In my previous post about my great great grandfather's oldest brother, John B. Smith, I noted that after the 1850 census I was unable to track two of his siblings, Sarah Ann and William Henry. But with a bit of detective work, I have officially found the Smith family's only daughter, Sarah.
The first step on this journey began with a thought that maybe I should check Michigan death records on FamilySearch with the first name Sarah and the father's last name Smith. I had, of course, already checked many Michigan and Indiana databases using full names (George and Jane Smith, or George Smith and Jane Crakes) with no luck, so I decided to widen the net by dropping all but her maiden name. After all, I've run into incomplete or erroneous death certificate information many times as a result of informants who did not have the full knowledge of the deceased's life.
The second entry returned in the search was for a Sarah A. Tubbs, who had father Smith and no other parental information. She was born about 1838 in England according to her death date of 3 Sept 1902 and age of 64 years, and she was a widow who died in Bloomingdale in Van Buren county. Recalling my work with John for my previous post, he had been located in Van Buren county when he entered the Civil War for the second time. So, her death location lined up with where I knew at least one Smith relative to have lived at one point, and her birth information lined up too.
Because she had died in 1902, I knew the actual image of her death certificate was available at Seeking Michigan, which has Michigan death certificates from 1898 to 1920 on file. Pulling up the image, I got slightly more information than the index on FamilySearch could give me. She was first married at 27 years of age (about 1865) and had 2 of 4 children living. She was also widowed and her occupation was that of a dressmaker. She was born in England, and her parents Don't Know Smith and Don't Know were also both born in England. Her age was marked as 64 years, 4 months, and 1 day, which would give her a birth date of 2 May 1838. However, her birth date was marked down as 2 April and what appeared to be 1828. Which was correct?
Still a viable candidate for our Sarah Ann Smith despite a potential 1828 birth date, I decided to check the 1900 census to see if I could find her and give some collaboration to either the 1828 or 1838 birth year. I found a Sarah A. Tubbs living with son Watson Tubbs and his family in South Haven, Van Buren county. Also living with Watson was his brother Joseph and his wife and son. Watson and Joseph were both names of Sarah Smith's brothers, and she also had an uncle named Watson Crakes. Although not concrete, the use of the name Watson stuck with me as it is not a terribly common name. Feeling as though I could still be on the right track, I looked at Sarah's other census information. Born April 1837 (more in line with Sarah Smith's birth year) in England with parents born in England. She was a widow who had given birth to 4 children, 2 of whom were still living. It also stated she had come to the US in 1854. Of course, our Sarah Smith arrived in December of 1841 with her mother and two brothers, so this was either incorrect info or not my Sarah.
I've seen plenty of terrible immigration years in the census in my short 5 years of genealogy work, so I decided to venture on. The next step was to find Sarah in the 1880 census. In neighboring Allegan County (township of Casco) I found a Sarah A. Tubbs living with husband Kenneth and children Emmett and Joseph. Emmett was about the same age as Watson would have been...perhaps a middle name? And 5 year old Joseph was a similar age to the 26 year old Joseph of 1900. Sarah was listed as born in 1838 in England. I was confident this was the same family
Searching back further, I find Kenneth and Sarah Tubbs living in Casco in 1870 with 4 year old daughter Phoebe and two year old sons William and Watson. Perhaps Phoebe and William were the 2 children Sarah had lost by 1900. I could not find the family in 1860, and coupled with Phoebe's age I believed Kenneth and Sarah had married sometime in the 1863-1865 range.
Time to search the Michigan County Marriages collection on FamilySearch. I usually have to page through each image of this collection because it is not completely indexed yet, but I lucked out with Van Buren county this time and found a Kenneth Tubbs marrying a Sarah Ann Smith, who was born in 1838, on 2 November 1863. Clicking the accompanying image gave me the last bit of information that cemented Sarah Tubbs as being Sarah Ann Smith, daughter of English immigrants George Smith and Jane Crakes.
In the image, the Justice of the Peace testified that he had married Kenneth Tubbs of Grand Rapids and Sarah Ann Smith of the township of Geneva at the house of William Crakes in the presence of William Crakes and Frances Crakes. Crakes is not a common name, at all. In fact, all Crakes of this time period in the Indiana/Michigan area are related to the same family as Jane Crakes. So, here it was. Still no concrete proof, like her parents' names, but very, very strong circumstantial evidence. I'd take it to trial.
Convinced this is my Sarah, I collected some information about her family as well. Kenneth was born about 1835 in New York and worked as a farmer. Twins Watson Emmett Tubbs and William Emery Tubbs were born on 26 July 1869 in Casco. William died at age 6 on 18 April 1875 of an inflammation of his bladder. Less than 4 years later, at the age of 14, a Sarah Tubbs (Phoebe?) of Casco died of congestive chills. A Watson Tubbs married Letita Ringer in Cook County Illinois on 14 March 1891, and it appears likely this was Sarah's son Watson with whom she was living back in Van Buren County in the 1900 census. Kenneth died on Jun 12, 1886 in Ganges, Allegan County. He had served in Co. F of the 2nd Michigan Calvary. Joseph married Daisy Sibole on 4 Dec 1898 in Breedsville, Van Buren county.
Mystery solved. Now if I can just make myself sit down and enter all of these records into my database!