I guess we all have ancestors that we single out for extra research. Mysteries that must be solved, clues that keep us awake at night, and that nagging sense that this person needs to be found; we’re not sure why.
For me one of those people is my gggg-grandmother, Lydia Miner Lamphere. Lydia was born around 1787. I don’t know who her parents were. She married Russell Lamphere in Preston, Connecticut in May, 1807. They spent their lives in Norwich, Connecticut (The Falls) and had 14 children. Lydia passed away on 18 Jan 1849 in Norwich Falls, Connecticut. I know what you’re thinking … just missed the 1850 Census, AND, just missed the 1850 Mortality Schedule which goes back 12 months from the census date, June 1.
I had assumed that Lydia was born in Stonington or North Stonington, Connecticut, the long-time stomping ground of the Miners. But in the 1880 Federal Census, two sons report that she was born in Rhode Island. That likely means Westerly or perhaps Hopkinton in southwestern Rhode Island. In fact, the Lampheres were also from Westerly.
I have no government or church VR’s for Lydia, but several decent sources. There is her marriage announcement in the Norwich Courier of 20 May 1807. I found this in GenealogyBank.com :
Lydia’s death notice in the Norwich Courier was indexed in the Hale Collection of Newspaper Marriage and Death Notices. I looked at the index on microfilm that I ordered at the local Family History Center. I knew the newspaper announcement wouldn’t give many more details than the index but I wanted it anyway. The Courier from 1849 is hard to find, so, checking in the Library of Congress’s “Chronicling America” “U.S. Newspaper Directory 1690 – present” I found the Courier for 1849 and drilled down to “view complete holdings information”. This showed me some rather old data about the libraries where those issues were held. But it worked, and I located that issue at the New London County Historical Society. The society allows you to purchase a copy of an article; I sent them a check and they emailed it to me. They were very nice to deal with. Here it is:
I think of her as MY Lydia Miner because I am always looking for her, but finding, instead, other Lydia Miners. The closest Lydia Miner I have found is the one born in Stonington, Conn. 24 Jan 1787 to Ludowick and Jerusha (Peabody) Miner. According to many, she married Paul B Maine on 6 Jun 1804, and died in Chenango, NY 4 Jul 1874. I have a list in my files of 8 other Lydia Miners that, likewise, didn’t make the cut.
The reason I say that Lydia and Russell had 14 children is a passage from a book called History of Floyd County, Iowa (1882) where their son Williard is memorialized:
Williard Lanphere, farmer, postoffice, Charles City; son of Russell and Lydia (Miner) Lanphere, natives of Connecticut, where they died. Williard was born Feb. 25, 1820, in Connecticut, where he was educated. He is one of a family of fourteen, and is the tenth child. He went to New York in 1836, remaining about seven years; thence to Ohio for a short time; thence to Wisconsin, and then to Iowa in 1852, and to Floyd County in 1856, where he entered land; he has now a farm of forty acres on section 24, Cedar Township. In 1848 he married Mary, daughter of Isaac and Mary (Sawyer) Hoisington, natives of Vermont and Massachusetts respectively. By this union there have been eight children, four living – Carrie (wife of Everton Canfield), Franklin, Phineas and Olive. Mr. and Mrs. Lanphere are members of the Wesleyan Methodist church. He votes the Democratic ticket.
There are no birth records for Lydia’s 14 children, that I have found. I did go to Norwich VR Department but to no avail. I have more or less collected evidence of 6 of the 14 children:
Lucy Ann Lamphere, 1808-1865
Lydia Lamphere, 1808-1853
Eliza Elizabeth Lamphere, 1811-1896
Russell R Lamphere, 1817-1898
William Lamphere, 1820-1901
Williard Lamphere, 1820 -
If my dates are correct, there may be two pairs of twins. I have found others who COULD be their children, but no real evidence. My ggg-grandfather is Russell R Lamphere. Looking at the list, a couple of things strike me. If they were married in 1807, Lucy Ann is likely the first child, so the name Lucy is significant. I know of no Lucy’s in the Lamphere line. It could be Lydia’s mother’s name. Another thing, if it took them until 1817 to name a child Russell Jr, then they either had all daughters before then, or named the sons after some other close relatives — so finding additional sons may give me additional clues.
This story is not over. I have a few ideas, specifically:
- to keep trying to find Lydia’s parents in Rhode Island, since previously I have mostly concentrated on Connecticut
- to search that “Lucy Miner” name
- to satisfy myself once and for all that she is NOT the Ludowick Miner daughter.
but mostly I think this brick wall may wait until I learn more and get some new methods.