Among the many Staats photographs I’ve inherited over the years is this photograph labeled “Harry Staats, son of Millison Staats.” That makes Harry my second cousin three times removed. For years, the only record I could find of him was in the 1880 census as a five-year old boy. The picture is clearly of someone in their late teens or early twenties, so surely there must be more to his story? Most definitely.
Harry was born on 19 Jan 1875, probably in Ralls County, Missouri. He was the oldest son of Elisha Millison Staats and Mary Ann Headley. By that 1880 census record, they were back in Caldwell, Noble, Ohio.1 The family would also live in Marietta and Cambridge Ohio, but Harry didn’t appear in any of those records. What had become of him?
While I have yet to discover all of the details, Harry has turned out to be quite an interesting character! He was married to Elizabeth Smith in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on 26 Mar 1894. Underage? No problem, Harry just made his birth year two years earlier, 19 Jan 1873, and was now magically of age! Interestingly, his bride was of age, but consent was given anyway.2 Five months later, their daughter was born in Elwood, Indiana, explaining some of the urgency of the marriage.3
Harry played semi-professional baseball. For two or three seasons, Harry played for the Elwood team, but signed with Terre-Haute in March of 1896.4 By May, Harry was playing second base for the Logansport Ottos5, about 50 miles north of the Staats’ home in Elwood. Apparently baseball wasn’t the only thing Harry was playing in Logansport. The season ended, but Harry had not returned home. On 21 Nov 1896, the Logansport Pharos-Tribune reported “Mrs. Staats, wife of the ballplayer, was in Logansport yesterday in search of her truant husband.” According to the paper:6
“Staats, who has been in the city for the past month shinin’ around a certain young woman, gave out that he had never married the woman who claims to be his wife, but she brought her marriage license with her also newspaper clippings announcing when and where the marriage was celebrated.”
Whoops! Two weeks later, his wife was back and filed an affidavit charging him with desertion and a warrant was issued. Harry was found at the flat of his mistress and her mother, taken into custody, fined $10, and released to his wife. The details were dramatically reported the next day:
“Dirty Dog Harry and his faithful wife left police headquarters and were walking about to kill time…Staats picked up his child and was carrying the little one when Lottie [the mistress] emerged from the house of a mutual friend … and took hold of her lover’s arm. This bit of brazen impudence enraged Mrs. Staats, and picking up a stone…threw it at her hated rival. The missile hit the giddy creature on the back and caused her to retreat.”
According to the paper, Dirty Dog Harry briefly gave his wife the slip to hug and kiss Lottie goodbye. Even Lottie’s mother got in on the action, calling Elizabeth [Staats] a “dirty trollup” before police intervened. But in the end, Harry returned to Elwood with his wife, who was far more forgiving than I imagine I would be under the same circumstances.7 That lasted two weeks, when Harry returned to Logansport, his wife reporting to Logansport police that she no longer wanted anything to do with him.8 He signed the following spring to play in Lexington, Kentucky, although it appears he instead signed on to an Indianapolis’ team.
In March of 1898, he went to work for the Mutual Telephone company. On his first day on the job, he felt the pole he was climbing was falling, so he jumped. The pole was fine, Harry was not so lucky. He shattered his ankle, crippling him and ending his playing career.(( “Harry Staats Breaks His Left Ankle Yesterday,” Logansport Pharos-Tribune, 15 Mar 1898, p. 6, col. 2; digital images, Newspapers.com (http://www.newspapers.com : accessed 14 Apr 2017). )) In 1899, Harry underwent several surgeries to regain mobility, eventually having three toes amputated. He briefly managed the Logansport team, but never played again.
There is a gap in the online Elwood papers for 1900, but amazingly given his indiscretions, Harry appeared in that census with his wife and daughter, listed as a bartender. In Jul of 1901, the Elwood Daily Record reported that Harry had resigned his bar-tending position at the Stevenson House in order for he and his family to return to Ohio. At some point before July 1904, Harry and family returned to Indiana, Harry once again making news. This time, he was arrested in a gambling raid. Other articles mention him as a breeder of fox terrier. The last mention of Harry is a July 1905 blurb mentioning that his brother, Allen, was in town visiting.
