Matrilineal mergers: Part Two

Gravestone of Mary E. (Young) Peltz, courtesy of findagrave.

My prior post on my own matrilineal ancestry and merged names continues with my father’s matrilineal line. My paternal grandmother’s parents were both natives of Philadelphia, and she recorded many of her ancestors and their siblings in a family Bible I used early on in my genealogical research. She identified her matrilineal great-grandmother as Mary E. Young (died 1900), wife of John Lentz Peltz (1819-1876). The Bible identifies her father as Peter Young, but does not list a mother, although it does list Mary’s siblings as Peter, Sarah, Eliza, Philip, Margaret, and David. Mary and her husband John were born, married, and died in Philadelphia, and several generations of her husband’s family are treated in a 1948 Peltz genealogy; a 1950 supplement even included my father’s older sister.

A promising lead came when I found the family of a Peter Young in the 1850 census in Blockley township, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania. This entry was a bit more detailed than others, listing Peter, age 60, born in Philadelphia County. In the household were Sarah, age 59, born Delaware, Jane, age 21, Peter, age 21, and Philip, age 19, these last three also born in Philadelphia County. Peter and Philip were two of the siblings of Mary in the Bible. As I researched this further, I found Peter and Sarah as belonging to Trinity Lutheran Church, buried in their cemetery in Philadelphia in 1864 and 1870 respectively. While Mary E. Young and John Lentz Peltz were married in 1847 at St. John’s Lutheran Church, their daughter Eliza (my great-great-grandmother) was baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church in 1855.[1] Several of Peter and Sarah’s likely children were matching the names from my grandmother’s Bible.

I found several online trees, and Sarah’s current findagrave entry (which will likely soon change as a result of this post), listed her as “Sarah Ann Morgan,” with trees calling her the daughter of William and Martha (Williams) Morgan of Glasgow, New Castle County, Delaware. Martha (Williams) Morgan (ca. 1759-1816), was the daughter of Maurice and Esther (Gitton) Williams. Esther (who, if the prior items were correct, would be my father’s matrilineal ancestor), was born in Staten Island, New York, about 1725, daughter of Peter Gitton (ca. 1703-1774; mother unknown), who moved from New York to Delaware. Peter was the son of Louis and Jane Gitton, whose family had decent documentation and are summarized here. Louis and his siblings were French Huguenots who fled France in 1684 for England, then were stranded in Bermuda for eight months, and finally arrived in South Carolina in 1686.

While Louis would move to New York and ultimately Delaware, his sisters remained in South Carolina, and many of their descendants have joined the Huguenot Society of South Carolina. Through my paternal grandfather’s Rhode Island ancestors, I descended from Huguenots Abraham Tourtellotte and Gabriel Bernon (1644-1736), the latter of whom founded the original chapel of the Cathedral of Saint John in Providence (mentioned in Zachary Garceau’s recent post, along with the South Carolina settlement).

This got me excited to consider that both my father’s parents had Huguenot ancestry, as well as my grandmother having ancestors in Delaware, New York, and South Carolina. (I have found no other ancestors in Delaware or South Carolina.) However, I needed to look at these trees for the verification, and not just accept them at their word.

The first red flag was the 1833 will of William Morgan of New Castle County, Delaware…

The first red flag was the 1833 will of William Morgan of New Castle County, Delaware, alleged father of “Sarah Ann.” His will listed numerous people, including several children of Morris [Maurice] Williams, which would appear to be relatives through his wife Martha. William also mentioned a few enslaved people, so, if William were my ancestor, he would likely be my most recent ancestor to have had human property. However, the will indicated that William himself left no surviving children. He is buried in Pencader Cemetery, and an 1814 stone for a daughter Mary shows he was married to a Martha, and his will discusses the graves at this cemetery for Martha and John Morgan. While wills not mentioning living children are not unheard of, they are certainly a reason to look at a kinship with extra scrutiny. If “Sarah Ann (Morgan) Young” was William’s daughter, why was she not mentioned in his very detailed will?

Further issues were found: the findagrave “family links” for Sarah gave three of her children the middle name of Morgan, which upon further research, appeared to be without basis. The daughters – Anna and Eliza – had other middle names (see below), and the son David Young was never given a middle initial in any contemporary records I could find. I found a marriage at St. John’s Lutheran Church in 1810 between Peter Young and Ann Morgan, and this appears to be the origin of the “name merge,” very much like the example in my previous post.

Click on image to expand it.

