Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Oh, Bother: It's Brothers


So much for those best laid plans to speed up the research process using cheat sheets. My idea yesterday, rather than plowing through browse-only digitized files of probate records for 1816 in search of the names of William Ijams' daughters, was to take a shortcut by researching the Ijams women married during that time period in Fairfield County, Ohio.

There was only one thing I didn't take into account: brothers.

Yes, William Ijams didn't make the journey from his native Maryland to the "frontier" of the new state of Ohio alone. He traveled with at least two brothers—and likely with their sizeable families, too.

There is one down side to families which do things together: they often name their children after the same ancestors. Thus, if I am seeking the names of William Ijams' daughters, I need to be doubly careful that I am not tracing the daughter of one of his brothers.

That is precisely what I ended up doing today. Seeing the 1812 marriage entry for one "Rabecca" Ijams, I thought if I looked for any further documentation on the family which eventually would issue from her marriage to James Beck, I could determine whether this was one of the unnamed daughters of William Ijams.

It was a plan that might have worked, except for a few unexpected twists. One was that this Rebecca apparently died young—far too young to show up in a census report for 1850, which had been my initial hope. The second twist was that I forgot all about the Ijams brothers in Ohio. Oh, bother.

As far as I can tell—and there isn't much documentation to substantiate this—the "Rabecca" Ijams who married James Beck in 1812 could actually have been a child of William Ijams' brother, Thomas Plummer Ijams of nearby Muskingum County. Thomas died in 1847, just a few years shy of that name-all census enumeration in 1850. Fortunately, he did leave a will which, though not naming his wife, specifically included the name of each of his daughters.

There was one other detail in Thomas' will: he mentioned that his daughter Rebecca had predeceased him. Unfortunately, if this were the same Rebecca as the one we've spotted as wife of James Beck, her father neglected to call her by her married name. But I'll be happy with the gift of at least her given name!

That leaves one other possible daughter of William Ijams to examine: Mary, the 1804 bride of Walter Teal. Tomorrow, we'll see what we can find on Mary's husband and possible family.

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