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Confusion over marriages and possibly illegitimate children

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Confusion over marriages and possibly illegitimate children

Posted: 26 Nov 2012 9:02PM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 26 Nov 2012 9:15PM GMT
Surnames: Smith, Sherman, Pierce
I hope to refocus on finding my great-grandmother's father, but her mother's records and his name give me a lot of difficulty. If anyone has some advice or has faced a similar issue, I would be really interested to know about it. I'm afraid this will be a long post but I want to give all the details I know.

Maude Sherman was born 6 January 1878 in Clyde, Sandusky, Ohio. Her mother was Mary Elizabeth "Lizzie" Smith. I am familiar with her maternal grandparents. I have searched the birth indexes published by Sandusky County genealogists but have not found any children born on this date.

Maude's death certificate stated that her father's name was Charles Sherman. Her Social Security Application also lists him as Charles Sherman. However, the earliest mention I have of him is Maude's marriage record, where he is "Frank Sherman". She used the surname Sherman at her marriage and it is used in her husband's obituary.

The earliest record I have of Maude is the 1880 census for York, Sandusky, Ohio. She is living with her mother's parents and has the implied surname Smith (it is written for her grandfather and not the others in the house).

Elizabeth was living at her workplace in the same town. She is listed with the surname Smith and is marked as single. She married Edward Pierce on 20 October 1883 and was listed as "Miss Lizzie Smith". I knew they had a son named Clyde, and his marriage record listed his father as Edward.

At this point it seemed to me that Lizzie had had a child with Charles (Frank) Sherman while she was unmarried, then married Edward Pierce, the father of her son Clyde.

Edward's obituary stated that "he was married...to Mrs. Elizabeth Sherman". It did not mention his son Clyde or Maude. I did more research on Clyde and noticed that he was born 2 January 1882, a year and ten months before Elizabeth married Edward.

I think the large gap between his birth and his parents' marriage is a little unusual for that era and am puzzled by his absence from Edward's obituary, but I don't think it necessarily means that Clyde was not Edward's son.

In Elizabeth's father's civil war pension file, there is a listing of his children dated in July 1883, three months before the married Edward. Elizabeth is listed as "Mary E. Sherman". She signed her name "Lizzie Sherman".

I think that the evidence is in favor of her not having been married to Sherman, but honestly I am a little exasperated by the timeline of her life. I would appreciate any suggestions. I have requested searches for two churches in Clyde which did not turn up any of these names. I am making listings for more potential churches in the Clyde and York areas.

The 1900, 1910, and 1930 censuses list Ohio as Maude's father's birthplace. 1920 lists Indiana, which was Edward Pierce's birthplace.

Finally, Elizabeth first moved to Sandusky with her parents from Marion or Morrow County, Ohio, between 1876 and 1877. The exact date is hard to pin down, but these two years were mentioned by over eight witnesses in the pension file. If it were 1877, it is conceivable that Maude's father could have lived in Marion or Morrow rather than Sandusky County.

Thank you for reading!
SubjectAuthorDate Posted
Elizabeth Rac... 27 Nov 2012 4:02AM GMT 
oastwd 20 Dec 2012 2:37AM GMT 
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