Good work, brain. Eventually.
It’s kind of nice to add another generation back on a line going back to fourteen whatever AD, but I think I’m at least as much interested in breadth as depth; in some ways, in fact, it’s more satisfying to find information about a more recent ancestor.
I, like most people, have 32 great great great grandparents. I have first and last birth names for 31 of them.
That one small hole bothers me.
The exception is the wife of John COOK — the mother of Rhoda COOK, wife of Hiram HOLMES. John was born about 1771 in Rhode Island and came to Norwich, Chenango, New York around 1799 (says Smith’s History of Chenango and Madison Counties) or 1805 (according to several entries in the 1855 New York State Census).
I went back to looking at this family several days ago. I remembered that in the 1850 census John shared a household with his son King COOK, daughter Jane COOK, grandson Adelbert COOK (the family scandal: he was son of King and Jane’s sister Nancy, who was unmarried when she gave birth, and he was raised by King and Jane), and John’s wife, whose name was shown as Barbary COOK. By the 1855 state census John had evidently died — though I have no better information on his death than that, and no burial place — and King, Jane, and Adelbert still shared a household with King’s mother… but her name was given as Maybill (or Maybell). First and middle names, I figure. From the censuses we know she was born about 1784 in Rhode Island, but that’s about all.
So what was her birth surname? Don’t know. But the somewhat odd name of King COOK makes a little more sense when you know John had a sister who was referred to in his parents’ wills as Susanna KING. Evidently there was a KING family the COOKs were close to, and it’s reasonable to suppose King COOK’s given name implies there were KINGs in his ancestry. But not on John’s side, as far as I know. So the attractive hypothesis is that KING was in fact his mother’s surname. Unfortunately I have no supporting evidence for it.
What I rediscovered on looking at my database was, first, there was a third census record for John’s widow; she was in the mortality schedule for 1860, having died in February of that year, and her name is again given as Barbary COOK. Furthermore, I have a copy of Rhoda COOK’s death record — from 1891 — and it lists both her parents’ names. But not her mother’s maiden name, unfortunately; she’s Barbara COOK.
Fast forward several days, at the end of which time finally my brain says to my brain, “So, what does it say on Rhoda’s siblings’ death records?”
She had six siblings. I don’t know what became of all of them. I know Jane was living with King at least through 1880. Neither of them (nor Adelbert) appears in the 1892 state census. There’s a Jane COOK buried in Chenango County who died in about 1896, but she’s buried in Greene whereas King and Jane spent their lives in Norwich, and in fact a different Jane is living in Greene in the 1880 census. King still lives with Adelbert in the 1900 census but without Jane. Presumably she died during those two decades, but I don’t yet know when or where.
King died in 1905, at the home of Adelbert who’d by then moved to Poolville in Madison County; he’s buried in Norwich.
Nancy — scandalous Nancy — married William THORNTON and had several legitimate children by him. Like King, she stayed in Norwich, and died there in 1906.
King and Nancy both appear in the state’s death records index. It’s possible one or the other has their mother’s birth name in their death record. I’ll find out.