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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Finding Ira Totten in New Jersey

Gary asked
Ira Totten, b. abt. 1861, Paterson, NJ and his parents, George Toten and Adelia Henry, are listed in the Marriage section of the Sharon Springs, NY town register. I have found several George Tot(t)ens but I cannot connect Ira to any of them nor have I been successful in finding Adelia Henry.

Ira appears in the 1892 NY State census, Sharon Springs, with wife Cecelia and son, my grandfather, Clarence. The index for the 1892 census listed Ira Totten as Ira Fetters! The discovery of gross errors like this one have convinced me to do volunteer census transcriptions.

I could not find a birth record in Paterson, NJ for Ira Totten (or Toten) so I am currently searching under the premise that Ira is a middle name and that he is possible Charles Ira Totten.

Out of frustration I do volunteer genealogy work for other families, including scanning the web for people who, like me, are dead ended. (I am embarrassed that can do this for others with ease but yet I cannot flesh out my own family history!) I use Ancestry.com, Heritage Quest, and the LDS Family search as my springboards. If you can solve this one.....I will be amazed.

Olive Tree Answer: Hello Gary, It sounds from your email that you know what you're doing and that you've very carefully done your research on this puzzle! I have one small suggestion for you and that is - have you considered that your Adelia Henry may in fact be Delia, Adelle or even Amelia?

Also the surname Totten could be mistranscribed in many ways - you already found Fetters as one! As an example, the ending "n" could be misread as an "r", rendering the surname as Totter. Just the first syllable alone (TOT) could be mis indexed as Tet, Tat, Fot, Fet, Fat, etc. So be sure you try all those when you conduct a search.

I think you are wise to consider that Ira might be his middle name, but where did you get Charles as a possible first? Given your background with helping others, I'm quite sure you have some clues that have led you in this direction, and if so, then I'd continue searching with that in mind.

Have you found Ira with his parents George and Adelia in 1870 or 1880 census? Perhaps if you search using no names, but instead use gender and ages plus locations, you will find a family that fits. Dont' forget that sometimes only initials were used on those census forms, so George might be listed as G. Totten and Ira as I. Totten.

Re Paterson New Jersey birth records - have you tried area churches? I'd search in locations near Paterson as well, because it is possible that Ira was born in rural area and moved to Paterson as a baby, but gave Paterson as his place of birth.

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