Seeking Help On My Great Grandfather Dewitt Clinton DuBois

+2 votes
Dewitt Clinton DuBois b1832 d before 1870. Lived around Lewis County in New York. Served in Civil War 12th Reg NY and survived.  Wife, Isabella Ostrander shows as widow in 1870 and got his civil war pension. I am stuck on Dewitt's father and beyond.  I have more info on Isabella.  Thanks for any assistance.
in Genealogy Help by Tom DuBois G2G Rookie (190 points)
retagged by Ellen Smith
The census lists typically started with the man of the house, followed by his wife, then the couple's children. Other relatives (brothers and sisters of the couple, their parents, in-laws, nieces and nephews,  grandchildren, etc.) and unrelated people (servants, farmhands, etc.) came after. The 1850  census did not indicate relationships, but beginning about 1870 they did. But in 1850 I would consider the name sequence to be a strong clue that DeWitt was not the son of the couple he was living with.
Thanks again. If you are correct, I have a lot more digging to do to find Dewitt's parents. Lord knows, I have time to dig now :)

It is fairly common to find multiple contemporary people of the same name who need to be disambiguated. I find it helpful to create profiles for each of the different people I am trying to sort out (yes, this means that we create unconnected profiles), and document all of the available records relating to them and their families (siblings are important for this purpose...).

One interesting record I found on is a will for DeWitt DuBois of Fishkill, Duchess County, New York, written on 24 February 1875 with a codicil dated 7 June 1876. That man died before 12 January 1877, when the will was proved. The will does not name his wife, but it does name children Peter, John, and Ella DuBois, at least one of whom was under age 21. One of the three executors named in the will was Charles DuBois. The codicil states that Charles DuBois had died, and it replaces the original set of executors with the nephew and sister of the testator, namely Edward DuBois and Mary DuBois.

I do not think that your DeWitt DuBois is this man who died in Fishkill, but I do think that the information about this other man's family may be helpful for distinguishing some of the different men name DeWitt DuBois.

PS - The source for that will is:

New York, Dutchess County Wills, 1751-1903; Index, 1790-1905; Author: New York. Surrogate's Court (Dutchess County); Probate Place: Dutchess, New York. Wills, Vol 004, 1872-1879. The first page of the image of the will is

Ancestry has an image of the pension file for your ancestor DeWitt C. Dubois at . The date that it shows next to the name of the widow, Isabella Miller, is "1890. July 16." (Note that it is not 1870.) Dubois, Henry et al. is named as Minor Dependent.

There is an Ancestry Family Tree (with good sources, but without sources for some of the most important details) that identifies your DeWitt DuBois as a child of Andrew DuBois and Elizabeth Conklin Perrin. That tree has the father dying in 1843 and it has your DeWitt as the 16-year-old Dewitt Dubois who was listed in the 1850 Census as living with the Hasbrook family in Kingston, New York. And it has your Dewitt dying in 1882.
I have doubts about the notion that your Dewitt Dubois was in Kingston in 1850, due to geography. However, based on the 1865 census that indicates he was born in Madison County, I think there is some possibility that he was the child of Andrew and Elizabeth. There is a 19th-century book that references Francis DuBois, who was allegedly a brother of DeWitt Dubois, as a living person and says that he (Francis) was son of Andrew and Elizabeth and was born in Monroe County (near Madison County) in 1842.

The book that I referred to in the last comment is The Felt Genealogy : a record of the descendants of George Felt of Casco Bay by John E. Morris, published in 1893. it is available on at and the page reference is page 226.

(I saw the page content on, which does not like to give citation details when it dishes up books like that one -- they prefer to keep customers inside their paid-subscription corral, so I had to go to the Internet to find the free source for it.)

Thanks again Ellen. I too have a problem with my Dewitt in Kingston. He was born in Madison, only lived about 38 years and was buried there.  He enlisted in the war from Canasota, also in Upstate New York. As someone else pointed out, Dewitt Clinton was a popular name at the time due to the Governor of same name.  Hence the difficulty. After Dewitt's death, his wife Isabella married Henry Miller and together they raised my Great Grandfather, Henry.
I believe from census records that Dewitt died around 1870 since Isabella shows in the 1870 census living alone with her children in Madison County. I also believe that she married Henry Miller circa 1870 since they share a daughter 11 years old. By 1900 Isabella was again a widow with Henry dying in 1890. The question remains....who were Dewitt's parents??

"I believe from census records that Dewitt died around 1870 since Isabella shows in the 1870 census living alone with her children in Madison County" - Tom that definitely can't be used as proof of death as husbands simply can be absent from a household at census time.  For example, I have a 3rd ggf b 1822 d 1880 who was listed in 1850 census, but 1870 census shows his wife living alone with the children. 1880 then indicates she is a widow.  

