May 19, 2017

Newspaper Social Columns Can Provide Great Clues

While researching the only member of my husband’s family to emigrate from Britain to the US, I found some great clues pertaining to those who stayed behind. With the most recently released British census being 1911, it can be quite difficult to trace marriages and children of those born around 1900 (especially if they have a common name or one used over and over in an extended family).

Ann Williams and her husband Stephen Vincent Woodward left Cheshire in 1889 for new opportunities in Missouri bringing their 3 small children. Ann was the oldest sister of my husband’s grandmother, born 17 years after Ann and only shortly before Ann married. We don’t actually know, but assume they never saw each other again after the Woodwards departed. Ann was born Lancashire to Owen Williams and Margaret O’Neill in 1861 followed by 10 younger siblings born 1863 – 1882.

In 1864 Stephen was born in Lancashire to George W Woodward and Ann Frodsham, the youngest of their 3.  His father died when Stephen was only 4 and his mother remarried 2 years later. The 1871 census lists the combined family group in another county with Stephen listed by his middle name and his stepfather’s surname (even though he didn’t change it).  These anomalies can make it confusing to follow a family group. The second husband died in 1873 and his mother remarried again … actually twice more. By the 1881 census, the 3 Woodward children were scattered and working as servants in non-family households. I somewhat gave up on tracing his sister Eliza and his brother George.

So my focus turned to the Woodward clan in the U.S. who started out in Missouri but  soon settled in Kokomo, Indiana where many of them stayed. That’s really helpful !  My goal was to identify all of Ann and Stephen’s children, track their residence and occupation, see if they married and had children. I found much of that information rather quickly, but was a bit  confused about their son Howard, born 1904.