Monday, May 31, 2021

Which William?


It's been a long month of research on the Ijams family of Ohio. Though we began the month exploring the family as they settled in Fairfield County in the earliest years of Ohio statehood, my original research goal was to connect my mother-in-law's third great-grandmother, Sarah Howard Ijams Jackson, with her parents. Some reports had indicated that Sarah was daughter of William Ijams, a settler from Frederick County, Maryland.

One of the stumbling blocks was the sense that, in reading those old local history books, there might have been more than one William Ijams in Fairfield County. If you recall, we had read one passage stating that three Ijams brothers had come to the area from Frederick County, Maryland: Isaac, William, and Thomas. Other passages from century-old books seemed to indicate otherwise, leaving us with more than one William Ijams.

Now that we're closing out the month and moving on to another research goal, I decided to inspect one more resource to see whether following anyone else's trail could shed some light on this puzzle. Because I already had seen that William Ijams was listed as a Patriot in D.A.R. records—and that his father was listed, as well—I pulled up the records for John Ijams to see what documentation might be provided.

That led me to references for what turned out to be a series of books written by Harry Wright Newman on early families in Anne Arundel County. While that, too, had me puzzled—those old Ohio history books mentioned the Ijams brothers coming from Frederick County in Maryland—I looked at to see if any of the books might be available online. After all, the books' description did mention the Ijams family name.

Though I had disappointment in my quest to locate the first two entries in FamilySearch's books category—the volumes were not publicly accessible there—going to the catalog category online gave me the option, with one of the books, to view it online. Eureka!

There, in the book Anne Arundel Gentry, published in 1933, author Harry Wright Newman laid out the genealogy and family history of several early settlers of the Maryland county, including not only William Ijams' roots, but also those of his wife, Elizabeth Howard. Of course, I'll have to confirm the specifics of that book's report for myself, but I take it as a guide, a trailblazer. And I'm most grateful for the assistance, at this point.

Within those 668 pages of Anne Arundel Gentry, I also found the explanation for why the Ohio books reported the three Ijams brothers as arriving from Frederick County, not Anne Arundel: when their father died about 1782, his widow moved, with some of the family members, to Frederick County. It was likely with the sale of land inherited from their father that the three sons, William and his two brothers, funded their move to Ohio.

Back in Maryland, those three brothers were not without relatives, including some by that same name of William Ijams—not a surprise with a place called Ijamsville, founded by one of William's relatives. To keep each William properly identified will take a diligent examination of each one's ancestry. But that, along with the task of sending for appropriate documentation, will be a continuing pursuit kept in the background. We are, after all, moving into a new month, with a new research goal to pursue, starting tomorrow.

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