Wednesday, May 1, 2024

More About Maryland


My May 2024 self is looking at my December 2023 self and saying, "You ain't seen nothin' yet!"

At the close of the previous year, when I was outlining my research projects for the new year, I had selected William Ijams as one of my Twelve Most Wanted to be tackled this year—this very month, in fact. Now that I re-read my post announcing that plan, and see how excited I was then about "more Maryland material" being added to online resources, I realize that was only the beginning. After that addition I referred to on December 30, regarding the Maryland Archives bonanza thanks to Reclaim the Records, we've since had another research gift in the form of FamilySearch Labs' Full Text search.

As it turns out, that might be exactly the boost I'll need to pick up on my ongoing struggle with William Ijams. As unusual as that surname might seem to be, back in Maryland, where William was born in 1748, there were plenty of aunts and uncles, cousins, and other kin bearing that same Ijams name. It will take some persistence to ensure that we're following the right William Ijams from Maryland this month.

Since I've worked on this Ijams line before—William's wife Elizabeth and daughter Sarah were included in my Twelve Most Wanted last year—I've already got a running start. Since William was my mother-in-law's fourth great-grandfather, a minimal amount of his DNA shows up in my husband's ThruLines results at, providing an extra research boost.

Researching William Ijams does present some problems, though. He and his wife—the same Elizabeth Howard whom we focused on last month—were born in Maryland but chose to move "west" to Ohio at the very end of the 1700s, before Ohio attained statehood. Records for that time period were scarce.

On the plus side, William apparently fought in the War of 1812, a detail which should generate some records for us. On the down side, William and his family belonged to a religious group which may not have kept records—at least, not the ones we usually like to consult for family history details.

William Ijams' half-sunken headstone in Fairfield County, Ohio, was one of the first tokens I had found on the way to learning more about his story. Like the condition of his headstone, the shape of the rest of his partially-hidden past may make the research path this month a bit rocky. The goal will be to confirm William's parentage and then see how far back in time we can push this family's story. Hopefully, between the Maryland Archives and FamilySearch Labs' Full Text search capabilities, we'll discover far more about William, his siblings, and his parents—and then some.

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