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Saturday, February 5, 2011

Margaret ? becomes Margaret Jane Shartzer

In the 1860 census, my third great-grandmother Margaret is married to Charles Littrell. They live in Salem Virginia with their two children, John and Mary Ellen.

The 1870 census reveals that Charles had recently married Julia McMasters. Their blended family included a two year old child of their own named Edward. By the 1880 census the family had moved to Springfield Ohio.

Margaret's identity seemed to be lost until one day a clue appeared on FamilySearch. A Margaret Jane Littrell who had been married to Chas. W. Littrell died in 1867. The Family History Library had two films that offered possibilities for me to explore; # 33822 with Marriage Licenses and a Marriage Register, and # 33823 with a birth and death register. I rented both.

I looked at the marriages first. It was frustrating not to be able to find Charles's marriage to Margaret. But I did locate his marriage to Julia on November 21, 1866. Both were widowed. Charles was 32, born in Roanoke County Virginia. Twenty-seven year old Julia had been born in Rockbridge County. Charles' parents are listed as John and Catherine. The Dunker minister who married the couple was John Brubaker.

The birth and death register revealed multiple birth records for children born to Charles and (variations of spellings for) Margaret Jane. Seeing my second great-grandmother's birth in 1858 proved Margaret Jane was indeed my third great-grandmother. The birth record of their first child included Margaret Jane's maiden name - Shartzer.

Sadly I learned Margaret's fate within minutes of learning her name. She and two of her young children died of flux in July of 1867.

The Littrell plot thickens. How could Charles and Julia be married before Margaret died? The answer could be as simple as an error in transcription, but this is a question I hope to answer during my next visit to the FHC.

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