This week I had a perfect example of why it is dangerous to assume that my genealogical research is complete. All you have to do is copy it to yours, and you’re set. Wrong! I’ll say it again: Genealogical Research is NEVER Done.
Jeddidah Brink’s Family Story
In this case, if you were relying on me to provide you with the complete story about Jedidiah Brink, you would have been led astray.
When I told you the story of my great-grand uncle, Jedidiah, brother of my great-grandmother Mary Brink Anderson, I included a list of the children he had with his first wife, Susan Fortune.
This week I got an e-mail from helpful Susan Brink, whose husband is descended from Jedidiah. Susan sent me links to information about a Jennie Brink. Susan had found many listings on Family Search.org about Jennie Brink. Many of them were obviously some other Jennie, since they were women who were married to a Brink instead of having the birth name Brink. Others were born far from a date that could reasonably have been a child of Jedidiah and Susan.
But the links included this marriage license.
- Parents Jeddiah and Susan.
- Age fits into the pattern of family we already knew about.
- Her residence is correct for Jeddiah’s family
Jennie Before Marriage
So I took this bit of information and went looking for more information on Jennie at Ancestry.com. It turns out that she was born in June 1880, the same month that the census was taken in Killbuck Township, Holmes County, Ohio. The census was mid month, so Jennie apparently was born AFTER the census and so she doesn’t appear.
There are no 1890 census records available–almost all were lost in a fire–including this part of Ohio.
In the 1900 census, Jennie Brink reappears (HURRAH!) in Killbuck Township, Holmes County, Ohio. She was not living with her father or we would have spotted her earlier. Instead, she was living as a servant with a Clow family. This makes sense, since Jennie’s mother died in 1899, and there was another sister in the family old enough to take care of Jedidiah’s youngest children.
Jennie did not work as a servant for long, as she married in 1901, as we have seen. Her father also remarried quickly, and the other children scattered. (See article on Jedidiah/Jeddiah).
Jennie and James Layland–Unraveling Some Mysteries
By Looking at Their Children
Neither Jennie nor her husband James F. Layland show up in the 1910 census. What happened? Finally, by searching for James Layland, I found that he died in March, 1905. Find a Grave has his gravesite, but no wife, and no link to Jennie Brink Layland.
I spotted the obituary of a daughter of Jennie Brink and James Layland, born in 1902. Ruby was born in 1901 according to her marriage certificate, but probably actually 1902. Seven-year-old Ruby was living with her grandfather in 1910, according to the 1910 census. When she was married at 16 years of age, a C. T (?) Layland was listed as her guardian, so both her parents had died by 1910.
James R. Layland
Then, as I was typing this, I went back to Family Search.org to look again at Jennie and James’ marriage license, and found that according to death records, they had another child, James R., born December 5, 1905. I was thinking that Jennie would have become pregnant just before her husband died–probably not aware yet that she would have his baby after he was gone. However, Ancestry coughed up a Birth Certificate for James that indicates he was actually born December 5, 1904–months before his father died! Sometimes records are wrong–which is another genealogical research lesson–try to get a 2nd and 3rd source.
At any rate, James had a short life, dying at 19 years old in Akron, Ohio where he worked in manufacturing.
EDITED March 2022_-proving Genealogy is never done: Since I could find no more information in Jennie, I assumed that she died soon after James R. Layland was born, but That has proved incorrect. In fact she remarried to Alva Purdy (1873-1919) and had two children with him.
Some time ago, I found a newspaper article detailing her father’s Will that mentions Jennie Purdy. The Will was written on October 12, 1914, so I knew she was alive then, but did not update this post at the time. Since then, I have found a death record and the names of her two children with Alva Purdy: William Jeddiah Purdy and Lucille Minnie Purdy (Craig)
Jennie is buried in Big Run Cemetery in Layland, Coshocton County, Ohio.
*Thanks to a comment on this post, I was drawn back to Jennie and added this edited version of the last years of her life.
But Wait, There’s More–Who is Viola?
In searching for Jenny, I went back to that 1880 census to have another look at Jeddidah and Susan Brink’s Family. It is one of those records where the writing has faded and is very difficult to read, however, there definitely was a surprise. Right between Ida V. (8 years old) and Samuel (1).
There’s yet another daughter I did not know about. Viola Brink, age 6 in 1880. This is somewhat more confusing since Ida, her older sister, is Ida Viola. When I wrote about Mary Brink Anderson, I explained that her middle name Viola, was passed on to my mother as Violia, which mother roundly hated. Jeddidiah used his sister’s middle name for two of his daughters. I had even less success in finding this Viola in any other records. That makes me suspect that Viola died in childhood.
So I started this week in the “firm knowledge” that Jeddiah/Jedidiah Brink had SIX children, and am ending the week knowing that he had (at least) EIGHT. Are there more that have eluded me? And what about the mysterious and probably sad life of Jennie Brink? Did her son James R. die in an industrial accident? And what happened to young Viola, the daughter of Jeddiah? Genealogical Research is NEVER FINISHED!
Notes on Research
Federal Census, Killbuck Township, Holmes County, Ohio 1880, 1900. Coshocton, Ohio,1910 .
“Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” database FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XDKB-R4B : 8 December 2014), entry for Lloyd Shrimplin and Ruby Layland, 03 Nov 1917; citing Wayne, Ohio, United States, reference ; county courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 425,761.
“Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:X63W-Q8B : 8 December 2014),entry for James R Layland, 06 Oct 1925; citing Akron, Summit, Ohio, reference fn 60020; FHL microfilm 1,992,682.
“Ohio, County Marriages, 1789-2013,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:X8CC-TK3 : 8 December 2014), James F. Layland and Jennie Brink, 08 Dec 1901; citing Holmes, Ohio, United States, reference p 233; county courthouses, Ohio; FHL microfilm 477,147.
The years between 1880 and 1900 are so challenging. Hope you are able to find out what happened to the two new members of the family.
Sounds like a very productive week! Although never being done can be a bit of a frustration at times and can keep us awake at night, it is also some of the fun of it. There’s always the hope that we can find that elusive piece of information. I love it.
Hello, hope that all is well! I recently bought an old book (published 1922) at a Gooodwill store here in Morgantown, WV where I live. Inside the front cover jacket is a signature of Jennie Brink with the date 1928 below the signature. I did a google search on the name and found your post. I’m not sure if it’s the same Jennie Brink but thought that I’d share this with you. If you’d like me to forward you a pic of it I’d be glad to, just give me your e-mail or however you’d like me to forward it to you and I’ll do so.
Interesting, but your author is another one of those numerous Jennie’s. This one died in 1915, so did not sign a book in 1928.