Monday, May 18, 2020

Did Sarah Giberson Marry Two Seaver Men? - Part I

Sometimes you have to work on one problem to fix another.  That was the case this past week when I was asked if my Ancestry Member Tree was wrong in an Ancestry Message.

1)  An Ancestry member contacted me about one of her tree people - a John Ellsworth Seaver (1861-1926).  She said that John Ellsworth Seaver's Pennsylvania death certificate says his parents were John Seaver and Phebe A. Faunce.  Here is the death certificate:

The informant is John Seaver's wife, Kate Seaver.

2)  According to my previous research and earlier Ancestry Member Tree, John Ellsworth Seaver (1861-1926) was the son of Samuel C. Seaver (1833-1895) and Sarah A. Giberson (1837-1902).  

My earlier research was based on the 1880 census record for the Samuel C. Seaver family residing in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania:

The Samuel Seaver family included:

*  Samuel Seaver - white, male, age 45, married, a shovel maker, born PA, parents born PA/PA
*  Sarah Seaver - white, female, age 43, wife, married, keeping house, born PA, parents born PA/PA
*  John E. Seaver - white, male, age 19, son, single, carpet weaver, born PA, parents born PA/NJ
*  George Seaver - white, male, age 14, son, single, works in cotton mill, born PA, parents born PA/PA
*  Phoebe Seaver - white, female, age 14, daughter, single, born PA, parents born PA/PA
*  Amanda Seaver - white, female, age 9, daughter, single, attends school, born PA, parents born PA/PA.

That was all I had found for the Samuel C. Seaver family.  I had not found earlier census records for Samuel. 

3)  Working backwards - in the 1870 U.S. census, Samuel Severs resides in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with his probable brother, Clayton Seaver:

The family members include:

*  Clayton Severs - age 39, male, white, work in shovel factory, born PA
*  Nancy Severs - age 34, female, white, keep house, born Ireland
*  James Severs - age 15, male, white, born PA
*  Mary Severs - age 10, female, white, born PA
*  Anne Severs - age 4, female, white, born PA
*  George Severs - age 4, male, white, born PA
*  Samuel Severs - age 35, male, white, works in shovel factory, born PA

Note that there is a T in the left hand margin with a line to both Anne and George - I think the enumerator indicated twins.

Also in the 1870 U.S. Census in Philadelphia, Sarah A. Seaver is head of a household in Philadelphia in the second enumeration:

The family members include:

*  Sarah A Seaver - age 33, female
*  Sarah M. Seaver - age 14, female
*  Elizabeth Seaver - age 12, female
*  John E. Seaver - age 9, male
*  Phoebe Seaver - age 5, female
*  5 Giberson family members

From the available information, it is evident to me that this is Sarah (Giberson) Seaver from the John Ellsworth Seaver death record.

Note that there is no other information in this census list, probably because it is the second enumeration, or perhaps the missed persons from the first enumeration.

In the 1860 U.S. Census, the John Seaver family resides in Philadelphia:

  The family members are:

*  John Seaver - age 28,  male, shovel maker, born PA
*  Sarah Seaver - age 23, female, born PA
*  Sarah M. Seaver - age 3, female, born PA
*  Elizabeth Seaver - age 1, female, born PA
*  Maria Lever - age 23, female, born PA

This is clearly a John and Sarah Seaver record.  Who is Maria Lever (Sever?).  A sister of John?

By this time, my brain asks the question:  Are John Seaver and Samuel Seaver the same person, a brother of Clayton Seaver?  Are they sons of Joseph Whitney and Phoebe Shaw (Elmes) Seaver of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania?

Are the records wrong?  Is my tree wrong?  Or are John and Samuel two different Seaver persons that Sarah Giberson married between 1870 and 1880?  

I need more information about John Seaver, Samuel Seaver and Sarah (Giberson) Seaver and all of the children listed in the records above.

