Lately I have been focusing on DNA research, so I was excited when a new match came in for my husband’s Y-DNA. Since he can trace his Scott ancestry back to William Scott from Hatfield, Massachusetts in the 1600’s with paper documentation, I assumed this new match would be descended from William Scott as well. The problem is this match only knows his ancestry back to a George Washington Scott b. 1829 in Ohio. I volunteered to do the research to connect the match and my husband. Little did I know the difficulty I would have.
I found the match’s ancestor, George W. Scott, in the 1870 and 1880 census with his wife Mary and five children. Both of these confirmed that George was born in Ohio in 1829. His wife was about 12 years younger than he, so I expected it might be a second marriage. My plan was to trace George back through the 1860 and 1850 census to locate his father. The problem started with the 1860 census when I found three other George W. Scotts born in Ohio between the years 1828 and 1830.
So I set up a chart numbering each George and as I found information plugged it in to categories including wife’s name, birth and death dates and locations, and 1860 – 1880 census information. George, the correct ancestor, was number 1. After an afternoon of research I discovered the other Georges couldn’t be George #1 because they also appear on the 1870 or 1880 census with different wives and children in different locations from George #1. A man can’t be in two places at once, so back to more research.
Re analyzing George #1’s 1870 and 1880 census record, I saw that he was a carpenter in Jasper, Missouri in 1870 and a farmer in Livingston Co., Illinois in 1880. His oldest children were born in Illinois so obviously he moved around. I found a fifth George W. Scott living in Jasper, Missouri in 1860 (the same location as George #1 in 1870) but the record said this George #5 was born in Indiana. Still, I checked him anyway. Turns out he also appears on the 1870 census in Jasper, Missouri ten pages away from George #1 so he was not our man.
So far, I have been unable to locate a marriage record for George #1 and his wife Mary, but tried looking in Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. All children, either through death records or marriage records, confirm her name as Mary Dronenberg. Ancestry connects George #1 with a George W. Scott who married Mary Ann Smiley. These two had a son William born about the same time as George #1’s son William. Thinking this might be a first wife who died, I again checked it out only to find this fifth George W. Scott was born in 1841 – no where near the birth of our George.
At this point, I decided to take a different approach and follow George #1’s wife, Mary Dronenberg. Census records say she was born in Maryland in 1841. She was not as difficult to locate. There were two people by this name born in Maryland around 1841. One stayed in Maryland, but the other appears with father Hiram and mother Sarah on the 1850 census in Frederick County, Maryland and then in 1860 living in Marshall County, Illinois. Since George #1 and Mary named a son Hiram, and George lived in Illinois, I was pretty sure this was the right family. Based on the birth of their first child and Mary being single on the 1860 census I hypothesized George #1 and Mary were married sometime between 1860 and 1863.
Now the logical place to look for George in 1860 would be where Mary lived since George and Mary had to live near one another in order to marry. I checked the census records for Bennington, Marshall Co., Illinois line by line, hoping I would find George and Mary as neighbors. No George in that Township. I looked for any George Scott in Marshall County, Illinois and found one but he was born in Virginia in 1813, so he was not our man. This George b. 1813 had four children including a son George W. Scott who was born 1863, too late to be our subject. So again strike three.
At this point, I need a breather to ponder and think about what my next step might be. I find sometimes putting a problem away for a while helps the creative ideas flow. So I will continue my search in the next post.