Long Lost Daughter

Sometimes the only path to a solution is to wait for it to present itself. Many people with Irish ancestors learn fairly quickly that the first place to start learning more about the ancestor’s family is to find out in which County the ancestor was born, then narrow it down to a Parish. I had given up believing even the County would become known for my John Clark Smith born circa 1814 in Ireland. He was married three times that I know of. His first wife was Catherine. Nothing is known about her except that she is listed as the mother of John’s son Richard in his baptism on 10 Oct 1847 at St. Peter’s Church in Reading, Pennsylvania.

Smith, Richard original baptism

The second known child of John Clark Smith was his daughter Margaret. I’ve written about trying to learn more about her before (2015). I was frustrated by the lack of a baptism record for her and my inability to find a marriage record for her. She just disappeared.

No one in my family knew of the existence of Richard or Margaret. They both appeared in the 1860 census in Reading, Pennsylvania and then the 1870 census in Jackson Township, Nodaway County, Missouri. Both were named in the Will of John Clark Smith in 1875. As covered in the previous post, the 1860 census was confusing; at first glance it appeared John’s wife, my ancestress, Elizabeth McIntyre was the mother of Margaret, aged 5 in 1860. Then I discovered the marriage record for John and Elizabeth dated 27 Jan 1859 (the date appears in the transcription, not this cropped version of the original.)

Smith, John married McIntyre, Elizabeth original
St. Peter’s Church Reading, Berks, Pennsylvania

Margaret’s mother was most likely someone else then. Poor Margaret became the victim of my neglect. Then one day came a miracle in the form of a DNA cousin match on ancestry.com.  At first I paid no attention to the common surname Smith in this individual’s tree that she had attached to her results. I see the Smith name in the list of common surnames frequently, as would most people of British/Irish extraction. Then I scrolled down her tree and saw this:

Smith, John on cousin match

So I clicked on Margaret and found this:

Smith, Margaret on cousin match

My first thought was: She survived!!! I am pretty darn happy about that. I have enough experience researching people in Missouri that the next thing I did was go looking for Margaret Blakeley’s death certificate. Missouri has an awesome database of original death certificate images from 1910-1967. [Insert Hallelujah Chorus here:]

Smith, Margaret dc cropped

Now I know who John’s second known wife was and…the County where he was born!!!!!!!

I still can’t find Margaret’s marriage record. I did find her future husband Robert Blakeley in the 1880 Census living a few miles from the Smith family; he was a saloon keeper and 23 years older than Margaret. The family seems to have done well; four of their eight children survived to adulthood. Apparently they moved to Cass County, Missouri then on to Lafayette County, Missouri.

It is very nice to know what happened to her; the added bonus of finding what County John Clark Smith came from is pretty great, too.




I Love Me Some Half-siblings

Working with DNA matches on ancestry.com is a fun challenge for me. The one thing basic matches can’t do is tell us which part of an ancestral couple provided the DNA match. Was it from the mother or the father? That’s why DNA circles tend to show up in pairs. We have to dig a little deeper to make that determination.

Holmes 01
Abigail C Holmes and George H Wood family

Abigail C Holmes and George H Wood had seven known children. My ancestor is their daughter Josephine. I have cousin matches to descendants of all five of the children who lived to have children of their own (includes Josephine). Does this tell me that I share DNA with both Abigail and George? Not exactly. I shared DNA with one of them, that much is certain. To learn if it is one or the other or both, more has to be learned about their families, in particular their siblings if they have them.

No document has yet been found stating the identities of Abigail C. Holmes’ parents. Normally the above direction: look at the siblings, would apply. Except that two of Abigail’s unproven siblings married proven siblings of her husband George H. Wood. The only clear DNA cousin matches I have for her full siblings are also Wood relatives. How do I then distinguish between Holmes DNA and Wood DNA?

Circumstantial evidence points to Abigail’s father being John Holmes, born 1790 in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, and died circa 1857 probably in Nodaway County, Missouri.