In 1910, his wife, Elizabeth, and daughter are in the Marion County, Indiana census, living in Indianapolis with Elizabeth’s mother. Elizabeth is listed as a widow. What was Harry’s fate? Was Elizabeth actually a widow, or had Harry run off for good? Only more research will uncover those answers.
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Barbara Vines Little Bio: M. Ed., University of Virginia; former president and director, National Genealogical Society; former president and governor, Virginia Genealogical Society; coordinator, Virginia track, Samford University’s Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research, coordinator, Virginia track, SLIG (Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy); editor of the Virginia Genealogical Society’s quarterly Magazine of Virginia Genealogy and former editor bimonthly Virginia Genealogical Society newsletter.
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Today I had some time, and turned to a source that has been known to contain a number of mistakes, assumptions, and wild speculation. However, the scant info the Genealogy of the Staats Family provides regarding the Delaware Staats family seems pretty accurate and agrees with the research I’ve done on these familes. The book was published in 1921 by Harold Staats and contains a wide collection of Staats family information submitted in response to queries sent by Mr. Staats. Not only does it agree, it provides more complete dates than do the original records.
But there was one entry in particular I found interesting. As it is known that there are a number of mistakes in this book, I am on the alert for misinformation. So when I read in the following section that “Rebecca Leucinda or Louisa Emma Staats, born October 8, 1853,” I was understandably skeptical. Supposedly this information was taken from a family bible. Here is the entry2 :
So I went to the 1860 census to see how she was listed. The result surprised me3 :
My conclusion? Given the information in the book and the odd entry in the 1860 census, I can only conclude that both sources actually agree and her name is actually Rebecca Leucinda Louisa Emma Staats, born 8 Oct 1853.
From information passed out at McGinnis family reunions in the 70s, we know that Chambers O. McGinnis was the second son of James McGinnis and Elizabeth Moore, born 10 Aug 1855 in Pine Twp., Armstrong, Pennsylvania. That same information indicates that he died 27 Feb 1885. That’s a pretty exact date, and has left descendants of James McGinnis wondering for decades 1) where the information in the handouts originally came from, and 2) what the rest of Chamber’s story is. All I have been able to find of Chambers is census entries in 1860 and 1870, and the family information from the handouts. Information gleaned from descendants of his older brother, William McGinnis, indicate that like several other members of the James McGinnis family, Chambers headed west, which is where he met his end. According to stories passed down, foul play may have been involved.
As much as I hope to eventually learn more about his fate, I am hoping even more (or Moore), that his unusual name will eventually help me solve the mystery of his mother’s identity. All family information indicates that James McGinnis married Elizabeth Moore on 20 Aug 1849 in Mosgrove, Armstrong, Pennsylvania. Indeed, her tombstone also lists the Moore surname. She was born 10 Mar 1831. I’m guessing she probably had two parents, but so far they’ve eluded me. Moore is not an uncommon name, but thus far, I’ve been unable to place her with any of the Moore families in that time and area of Pennsylvania.
Enter the “Chambers O.” clue. Again, you’d think that a name like that was probably passed down through the family, named after someone important to the family. And it probably is. Find Chambers Moore, hopefully in the 1850 census– one year after Elizabeth’s marriage– and I’m on my way to finding her birth family, right? However, it’s astounding how common the name Chambers is in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania in 1850. There are not only 27 people named Chambers with various surnames, but there are two named as “Chambers O.” If you add in the fact that where the McGinnis/Moore family lived in Armstrong County was close to Westmoreland, Indiana, and Jefferson Counties, you get many more Chambers and many more Moores. There’s only one Chambers Moore, and he’s in nearby Clarion County. There are several more recent Chambers Moore, including a couple Chambers O. Moores, but so far those families have not panned out.
