As I get towards the end of this project, #39 of 52, I find that I’m starting to run into the people I have scarce information on. My 3rd great-grandfather is one of them. Like Daniel Bonser, another 3rd great-grandfather, I see that most of my information about William comes from census information. Let’s run through it then!
I found William as a 27-year-old on the 1850 U.S. census listed with his name and not just as a tick mark in a column as in pre-1850 censuses. Given his age, William was born around 1823. William’s parents were William C. (65) and Sarah (58). His siblings were Lucinda (23), John (21) and Mary (18). I am assuming all the relationships listed here as this census does not tell how they are related. The family was living in Vernon, Sussex County, New Jersey. Looking at the ages of everyone, this was a pretty mature household with the children being of age to marry and set up their own homesteads.
In his own household was exactly where William was in 1860. William (35) had married Elizabeth Card in 1864 and they immediately started their family. Young persons Ira W. (7) and Mary I. (5) were listed in the same household. Again, I am assuming all the relationships listed but I have documents related to Ira that show his parents were indeed William and Elizabeth. William was working as a farmer and they were living in rural West Milford, Passaic County, New Jersey. Also living in the household was an 18-year-old laborer, most likely a farm hand helping with the chores.
William, now 45 years old, was found in the 1870 census in Hardyston Township, Sussex County, New Jersey. He was working as a laborer. William and Elizabeth’s household had grown to six children: three from the previous census, Ira (17), Mary (15), and Coursen (12) and three new to this census Warren (10), Martha (7) and George (1). Later in life, Ira purchased his own farm. I’m sure working together long hours with his father in the fields gave him the experience he needed to strike out with his own farm.
The 1880 U.S. census shows William again working as farmer. He was still living in Hardyston Township. William (55) was listed with wife (relationships are delineated in this census) Elizabeth (44) and son Coursen (21), son Warren (19) and young daughter Mallie B. (4). Their other children, Ira and Mary, were living in their own households by this time. It is unclear what had become of Martha and George who were listed in the 1870 census.
I believe that William passed away around 1898 at the age of 73. Since the 1890 census was destroyed in a fire, it is not known where William was living before his death. Some further information is needed to confirm that death date. I need to find some sort of death record for William and to locate his burial site. If you’ve seen his burial site or tombstone or obituary, feel free to contact me or leave a comment [dad?]!
 1850 U. S. census, Sussex County, New Jersey, population schedule, Vernon, p. 65B, dwelling 347, family 358, William Strait; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 17 November 2011); citing NARA microfilm publication M432, roll 464.
 1860 U. S. census, Passaic County, New Jersey, population schedule, West Milford, p. 9 (penned), dwelling 57, family 54, William Strait; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 17 November 2011); citing NARA microfilm publication M653, roll 706.
 Membership application, Jodi Strait-Shutts, National no. 855323, on John Angle (1725-1784, New Jersey), approved 06 October 2007; National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, Office of the Registrar General, Washington, D.C.
 1870 U. S. census, Sussex County, New Jersey, population schedule, Hardyston Township, p. 37 (penned), dwelling 289, family 292, William Strait; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 17 November 2011); citing NARA microfilm publication M593, roll 889.
 1880 U. S. census, Sussex County, New Jersey, population schedule, Hardyston, ED 178, p. 5 (penned), dwelling 38, family 39, William Strait; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 17 November 2011); citing NARA microfilm publication T9, roll 798.
This post begins with some of my great-grandmother Anna (Karthaeuser) Repsher’s family records.
According to this handwritten sheet, Daniel (I will discuss the fact that I have Daniel as his name where this has James a bit later) was the second husband of Emmaline whose first husband was John Heckman.
Emmaline and John had four children with Heckman as a surname:
Emmaline then married Daniel and they had four children with Bonser as a surname:
- Caroline (my 2nd great-grandmother: wp.me/p4WHi0-4Y)
Don’t be fooled by the handwriting (shown above), James Bonser’s middle name was not Bachelor, that just means he was never married!
I started my search for James by working backwards from my 2nd great-grandmother, Caroline. During previous research, I had found her in the 1860 U.S. Census as a 2-year-old with parents Daniel (37) and Emmeline (35). Caroline’s siblings were Joseph (7) and Sally (5). The family is residing in Tunkhannock, Monroe County, Pennsylvania.
Emmline’s children, John and Lydia, by her husband John are not listed. Perhaps her son John was old enough to be employed on someone else’s farm by this time or perhaps both John and Lydia were deceased before 1860.
There is a disconnect with her father’s name of James really being Daniel. However, all the other family members fit nicely with the handwritten sheet pictured above so I believe the name James was an error. Also, this particular handwritten sheet is not in the same format as the other family group sheets.
Searching for the family in the 1870 census finds them living in Jackson, Monroe County, Pennsylvania. In the household are Daniel (45) and Emmaline (40) along with children Caroline(12), Anne (9), Malinda (7), Lewis (4) and 1/2 sister Sally who is listed with the surname of Heckman (15). That means Caroline, Anna and Lewis match the above information about the second marriage but Malinda does not. Also, James is not listed.
The 1880 census finds the family living back in Tunkhannock. Daniel (54) and wife Emmaline (50) are listed with two sons, Lewis (14) and James (9). No other children are present.
As a recap, we now have the following children/stepchildren listed in census information associated with Daniel and Emmaline:
Comparing the censuses with the handwritten list of eight yields the following discrepancies:
- John Heckman was on the list but never found in a census
- Lydia Heckman was on the list but never found in a census
- Malinda Bonser was not on the list but found in a census
Since there are no population schedules (lost in a fire) for the 1890 census, Daniel is not found in the next census in 1900 but Emmaline (70) was found as a widowed mother-in-law. She is living with her daughter, Ann, in the Newhart household with plenty of children surrounding them. This would mean the Daniel died between 1880 and 1900.
Interestingly, Emmaline has listed on the 1900 census that she has had eleven children, six of whom are still living in 1900. Since I have seven (Joseph, Sally, Caroline, Anna, Malinda, Lewis and James) identified from the census information and two (John and Lydia) more from the handwritten sheet, there are still two more children to discover.
Writing this particular post shows me that I have some significant research tasks to perform relating to Daniel. My research on him is limited to census information and some family records. There are other sources I need to explore to fill in some of the blanks for him, all along the hatched, matched, and dispatched line!
- Find a birth record
- Find Daniel’s parents
- Find a marriage certificate for Daniel and Emmaline
- Find an obituary
- Find Daniel and Emmaline’s grave marker
- Find a death certificate
 1860 U. S. census, Monroe County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Tunkhannock Township, p. 147 (penned), dwelling 887, family 942, Daniel Bonser; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 25 June 2006); citing NARA microfilm publication M653, roll 1142.
 1870 U. S. census, Monroe County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Jackson, p. 8 (penned), dwelling 49, family 55, Daniel Bonser; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 21 June 2015); citing NARA microfilm publication M593, roll 1376.
 1880 U. S. census, Monroe County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Tunkhannock, ED 229, p. 421 (stamped), dwelling 39, family 45, Daniel Bonser; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 03 October 2015); citing NARA microfilm publication T9, roll 1157.
 1900 U. S. census, Monroe County, Pennsylvania, population schedule, Lower Towamensing, ED 11, p. 14B (penned), dwelling 279, family 300, Jacob Newhart; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed 03 October 2015); citing NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 1390.