Update: William Thomas Welch’s Maternal Grandparents – Meet the Farquhars

It’s sometimes very difficult to discover the maiden name of a long ago ancestor – and accordingly, the names of her parents. Last night I serendipitously came across a clue and, upon following it, was rewarded with finding not only William Thomas Welch’s mother’s maiden name, but her parents and siblings, her new husband’s name and the 1870 census listing of William Thomas and his brother and sisters.

As mentioned in the previous post, Tom’s older sister’s first name was Bashuba [middle name Jane, as culled from other sources]- a probable misspelling of the biblical name Bathsheba. As many censuses as I’ve looked at, it’s not a name I remember seeing before. As I was looking for additional information on Tom’s brother and glancing  at the families on the pages before and after the page where James Alexander was living, I noted a family whose names were James and Basheba Farquhar.

In earlier time periods, families oftentimes used naming conventions for the names of their children, which generally included names of parents and grandparents. Since Sarah Welch’s first two children were named Bashuba and James, I thought that might not be a coincidence and started searching earlier censuses to see if I could determine if James and Basheba had a daughter of a similar age named Sarah. Due to the death of Robert in December 1861, the only census available for Robert and Sarah was the 1860 one, which meant there would be only one earlier census  to search that would contain any family members’ names other than the name of the head of household – the 1850 census. Fortunately, when I found them in the 1850 census, the first child listed was a Sarah who was born at the approximate time of  my great-great-grandmother.

At that point, I was pretty sure I’d discovered my great-great-grandparents’ names to be James and Basheba Farquhar. I moved forward to the 1860 census to locate any additional children they may have had and found eleven all total: Sarah, Polly, Andrew J., Martha, James, Elizabeth, America, Lavina, John Thomas, Amanda and Helen.

When I found them on the 1870 census, I discovered the family living next door to them was a James Jackson and his wife Sarah who just happened to have four children named Jane 18, James 16, Isabel 12 and Thomas 10 – my great-grandfather and his family! The reason I’d never been able to find Sarah and her four children was that she had remarried and the census taker had listed the children without adding their last names, which meant they would be interpreted to be Jacksons.

As further evidence that I was not just reading things into the census documents that were merely coincidental, the estate documents we found in the court records were about naming an administrator for the estate: the named administrator was James Farquhar – his unstated relationship being that of the widow’s father.

I then searched the Fayette County cemetery webpage and discovered, based on the unusualness of the name Basheba, that James and Basheba are buried at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church Cemetery in Fayette County. Although there is a grave for a James Farquhar, the birth dates are a little different from what the census data might lead me to expect and, consequently, uncertain as to the strength of such identification; but the burial of a Bashuby Farquhar offers a more substantial clue that is where they are buried. Two of Sarah’s brothers are also buried there, Andrew J., having died as a member of the 26th Alabama Infantry, Company A, and James J., having died as a member of the 41st Alabama Infantry, Company H.


2 Responses

  1. How do you pull up census or do you on the computer?
    Is there a search some where that doesn’t cost you?
    It has been a while since I looked for any one. My boss wants to find his parents and his wifes for infro and can’t find anything that doesn’t cost.

  2. […] My 3rd great-grandmother was Basheba McGuire Farquhar. Details on her life are limited and not yet adequately sourced. I found her name almost by accident; I wrote about that serendipitous occurrence in a blog I called Meet the Farquhars. […]

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