I guess it’s good to have a plan. Hopefully that plan will pan out in 2017. Stay tuned.]]>
Join me this Wednesday, November 2, 2016, when I will be presenting fifteen+ years of research in one hour! Thanks to the folks at Legacy Family Tree, I get to talk about using analysis and correlation to overcome conflicting evidence in the complex and confusing case of my Delaware Staats family. From my handout for the presentation:
“The family of Jacob Staats provides an interesting example of analyzing and correlating information, resolving conflicting direct evidence, and reaching a conclusion. A deed names Elijah Staats’ father as Jacob Staats Sr. and a court record names his father as David Staats. Neither are correct. Analysis and correlation of all the evidence reveals that Jacob Staats Sr. is Elijah’s grandfather, David Staats is Elijah’s uncle (and eventual step-father), and that his actual father is another son of Jacob Staats Sr. not named in any records.”
While that may seem like a spoiler, it’s how we get to that conclusion that’s the (hopefully) interesting part.
You can register for this and other great upcoming webinars at the Legacy Family Tree webinar page. Best of all, it’s free!]]>
When we last left our heroine:
“Quite simply, Esmerelda’s biological father is not the man who raised her as his daughter. But if he was not her father, who was?…All the more distant, common identifiable matches shared by Esmerelda, Match 1, and Match 2 were on the McEnroe side. Therefore, research focused on the immediate family of Donna McEnroe. Donna had ten siblings…There was plenty of work to do.”
Pictured below is the McEnroe/Turner family. Esmerelda’s biological father was almost certainly a grandson of John McEnroe. But through which son, and how did this McEnroe come to know Esmerelda’s mother? The only way to find the answers to these questions was to research each of John McEnroe’s sons and identify all of their sons. That research revealed a surprising geographical connection: Both the Smith and McEnroe families moved from the same hometown to the same city in another state!
There was a 26-year difference in age between H.M., the oldest son and F.M., the youngest. Research quickly ruled out the three oldest sons. All of their sons were too old to be candidates for Esmerelda’s father. Of the next oldest three, all but J.M. could be ruled out. J.M. had two sons that were considerably older than Esmerelada’s mother, but still within the realm of possibility. The most likely candidate was F.M. He had two sons, both of whom were the same age as Esmerelda’s mother. Even better, the son that was closest in age to Esmerelda’s mother was still living.
At this point, Esmerelda had accepted the reality that the father that had raised her was not her biological father. With that acceptance came the desire to know the truth. To know the story. She approached her aunt and first cousins on her father’s side with the evidence, and asked 1) if they knew anything about this, and 2) whether they would participate in DNA testing to further confirm the theory. Whether or not they knew is a matter of debate, but if they did, they said they didn’t. Nor were they interested (not that any change in theory was expected, anyways). But it was the first time that Esmerelda had spoken of her new-found secret, making it easier going forward. Although she desperately wanted to know the answers, she also didn’t want to upset close relatives with this new information, so no other relatives were queried. At one point, her determination to know wavered as she thought about letting her mother’s secret die with her. That lasted a day. She decided to try and make contact with the McEnroes.
Since the son of F.M. was the most likely candidate (and the only one still living), a letter was drafted to him. Esmerelda introduced herself and her dilemma, outlined the research to that point and what the DNA evidence indicated. And then popped the question: “Did you know my mother?” The letter acknowledged that although the most likely candidates were sons of F.M., it could potentially be another descendant of John and Tina, and simply asked for any information they knew and were willing to share. That letter was put in the mailbox once, pulled back out once, left on a dresser for a few days, and finally put back out again to make it’s way to F.M.’s son.
As long as it took to mail, waiting to hear back would seem infinitely longer. Would he answer? Would he be the one?
Next: More surprises.]]>
Esmerelda had no identifiable matches on her father’s side, and closely matched an unknown person, Match 1, on Ancestry. Esmerelda and Match 1 shared 383 total cM– statistically somewhere in the first cousin once removed/second cousin range. The family tree Match 1 uploaded contained just four names and no maternal information. However, traditional research expanded the paternal side and helped identify the common ancestors of other, more distant shared matches between Esmerelda and Match 1.
To this point, the tale has been told in mostly chronological fashion. However, research is not linear. Match 1’s tree had been roughed out once the match first appeared, but sat idle for essentially two years. Somewhere in that span, the first of two paternal relatives tested and didn’t match Esmerelda. She didn’t match that person, but she did closely match Match 1. At least one of these three people had a different biological family than they thought, but there wasn’t enough evidence yet to reach any conclusions.
