I like to find ancestors with my birth date. It doesn’t happen very often but this week in #52Ancestors I get to come pretty close with Lillie Jones Weest. I also got to follow leads presented when the person I was searching for disappeared from one census family and appeared in another.
Lillie Jones was born on 6 August 1867 to Benjamin and Mary Elizabeth Carrell Jones in Pemberton, New Jersey. She was baptized in 1868 at Grace Episcopal Church in Pemberton.
In 1870, she is living with the Jones family in Pemberton but in 1880 she is living with someone who gives me a clue about her mother’s family!!!!
She is listed with a Joseph and Anna P. “Scraggy” and she her relationship to them is niece. I don’t know how I missed this the first time around but thank you #52Ancestors! This time I followed the lead as the Jones family is not linked to the Scraggy family. It turns out it is the Scroggy family. And Joseph is a Civil War veteran married to Anna P. Carrel. Could this be Mary Elizabeth’s sister? Joseph Scroggy is also enumerated in the 1885 New Jersey census with Annie P. and Lillie Jones.
I am not sure why Lillie is not living with her birth family but I can’t argue with the records. She is also with them in 1895. Thank goodness for state census records! They really fill the gap caused by the absence of the 1890 Federal Census. And this one presents another clue to the Carrel family: Eliza Carrel (aged over 60) is living with the Scroggy family as well as Lillie! Mary Carrell Jones’ mother’s name was Eliza.
Now a little sleuthing work because Lillie Jones disappears. A few newspaper leads on other family members lead me to the discovery that she married a man named George B. Weest. This name really confounds many database searches which seem to have been programmed to ignore double vowels: I got a lot of unrelated West returns. Lillie Weest appears in the 1910 Census in Pemberton living with husband George B. and daughter Mary. They are living with George’s mother and sister. Mary is noted as born in New York but I view this with suspicion as the record also shows her father is born in New York when two lines up he is clearly born in New Jersey.
I did find George in the 1900 Census, living alone in the town of Hampton, NY. This is right across the Vermont border from Poultney where a newspaper search shows that George has acquired a business. A little more sleuthing unearths the news that 1910 marked the return of the family to New Jersey from Vermont. In focusing on that I found that Mary was born in 1901 in Vermont according to her death certificate (dated 1957 in Pennsylvania from a brain tumor).
The family settled in Pemberton where George opens a machine shop. George died in 1937 about a month after their 37th wedding anniversary. I have yet to find a marriage record but a newspaper story confirms this date. And the newspaper is one of the best sources of information on Lillie, other than the Census. Mary was apparently active in the Burlington County community, attending her friends weddings and holding parties. Lillie is often noted as attending as well. In the 1940 Census their household consists of Lillie, Mary and a boarder named William Sullivan and in 1941 he married Mary.
Lillie Jones Weest died 2 January 1946 and is buried in Mount Holly Cemetery in Pemberton.
I was able to fill in many blanks as I worked on this entry for #52Ancestors but I still have questions, which is probably why this exercise is so important. I will continue to search for Lillie but one of my New Jersey relatives probably has several clues that will help fill in the blanks and now with this blog, they know what I want to know:
- why did Lillie go to live with her aunt and uncle? Too many Jones mouths to feed? Or was Anna frail and in need of help?
- did the marriage of George and Lillie occur in NY or Vermont?
- is there a better death notice than the tiny one that appears in the Philadelphia Inquirer?