They lived near each other, worshipped with each other, and some married each other. A few clues (such as obits) suggest these families were related as cousins in Northern Ireland, and naturally decided to settle in America near each other. One group began in Pennsylvania and then moved westward to Ohio. Some relatives and descendants continued west to Elkhart county, Indiana. Along the way, church records in particular (plus census records) helped me document their close connections. (I viewed the new Presbyterian records posted on Ancestry, reading every original page rather than relying on the index/transcription--which allowed me to note "creative" spellings and spot instances of all the surnames I'm researching!)
Isaac M. Larimer (1771?-1823) and his wife, Elizabeth Woods Larimer (1773-1851) were my hubby's 4th great-grandparents. They had 10 children that I can account for. Many were baptized in the Rush Creek Presbyterian congregation in Fairfield county, Ohio, during the early 1800s. At top, the church record showing two Larimer children (James and Moses) baptized in June and July of 1806.
The youngest of Isaac and Elizabeth's children, Cynthia Hanley Larimer, was baptized in this church in 1815. She married Abel Everett Work there in 1836. Abel was born in Fairfield county, Ohio, while his father, Aaron Work, was married in Mifflin, PA, the town where hubby's Larimer ancestors lived before the move to Ohio.
Also in 1815, the year that Cynthia was baptized, a few Larimer and Work family members were admitted to that Rush Creek Congregation. Shown above, Aaron Work (Abel Work's father) was admitted "on certificate." John Larimer was admitted "on certificate" in 1816. And the list goes on. Who moved first, encouraging which family to join later? I'm going to find out, because they appear in groups, this FAN club of extended family members.
A granddaughter of Isaac and Elizabeth, Margaret Larimer, married Thomas Short in Middlebury, Elkhart county, Indiana, in 1842. Not long after Thomas's birth, his parents (James Short and Frances Gilbert Short) were admitted to the Rush Creek Congregation "on certificate" in 1822. (Interestingly, Thomas's later bio mentions that his parents were born in Ireland, but no indication of where.) Lots of Short relatives eventually settled in the Elkhart area, as did some Larimer and Work relatives, all members of the FAN club.
PS - Reader Janet asked how I keep track of FAN club names that may be important to my research. First, I have my Ancestry family tree open in one browser window (can do same for a Family Search tree) while I read any online records. Second, I have an alphabetized list of surnames I printed from my RootsMagic software. Then I can compare a name and date in, say, the handwritten church records with the names/dates in my tree or software. I also have notes in my software regarding suspected cousinship relations. Of course so many times the same name is used in multiple generations, which means I have to check closely to avoid making assumptions about the wrong Samuel Work or John Larimer.