In the past few months, two more test results became available. The first was another paternal relative that should match Esmerelda and didn’t. Her two paternal relatives matched each other, but not Esmerelda. It’s at this point that research bias introduced itself. Esmerelda’s family couldn’t be the one holding the secret, right? For a few wasted weeks, research continued using that faulty premise. And then, the sudden realization of what that extremely close unknown match probably meant sunk in. Red flags, alarm bells, whatever cliché you want use, there were only two possibilities: Esmerelda’s biological grandfather was someone other than the one she had known, or the man that had raised Esmerelda as his own was not her father.
The second test result, Match 2, appeared shortly later as a second cousin to Esmerelda, and a shared match with Match 1. Esmerelda and Match 2 shared 287 total cM. Match 2 had no family tree posted and didn’t respond to messages. What was the relationship between Match 1 and Match 2? The screen name for Match 1 was of no help in determining her actual identity. Match 2, however, was clearly a real name which helped to figure out how he his relationship to Match 1. A collateral relative’s obituary did not specifically name Match 2, but it did identify a person who was either his mother or grandmother. She was a daughter of Harold Copperfield and Donna McEnroe, making Match 1 and Match 2 either first cousins or first cousins once removed.
While there was still a remote chance that Esmerelda’s father (on paper) could be the secret, non-DNA evidence suggested otherwise. Geography also helped rule out her father. When Esmerelda’s father was born, his family was nowhere near that of Match 1 or Match 2. The families did not live in close proximity until many years later. Also, the DNA evidence is difficult to interpret any other way.
Quite simply, Esmerelda’s biological father is not the man who raised her as his daughter. But if he was not her father, who was? Match 1 and Match 2 came from families that lived in the general area where Esmerelda’s parents were both raised, but her parents had moved to another state by the time Esmerelda was born. Her mother obviously had to have had physical contact with the man who would father her daughter. But where? How? And of course, who?
All the more distant, common identifiable matches shared by Esmerelda, Match 1, and Match 2 were on the McEnroe side. Therefore, research focused on the immediate family of Donna McEnroe. Donna had ten siblings, seven of which were sons. There was plenty of work to do.
Next: McEnroe research reveals an unexpected geographical connection and the list of potential candidates narrows.]]>
In the previous post, one-to-one comparisons on GedMatch.com between two different paternal cousins revealed Esmerelda did not match either one. One was her half-first cousin once removed, a close enough relationship that they certainly should have matched. Not only did she not match those known paternal cousins, there are no identifiable matches at all on her paternal side. The complete lack of shared segments between her and her cousins presented the distinct possibility that her paternal line was not what she thought it was– something had happened along the way.
Esmerelda has tested at two different companies. The GedMatch comparison used her data from Ancestry.com and her cousin’s data from Family Tree DNA. Esmerelda also tested through Family Tree DNA, and she didn’t match her cousin there, either. Why is this important? It helps rule out a faulty test. Neither tests were a match. Her cousin, however, only tested once. Is it possible that the cousin’s test was not accurate? Possibly, but not likely, especially since he matched another cousin from the same family. So who does Esmerelda match?
Besides her children, Esmerelda has three very close matches on Ancestry.com: a known maternal first cousin, and two unknown matches in the 1st-2nd cousin range.
Esmerelda had previously contacted Match 1 to try and figure out how they were related. Son 1 and Son 2 both matched Match 1, just a generation further away. Match 1 was sent five generations of Esmerelda’s surnames, not a single one of which Match 1 recognized. Match 1 stopped answering messages about a year ago. The previous assumption was that there was something amiss in Match 1’s family. But taken together with the GedMatch results, it was becoming clear that the secret may lie in Esmerelda’s own family.
