Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Auf Wiedersehen, Pennsylvania & New York

Stating the obvious, the further back I go, it is, as a rule, more difficult to find reliable information on my family lines.  There are some exceptions for some of the more prominent Colonial era lines, but many searches are coming to screeching dead ends.  I’m about to leave behind lines in Pennsylvania and New York, make a brief stop in New Jersey, before heading full force into New England.  From there my choices would be to cross the Atlantic or recycle back over existing research to if I can fill in any of the gaps (and there are many).  I’m choosing to improve my existing research rather than expand the geographic scope.  There may be a few exceptions to this—for example, if I uncover the right clues that get the Murrays to Great Britain, I’m going to follow them as far as I can, but mostly the plan is to enhance what I've got in the US.

So, here I am with the last of my Pennsylvania and New York lines that I’ve discovered.  I could probably expand my information by making inquiries at various local historical societies, but I’ll hold off for now. 


I know almost nothing about the Marsh family.  My 3x great-grandmother was born in 1792 in Pennsylvania and died in 1870.  In 1812 she married Jonathan Hall and they lived in Lycoming County, PA.  Other than census information, the only record I’ve found is the marriage announcement of Polly & Jonathan Hall in the Lycoming Gazette.

The Lycoming County Genealogical Society has the will of David Marsh, 6 May, 1834. It lists his wife Mary, and that he has children, but they are not named. It also shows Jonathan Hall as a witness.  Could be Mary’s father, uncle, brother.  No way to know on this alone.

There’s a David Marsh in the Revolutionary War pension records and the 1822 records indicate he was born in 1754, his wife in 1763 and that he had a daughter Mary, age 18 and a son David, 11.   The son in particular seems young for the parents’ ages of 68 and 59.  But, my Mary, or Polly, was born around 1794 and married by 1812, so no matter how much I want this to be her father, it doesn’t work based on this information.

I feel stymied by this one.  I feel like I need to step back and focus on another line for awhile.


Researching the Rhodes wasn’t exactly the way to develop a feeling of accomplishment--I know even less about them.  My Hessian soldier 3x great-grandfather, Georg Klees, married Elizabeth Rhodes.  I’ve also seen it spelled Rhoads.  And there are indications the original German name was Roth.  (In German, Roth would be pronounced “rote” with a guttural R, so the change to Rhodes makes some sense.)  From the census, I know she was born about 1768.  I’ve seen references to the marriage in Berks County, PA and also that she was from Philadelphia, but nothing more.  I wonder if there was any stigma associated with marrying a former Hessian soldier.  That might provide some interesting context.


I only discovered the Snow line in NY a few weeks ago.  And it's not really a NY family because the first person I found, my 3x great-grandmother, Ruth Snow, was born in Massachusetts.  I'm hypothesizing that she married James Murray after moving to NY with her family, so I'm searching for a possibility for her parents in NY.  I haven't had much luck so far, so I may need to consider changing my hypothesis.  In any case a jump to New England  to look for an indication of the migration from there may be the next best step.

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