The Meagher Family: The Case of the Surname Spelling Disaster
Patrick appears in just two records:
» the 1820 US census (which names only heads of household) in Baltimore as Patrick Mahar
In the 1840 census, “Mrs. Maha” and son John Maha are listed a few lines away from another son, Joseph Makey. In an accounting of Mary Meagher’s estate, her son John Meagher, the estate administrator, names heirs John, Thomas, Joseph and Margaret, wife of Elias Hall. The record of Margaret’s 1819 marriage to Elias Hall in Baltimore County gives her surname as Maher or Maker. John’s 1833 marriage record to Julia Ann Bader uses the name John Maghar.
James Williams: The Case of the All-Too-Common Name
The city directory provides more details about the individual in question: First, a name. We already knew the first name James and the last name Williams, but we now have a middle initial, A. We also have an occupation, though granted, not a particularly informative one—what kind of laborer was he? Finally, we have a street address.
In 1888, Jas Williams of 1015 Raborg is a “shucker” (see below). Shucking oysters was a common occupation for African-American men in Baltimore at the time. This new occupation follows James A. Williams earlier through other addresses:
» 1886: 9 Chesnut
» 1883: 38 Chesnut
Mary or Elisabeth Williams: The Case of Two Mothers’ Names
Background: George W. Williams died Oct. 12, 1875, in Taylor County, W.Va. His death record, a locally kept register shown on the opposite page, identifies his place of birth as “Prince George” County, Md. (the county name is actually Prince George’s). His parents are listed as Joseph and
George Barris: The Case of the Conflicting Birthplaces
The 1900 census reports that George Barris, age 45 years, was born in Maryland. This time, his father is reported to be born in England, while his mother was born in Germany. George’s wife Ida, age 42, was born in Pennsylvania, and each of his five children then living with them was born in Illinois.
Process: The places of birth of both George and his parents as reported in the 1880 and 1900 censuses disagree. Looking at other records, though, provides more information (the birthplace details are summarized in the chart below):
» In 1870, “George W. Barows,” age 14 years, lived as a farmhand in the household of Nicholas and Barbara Martin in Hagerstown, Washington County, Md. He was reportedly born in Maryland. “Barows” is phonetically similar to “Barris” from later census records. Could this be George Barris?
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From the October/November 2015 issue of Family Tree Magazine