1850 Census John Holmes
1850; Census Place: District 19, Edgar, Illinois; Roll: M432_105; Page: 165B; Image: 338

Here is John Holmes with his second wife Rebecca Partridge née Miller. Line 30 is Elma J. who lived long enough to have a death certificate issued by the state of Illinois. It shows that her parents were John Homes (sic) and Sarah Collins. We believe Sarah Collins was John’s first wife who probably died before John remarried on 29 Apr 1847. Line 32 is Melissa L Holmes, believed to be the first known child of that union between John and Rebecca. Line 33, Isaac N(ewton) Partridge is believed to be one of the known children from Rebecca’s first marriage to Robert Partridge. Line 39 is Polly Holmes, who married the day before John Holmes and Rebecca Partridge.

Holmes 02
Illinois Regional Archives Depository Edgar County Marriages

Here is the presumed widow Rebecca Holmes with her reassembled family in 1860.

Holmes 03
1860; Census Place: Ottumwa, Coffey, Kansas Territory; Roll: M653_347; Page: 772

Line 14 is Melissa seen in the 1850 census; line 15 is Lourena C. Holmes born in 1852, line 16 is L. Isaac Holmes, and line 17 is Almira Holmes who was born in 1857 in Missouri, which is why I place the death place for John in Missouri. The older members of this household are the children from Rebecca’s first marriage. Line 21 is Isaac N. (yes, that’s an ‘N’) from 1850; line 22 is Rebecca’s daughter who was living with Rebecca’s mother in the 1850 census. It took some real doing for a single woman to reassemble a wide-ranging family in one place like this. I have some admiration for this woman, even though she’s not my kin. Her daughter is, though.

One of the many advantages to building families laterally and down to more recent generations is all the surnames we get to collect to use to search DNA matches trolling for identifiable cousins. One of Lourena Holmes’ descendants had an unusual surname that I remembered, so when this cousin match showed up and I looked at her tree, I recognized it as being one I had recently added to my tree. (I won’t use the name here because the recently deceased relative is too close to the living cousin.) It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be to figure out how we were related because she had another unique name on her tree that threw me off the scent. This cousin was enormously patient with me as I tried to sort it out. I was thrilled when I finally figured out that she was a descendant of John Holmes and Rebecca Miller Partridge! Proof positive that John Holmes really is my ancestor. The DNA we share came from him, and him alone.

Is this enough to satisfy a lineage society? No. But it moves John Holmes out of the realm of pure speculation and into a solid connection.

George H Wood has many proven siblings and parents and aunts and uncles, so proving his DNA wasn’t a challenge. Now I know I have DNA from both parents of my Josephine Wood, one of the parents of Abigail Holmes. All because of a half-sibling.

Brick Wall Paper

Autosomal DNA testing is such a miracle. How did people do genealogy before this technology was introduced? You know what else is a miracle? Ancestry message boards. Well, genealogy message boards in general. Third miracle? The Family History Library. Well, the Mormon church with all their dedication to preserving our heritage on microfilm. It’s like the holy trinity of ancestor worship.

Too much? I effuse about all three things coming out of Utah right now. I would not have gotten as far as I have with tracking down the ancestors of my James Henry Myers without all three of these capabilities. Bored of him yet? I wouldn’t blame you if you were, but honestly, this story just keeps getting better and better, and promises to get even better. I’m having too much fun right now.

Quick refresher from previous posts: DNA results led me to the father of James Henry Myers: Jacob Myers. Ancestry Discovery and FHL digital marriage image led me to a possible biological parent for Jacob Myers (James’ father) in John Naylor. FHL digital search gave me the marriage record for Jacob to Amarilla Cox.

One of the problems with breaking down one brick wall is that there is another brick wall right behind it. Never thought in a million years I might figure out who were the parents of Amarilla Cox. On paper, I may have found them.

Let me see if I can adequately recap the timeline of how this progress came about. I performed a Google search for Emarilier Cox, the name on the marriage record. I discovered a message board post asking for information from her descendants. Lucky for me the individual who posted it is still a member of Ancestry, so I was able to send a message to her; we began corresponding. She has a wealth of information about Jacob Myers. I learned from her that he, and subsequently his ‘widow’ had a Civil War pension file, which I ordered. My first reading from it didn’t give much new information since I’m not descended from his last wife, but it does present me with the ability to create a timeline of where he was and when from 1850 until his death in 1888. This is valuable for many reasons, primarily because he’s so difficult to pin down in Census records, and there might be another Jacob Myers in Putnam county around the same time. She also told me about a record where Jacob had transferred ownership of some land to Amarilla Cox after they married.

