One of the biggest recent shockers in my family history has been about my great-great-great grandfather, James Samuel Perry.
For the longest time, my dad and I were trying to find out about James Samuel Perry. We knew that he married Lydia May SMITH in Rockford, Illinois in 1853. Their oldest son, Charles James, was born in Savannah, Illinois in 1854 and the rest of the children, including my great-great-grandfather, were born in Minnesota. Between 1860 and 1870 James Perry disappeared.
A couple of years ago, based on family trees and emails from people on Ancestry.com, we found out that he left Lydia and his children in Winnebago, Faribault County, Minnesota and moved back to Illinois with Jennie Emma Elwell. He then married Jennie and they had three daughters, one (Daisy Perry SMITH) who lived to adulthood.
Just this summer my dad discovered evidence in family trees on Ancestry that suggests James Samuel Perry had a marriage and family before Lydia in 1853. The 1850 US Census in Johnsburgh, Warren County, New York lists a Samuel Perry, born in 1819 in Vermont, living with his wife Mary, infant daughter Mary, son Benjamin, father Sardis, and sister Amanda M. Perry. Like my ancestor, this Samuel Perry worked as a tailor. My dad found an article that stated that Samuel had left the family and was missing about 1853, leaving his family and another son, Oliver Hazard Perry.
As a side note, Oliver Hazard Perry lived in various places in Nebraska, including Cozad, and died in 1922 in Jerome, Yavapai County, Arizona. He was a photographer and died in a fire fueled, in part, by the chemicals used in developing film.
- Behavior repeats. If a person has left one family it makes sense to consider that s/he has left other families. Don’t rule out information that otherwise fits simply because that information includes another family.
- Always take screenshots or save information that is found once!