New Clue for Loyalist Wife Catherine (MNU) Carlisle or Just a BSO?

I’ve mentioned before that I am one of those “leave no stone unturned” researchers and I have been true to form with my research on the family and origins of Loyalist Robert Carlisle and his wife, Catherine (MNU). The difficulty here is that there just aren’t many stones around to overturn!

A list of Royal Fencible Americans and families, of which Robert Carlisle was a part, was dissected, looking for possible Catherines who could have been his wife.

Robert Carlisle sold land in 1784, with no wife releasing dower rights, but in the summer of 1785, when he again sold some land, Catherine released her rights. Knowing that their first child was born c1785/6, it doesn’t seem like a stretch of the imagination to believe that they married in late 1784 or early 1785.

As a quick review, Carlisle is a very rare surname in Canada around the time of the Revolutionary War. Robert was given Lot 809 in Parrtown (today the city of St. John) in 1784. He must not have liked city life, as that land was sold and he settled in Sussex Vale, Kings County, New Brunswick, Canada, where he lived until the 1820s. His sons removed to Charlotte, Washington, Maine and Robert and Catherine moved with them.

Until that move, I have no evidence that Robert ever lived in the United States or what was formerly the thirteen colonies. The Royal Fencibles were organized in Nova Scotia, where they served until 1783.

Recently, I read an index of those receiving lots in Parrtown, which is where I found the tidbit that Robert owned Lot 809, which today is at the corner of Prince William and Duke Streets in St. John.

What caught my eye while reading the index was the name of “widow Catherine Cleveland,” whom I had never come across in my research. Why did she catch my eye? Well, it was just because she owned Lot 805, which was just three doors away from Robert on Duke Street.

Source: Google Earth

The purple arrow on the bottom is Robert’s Lot 809 on the corner. The upper purple arrow is Lot 805 and Duke Street actually runs east and west.

Could Catherine have been a young widow who lost her husband either through war or sickness? After all, she was given the lot as the widow of a Loyalist, but there were no other obvious clues that might shed more light on who she was.

Catherine’s name was just one of hundreds in a running paragraph summary of who was assigned which lot number in Parrtown. Robert Carlisle’s name was the fourth name after Catherine’s because their lots were close together.

As you can see, she was called “widow” not “widow of,” which left some questions.

Like Carlisle, Cleveland was also a rather uncommon surname in the area in that time period. A quick survey of Loyalist lists produced one William Cleveland, an Ambrose Cleveland and a Keturah (Briggs) Cleveland. There was also a James Cleveland on the ship that brought the Royal Fencibles to Parrtown, but he had no family onboard with him.

Ambrose Cleveland seemed to be a good starting point since his name was less common than William or James. There was a three volume genealogy published in 1899 about the history of the Cleveland family in America, written by Edmund Janes and Horace Gillette Cleveland.

Ambrose Cleveland’s life and family were sketched out and he appears to be my man. Ambrose was born in 1730 in Freetown, Bristol, Massachusetts and, in 1776, at the start of the American Revolution, he picked up and moved to Canada.

He married Keturah Briggs of Berkley, Massachusetts on 4 August 1753. The list of their children seems to be a bit incomplete, although the eldest have recorded dates of birth – Ambrose Jr., Elizabeth, William, Jonathan, and then maybe Sylvia, Rebecca, Susan, Eunice and John.

It is said that Ambrose Cleveland died in St. John about 1782 and that Keturah was still living as of 1784.

Now, I am a bit suspicious by genealogical nature and what bothered me is that Keturah is a very unusual given name. Use your imagination for a moment and think about faded ink and that K sound that could also be made with a C. Now imagine that the H at the end of her name was faded and a bit difficult to read. So much so that it might have been read as a lower case N. So, Keturah might have been read as Keturan. Now add the likelihood that someone thought her name was misspelled and sound it out: Ca ter in. Catherine?

Was my widow Mrs. Catherine Cleveland possibly Keturah Cleveland or was she a separate person really named Catherine?

Next, the index to St. John County land deeds was searched. There was an entry:

Cleveland, C et al to George Livingston in volume E1:108.

A look at volume E1 page 108 brought up the deed and it was the only Cleveland entry found in that volume.

The most important detail was exactly what piece of property was described in this deed. The red arrows answered my question – LOT 805 on Duke Street. It was, indeed, the lot given to widow Catherine Cleveland.

Next most important detail was who were the sellers? They are all listed on the second page of the deed, page 109: Samuel Smiler and Cynthia his wife, Elizabeth Cleveland (described in the deed as the sister of Cynthia Smiler), Jonathan Cleveland and Ambrose Cleveland.

The deed is dated 1 May 1797.