Meanwhile I requested the index to court records for Putnam County from Family Search. Armed with case and page numbers from the index, I ordered the reel with the first two volumes of court records and read through the references. The index showed me a tantalizing Myers v. Myers file that I was eager to learn more about. My thought was that it might have been a divorce record for his first wife Elizabeth Minick. Imagine my surprise when I found that he had initiated divorce proceedings against Amarilla! He married Amarilla on 18 May 1856. What do I find for 18 Oct 1856?

Amarilla Myers responding to Divorce suit.
Amarilla Myers responding to Divorce suit.1

The cad. The birth month and year I have for James Henry Myers is May 1857. Uh. Hmmm. Anyone else thinking what I’m thinking? Was this a shotgun wedding? Was James conveniently told he was born in 1857 rather than 1856? Luckily the index gave a case number for this petition. I called the Putnam County Circuit Court this week and learned this file still exists! I’m excited to learn what, if anything, might have been said about Amarilla when the copy is received. (On a side note: the woman who helped me with this is super nice.) I do know from these records and the clerk that the divorce was not granted.

I haven’t captured an image of it yet, but on that same reel is a reference to another case where Jacob was indicted for Felonious Assualt with Intent to Kill! I suspect that is going to be another post all by itself. I’m on pins and needles waiting for the copy of that file! Key in the record was mention of a witness named Martha Cox. It doesn’t take much to guess how little time transpired between me getting home from the Family History Center and searching the 1860 Census for Martha Cox2.

Possible parents for Amarilla Cox

I love my life. This thing is so tantalizing and has so many possibilities. James H. Cox aged 5. None of the people who have saved this image to their Cox lines have a clue who that is, or the set of two-year-old twins on the page. I can’t stop myself from speculating that James H. Cox is really James H. Myers, and that he is living with his grandparents. If James really was born in 1856, then he would have just turned four when this census was taken. If he really was three, this is a stretch, but not unheard of if the informant was John Cox. A forty-seven-year-old male not knowing how old his grandchildren are is hardly news.

Enter the Message Board Miracle, part deux. Back in 2001, a message was posted asking for descendants of John T. Cox from the 1860’s. Other people might remember when Heritage Quest had superior transcriptions for census records before Ancestry ruined it. Back then I could have found this record myself. Bless this person’s heart for transcribing this to make it so I could find it now, because Ancestry’s transcription of it is way off.

1850 Cox family in Clinton County, KY
1850 Cox family in Clinton County, KY3

John T. Cox 35 KY (the initial is actually an ‘S’)
Martha Cox 35 KY
Lucrecy C. Cox 15 KY
Winey A. Cox 13 KY
Lucinda P. Cox 10 KY
Leann E. Cox 6 KY
Jeremiah Cox 4 KY

These are significant names. That same Missouri marriage database that gave me the Cox-Myers marriage record also has the three other girls on this census: Lucinda married Richard Summers. They are living next door to Margaret and John in the 1860 Census. Lucretia married F.P. Ashlock; Leann E married Solomon Wisman. Amarilla married Jacob Myers…all of them took place in the 1850’s in Putnam County. Is Amarilla that Winey A. Cox? The age is plausible; the proximity to the other Cox girls is supportive. James’ 1900 Census record reports that his mother was born in Kentucky. I’m prepared for this to fall apart. Not for the first time with this family. I will probably have to wait to see if a descendant from one of these other children gives me a DNA match I need for proof, but I’m hopeful that I’ve made some serious progress on this family thanks to some 14-15 year-old message board posts, FHL and Ancestry DNA.


1 Court records v. A-B 1855-1867 Putnam County, FHL Film # 1010790

2 1860 US Census, Missouri, Putnam, Liberty, pg 346, HH# 35

3 1850 US Census, Kentucky, Clinton, District 2, pg 188A, HH# 62

Who is James Henry Myers?

