I’m blogging early this weekend as I’ve got too many events scheduled! Next Saturday, my blog will be late. I’m blaming it on the time change.
There is nothing worse than trying to solve a brick wall for commonly named individuals. For years, I’ve not been able to go back further than the parents of my 3rd great-grandfather, Edward Adams. Actually, I still don’t know his parents’ names but I definitely know who his grandparents were!
I don’t use DNA much for my own family genealogy because my maternal side were fairly recent immigrants to the U.S. and few have matched me. On my paternal side, I seem to get most matches for my maiden name and I have no brick walls there, going back as far as I could with remaining French and German records. I have tremendous issues, though, with my paternal grandmother’s lines; I was always told she was Irish, English, Welsh, and Scottish. My DNA confirms those ethnicities but the names where I reach a dead end are Adams, Byrd, Cole, Dennis, and Morrison. Too many in the same place at the same time!
Last month, I was pleasantly surprised when I decided to take a look to see if I had any new matches. I had a hunch that I was related through the Sylvanus Adams line. Although it was just a hypothesis, it made sense as my Edward Adams, who had died intestate (why do all my people do this?!), left behind young children in rural Perry, Ohio in 1822. A man named Evi Adams settled the estate. Evi died soon after Edward. Evi was an interesting name to me so I poked around and found several in New Jersey where Edward’s wife had originated. Now New Jersey is not a small land a mass so I was even more intrigued when I learned the Evi’s were all in Sussex County, the same place as Edward’s wife.
I then made a tree from the youngest Evi I found living there in the late 1700s and based on birth years, it looked plausible that Sylvanus and Elizabeth Crowell Adams could be my 5th great-grandparents.
I attached Edward to one of their sons with a disclaimer that this was just a hypothesis. And there my mystery sat for years! Until February, when finally, along with 7 newfound “cousins” I indeed do link to Elizabeth Crowell and Sylvanus Adams.
But the man I guessed was Edward’s father was not correct. There were gaps in children so I suspected that was where my 4th great-grandfather had once been, perhaps dying young. I found Sylvanus’ will to see if there were additional children or grandchildren of deceased children named but nope, he even left out a known son Isaiah, who had left New Jersey for Ohio. Hmmm, not the same county where Edward was but I still tried to place him as my great-grandfather; it didn’t work.
I then found a further DNA match with an Ichabod and Sarah Sumner Crittenden. I’ve been trying to find which of their daughters married a son of Sylvanus and that’s where things got stopped again. The Crittenden’s were from Connecticut and had a daughter, Hannah, who married James Adams in Massachusetts. Could James be an unnamed son of Sylvanus? Possibly, but the James and Hannah Adams family remained in New England. That could explain why James was not listed in Sylvanus’ will as it appears that only children who were close by to him in New Jersey were named. Then I found a James Adams in Sussex, New Jersey in 1793 but he was married to a Sarah Dunn. Arghhh! But here it gets interesting because Sarah Dunn’s parents were also from Connecticut.
I am THRILLED that I have found Edward’s grandparents after all these years and even happier to know I was correct in guessing who they were. I just wish I could figure out who his parents were.