I really like “descendancy research”—following all the children of a particular ancestor down through time, rather than just one. It uncovers lots more stories, and gives a fuller picture of the family.
Robert and Elisabeth Bennet Mosey, my husband’s great-great-grandparents, had eight children who survived to adulthood. Pictured here left to right are Jane, Martha, and Sarah Elizabeth; Richard, Frank, John, and Lewis. Perhaps Maria was living in Nebraska at the time. (Three more sons—Lesven, Daniel, and Robert—died in early childhood.) Four sons and four daughters…
Lewis: Lewis—my husband’s great-grandfather—was the only one to fight in the Civil War, serving in the Indiana Infantry. Afterwards he married a girl from his childhood home in Lorain County, Ohio—Hannah Wilkinson—and they settled first in Allegan County, where his parents lived, and then in Michigan’s “Thumb,” across the state from the rest of the Moseys, where he was a successful farmer. Hannah died in her forties, and he remarried twice.
John: John was a farmer and a barrel maker. Like his brother, he was married three times, but word in the family has it that none of the marriages were happy. He had no surviving children and is buried near his parents with his third wife Helena.
Francis (Frank): Frank was a farmer and a carpenter. He and his wife Jennie had four children, one of whom died in infancy. He was widowed at age 43 and lived as a widower until his death at age 89. He was a member of the IOOF (Independent Order of Odd Fellows), which would be good topic for another blog post.
Jane: Jane had no children of her own, but her husband William Orr had eight grown children from his previous wife. They were married only eleven years before William died, leaving her a widow at age 49. Jane then lived with her widowed brother Frank for a time, helping him with his home and children, and then her sister Elizabeth.
Maria: Maria is the only one who lived outside of Michigan for any length of time. She and her husband Alonzo Brant lived in Banner and Kimball Counties in Nebraska for a number of years, where he was a farmer and a “stock raiser”—and also a bit of a hell-raiser, according to some accounts! They had two children who both died in childhood. After her husband’s death, it is said she returned to Michigan.
Martha: Martha married Jasper Dennis at age 17 and was widowed at 33. They had six children. Her husband died in Tennessee, and there seems to be some mystery around this fact which no one wanted to talk about. Later in life she lived with her sister Elizabeth. She died at age 72 and is buried near her sister Jane.
Richard: Richard married for the first time at 33, and he and his wife Jennett had three children. He seems to have lived the most uneventful life of the entire lot! (But perhaps there are things yet to be discovered which will spice up his story… It wouldn’t be the first time that has happened.)
Sarah Elizabeth: Sarah’s husband, John Orr, made his living as a teamster. (Wikipedia: “a person who drove a team of draft animals, usually a wagon drawn by oxen, horses, or mules.”) In 1910 her widowed older sister Jane lived with their family, and in 1920 her widowed older sister Martha lived with them. The 1910 census says that this was her second marriage—so she may have a past that I haven’t yet discovered. (Either that, or the census taker was mistaken.)
Genealogy is a journey, and there’s always more to discover.