Now, let’s take another look at those children of Ambrose and Keturah Cleveland – Ambrose, Elizabeth, William, Jonathan and maybe Sylvia, etc.

Sellers include Ambrose, Elizabeth and Jonathan and perhaps the sketchy information about a daughter Sylvia might be an error for Cynthia. Jonathan Cleveland named a daughter Cynthia, but she was too young to be the one married to Samuel Smiler.

Unfortunately for me, I think I’ve answered my own question. I believe the widow Catherine Cleveland was actually a misspelling of widow Keturah (Briggs) Cleveland and that she died sometime between a second recording of her land grant on 1 January 1785 and 1 May 1797, when her children sold it off to George Livingston.

I have to say I am very disappointed that I think this was just a shiny BSO. What do you think?





RootsTech Connect 2021 Update: Keynotes

In normal times, right about now, I’d be sharing tips for packing and researching in Salt Lake City while attending RootsTech.

This year is unique for RootsTech 2021 as it is completely free to anyone in the world and it’s virtual. I’ve heard that so far 200,000+ attendees have registered!

Although I will miss the camaraderie of my fellow genealogists and friends and research time in the Family History Library, I am really looking forward to what might be the most exciting RootsTech conference ever. It will truly be a world event!

The RootsTech Connect 2021 keynote speakers are being announced and I recently received this press release:

More Inspiring RootsTech 2021 Keynote Speakers Announced

SALT LAKE CITY, UT–RootsTech Connect 2021—the world’s largest event celebrating family—announces a diverse group of keynote speakers, who hail from England, India, and Uruguay. Speakers include Erick Avari, an award-winning performer in music, opera, theater, and film; Uruguayan former professional footballer Diego Lugano; and a top BBC serial drama actress who first came to prominence as a teenager, Sunetra Sarker.

RootsTech Connect, to be held on 25–27 February 2021, is a free online conference to discover, share, and celebrate family and heritage connections.

Erick Avari, born in Darjeeling, West Bengal, India, is an Indian American television, film, and theater actor, writer, director and producer. He has performed in grand opera, on and off Broadway, in regional theaters, and in Hollywood blockbuster films, hit TV series, and award-winning independent films such as The Chosen. He is best known for his roles in Stargate, Independence Day, The Mummy, Daredevil, Planet of the Apes, and Mr. Deeds. Avari has been a trailblazer for a generation of South Asian actors in Hollywood. As part of his fight against stereotypical casting, he has convincingly played more than two dozen ethnicities.

Diego Lugano is a Uruguayan former professional footballer (soccer player) for many clubs in South America and Europe. He played in 95 matches as a member of the Uruguayan soccer team from 2003 to –2014. In 2010 and 2014, he captained the Uruguayan squad in the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup. His career began at the Club Nacional de Fútbol of Canelones in 1999. During his career, he played for Plaza Colonia, Fenerbahçe S.K., Paris Saint Germain, Málaga, West Bromwich Albion, BK Häcken, Cerro Porteño of Paraguay, and São Paulo. He has supported many causes defending the rights of children. He is now the superintendent of Institutional Relations of São Paulo FC.

Sunetra Sarker is an award-winning actress born in Liverpool, England, to Hindu parents. Her first acting success came at age 15, when she was cast as Nisha Batra on the Channel 4 serial drama Brookside. Her career took off, and during the next three decades she acted in an array of television series, earning awards for her performances, including an award for Best TV character at the Asian Media Awards. During her career, she made time for school, graduating in IT and French from Brunel University. She is a member of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), an independent charity to support, develop, and promote excellence in film, games, and television and creative talent in the United Kingdom and internationally.

Learn more and register for RootsTech Connect 2021 for free at RootsTech Connect 2021.

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: You Might Be a Genealogist If. . .

It’s Saturday night, so it’s time for this week’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge with Randy Seaver on Genea-Musings.

Here is our topic:

1)  Make up your own “You Might Be a Genealogist if…” sayings.  One or more.  Lots.  The more the merrier.  

I have to admit this challenge took  me very little time. 🙂

I guess I might be a genealogist!

My answers:

You might be a genealogist if . . .

you love looking at old photographs,

your home library bookshelves are filled with genealogy reference books,

you avidly listen to old family stories,

you binge-watch genealogy-themed webinars,

ancestors come to you in dreams,

the local cemetery is a fun place to visit,

your ears perk up when you hear someone’s surname,

you love the excitement of another brick wall crumbling,

and, last but not least:

your favorite vacation destination is the Family History Library.

I enjoyed this week’s challenge. Genealogy is the hobby that has kept me busy during the pandemic. Aside from not being able to visit libraries in person, it is the perfect activity to stay focused and working at home.