For all the time I’ve been spending trying to find out who his parents are, I haven’t really spent that much time on James Henry Myers and his life. He’s worth re-visiting for me because what I believed to be true about some of his circumstances turned out to not be true because I had the wrong set of parents and had constructed a narrative that fell apart when I did the DNA research. So I’m going back to the fundamental exercise that I learned from Crista Cowan’s videos: What do you know, and how do you know it?

James H Myers is my great-grandfather. He and my great-grandmother Elisa (Lizzie) Kuck applied for a marriage license in Holt County, Missouri on 12 Dec 1888.1 Kuck is pronounced Cook. I suppose it’s possible to think Elisa is pronounced Louisa. Anyway, I know she was living in Craig, Holt, Missouri, and this lines up with when they started their family, so I feel confident this is the correct record.

Myers, James H marriage license cropped

The 1910 US Census indicates that she had 7 children, 5 of whom were still alive.2 The five living offspring were all daughters: Marietta, Amarilla, Emma, Louvre and Faye. My uncle told me there had been a little son, Benji (Benjamin) who everyone loved very much, but he died young (choked on a marble I think). The 7th child is unknown to us.

Based on where the daughters were born, they moved around some before they settled down in Missouri again. At one point they lived in Kansas, and in 1891 they lived in LeGrande, Union, Oregon. In 1897 they were living in Unionville, Putnam, Missouri, where my grandmother was born. None of us ever knew why they were living there. Could this have been the one place James thought of as home? He might have been born there since his father lived there for most of his adulthood.

About 1898, ten years after the license was obtained, and presumably the marriage was solemnized, this studio portrait was taken.

Amarillo, James, Emma Jane, Eliza, Louvera and Marietta
Amarilla, James, Emma Jane, Elisa, Louvre (infant) and Marietta

By 1900 the family was living in Craig, (Union Twp.) Holt, Missouri again.3 Craig was a natural place for Lizzie to live. Her family immigrated from Germany and ultimately settled there. This census record is now the only census so far where I have found James listed. What do I know now? He was born May 1857 in Missouri. This record shows his father was born in Missouri (not true) and his mother was born in Kentucky (probably true). He was employed as a stone mason and they were renting their home.

I also learned from my uncle that James had a drinking problem. He relayed an interesting story about how one night James came home bruised and battered and drunk (a brawl?), once again, and it got on Lizzie’s last nerve. When he passed out, she sewed him into his bed sheet. She then proceeded to wallop him with either a belt or buggy whip. This was meant to make him stop drinking, which my uncle said worked. I’ve read that women in the early 20th century were expected to keep their men on the straight and narrow; that they were responsible for the moral fiber of the family. Today we’d call this behavior domestic violence. If James had done this same thing to Lizzie, we would be appalled by it, and believe that she would have had had every reason to leave him if circumstances had been reversed. So maybe there really was a reason why James left. I have read the half-page divorce decree that is dated 7 Jan 1905. Alas it doesn’t go into the details of the complaint. It only states that James didn’t respond to the summons and that Lizzie was awarded custody of the children. She was strong enough to bring up the girls as a single mother from the time James left until she remarried in 1909.

I do know that the only person to forgive him for abandoning the family was my grandmother. She is the reason we know anything at all about this man. She reached out to him as an adult and maintained a relationship with him. From her we learned that in the end he said he only had one daughter. This signals to me that he was hurt by being shunned by his other offspring. My grandmother was his only advocate in his later years. She visited him periodically in St. Joseph, Missouri.

If I’ve found the correct death certificate for him, then he was very ill before he died alone and impoverished in 1937 at the age of 79. His occupation was a Cigar Maker, and he was buried in a pauper’s cemetery.4 I suspect the only person who was sad about this was my grandmother. She was the only link to this entire branch of the family. She is the one who knew his mother’s maiden name was Cox (see previous post). Her ability to forgive, and the importance she placed on family history saved that important detail that led to my discovery all these years later.

