My Carson Family Group Sheet: The Beginning

Oral interviews with my grandmother and a cemetery visit were the start of my journey to learn more about the family of my 2nd-great-grandfather, Andrew F. Carson (1854-1937), born in New Jersey

I was fortunate to have begun researching my genealogy when still a child, back when my maternal grandmother was still living. She had grown up in Kansas in the company of three of four of her own grandparents and was an adult when they passed away. Besides having been raised near them, my grandmother had also become the family archivist, probably because she was the female who lived the longest of her generation. All from that generation were long dead by the time I came around, asking questions about them.

One day over a meal, as was typical for us, I asked again about her grandfather, Andrew F. Carson. She recalled that he did have brothers, and was able to name Wes, Charley and Furman Carson. Other than their names, she also relayed the fact that they had once lived in New Jersey. She knew that Andrew, Furman and Charley had moved from New Jersey to eastern Kansas, and knew or knew of a number of cousins in the area, as both Andrew and Furman had large families. One other tidbit she offered was that my 2nd great-grandfather Andrew Carson and his brother Furman Carson had married Hopkins sisters before moving west. She had no exact dates for any events, and was unable to provide any information about earlier generations. But, she offered, did I want to look at her scrapbook? She thought she had saved some things from them that I could look at.

As a result of those early interviews, I was able to begin the Carson family group sheet. I carefully penciled in the names of the brothers into the appropriate areas of the pre-printed form my father provided to me, and added the additional information to the notes field. I then filed the family group sheet away in a notebook. In 1992, I made my first visit to Kansas. My brother took me to visit the local cemetery in White City, Morris County, Kansas: home base for the Carson family. We took pictures of the headstones of all relatives we knew of on that trip. We extracted birth and death information from our “field notes” and photographs, which we later added to the group sheet. Unfortunately, my grandmother had already begun her slow decline with Alzheimer’s disease, so I don’t know how much of what I shared about her family on my return trip she understood.

Carson Family Group Sheet, dated 1994

The Carson family group sheet, 1994

It wasn’t until several years after my grandmother’s death that I picked up where I had left off on the Carson family. Now the family group sheet was shaping up, except there was a big blank spot at the top of the sheet where the names of my 2nd great-grandfather’s parents should have been recorded.

The days of being able to plug a name into a search engine or Ancestry.com were still a ways off, so I went down to my local library, pulled down the census index books (remember those?) and begin taking notes on my legal pad. Because I live in Washington state and New Jersey wasn’t well-represented in our library, I had to then go to the local branch of the National Archives to gain access to the New Jersey census microfilm. (Fortunately there is a local branch of the National Archives in Seattle.)

Armed with the names of four Carson siblings and approximate birth dates for three of them, locating their parents in New Jersey shouldn’t have been too difficult, right? Right….

Andrew Carson Grave (1854-1937)

Andrew Carson (1854-1937), buried in White City Cemetery, White City, Morris Co., Kansas

The above grave marker was photographed by my father in White City in 2002. My own image taken a decade earlier is trapped on a slide somewhere.

10 thoughts on “My Carson Family Group Sheet: The Beginning

  1. Dawn, who are the individuals in the old photo located in your banner field at the head of this post? (The one with two guys, a gal, and two horses).

  2. Hi Kevin, the female is Helen Fryman, and the males were simply identified as “hands”, i.e. farm-hands or ranch-hands, I would guess. The photo was taken in 1909 in Larned, Kansas.

  3. Hi Dawn, just wanted to reach out and say hello. I am descended from the Carsons in New Jersey and have done some research. My 3rd great grandfather, Daniel B Carson’s death certificate lists Daniel and Anna Elizabeth Carson as his parents. Daniel and Anna are found on the 1850 census (listed as Carsner) in East Windsor, Mercer, New Jersey..

    • Hi Carla,
      Thanks for dropping by and taking the time to comment. I have seen this 1850 census record, and believe it may be for Daniel Carson and his second wife, Ann (Rogers) Hepburn, married in 1836 in Burlington Co., New Jersey. I was not aware of any children born to this couple other than the three listed: Isaac, Hannah and Sarah. We have some information that Charles Carson may be the son of Daniel Carson, but if he is, his mother was not Ann Hepburn. We are still trying to determine the relationship of Rachel Rogers to Ann.

      What is the birth date of your third great-grandfather?

  4. His birth date would be around July 8, 1834 if I calculated correctly. It has him listed at death as 71 years 7 months and 14 days on his death date which was Jan 25. 1905. The death certificate says he resided in NJ all his life and both Daniel Carson and Anna Elizabeth Carson were born in New Jersey. I can’t find another Daniel and Anna Carson in any other NJ census other than the ones in East Windsor, Mercer County, NJ..

