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YES!

18 Sep 2012

Wow. A great genealogy find tonight…

Two years ago I learned a bunch of my great grandfather Jerome Holmes’s diaries had just been sold on eBay. At the time I was able to acquire two of them, for 1893 and 1904, from the buyers. And they’ve been sitting waiting for me to do something with them ever since.

A couple weeks ago one of the other diaries, for 1883, went up on eBay again. Someone bought it, found me online, and offered to sell it to me at a price I was able to live with. That gave me the impetus to go ahead and photograph the diaries — I’ve done two of the three so far — and start trying to decipher Jerome’s handwriting.

And I found this — March 15, 1883:

“Colder again this morning and snowing went down to Earlville to see Emma but did not find her at home came up to Proctors and saw Grace and Aunt Ann rode from Poolville with Thayer wind north west and blowing hard to-night”.

Jackpot!

Well, closest I’ve come to a jackpot yet, anyway. I know Jerome’s father was Hiram Holmes. I’m pretty sure Hiram was a son of Nathan Holmes, who was born in New London’s north parish (now Montville), Connecticut, married Grace Chapel, and moved to Hamilton, New York, and that another of Nathan’s sons, also named Nathan, was born there. But I have no documentation of that.

Well, now I do, partly. Nathan married someone named Ann — surname unknown — and around 1846 they had a daughter named Grace, presumably named for Nathan’s mother. Grace is probably the girl in this photo, circa 1865:

Grace married William Proctor in South Hamilton in 1873. Grace and William disappear from any records I’ve found after the 1880 census, and appear to have had no children.

The younger Nathan died in 1856 but Ann lived until August 19, 1883… five months after Jerome mentions meeting Grace and Aunt Ann at the Proctors’… and within the scope of this diary! So let’s see the August entries:

There you are, “Aunt Ann died to-night” on August 19, and two days later “Aunt Ann Holmes funeral”. (There’s a lot in these pages I can not make out, but those phrases I can.)

This is the only unequivocal statement of a relationship between Jerome and anyone on his father’s side I’ve ever seen. (Jerome’s son Clarence refers to a Fred Holmes, who was an undertaker in New York City, as “a cousin I think”, a little too indefinite for comfort, though I do believe Fred’s father Henry was another of Hiram’s brothers.) Now, there’s still no record connecting the younger Nathan to the elder, but his name and his daughter’s name make it, I think, practically certain they were father and son… and therefore so were the elder Nathan and Hiram.

I’ve been looking for a document like this for about 15 years now. And there’s still more diary entries to read…

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4 Comments
  1. I remember reading these diaries at Aunt Ruth’s house. I can’t believe they found their way back to you! Or you found their way back.

  2. Carroll "C. N." Holmes permalink

    What a great find! DNA evidence shows that you are descended from John Holmes of Plymouth just as mine does. It is difficult to find the written links that come to the same conclusion.

    • Yes, or at least from someone related to John, if you want to be pedantic! But showing how I go back to John, that’s another problem entirely. I’d still like direct documentation that Hiram and Nathan’s father was Nathan of Montville, CT, but at least now I can be sure Hiram was Nathan’s brother.

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