Now for another update on this mini-saga: James might have been a Myers in name only. Yes, his father was Jacob Myers. I now have found ample DNA evidence to support that claim. Jacob Myers, on the other hand, might have been a Naylor. And THAT might be the connection to the Ancestor Discovery. I’ve got three cousin matches with Jacob Myers as an ancestor through descendants of two of his other wives. However when I was investigating Daniel Myers (named in the history book as the father of Jacob), I found someone who is descended from Daniel Myers through his second wife Sarah, who had taken the DNA test, and who does not match. Through correspondence I learned that Jacob Myers’ tombstone in Putnam County, Missouri, indicates that he was born 9 Dec 1815. Daniel married Elizabeth, widow of John Nailer on 1 Aug 1817.5

Myers, Daniel married Elizabeth widow of John Nailer cropped - Copy

One of my Ancestor Discoveries is the daughter of an Elizabeth Naylor (John’s sister, perhaps?). When I track this family through other people’s trees, this Naylor family came from England. The Daniel Myers line might well be German, as our family believed, but if James was really a Naylor…then not German. That also tracks with the ethnicity for me and my uncle, which is heavy on Great Britain, and thin or non-existent from Europe West. I never would have gotten this far without the DNA cousin matches and now, the Ancestor Discoveries, frustrating as they can be.


1 Missouri, Marriage Records, 1805-2002 Ancestry.com

2 1910 US Census, Missouri, Holt, Craig, ED 117, pg 7A, ln 2

3 1900 US Census, Missouri, Holt, Union, ED 94, pg 5B, ln 68

4 Missouri Digital Heritage Death Records, Certificate #19502

5 “West Virginia Marriages, 1780-1970,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:FRTM-YJD : accessed 17 May 2015), Daniel Myers and Elizabeth Nailer, 1817; citing Lewis, West Virginia, United States, , county clerks, West Virginia; FHL microfilm 825,112.

Dumb Luck

Continuing on the work from my previous post where I try to use the DNA results I’d been given to help me solve my James Myers problem, I have an interesting update.

I got bored and frustrated with trying to make that Ancestor Discovery work in my family, so I pursued a different angle. I went back to that 3rd cousin match for the Myers line to see what more I could learn about it.

First a quick back story. Not long ago my uncle sent me a packet of pictures and newspaper clippings he thought I’d be interested in. I remember seeing a family tree he showed me a few years ago that mentioned that James Myers’ mother might have been a Cox. And he told me that James’ second daughter was named Amarilla after either James’ mother or grandmother. In this packet he sent was a piece of stationery from a Regal 8 Inn in Flagstaff, Arizona. On the back was a hand-written family tree of sorts. The best part was this:

Myers, James family tree cropped

That was the whole extent of what was known about James’ family.

So I went looking for documentation for the line of that 3rd cousin match. Using census records I had what I believed was the great-great grandmother of the 3rd cousin: Matilda Corporan. A ‘hint’ led me to a possible husband for her: Jacob Myers. I wanted to see if I could prove this relationship, so I went to Ancestry.com and searched the Missouri Marriages, 1805-2002. Nothing matched. Then I remembered what Crista Cowan is always saying about these databases: Read the description! It might be that the database doesn’t cover the locale needed. The description didn’t indicate what counties it covered because there is a drop down menu that shows the counties.

Missouri Marriages

Putnam county is conspicuous in its absence from that list. I could have searched all day in that database and never found it because that county isn’t included. Good to know. So I Googled Putnam County Marriages and of course the first result was Family Search. (Which by the way is an easy way to bypass the filtering system in the search function on Family Search–Google takes you right to the correct database.) I searched the Family Search Missouri Marriage records for Jacob Myers to see if this marriage to Matilda Corporon was there and got this:

Myers, Jacob marriage results

There she is at the bottom of the page. Ahh, but look what was staring me in the face–a record I never thought I’d find–Jacob Myers and Emariler Cox!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Insert Hallelujah Chorus here.)

