One mystery I can't solve

+4 votes
164 views
I've had good luck researching my genealogy over the past few years - with one exception...my paternal great grandmother. The best clue I have is the marriage license for my grandfather on which it states his mother was "Catherine Merryman" who was born in Maryland. His father (my great grandfather), who is also on the license, was apparently never married to this woman. In fact I see where he was married for the first time some 8 years after the birth of my grandfather. There are a few Catherine Merrymans in Maryland in the time period of my grandfather's birth (1895) but nothing clearcut. To add to the mystery, I just got my 23andMe ancestry results back and wouldn't you know it, a George Merryman shows up as a potential 3rd cousin. He and I have communicated but have been unable to find the link in our trees that would shed more light on who exactly Catherine Merryman was.
in Genealogy Help by Gene Shue G2G Rookie (250 points)
Looks like another bump in the road. You know, Oden was a bit of a con man. I see different names (Robert) and years of birth referenced in later years. I think May 1895 is solid...but I'm going verify again to be sure. Given the scarcity of Catherine Merrymans, I was getting use to the idea of her being the one we identified. I'm also pinning all of this on the marriage certificate - which is really my only good clue that this is really his mother's name. The 23andMe DNA data gives me some comfort that this info is accurate.
I'm gonna try ancestry.com with a full open query. Only last name and birth year. See if that works.
That didn't work.

Ok if Shipley is his Uncle then Oden/Odel is the son of his sister?
So Delilah is the aunty. So Delilah is sister to Odel/Oden's daddy.

Ruth Ann Merryman

 in the 1870 United States Federal Census

Name: Ruth Ann Merryman
Age in 1870: 9
Birth Year: abt 1861
Birthplace: Maryland
Dwelling Number: 270
Home in 1870: District 5, Baltimore, Maryland
Race: White
Gender: Female
Inferred Father: E Merryman
Inferred Mother: S E Merryman
Household Members:
Name Age
E Merryman 40
S E Merryman 39
Thos W Merryman 15
Ruth Ann Merryman 9
Robt E Merryman 7
Yes, Delilah is Oden aunt - Oliver's sister. Oden lived with Delilah and her family (the Shipleys) at the time of the 1910 census. Years later in 1942 when Oden registered for the WWII draft (in Oakland CA) he listed as a his closest contact a "Mrs. Walker". That had me thinking that maybe it was his mother who may have remarried. But...I learned that Delilah remarried a George Walker in 1939 years after Alonzo Shipley died. So...Oden was very close to his aunt.

Still a mystery to me why I've been unable to find Oden (or Oliver) anywhere within the 1900 census. I've tried searching with every possible combination. BTW, back in those days they were pronouncing Shue as "Shuey" so I could see census takers writing anything from Shue to Shewy to Shuey etc. etc. I even found an address for Oliver Shue in the 1900 Baltimore directory (216 Carroll n w) so he was apparently still in Baltimore - but why not in the census? Perhaps Oden was with him and Catherine? I'm afraid I searching for the unknowable at this point.

BTW...I appreciate the thought that you (and Kathie) have put into my mystery!
Looks like John W is listed at that address as well. So probably the wrong Catherine.
I don't see a husband listed at the same address but you can look as well.

1 Answer

+3 votes
First, look at the census records for where your great-grandfather was living at the time of the birth.  There is probably a Merryman family nearby.  Remember that the name may be misspelled, so be flexible in your thinking.
by Kathy Rabenstein G2G6 Pilot (198k points)
Thanks, that is good advice. Unfortunately that is what I've spent many hours doing. I've tried different spellings (first and last name) and even considered that perhaps Catherine was a middle name so women who had a C. as a middle initial were not ruled - flexible thinking is indeed needed. I was even considering the possibility that she was married to someone else when she gave birth - but the 23andMe results would indicate that her maiden name was Merryman.

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