People or documents may present conflicting views of a family. Do you have conflicts? This article will demonstrate how the maiden name of my second great grandmother was identified. Dunham, Hickok and Hempton surnames provide equally strong cases for Jane’s maiden name. Loose paper found in our family Bible reads “Jane A. Dunham Couch Born Rome N.Y. Nov. 26, 1823. Died April 27, 1906.” Ethel Hickok [see photograph] spent many hours with our family attempting to identify Jane as born a Hickok and married a Dunham. The death certificate for Carrie Couch, who died in 1927, identifies Hempton as her mother’s maiden name. None of these sources are primary sources. Look for multiple different sources, closest to the event and learn the history of the documents.
Every surname has validity in this family story. Working from the most current backwards, start with Hempton on Carrie’s death certificate. Carrie was Jane’s daughter. Carrie went into the hospital for emergency surgery and died the July 4, 1927. My grandmother, Carrie’s aunt, provided family historical information for the death certificate. Grandmother knew the Hempton name as a relative, assumed this would be correct. With the situational stress, she did not have time to search for family records. My family research has located Louisa Dunham Hempton (1834-1913) in Cato, Wisconsin. Family connection, but not sure just how.
What is the Hickok connection? After my photograph of Aunt Sarah Dunham showed up online in family trees, I searched for a relationship. Sarah Dunham Hickok (1921-1911) lived in Cato, Wisconsin. Sarah’s husband Alanson died in 1875. Could my “Aunt Sarah” have reverted to her maiden name? Louisa Hempton and Sarah Hickok lived in Cato, Wisconsin. They were sisters! Death certificates, Bible records, court and census records document William F. Dunham and Sarah Metcalf as their parents. My search added Lindsey William Dunham and Louisa Dunham Boyden to this family. Lindsey W. and Jane A. worked together in Oneida County, New York in 1844. What is their relationship?
Three of Jane’s children married, Eugene (1874), Lewis (1883) and George (1883); Dunham is the mother’s maiden name on two applications. Lewis was married in Ottawa, Illinois. The Illinois State Board of Health form for Lewis provides the mother’s maiden name as Jane A. Dunham. George married in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. On George’s marriage form, the mother’s name before marriage is Jane Denham [Dunham]. Two marriage forms provide the maiden name Dunham. Eugene died in 1925; Jane Dunham of Rome, New York is listed on his death certificate. Mrs. Eugene Couch, his wife, is the informant. The two marriage applications are the earliest records. Jane was living at the time of her children’s weddings. Eugene was married first. Since both Couch families lived in Seneca, Illinois, Laura, Eugene’s wife, would have known his parents. Carrie’s probate record (1927) states her parents were married only once. This information, if correct, would eliminate the Hickok theory. The Hempton name is 20 years after Jane’s death. My conclusion fits the model for attempting to sort out conflicting evidence, look for multiple different sources, closest to the event and learn the history of the documents. My theory, Dunham is Jane’s maiden name.
Comments, questions or research suggestions – ALL facts used in the case study have been documented by me – contact Selma Blackmon, thank you.