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Friday, January 9, 2009

Need help with GG-Grandfather Benjamin Cole in MIchigan

On Jan 5/09 Nancy asked me... Neila Arabelle Cole was born the 14th of April 1897 in Michigan - she is one of two children born to Edward John Cole and Samantha J Hart. Her Siblings name was Frederick John Cole.

Edward John Cole was born the 18th of May 1858 in Richfield Michigan, he is one of four children born to Benjamin Cole and Janet Dibble, his siblings were Walter, Ben and Sarah.

Benjamin Cole was born in New York around 1823. I cannot find anything on Benjamin Cole or his wife Jane(t) Dibble. The 1880 US Federal Census shows them living in Richifield Michigan.

Hi Nancy. You have done some good research on your lines and have given me facts which help me to help you. The one thing I wasn't clear on was exactly what you were looking for.

You say that you know Benjamin and his wife were in the 1880 census. So when you add that you "cannot find anything on Benjamin Cole or his wife Jane(t) Dibble..." it isn't clear if you want to trace them backwards before 1880 or forwards after 1880. Are you looking for them in census records? Are you looking for death records? I really wasn't sure so I hope that what I found will help you in your research.

Benjamin Cole is in the following census records online:

1850 Census Genesee Michigan with wife Jane A. and children Mary J and Walter S. You can view this on

From this census you know that Benjamin was in Michigan by 1848 or earlier.

1860 Census Genesee Michigan with
Jane 35
Mary 12 (note that all children are said to be born Michigan)
Walter 10
Benjamin 5
Edgar 2
You can view the image on (where he is MISindexed as CALE) or Footnote.comicon (where he is indexed correctly as COLE)

1870 Census Genesee, Michigan
Benjamin 47
Jane A 45
Edgar 12 (This is no doubt your Edward John, but he is noted as Edgar in all these census recods)
Sarah 1

I also found Benjamin's death record on

Name: Benjamin Cole
Death date: 20 Feb 1895
Death place: Flint, Genesee, Michigan
Gender: Male
Age at death: 70 years
Estimated birth year: 1825
Birth place: New York
Marital status: Widowed
Occupation: Farmer
Collection: Michigan Deaths 1867-1897

I noticed while searching on that there was a woman in Genesee Michigan whose father was Asahel Dibble. I wondered if Asahal could be your Jane A. Dibble's father. I believe in following hunches to try to prove or disprove a theory. So I looked for Asahel in the 1840 census and found him in Cortland New York. Two doors away was the family of George Cole. The coincidence of these two surnames (Cole-Dibble) is enough that if it were my family, I would research both these men in hopes of finding out if they could have been the fathers of your Benjamin COle and Jane Dibble.

This is how I tackle a challenging research problem if I cannot find what I need by following accepted methods of searching backwards from an individual. You just have to remember that you are forming a theory based on flimsy circumstantial clues and you have to PROVE or DISPROVE that theory.

Happy researching!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for your help. I should have clarified what I'm looking for and that is who their parents were, if they had siblings and where they came from before they arrived in Michigan. I'm writing a book on my family and I'm trying to trace each family back to when they arrived in America and where they came from, and if possible why they left their homeland. Your research has been great and i will look into George Cole and Asahal Dibble in New York. Thanks again for your help - you are wonderful.