Thursday, June 25, 2015

2010 SLIG: The Big Breakthrough!

2010: The goal was to prove the ancestral link between James Morris Simmons [1804 NY - 1883 IN] and John Simmons [c1730 ENG - 1795 NYC] [consultants: George Ott & Wade Hone] This one was almost magical! I had located a series of online pedigree charts on a Simmons family that included my 2nd and 3rd great-grandparents from my Simmons line. The charts took the family back about five generations to New York City and another three generations to Hampshire, England. A great find, but it had to be proved. There were numerous references to the research done on this family on the GenForum message boards. A RootsWeb World Connect site was also in development on the family of "Wall Street John" Simmons, a tavern keeper in New York City.

One of the GenForum posts gave the mother of "Morris J. Simmons" as Dolly Jennison. "Morris" had died in Carroll Co., IN, but was buried in Kokomo, Howard, IN. I drove up to Dephi and requested a copy of the death certificate. The information provided: J.M. Simmons, died 25 May 1883 [78y 7m 2d] in Camden, Carroll, IN;widowed; father: John Simmons; mother: Dolly Simmons.

The Carroll Co. Historical Society had cards on James M. Simmons' kids, which added new data to the mix.

Armed with this assortment of information and pedigree charts, I aimed to trace the family and prove that  "Dolly Simmons" was indeed "Dolly Jennison." The FHL had a book on the Jennison family in the stacks.

After our Monday morning Problem Solving group meeting, I made a bee line for the Jennison Family History at the FHL. I pulled the book and found Dolly in the index. Included was a transcript of a letter from Dolly to one of her sisters written in 1860. Dolly wrote about several of her children, including Morris. There is was! The proof that Dolly Simmons was Dolly Jennison and the mother of James Morris Simmons.

I spent a good chunk of the day reading through the Jennison book, putting together Dolly ancestors and making copies. I also looked through a handful of books written on the Simmons family.

My P.S. group had mixed emotions on Tuesday. They were thrilled that I had found the link so quickly and wanted to string me up because I had found the link so quickly. :)- From there it was verifying the family info on the pedigree charts and confirming the details in the Jennison book.

I knew from the GenForum posts that the firm that did the research for the pedigree charts was based in Salt Lake. I scheduled an appointment to request the list of sources, if possible, used in the research. I wanted to do my own digging. The heirs of the gentleman who had contracted the research would only permit me to have a copy of the pedigree chart for James M. Simmons.

So, I went to work on New York deeds, Pennsylvania deeds and English parish registers sorting out details on the Simmons clan. I gathered a lot of new material and added some 20 lines to my maternal side of the family.

Note: I continued the research after returning home. I searched for data that would verify or disprove what I had on the new ancestors. There were errors corrected and new details added.

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