11 February 2015

Great Resource Verifies New Cousin: Martha (Earl) Black Beck

In genealogy, we seem to spend a good deal of our time fitting pieces together, hoping we're right, and going on from there.  Don't you love it when you find something that verifies a chain of assumptions?

I've been working on William EARL with wife #1 (married 1860 in Ottawa County, Ohio) Ellen/Helen KEATING and wife #2 (married 1868 in Ottawa County) Mary HADD Gourno Earl Peeling for some time with no indication that they are related to me.  But, when you know so little about a great-grandfather, you must research those around them (FAN concept)!  My great-grandfather, Patrick KEATING, had land dealings with William EARL in Ottawa County, Ohio, in the 1860-70s, and William's first wife was an Ellen KEATING.  I figure there has to be a family relationship there but it's been outside my grasp.  Ellen left even fewer records than Patrick and for years I believed that there were no children from her short marriage to William Earl.

Long story short: a few months ago, I was able to verify that some of the children formerly/sometimes attributed to Mary HADD's first or second marriage were actually her step-children.  Ellen Keating did have descendants!  But, there was still a lingering uncertainty with confused names, common surnames, and only circumstantial links.

The great resource in my title for this post is the Ohio Memory site . It's one of those resources where you can get lost for hours and find wonderful things! It's a must if you have any roots in Ohio.

Today, after reviewing all the inconsistencies in Ellen's children's names and ages, I decided to review my "EARL possibilities" folder and found a note that there is an obituary for one of Ellen's daughters at OhioMemory.  Hmm, better check it out…. well, it's a great find! It's just a 15-line obituary with only 94 words from an unnamed newspaper, but it ends all my doubts about the children of William Earl and Ellen Keating!

 Mrs. Charles Beck, better known in Oak Harbor, where she was born and raised, as Mrs. Mattie Black, died at Marion, Ind., last week Wednesday, at the age of 52 years.  She was a step-daughter of Mrs. Mary Earle and half-brother of Wm. T. Earle.  For many years, the deceased with her first husband Daniel Black, operated a milk route in Oak Harbor, residing north of town about a half mile. she leaves two sons Ira and Guy, the former being a prosperous grocery dealer at Marion, Ind., and the latter in the ministry.
The online item title is "Obituary of Mattie Beck" and has a handwritten date of 2-26-1917 on the clipping image and was submitted by the Harris-Elmore Public Library, which seems to be about 9 miles from Oak Harbor.

The Great News
Careful readers should now be asking "What's the great news? Where's your connection to Patrick anyway?  Well, one of my atDNA matches is a descendant of Daniel Black and Martha/Mattie Earl! Ancestry.com DNA predicts we are 4th-6th cousins with "very high confidence. " My "conclusion" is that my great-grandfather, Patrick Keating, and Ellen Keating are indeed related: maybe cousins, maybe even siblings!

Of course, there's still a lot of work to do.  But I think it will be easier to find Patrick's origins now that I
'know" at least one relative for him!

The Plan

  • Enter all my Earl info into my database and online trees
  • Contact and exchange info with my new Black Family cousin
  • Go back to researching Patrick with a new perspective and renewed energy!

Don't you love the feeling that just maybe there is an answer in sight?

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