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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Looking for Marriage Record to find Parents' Names

Sandi asked
You've helped me before with a query in New Netherlands Connections. I greatly appreciate your assistance.

I'm looking for the parents of William H. Burd, born 17 Feb 1836 in Sparta, Sussex County, NJ. From his Death Certificate, it shows he died 10 Dec 1920, and was buried in the Florida, New York Cemetary. I have found him in the 1920, 1910, 1880, 1870 & 1860 Census', mostly living in Goshen, Orange County, NY just across the State line from Sussex Cty, NJ. He was married to Sarah E. Brooks, b. 29 Jan 1838 in NJ, d. 27 Oct 1892 in Orange County NY.

Their children were: Joseph Henry born 26 Feb 1866; John H b. May 1869; William Henry b. 24 Sept 1871; George Henry b. 20 Sept 1873; Margaret J. b. Jun 1875; Daniel Robert b. 13 Jan 1878; Grace V. b. 1879; & James Henry b. 30 Jan 1882.

In Sussex County, NJ there were several Bird families with sons named William only a year or two apart. My best candidate for my William's father is John Burd, who is found in Sparta in the 1950 Census. He spells his name the same way, (on this Census), and he has a son, William C Burd, 15. The middle initial is what complicates things. There is another William C. Bird, son of Clarkson, born about 1836. And my William has H. for a middle initial.

I'm not sure where to try to find more info to determine who his parents were. I have not been able to find a record of his marriage. I believe he was in the Navy during the Civil War, and married shortly afterward. His first child, Joseph, was born 10 months after the Civil War ended.

What other resources do you recommend to determine William's parents? Thank-you so much for your wisdom. I love reading your new blog.


Lorine Answers: Hi Sandi, You've really put together a lot of information to try to figure out your William Burd's ancestry. Good going! That is exactly how I approach a challenging genealogy problem - gather all the facts and note them carefully so you can keep track of definites versus maybes.

I am wondering about the 1900 census as you didn' t mention finding William there. Sarah was dead that year but using Ancestry.com I found a William Burd, a farmer, born Feb. 1837 in New Jersey, living in Goshen Orange Co. New York with wife Hannah. Could your William have remarried? Hannah is noted as being born in Jan. 1850 and William says he married in 1865 (which fits his marriage to Sarah) but Hannah would be a bit young to have married at age 15. It is quite possible that Hannah did marry at age 15 and this may not be your William but it certainly is worth checking on if you have not seen the record. If it is your William you would have a second marriage to hunt for and this could provide you with his parents' names.

I'd also look at naming patterns of children. It isn't set in stone but if you can find Sarah Brooks in a census record with her parents you can see if Sarah and William named any children after her parents. If they did, there's a chance they also named some after his. I notice "Henry" was pretty popular with them for a middle name of the boys. Could William's middle initial "H" be for Henry? Is it possible his father's name was Henry? Or could William's mother's maiden name be Henry? These are just questions you might want to keep in mind when you are hunting.

PS I have just answered my own question. I looked up William and Hannah in the 1910 census, and he is in Middletown noted as William H., married TWICE, and married to Hannah for 17 years. So he and Hannah married circa 1893 after his first wife Sarah died. I would look for that marriage to Hannah in Ontario County records. Here is their address and phone number

Orange County Clerk
255-275 Main St.
Goshen, NY 10924-1621
(845) 294-5151

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