Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Favorite Ancestors: Sylvanus & Harriet Simmons

This couple is one of my great mysteries. Sylvanus was farming in Indiana until at least the early 1860s, but became an engineer for a steamboat company later in the decade. He moved back and forth between Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky for 30-odd years.

Sylvanus married in 1845 to Catherine Van Liew. They had two daughters, Sarah A. and Margaret J. This was the family in 1850. By 1860, Sylvanus' household included wife Henrietta and daughters Henrietta and Ada. The ages of all three females were a match for years Catherine, Sarah and Margaret by age. Henrietta also appeared as Harriet in records, no surname was ever given.

Ada Simmons [Edward] Bateman's 1930 death certificate gave her mother's name as Katherine van Loo. Henrietta's obituary stated that she died at the Bateman house.

All evidence points to Herietta, Harriet and Catherine being the same person. Likewise, Sarah and Henrietta were one and the same as were Margaret and Ada.

The question? Why did Catherine Van Liew Simmons become Henrietta/Hariret and why did Sarah become Henrietta and Margaret, Ada?

Maybe the Van Liews didn't approve of the marriage. Still, Sylvanus kept his name, although he was regularly recorded as S. or S.S. Simmons.

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