I’ve lost my great-grandmother! (and why I probably can’t find her…)

I’ve been trying to locate a death record for one of my great-grandmothers. They often list the individual’s birth date and place, which would be a huge help in locating her baptismal record – and taking her family back another generation. I know she was alive in 1817, when her 29 year old daughter married.  She was probably around 20 at the time, which would place her birth around 1778 – so, in theory, she could be alive as late as 1878.

Since the census started in 1843, I checked for her in the town where her daughter was married. No such luck!

What was I missing? Her husband passed away in 1808; so it was entirely possible she had died. I checked the decennial tables (tables produced by the civil authorities every ten years listing all the births, deaths, and marriages) for the period covering the daughter’s marriage to 1843. No listing.

Just to be sure, I went through all of the books by hand. Again, no luck.

So, either she died after 1843 – and somehow missed the census – or I missed her exit from the community. The latter is far more possible.

It was common for an unmarried older woman to live with her daughters. I know my great-grandmother had one daughter, but it’s likely she had more. To know what happened to her, I’ll need to locate her daughter’s baptismal record and check surrounding years… and then start looking for her other children.

Hopefully I’ll find my great-grandmother at last!


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