Showing posts with label Mary Amanda Demarest. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mary Amanda Demarest. Show all posts

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Genealogy Go-Over: In Search of Mary Amanda Demarest's Parents

During my ongoing Genealogy Go-Over, I've been cleaning up sources and searching for records posted since the last time I researched each key ancestor. Working with Cousin L, the keeper of the Wood ancestry and a crackerjack researcher with 35 years of experience, we've fleshed out the Wood family from the great-grandparents on down.

But there's still a big gap in the family tree: identifying the parents of Mary Amanda Demarest (1831-1897), wife of Thomas Haskell Wood (1809-1890)--these are hubby's great-grandparents. Cousin L already had some info about GGM Mary Amanda, including her probable birth date of June 1, 1831, which appears on her gravestone, as well as her probable marriage date of May 14, 1845, which appears in the family bible. Despite years of searching, we've turned up no birth record for GGM Mary Amanda Demarest.

This week, doing a new search, I was surprised to find a potential clue: A baptismal record from St. Clements Church in New York City. The excerpt at top shows a Mary Amanda Demarest, along with four siblings, being baptized in March, 1832. Only one parent is listed: Mary Ann Demarest.

The five daughters of Mary Ann Demarest being baptized were:

  • ? Ann, born 13 January 1821 (?)
  • Rachel Jemima, born 3 September 1824
  • Martha Jane, born 29 March 1826
  • Malinda Elizabeth, born 13 January 1829
  • Mary Amanda Demarest, born 1 June 1831
St. Clements was an Episcopal Church located on Amity Street (now West 3rd Street) near Sullivan Street, just below Washington Square in what is currently the Greenwich Village area.

My husband noticed that only one parent was listed on this baptismal record. Could it be that Mary Ann Demarest was a widow? If so, he asked, would she be shown by name in the 1830 Census?

Good question. And sure enough, one Mary Demarest was the head of household on Hudson Street in New York City in the 1830 US Census, as shown above. That Census was taken on June 1, 1830. Hudson Street is a healthy walk from St. Clements Church, but not crazy far away. My hopes were high.

Alas, the demographics of the Demarest household don't exactly match what we're looking for. The census recorded two girls under the age of 10. The household also included a female in her 20s, a female in her 30s, a female in her 40s, and a female in her 60s.

If Mary Demarest, the household head in the Census record, matched Mary Ann Demarest, the mother in the baptismal record, there would be a total of 4 females under the age of 10 in the 1830 Census.* I see only 2 females under 10. Not a close match. Even considering that one or two youngsters might have been elsewhere on Census day, who are the other women in the household?

Another really important point: Mary Amanda Demarest, the object of our search, was born exactly one year after the Census was taken and ten months before the 1832 baptismal record. Would a widow have had another child after the 1830 Census? Would she have kept the Demarest name if remarried, or married another Demarest even? Or not married again, keeping her former married name while having a child? All are possibilities.

Therefore, I reluctantly have to conclude that Mary Ann Demarest (the parent in the baptismal record) is unlikely to be the same Mary Demarest who was head of household on Hudson Street in the 1830 Census.

I've checked the St. Clements records for decades after the 1832 baptisms and found no other mentions of Mary Ann Demarest or her daughters. Yet the baptismal record showing Mary Amanda Demarest's birth date of June 1, 1831 is an exact match for GGM's birth date on her grave stone.

Although the baptismal record is very intriguing and matches the birth date, more evidence is needed to really prove that Mary Ann Demarest is my husband's GGGM. And if she belongs on the family tree, I don't have any clue to this ancestor's maiden name. Yet!

*Cousin L completed an analysis of every Demarest household in the 1830 Census of New York County. He also analyzed every Demarest in the city directory for that year and place. Not one appears to match OUR Demarest family. The search continues. I'm going to follow the possible siblings forward in time to try to find one or more of them in later records. Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Tombstone Tuesday: Remarkable GGM Mary Wood's "65 Years, 8 Months, 4 Days"

Mary Amanda Demarest Wood, 1831-1897
Hubby's great-grandma, Mary Amanda Demarest Wood, had quite an interesting life. Born in Manhattan 184 years ago yesterday (on June 1, 1831), Mary somehow managed to get to Plaquemine, Louisiana where -- at age 14 -- she married a New England carpenter Thomas Haskell Wood (1809-1890) who was 22 years her senior. 

Remarkable Mary gave birth to 17 children, including a set of fraternal twins who sadly died of diphtheria at age 5. Before the Civil War, Mary, Thomas, and their growing family left Louisiana for a part of Virginia that became part of West Virginia after the war.

By 1870, the Woods had settled in Toledo, where the second half of their family was born. A full list of Mary's children (including hubby's grandpa, James Edgar Wood) is here. She later became a nurse, as well.

