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Friday, November 2, 2012

Mysteries coming to light

When I first declared to my family I was going to begin my journey into genealogy and family history my mother-in-law came to me with a mystery.  What happened to her great grandparents Daniel B. Chamberlin and Juliet Hubbell?  I told her that I would do my best and in turn she told me all she knew about them. 

First off, she had their marriage certificate from Lockport, New York.  You can read a transcription here.  She knew that her grandfather, William Holmes Chamberlin, and his brother Frank were orphaned when William was about 10 years old.  William was adopted by a Marvin and Anna Mills in Clarendon, New York shortly after his parents died and he took their name.  His brother Frank Herbert kept the Chamberlin name eventually making his way to San Antonio, Texas where he lived and died.  I was given copies of the marriage license, Marvin’s will, the deed to his adopted parents farm after Anna died, and several pictures.  Well, that was a start.

For the last year I have looked, searched, chewed my nails, followed leads, and kept on looking.  One of the first records I found was the 1875 New York Census from Clarendon, Orleans County, New York listing William as the adopted son of Marvin and Anna Mills.  That gave me a major clue his parents were dead before 1875.

I found the entire family on the 1870 US Census for Rochester, New York with a surprise.  There was an older daughter, Ella.  My mother-in-law was so excited.  No one had ever told her about Ella, she wasn’t sure anyone knew.  Now I had a new quest:  what happened to Ella? 

Last spring my mother-in-law got in touch with a cousin from that side of the family.  Lo and behold she had Juliette’s family bible.  She was more than happy to photocopy the family register pages and send them to me.  Wow.  So much information that we didn’t know.  William had his mother’s bible which he passed on to one of his daughters, who gave it to her daughter.  I now had information on Juliet’s parents, her marriage, her siblings, and then each generation who have continued to fill out birth, death, and marriage dates. 

In the mean time I had also learned that Daniel was an author of an English book.  He is listed in the 1872 Rochester Directory as an author.  His book Natural System of English Grammar was in the 1871 American Catalogue advertising his course.  Interestingly, my mother-in-law was an English teacher as well as a speech, drama, and debate coach.

Then yesterday, the find of the year:  Juliette’s probate and burial record.  Thanks to the Monroe County, New York US Gen site I found the records that I was looking for.  Her death was in the records of the Central Presbyterian Church of Rochester listed as 25 March 1873.  Next, her probate was located in The Wills of Monroe County, New York 1863 to 1874 Inclusive vol. 2-A.  There was a also a clue about what happened to Ella.  She was now Mrs. William Percival.

Now… what happened to Daniel? 

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