I received the Cayuga County, NY Murray line research results last week and I’ve been analyzing the information and organizing my thoughts about the next steps to take. (You can follow the path of my research on the Murrays: #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 )
Overall, I’m both thrilled and disappointed with the information. Thrilled because 1) there was confirmation of one of my hypotheses, 2) there was invalidation of another hypothesis, 3) there were some solid leads for future research, and 4) now I no longer wonder “what if I could do local research?”. The disappointment comes not from any realistic expectation that wasn’t met….I just couldn’t help but dream of more complete answers (I know..hahahahaha).
Here are the challenges I presented to the researcher and the outcomes:
- Copies of two newspaper obituaries: James Murray in the June 12, 1822 issue of the Cayuga Republican and Ruth Murray in the March 24, 1857 Auburn Daily Advertiser
Received copies of both and the previous information I had was an exact transcription.
- Documentation of Erastus' parentage, especially any information that supports, or contradicts, that the James Murray in the 1822 obit was Erastus' father
One hypothesis confirmed: Ruth Murray and her three daughters seemed probable mother & sisters of Erastus—In an 1876 probate record summary for one of Ruth’s daughters, Erastus was listed as one of the next of kin, along with the sisters and a half-brother.
- Documentation, other than censuses, that Erastus & Christina were Albert's parents
- Any marriage or birth records for the James/Ruth, Erastus/Christina (would especially like maiden name), Erastus/Loretta
- General information about Erastus (especially the period of about 1860-1862, because that is when the family disintegrated and the Murray history, as I originally knew it, was fabricated)
In the same probate record mentioned above, it said Erastus hadn’t been seen in 16 years and was presumed dead. Well, Erastus didn’t die until 1895, so this hints at him deserting his family around 1860, at about the same time his children were taken to the orphanage.
- Information concerning James and Ruth's parentage/birthplace
At this point, it probably seems like I didn’t get much, but I had a budget and I placed a cap on the number of hours for this project. There were lots of leads uncovered that the researcher simply didn’t have time to pursue: the probate record was only a summary, there wear a Surrogate Court listing for a Lucetta Murray (along with several other Murrays), some land records that might be relevant, along with some other bits and pieces. She also presented the sources she reviewed but where she found nothing—valuable information too. That will save me wasted effort.
But one of the best things uncovered helped solve a puzzle I hadn’t directly presented to the researcher and, at the same time, it presented me with an entirely new lead to follow. It involved the relationship between the Murrays and the Stanfords. In the information I provided to the researcher were these Stanford tidbits:
- Erastus had a son named Stanford.
- In 1850 Ruth had a grandson named Edward Stanford enumerated with her. By chance, that same year, I believed he was enumerated with his father, David Stanford.
- An assumption that David was Ruth’s son-in-law (I didn’t mention the nagging concern I had because David was listed as Ruth’s son in her obituary)
So, what was uncovered—in the same probate record—was that David was a half-brother, meaning that Ruth actually was his mother, not his mother-in-law. So Ruth Snow had married Unknown Stanford first, then James Murray. The researcher also spotted a Ruth Stanford in the 1810 census (the year David was born and two years before Erastus was born). What the researcher didn’t know was that three names above Ruth Stanford in 1810 was the David Murray I had been tracking as possibly the father or brother of her future husband, James. And it was in Erastus’ birthplace, Brutus, NY.
A few days after I received the report, I had an email exchange with the researcher that sparked some lateral searching. In her personal research, she had come across Murrays in Seneca County that might be related. From the summary she presented, I knew there was a connection. It sent me down the path of researching extended family connections. I found that the family of Erastus’ brother Richard had lived in the same area for many years. That made me wonder if his line might have a more knowledge of the family history. In turn, I began to wonder how I could find anyone from this line. I found an obituary from 2010 that indicated three of Richard’s granddaughters were still alive at that time. So, I’m thinking about placing a query in that paper to see if a connection can be made.