The family gathered, in way of celebration, at the edge of Sandy Creek on the floor of the new mill, still roofless but operational. They rejoiced at the rhythmic rumble of the saw as it cut through the first log, its first task in its new home. The saw, along with her wheel and a miscellany of household items, had bounced into Ohio over the rough roads of the Allegany. It ferried over the Ohio at Fort Pitt and kept them company under their makeshift shelter outside Fort Stuben. It weathered the winter and muddy spring. Now, while they ate, the saw bustled along, happy to be productive again.
From A Row of Stones (new tentative title…can’t decide) by Donna Croy Wright
When tackling any challenge in life, it helps to have a support system, experts to consult, a way to organize and analyze your efforts, and an understanding of the impact of human nature. It’s true whether the challenge is to determine familial connections before 1850 when no birth and death records were kept and census records did not name wives, sons, or daughters. And it’s true when writing a book (or losing weight or catching a criminal for that matter, but I’ll focus on the first two challenges.)
BUILD A SUPPORT SYSTEM
Through this blog, I connect with a fabulous network of family historians willing to share their time and resources. Only this week I corresponded with Oswalt, Croy, and Huston family members who shared their ideas and information with me. Meanwhile, for my writing, I meet meet weekly at The Writing Gym. We listen, critique, encourage, and share; and Pam Smedley always comes with some kernel to spark our thinking. Thank you all.
CONNECT WITH EXPERTS
As I prepare for my trip to Ohio, I scoured the Internet but discovered a phone call to the research library of the state or county can be invaluable–besides connecting you to a real human being! I used Lisa Louise Cook’s recommended site, Stanford Newspaper Data Visualization, to determine the newspapers for the times and places I am researching for the trip. Using the indicator in the upper left corner I discovered the papers were not on line and housed only the Columbus, Ohio History Connections. So I did what I hate to do most, I made phone calls, and contacted the genealogy library in the county. They have those papers! They weren’t listed on the above site but they have copies. It will save time and be much more fun.
For my writing, I rely on some informative web sites and books, many of which I’ve shared.
ORGANIZE WHAT YOU KNOW
I adore Excel. When I have a lot of information to analyze I create a spreadsheet. I’ve done this with the Bedford PA spreadsheet, Morges, Ohio Lot Ownership 1833-38, and Tracking Andrew Croy Family. Click on any one of the links above to check them out. I use tables and excel to organize my historical fictional, as well. For my book based on the Payne family in New Haven Colony, I created a table comparing historic events in New Haven Colony and Connecticut with the individual lives (and plot points) of my characters. (I do the same thing in my genealogy research.)
LOOK TO HUMAN NATURE
Humanity may change outfits but our emotions remain. The desire to be loved, valued, to nurture, to care for our children and our grandchildren prevails. The anger at rejection, the desire to hurt, abandon, take revenge or protect our interests remains. People cluster with those who are like them; the same religion, nationality, the same childhood history and familial relations. With this knowledge I read between the lines of all those tables and come to conclusions regarding them. It may not be “proof,” but it’s pretty likely.
It’s human to read emotion into the past. When I started my genealogical journey my empathy went into overdrive. I imagined their passions, I felt their pain, I wondered how they got from here to there and why. Their stories became my fictional world, and because I’m a romantic at heart, their stories are hopeful. They love each other. They nurture and protect each other. They care. Besides, like phoning a real person, it ends up being fun.
So what about Andrew and Susannah Oswalt Croy’s children? Using information on Susannah Oswalt Croy’s Saint Luke Cemetery Find-a-grave page as a jump off point, then organizing census and tax information on my trusty spreadsheet, along with marriage and later census records, I drew these conclusions. Grandparents take care of their grandchildren when their children can’t. They move to be near their children. They often have similar jobs. Children die, they move away, they divorce. They’re human.
