According to the 1900 census, my 3rd great-grandparents had 7 children, but only 3 of them were living.  Those three children were the only ones I had names for, and one of them was actually adopted.

This census record was the only clue I had that they had more than the children that survived to adulthood.  It also made sense that they had adopted – perhaps because they had lost so many children and couldn’t have any more naturally.

One of the treasures I found in John Edwards’ pension file was a list of his children’s names – even the ones that didn’t survive to adulthood.

As you can see, John stated that the family records were burned in a fire, so he didn’t have exact dates for the children’s births.  (Of course, my husband can’t seem to remember any of my children’s birthdays, so this doesn’t surprise me a bit!)

I now know that they had the following children:

  1. ? Edwards (if any of you happen to have superhero vision and can read the first name of this child, I’d be forever grateful.)  Born Sept 1868.  This child must have died before 1870, because he/she is not with them in the census.
  2. Wallace, born 25 April 1871.  He died in 1946.
  3. Ida Mae
  4. John, born 2 June 1878.  This is my great-great grandfather.
  5. Samuel
  6. Arnold
  7. Olive
  8. Eldin, born 13 Feb 1895 (he was adopted).

So, my question is – was there another natural-born child that was living in 1900 that I was unaware of  or was Sarah unsure about how to answer the question about her children?  She said that she had 7 children (which she did give birth to 7 children) but 3 of them were living (her adopted son was one of these three).  Minor detail, but I’m sure it’s not important.

I’m so happy to finally put some names to these children who died at such young ages.  I now wonder if maybe I could find their gravestones, if there are any existing.  They could be in Michigan, Canada, or Iowa – so a bunch of places to look.


  • Wendy - January 12, 2012 - 7:52 am

    That is a wonderful treasure! I bet you were surprised to find all those names in a pension record.ReplyCancel

    • Jen - January 12, 2012 - 8:29 am

      I was very surprised, especially since none of them lived to adulthood!ReplyCancel

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I love old pictures of WWI soldiers, don’t you?

Maybe it’s because they wore the big round hats, like my husband did when he served as a Drill Sergeant.  I think they looked very sharp in uniform.

This is my great-great grandfather, John Edwards Jr.’s cousin, Cecil Francis Edwards (1894-1969).

The picture was given to me by another Edwards researcher and I’m grateful for it – Thank you!!  I really wish I had a similar one of my great-grandfather, Alfred Edwards, in his uniform.


  • Cherie Cayemberg - January 13, 2012 - 7:04 pm

    I feel the same way. Love those WWI pictures. Love the hats (although Rick never wore one)!ReplyCancel

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I know that my 3rd great-grandfather, John Edwards,  is only one of many boys who lied about their age to serve in the Civil War, but I still find it fascinating.

I had often wondered how exactly he had served.  He was born 11 September 1848, near London, Ontario, Canada.  That makes him pretty young for a soldier – about 12 at the start of the war.

I knew what unit he served in (Co. G. Michigan Infantry), but I didn’t have any dates and I was unable to get his pension records for a number of years.  I finally received them a couple of weeks ago and many of my questions are now answered.

First of all, he didn’t enlist until near the end of the war – 15 March 1865 at Pontiac, Michigan.  He would have been 16 years old at the time.  So, he wasn’t a 12 yr old drummer boy, he was close to being a man.

Second, he LIED about his age.  All of the documents pertaining to his pension state that he was born on 11 Sept 1846.

The only document in his pension file that has his correct birth date is what was listed on his death certificate.  A copy of the certificate was included in his file as his wife was trying to get back payments from a check that was returned.

The 1848 date is also what is listed in his obituary and it matches up with his age in census records.

These two years he added to his age, would have made him 18 at the time of his enlistment, instead of the 16 he really was.

He was the 10th of 11 children and I wonder if any of his older 3 brothers also served.  It’s something I haven’t looked into yet, but perhaps he was feeling left out – or maybe he was just very patriotic and wanted to serve his country.

