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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Finding the Connection to an Established Family Line

Matthew wrote to ask about the Van Slyke family

My moms side of the family is related to Cornelise Antonissen Van Slyke. I can't seem to find out where they marry into that part of the family. My great grandmother would talk about Mohican ancestry and this part of our family. Her maiden name was Lois May Cox and became Lois Snow. Her husband was Harry E. Snow. Her fathers name was George W. Cox and it is hard to find out who her mother was. I believe her mothers maiden name was Baxter. It was in Erie, Pennsylvania and she was born about 1912. I was just wondering if you have any info on the cox family marrying into the Van Slyke side.

ASK OLIVE TREE RESPONDS: Hi Matthew - As you know, the Van Slyke family is near and dear to me. In fact I've written three books on the family. Two are about Cornelis Van Slyke and his Mohawk wife Ots-Toch, as well as their descendants, while the third is about Cornelis' nephew Willem and his descendants.

However I find no mention of COX marrying into the family in my records. So you will have to go about this the old-fashioned way. That means starting with Lois Cox and going back one generation at a time until you either find the link or you prove it didn't happen.

Since it's a Van Slyke query I was really interested in helping you link to the family so I checked census records on It wasn't too difficult to find Lois and her parents in 1920, and to keep going back every ten years to 1910, 1900, etc. tracing her COX lineage.

The problem is finding the maiden names of spouses. To do that you will need to look for marriage records. Some may be online but many will have to be looked for offline, meaning repositories, libraries, archives and state or county government offices.

You could also look for maiden names of spouses in the birth records of children but again you may have to extend your search to offline resources.

Let me give you a brief outline of what I found:

1920 Census Girard, Erie Pennsylvania: 7 year old Lois M. Cox with parents George W. 46 born Pennsylvania, both parents born Pennsylvania. Wife Ida M. 36 born Pennsylvania, both parents born Pennsylvania

1910 Census Girard, Erie Pennsylvania. 36 year old George W. Cox born PA now says his dad born New York and mother PA with wife Ida M. 28 birth and parents birth locaation same as 1920

1900 Census Girard, Erie Pennsylvania. George Cox born June 1874 Pennsylvania with parents William Cox 52, born New York. father born England, mother born Wales. NOTE that if this is correct for William's parents, this is not the Van Slyke link. Wife Nancy born New York, father Connecticut, mother New York. NOTE that Nancy could be the Van Slyke link - you need to find her maiden name or her mother's maiden name.

1880 Census Girard, Erie Pennsylvania confirms the birth places of William Cox and his wife Nancy as well as their parents

I would look for the birth of George Cox in June 1874 in Pennsylvania. You need to know his mother's maiden name. A search of the WW1 Draft Cards on reveals George's full date of birth as 30 June 1874. Pennsylvania birth certificates prior to 1906 can be accessed through the courthouse in the county where the person was born.

You could also hunt for the marriage of William and Nancy. The 1900 census reveals they married in 1874. Of course each census that I listed above has more detail such as occupation and other children's names so you could look for George's siblings' birth records if his fails to turn up. Don't overlook tracing George's wife Ida to find her surname - for she may be the Van Slyke connection your family spoke of.

This may not help you figure out your Van Slyke connection, but your George W. Cox is found enlisting in the Pennsylvania National Guard 27 November 1899. You'll want to have a look as the card provides a nice description of him plus his unit.

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