Blackhurst Conflicts – The “Blacklin” Family of 1860

By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.I recently attended a Greater Portland Chapter of the Maine Genealogical Society where the speaker, Pam Stone Eagleson spoke about “Confronting Conflicting Evidence.” It was a very good talk. As I listened to it I was thinking, ‘It doesn’t really apply to me;’ I’m pretty good a reconciling conflicting evidence.’  It wasn’t until sometime later that it hit me, she was talking about “Confronting” and not “reconciling” evidence. Do I really confront contradictions or do I just accept inconsistencies without thinking about them too much?

When I changed software long ago because of a database corruption and because of the shortcomings I’ve experienced in exporting to a GED file and importing a GED file into different software my sources are in a bit of a disarray. Because of that, my practice is to take my original sources and reintegrate them as though they were new sources then delete my old sources as redundant. I was doing that cleanup for my 3rd great-grandfather, Stephen Blackhurst.

I began the walk up from my earliest source citation.

  • 1841 England Census – Good[i]
  • 1850 US Census – Good[ii]
  • 1855 New York Census – Good[iii]
  • 1860 US Census – Whoa Nellie!

My 1860 Census record seemed to come from another planet. Lots of conflicts. Looking at the record from the perspective of having just seen the previous four records provided a new at the conflicts. I decided I need to confront the conflicts head on.

1860 Census[iv]

The conflicts include:

Crop of 1860 Census record for Stephen and Fannie Blackhurst
1860 Census for Stephen & Fanny Blacklin
  • Surname – Blacklin family – Not Blackhurst family
  • Age of Stephen: 60, (b. 1799-1800) verses 1802-1804 of other records (3 to 4 years off).
  • Age of Fannie: 59, (b. 1800-1801) verses 1806-1810 of other records (6 or 7 years off).
  • Married: The box for “married during the past year” is marked. Other records indicate they married in 1825.

Gosh, could I have attributed the wrong family to my tree? I haven’t done that in years.

The kids in the household look to be right for the Blackhurst family.

Sarah is 11, although she should be 12.

Louisa is 22 – Her age is right, but the name is different.  Previous records included her as “Eleazer” and “Ealonr.” I guess I can get “Eleazer” out of Louisa – but “Ealonr”? Maybe there is a middle name I don’t know about yet.

William is the right name and age, 24.

1870 Census[v]

1870 Census – Fanny Blackhurst

Sadly, Stephen died in 1869. The 1870 Census doesn’t show relationships; however, the Fanny Blackhurst family has the right surname – Blackhurst.

Fanny is head of household. Living with clearly is her daughter Louisa, now age 31. It appears that Louisa married during the previous decade and had two children. Husband (unknown Sanders) is absent from the record.

Likewise, daughter Elizabeth, aka Bessie, is living in the house with her husband, Isaac Earl, and a daughter Mary, age 8.

I’ll add that other family members, such as my 2nd great-grandmother Sarah Blackhurst Barber, are living in the same area (Sheridan Township, Calhoun County, Michigan, so I am pretty confident that the Blackhurst family moved from Auburn, Cayuga County, New York, to Sheridan Township, Calhoun County, Michigan, sometime between 1850 and 1860.

Surname Conflict

Going back to look at the conflicts.

I can’t explain the Blackhurst/Blacklin surname conflict. Because the family appears to be consistent with the other records depicting the Blackhurst family, before and after the 1860 Census. I have searched the 1850 and 1870 Censuses for Blacklin families without success.  Also I have searched for the Blackhurst surname in the 1860 census to no avail. I believe I have done a reasonably exhaustive search and believe that the Blacklin surname is a census taker error.

Marriage Conflict

“Married during the past year” is a problem. It is certainly possible that Stephen married a second time to a woman also named Fanny. That would explain the shift in age. Another possibility exists in that the census taker marked people who were married as married in the past year. The first three family units on the page are all marked as marked as married in the past year.

The first household on the page is Thomas Saunders (27) with Marion (24) and two children (5 & 3). The second household on the page is Stephen (65) with Fanny (59) and three children (24, 22, and 11).  The third household on the page is David Bowen (33) Valindima (24) and two children (2 & 1). It just seems odd to me that all three of these apparent family units were married in the past year. Unless I find some compelling evidence elsewhere, I don’t believe that Stephen and Fanny were married in the year previous to the 1860 census or that Stephen was married twice. So again, I believe this is a Census Taker error.

Age Conflict

My experience has told me that ages are most accurate early in life. The ages for children under 10 seem the most accurate.  Women seem to have their birth year increase during their late 20s, 30s, and 40s. In their 50s their birth years seem to return to their original and in their 80s and 90s their birth year often seems to move before their original birth year. Men’s ages seem to go similarly, however, single men in their 50s and 60s seem to be older if they are married and seem to be younger if they are single or widowed.

