I am trying to narrow down the dates of birth for the children of Welcome Stephens.

My original list of children looked like this:

Elizabeth

1794

John

1797

Dudley

1797

Joshua

1800

Andrew

1801

Polly “Mary”

1807

Thomas

1810

William

1813

Sherwood

1815

Lettie

1816

After looking at Welcome’s will, I adjusted the list of children to:

  • Dudley
  • Joshua
  • Andrew
  • Sherwood
  • Elizabeth
  • Polly
  • William
  • John Bailey (not a child, but listed in the will and could be a clue to Welcome’s wife)

Now I am ready to look for information in the 1840 and 1850 census records.

Dudley – my original d.o.b. was 1797 and that came from the 1850 census where Dudley was listed as 53 years old. I know he couldn’t have been born before 1800, so taking a look at the 1840 and 1830 census helps me to narrow this down a bit. In both census records, Dudley was listed as being between 30 and 39. So if he was on the younger end for the 1830 census and the older end for the 1840 census, I would put his d.o.b. around 1800.

Joshua – Joshua is a bit of a mystery. The first census record I can find for him that I feel confident is the correct record is in 1860 when he is found living with John Bailey’s family! (John Bailey married Andrew Stephens’ daughter – Martha “Patsy”) In 1860, Joshua is listed as 49 years old, giving him a d.o.b. around 1811 – much younger than I expected! At the same time, I see that John Bailey is listed as 37 years old, giving him a d.o.b. around 1823. He would have been 17 years old when Welcome passed away.

Andrew – 1850 census, 50 years old – 1840 census age 30-39. I’m going to put a potential d.o.b. at 1801 because I believe Dudley was the oldest.

Sherwood – 1850 census, 34 years old – 1816 d.o.b. This seems a bit young compared to the others, but in the 1820 census, Welcome had 2 males under 10 and that could have been Joshua and Sherwood, so it’s not out of the question.

Elizabeth – I have found zero records for John Ard. ZERO! So the only thing I have to make a guess on would be the marriage record. Elizabeth was married in 1822 and was listed as the daughter of Welcome Stephens – making me think she was young enough to need her father’s permission to marry. In the 1820 census, Welcome had one daughter under 10 and one daughter between 10 and 15. If Elizabeth was 15 in 1820, she would have been 17 when she married in 1822. This would make her d.o.b. around 1805.

Polly – Polly’s 1850 census indicates that she was born around 1810. She had a 19 year old daughter who would have been born when Polly was about 21, so that d.o.b. fits.

William – The 1850 and 1860 both put William’s d.o.b. around 1807.

Name

My original d.o.b.

Updated d.o.b. based on census records

Dudley

1797

1800

Andrew

1801

1801

Elizabeth

1794

1805

William

1813

1807

Polly

1807

1810

Joshua

1800

1811

Sherwood

1815

1816

John Bailey

?

1823

The first thing that I notice now is that there is a 10 year difference between my original notes and my new dates for Elizabeth and Joshua. That could make a significant difference when looking for potential records!

So do these new dates line up with the older census records for Welcome’s family?

1810 Buncombe Co, NC

1810 Buncombe Co, NC

Based on these dates, in 1810, Welcome should have 4 or 5 children – 3 boys and 1 or 2 girls. Checking the records, I see that Welcome has 3 boys under 10 (check!) and 2 females under 10 (check!). (I also notice an additional, older woman – perhaps a mother or mother-in-law?)

1820 Adair Co KY cropped

1820 Adair Co census

In 1820, Welcome should have around 7 children – 5 boys and 2 girls. Checking the records, I see that Welcome has 2 boys under 10 (Sherwood and Joshua), 1 boy 10-15 (William), 2 boys 16-18 (Andrew and Dudley)[the 2nd 2 is males between 16 and 25, which would be the same 2 boys], 1 girl under 10 (Polly) and 1 girl between 10 and 15 (Elizabeth). This looks good EXCEPT – Dudley was married in 1818, so he would not have been living with Welcome. Or if he was, there should also be an extra female. (The Dudley listed above Welcome was his older brother.) So who is the “extra” male? If my “new” dates are correct, he certainly wasn’t in the 1810 census. The other  new piece of information in the 1820 census was that there was no wife, so now I have a potential date of death for “Nancy #1”.

I’m pretty happy with these numbers, but it does give me more questions. My next step will be to take a look at tax records to see if those give me additional clues.

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