Thursday, March 6, 2008

John Henry Baker's Parents: Part One

I think my quest to find John Henry Baker's parents, a quest that has spanned almost two years, may finally be over. When I first wrote about him here, I had found a granddaughter who believed he was born in Illinois. Though I would think a granddaughter would know the truth, I had no reason to believer since I had a mound of evidence saying otherwise and she had no evidence to support her belief.

Almost a year later after this conversation, I discovered a second page to the 1925 Census which only further discounted the granddaughter's story and I wrote about it here a couple weeks ago. I had pretty much figured that my questions were pretty much always going to remain question without a trip to Cedar Falls where John Henry Baker spent most of his life and even then, I wasn't sure if I would find anything.

I had posted what facts I knew along with my theories etcetera onto a message board specifically for those seeking Baker ancestors but received no reply. I had done that early in my search and again after I had recently written about him. Then on spur decision, I posted it on a genealogy forum for Black Hawk County where Cedar Falls is located and a few days later, I met someone whom I own a huge debt of gratitude too. His name was Steve.

In his email was the obituary for John Henry Baker and it says that he was born in Colchester, Illinois, precisely where his granddaughter had claimed. The reason why I never could find a record was because they were there from the years 1871 to around 1874, in-between major census records. The obituary lists all his kids which census records that I have confirm so I knew I had the right guy. The only thing that stuck out was the name of his second now widowed wife, Hattie Jaynes. According to the census, his second wife was named Katie Stevens. Now I can understand how Hattie might be read as Katie with sloppy handwriting sometimes found on census records but Jaynes and Stevens are kind of hard to reconcile. This problem would be reconciled a few days later by Steve but I will blog about that on another day.

Sadly, this obituary didn't say the names of his parents but did lend credence to his granddaughter who said their names were Joseph Clark Baker and Francis Bolton. Remember I had a census record that said their names were John and Fannie. But I did check and I found Joseph and Francis Baker in Parkersburg just as the obituary said which also added to the scales tipping towards those names. But before the week was over, there would be no denying that I, with the help of the kind Samaritan named Steve, had finally found the names of my great great great grandparents, the final missing pair.

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