Emariler is Amarilla written phonetically as pronounced by someone who says words ending with an ‘a’ that sound like an ‘r’. That’s the other thing Crista Cowan stresses: think about how the people in that time and region would pronounce a name. It’s always so much fun to find something I’ve been looking for for a very long time when I wasn’t actually looking for it. That’s the best kind of dumb luck. (Honestly, I’ve had so many false starts on this family I was reluctant to believe my good fortune at first.)

By my reckoning Amarilla was Jacob’s 2nd wife of four. Jacob was Matilda’s 2nd husband of three.

What does this do to my Ancestor Discoveries? Well I found a reference that states that Jacob is indeed the son of Daniel1; and Daniel at one point lived in the same county as Collins family (previous post). Now that Amarilla Cox is no longer a pipe dream, but a real person, it would appear that the Ancestor Discovery couple is even more difficult to shoehorn into this family. I’m not going to rule them out because DNA has proven helpful in the past, and there are still all those cousins to consider. Anything I do now would be pure speculation, which I’m not opposed to, but I’m not seeing the benefit of indulging that line of thinking at the moment. They might hold the key to the identity of Amarilla Cox for all I know. That would be good because at the moment I’m clueless where to even begin documenting this woman.

The real star in this show is family lore. For all the times I’ve disproved family lore over the years, it was nice to find a record that validates a story handed down through the generations. So welcome to the family Amarilla Cox. I hope I can learn more about you, and that you don’t just disappear into the dust of time.


1Adair, Sullivan, Putnam and Schuyler Counties, Missouri (p. 426). (1888). Chicago, Illinois: The Goodspeed Publishing Company.

Paper Trail vs. DNA

The primary reason why I had DNA tests at Ancestry.com done for me and my uncle was to help solve the problem of who are the parents of his maternal grandfather, James Henry Myers. It’s been about two years since getting the results, and in that time I’ve learned exactly nothing from them that would help me solve this problem. Until now.

I thought I had this thing solved. On paper, I did. I found a 1910 Census record for a James Myers that placed him in a poor farm in Missouri.1 The age and marital status lined up. That record placed him in a county that had a James Myers in a family that worked out almost exactly. I added that family to my tree and announced I’d solved it. Then I waited for the DNA results to confirm my findings. But, like with life, even when I manage my expectations, things rarely turn out the way I think they will.

Not long ago I got a 3rd cousin match that could only be for a Myers. It led to an entirely different family. I contacted the cousin and we corresponded for a time. She didn’t know enough about her Myers line, so I built my own tree for her family and tried to learn more, but quickly saw why her Myers line was incomplete. I couldn’t shoehorn her Daniel or his son Jacob Myers into my paper family. I let it go.

Then Ancestry.com announced a new Beta program called Ancestor Discoveries. Crista Cowan did a video on it last week. Now that they have 800,000 people who have taken the test, their researchers have been able to find new ancestors for people using their results. Fast-forward through my period of skepticism about this to the point where I do the work on the two ancestors they found for my uncle.

Ancestor Discoveries

These two are a married couple. That improves their chances of being a real match, but @Ancestry (on Twitter) told me that married couples could still be collateral. Then I told them that the man (James Hezekiah Collins) was also on my results as a discovery. They said that greatly improves the chances this is a real ancestor.

There are two parts to the information they give you with one of these new potential ancestors. Part one is an aggregate collection of information compiled from multiple trees where this person appears. Part two is a DNA circle that shows the other people who are related to both the ancestor and my uncle (and me). I needed both parts to make sense of this.

It became apparent rather quickly that I needed to build my own tree for James Henry Myers using these new ancestors. I started by clicking on the pointer to James H. Collins’ 16 children. I opened the “Child Detail” on the oldest child and started clicking through the list of people who have her on their tree until I found a tree that appeared to have the best information, and got to work. Now to part two: the DNA circle of relatives. This is what I found:

Cousin Name Ancestor Predicted Relationship Confidence
Jones Elizabeth Nancy Collins 4th-6th for both Extremely High for uncle; Very High for me
Dent Malinda Caroline Collins 4th-6th for both Extremely High for uncle; Good for me
Cross Lorenzo Dow Collins 3rd Cousin for uncle 4th-6th for me Extremely High for both
Wright Lorenzo Dow Collins 5th-8th for uncle only Good for uncle; none for me
Carder Eveline Madeline Collins 5th-8th for uncle only Good for uncle, none for me

How can these people be cousins with that high confidence if we don’t share at least one common ancestor? (By the way, I’ve found 3rd cousins who show up as 5th-8th/good confidence–it’s all about how much DNA we inherit.)

