Friday, April 22, 2011

I found a new great great great grandmother

One of the problems I have with researching my family is jumping around from ancestor to ancestor.  I'll start the day with my father's side of the family at the turn of the 20th century and by the end the day of the day, I'm working on my mother's side during the Revolutionary War.  And then when I throw in my husband's family, there's a real hodge podge of ancestors running through my brain!

So before I go back to the Gunzendorfers, I must stay with my Civil War guy, Emery Waller.  As I mentioned earlier, Emery was my 3rd great grandfather.  Emery's daughter, Rebecca, was my great great grandmother and her daughter, Mabel, was the only great grandmother I had the pleasure of knowing.

Mabel McAboy Fitzgerald

Mabel and her husband, Edward Fitzgerald, lived in Fresno near both sets of grandparents so we were fortunate to have them both in our lives until I was about 12 years old.  Plus my grandmother, Mabel and Edward's daughter, told me that her grandmother was named Rebecca the day she learned that our daughter had been given the middle name of Rebecca.  Who knew that almost 36 years later that name would become so important to my story?

Over the last year I've been researching Emery's clan and everything has pointed to his wife, Clarinda Meeker (or Epesson) as the mother of my 2nd great grandmother, Rebecca.  Every public tree I'd seen on, every census, every THING pointed to Clarinda as Rebecca's mother.  But was she born Meeker or Epesson?

As I continued with my search, I was able to locate a marriage record for Emery and Clarinda from July, 1845.  That was a bit confusing, though, as their daughter, Rebecca, was born February 7, 1845.  While I know it's possible that Rebecca was born prior to their marriage, it just wasn't adding up.

Until I went back to Family Search and found this.....

Yes, that's right.  Emery Waller married Rebecca Parker on January 31, 1833 in Hamilton County, Ohio!

What happened to that marriage?  Was this Rebecca the mother and namesake of "my" Rebecca?  What about Clarinda?  I had so many questions I didn't know where to start.

Which led me to the Warren County Historical Society in Ohio.  "My" Rebecca was born in Warren County and the marriage record for Emery and Clarinda was there.  A very nice researcher answered my call and quickly agreed to do some research for me for a nominal fee.  And this is what he told me the other day:

Hi Debi-

Well I have, what I feel, is some very good news. I have found the burial site of "Rebecca Waller consort of E.L." she died on Feb. 13 1845 at the age of 30 years 4 months and 3 days. The date of her death has her die 6 days after your great great grandmother was born on Feb. 7 1845. She, in all probability, died as a result of the complicated birth of your great great grandmother who was named Rebecca in honor of her mother.

I am prepared to send you the cemetery records and copies of modern and historic maps of of the cemetery's location. I also have the marriage record of Emery and Clarinda five months after Rebecca's death.

WOW!  Rebecca Parker was my 3rd great grandmother!  This woman lost her life because she gave life.  So now the name Rebecca has even more meaning for me.

Poor Emery must have been devastated.  Here he was left with an infant (and, perhaps, a toddler as there may have been an older child) and he turned to Clarinda.  Together they had five more children and Clarinda must have cared for all of them by herself while Emery was away at war. 

It's amazing how a little detail like this changes everything.  My mind can't stop thinking about those fateful days in February, 1845.  The complete joy of bringing a new life into the world followed almost immediately by the grief of losing a wife/mother/daughter/sister.  And then the new chapter that began just five months later with the marriage of Emery and Clarinda.

While I've not received the cemetery information from Warren County yet, I did find Rebecca's memorial at Findagrave and have contacted the memorial manager in order to update the information.  I hope there's not a lot of drama with that :-(

And that's how I found a new great great great grandmother!


  1. Nice work!!

    I have one like that too, where the mom died a few days after the baby was born. So sad. I think sometimes we don't realize how lucky we are to live in a time where things like that are uncommon.

  2. Persistence pays off again! Congrats to you, finding a new relative! You did good! Amazing what is feels like when we find new information isn't it?

    I have to ask, how long has it been since your friend made it full circle? Have you gone to see her? Thanks for the comment on my blog

  3. Isn't it great when things come together like that? My husband has a couple cases in his ancestry where the mother died in childbirth. Sadly, in 1 case, the father sent the kids to another household and left - not sure why, but it's made researching this family a nightmare! Anyway, congrats on your find!

  4. That's very sad. My great-grandmother died at age 32, leaving behind five kids. Many of my cousins believe she died in childbirth, but there was no new baby -- if she did die in childbirth, the child died with her :( My great-grandfather put the kids in an orphanage for a time, but luckily he came back for them pretty quickly. He also soon remarried (and had five more kids!)