Saturday, November 04, 2006

Problem with a name

Problem with a name

From: Phyllis
I'm having a problem with the name of "Elisamer" Martin in my family
history. He was [probably] born in Vermont circa 1793, married Irene Ripley
in 1814 (from info handed down, not verified), moved to Ohio circa 1815, had
children James, Ann Eliza, Edward, Eunice, Rachel, William, Simeon, Sarah
Rebecca, George Washington. Irene Ripley has been easy to trace back to
William Bradford of Plymouth Colony.

These are the various spellings in census records:

-- Elisamer or Elisamor Martin, 1820, Washington Co, OH
-- Elisamer Marten, 1830, Union Co, OH
-- Elisha Martin, 1840, Springfield, Clark Co, OH
-- E. Martin, 1850, Dayton, Montgomery Co, OH

I've looked up Scottish names in, but no clue there. Does a
"mer" on the end of a name have a meaning? Someone suggested it was a
junior, but I haven't had any luck tracing a Elisa or Elisha in Vermont.

Later census records of his children have him born in Vermont, so I feel
certain that's where he was born.

He died in September, 1859, probably Piqua, Miami Co, OH. No luck in
verifying this, however I found the 1860 census with just Irene. I have I think you mentioned a website with census records of those
who had died within a year of the census, or was it just wishful thinking?

Another problem - I haven't been able to find his parents. There were James
Martins in early census records in Vermont, but I have ruled them out
because of not having sons his age. James is not a name in the Ripley
family, so I feel it was probably Elisamer's father's name.

Three "cousins" and I have shared our information on this family, and we are
all stumped on the spelling of the name and not being able to trace the
Martins any further back.

OK, OK, kiddo. Let's take a deep breath and see where this discussion takes

FIRST, let's note that spelling variations are not all that serious.
Although we pick the most likely when entering an ancestor's name in our
genealogy management programs, we are careful to transcribe each supporting
source document with spelling, punctuation and grammar intact.

THE GIVEN NAME of surviving children MAY but do not always conform to a
naming pattern such as first male named after the paternal grandfather, and
second male after the maternal grandfather. An earlier child, who did not
survive, may have been named for a grandparent.

ScotlandPeople explains "Variations in forenames are very common in the
records. The name by which a person was born or christened, might look very
different when they married or died. For example, Elizabeth might be known
and/or recorded as Elisabeth, Eliza, Betty, Betsy, Beth, Bessie, Elspeth,
Elsie, to name but a few. Some of the influences brought to bear on Scottish
forenames are indicated [in the remainder of the article.] See:

The SURNAME Martin doesn't "have to be" Scottish.

YES, there were "mortality schedules" enumerated 1850-1880 with the US
federal census. Each schedule's purpose was to list those who died during
the previous 12 months from the "census date" including name, age and cause
of death. Be careful: the census date for some years was in June. The
collection can be browsed (page by page) or searched by name at

EXPAND the census search to include neighbors as well as other people in the
township. It is entirely likely your Martins came from the same places as
the neighbors. Vermont is one suggestion, but there are literally hundreds
of MARTIN households in the 1790 census for all of Vermont, so you'll need
to narrow it down by looking for clues in the known areas.

WHEN LOOKING AT SURVIVING DOCUMENTS about Martin to provide ancestral clues,
please note that VERY FEW are found online at this point in time. You've
mentioned using the online census records at

Ol' Myrt recommends using the Family History Library catalog online at: to find appropriate microfilms of original
records to order and view at your local Family History Center. If you wish
to locate a center near you, you'll also find that at On
microfilm, you'll be planning to:

1. Search each of the known locations for Elishmer's probate file. Most
certainly he owed someone money, even if he died intestate (without a will.)
Perhaps there is a mention of siblings back in Vermont.

2. Look at church records in the area for the christening records of the
known children. Perhaps the grandparents were mentioned or acted as

Perhaps in book format, or online at find out about county
histories which might explain where people came from that settled your
ancestor's part of Ohio. Most of these books were lengthy, over-sized
volumes, published between 1880-1910, and usually refer to even the
pre-Revolutionary War time period. People often paid money to have their
photo and bio inserted. Unfortunately most do not have an every name index,
unless a benevolent genealogical or historical society decided to undertake
the huge task.

4. There is a system of regional archives in Ohio. Find out about this and
other resources such as the microfilm collection of 48,000 rolls of Ohio
newspapers at:

5. Print out and study the OHIO RESEARCH OUTLINE developed by experts at the
Family History Library. This and other helpful guides are available at:

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)

Snail Mail Address:
227 Bellevue Way NE PMB 544
Bellevue, WA 98004

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