Amelia Kelley: The Two John Kellys, Part 4

Start from the beginning here or go back to Part 3.

After reviewing my research plan, I’m setting my sights on Amelia. In my experience, the people who come up quickly in search engines often have the most documentation of their life events. Plus, I’m curious if my hunch about Tamar and Amelia’s death records being next to each other is correct. So I’m going to see if I can find Amelia’s marriage record.

A quick search on Ancestry pulls up this file:

Homer Beardsley married Amelia Eliza Kelley in Erie County, Ohio, in December 1862. This record fits all of my parameters. But how do I know for sure it’s Tamar’s daughter?

Searching Homer and Amelia Beardsley in the censuses pulls up this record:

Amelia and Homer are living with her sister and her mother, who is listed as “Fanny.” That’s another name I can use to search for Tamar, besides Tamour and Famour. Amelia has a daughter Amelia born in April 1870. (See the column that says “Apr” in baby Amelia’s record? That’s for the birth month of babies born within the year.)

Wait a minute.

Didn’t Amelia’s death record say she died in childbirth in April 1870? And didn’t Tamar die a few days later? How could mother and daughter be listed together with the baby?

*looks back at Part 2 post* Yes. Amelia died on April 29, 1870; Tamar died 4 days later on May 3, 1870.

So when was this 1870 census taken?

July 29, 1870? How is that possible? Was the census taker interviewing ghosts?

*looks back at death records* The dates on the page are going back and forth between 1870 and 1871. Maybe Amelia and Tamar died in 1871 instead? Maybe Sister Amanda was the one being interviewed by the census taker and she mentioned them without explaining that they had passed? Or maybe she mentioned them in the interview and didn’t bother to correct the census taker that they were no longer living.

What happened to baby after Mama Amelia’s death? I have to know.

This is the 1880 census. In Norwalk, Ohio, a town 10 miles south of Milan, Amelia Beardsley is listed as the niece of John and Celia Collins. (Postscript: I also notice she is listed as being 10 years old here, not 9, the age she’d be if the recorder of Mother Amelia and Tamar’s death had made a mistake on their death year.)

Huh? Who are they? And where is Homer?

Okay so new questions to look into:

• Who are John and Celia Collins and why haven’t I encountered them before?

• I have somewhat solid dates on Tamar and Amanda’s deaths. I also know Patrick died before 1850 because he isn’t listed with the family in the census. Try to find their obituaries.

• Find Homer Beardsley after Amelia’s passing.

Sources for this post can be found here. Go to Part 5.

Research Plan Check 1: The Two John Kelleys

Time to take a look back at my research plan to stay on track:

  • Tamour is an odd name. Looking her up might bear some results.
    I found her death record and her name attached to son James’ marriage record in Familysearch. An Ancestry search pulled up diddly.
  • Research census and vital records for Milan John’s family.

Screen Shot 2018-08-13 at 12.49.32 PM.png

I’m big into spreadsheets. Above, you can see I built a timeline for the Milan Kelley family. To the left, I have their birth and death dates and then I lay out a grid at 10-year intervals to create a timeline. When I find a family member in the census, I enter their location in the appropriate column. That way I can see what censuses I’m missing, and I can easily track where everyone is in any given decade. The color coding is to remind myself that the 1856 column isn’t a census column. I added it to show James’s location at time of marriage.

  • Who are the peripheral people in the census documents?
    a. William Whiten?
    b. Elizabeth Enoch?
    c. John Enoch?
  • Look for Amelia Kelley marrying a Beardsley in Milan area sometime between 1850, the date of the census, and 1870, the date of her recorded death.
  • Look for James and Fannie Kelley in 1860 and 1870 censuses.

For Real: The Two John Kelleys, Part 3

Start from the beginning here or go back to Part 2.

I’m not starting with researching the two Johns—Milan John and Champaign John—for two reasons.

The first reason is John Kelley/Kelly is a common name, especially so in northern Ohio at the time. Take a look at this:

Screen Shot 2018-08-13 at 10.26.10 AM.png

Guess why it’s called Kelleys Island. Yep, tons of Kelleys lived there in the mid-19th century. Milan, Ohio—the town Milan John hails from—is at the bottom edge of the map. For some reason, someone decided that Kelleys Island was in Erie County, the county that Milan is a part of. All of the other islands there belong to Sandusky County. Just my luck: the Kelleys on the island and the Kelleys in Milan show up in the same census.

The second reason I’m not researching Milan John and Champaign John right away is that I tried and got nothing.

My John Kelley relative married Eliza Hurd in Champaign County, Ohio, and moved to Iowa in 1854, staying put until he passed away in 1895. There is not one hint as to his roots in all of the documentation I’ve found on him.

Looking into Milan John and Champaign John in censuses PREVIOUS to 1850 isn’t an option until I know their fathers’ names. That’s because censuses before 1850 only named the head of household. The rest of the family was tallied into columns for their age group. So in the 1840 census, both Johns would be a number in the column “Male: 10-15 years old” in the box to the right of their fathers’ names.

Looking for Milan John AFTER 1850 turns up little. A John Kelley married a Fanny Daniels in Erie County in 1847. But, like I said, the county includes all of the Kelleys on the island, so who knows at this point if that’s Patrick and Tamar’s son.

Screen Shot 2018-08-13 at 10.14.09 AM.png

My strategy is to track John’s siblings and hope I find records that list the family. Obituaries usually give names and places of residence. They also provide the married names of the sisters. Those married names will eventually help me search for DNA matches.

It makes sense for me to do the same for Champaign John. But my only lead there is Elizabeth Enoch. I have verified Elizabeth’s maiden name was Kelley (more on that later), but she is 23 years older than John. She was born in Virginia; John was born in Ohio. Is she a much older sister, or an aunt, or a cousin?

I don’t know.

And how do I know the other Kelley family researchers are wrong? Maybe someone did the research and proved it, but didn’t post any of their documentation on the site. My theory that Milan John isn’t my guy is just that: a theory. Better to look into commonly held line first in this case, I think.

That’s why I’m taking a circuitous route to first prove Milan John isn’t my ancestor.

Sources for this post are here.

Read Part 4 here.