When my ggf enlisted at Cincinnati for one year in the Union Navy in January 1864 he said he had been born in Buffalo, NY in 1840. On that record he also said he was an Ohio citizen and his occupation was seaman. He married in Cleveland 1863 but there is no official record in the Cayahoga County vital records office. I have other information from Federal censuses in 1870 and 1880, his widow's Civil War survivor's pension application in 1886, his West Virginia Death record, and a visit to his grave. (If you would like the details I found in the Navy receiving reports about this John Edward Graham let me know.) I have found no will in WV where he died in 1884; there is no family bible.
What other sort of records might there be to find him and hopefully his parents between 1840 and 1863?
New York did not start keeping birth records until about 1870. The only information about his parents is from the Federal censuses: his father was from New York and his mother was from Ohio. They are the ones I would really like to find since I already have a fairly good picture of him for the last 21 years of his life.
The following is a mishmash of family lore that I have been unable to confirm.
- My ggf might have been a seaman either on the canals or the Great Lakes.
- His maternal grandfather might have been Ashley Gibbs. Ashley Gibbs is in the 1820, 1830, and 1850 censuses in south eastern Ohio. Several Gibbs women from SE Ohio counties married but not to anyone named Graham.
- His mother remarried someone named White.
- One of our unnamed ancestors died in an accident at an Ohio River boatyard. These last 2 scraps of lore suggest the question: was his father the Graham who died in the accident? There is a 10-year-old John Graham living with Horace White in Athens, Ohio in the 1850 census. My ggf was John Edward Graham, he was 10 in 1850, and he named his first son Horace. However, the Athens County Ohio historical society has no way to identify the John Graham in the census and how he came to be living on the White farm, so even if he was my ancestor that doesn't help find the previous generation.