Match 1 had only ten names in her family tree, and no maternal information at all. Research into her paternal side revealed a distant common surname, but not remotely close enough to explain their 1st-2nd cousin match.1 Esmerelda and Match 1’s parents were all from the same general area, although there was no obvious connection between them. Looking back two more generations separated the families geographically, making it unlikely that the connection was more than one generation, two at the most, away. And the closeness of the match suggested that it may be even closer than that. Esmerelda was getting nervous.
Next: Match 2 appears. Traditional research and analysis of the total shared DNA between the three drastically narrows the possibilities.
For several years now, I have been working off and on on a brick wall project for a client to try and identify the parents of her 4th great grandfather. I had suggested DNA testing as a possible tool to help Esmerelda overcome gaps in the paper trail. She finally found a male cousin, Sam, to participate in yDNA testing, but no helpful matches appeared. After a year or two, she asked to have Sam’s kit upgraded to an autosomal test. When the results came back, we expected that Sam and Esmerelda’s tests would match. They didn’t. The chart below shows their relationship: half-first cousins once removed.
Half-first cousins once removed sounds a little diluted, and with only two kits to compare, it was certainly possible that one or both of them simply hadn’t inherited enough DNA to show up as a match to each other. It did raise the question whether or not they were actually related by blood. But again, with no more data, there was no way to know for sure. The paper trail was clear and convincing. There was no reason to question the relationship
Two years passed before another descendant from this family also tested, and both results were uploaded to GedMatch.com. The results were surprising. The two kits from other family members matched each other, but Esmerelda did not match either one.
Digging deeper into what the half cousin relationship should look like, it was clear that they should have matched. On average, that relationship would be expected to have about 212 cM in common.1 These kits had zero, zip, nada. The other two kits shared the amount expected with each other. Even if matching segments shorter than the recommended 7 cM were included in the comparisons between Esmerelda and the other two kits, it didn’t bring the total matching cM anywhere near the expected level of shared DNA. What the data suggested was mind-boggling: Esmerelda was not related to at least some of the people that until yesterday, she had known as her family her entire life. The question was where? There were multiple possibilities.
As of this writing, Esmerelda is contacting her closest living relatives, her first cousins, to see if they will test to help narrow down the possibilities. The DNA data from GedMatch pointed out the problem, but didn’t provide any theories as to its solution. That would require more data and research.
Next installment: Unexplained matches on Ancestry.com reveal a stunning possibility
More accurately, I was revisiting old research, cleaning up citations and refreshing my memory about these families. In particular, I was reviewing the estate file of Jacob Barnett, who died in Belmont County in 1849. He’s my 4th great-grandfather. I’ve had copies of this estate file for years, but in reviewing the now-online file at FamilySearch, I discovered that I did not have the complete file. I was only sent the documents filed in the estate — no receipts or other miscellaneous papers. Seeing the complete file revealed two important things: 1) receipts and documents from the estate of son Jacob, who died in 1842 were mixed in with the estate of his father, who died in 1849. Those receipts shed new light on on Jacob Jr.’s life; and 2) Jacob Sr. actually died between 14-18 Jun 1849– several months before the administrator’s bond was issued in Oct 1849.2
But back to my thoughts on this warm Sunday morning:
Looking at Jacob’s estate inventory, it appears he was probably a blacksmith. He owned little else besides blacksmith tools, some furniture and household goods… and books. Often, estate files only list “One lot of books,” or simply list the number of books and their value. In the case of Jacob Barnett, Sr., though, the titles were actually listed. These books offer a glimpse into the life and thoughts of a man who died in 1849– especially as I reflect about it on a Sunday morning 168 years later. The books Jacob owned were:
In addition to the books, he also owned a rocking chair, spectacles, a pipe, and tobacco. Can you see the picture? Sunday morning. Jacob sits on his porch, puffing contemplatively on his pipe, taking in the passage he’d just read, perhaps comparing it to last week’s sermon or maybe the service he was getting ready to attend? It’s a terrific image, especially in contrast to the rugged hills of rough-and-tumble southeastern Ohio. It’s not really what you’d expect to find, this religious, well-read, blacksmith– my religious, well-read blacksmith.
I’m glad I got to review the file. I’m glad I saw the receipts I’d previously not seen. And I’m glad I got to know Jacob Barnett just a little bit better.