Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Your Most Frustrating Research Challenge

Welcome, Everyone, to June! Summer is just around the corner and it’s the weekend, so it’s time for this week’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge with Randy Seaver:

1)  One of the goals of every genealogy researcher is to solve difficult name and relationship problems.  What is one of your most frustrating research challenge that you have not yet solved? 

I didn’t have to think twice about this week’s challenge as the answer just popped right into my mind.

Robert and Catherine (MNU) Carlisle are two of my Loyalist ancestors and they have persistently, individually, stumped me.

Robert was born c1758, place unknown and to unknown parents. I’ve never found any siblings for him. Carlisle/Carlile isn’t a common surname in Nova Scotia in that time period so if Robert had siblings, I tend to believe they were sisters and their names are now lost to time. I do know that he died in 1834 in Charlotte, Washington, Maine and, although he is classified as a Loyalist, I have no evidence that he ever lived in the colonies. His service as a lance corporal in the Royal Fencible Americans consisted of defending Fort Cumberland, which today is in New Brunswick, Canada.

Robert and Catherine (MNU)married probably in early 1785 and definitely by 11 July 1785 when they sold a piece of land in the city of Saint John. They most likely married there.

However, I have never found any trace of Catherine’s maiden name. I was hoping that witnesses on their land deeds might help, but I was informed that, like in Boston, selling land was serious business and the “common folk” off the street wouldn’t be witnesses – clerks in the government office would serve that purpose.

I know many other facts about this couple. I can trace them from Saint John to the village of Sussex, Kings, New Brunswick, Canada and from there to Charlotte, Washington, Maine.

I have the names of their children, who they all married and the names of many of their grandchildren. In fact, I descend fro this couple twice, through their daughters Abigail and Catherine.

Catherine died after 1843, possibly in York County, New Brunswick, Canada as she last received a widow’s pension for Robert’s war service in that year.

I have read county records, local histories, tracked down military lists of the Royal Fencible American soldiers and their families and even hired an excellent New Brunswick researcher.

I’ve eliminated each and every Catherine I’ve come across as not being mine because they have been found married to others after 1785.

Therefore, Robert’s and Catherine’s origins are one of my longest and most frustrating research problems.

Thanks, Randy, for this week’s challenge!

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