I will continue this study in another blog post.  It may take several more posts to work through this problem.

*  In the 1870 census in Philadelphia, Samuel Seaver (age 35) resides with the Clayton Seaver family (Clayton is Samuel's brother, sons of Joseph and Phebe (Elmes) Seaver).  There is a George W. Seaver (age 5) in that household, but he probably is not a son of Clayton's, or perhaps not of Samuel's either.

*  Samuel C. Seaver died 24 December 1895 in Philadelphia after a railway accident.  There is no probate or church record for him.

*  In 1900, John Ellsworth Seaver has his own family, and Sarah A. Seaver age 62 is residing with her daughter, Amanda (Seaver) Horrocks and her family in Philadelphia.  She has 5 children born and living in 1900.  

*  But the census records above seem to indicate 6 children.  It could be an error.  Perhaps George is not Samuel's?

2)  The Pennsylvania death certificates for some of these children provide the parents names:

*  George W. Seaver (1865-1942) died in 1942 and his daughter gave his parents names as Samuel Seaver and Mary Fisher.

*  Phoebe A. (Seaver) Snowdon (1866-1927) died in 1927 and her son Francis said her parents names were John C. Seaver and Sarah M. Giberson.

*  Amanda (Seaver) Horrocks (1872-1918) died in 1918 and her husband George said her parents were Samuel Seavers and Sarah A. Giberson.

*  Sarah M. (Seaver) Fleming (1856-1928) died in 1928 and her daughter said Sarah's parents were John Seaver and Sarah Gilberson.

*  I don't have a marriage or death record for the daughter Elizabeth Seaver (1859-????).  She may have married or died before 1900.

3)  I note the following:

*  Was Sarah Giberson married to both a John Seaver and a Samuel Seaver?  

*  Or were John Seaver in 1860 (and the three death certs) and Samuel in 1870 to 1880 census the same person? 

*  Sarah Gi(l)berson is the mother in the death records of Sarah, Phoebe and Amanda.  

*  George W. Seaver is probably not a son of Samuel or Sarah - his death record says Samuel and Mary (Fisher) Seaver.  

  *  Is Samuel the father of George in 1865 the same Samuel married to Sarah Giberson?  

* I noted that Clayton and Samuel Seaver don't have a brother named John in the 1850 census records or any other record for the Joseph and Phebe (Elmes) Seaver family.


4)  Then there is John Ellsworth Seaver (1861-1926), born right in the middle of Sarah's other four children with John/Samuel.  

What are the possibilities?

*  John E. Seaver is a son of John/Samuel and Sarah (Giberson) Seaver and the death cert is in error on both parents names.

*  John/Samuel Seaver had a liaison with your Phoebe A. Faunce in 1860 and John E. was the result, and John/Samuel and Sarah raised him.

*  Some other John Seaver and Phoebe Faunce had John E. and Samuel and Sarah (Gilberson) Seaver raised him, but told him who his birth parents were?


5)  It is all mixed up, I think.  We have not enough information to sort out what really happened.  

The death records are secondary Information sources for birth dates and parents names.  The only death informant who "knew" the parents was George Horrocks and he said Samuel and Sarah (Giberson) Seaver were the parents.  The children of the others may have heard things wrong.  Or Samuel C. Seaver (1833-1895) may have been called John for some reason.

Phebe was also the name of the mother of Samuel C. Seaver - she died in 1899.  Her 1906 probate names only daughter Emma, son Joseph Henry and son James R.S. Seaver.  I have found no probate records for the other family members.  The informant for John E. may have got the name of his mother correct on the death certificate.  

6)  What evidence do you have that John Ellsworth Seaver is the son of Phebe Faunce?  Are there any birth or Bible or church records?  Do you have DNA matches with Seaver persons?  Is there a family story about Phebe having a Seaver child?  

This may be a puzzle that you and I never solve with any certainty.


Copyright (c) 2020, Randall J. Seaver

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