Stephen appears to fit this model

  • 1841 – Age 39 – b. circa[vi] 1802
  • 1850 – Age 46 – b. circa 1804
  • 1855 – Age 57 – b. circa 1798
  • 1860 – Age 60 – b. circa 1800
  • 1869 – Died – Marker says 1801

Fanny’s ages also fit this model.

  • 1841 – Age 30 – b. circa 1811
  • 1850 – Age 42 – b. circa 1808
  • 1855 – Age 48 – b. circa 1807
  • 1860 – Age 59 – b. circa 1801
  • 1870 – Age 64 – b. circa 1806
  • 1880 – Age 74 – b. circa 1806
  • 1885 – Died – Marker says 1806

Conclusion

The bottom line is that I believe I have confronted the inconsistencies in the facts of the 1860 Census records and the have facts in my database as appropriate. Pam Stone Eagleson’s talk about “Confronting Conflict” led me to further consider some inconsistencies in my tree and that is a good thing. Thank you, Pam.

Sources and Endnotes

[i] 1841 England Census, Ancestry.Com, Yorkshire, Kingston upon Hull, Parish of Holy Trinity, Pages 21 & 22. Stephen Blackhurst.

[ii] 1850 Census (FS) (NARA), Family Search, Stephen Blackhurst – Auburn, Cayuga, New York. Accessed 25 Aug 2013. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MCT2-GRX.

[iii] 1855 New York Census, Family Search, Stephen Blackhurst – Auburn, Cayuga, New York. Accessed 25 August 2013. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K675-B3M.

[iv] 1860 Census, Family Search, Stephen Blacklin – Sheridon, Calhoun, Michigan – Line 7. Accessed 25 August 2013. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MWDJ-W8X.

[v] 1870 Census (FS) (NARA), Family Search, Fanny Blackhurst Head – Calhoun, Sheridan, Michigan, Page 30, Line 24.

[vi] Circa – When I enter a “circa” date, it generally encompasses the year before and the year shown. For example, b. circa 1802 generally means 1801 to 1802. In the example of the 1850 Census which was taken on June 1, 1850, an age of 46 suggests the individual was born between 2 June 1803 and 1 June 1804. On occasion, I also use “About” or “Abt” meaning the same thing.

 

Mitochondrial DNA Ancestors – Sarah H Blackhurst Barber (1847-1929)

Mitochondrial DNA ancestors

By – Don Taylor 

Sarah Blackhurst Barber is a particularly special ancestor for me. First, she is my most recent immigrant ancestor.  Second, she is a mitochondrial ancestor. That is to say, I carry her mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Mitochondrial DNA is passed from mother to child.  As such, I received my mtDNA from my mother, who received it from her mother (Madonna Montran), who received it from her mother (Ida Barber), who received it from her mother (Sarah Blackhurst).  I have not done a mtDNA Test yet, but I should do one so that I have some experience with the test and its results.

There are very few of us with Sarah’s mtDNA. Sarah had two children, Ida and Eva. Eva died with no children. Ida had one daughter, Madonna.  Madonna only had one daughter and a son.  Her son is still living and carried her mtDNA but his children, of course, do not. Madonna’s daughter (my mother) had two boys. He and I carry it.  She also had two girls; one of them only had boys, they have the same mtDNA, but won’t pass it on to future generations.  The other daughter of my mother had two boys and a girl. Again, the two boys have the mtDNA but won’t pass it on. That leaves her daughter, the only descendant of Sarah’s with the potential of passing Sarah’s mitochondrial DNA on to a future generation (she doesn’t have any children yet).

My mtDNA Sources
• My mother (living)
• Madonna Montran
• Ida Barber
• Sarah Blackhurst
• Fanny Taylor

That said, Sarah did have five sisters.  I haven’t had a chance to trace any of their descendants. Hopefully, there are other descendants that her mtDNA has been passed along to.

Bio – Sarah H Blackhurst Barber (1847-1929)

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 08

Sarah H Blackhurst was born in December 1847 in England, probably Sheffield, Yorkshire, England. She was the seventh child of Stephen and Fanny (Taylor) Blackhurst.

Her older siblings include:
• Ellen (1829-1905)
• Elizabeth (~1831-1910)
• Mary (1833-1900)
• William Stephen (~1835-1917)
• Louisa (1838-1927) [1]
• Phoebe Anna (~1842-1929)

Auburn – State St. from Genesee St. c. 1910
Via Wikipedia [Public Domain]

Shortly after her birth, in 1848, her father left for the United States and settled in Auburn, Cayuga County, New York establishing himself as a shoe maker.  It was two years later that the family arrived. Ellen was not with them, but the rest of the family was enumerated in Auburn during the 1850 Census. [2][3]

The family was together during the New York 1855 Census. I have been unable to find the family in the 1860 Census.

