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Ask the Experts . . . Howard and Jean Merrill

  Answers to Ask the Experts | 2010 August (6 answers)

Subject: Re: Merrill family - Myron Merrill
Date: Sat, August 2, 2010 8:17p

Question: Trista Merrill wrote:


My name is Trista Merrill and I've been working on the family tree - and have run into a bit of a snag on the Merrill Line. This is what I have: My father is Gary Merrill, still alive. His father is William George Merrill, Sr. (6/12/21 - 7/16/09, Gloversville, NY). His father is Ernest Edward Merrill b. 3/30/1893 (Northville, NY), d. unsure. He married Blanche E. Kenyon (daughter of Calvin Kenyon and Sarah M. Cady Kenyon) on 10/05/1916. Ernest's parents were George Orrin Merrill (9/19/1870 in Johnstown, NY - 09/09/1942 in Northville, NY) and Nettie Elizabeth Tooley - they married on 12/31/1891. Her parents were James Tooley and Lydia Jane Washburn. She was born on 7/9/1871 in Amsterdam, NY and died on 1/30/1950. George Orrin Merrill's parents were Myron Bernie Merrill (11/30/1850 - 8/7/1943) and Mary Jane Godfrey (b. unknown - Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, d. 10/28/1925) - they married on 11/19/1869. And that is where the tree just stops. I can find no record in my grandfather's things of where the Merrill line goes from there and the dates don't seem quite old enough for me to link to the early roots of the Merrill name. Can you help? I can provide more information on siblings and so forth if that is needed. I'm also happy to provide all the information I have gathered to your database if there is anything you don't already have.

Thank you, Trista Merrill

Answer: Trista:

We corresponded back in 2004 answering a Genforum query. At that time, we had determined that Myron was the son of James, 1793, VT, and Melinda (__?__). In the 1870 census, Myron and his new bride Mary (Godfrey), both 19, were with his mother, Melinda, 61, in North Hampton, Fulton, NY.  We did not know who James belonged to,  but had speculated that Melinda might be the 2nd wife of James (7), 1793 Apr 16, son of Nathaniel (6) and Eunice Thompson.  Because, in the 1850 census, Sylvia A, 12, James's daughter by his 1st wife, Rhoda Jane Lamb,  is with James and Melinda and their two young children, we now belive this speculation to be true. Rhoda and some of her other children were living in Keene, Essex, NY, so we assume James and Rhoda were divorced.

This would make your lineage: Trista (13), Gary D (12), William G (11),  Ernest E (10), George O (9), Myron B (8), James (7), Nathaniel (6), Nehemiah (5), Nathaniel (4,3,2,1).  It may take a couple of days to pull it together, but we can send you a Genealogy Report covering details of your line from immigrant Nathaniel (1) down to you.

We would appreciate your checking these details, and if there are any errors or if you have additional information on the Merrill siblings, particularly of the later generations, please let us know, so we can add it to our database.

While DNA testing cannot tell you for sure whose father Myron's father was, testing of your father or your brother, James, may comfirm your descent from immigrant Nathaniel. The DNA associated with the male Y-chromosome is passed, essentially unchanged from father to son, to grandson over many, many generations, tens or hundreds.  So far, about 30 descendants of Nathaniel have been tested and, barring an adoption or other non-parental event, all the results match.

Howard and Jean Merrill

Subject: Re: Merrill family - Nathaniel (7) Merrill
Date: Sun, August 8, 2010 6:25p

Question: Laura Cholod wrote:


I had asked a question about a month ago and you were very helpful about an Ormand Merrill in North Conway, NH. I have met with the historian at the Conway library. Fascinating research! I am now trying to find some information on a Merrill Farm in Maine that connects back to my ancestors in Conway, NH. I have found that a Nathaniel Merrill born July 10, 1788 and died August 1, 1870, son of Thomas Merrill Jr. had a farm out in Gray, Maine. Nathaniel married Olive Hart Plaisted from Portsmouth, NH. They had 3 children: William P. Merrill, George, and Elizabeth. William P. Merrill became a reverand in Falmouth Maine at the Congregational church. I am trying to connect these Merrills with a Karl Merrill who sold the Merrill Farm in 1960. I have made copies of an old diary from the archives at the library so I am reading this old hand-writing as best as I can. It was writted by James Jackson in 1894(grandson of Thomas Merrill Jr. who married Hannah Ambrose (step-sister). Any help with the Maine Merrills would be very appreciated!!

