14 June 2009

Say "Yes!" to Michigan

I recently obtained a copy of an obituary that my mother has for her great-grandfather, James Robert (J.R.) OGDEN. According to that obituary "About the year 1870 Mr. Ogden and his family came to Michigan rfom[sic] Canada, where he remained until 1880."

This was the first information I had that J.R. and his family had spent time anywhere but Ontario and South Dakota. My brother, the keeper of info on our mother's side of the family, already knew this, of course. He pointed out to me that the birthplace of J.R.'s daughter, Emily Vella (OGDEN) HARRIS, is "Michigan" in the 1880 US Census and the 1885 Dakota Territory Census. (We haven't found her in later censuses yet.)

Emily's birth year according to these two sources was either 1873 or 1874. I found the Family Search database of Michigan Births 1867-1902 and looked for her. And there she was--born 10-Aug-1874 in Elba in Lapeer County, parents James R. and Hannah OGDEN.

The strange thing is that their residence is listed as Deerfield, which is in Lenawee County, MI. According to Google Earth, Elba is about 95 miles NNW of Deerfield. Why were they so far from home when Emily was born? We'll need to do some more research looking for related family members in that area that Hannah (GIBBON) OGDEN or J.R. may have been visiting or find some other reason why Hannah would have given birth in Elba.

In an effort to narrow down the time span that the OGDENs were in Michigan, I took a look at the birthdates of Emily's siblings on either side of her in birth order. William Fredrick OGDEN (my great-grandfather) was born in Ontario on 10-Oct-1871 and Mercie Belle (OGDEN) FROHMAN was born 12-Mar-1878, also in Ontario. So the OGDENs arrived in Michigan some time between Oct. 1871 and Aug. 1874. They went back to Canada some time between Aug. 1874 and Mar. 1878.

I have not been able to find any Michigan state census records for Lenawee County in that time span that woul provide more information. I did find an 1874 plat map for Deerfield Township in Lenawee County. Unfortunately, I can't find the Ogdens on it.

Once again answering one question just raises more questions.

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