Saturday, May 4, 2013

Update, and a Possible new Clue #9

Any News on the Hunt for Ursula?

Three years ago I created this blog for the purpose of trying to identify who was Ursula Wright.  I posted 8 clues that I had amassed:

Clue #1: Martha Searing, daughter of Nathaniel Searing and Ursula Wright was born 10 March 1808 in Stillwater NY.  She married Denison Worthington on 24 December 1829 in Albany NY.  Martha had three children before she died 23 March 1839, only one survived her.  I have the wedding record from the Presbyterian Archives [new, shown here] and her picture and tombstone [new], but not the birth of Martha.

Worthington - Searing Wedding, see middle of page just above the line.

Clue #2:  Nathaniel Searing, son of Nathanial Searing and Ursula Wright, brother of Martha, was orphaned when his when he was sixteen with his mother's death (his father had died 4 years earlier).  Nothing new here yet.  He's still an orphan as was his sister Martha.  It would be nice to find the death details of their parents, however.

Clue #3:  Ursula Wright MIGHT have been baptized in Stillwater NY, the child of Reuben and Phebe Wright.  Only one baptism in Stillwater was found of someone who might be Ursula Wright, her name was recorded "Ursley" -- since spelling wasn't standardized and was based on the literacy of the person recording, that's not TOO big a problem.  However, she was supposed to have be born "about" 1783, and this one and only baptism was 1789.

Clue #4: The 1810 US Census for Saratoga Springs New York, includes the Nathaniel Searing family.  There aren't any of the 1815, 1825 etc. New York STATE census pages up on for those years or that county.

Clue #5: The Will of Reuben Wright [potential father of Ursula] only mentioned names of sons anad his 2nd wife.  His first wife Phebe died early, and he had more children.  There might be more than one Reuben Wright in the area, so confirming this is the correct one on the grounds that he "seems to be" might not meet the Genealogical Proof Standard quite yet.

Clue #6:  The "Reuben Wright of Stillwater" summary of notes from the Stillwater NY Historian's files [no date, no author] references the baptism in clue #3.  But, again, is this Reuben Wright the one who was a Revolutionary soldier?  Or is the summary a mixture of information on more than one person with that name.  As Revolutionary War records get filmed and become available, hopefully his will be found and give some clues.

Clue #7:  Ruben Wright is still in the 1790 US census in Stillwater NY.

Clue #8:  Potential mothers for Ursula Wright seem to point to Phebe Moore who either married Silas Wright or married Reubin Wright of Stillwater.  Each version is almost identical except for that detail.  No new evidence to sort that out yet.

A new possible clue:
Clue #9:
There is a 10-page book, CATALOGUE of the STILLWATER ACADEMY, 1838-9, Troy NY, 1839.
The book lists faculty and students.  The last page has two students named WRIGHT:  Margaret M. and Ursula, both from Stillwater.  This Ursula would be too young [my Ursula was already dead about 1830], however, the same first and last name, the same small home town -- could this be a relative?

©Erica Dakin Voolich 2013
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  1. Happy Blogiversary!!

    Regards, Grant

  2. Grant,
    Thanks... Hoping others who are hunting find and share.

  3. Hi, Erica, I'm a first time reader, and from reading your list of clues, I can see two related items you should look at. First, the probate packet for Reuben Wright. The loose papers should include a final distribution to all the heirs and will name them. Second, check the guardianship book. At that time in history, Reuben Wright's minor children would have been required to have a male guardian, as women were deemed to be incompetent do handle their own or their children's affairs. Heirs fourteen and over could choose their guardian, often a family member.
    The LDS library may or may not have a microfilm of the guardianship books. If they don't have the year you need, check at the county level anyway as a lot of things were missed. The probate packets were rarely filmed, so it would have to be looked for locally.
    Good luck,

  4. Michael Stephens thanks for your thoughtful response.
    I traveled to New York state for a wedding near the county court house and stayed an extra day to visit. There was a will, but that was all they had for Ruben Wright. Great suggestion!
    I have a great grandfather who was orphaned in upstate NY along with his 3 siblings, nary a record about the care of the children to be found in the Columbia County records there. Ursula and her husband both died leaving children, no records of how they were carried for either (or even death record to be found -- so far!).