Tag: Mystery

Finding the Parents of Christopher Columbus Coy

CCCChristopher Columbus Coy – Courtesy of the Richards Family Archives

*Remember: To enlarge any image or attachment in these posts, click on the image. From there, you should be able to zoom in.

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!

CCC death recordCCC Death Record – familysearch.org (1)

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!

Marriage Record PC and MEYPeter Coy and Mary Elizabeth Yingling Marriage Record – familysearch.org (2)

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 page 1 CCC and Amos

1850 page 2 CCC and Amos1850 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.)

1860 page 1 CCC and Amos

1860 page 2 CCC and Amos1860 US Census – two pages (4)

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.

1870 Census CCC1870 US Census – CCC (5)

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.

1870 Amos and Peter1870 US Census – Amos (5)

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!

1) “Ohio, Deaths, 1908-1953,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/X6SB-NB3 : accessed 01 Aug 2014), Christopher Coy, 14 Jul 1932; citing Beavercreek, Greene, Ohio, reference fn 42121; FHL microfilm 1992664.
2) “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-1997,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/X8QB-WRH : accessed 01 Aug 2014), Peter Coy and Mary Elizabeth Yingling, 24 Mar 1841; citing Greene, Ohio, United States, reference P 29; FHL microfilm 534106.
3) “United States Census, 1850,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MXQS-172 : accessed 01 Aug 2014), Christopher Coy in household of Esther Brown, Beaver Creek, Greene, Ohio, United States; citing family 206, NARA microfilm publication M432.
4) “United States Census, 1860,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/MCLH-R8J : accessed 01 Aug 2014), Christopher Coy in household of Peter Coy, Beaver Creek Township, Greene, Ohio, United States; citing “1860 U.S. Federal Census – Population,” Fold3.com; p. 126, household ID 877, NARA microfilm publication M653; FHL microfilm 803968.
5) “United States Census, 1870,” Year: 1870; Census Place: Beaver Creek, Greene, Ohio; Roll: M593_1205; Page: 57B; Image: 119; Family History Library Film: 552704.

The Mystery of Sarah Jane

 Sarah Jane Richardscourtesy of The Richards Family Archives

One of my current genealogical goals is to trace the direct lineage of the Richards surname. I’ve been able to verify that Hank (Frank) was William Oliver’s son, and William Oliver is Francis Samuel’s son. While looking into Francis Samuel’s parents, I stumbled across a vital record, specifically a death certificate, for Francis’ wife, Sarah Jane Richards (pictured above). And as always, I paused my research to log the information on the certificate.

A little background information…

Sarah Jane was born on June 14, 1858 (Wales) and died March 30, 1940, as written on the back of the photo above.

Sarah Jane Richards - BACK

Growing up I always knew that Sarah Jane’s maiden name was Edmunds. I even went to the grave of her parents when I visited Wales in 2001. Below is a picture of the grave with the inscription, “William Edmunds / who died at the Cottage Rhiwderin / May 4th 1897 / aged 69 years” Below that inscription read another, “Also of Emma / wife of the above / who died Oct 15th 19_5 / aged 86 years.”

SCAN0471courtesy of The Richards Family Archives

Below is an image of Sarah Jane’s death certificate.

[As with all images on this site, click the image to enlarge.]

Sarah Jane RichardsFrom familysearch.org (1)

The birth and death dates on the certificate match (exactly!) what was on the back of my photograph – good sign, right? And the residence was 106 Maple St, Massillon, Ohio, which is where she resided in 1930, according to the US Census. Another positive sign. The icing on the cake was her husband being listed as Francis S. Richards and that she was widowed (Francis died around the turn of the century). All the stars were aligned, until I got to her parents. Listed as her mother and father are Jacob Yackee and Jennie Wheeler. Furthermore, Jacob is listed as being from Germany, not Wales.

Trying to find a reason

Being slightly frustrated, I decided to do a couple searches to see if I can get a Sarah Jane and William / Emma combination on any vital records. No luck (yet).

Then I reviewed the US Census records I have on Sarah Jane’s Ancestry page. In both 1910 and 1920 she had a Caleb (Kaleb) Edmunds living with her, and listed as her brother. In 1930, she’s listed as the sister to a Caleb Evans (but Evans does kind of sound like Edmunds – another mystery for another day).

4383845_007781920 US Census (2)

Instead of looking into William Edmunds and his wife Emma, both common names in the UK, I decided to take a look at Jacob Yackee and Jennie Wheeler. After a search, I was able to turn up another death certificate in Massillon, Ohio.

record-imageFrom familysearch.org (3)

Now take a closer look. This file number for this death certificate is 20773, and Sarah Jane’s is 20772. So it may be fair to say that Sarah Jane’s death certificate was a typo. But how do I know that Besse Barbara Kanney is related to Jacob and Jennie?

Luckily, one of my first search results of the pair yielded the marriage certificate between one Besse Yackee and Dan Kanney.

record-image copyFrom familysearch.org (4)

Mystery solved! A typo on the death certificate is simply that, and Sarah Jane is still a possible member of the Edmunds family. But now, to prove that…


1) “Ohio, Deaths, 1908-1953,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/X87Y-MT4 : accessed 25 May 2014), Sarah J Richards, 30 Mar 1940; citing Massillon, Stark, Ohio, reference fn 20772; FHL microfilm 2023832.
2) Year: 1920; Census Place: Massillon Ward 1, Stark, Ohio; Roll: T625_1436; Page: 16B; Enumeration District: 110; Image: 778
3) “Ohio, Deaths, 1908-1953,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/X87Y-93K : accessed 26 May 2014), Jacob Yackee in entry for Besse Barbara Kanney, 31 Mar 1940; citing Massillon, Stark, Ohio, reference fn 20773; FHL microfilm 2023832.
4) “Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-1994,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/X846-MX6 : accessed 26 May 2014), Jacob Yackee in entry for Dan Kanney and Besse B. Yackee, 20 Jul 1913; citing Henry, Ohio, United States, reference v 12 p 8 cn 3016; FHL microfilm 423624.