  5. I have done extensive research on the various Carson families in and around Trenton, New Jersey, including the counties of Mercer, Monmouth, Middlesex and Burlington. At one point I even started a separate database to track all of my leads. Your Daniel B. Carson, (whose birth I calculated was 11 Jun 1833, incidentally) is not among them. I have done a *quick* search for your Daniel, and he is in Gloucester Co., New Jersey in 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900. He died in Gloucester County in 1905. He is possibly the Daniel “Corson” in the 1850 census living with the Jessup family, also in Gloucester County. I am not finding that your Daniel had any ties to Mercer County thus far. I have found an 1858 marriage record for a Daniel Carson to an Ann E. Wilson, in Clarksboro, also in Gloucester County, New Jersey. That extracted record shows his father as “Danl” Carson and her father as William Wilson. I would certainly be laser-focused on any and all available 19th century Gloucester County records, as he has very strong ties to that locale.

    It would be fantastic if your Daniel B. Carson and my Charles Carson were related, but so far I don’t find that Charles had any involvement with Daniel Carson of Mercer Co., New Jersey despite the fact that, like you, we have a direct statement of who his father supposedly was – in our case from an affidavit in his son’s Civil War pension file. I don’t find that there was a younger Daniel Carson who interacted with Daniel Carson of Mercer Co. and wife Ann (Rogers) Hepburn, either. There was no Daniel Carson as a party to the distribution of her property following her 1872 death, for example. Alas, there was no Charles Carson included either, but he would not have been her son since he was born about a decade before his alleged father married her as his second wife, in 1836. Your Daniel would not have been her son either, since he was born 1833.

    I have yet to learn the name of the first wife of Daniel Carson (b. ca. 1798). I am continuing to research this couple, even as I become more convinced that Charles was not their son.

  6. I found a record of Daniel Carson and his wife Elizabeth last night in the The First Presbyterian Congregation, Mendham, Morris County, New Jersey, history and records, 1738-1938, in the year 1803 admitted to the church and in 1844 dismissed from the church. I also found they had a daughter named Mary baptized in the year 1810 and another named Elizabeth baptized in the year 1811 . Maybe this is my Daniel Carson, as I have found a Daniel Carson in the census of 1840 in Morris County, then none in 1850 but I have found a death listed for a Daniel Carson in 1849 in Morris County with a birth year of 1777. And yes, that Daniel Boody Carson and Anna Elizabeth Wilson from Gloucester County are my 3rd great grand parents. I have both their death certficates. Her family is from Salem County and moved to Gloucester County. Maybe this is your Daniel Carson, too?

  7. Hi Carla,

    I have looked at Daniel Carson of Roxbury, Morris Co., New Jersey, too, as a candidate father for my Charles Carson. However, Daniel was 50-60 years of age in 1840, with no males in his household. He MAY be the same Daniel who baptized five daughters between 1805 and 1815 at Hilltop Presbyterian Church in Mendham. In one record, the daughter was listed as child of Daniel and Betsey Carson – but only for one of the girls.

    You are correct, Daniel Carson, of Roxbury, a shoemaker, died age 72 in Nov 1849. That establishes his birth date at about 1777 per the 1850 mortality schedule. His age at death doesn’t track exactly with the 1830 and 1840 census entries (which put his birth slightly later, i.e. 1781-1790).

    I discounted him (or them, if more than one man represented) because: 1) proximity (too far from Monmouth Co., New Jersey where my Charles was first on record); 2) daughters, born 10-20 years prior to the birth of Charles in 1824. There probably wasn’t a gap that large and then a son; 3) no son in 1840 (when Charles would have been about 16); 4) his son in 1830 was too old to have been Charles, and there was again no male of the right age to have been Charles in the household. I realize that an argument could be made to explain each of these situations, but I subscribe to the theory that the simplest explanation is most likely correct. Maybe the informant was just flat wrong, or mixed up the generations.

    All these reasons for ruling Daniel Carson of Roxbury out as a father are even more true in your case, since your Daniel B. Carson was born even later, and even further south than my Charles.

    I am still looking for contemporary records from the vicinity of Trenton with Daniel Carson and Charles Carson together, but I am no longer limiting my search only to potential fathers named Daniel. We must allow the records to lead us to the correct family rather than trying to shoehorn our man into the wrong family because the name is what we expect it to be. If Daniel of Roxbury left a will, or there are deeds for him, that might help resolve this.

  8. I am tracking down the Carson family history and have gotten as far as Daniel. Daniel’s son Charles who married Caroline had 6 children and we are descended from Charles H. Carson.

    • Hi Julia,
      Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I haven’t written about Daniel Carson in a blog post, but have addressed him in some of the comments. I am trying to tell the story of the Carson family in reverse chronological order.

      I am curious how you may have arrived at the information about Daniel Carson possibly having been the father of Charles Carson (b. 1824)? Have you done independent research? If so, I would be curious to know what led you to that conclusion.

      I have been collaborating with several other descendants of Charles Carson, through his son Charles H. Carson who married Appylina Flash. Although we have looked at Daniel Carson extensively, I don’t think I’d be off-base by saying that none of us is completely convinced he is the father of our Charles.

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