Tuesday, March 28, 2023

A Family History Roadblock


It was not unusual for American women to die young in previous centuries, so I suspect Sarah Howard Ijams, though mourned by her husband John Jackson, was merely among such an unfortunate number. Sarah had recently given birth to the fourth Jackson child, a son they named Robert, and perhaps complications from childbirth caused her demise. I may never know for sure, for there is little record of her 1829 passing in Perry County, Ohio, other than a brief mention as an unnamed sister of William, John and Joseph Ijams in a hundred forty year old history book.

I had puzzled over Sarah's origin in past years, even making her one of my Twelve Most Wanted two years ago. Still, no success in uncovering her roots, other than to toy with the brotherly connections referred to in old local history publications. She has become one of the roadblocks in my mother-in-law's family history. And yet, I do know a few details about her.

That Sarah and her brothers were sons of a woman whose maiden name was Howard was evident, for Sarah's middle name—Howard, an otherwise odd choice for a daughter—was shared with at least four of her Ijams brothers: John, William, Isaac, and Joseph.

I've actually found out more about Sarah's mother Elizabeth Howard from her later years than her younger years. I suspect the most sensible explanation of where Elizabeth came from, before settling on land which would eventually become part of the state of Ohio, would be that she lived originally in the same general area as the man who became her husband, William Ijams. To trace that history, we'd likely need to turn to records in Maryland predating the early 1800s.

My goal with this research project is to determine and document the origin of Sarah's parents, William Ijams and Elizabeth Howard. But I won't be stopping there. That is but the first step in this upcoming month when I pursue more information on Elizabeth Howard's own family.

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