Where are you Harry Raymond? 52 Ancestors Week 30: Challenging

Amy Crow Johnson’s 52 Ancestors 2015 theme this week is CHALLENGING. I have several brick wall ancestors but the one I have been wrestling with lately is my 2nd great grandfather, Harry Raymond.

Dear 2nd Great Grandpa Harry,

You seem to have a very good hiding place because I have been searching and searching with very little to go on. I first met you in the Illinois Deaths and Stillbirths 1916-1947 database. There you were listed as my great grandmother Hattie Raymond’s father-born in America. Well that narrowed it down for me. The bright side was that the same document listed Hattie as being born in California. You also showed up on Hattie’s marriage document in the Wisconsin Marriages, 1836-1930 database.

The next time I found you was in the Illinois Deaths and Stillbirths 1916-1947 again. This time listed as the spouse of Clara Raymond. This document also revealed that Clara died a widow in 1928. Well that helps. I most likely don’t need to go looking for you after that year. While I was looking for Clara, I found her in the 1905 Wisconsin census and it lists her as single! But then, the 1910 census lists her as being married twice? She is still using Raymond as her surname and died with that surname so you must have been her second husband. By the way, where are you? You aren’t listed as living with her. Or were you there and she didn’t mention you? You know exactly why I asked that question, don’t you? I found Clara on another census in Minnesota, 1895. She is listed as head of house with her daughter Hattie and granddaughter Lorena. I ignored that one for a little while, but then looked closely and what did I see. I think you were peeking out at me. There is a man named Harry Welch listed right underneath Lorena and he is the last person on the page living in the same home! Harry is listed as being 52 years old, married, from Pennsylvania, and the occupation is a Hack Driver. Is this you? If it is, what kind of trouble did you get into that caused you to change your last name? I know, I’m jumping to conclusions. There must be a very logical reason you would change your name—right?

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Minnesota 1885 census from Family Search

The next time I found you was in California. By the way, your wife Clara hasn’t been easy to track down either. After I figured out she had been previously married thanks to the above 1910 census, using her first married name, I found the two of you in a document showing your marriage in Santa Clara County, California. You are listed as being 28 and from New Jersey. This was May 24, 1875. Your witnesses were little help. They didn’t seem to be related to you but they were both construction workers. One was a molder and one -get this- was a brick layer. Of all things, really, you had to have a witness who built brick walls!!! Later, I found a birth announcement in the newspaper that your wife had a baby girl on June 6, 1876 in Sacramento, CA. This would be my great grandmother, Hattie.

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Marriage License from Family Search

Outside of those few documents, I haven’t found anything concrete. I found a Harry Matson Raymond three times in the California Voters Registers. The ages lined up perfectly with the marriage license and by the way, he was from New Jersey. His occupations were Butcher 1871 in San Jose, Hotel Clerk 1880 in San Jose and Carpenter 1886 in Soquel. The fact that he was a carpenter in 1886 may be helpful but it is a full 10 years after my Harry got married with construction workers as witnesses. I also found Hary Raymon -note spelling- in the 1880 census in California as a Hotel clerk (same as the voter register), married but no wife or child was listed with him. That would have been too simple, way too simple.

I know you are having fun with me what with being new to this. I have only been looking into my ancestors since February. Most of them have been oh so easy to find. I am going to file you away for now and go back to learning how to find brick wall ancestors. I will be back searching for you with my new knowledge.

Until then, look out because next time I’m finding a crack in that wall!

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