Scholefield Family Tree

I am unable to located the birth record for Susan Miller in the Michigan records availble at FamilySearch Record Search. I tried by her parents names, just the last name and date, by date and place, and several other combinations of what I know. I even tried to read through all of the pages for 1879 for Jackson, MI.

However, I have located her brother Fred. He was born 10 Jul 1888.1

It gets worse when I get back to Susan and try to find her in most of the standard resources I would check. She isn’t in the SSDI. She isn’t in the California Death Index. She isn’t even in the one free index at VitalSearch.

Okay — we regather our thoughts when this happens. How else can we attack this? We have her husband’s name (and is this a side trip all for the sake of finding an exact birth date? Yes.)

It appears that she died (or divorced) between her mother’s 1915 obituary and the 1929 when her husband remarried. Her husband, Ford Barnes, is found on the 1930 Census with a wife who had been married for the first time just one year earlier.2 The older children are noted as having a mother born in Michigan — a match to the Susan Miller Barnes I am looking for!

Going back another year to 1920 will help me to narrow my search window. I find Ford — but he is married to a Mabel M!?! Huh?3 My intital reaction is that I found the wrong Ford. But he’s in San Diego — this should be the right family! Checking Mabel’s vitals shows me that she is apparantly Susan Mabel Miller Barnes. She was born in Michigan; her father was born in South Carolina; her mother was born in New York. Mystery seems to be solved! A recheck of VitalSearch shows that Susan/Mabel likely died 24 Oct 1924 at age 44 in Merced County.4

Scanning through the rest of the records on Ancestry for Ford turns up his WWI draft card where he names his wife as Mrs. Mabel Miller Barnes.5 However, a check under the name Mabel still doesn’t turn up a birth record on FamilySearch.

After all that, I still didn’t end up with an exact birth date for her.

1. Michigan Department of Vital Records, return of births, Jackson County, 1888: 114, 87, Fred D. Miller; digital image, “Michigan Births 1867-1902,” FamilySearch Record Search  ( 14 Jan 2010).
2. 1930 U.S. census, San Diego County, California, population schedule, San Diego, enumeration district (ED) 122, sheet 5B, p. 107B (stamped), dwelling 151, family 161, Ford Barnes household; digital image, ( : accessed 14 Jan 2010); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T626, roll 192.
3. 1920 U.S. census, San Diego County, California, population schedule, San Diego, enumeration district (ED) 290, sheet 4B, p. 255B (stamped), dwelling 85, family 118, Ford Barnes household; digital image, ( : accessed 14 Jan 2010); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T625, roll 131.
4. “1905-1929 Death Index Summary,” digital images, p. 566, VitalSearch-California ( : accessed 14 Jan 2010), entry for Mabel M Barnes (24 Oct 1924).
5. “World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918,” database and images, ( : accessed 14 Jan 2010), Ford Barnes, serial no. 150, order no. 513, Draft Board 2, San Diego, San Diego, California; citing World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, National Archives and Records Administration microfilm M1509, roll 1543650.


Scholefield Family Tree

Now I am working to complete the information about Harmonus DeGraff and Susannah Thomas’s children. (I feel like I’m trying to collect the whole set here!) Based on what has been found before, three of their children made it to adulthood. Susan is the last sibling I need to check into. The most logical place to begin is with the censuses. I could locate all of them, but some censuses are more useful than others because of the information that was recorded.

According to the 1900 Census, Susie was born in Feb 1849.1 She was with her husband Fred C. Miller, born Aug 1849 in South Carolina, and her two children Susie M., born Nov 1879 in Michigan, and Fred DeG., born Jul 1888 in Michigan. In Susie’s obit,2 only one of her two children was mentioned as living, her daughter. If I had stopped with the obit, I’d have never known about Fred. This census also noted the number of children a woman had given birth to, and the number 2 in that column tells me that I can be reasonably certain that I have all the children’s names. (Of course, it could have been wrong.)

In 1880, Susan was in Jackson, Michigan, with her husband, daughter, and mother.3 This census confirms that the daughter was born in November. It also additional proof that the background research conducted into the Widow Susan Ghost story is correct. It confirms his finding that Widow Susan was in Michigan in 1880.4 Whenever possible it is a good thing to confirm data posted online. It ensures that the person wasn’t pulling your leg, and it can lead to new discoveries — or an old discovery made new because the pieces finally fit! In this case, it is the finding that the enumerator placed parentheses around Widow Susan’s age. Possibly he was unsure if it was exact? It makes this Susan DeGraff born 1821 even easier to reconcile with the Susan DeGraff born as calculated from her death record on 15 Sep 1819.5 Of course, both could still be a bit off!

Research Plan:

  1. Check FamilySearch record search for Michigan births. More specific dates for Susan and Fred might be found.
  2. Determine if this is a stopping point for the Scholefield Project.

1. 1900 U.S. census, San Diego County, California population schedule, San Diego, enumeration district (ED) 194, sheet 18A, p. 37 (handwritten), 171 (stamped), dwelling 408, family 454, Household of Fred C. Miller; digital images, ( : accessed 13 Jan 2010); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T623, roll 99.
2. See post dated 30 Dec 2009.
3. 1880 U.S. census, Jackson County, Michigan population schedule, Jackson, enumeration district (ED) 119, p. 318D (stamped), 12 (handwritten), dwelling 121, family 123, Household of Fred C. Miller; digital images, ( : accessed 13 Jan 2010); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T9, roll 585.
4. See post dated 5 Sep 2009.
5. See post dated 30 Oct 2009


Scholefield Family Tree

I seem to be stonewalled on exactly which Harmonus is the correct man. Therefore, I am going to take one step back. Instead of trying to step push to locate the next DeGraff generation, I will be stepping back and looking at the children again. It is possible that something about Harmonus’s kids will reveal another avenue of investigation.