- First child: Michael Croy 27 March? (Find-a-grave not legible) 1801(census shows 1805, 1810) d. between 1860 and 1870 in Johnson Township, Clinton, Indiana. Matched to male of his age on Andrew’s 1820 and 1830 census, owned lot next to Andrew in Morges until 1837, appears in Coshocton 1840 census next door to father, Andrew, appears in 1850 in Coshocton with Rachel and children (Catharine, Andrew, Eunice, David, and Michael) then in Johnson Township, Clinton, Indiana with Rachel and children (Andrew, David, Michael, and Nancy)
- Second child: Duncan Croy between 1801 and 1809 d. between 1841 and 1850 (based on census information and marriage records,) moved from Rose Township to Coshocton between 1831 and 1833 (Duncan shows up on 1830 census matching birth date of Andrew’s 1820 census. He marries Sally Morrison 27 September 1827. No record of him on Carroll County tax records 1833-1838. Andrew Croy moved to Coshocton by 1840 and a male of Duncan’s age is living with them with young children, a male age 5-9 (see Michael) and female under 5, no woman of similar age, wife likely dead. By 8 October 1841 married Elizabeth Clipliver (Clissliver.) No record after, likely both died between 1845 and 1849. In 1850, Susanna age 11 and Margaret age 5 live with Andrew (grandpa?)
- Third child: Jacob Croy 6 March 1810 (causing him to appear in both 1801-1810 and 1811-1815 category depending on when census was taken) d. 2 June 1872 (My great-great-grandfather, wife and children are documented extensively in my blog so if you are interested, search. Suffice to say the family stayed in Coshocton with father Andrew until he moved back to Carroll County with his daughters. Jacob was a wagon maker, a complimentary job when your father is a saw mill owner.
- Fourth and Fifth children: Richard and Mathias??Here it gets tricky. There were definitely 2 children born 1811-1820 besides Jacob and Samuel (seen below) but they are missing in 1830. A Richard Croy appears in the Rose Township census (born 1811-1820 fitting Andrew’s 1820 census,) no other record. Susannah Croy find-a-grave info lists a Mathias, but I found no collaborating evidence. I e-mailed to the find-a-grave contributor but got no reply.
- Sixth child: Mary Croy Russel(l): b between 1812-1814 based on census d. after 1880. Married Robert Russell of Monroe Township, about 1834 (need better proof.) The photo on the website is difficult to read and looks like it says Mary C., daughter of R & M Russell. The family is found on 1840-1880 census records.
- Seventh child: Samuel Croy: b 1811-1815 (census) d unknown Married Catherine McClish 10 February 1837. Age appropriate male appears on Andrew’s 1820 and 1830 census; based on land record resident of Muskingum County in 1 August 1839 and purchasing land NE ¼ of SE ¼ of S28 T13 R17, 1840 Census Samuel Croy in Green, Hocking, Ohio with a boy and girl under 5. By 1850 Catharine alone in Hocking County with children David, Cristina, Andrew, Noah, Luticia, George. Was Samuel looking for land in Nottingham, Wells County, Indiana? 1860 Catharine is there but alone with children Andrew, Mary L.(Luticia? listed as born in Indiana 1848) and George. 1870 no record 1880 Catharine in Wells with George listed as divorced. One marriage for a Samuel Croy in Wells to Mary Saltamore 2 August 1855. No other record.
- Eighth child: Margaret Croy Russel(l): On find-a-grave at St. Luke Cemetery b. (census) 1821-1822 d. 29 November 1895 Married Matthew Russel(l) about 1841. Found in Monroe, Carroll County in 1850-1880 census.
- Ninth child: David Croy Well documented. b. 22 March 1823 d. 4 March 1909 death cert. and find-a-grave: Oak Grove, Coshocton, 1840- 1900 census in White Eyes, Coshocton County, OH Married to Eunice Frazer (Frazee) who died 27 November 1860. Children: Robert, William, Matthew, Margaret, Mary, Jennie, Jacob, Richard, Nancy. Remarried a Hannah Phillips McPherson. 22 October 1871. Like his father, worked in sawmill. (Note: 1850 an Andrew Croy 19 is listed. Child of Duncan?)
While in Carroll County, I will look for marriage records and on Mary, Margaret, Mathias, Richard, and Michael, for obituaries on Mary, Margaret, husbands, and Andrew and Susannah, and other records for Mathias and Richard. Of course I will also visit the family cemetery, St. Luke in Carroll County.