothers Benjamin, Lewis and John.  In addition, he tells us that James had a sister Sadie.  Sadie is a nickname for Sarah and there is a Sarah Suddarth in Southern Indiana at the same time as the others.  The information I have found for the Suddarths in Southern Indiana in the early 1800′s is as follows:

  • James, born 1795 in Virginia
  • Benjamin, born 1801 in Virginia
  • Sarah, born 1803 in either Virginia or Kentucky
  • John, born 1811 in Kentucky
  • Lewis, born 1812 in Kentucky

This information matches the information given in the letter.  However, if these five a siblings, why is there such a large gap in the birth dates between Sarah and John?  By looking at the locations of the births, it would appear that the family moved from Virginia to Kentucky sometime between 1801 and 1811.  According to the 1850 Crawford County, Indiana census, Sarah was born in Kentucky.  In the 1860 Crawford County census, her birthplace is given as Virginia.  The large gap in the birth years could be due to the family’s migration between 1801 and 1811.  However, another possibility, which I think is more likely, is that there are two different mothers here.

It would seem likely that James, Benjamin and Sarah were born to one mother and John and Lewis to another.  This could indicate that the mother of James, Benjamin and Sarah died sometime after 1803 and that the father remarried, possibly after migrating to Kentucky.  This suggests that any extant death and marriage records should be searched in Virginia and Kentucky for the time period between 1803 to 1811.  In addition, the six-year gap between the births of James and Benjamin may indicate the birth of additional child who died while young.

While it may seem a large undertaking to search death and marriage records in all of Virginia and Kentucky, the letter does provide a clue to help narrow down the areas to begin searching.  Jerry Suddarth mentions that the two brothers settled in Albemarle County, Virginia and that the family went from Virginia to Tennessee to Kentucky to Indiana.  It is very possible that the family migrated to Kentucky along the Wilderness Road, which went Southwest in Virginia, dipped into Tennessee, then turned Northwest through the Cumberland Gap and into Kentucky.  The Wilderness Road then went up to Lincoln County, Kentucky, not far from Casey County, which is where James has been located in 1813.  Therefore, looking in the counties through which the Road passed would be the place to begin.


Posted in Indiana, Kentucky, Methodology, Suddarth | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Chipping Away at Brick Walls

Posted by dwsuddarth on 9 March 2010

You never know where that one piece of information which can help chip away at a brick wall may come from.  As I have written about in a previous post, my biggest and most stubborn brick wall is that of finding the parents of my 3rd great grandfather, Lewis Suddarth.  I recently received something in the mail which took a brick or two out of that wall.

I was looking at the Daughters of the American Revolution website and did a search for Suddarth in their Genealogical Records Committee Index.  Included in the results were some names that I recognized from my past research.  I sent a request for the copies of the pages indicated and received the packet the other day.  In the packet was a copy of a letter written by Jerry L. Suddarth, English, Indiana in 1899.

I knew that Jerry L. Suddarth was the grandson of the James Suddarth which I have been researching.  I have been conducting research into James because I believe he may be a brother of my 3rd great grandfather, Lewis.  If I can find out more about James, it may lead me to Lewis’ parents.  I have transcribed the letter below:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

English, Ind Nov 6, 1899

Mary Suddarth

Model Tenn.

Yours 3rd Inst. has my attention.  I suppose you and I are related as I have always been informed any one spelling the name “Suddarth” are decendants [sic] of two brothers Lawrence Suddarth and James Suddarth who came from Scotland prior to the revolution, that each were in revolutionary war — They settled in Albemarle Co. Virginia.  I am a decendant [sic] of Lawrence Suddarth, my Grand Father was James Suddarth decendant [sic] of Lawrence, my Grandfather have brothers, Benj, Lewis, John, and Sister Sadie.  My Grand Father had children David B, James, Jeremiah, Lucinda and Sadie, my father is the only one living, his name is David B.  our decendants [sic] went to Tenn from Va. then to Ky. and then to Indiana –

We are all Republicans–

Be pleased to hear from you further,

Yours Respect,

Jerry L. Suddarth

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

There are many clues and pieces of information in this letter.  First is the information regarding his grandfather, James, and his brothers Benjamin, Lewis and John, as well as a sister Sadie.  In my research, I have turned up all four brothers.  In addition, I have a Sarah which fits in with the same generation.  Sadie is a nickname for Sarah, so I am pretty sure that this is the same person.  Of course, the biggest clue is that he is descended from a Lawrence Suddarth and that Lawrence had a brother named James.  According to the letter, they were from Scotland and settled in Albemarle County, Virginia.  In addition, it mentions that both brothers fought in the Revolutionary War.   The migration route of the Suddarth family is also mentioned in the letter.