Thanks so much! Laura

Answer: Laura:

Yours is an interesting problem.  You are correct that Nathaniel, 1788 is the son of Thomas (6) and Hannah Ambrose of Conway.  Nathaniel lived on his farm in Gray until his death Aug 1 1870. He was listed there in 1850, 60, and 70. He and Olive Plaisted actually had six children, but three d. in childhood. Olive d. before 1850 and he m. 2nd Ann (Garcelon) Jones in 1851 [ no children] and she d. before 1870.

Son George Pomeroy 1823, m. 1845 Eliza Jane McCallar and the had a daughter, Georgia, 1846 in Bath ME, who m. 1864, Henry Fellows. George became a Ship Captain and d. 1851 May 14 in Lewes DE.

 Son, William Plaisted, 1821, m. 1846 Martha Marie Barbour, and they had two daughters who both d. young. In addition to his ministerial duties, he was a bookkeeper and Sec-Treas. of a telegraph Co. He d.  Falmouth, 1899 Aug 14.

Daughter Harriet Elizabeth, 1833, m. 1858 Mar 16, a Joseph Merrill of Gray, b. ca 1833 and they had Mary C, ca 1859. They are listed in Minot, Androscoggin, ME in 1860. Harriet Elizabeth d. 1862 Mar 16.  We are pretty sure this Joseph  is Joseph S (7), 1832 July_, who m. 1865 Ellen Harris in Minot.  His lineage is: Joseph S (7), Robert (6), Joseph (5), James (4), Nathan (3), Abel (2), Nathaniel (1).  In 1870, Joseph and Ellen were in Portland living next door to William Plaisted.  Mary C was not with him. He was in Denver CO in 1880 and 1900.

What is so vexing is how Nathaniel's farm came into the hands of Karl Herbert (10) Merrill, b. 1900 Sep 1 in Gray, son of George Edwin (9) And Mary Ellen (8) Merrill.  Karl's lineage through his father is George E (9), George T (8), John (7), John T, (6), John (5), Samuel (4), Moses (3), Daniel (2), Nathaniel (1). Karl's lineage through his mother's side is Mary Ellen (8, John A P (7), Reuben (6,5), Adams (4), James (3), Abel (2), Nathaniel (1). With either of these lineages you have to all the way back to immigrant Nathaniel (1) to have a common ancestor with your line or Nathaniel (7) of Gray. 

So there does NOT seem to be a close ancestral connection between Karl (10)and Nathaniel (7). Perhaps Karl's ancestor bought the farm at auction after Nathaniel's death. That was a common means of disposing of property when a land owner died and left no descendants, or none that were interested in keeping the property. I know that is how my folks bought our farm in NH, ca 1927.  A search of land records might show how the farm came into Karl's family.

This does not answer the question of how the farm came to Karl, but does eliminate a family inheritance. Hope this helps,

Howard and Jean Merrill

Subject: Re: Merrill family - Charles S (9) Merrill
Date: Fri, August 21, 2010 2:00p

Question: Wende Ann Merrill-Collins wrote:

I am currently researching the Merrills on my father's side of the family. They resided in York County, New Brunswick, Canada. My earliest result shows Stephen Merrill (1832-1907) was the son of Abegail Merrill (b.1798). It is believed she came from Maine. Is there a connection? If so, I would be glad to provide our links to the Merrill family tree in North America.