Thank you, Mike.  I get your point.  I have since seen the 1875 New York State census in which Isabella is listed as widowed. So, I think I can safely adjust my timeline for Dewitt's death to prior to 1875. I need more information though before I can commit to his parents.  Thanks for the information.  Tom

2 Answers

0 votes

See National Park Service

See 12th Regiment, New York Infantry, United States Civil War

See 12th Infantry Regiment Civil War Onondaga County Regiment; The Dozen

See Dmna

DUBOIS, DEWITT C — Age , 31 years.Enlisted, April 24,1861, at Canastota; mustered in as private, Co. G, May 13, 1861, to serve two years; promoted corporal, February 18, 1863; mustered out with company, May 17, 1863, at Elmira, N. Y.

Canastota, New York

Try searching New York State historic newspapers

Name: Dewitt C. Dubois
Event Type: Military Service
Military Beginning Rank: Private
Military Final Rank: Corporal
Military Side: Union
State or Military Term: New York
Military Unit: 12th Regiment, New York Infantry
Military Company: G
Affiliate Film Number: 39

Affiliate Publication Title: Index to Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers Who Served in Organizations From the State of New York.
Affiliate Publication Number: M551
GS Film number: 882095

Citing this Record
"United States Civil War Soldiers Index, 1861-1865," database, FamilySearch ( : 4 December 2014), Dewitt C. Dubois, Corporal, Company G, 12th Regiment, New York Infantry, Union; citing NARA microfilm publication M551 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 39; FHL microfilm 882,095.

Name: Dewitt C Dubois
Event Type: Pension
Event Date: 1902
Event Place: United States
Beneficiary's Name: Isabella Miller
Affiliate Film Number: 005

Affiliate Publication Title: Index to Pension Application Files of Remarried Widows Based on Service in the Civil War and Later Wars and in the Regualr Army after the Civil War
Affiliate Publication Number: M1785
GS Film number: 002155467
Digital Folder Number: 005240858
Image Number: 00327

Citing this Record
"United States Remarried Widows Index to Pension Applications, 1887-1942," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 8 August 2017), Isabella Miller in entry for Dewitt C Dubois, 1902; citing Pension, NARA microfilm publication M1784 and M1785 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 2,155,467.

Name: Dewitt C Dubois
Event Type: Pension
Event Date: 1907-1933
Event Place: United States
Beneficiary's Name: Isabella Dubois Or Miller
Digital Folder Number: 004694511

Affiliate Publication Number: M850
Affiliate Publication Title: Veterans Administration Pension Payment Cards, 1907-1933
Affiliate Film Number: 1559
GS Film Number: 1635594
Digital Folder Number: 004694511
Image Number: 00240

Citing this Record
"United States Veterans Administration Pension Payment Cards, 1907-1933," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 20 August 2019), Isabella Dubois Or Miller in entry for Dewitt C Dubois, 1907-1933; citing NARA microfilm publication M850 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,635,594.

Also I would retag using us civil war and adding his profile 

by Andrew Simpier G2G6 Pilot (165k points)
edited by Andrew Simpier
Thank you for your detailed response. I am making slow progress but enjoying the search.
+1 vote
Not mentioned but did your check the NY State Census ? Performed every 5th year of a decade i.e. 1855 (first), 1865, 1875, 1885, skipped 1895, resumed 1905 and until 1925.  Accessible via family search and perhaps Ancestry. First 1855 perhaps a little thin on completeness depending where and by who it was taken.  The state census' generally contain more detail (some don't) than the Fed.  Also #1: US Fed Agricultural Schedules, if your ancester's owned land, can show details. Also #2: Beers (?) published NY State County Landownership Maps.  Their 1850 earliest but hard to find. I bought their 1873 maps on-line.  Not cheap but extremely helpful to me to compare Census records to living locations and trace by comparing listed census vs. map-shown neighbors.
by Daniel Brown G2G3 (3.6k points)
Thank You. I have checked the NY Census but not the others that you cite.  I'll give that a try. Thanks again.

Bought my 1873 NYS County Landownership Maps from the "Historic Maps" web site, but just Google "historic or rare maps and you'll get some other sites.  Not all NY State Counties were published at that year.  I obtained about 10 original in-colored Landownership maps of seperate Townships in Columbia County NY.

When viewing old maps or documents on internet I use a scanner program to copy-out them to my computer.

A largely unused/unknown resource is the NY State Archives Building in Albany NY - anything historical you can imagine including indexes to all birth, marriage and death records after 1880. Front desk registration required.

Landownership maps immensely helpful.  When reviewing an individual's census compare the names listed before and after individual in census pages and compare them to ownership names on map to see where my individuals lived. In cities the census usually shows an address.  Then use free "Google" program to zoom-in to see what location looks like today i.e. sometimes a house is still there and I copy the image in my computer.   I locate properties in old Deeds in these land ownership maps this way (Deeds often mention adjacent owners when describing the lots boundaries) and copy images off of Google Earth.

Thank you for the map information.

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