Friday, April 30, 2021

Starting With What we Know


A cardinal rule of genealogy—at least, one oft repeated—is "start with what you know." In our chase to confirm the parents of my mother-in-law's third great-grandmother, at least we already know her name—Sarah Howard Ijams—and the approximate dates of the start and end of her brief life. What we need to do this month is branch out from that pinpoint in my mother-in-law's family tree to see where the Ijams and Howard lines lead us.

We've already explored the details of Sarah's husband's life—that John Jay Jackson was a soldier in the War of 1812, and that he migrated eastward from Saint Louis to settle in Ohio, at about the time of his marriage to Sarah. Though he merited not much more than one paragraph out of the nearly six hundred pages of the History of Fairfield and Perry Counties, Ohio, I'm grateful for the mention of such details—else I'd know little, if anything at all, about Sarah's husband.

It was in that same stingy word allotment concerning John Jackson that we can glean the slightest inferences about Sarah, herself:

His first wife was an Ijams, a sister of William, John and Joseph Ijams, well remembered by the older citizens of Perry county.

Speaking of those "well remembered" Ijams brothers, the only other passage the book offers mentioned that "several families of the Turners, Plummers, Ijams, and Koutz[es] came from Maryland about 1802." Now, that gives me a starting place to help trace my way back east on behalf of Sarah Howard Ijams' roots in colonial Maryland.

There's a reason we want to follow such a trail. Besides the hope that the more established cities closer to the Atlantic seaboard would have the type of organized governmental systems to yield us pertinent records to trace Sarah's family tree, Sarah's parents both came with their own heritage to share—if the hints I'm finding are indeed regarding her own ancestors. We'll take a closer look next week.

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