Each family history clue can be helpful in finding the next discovery. In searching for my great-grandfather, William Thomas Welch, an 1860 census, although originally only a potential match, provided a number of clues that helped in the search to find him and his whole family. That census listed Robert and Sarah Welch and their four children: Bashuba J (8), James A (6), Mary E (2) and Wm T (4 of 12 months). The only clue I had to go on in that census was the abbreviation for his full name and the age being approximately accurate. I was, unfortunately, unable to find any later documents on either Robert and Sarah Welch, or any of their children other than for William Thomas after he married Mary Monroe “Mollie” Sanford.
This past July , on our visit to the Fayette County Courthouse, Kay and I found estate administration documents for Robert Welch that confirmed what had before been only his suspected death before the 1870 census, gave an approximate date of death [“Robert Welch Departed this Life more than Forty Days Since” – January 27, 1862 was the date of the document], and gave additional or clarifying information on names: we learned Bashuba’s middle name was Jane; James’ middle name was Alexander, Mary E’s middle name was actually Isabella rather than something that started with an ‘e’, William’s middle name was Thomas, and the administrator’s name was James Farquhar.
As I was searching for more source documents by using those clues, I noticed a family listed on an 1880 census with the wife/mother’s name of Basheba. That is such an unsual name [I assume it, and Jane’s, to be a misspelling of the biblical name of Bathsheba] that I decided to invest the time to track that family backward to see if they had a daughter named Sarah of a similar age to William Thomas’ mother. There was likely only one option to find that information – the 1850 census; the reason for that was that prior to 1850, the censuses only listed the name of the head of household and after that Sarah was married and would be identified only with her new name and family. When I found the 1850 census, sure enough, they had a daughter named Sarah the approximate same age as William Thomas’ mother. During that whole search, I was only tracking the name Basheba and had not even noticed the last name; however, upon looking at all my documentation, I realized the last name was Farquhar – the name of the administrator on the Robert Welch estate and a name/clue I might not have gotten around to following for a long time since I was unaware of any family connection.
In observing the neighbors on the 1870 census page that listed the Farquhars, listed right below them were James and Sarah Jackson and their four children, Jane (18), James (16), Isabel (12) and Thomas (10) – that’s obviously Sarah A. Farquhar Welch Jackson and her four children [even though the census enumerator listed them with the name of Jackson].
I then found a marriage for Jane Welch and Hesikiah Anderson on January 18, 1883 as well as a 1900 census with Hesikiah and Jane Anderson and their daughter, Lucy J, born about 1886. Then I found the 1880 census listing Jane Welch living as a boarder with Hesikiah and Nancy Anderson; she was also living next door to her brother William Thomas’ wife’s brother, Rufus Sanford, his wife, and two children.
As I stated at the beginning, each clue can be helpful in finding the next discovery. Had I not had the 1860 census that listed the oldest child’s name as Bashuba, I would never had been aware of the similarity of that unusual name in a presumably unrelated family on the 1880 census. Had I not had the clarification of Jane as her middle name on the estate document, I would not have had confidence it was her on the 1870 census when her name was erroneously listed as Jane Jackson – her stepfather’s name, and I would not have known to accept the clue of a marriage between Jane Welch and Hesikiah Anderson, nor to have found her living as a boarder in his home in 1880. Without tracking the siblings of extended family, I also would not have known the extra validation that she was living next door to her sister-in-law’s brother and thus further connecting her to her family.
This morning, I was looking through some photos posted on a second cousin’s website [Sarah Clayton Hood who received them by way of her cousin, Cecelia Sue Leigh, daughter of Susie May Clayton Leigh]; there was a photo identified as Jane Anderson. Without all the research listed above, I would not have understood who she was.
So here I present the photo of Basheba Jane Welch Anderson, sister of William Thomas Welch and my great-grandaunt. Although I do not have a date for the photo, it is evident from her clothing, hairstyle and necklace watch that it is a photo from somewhere around the turn of the century.
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