What we know: Harmonus married Susannah Thomas.1 One of their children was Helen Marr DeGraff Scholefield. There were two others: Alonzo H. DeGraff and Susan DeGraff Miller.

As stated earlier, my goals for this project include locating the “vitals” for siblings of the direct ancestral lines of the Scholefields I chose randomly, but also the birth information for each of their children. To that end, I returned to the Fulton History site to search through more old newspapers. And I found an obit for Susan DeGraff Miller which will help me to fill in quite a bit about her!

blockquoteMrs. Susan DeGraff Miller.

As already stated in The Recorder, word has been received in this city of the death of Susan DeGraff Miller, at her home in San Diego, Cal., October 18. Mrs. Miller was born at the DeGraff homestead, east of this city, and was about 65 years old. She was a sister of the late Capt. Alonzo H. DeGraff, who was superintendant of the water department of the city of Amsterdam for a number of years. Her early live was passed on the farm east of the city, and she was one of the pupils at the Amsterdam academy. She had many friends among the older residents of this city. A number of years ago she was united in marriage to Fred C. Miller, of Jackson, Mich., who died last fall.

Mrs. Miller resided in San Diego for twenty years. Many years ago she was attached rheumatism and for the last 25 years of her life was unable to walk, moving about the house in a wheel chair. Since the first of July she has been confined to her bed and had suffered a great deal. Hers was a cheerful disposition and despite her affliction she had a kind word for all. She was an extensive reader. Amsterdam, and the friends of her girlhood days, occupied a place in her heart that distance could not erase and she kept fully informed of the happenings in and about Amsterdam and the doings of her old schoolmates. Her cheery ways endeared her to the residents of San Diego, the people of that city speaking of her as “The Sunny Face at the Window.” Her last visit to Amsterdam was made thirty years ago. Besides nephews and nieces in this city, she is survived by a sister, Mrs. H. M. Scholefield, of New York, and a daughter, Mrs. Ford Barnes, of San Diego. Mrs Barnes says: “Even in her suffering she was the same bright, patient mother we have always known, interested in all our joys and sorrows, and the affairs of the city, country and the world.”2

Research Plan:

  1. Check for an obituary for Alonzo DeGraff.
  2. Investigate the Miller family. What was Susan’s date of birth? What was her daughter’s first name?

1. See post dated 5 Sep 2009.
2. “Obituary: Mrs. Susan DeGraff Miller,” Amsterdam Evening Recorder and Daily Democrat, 30 Oct 1915, p. 3, col. 4; digital images, Fulton History ( : accessed 30 Dec 2009), Amsterdam NY Daily Democrat and Recorder 1915 Oct-1916 Feb Grayscale – 0215.pdf.


Scholefield Family Tree

I am certain that I have pushed back another generation with the names of Harmanus DeGraff and Susan Thomas; however, what were the names of all of their children and their parents? Earlier I found that Susan had a brother named Alonzo, so searching for information about him might lead me to a better picture of the family.

To do that, I searched “sideways” by looking for Alonzo “De Graff” in Google, I find an online index indicating that his name appears in Washington Frothingham’s History of Montgomery County on Page 30.1

Whenever I find a reference to an old book (one likely to be out of copyright) I check two places: Google Books and Internet Archive. Frothingham’s History is available and below is the (somewhat funny) computerized transcription of Alonzo’s biography (so, yes, I haven’t edited it! and there are too many errors to put [sic] in everywhere).2

blockquoteDeGraflT, Alonzo H., Amsterdam, was born in the town of Amsterdam on the 12th of Deceuiber, 1846, and was educated in the public schools and Amsterdam Academy. He enlisted twice, first on the 1st of June, 1862, in Company C, 25th N. Y. S. N. Guard, an then re-enlisted June 17, 1863, in Company M, 14th N. Y. Heavy Artillery, and was promoted to first sergeant, then to second lieutenant, and also to first lieutenant, and was discharged as captain of the same company in September, 18G5. He is by profession a civil engineer and has had charge of the construction of several important railways, and is now superintendent of the Amsterdam water works. On the loth of December, 1S75, he niariied Mary M., youngest daughter o£ Fay Smith, of Northampton, Fulton county. They have five hving children: Harry \V., Helen M, Carlton R., Mary and Alonzo H., jr. Mr. De Graff’s father, Harmonius, was born at the old home in the year ISOO, and married Susan Thomaf, the latter a native of Scotland. They had six children, three of whom are living: Helen M. Schofield, who resides in New York ; Alonzo H., and Susan D. Miller, who resides in Michigan. Tlie ancestry of the family is Dutch and Scotch. Captain De Graff has the distinction of engineering the present extensive Amsterdam water works which fully prove his skill in hydraulic apparatus. The city is thus supplied, from a distance of twenty-five miles, with an abundant sup|>ly of pure water, which is one of the most inestimable of earthly blessings.

The mispellings in the above mean that many of the search terms I would have tried would not have turned up this result! FYI, you can also view the original pages to create your own transcriptions.

However, even with mispellings, this is a great source because it gives me additional leads to follow up on!

Research Plan:

  1. Investigate information about Harmanus’s birth date (1800).
  2. Check into Helen and Alonzo’s sibling.

1. Barbara Lewis, transcriber, Names Index to 1892 History of Montgomery County, NY ( : accessed 31 Oct 2009).
2. Washington Frothingham, editor, History of Montgomery County; embracing early discoveries, the advance of civilization, the labors and triumphs of Sir William Johnson, the inception and development of manufactures, with town and local records, also military achievements of Montgomery patriots (1892), 2 parts, 2: 30; digital images and compterized transcription, Internet Archive ( : downloaded 31 Oct 2009).