Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Orphans of two kinds

The topic of the 85th Carnival of Genealogy is "Orphans and Orphans." The first type of orphan refers to those ancestors or relatives who lost their parents when they were young. The second type of orphan would be those siblings or cousins of our ancestors who could be called “reverse orphans.” They are the relatives who, for whatever reason – death at a young age, never having married or had children, or having children who did not survive to provide descendants – have no direct descendants of their own, so it falls to us, their collateral relatives, to learn and write their story.

Part 1 - they lost their parents

I know of at least one orphan (of sorts) in my family tree. He is, of course, Devier James Lamphear alias Smith - who I have discussed in these posts:

* Stymied on Devier J. Lamphear Smith problems

* Resolving an Evidence Conflict - Post 2: The Evidence

In short, Ranslow and Mary (Bell) Smith of Henderson, Jefferson County, New York adopted Devier J. Lamphear (may be Lamphier, Lamphere, Lanphear, Lanfear, Lanphier, Lanphere, etc.) beforem oving to Dodge County, wisconsin in about 1843. Devier J. Lamphier legally changed his name to Devier J. Smith on 21 March 1866, and went by that name for all of his life. I have been unable to track down his birth parents to date, although I have some decent candidates in the children of William Lanfear and Isaac Lanfear, both of Lorraine, Jefferson County, New York. One of their sons may be Devier's father, or one of their daughters may have had Devier out of wedlock.

The unfortunate part of finding out about Devier being adopted by the Smiths is that it took away a fascinating Hudson River Dutch ancestry of Mary Bell through her mother, Cornelia Bresee. I worked several years on that, and now it sits dormant in my database without a connection to my family tree.

Type 2 - the ones that died young

My aunt Marion, Aunt Geraldine and Uncle Ed never failed to remind me that there were children in our ancestral families that died young, including:

* Clarence Hildreth (born 24 May 1874, died 21 February 1878), son of Edward and Sophia (Newton) Hildreth of Leominster, MA. Clarence was the only sibling of Harriet Louise (Hildreth) Seaver, my great-grandmother. The Massachusetts Vital Records entry (Volume 303, Page 345) for his death says the cause was "Ac. poisoning." I wonder if that means "acute poisoning," "accidental poisoning" or some other type of poisoning? There is a listing down the page for "Ac. drowning" so it probably means "Accidental poisoning." I don't have a picture of Clarence Seaver.

* Howard Edward Seaver (born 8 August 1893, died 10 April 1900), son of Frank Walton and Hattie (Hildreth) Seaver, my great-grandparents. Clarence was a sibling of Frederick Walton and Harry Clifton Seaver. The Massachusetts Vital Records entry (Volume 506, Page 389) lists the cause of death as "meningitis from disease of middle ear." I don't have a picture of Howard Seaver.

* Stanley Richmond Seaver (born 20 October 1905, died 24 April 1910), son of Frederick Walton and Alma Bessie (Richmond) Seaver of Leominster and Fitchburg MA, my grandparents. Stanley was a brother of my father, Frederick Walton Seaver (1911-1983), who named his second son after him. The Massachusetts Vital Records (Volume 43, Page 70) for 1910 says that Stanley Richmond Seaver died of "scarlet fever" on 24 April 1910, age 5. I have a picture of him here.

Finally, there is Devier David Carringer (born 19 August 1889, died 10 May 1890), son of Henry Austin and Della (Smith) Carringer, my great-grandparents. Devier was the only sibling of my grandfather, Lyle Lawrence Carringer. I posted a picture and the death card of Devier here.

1 comment:

Greta Koehl said...

It's hard to imagine what life was like when the death of children was so common; makes you really glad to be alive in the 21st century.