Friday, August 23, 2013

The Big Vaughan Family Surprise

So. Benjamin Brown Vaughan likes to play hide-n-seek. That's fine 'cause I do too. Bring it, Benji.

And we now know what ultimately happened to Susanna. Sorta. Well, we know the result, just not the details.

And we know all sorts of things about Benjamin's father's life at church, specifically St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

And we have a hunch that Benjamin and Susanna had had a 4th child. {Definitely need more evidence about that, though.}

To be perfectly clear about the church records that I consulted {Read: Pored over with intense delight.}, I did look at and record much more than what I mentioned in my post yesterday. I condensed it down in to a more readable story-like format.

But I also wanted to explain a little more about the Parish Register and how it was organized because I think that it contributes to the story. Now, this Parish Register was a pre-printed book that came with pre-printed instructions on how to fill-out and use the book for the parish. This is integral for understanding how to read the book now in 2013. It has marks in columns throughout the book and the key for those is in the front with the instructions. So please don't think I skippity-do-dahed my way through the microfilm in search of surnames and dates. I did not. I read it and understood exactly what all the marks meant. It also helps that other than the first 3 years of my life when I was Catholic, I've been an Episcopalian. Can't say I'm a "lifer" but I'm close. And being so, made reading the church history compiled and written at the beginning of the Parish Register all the more interesting because it didn't gloss over the difficulties and politics of the Parish.

After the instructions and the history in the Parish Register, are some smaller lists like founders, pewholders, tithers, and the like. Then the larger listing of records begins with sections titled Families, Baptisms, Confirmations, Marriages, and Burials. The book then ends with an index.

The Vaughan family, as a whole or so I thought, shows up on page 20 indicating when the family was received into the church and also indicating whether each had been received, baptized, confirmed, died, and whether or not they were a communicant in good standing. {All important but especially that last one for being a member on the vestry. I know because my Dad was always on the Vestry, and even my husband has been on one in an Episcopalian Church.} Presumably and usually all the family members would be listed here with their family.

However, as I mentioned yesterday, I still looked for an Index for all these sections, which seemed like a good idea to do before flipping through all the pages in each section looking for Vaughan family members {and allied family members}. To my surprise, I found Susanna, Prudence, Daniel, Alice, and Rachel all listed in the index. Then when I looked them up under burials and baptisms and saw the dates for the events, that's when I quickly timelined the events and concluded that this kind of indicates a "rush job" of sorts. They weren't ever listed in the front under the family. If Benjamin and Susanna had worshiped there, they would have had a Family Entry either with his father {doubtful} or as a separate family {more likely because he was an adult then}.

And IF Benjamin and Susanna worshiped elsewhere {Which Susanna's burial entry, if correct, indicates she had been baptized, confirmed, and a communicant in good standing but, obviously, I'm doubting it was at St. Luke's.}, then that would explain why they aren't here but she has had the appropriate events marked on her burial entry. But? If they had worshiped elsewhere, why weren't their children already baptized? Why did their grandparents need to get that done? And if they worshiped elsewhere, it wasn't Episcopalian because this is the only Episcopal church around for a ways. And the fact that the 3 older kiddos were baptized in a private ceremony as opposed to physically at St. Luke's is remarkable as well. However, the baby, Rachel, is physically baptized at St. Luke's 3 days before her burial.

Also, page 20 where the Family is listed {or, at least, it all should be listed} is microfilmed twice. Why? Because there was a note in the book. SO the fantabulous microfilmers decided to INCLUDE the note. And the note pertains to the Vaughan family. {I obviously have pleased the genealogy gods and goddesses.}

And that's when I realized that Rachel DOES appear in the family listing. It's just under the name Roselia Vaughan and a birth month and birth year with the birth year being wrong, or so I think -- April 1850. However, on the note it indicates Rachel Roselia was born April 1851, which matches her age at death recorded in her burial entry. {And why didn't anyone know her DAY of birth?} Plus? Alice was born in March of 1850 so I think {and I could be wrong} that when they were copying the information from the note to the book, they had an oopsy.

Now, Prudence, Daniel, and Alice are listed on here as well with their birthdates {Daniel's off by a year, I think. Or maybe everything else I have is wrong.} as well as the whole Vaughan family's info. SO this tells me this "note" was written on in at least 2 different time periods -- 1840 when John T. Vaughan and his family is received into the church as well as in 1851-1852 when the 4 kiddos are baptized and when Susanna and Rachel are buried. Even John T's marriage date to his 2nd wife Hester up in Canada is written here and NOWHERE ELSE in this book. {Jealous, much?}

And why for goodness' sakes is this the ONLY note microfilmed? {Notice I didn't say it's the only one in the book because I don't know that, now do I?} I dunno. But? I'm not looking a gift horse in the mouth. Duh.

And while Benjamin is listed on this note with all his siblings and his mother, Prudence (Brown) Vaughan {John T.'s first wife who died up in Canada} and he appears in the Family section with them as well, he's nowhere else in this book. I know because I looked at and read all these handwritten records.

Dude is just missing as far as St. Luke's Church is concerned. {Really would love to read the Vestry Meeting Minutes for these time periods. Perhaps a special circumstance would have needed to have been voted and/or decided upon by the vestry.} Further, Benjamin and Susanna are in with their 3 oldest children in Ypsilanti in the 1850 census. Benjamin doesn't have an occupation listed but he does, supposedly, own $300 worth of real estate. And then in 1860, Daniel is living with Susanna's mother {Margaret Barbara Rook} and Susanna's 2 sisters and a brother; Prudence is living with a family across the border in Ohio about 18 miles from her father's brother and his family; and Alice is nowhere to be found in Michigan and Ohio. But, interestingly, Alice is NOT living with her grandparents, John T. and Hester Vaughan there in Ypsilanti. Nor is she living with Susanna's older brother Daniel Rook and his family there in Ypsilanti. Alice is later found married and with children, but her early life and upbringing are a mystery to me.

So my thoughts on Benjamin is that something had happened to him. He's the last of the "them" that needs to be found. I kinda was thinking he, perhaps, had died.

Until some cousins of mine {1st cousins} found me on Facebook and said they thought their dad {my Uncle} had had some pics of Daniel in his Civil War uniform. SO they found the flash drive with the scanned old pics and? Not only did they have Daniel in his Civil War uniform, but they had pics of Alice {Daniel's younger sister} and some other folks. And? Alice had written on the backs of these photos which had been scanned as well.

And one of those "other" folks? Benjamin. That's right. Benjamin Brown Vaughan. SURPRISE!
Benjamin Brown Vaughan

Daniel Rook Vaughan

Alice Barbara (Vaughan) Parsons

So, there you go. Benjamin is finally revealed. Just not the details I was looking for. But? Again, with a gift horse, it's best not to look in the mouth, eh?

The best part is that Alice wrote on the back of these photos and left me more research clues about herself, her aunt, and even one about her father, Benjamin. But? I'll explain all that in the next blog post. {I'm evil like that.}


Note: Sources available upon request because if you think we're related, then contact me at cmpointer [@] gmail [dot] com and we'll figure it out together.


  1. Oh this is just not fair!! You get all the genealogical goodies about your guy, and I am still wiping the sweat off my brow about not finding anything (yet)!! Cheers - wonderful findings - especially the hand-written details on the back of the photos. Wonderful photos, too. (envy).

  2. Great article! Wonderful pictures! So jealous:). Still waiting on my gift horse.....


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