Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Just When Did He Die?

As part of my research into my own family tree I also look at the descendants of the siblings off of my direct line. In order to help me and others in their research I post my tree on Ancestry (and other sites). It isn't often that I get contacted by another researcher but just a couple of days ago I received this comment attached to Wharton Dunwood Barton, my 1st cousin 4 times removed:
"Wharton D. barton was married to my Great Aunt--Mary Curren. Mary was born at the English settlement on the Queens/King county line. She came from a large family. The 1901 Census has the couple living in Saint john but theres no further records. Mary died as a widow in early March 1945 and was buried on 3-13-1945 at Fernhill Cemetery.. Can`t determine when Wharton died and for some mysterious reason-no record shows up at the provincial Archives. He obviously died some time after 1901 and sometime before 1945. Let me know if you have an answer."
Up until that time I had only recorded details up to the 1881 census of Canada of Wharton and his siblings since I have been trying to focus on my direct lines. But with this query I figured I should look into what happened to Wharton.

The first step for me was to confirm the details that were provided. A check of the death registration index of New Brunswick, Canada found at the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick web site confirmed that she is a widow and her husband is listed as "Wharton D. Barton". Additionally the informant is listed as "Mrs. Mabel Hayes" of Torryburn, a sister of Mary Barton (this will be important later).

I did a search for any "W Barton" that died between 1901 and 1945. A record for a "W Dunwood Barton", 48 year old male born at The Narrows, of Torryburn that died on 19 Jan 1906 in Torryburn was one of those listed in the search results. It looked very promising but I wanted to make sure. So the next step was to fill in the blanks for both Wharton and Mary.

I checked the Daniel F Johnson's New Brunswick Newspaper Vital Statistics but no mention was made of either of them. A search of the Brenan's Funeral Home [MC793] collection only returned a result for Mary. Checking the New Brunswick Cemeteries index resulted in nothing found for either of them. So it was off to Ancestry to find the census records I had not yet recorded. I found Wharton and Mary in 1891 living next to Wharton's brothers and sisters and then in 1901 in Prince Ward of Saint John, New Brunswick. But then the trail for Wharton goes cold. I still had one more basic fact to locate and that was their marriage. I had previously purchased the "Queens County, New Brunswick, Marriage Registers, Books B and C, 1861-1887" from the Associates of the Provincial Archives to help me in my research of the various families connected to my lines from Queens County. In that book was the entry for Wharton's and Mary's marriage on 29 Jan 1885.

But I still had that cold trail for Wharton. So it was back to Ancestry to look for Mary Barton in the 1911 and 1921 census for Canada. I first found Mary in the 1921 census of Canada listed as a sister in law of H. P. Hayes living in Torryburn. H. P. Hayes had his wife listed as Mable Hayes. This was probably the same Mabel Hayes listed as the informant on Mary's death registration. But I couldn't find Mary in the 1911 census using the Ancestry transcription/index. So I looked for Mabel Hayes and there listed as a lodger was a "Mary Porton". Could this by Mary Barton? Since I don't trust transcriptions, even my own at times, I checked the image of the census page. It was the Mary Barton I was looking for ... sigh, yet another bad transcription. She is listed as a widow so we know now that Wharton had died between 1901 and 1911. It seems to be that the 1906 registration of death for W Dunwood Barton is the right one.

One thing I did for this bit of research was to keep a log of what I had found (or not found). It did really help to keep track of where I looked and what I looked for. Below is what I recorded in Evernote as I did my research.

2013 Nov 22:
  • Searched PANB online for Mary Barton death. Found and recorded details. Maiden surname, as written, is Curran
  • Searched PANB online for W Barton death. Found possible for W Dunwood Barton. Date lines up but still need to verify
  • Searched DFJ for mention of either person. No hits
  • Searched PANB Brennan Funeral Home. Found reference to Mary Barton with no additional details, no mention of W Barton
  • Searched PANB cemetery index, no mentions found for either
  • Search on Ancestry for records
    • Found 1891 census for Warton Dunwood Barton and wife Mary. Living next to his siblings in Queens County.
    • Found 1901 census for Wharton Barton and Mary living in Saint John, Prince Ward.
  • Checked Queens County Marriage Register Books B & C. Found marriage on 29 Jan 1885.
  • found grave marker for W Dunwood Barton at Listed as having died 18 Jan 1906.
  • Search on Ancestry for records
    • found in city directories up to 1900
    • found Mary Barton in 1921 census living in Simonds Parish with sister Mabel's family (Hayes), listed as sister-in-law, widowed
    • 1911 census: Searched on sister Mabel Hayes and found mis-transcribed name of Mary Barton, lodger, widowed, living in the same household
Based on these results, the PANB death registration for W Dunwood Barton is believed to be the correct record for Wharton Dunwood Barton.

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