I then went specifically through entries for Peter Young in these early nineteenth century church records, and found eight children of Peter and Ann Young, born between 1813 and 1828, all baptized at St. John’s Church Lutheran Church on 8 April 1828 (see image at right).

The funeral record of my ancestor Mary E. (Young) Peltz gives her birth as 31 January 1823, which matches the month and date of this Mary, just a year later. This is a near perfect match of the siblings from my grandmother’s Family Bible. The only “extra” child included is Jane, who had appeared with Peter and Sarah in the 1850 census. Three siblings not in the above baptism that were in the Bible were Peter and Philip (mentioned above), who would have been born after 1828, and Eliza. I found a daughter of Peter and Ann named Elizabeth, being baptized on 6 October 1811 (born 29 March 1811). The gravestone of Eliza (Young) Myers has the birthdate of 3 March 1809 (matching the month and within two years), and the gravestone Anna (Young) Myers has the birthdate of 14 September 1813, matching the above baptism for the daughter Ann.

I found a death for “Mrs. Ann Young” of Philadelphia County, who died 26 September 1847, aged 56 years, at the Pennsylvania Hospital for the Insane, and was buried at “Lutheran Ch. Passyunk” [i.e. Trinity Lutheran Church], and confirmed this was indeed the wife of Peter from her death notice in the [Philadelphia] Public Ledger two days after later:

Within three years, Peter married secondly Sarah, who was born in Glasgow, Delaware about 1791 (according to her death certificate). Peter’s two wives were “merged” into one person and attached to a Morgan family from Glasgow, Delaware, when Morgan was likely only the surname of Peter’s first wife, for whom no Delaware connection has been found. All of Peter’s children were by his first wife Ann.

This is another example of being skeptical of middle names this early on: there is a tendency to “merge” two wives into one to satisfy contradictory evidence. I do not have any current clues as to the parents of Ann (Morgan) Young, and I do not descend from the families in Delaware, New York, and South Carolina I briefly looked at. Oh, well …

Note

[1] Trinity Lutheran Church was founded in 1842.

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About Christopher C. Child

Chris Child has worked for various departments at NEHGS since 1997 and became a full-time employee in July 2003. He has been a member of NEHGS since the age of eleven. He has written several articles in American Ancestors, The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, and The Mayflower Descendant. He is the co-editor of The Ancestry of Catherine Middleton (NEHGS, 2011), co-author of The Descendants of Judge John Lowell of Newburyport, Massachusetts (Newbury Street Press, 2011) and Ancestors and Descendants of George Rufus and Alice Nelson Pratt (Newbury Street Press, 2013), and author of The Nelson Family of Rowley, Massachusetts (Newbury Street Press, 2014). Chris holds a B.A. in history from Drew University in Madison, New Jersey.

5 thoughts on “Matrilineal mergers: Part Two

  1. Hi Christopher,
    A most enjoyable read; I am elated to note your reference to Huguenots in your tree. As I mentioned in Zachary Garceau’s excellent article on the Huguenots, I think Huguenot assimilation in America and anglicization of the surnames makes many of us assume they are of English origin.
    Would NEHGS please consider adding a Huguenot search engine to American ancestors?

  2. An excellent article. FindAGrave is unfortunately becoming somewhat unreliable, I find. Even I, an amateur genealogist, can spot errors, conflation, missing children, etc. It’s only a starting point. Good work.

  3. Christopher I have seen middle names do rive from a single name though. Rosemarie sometimes becomes Rose Mary and Marianne becomes Mary Ann. Just something I have seen. And by the way the will of my ancestor Thomas Meggison in 1879 lists only a few children…Including a grand daughter, but not adding people to the well if not by legal bounds, could be of several reasons. The sons or daughters were financially well off and did not need any Including a grand daughter, but not adding people to the well if not by legal bounds, could be of several reasons. The sons or daughters were financially well off and did not need any money or property. Or there could’ve been some estrangement. Or, the family just didn’t know where they settled and if they were alive or dead!

    1. Indeed! In my research on Abraham Lincoln’s mother, I wrote about the two theories regarding who her parents could be: 1) That she was the illegitimate daughter of an unmarried Lucy Hanks, daughter of Joseph; 2) That she was the legitimate daughter of a married Lucy Hanks. Both theories had their problems. Joseph Hanks did not name a daughter Lucy in his will. However, mtDNA helped show that Nancy was the illegitimate daughter of Lucy Hanks, daughter of Joseph. So Joseph Hanks had a will and omitted one living child for unknown reasons (Lucy was the only his daughters married at that point, so maybe that might the reason, Joseph did name his married sons). see geneticlincoln.com

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