Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Collateral Relatives

The question was recently asked:  How do you prove a collateral relative for a lineage society?

In very rare circumstances are collateral relatives accepted in to a lineage society.  However, the Society of Civil War Families of Ohio does allow collateral relatives:  brothers, uncles, etc.  The collateral relative must be from your direct line.

I have no direct ancestors that served in the Civil War.  The closest that I can get is the first husband of my great-grandmother and he is not my direct ancestor line.  I descend from my great-grandmother's second marriage.  Therefore, I have no claim to a Civil War soldier.

On the other hand, my husband - who has no true interest in genealogy - has ancestors that have fought in every war this country has fought!  Is life fair?  This year I am working on an application for one of my husband's collateral relatives for the Society of Civil War Families of Ohio (SCWFO).  The individual I am working on was the brother of my husband's great-grandmother.  Now, how do I document that.

What information do I have?  I have the 1850 census showing the parents and children in the home.
This shows Henry H. Blanchett, age 45, born in England; Elizabeth Blanchett, age 46, born in England (we say this is his wife);  Elizabeth A. Blanchett, age 19, born in England (my husband's great-grandmother); Emma J. Blanchett, age 17, born in England; Henry W. Blanchett, age 14, born in Ohio; Charles E. Blanchett, age 9, born in Ohio (the Civil War Soldier) and Charles J. Blanchett, age 42, born in England.

We know that the 1850 census does not give us relationships.  It gives us members of the household.  In looking up the instructions for the enumerators we find the following:

3. Under heading 3, entitled, "The name of every person whose usual place of abode on the 1st day of June, 1850, was in this family," insert the name of every free person in each family, of every age, including the names of those temporarily absent, as well as those that were at home on that day. The names of every member of a family who may have died since the 1st day of June is to be entered and described as if living, but the name of any person born since the 1st day of June is to be omitted. The names are to be written beginning with the father and mother; or if either, or both, be dead, begin with some other ostensible head of the family; to be followed, as far as practicable, with the name of the oldest child residing at home, then the next oldest, and so on to the youngest, then the other inmates, lodgers and borders, laborers, domestics, and servants.

Based on the above paragraph, we could then assume that Henry H. Blanchett is the father and head of the household; Elizabeth is the wife and mother; Elizabeth A.and Emma are daughters; Henry and Charles E are sons.  Charles J. Blanchett would be another relative and in fact is a brother to Henry H. Blanchett.

Do we take this as proof of relationship?  Will the judge of the lineage society accept it as proof of relationship?  Probably not, in answer to both questions.  So, what's our next step.

I have a letter written by a 3rd party to Henry H. Blanchett telling him that his son is in a hospital in Washington, D.C. extremely ill with typhoid malaria.  The letter does use the words "your son".  This would be considered a proof of relationship.

Unfortunately, Charles E. Blanchett dies a few short days later of his illness.  He is buried in Arlington Cemetery. 

I know the unit that Charles was assigned to and we have the names of his commanding officers.  There is no doubt that Charles was in the Civil War.

Was Charles the brother to Elizabeth A. Blanchett? 

We can go to the 1860 Census, which still shows Elizabeth A and Charles in the home of Henry and Elizabeth "Blanchard":

Unfortunately, there is no other known documentation to prove the relationship of brother and sister.  Elizabeth A. died in Michigan in 1867 after giving birth to her second set of twins.  Her death record does not list her parents.  There has been no obituary found for Henry or Elizabeth Blanchett who died in 1892 and 1891 respectively.  I have found no biographical history of this family.  The family bible we inherited has no family information within its pages.  The 1862 marriage record of Elizabeth to her husband, Reuben Cheney, only provides the names of the bride and the groom.

I will provide an Applicant's Statement presenting my case for the relationship of Charles and Elizabeth. 

I have not taken the steps to get the Civil War records of Charles E. Blanchett.  Perhaps that would give more information.  Perhaps it won't.

When specific documentation can not be found and you have supporting evidence to the facts or the occasion, you present what you have to the judges.  If you feel that more explanation is necessary, you can make an Applicant's Statement as to why you believe what you are presenting is factual.  It is then up to to the judge to approve or reject the application.