Does anyone have information on a James Nicely, born in 1864?

+2 votes
in Genealogy Help by Susan Clifton G2G Rookie (250 points)

Anything else known of him?
William Edward Nicely was born in New_York, United_States, and adopted around 4 years old by Thomas and Abigail Clifton.  James Nicely, an older brother, we believe was born in West_Virginia, United_States in 1864, but not sure.  We think the mother’s name was Mary Wells Nicely, but have no other information on James.  W. E. Nicely Clifton was my grandfather and died in 1945 in Ingomar_Montana, United_States.  Would love to trace the family to the Nicely line.  I have nieces  and cousins who have DNA tests available for matches.
You could edit your question to add the tag united_states (be sure to include the underscore).  Not sure if new_york is a tag, but you will find out if you start typing it - the same with west_virginia (again, with both of those, don't forget the underscore).
Susan, Did you find answers yet ? Please email me at

2 Answers

+4 votes

Hi Susan,

I was able to quickly find a James Nicely in Census records for WV that seems to fit your description. He was in the same household as Mary Wells in 1870. He is listed as single each year--so maybe he never married.

Census Birth Year Location Notes
1870 1863 Charleston WV James Nicely and William Nicely in the home of Mary Nicely and Mary Wells
1880 1864 Scott, WV Laborer in same home of W.J. Marshall
1900 1867 Scott, WV Laborer
1910 1870 Scott, WV Farmer
1920 1870 Scott, WV Farmer
by S Leeland G2G6 Mach 5 (59.6k points)
Tennessee marriage records indicate the James Nicely (Sr I presume) married Mary Wells in 1864, then James Sr doesn't appear on the 1870 census, perhaps he died or left the area before the census was taken. I find making charts with years/events/calculated ages/sources/etc. extremely useful when trying to triangulate someone. I hope this info helps you.
+2 votes
Source: "United States Census, 1870", database with images, FamilySearch ( : 19 March 2020), James M Nicely in entry for Mary E Nicely, 1870.

United States Census, 1870  Charleston, Kanawha, West Virginia
:  Mary E Nicely    Female     22   Virginia
: James M Nicely  Male           7   Virginia
: William E Nicely Male           3  West Virginia
: Mary E Wells      Female      22  West Virginia

Source: "Tennessee State Marriage Index, 1780-2002," database, FamilySearch ( : 4 December 2014), James Nicely and Mary E Wells, 11 May 1864; from "Tennessee State Marriages, 1780-2002," database and images, Ancestry ( : 2008); citing p. 177, Obion, Tennessee, United States, Tennessee State Library and Archives, Nashville, Tennessee.

Tennessee State Marriage Index
: Mary E. Wells
: Marriage 11 May 1864  Obion, Tennessee,
: Spouse James Nicely
by Chris Hoyt G2G6 Pilot (776k points)
Thank you.  This could indeed be the parents of James and William Edward.  W.E. was my grandfather, so we can trace him to heirs today, as he was adopted into the Clifton family at a young age.  We have no info on his brother, James.  I have census records from WV on him, but nothing about his adult life.  How do you suggest I find that info?
Susan, I've found many interesting tidbits about family by contacting the local genealogy society to get their recommendations on which newspapers to search. I've also requested birth and death records, court records, investigated the people living nearby or in the same household on the census. Sometimes you just have to take what you know and create a research plan with some main questions you want to answer and then the steps you'll take to find the answers. Good Luck.

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