Monday, May 5, 2014

#52Ancestors (18) Richard Frederick of New Jersey

This week's post is a little difficult to write, because I have several pieces of information about the subject, but none are clear details on who he really is or where he came from.

Richard FREDERICK is the father, grandfather, and great-grandfather of the previous three subjects in my FREDERICK family. At least on paper.

William Frederick, c 1860
I can easily document my FREDERICK descendant lines. Last week, in his son William's biography, I mentioned that I knew William's father was Richard. William's 1893 death entry in the Ingham County, Michigan records states that he was born in New York in 1818 and that his parents are 'Richard FREDERICK' and 'Mary FREDERICK.' I do not know who supplied the information but it was probably Nancy, his widow. Hopefully she knew enough about William's family to answer with some accuracy.

I wrote previously about the difficulty in finding very common names in databases. FREDERICK definitely fits that bill. At least William gave unique names to some of his children: Delos, Fremont and Josephine.

Before moving to Ingham County, William lived in Shiawassee County from at least 1847. Using the US Federal census records, my next likely task is checking for a Richard in those or surrounding counties. If William was born in New York, as were many Michiganders of this time period, perhaps he came with his parents. Based on William's age, Richard would need to be born before 1800. William gave New Jersey and New York as the birthplaces of his parents on the 1880 census.

There are no likely matches for Richard in 1880.

In 1870, a census entry in the city of Pontiac, Oakland County, just east of Shiawassee County, is a very possible candidate:
  • Richard Frederick, 68, born in New Jersey, retired shoemaker
  • Ann Frederick, 60, born in New York, at home
and next door:
  • William B. Frederick, 40, born in New York, produce dealer
  • Charlotte Frederick, 38, born in New York, at home

Close! But too many problems: Richard must be older to be mine, BUT he is a retired shoemaker, the same occupation my William practiced for many years. William B., a likely son of this Richard's, lives next door.

In 1860 and 1850, there are matching entries for the same Richard and Ann in Oakland County. Unfortunately, they still haven't aged enough to be my William's father and (step)mother. 

Searching for Mary FREDERICK in 1850, though, yields a real possibility. In the household of Sylvester and Almira ANDERSON of Pontiac, is a Mary FREDERICK, born about 1787 in New York. And, according to the same early list of Oakland County marriages where I found my William's, Almira's maiden name was FREDERICK. Oooh, a real clue!

While none of these families is correct, I think they are similar enough to warrant further research. The names (Richard, William, and Josephine [a daughter of the Anderson's]) are repeated in the families. Both my William and this new Richard were shoemakers. And Mary was the correct age to be a possible mother of my William.

  • Find death information on this new Mary and Richard
  • Learn more about the Anderson's and their connection
  • Search for Richard in the pre-1850 censuses and map possible families
  • Cross my fingers and hope for a genealogical miracle!

Do you think I'm on the right track?

(c) 2014 Sally Knudsen
"Michigan, Marriages, 1822-1995," index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 05 May 2014), Sylvester E. Anderson and Almira Frederick, 29 Apr 1846; citing reference ; FHL microfilm 973979