Either way, I find it interesting that he would voluntarily join the Army and risk his life at such a young age.  Can you imagine many 16 year olds today doing the same?

Do you have any ancestors who lied about their age to join the Army?

  • Heather Roelker - January 10, 2012 - 8:00 am

    Did he serve for a time after the war was over? Was he injured? I find it interesting that he could serve such a short time and still receive a pension. And I can imagine a 16-year-old doing that. They sometimes feel invincible and the military is a way to get away from overbearing parents and see the country…what could go wrong if you’re invincible?ReplyCancel

  • Wendy - January 10, 2012 - 8:20 am

    William H. Jollett, my 1st cousin 3 times removed, may have lied about his age, but since he’s SOOOOO distant, I haven’t bothered ordering his records. He was born in 1847 and served in the 9th Regiment Virginia Infantry, Company D.ReplyCancel

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I have this humongous tub of documents and notes and pictures that I haven’t yet digitized, or entered into Legacy, or blogged about.  I can’t ever seem to get caught up with all of the cool things I’ve found, but I know that I really need to get it done – otherwise I’m going to spend a lot of precious time backtracking, searching for things that I already know.

On Christmas Eve, while my kids were busily playing with their new toys (they each opened one present early), I spent a few hours scanning in documents.  Honestly, I barely even made a dent in the pile – but it felt good to at least start sifting through all of it.

Among the documents in this pile was a will for my husband’s 3rd great-grandfather, James H. Leonard (1796-1892).  It’s been sitting there for at least five years. :(

Well, now it will see the light of day and be posted for the world to see!!!  I’m only transcribing the actual will, below the images.

Do you have any important documents that haven’t seen the light of day for years?  Share them!!!

The last Will and Testament of James H. Leonard of the Town of Newfane in the County of Niagara + State of New York.

I, James H. Leonard considering the uncertainty of this mortal life + being of sound mind and memory do make and publish this my last Will and Testament in manner + form following that is to say:

First, I give and bequeath unto my two sons Dewitt C. Leonard + Henry B. Leonard + unto my daughter Eliza Jane Sawyer the sum of two hundred dollars each, to be paid to them from the proceeds of the real or personal estate I should be possessed of at the time of my decease + to be paid to them within a reasonable time after my decease for their use forever.

Second, All the rest and residue of my real + personal estate not herein before given + bequeathed after payment of debts, funeral expenses + e I give unto my five children Dewitt C. Leonard, Henry B. Leonard, Eliza J. Sawyer, Roxanna Spencer, + Maria Peck to be equally divided between them, that they share + share alike for their use forever and I do here by constitute and appoint Augustus B. Kendall of the Town of Newfane, sole executor of this my last Will and Testament hereby revoking all other heretofore made wills by me.  Witness my hand + seal the twenty eighth day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand and eight hundred and eighty.

James H. Leonard (Seal)

The above instrument consisting of one half sheet of paper was now here subscribed by James H. Leonard the testator in the presence of each of us + was at the same time declared by him to be his last Will and Testament + we at his request signed our names there to as attesting witnesses.

Anthony McKee residing in Newfane Niagara County NY
Martha A. McKee residing in Newfane Niagara County NY

  • Cherie Cayemberg - January 9, 2012 - 6:03 am

    I’m so glad to hear that you got some time to scan documents. I need to get on that as well. I may try to commit just one hour a week on it and see where I get. Even if it’s after the boys get to bed! :)ReplyCancel

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This is definitely not a very informative obituary, but it’s an obituary nonetheless. Peter Sanchez was a brother to my great-great grandfather, Frederick Sanchez-Tereso.

This was a clipping pasted together with other obituaries – I believe it was probably in the Sigourney, IA newspaper.

11 Oct 1888

Peter Sanchez died at his home near Ollie, Sunday, Oct. 7th, with consumption.  Mr. Sanchez has been sick for some time, but his sudden departure was unlooked for so soon.  He was buried Monday.

  • Wendy - January 8, 2012 - 5:52 am

    “unlooked for” — now there’s an expression!ReplyCancel

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