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One of the original families of Greene County in Ohio are the Coy’s. Now wouldn’t it be great to be able to trace our Coy relatives to those early settlers of Beaver Creek, Ohio? I’ve been able to trace back to Christopher Columbus Coy (CCC) with ease (and reliability). So let’s start try and find his parents.
Problem #1: Who are they? And where did they go?
A quick search online shows that the parents listed on CCC’s death certificate are Peter Coy and Elizabeth Yingling. Awesome!
Next up, marriage record for Peter Coy and Elizabeth Yingling. Another quick search online, and here it is, and with a nice mid-19th century handwriting. We are rolling along nicely!
Great, now I have proof from two vital records of CCC’s parents. Now let’s look up some census records. Occasionally, especially on US census records, parents end up living with their children and their relationship is noted on the record. If only we could be so lucky!
In the 1850 US census, which is the first census after they were married in 1841, I came across a stumbling block. CCC was living with his brother Amos (who also has Peter Coy and Elizabeth Yingling listed as his parents on his death certificate) in Beaver Creek, Ohio. Unfortunately, neither Peter nor Elizabeth were in their household. No, instead they were living with the Brown family. (I know it looks odd, but I promise they are in the same household – just on two different pages of the census.)
1850 US Census – two pages (3)
What does this mean? Who are the Browns? Did the parents die before 1850? Or maybe the page was misplaced in the files? I mean, it is suspiciously at the top of the second page…
So I continued on. I checked out the 1860 US census and my stumbling block turned into a giant brick wall.
In 1860, CCC and Amos were living with Peter, an Ester (or Hester) and Rebecca Coy (CCC and Amos’ siblings?) and a David Hammell (laborer). Who are these extra people? Where is Elizabeth? And where did Ester come from, especially since she’s older the CCC? Why wasn’t she with them on the 1850 census? (Once again, it spread over two pages, but I promise they go together.)
Okay, so now I’m utterly lost. Let’s continue forward and see what 1870 has to offer. By now CCC has married Adaline Council and they have two children, Minerva and Harrison (awesome names, right?). In addition, there is another woman, A. Tobiatha, who is Adaline’s mother. No Peter, no Ester, no Rebecca.
I decided to also check in on Amos. In 1870, Amos is living with his wife, Elizabeth, their son, Franklin and his father, Peter. That takes care of Peter, but what about Elizabeth Yingling? And still no Rebecca or Ester.
Where are these women? I checked various search records, changed my approach, names, places, etc. And still no vital records.
Problem #2: Two Peters
One of the easy (and least reliable!) ways of figuring out your family tree is using established trees on Ancestry.com. If a member makes their tree public, you can look through it and even copy entries into your tree as it fits.
When I first came across Peter Coy, who was married to Mary Elizabeth Yingling, in other trees, I found that different people had different parents for the same Peter. When I would click on the individual pages, very little was filled in about him. And all the information contradicted one another. Not good.
Remember when Peter Coy wasn’t listed on the 1850 US census with his children? Well, where was he? I decided to go page by page of the Beaver Creek 1850 US census. Luckily, it was not a large township. Unluckily, Coy is a very common name.
After flipping through the pages, I found two Peter Coys. And what’s even worse is that they are born just years apart. When you do genealogical searches, the search engine tends to take dates with a grain of salt. That is, if you enter in a birth year of 1818, it will search for births between 1810 and 1830. Also, back in the mid-1800’s, people weren’t exactly consistent about dates and ages. It is not terribly uncommon for people to “lose” or “gain” years of their life. So two Peters so close together is most likely the source of the confusion on Ancestry.com.
Great. I found why we are so confused, but nothing really to help answer any of my questions. Why didn’t Peter live with his children in 1850? What happened to Mary Elizabeth? And Ester? And Rebecca? And in order to connect this Peter Coy to the settlers of Greene County, I’m going to need to find out his parents. But with two Peters running around Beaver Creek at this time, that is proving to be pretty hard.
To be continued… most likely after I buy a sledge hammer and take down that brick wall!