Looking at the children of James and Roanna Collins showed me that only one of them was old enough to be the parent of our James H. Myers: Elizabeth Collins. She would have just turned 16 when she got pregnant. The other daughter would have been a month shy of her 15th birthday–that’s pushing it. Unless there’s a child no one knows about, this is my starting point.

James Hezekiah Collins was most likely born in Lewis County, Virginia in 1816. His presumed father Isaac Sanson Collins appears in the 1820 Lewis County, Virginia census. So does Daniel Myers, the presumed ancestor of that Myers 3rd cousin (and two others I’ve found in my matches).2 That’s promising. I found Beniah Maze in that census, too. He’s believed by some to be the father of Roanna Maze. They’re all three in the 1830 census as well.3 I haven’t found Daniel in the 1840 census yet, but I did find a James Mires age 15-20 in the Lewis County, Virginia census who already has a family that includes a male under the age of 5 three lines down from Hezekiah Collins.4

1840 census cropped

Could this boy be my link to this family? Too soon to tell.

In 1845 part of Lewis County, Virginia became Gilmer County, Virginia (then became West Virginia). In the 1850 Census for District 17, Gilmer County, Virginia James Myers is the head of household #5235 and Hezekiah Collins is the head of household #526.6 James appears to have started a new family and there is no sign of that under 5 male. Elizabeth is still living with her family in 1860 and is unmarried.7 She finally does marry in 1865 and appears to have 8 children with her husband. There is what looks like a daughter born in 1859 living with them. In 1900 it is stated that she had 9 children, 7 still living.8 In 1910 it is stated she is on her first marriage and had 10 children, 7 still living.9 Is our James one of those 10?

Daniel Myers, meanwhile, has moved to District 29 in Putnam County, Missouri, along with Henry and Wesley and Jacob, believed to be his sons.10 Daniel, Henry and Wesley migrated south to Arkansas right about the time we believe our James H Myers was born. Jacob stays in Putnam County, Missouri. He died in 1888 and is buried in Worthington, Putnam, Missouri,11 just 20 miles from Unionville, Putnam, Missouri, where my grandmother was born about 10 years later. That’s it; that’s as close as I can get to this family.

In all of this there is no sign of my James Henry Myers in the census that corresponds to this family. And none of this lines up with any of the information we have for him. Not one bit of it. Even still, I removed the paper family from my tree in the hope that someday a Myers ancestor discovery shows up.

Are they collateral, or are they direct ancestors? I’m leaning toward direct. There’s a nice amount of circumstantial evidence. There could have been a liaison between Elizabeth Collins and this unknown Myers during the correct time period. It might be another two years before anything comes along to pin it down. It’s a start. Paper Trail vs. DNA? I guess the DNA wins, but wow, this is messy. Without the tests, though, I might still be climbing the paper trail tree.


1 1910 US Census, Missouri, Callaway, Saint Aubert, ED 39, pg 4A, ln 49

2 1820 US Census, Virginia, Lewis, pgs. 4,11,11 (alphabetical)

3 1830 US Census, Virginia, Lewis, pgs. 232 ,248, 246

4 1840 US Census, Virginia, Lewis pg 167

5 1850 US Census, Virginia, Gilmer, pg 37A, ln 26

6 1850 US Census, Virginia, Gilmer, pg 37B, ln 3

7 1860 US Census, Virginia, Calhoun, pg 61, ln 25

8 1900 US Census, West Virginia, Calhoun, Sherman, ED 25, pg 7a, ln 2

9 1910 US Census, West Virginia, Wirt, Spring Creek, ED 113, pg 7A, ln 49

10 1850 US Census, Missouri, Putnam, District 29, pg 127B, ln 38

11 Find-A-Grave