Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Your Best Find of 2018 & Research Challenge for 2019

It’s the first Saturday of 2019 and there is a new Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge posted by Randy Seaver on Genea-Musings:

It’s a two-parter:

1)  What was your best research achievement in 2018?  Tell us – show us a document, or tell us a story, or display a photograph.  Brag a bit!  You’ve earned it!

2)  We all have elusive ancestors.  What research problem do you want to work on in 2019?  Tell us where you want to research and what you hope to find.

1. As 2019 begins, I am now in my 40th year of working on the family history, so I don’t have a laundry list of big finds anymore. However, New Year’s 2018 brought me a great gift. I have been working on my Coleman family for decades and, finally picked up a crumb trail last year. It took phone calls and emails, but I found a probate notice for him in Nantucket, Massachusetts. I knew that the family had moved to Orange County, New York, supposedly after Joseph Coleman died of yellow fever off the coast of Guinea in 1775.Joseph’s wife, Eunice, had family members, including cousin Benjamin Coffin, who also migrated to New York.

However, the Nantucket probate notice was a bit of a surprise as it gave widow Eunice Coleman the option of completing probate in the spring of 1791 either in Nantucket or in New York. I hadn’t been able to find any actual administration in either place.

First Page of Joseph Coleman’s Probate File, 1791

A kind soul posted an image of a printed book page of the inventory of Joseph Coleman in Ulster County, New York, which is right next door to Orange County. I am not sure why probate was filed there (Orange County was formed in 1683), but, regardless, I went on to find the original probate images.  My Joseph Coleman didn’t die in 1775! He may have died of yellow fever off the coast of Africa, but it was much later than 1775!

2. My research challenge for 2019 is one that has stuck in my craw for about five years now. It’s my Swedish 5 X great grandfather, Anders Molin. I’ve located his baptismal record in 1739 in Ystad, Sweden, his marriage record to Sara Brita Krook in 1776 and know that they separated and/or divorced before 20 July 1782 when Sara gave birth to Johan Peter Molin in Vankiva. Vankiva and Ystad are both in today’s Skane County. However, the village priest crossed out Anders Molin’s name as the father and noted he was living in Marstrand, over 200 miles away.

Anders Molin, 1786, Marstand, Sweden

Anders Molin was a master mason and Sara Brita was from a socially well-to-do family. They would have been well-respected citizens. I have found Anders in two population tax registers in Marstand in 1785 and 1786, but he disappears after that time.

Sara died in Andrarum in 1810 and she was called a widow. However, because she had not one, but two more illegitimate children after Johan Peter, it is unsure whether she presented herself as a widow in the town (which is about 50 miles away from Vankiva, so easily far enough to start a new life) or whether Anders was really dead.

I even have a Swedish cousin, Krister, who has worked with me looking at probate indexes from multiple Swedish counties. Neither of us has had any luck finding a death/burial or probate record for him. His masonry tools alone and the fact that he had two living sons who survived him would have been enough to cause probate to be opened. I am beginning to think he died unknown along a road somewhere!

I would love to say that 2019 is the year that I find out for sure where and when Anders Molin died!

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