Gene Notes

Some random and some not-so-random thoughts on family history.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Those People in the Early 1800s

I often wish that people in the early 1800s (and before) had been enlightened enough to list everyone on the census prior to 1850. It would make it so much easier for me. 

One of my brick walls is Nathaniel Davidson. I know, or am presuming, that he was born around 1797 in Kentucky, according to the 1850 census. His wife and children were enumerated with him. It's that 1830 census in Howard County, Missouri that frustrates me. 

Nathaniel's household shows one male under the age of five. Fine, that could be his son John. One male between 20 and 30; one male 30-40 (Nathaniel) and one male 70-80. Whoa! Really? Wait, I'm not done. 
One female 10-20 and one female 20-30 (Anne Estes Davidson, his wife.) 

So possibly he has a brother and sister living with him?   

I found a Polly Davidson/Davitson (indexing can be atrocious) marrying a John Steel in Howard County, May 30, 1831. Can I prove that this Polly Davidson is living with Nathaniel in 1830? No. But I have this receipt which shows an inferred relationship.  

May 25th 1847 Mary Steeles Invoice of Property taken to Nathnl Davidsons


1 Counter Pan 1  Sheet  1 Pillow  2 Small Pieces Brown domestic, 1/2 set Knives & forks 1 plate  1/2 set Cups & saucers  1 Sugar Bole 1 Griddle 2 chairs}

1 Water 1 stand Cutins Post. }        John M. Steele



May 25th 1847


Amount of Property taken by E. Pendleton.


1 Press  1 Plane Bed Sted.  1 Trundles do  2 cords

1 clock  1 chest containing Mary Steeles Clothing also Elizabeth Pendletons Williams Clothes.

2 straw beds  2 coverlets, 4 quilts, 1 blanket, 2 pillows, 1 sheet, 1 trundle feather bed, 2 check counterpens 1 large feather bed and boulster, 1 box stocking.

A coppy rendered,


J. M. Steele



Is Polly Davidson Mary Steele? Probably.  Is she Nathaniel's sister? I can't say for sure by I'm hoping.

I could have it all wrong. Anne Estes' Davidson's father Littleberry Estes died in 1839, so it's possible that her youngest brother and sister could have lived with her. But her mother was still living in 1840 and enumerated on her own. But, Anne Estes had older brothers, who may have taken her younger siblings in. But, they lived in Lafayette County, two counties to the west. I'm going with my gut instinct that the persons living with Nathaniel are his siblings. 

And and don't ask me who Elizabeth Pendleton is. I have no idea. 


Copyright 2010-2021, ACK for Gene Notes

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

A New Relative Found Me, Which Led To ...

Periodically, I search the passenger lists for ancestors. I didn't find ancestors, but siblings of my ancestor, Alexander Maitland (1813-1891) landed at the Port of New York on May 10, 1834 aboard the ship Ocean. 

I was looking for this particular sibling because according to what I have he died in the United States. but the name, John Maitland, is pretty common. I had information that he was born in 1808, so therefore looked for someone who might fit that information.  What I found was a record for John Maitland in the Passenger lists arriving in New York,  from Haddington (Scotland) age 25 (pretty close).  Well, yes, I was pretty sure that was him, but went browsing for the actual film and found him on the last page. And I was blown away because also listed with him was Charles Maitland, age 15; Elizabeth Maitland, age 20; Agnes Maitland, age 19. All from Haddington. These were g-g-g-grandfather's brothers and sisters. although not all of them.  I always like to copy the first page of the ship manifest so that I know what the columns mean. In this instance, however, they didn't carry the columns through to the last page. 

I also noted a man by the name of John Watson, distiller, also appears. Agnes married a John Watson in Toronto (York) Ontario, Canada. I'll have to see if I can locate an occupation for him. 

It's interesting that Elizabeth and Charles both moved back to Scotland, where they both married and remained. Agnes died in Canada, date unknown. 

Not found in this list is Jean Wilson Maitland, the widow of Dr. Alexander Maitland (1759-1826); daughter Mary Maitland who married William Munro and she died in 1888 in Toronto;  Jane or Jean Maitland; Alexander Maitland (1813-1891) who went back and forth between Canada and the US, eventually settling in Lafayette County, Missouri; Robert Maitland; David Maitland who died in Canada in 1854; Helen Maitland who married George Urquhart in Canada and returned to Scotland.  Family story is that the eldest son, George Forrest Maitland inherited Gimmers Mill in Haddington and remained there. After Dr. Alexander Maitland died in 1826 the family moved to York, Ontario, where life was very hard. 

Did I figure out where John Maitland lived and died? No, but I'll keep searching! But it was my new relative, Colin, who spurred me on to look for John and find this gem. 



Monday, December 28, 2020

Genealogical Time Machine

If you had a time machine, and could go back (or bring forward) anyone to get your genealogical questions answered, who would be your first choice? 

In this minute, I would ask my ancestor, Margaret Skirving nee Wardlaw, what she knew about her mother and could remember about her father. Mainly because I know nothing about her mother and suspect what I do know is wrong.

Or would I choose Nathaniel Davidson, my great-great-great grandfather? I know nothing of his origins other than what the 1850 census says and that can often be wrong. Can I prove he was born in 1797 Kentucky? Nope. 

Would Wilhelmine Kleesaat/Klesat/Clesot/Clesotte ... nee Zabrack (not sure this is even right) be my choice? I would love to know her parents names, her correct maiden name, where she married, where her children were born. She has always been a conundrum. She was my great-great grandmother, so the closest of my ancestors.

I'd also like to talk to my late mother-in-law. I have lots of questions for her. I might even get straight answers from her. 

You know, I'm not sure I could choose. 

Copyright 2010-2020, ACK for Gene Notes