Friday, July 06, 2012

There's always something new to be found

Genealogy research is a never ending pursuit.  I doubt that anyone can say they have "finished".  They might have gone as far as they can go with currently available and accessible records, but there is always something new to be found.  Especially if you are researching many lines - both paternal and maternal as I am.  And, three basic families - my own, my first husband's and my second husband's.
My late first husband, and therefore my daughter, has an ancestor named James DANIELS.  Shortly before my husband died we discovered, thanks to the research of another descendant, that James had been transported to Australia from India.  India - because he was in the British Army in India and was involved in what was described to me as "an unfortunate incident" in which a man was shot.  Without further information I surmised that it might have been a duel.  Several years after arriving in Australia he married another convict by the name of Mary RILEY.
Over the years I have been corresponding with quite a few fellow researchers on the DANIELS' line.  It has not been without controversy.  To begin with, one daughter of James and Mary's son Edward was said by some researchers to have been married twice - within a few months.  Well, she married one man, and then had a child by another some months later, and eventually married the second man many years later, with one of their grown sons as best man! I'm not sure that the whole story of the supposed first marriage has been uncovered yet.
Then there was another daughter who was linked to a particular man, but the birth registration of the first child never quite jelled with the mother being the daughter of Edward and Sarah.  Eventually that "union" seemd to be discounted by most researchers.
Then there was Sarah Ana Young DANIELS, another grandaughter of James and Mary - who, according to a number of people, including direct descendants, was married to George MacLENNAN.  This was despite the fact that Sarah MacLENNAN's death certificate listed her mother as an Ann COLLIER, and her father as James DANIELS when it should have been Sarah Sophia MOORE and Edward DANIELS.  Now it transpires that Sarah's marriage certificate clearly states that her mother was Ann COLLIER and her father James.  This negates the belief that the death certificate information was in error.  Even the most reluctant of researchers has had to concede that a Sarah DANIELS did marry George MacLENNAN - just not "our" Sarah Ana Young DANIELS.  Strangely enough, the researcher who finally found the proof was the same researcher who provided a photo of Sarah DANIELS years ago, and had labelled it as "Sarah Ana Young DANIELS, my grandmother". Another descendant swears black and blue that Sarah Ana Young DANIELS is one and the same as Elizabeth Young DANIELS - I do not believe that there is any evidence for this being fact.  He is basing it on the fact that both girls have Young as a Christian name.
Now there is even more controversy!  Nigel, who lives in England, is descended from James DANIELS and his Indian family!!!  Nigel has labouriously studied original documents and LDS films to trace the military career of his ancestor James, and had discovered that he married a woman named Hannah, and had three daughters with her.  In doing so he had also discovered information about James' trial for Murder, in Madras.  No duel - he shot a policeman!  James was sentenced to death and Nigel had duly entered his death date as 1821.  End of story.  However, it wasn't until Nigel stumbled across my account of the descendants of James DANIELS on my Branches and Twigs wiki, that he realised I was talking about his 4 x great grandfather.  You see, what Nigel hadn't discovered was that James' death sentence was commuted to transportation for life.
Of course this caused a little consternation among some researchers who were sceptical about the two men being one and the same.  But Nigel had transcribed entries from the LDS films which show: "Born 24 Aug 1814; Baptised 3 December 1814 Elizabeth Daniells daughter of Corporal James and Hannah Daniells  of 80th Regiment" and
"Born 1 Feb 1820 ; Baptised 21 June 1821   Jane Catherine Daniels daughter of James Daniels Sergeant HM 69th and Hannah his wife."  The third daughter isn't so explicitly documented, but these two are enough to prove that the father is the same man who was sentenced to transportation to Australia.  James had TWO families.
Like I said, there is always something new to find - more skeletons to haul out of the closet.