Answer: Wende Ann:

Your Stephen 1832 is in our "Lineage Unknown" file.  He was listed in the 1881 census for Stanley, York, NB and had his 82 year old mother, Abigail, with him.  We do not have access, on line, to the earlier Canadian census which might give Abigail's husband's name and indicate whether or not he was b. in Canada or was from the US, probably ME or MA.  Many loyalists left the US for Canada after the Revolutionary War.  So far we have not been able to make a connection between Stephen and the Merrills of ME and MA who were descended from original immigrant, Nathaniel, 1601-1655, who came to Newbury MA in 1639.

 Neither have we been able to make connection between Stephen with another NB Merrill family, that of Marriner Wood Merrill, a contemporary of Stephen, who became a Mormon Prophet.  He was in Sackville, NB.  For many years his descendants have tried to link that family to that of Nathaniel, but recent DNA studies have shown that the two families are not in any way related.

The DNA test on a simple saliva swab is one way to determine if Stephen was related to Nathaniel. The DNA associated with the male Y-chromosome is passed from father to son, essentially unchanged, over many, many generations, tens or hundreds.  So if a male Merrill descendant of Stephen were tested and his DNA pattern matched that of the thirty or so  descendants of Nathaniel that have been tested, it would indicate he was also descended from Nathaniel.  Nathaniel's descendants share a very rare DNA pattern.  Conversley, if his pattern matched that of the the descendants of Marriner Wood that have been tested, it would indicate that he had a common ancestor with Marriner Wood.  The DNA test is run by several laboratories and usually runs about $150, but often they have a Holiday Special near the end of the year for about $120.  The DNA results would be applicable to brothers, cousins, so several interested relatives could share the cost.

We have a good bit of information on Stephen's descendants from a correspondent in Australia, b. in NB, but we would be very interested in how you descend from Stephen. Let's start with that, then we can go into more detail later on.

Howard and Jean Merrill

Subject: Re: Merrill family - Stephen Merrill, 1832, NB
Date: Sat, August 21, 2010 7:54a

Question: Laura Cholod wrote:

Have been trying to find out what happened to Charles S. Merrill, born March 16, 1871 in Conway, NH. His parents were Leroy S. Merrill, born December 7, 1832 and Fannie Perkins, born January 1, 1837. I cannot find any date or place of death or if he had any children. I saw that he did marry a Lydia who died shortly thereafter. I am descended from his brother, Archer. Since all of their siblings: Emmie, Myra, Harry and Albert died young and had no children, this Charles would be the closest relative to us and any of his descendants if he had any. Thank you for any help you can offer. Laura

Answer: Laura:

Our ME death records only go to 1924, so we do not have a death record for Charles S or his wife Lydia E Richardson [b. ca 1875 Limerick ME, m. 1894 July 23 in South Portland]. They were still both living in Portland in 1920, but we didn't find either of them in 1930.  They did have a son, Albert Rogers, b. 1895 Sep 12 in S Portland.  We didn't find him registering for the US army draft in 1917, but we did find him aboard the USN ship USS Pittsburgh in 1920, age 24 b. Portland.  He m. 1931 Nov 11 Florence P Bennett in South Portland.  From the SSDI we find he d. 1970 Nov 4, age 75 in Portland.  With this date you might be able to find an obit to see if he had any children. We haven't looked. The only Florence in the SSDI that is even close to his age was b. 1886 Apr 2 and d. 1979 Jul, with last benefit going to Portland.  But she could have d. before about 1965 which is about as early as SS death records are computerized and on line.  The ME dept of vital statistics in Augusta would have record of her d.  If she is the one b. 1886, she would have been 45 when she m. and unlikely to have had children.