Note that the letter does not, however, name James’ father.  It claims that James is a descendant of Lawrence, but does not indicate the exact relationship between the two.

All of this information needs to be researched and verified before it can be taken as reliable.  In future posts, I will begin deconstructing the letter in more detail.

This letter was found in ‘Tennessee DAR GRC report; s1 v197: genealogical records’. I had traced the family from Southern Indiana into central Kentucky.  I had thought that they came to Kentucky from Virginia.  They did, though possibly through Tennessee.  You never know where you are going to find information which may help break down that wall.  One letter found in a Tennessee DAR report yields many clues to the origins of the Suddarths of Southern Indiana.

Jerry L. Suddarth Letter

Posted in Indiana, Methodology, Suddarth | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Wordless Wednesday – Michael Joseph Rice

Posted by dwsuddarth on 3 March 2010

My Great-Great Grandfather, Michael Joseph Rice

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Death Certificate for William Monroe

Posted by dwsuddarth on 26 January 2010

I recently received the death certificate for my second great-grandfather, William Monroe.  This is a significant find for me, as no one in the family had any idea of when or where he died.

William Monroe was born about 1850 in Scotland and came to the U.S. sometime before 1888, the first year I have been able to find any record for him in the U.S.  William’s son, William Hart Monroe, my great-grandfather, was born in Scotland in 1880.  He first appears in the 1900 LaSalle County, Illinois census, as does his brother, James, and his mother, Annie.  Everyone in the family had always assumed that William Monroe came to the U.S. and went directly to LaSalle County.  However, that was not the case.

To find out when he died, I searched in indexes for LaSalle County and for the state of Illinois.  I knew he died sometime between 1881 (when he appeared in the Scotland census) and 1910, when his wife Annie appeared as a widow in the LaSalle County census.  The search through LaSalle County records turned up nothing.  The search at the state of Illinois’ online database turned up too many William Monroes (and Munros) to be of any help.  In addition, none of the Williams listed had died in LaSalle County.  I searched land records in LaSalle County trying to place him there at a specific time, but found nothing in either the Grantor or Grantee indexes.

I then decided to research other family members.  I started by researching his wife Annie.  A visit to the LaSalle County Genealogy Guild turned up the probate file for Anna [Annie] Monroe.  Inside that file was a court transcript of the Proof of Heirship.  In the court testimony, Annie’s son James testifies that his father, William Monroe, died “March 12, 1895, I think”.  Returning to the state of Illinois’ database, I searched again and found a William Monroe who died 12 March 1895 in the city of Chicago.  I immediately sent for the certificate, but wanted to do some more research to be sure I had the right person.

Since the 1890 census does not survive and William died prior to the 1900 census, I started by looking at the Chicago city directory for the year 1895.  I did not find a William.  I did, however, find an Annie Monroe listed.  Beside her name in the directory was ‘wid. William, h 218 Centre av.’.  I traced Annie forward in the city directories through 1900.  She does not appear in the 1901 directory.  I also traced William back through the directories to 1888.  Each time, he is listed with an occupation of stonecutter.  The 1881 Scotland census also lists his occupation as a stonecutter.  It looked like I found the right William Monroe.  As an additional check, I looked at the 1900 census for Cook County, Illinois.  Annie Monroe is listed, at the same address as is in the city directory.  All of the information on the census corresponds with other information I have for her.

When I received the death certificate in the mail, I confirmed that information on the certificate corresponds with information I already know, such as William’s occupation as a stonecutter, his place of birth being Scotland and his place of death listed as 218 S. Center (sic) Av., the same address where I found his widow, Annie.  The bonus for me, however, is that the death certificate lists his place of burial as Calvary Cemetery, which is on the border of Chicago and Evanston, Illinois.  I am looking forward to visiting the cemetery to see if I can find his grave site.

What started out as a seemingly hopeless task – finding William Monroe’s death date – has turned into a fascinating story.  I am not sure that he ever was in LaSalle County, Illinois.  Through city directories, I was able to discover when he came to Chicago, where in the city he lived and how long his widow stayed in Chicago after his death.  I am continuing my research on William, hoping to find out more about his life.  He died at a very young age – 45.  I believe he lived a very interesting 45 years, however.

William Monroe’s death certificate

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