Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Jane Stevenson's Mother-in-Law

In the last post, I suggested that Elizabeth Pratt was Jane's mother-in-law.Jane and her children lived with Elizabeth in 1850, shortly after the death of Jane's husband, Stephen. After a careful study of the sources, I've concluded that this is the case. I've made the changes in the Family Tree profile records to reflect my conclusion.

I found Jane, with her two sons - Edgar and Stephen - and her daughter - Elizabeth, in the household of Lot Pratt in Newark, New Jersey, in the 1850 census. 
From 1850 Census, Newark, New Jersey
Lot, age 83, was married to 70-year old Elizabeth Pratt. Wondering who Lot and Elizabeth were, I searched and found them, an unconnected couple on the Family Tree. There were no parents or children, but there was a marriage, of a "Latt" Pratt and an Elizabeth "Roos," Middlesex, New Jersey, 11 Nov 1819.

The source for this marriage was the IGI, but not, as I expected, from an extracted record . Instead, it was "Community Contributed IGI (Personal family information submitted to the LDS Church)." I can't determine who contributed this record, nor could I determine what source was used. That led me to find my own source for this marriage: Middlesex County (New Jersey) register of marriages, 1827-ca. 1892. Microfilm of original records in the Middlesex County Courthouse, county clerk office, New Jersey, filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1970 (FHL 851752 Items 1 - 2). The second entry on the page reads: "I do certify that I have this day dutifully / married Lott Pratt and Elisabeth Ross - / Witness my hand this 11th day of November 1819 / Ichabod Potter, Justice of the / Peace for Middlesex County / Received November 7, 1822 & recorded by Dean Oto."

Lott Pratt and Elizabeth Ross marriage record

It seems clear to me that the Elizabeth Pratt whom Jane lived with in 1850, is the Elisabeth Roos who married Lott Pratt in 1819. She was the mother of Steven Weeks Ross born in 1812. Elizabeth Ross was Elizabeth Hedden, born in 1780, married Aaron Ross in 1801. She would have been aged 70 in 1850. Her granddaughter was named "Elizabeth" after her.

What first kept me from merging the records for Elizabeth Roos and Elizabeth Hedden is her marriage to Lott Pratt. My caution stemmed from the fact that the marriage occurred in 1819 and that her first husband, Aaron, is listed in the Family Tree as having died in 1822. Aaron's death, however, has no source to support it. Likewise, Ancestry.com has thousands of records for an Aaron Ross with undocumented death dates of 1846, 1822, and 1815.

I believe that Elizabeth Hedden Ross become a widow sometime after the birth of her youngest child.  The death of her husband took place sometime between 1814, when Elizabeth's last child, Sarah Ann, was born, and 1819. The year 1815 seems plausible.

I believe that all of this adds up to a strong case for merging the Family Tree record for Elizabeth Roos and Elizabeth Hedden. The sources in support of the merge I made are attached to Elizabeth's Tree record (L4QP-1NX). I welcome alternate views. I would love to find a source for Aaron Ross's death, whether it supports my belief, or brings it all crashing down, I don't care; I welcome it.

A closer examination of the 1850 census shows some of the rest of Elizabeth's (and Aaron's) family. Two houses near Lott and Elizabeth Pratt's home are occupied by Elizabeth's widowed daughter and her son; another widowed daughter-in-law, her son and daughter-in-law, and their two children.

The 1860 census has Elizabeth Pratt, then an 80-years old widow, living in the household of her youngest daughter, her husband, and their three children. Elizabeth's widowed daughter is still with them.

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