Howard and Jean Merrill

Subject: Re: Merrill family - Viola B Merrill Welch
Date: Fri, August 27, 2010 9:53a

Question: Anthony Slocum wrote:

my grandfather leroy welsh's mother was violet merrill of portland maine area. trying to find out about greatgrandmother violet merrill. her son leroy welsh was born in the year 1900. so i would think she was born in the late 1800s.

thank you for any info

Answer: Anthony:

It is Viola B Merrill [not Violet], b. 1881 Dec,  that m. 1897 Jan 5, Robert F Welch, [b. 1877 Apr] in Augusta, Kennebec, ME, and had Leroy F Welch, in Jan. 1900 in Augusta [not Portland].  In 1900, Viola, Robert and Leroy Welch were with her parents, Melville A (8) and Martha A (Haskell) Merrill in Augusta.  Melville A (8)'s lineage is Enoch (7), John (6), Abel (5), John (4), Nathan (3), Abel (2), immigrant  Nathaniel (1), who came to Newbury MA in 1639 from Wherstead, Suffolk, England.. More details are available.

Howard and Jean Merrill

Subject: Re: Merrill family - Elizabeth Merrill Giddings
Date: Sat, August 28, 2010 4:22p

Question: Judith R Williams wrote:


I hope you can help with my brick wall. The parents of my 2nd great grand mother, Elizabeth Merrill, who was born 18 Dec 1846 in Indiana & died 27 May 1909 in North Carolina. She married James Rudolph Giddings in Jennings County, Indiana on 18 Nov 1866. I believe her to be the daughter of Mary Ann Susan Johnson & John Merrill who were married 10 Sep 1840 in Jennings county, Indiana. John's descent (Benjamin Smith (By the way who is Benjamin Smiths wife?), Samuel, Capt. Benjamin). John was born abt 1814 in Indiana & died in 1853 in Jennings County, Indiana. Is Elizabeth in your data base???

Thank you so much, Jude

Answer: Judith:

We do not have your Elizabeth listed, as such, in our database.  If she is the daughter of John Francis (6) and Mary Ann Susan Johnson, she must be Elizabeth Jane, because in the 1850 census the daughter of John, 38, and Mary Ann, 35, of about her age is named Jane, age 5. There are no Elizabeth Merrills, ca 1846, listed in Jennings Co IN in 1850 nor in 1860, although she obviously was there in 1866, and m. as Elizabeth Merrill.  We could not find the family in 1860 in Jennings Co.  The only Merrills in Jennings Co were were two families of  cousins.

  John Francis's widow, Mary Ann, was only 38 in 1853 when John Francis died, leaving her with at least three children under ten, so it is likely that she remarried.  Assuming she remarried, her Merrill children, might be listed in the 1860 census under their stepfather's surname.  Exploring that possibility, we searched for all the Marys in Jennings Co in 1860.  Mary Ann was listed as b. IN in 1850. Of the 41 Marys in Jennings Co in 1860, only 8 were b. IN. We looked at the families of each of these families. None had an Elizabeth, Eliza, Jane or the names of any of Mary Ann's other children. Since Elizabeth m. in Jennings Co, we did not check neighboring counties.

We did find in 1870, James Giddings, 24, IN, in Bigger Twp,  Jennings, IN [where John Francis d.], with Elizabeth, 23; Laura, 2; Lewis, 1; and James, 2/12. b. Apr, all b. IN. Do you have a copy of the m.  liscence or certificate?  It would be interesting to see see who signed or witnessed the document, a Merrill, or her stepfather?

We believe the Benjamin Smith Merrill, ca 1833, also in Bigger Twp, Jennings, IN in 1870, [and 1860] to be the son Azariah (6), brother of John Francis, and not Benjamin, the son of John Francis.

Sorry we are not able to positively your Elizabeth as a child of John Francis (6) and Mary Ann. John Francis (6)'s lineage is Benjamin Smith (5), Samuel (5), Capt Benjamin (3), William (2,1).  Benjamin Smith (5)'s wife was Lucy Dunham [or Durham].  If you have other information or documentation that indicates that Elizabeth's name was Elizabeth Jane, or even Elizabeth  J, that would pretty much clinch that this supposition was correct..

Howard and Jean Merrill


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