[Sometimes you just have to skip a generation in your research to find the answer to the question. If you do so, it is important to have a clear reason and a clear explanation of how any why you skipped the generation. Such is the case for my Blanchard study. The family oral story was that the Blanchards have been in Maine “forever.” I was asked to find out exactly when they came to Maine.]
My search began with Edward E Blanchard, who married Priscilla Newcomb in 1925. I then began following him and his ancestors back in time. In 1920, he was living with his widowed mother and four siblings in Portland, Cumberland County, Maine.
Further research found that his father Frederick W Blanchard died in 1918.
In 1910, the 9-year-old Edward was living with his parents, Frederick W and Minnie Blanchard in South Portland, Maine.
In 1900, Frederick is living in South Portland with his wife Minnie and three of his children. (Edward hadn’t been born yet.)
In 1887, Frederick and Minnie were married. It was Minnie’s first marriage, but Frederick’s second marriage.
The 1880 Census was particularly difficult to interpret. Frederick was living with his uncle, Charles H. Blanchard and his Charles’s wife Miranda. Also living in the household was Elizabeth Blanchard, a 79-year-old widow who is listed as a “boarder.” Next door, is 81-year-old Myra Blanchard. Of course, both Charles and Myra are listed as “Head” of their respective households. Sadly, the 1880 census is the first census which identifies the relationships of people in a household to the Head and the 1870 census won’t shed any more light on to the relationships.
The 1870 Census shows the Charles H Blanchard household including his wife Miranda, 4-year-old Fred, and three other children. Also living with them is 70-year-old Elizabeth.
The 1860 Census shows Charles and Miranda living in Cumberland, Maine, apparently with three children. Next Door to them is Cyrus and Elizabeth Blanchard with a 16-year-old boy, Melville G Blanchard, who I tentatively assume to be their son.
Looking closer at Cyrus Blanchard’s life, he was apparently married three times. First to Apphiah Young in 1816, Apphiah died in 1841. His second marriage was to Sarah Staples. Sarah died in 1848. His third marriage was to Elizabeth Mills. This would be the Elizabeth we see him with in 1860. It also fits the age of the Elizabeth in the household of Charles H Blanchard in 1870 and 1880. Elizabeth would be Charles’s step-mother.
Cyrus and Elizabeth also show up in the 1850 Census with what appear to be four children. Charles, Nancy, Albion, and Sarah.
So, if, in fact, Frederick’s uncle is Charles and Charles’ father is Cyrus, then Frederick’s grandfather must be Cyrus. We may not know the name of Frederick’s father, which might be Melville, Albion, or something entirely different, but we do know his grandfather’s name.
I believe that Cyrus was born in 1791 in old North Yarmouth, Cumberland County, (Maine) and that his father was Ebenezer Blanchard, born 1760 in Weymouth, Norfolk County, Massachusetts. So, Ebenezer would be the first of Edward Blanchard’s direct ancestors to live in Maine.
There is more research to do. The leap of faith between Frederick and Cyrus need much more to confirm. Also, there were many other Blanchards in Cumberland County long before Ebenezer came to Cumberland County. There was a Samuel Blanchard who sold ¼ of an island in Casco Bay to an Ebenezer Blanchard in 1762. Also, according to the 1870 census to the agricultural schedule, there were 7 farmers with the surname Blanchard farming in Cumberland Center, Cumberland County. Basically, you can hardly turn around without encountering another Blanchard in Cumberland Center or Yarmouth; there are hundreds of them. So, lots more research to do on this family.
Oh, by the way, it appears that Ebenezer was the son of Daniel Blanchard born 1727 in Weymouth, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, a known patriot of the Revolution.[i]