On 8 October 1869, Sarah married Franklin E Barber in Sheridan Township, Calhoun County, Michigan. One very interesting aspect of their marriage is that he marriage occurred before the license was taken out.  The date of their license was 22 Jan 1870 and the the date of their marriage was 8 Nov 1969, seventy-five days earlier. None of the other entries on that page in the marriage registration logbook have similar confusing entries. Sarah’s sister “Louisee” (Louisa Sanders) was one of the witnesses. The other witness was James Hickey also of Sheridan Township. (His relationship is unknown.) Officiating the rite was Stephen White, a Justice of the Peace.[4]

In 1874, their first child, Ida, was born.

In December, 1877, their second child, another girl was born. They named her Eva.

In 1880, the young family is living in Albion, Calhoun County, Michigan. Frank was a painter, who had been unemployed four of the previous twelve months. Sarah was keeping house for her two children, Ida, age 6 and Eva, age 2.[5]

In 1900, Sarah and 22-year-old daughter, Eva are living at 250 Fifth, Detroit, Michigan. Husband Frank is living at the Soldier’s Home in Grand Rapids.[6]

Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI c.1910
By Detroit Publishing Co. [Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons

In 1910, the 62-year-old Sarah was living with her older daughter Ida in Detroit. Ida had divorced her third husband, Joseph Holdsworth. Sarah is listed in the 1910 Census as widowed;[7] however, her husband is till living at the Soldier’s home in Grand Rapids.  He is also identified as widowed.

1917 was a very bad year.  Her husband’s dying on April 7th may have been anti-climatic, but her youngest daughter, Eva, Sarah’s died on November 8th at the age of 33.

In 1920, Sarah was living in New York City at 134 Lawrence Street, Manhattan. This is now 126th Street and appears to be a parking ramp today.  The Census indicates that her granddaughter Madonna Montran was living with her. However, in January of 1920, when the Census was taken, Donna was on the road with the “Chin Chin” production.  Living with the 70-year-old Sarah is a boarder named Charles Smith. Charles was a 26-year-old German music composer.[8]

Limited Time Only: Save up to 30% on easy, affordable computer backup. Buy Now! Today, 125th Street is perceived to be the heart of Harlem. But in 1920, the black neighborhood started a few blocks north, at 130th Street.[9] There was an IRT station three blocks away at 125th and one at 130th. The IRT (Interborough Rapid Transit) was originally an elevated cable car system but converted to electric in 1903.  The line was closed in 1940.[10]

I believe that Sarah died on 6 September 1929, in Brooklyn, Kings County, New York.[11]  I have ordered a copy of a death certificate for a person who I believe is our Sarah Barber.  When I receive it, it should confirm the death date and provide clues to burial information.

Further Actions: 

Await receipt of Death Certificate to confirm death date and a clue to her burial location.
Find Blackhurst Family in the 1860 Census. Location unknown (New York to Michigan).
Find the Barber Family in the 1870 Census. They should be in Calhoun County, MI.
Take a mtDNA Test to document Sarah’s mtDNA.

List of Greats
1. Ida May Barber [Montran] [Fisher] [Holdsworth] [Knight]
2. Sarah H Blackhurst [Barber]
3.     Fanny Taylor [Blackhurst]

ENDNOTES

[1] “Eleazer” in the 1850 Census is believe to be an alternative name for Louisa.

[2] 1920 Census; Sarah Barber Head – Manhattan Assembly District 13, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1209; Page: 24A; Enumeration District: 958; “Arrival 1850”.

[3] New York, State Census, 1855; Stephen Blackhurst – New York, Cayuga, Sheet 37, Line 21, Note: All family members except for Stephen had been in City or town for 5 years.

[4] Michigan, Calhoun, Certified Copy of a Marriage Record; Barber-Blackhurst – 1869; Repository: Don Taylor personal files.

[5] 1880 Census; Frank Barber Head – Albion, Calhoun, Michigan, ED 062, Page No 13.

[6] 1900 Census; Sarah Barber Head – Detroit, Michigan, ED 36, Sheet 13B

[7] 1910 Census; Ida Holdsworth Head – Detroit, Wayne, Michigan

[8] 1920 Census; Sarah Barber Head – Manhattan Assembly District 13, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1209; Page: 24A; Enumeration District: 958.
[9] Internet: Digital Harlem Blog –“Harlem in the 1920s

[10] Internet: Wikipedia – “125th Street (IRT Ninth Avenue Line)”

[11] New York, New York, Death Index, 1862-1948; Sarah Barber

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