Thomas Haskell Wood, 1809-1890
Mary outlived her husband by 7 years and 2 days. Her obit, above, shows that she died "aged 65 years, 8 months and 4 days." (His obit is at right.) The funeral was at Calvary Church in Toledo, which no longer exists, and she's buried in the vault of Forest Cemetery in Toledo, Ohio.

Thank you to the Toledo Public Library, which will kindly e-mail obituaries for free on request from this search site.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Timelines, Family Trees, and James & Mary's Wedding Day

My local genealogy club was lucky enough to recently host a talk by genealogy/history expert Laura Prescott. She spoke about "Timelines: Placing Your Heritage in Historical Perspective."

Among the many things I took away from that presentation was the idea of creating timelines to show my ancestors in the context of their family's events and local/national/international events. Laura mentioned free sites like (A wonderful find!)

She also mentioned that we have the ability to publish timelines, among other things, using Ancestry and the family tree data we've already posted. I'd never looked at that "Publish" button along the top row of the Ancestry home page. Pushing "publish" started me on the easy process of printing an 18 x 24 inch poster for my hubby's siblings, showing the four main families that correspond to each of their grandparents. (If you don't want to buy the tree poster, you can still print it free on your home printer--I did that too.)

Along the way, I enlisted hubby's help proofreading the family tree before we published the poster. He noticed I was missing an exact month and date for his grandpa's marriage.

In another browser window, I opened Family Search and quickly found an updated database of Ohio marriages. Info that wasn't indexed or digitized a year ago has been put online! (My lesson: Keep searching for those elusive ancestors or events--eventually new clues will present themselves.)

With just a couple of clicks, we now have the marriage document of James E. Wood of Toledo and his bride, Mary Slatter, who were married on 21 September 1898. All because we wanted to put together a family tree poster (see below).

The poster points up a glaring hole in the tree: We still don't know the parents of Mary Amanda Demarest. Cousin Larry has been on her trail for decades.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Those Places Thursday: Plaquemine, Where Thomas Married Mary

Hurricane Isaac is pounding Plaquemine Parish, LA today...and my heart goes out to the folks who are evacuating or flooded out.

The Wood family has a strong genealogical connection to Plaquemine: It's the place  where Thomas Haskell Wood (b. 1809) married Mary Amanda Demarest (b. 1831 in NYC) on 14 May 1845. Thomas (hubby's g-grandpa) was a carpenter (according to the 1850 Census), one of many in the Wood family tree.

The first of their 17 children, Jane Ann Wood, arrived in 1846 (and was baptized in 1847 at St. Gabriel Church, shown above). After Jane came Thomas Jefferson Isaiah Haskell Wood, born in Plaquemine in 1848, and John Marshall Taber Wood, born in Plaquemine in 1850.

By 1851, Thomas and Mary and their three children had left Plaquemine...but a family mystery remains: How did Mary, a 14-year-old from Manhattan, meet Thomas, who was from New England, and manage to travel to Plaquemine to be married in 1845??

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Matrilineal Monday: Mary Amanda Demarest, Where Were You Born?

Mary Amanda Demarest married Thomas Haskell Wood in New Orleans in 1845, when she was 14 years old. Cousin Larry, our Wood family genealogist, has records of her marriage, her children, and her burial, but Mary Amanda's exact birthplace and date -- and her parents -- remain a mystery. She seems to have been born in New York City in 1831 (according to death cert, etc).

Last month, at cousin Larry's suggestion, I checked the records of the Reformed Dutch Church of Greenwich, New York City, where many Demarests were members. Alas, no Mary Amanda. But there were these three records of children adopted by Mary Van Orden Demarest, as you can see from the above excerpts from transcribed church ledgers.

This discovery has led to a new line of thinking: Maybe Mary Amanda was adopted into the Demarest family? Her birth record wouldn't show up as Mary Amanda Demarest. Of course this is only a theory. More research is in our future!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Ex Prohibito Concubitu

 Looking for my hubby's great-grandmother's birth, I came across this page from the transcribed records of the Reformed Dutch Church at Greenwich (New York City).

Great-grandma was Mary Amanda Demarest, not Pamelia Ann Demarest (see last entry in the photo). However, Mary Amanda's parents and early years remain a mystery, even though cousin Larry (our family's super-genealogist) has been searching for more than a decade.

Baby girl Demarests born in 1831 in New York City are of interest to us, since that was Great-grandma's year and place of birth. And looking for Mary Amanda Demarest led me to stumble across Pamelia Ann Demarest, born in 1831, in the church records.

Pamelia Ann was born ex prohibito concubitu which, a professional genealogist explained, meant her parents weren't allowed to marry. Having never seen or heard this phrase before, I was wordless for a moment (rare for me).

Was the parents' relationship too close (first cousins, for example, or even closer)? Was the father or mother already married? Was the mother (or father) too young to marry? Note that no father was listed, and the baby was adopted. It's also a legal issue: This child can't inherit.

But there's more to the Demarest mystery. I'll save that for another day!