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Researching the wrong Nicholas Smith

The Smith name holds the honor of being the most common surname in the United States. Researching the name is something I hadn't dared to attempt until recently. When I learned that the name of my 3rd great-grandfather's wife was Catherine Smith, I wasn't looking forward to researching her origins simply because - well, she's a Smith and I dreaded trying to distinguish between the many people sharing her name.

For example, even though I know where Catherine is buried, just out of curiosity I tried a search on Findagrave for "Catherine Smith", and found 7,861 results, of which 850 were in New York. Narrowing the search to those who died between 1900 and 1950, reduces the count to a mere 352. Now imagine sorting through records of these thousands of Catherine Smiths. It becomes mind-boggling!

I found a few Smith clues in news abstracts pertaining to "Smith-McGinnis" family reunions, which I hoped would lead to identifying Catherine Smith's family. One name that clearly appears to be a relative of Catherine's was Nicholas Smith. He was "President" of the Smith-McGinnis "business meeting", when he attended the 1911 reunion. Another clipping from the Cincinnatus Times, Aug. 12, 1909, verifies the relationship as follows, "Nicholas Smith of Newark Valley has been visiting his cousins, Mr. and Mrs. Charles McGinnis."

A search on FamilySearch for men named Nicholas Smith, living in Cortland County, New York, produced over 3 million results. A search for the same on Findagrave, produced only one result for Nicholas Smith and it led me down the wrong path for a bit. It was Nicholas Smith (1858-1923) who was buried in Harford Mills Cemetery, about 15 miles from Newark Valley. It seemed a likely match so I tried to fit Catherine into the family, without success, following his ancestry back to Massachusetts in 1638, with his progenitor's place of origin being Sudbury, England.

After much tracking and barking up the wrong tree, I realized he can't be the same Nicholas, because of one simple fact - Catherine's parents were reportedly from Ireland. None of these Smiths were from Ireland, so it was all in vain for me. I did end up finding the right Nicholas (see my next blog), but I am including a summary of what I found on some of the ancestors of Nicholas Smith (1858-1923) here so that the time invested in sorting it all out isn't wasted. Perhaps it can help another Smith researcher. (Many of the links direct to the person's memorial on Findagrave):

  • Nicholas Smith (1858-1923), buried in Harford Mills Cemetery was born in 1858, a son of Andrew W. Smith (1822-1907) and Betsey A. Corbin (1824-1887). He married Mary P. Smith (1854-1904) and had two children: Nellie and Frank. Seven siblings are attached to Nicholas' Findagrave memorial: Edward, Garrett, Lois, Douglas, Joseph, Lois, and Mary Smith.

  • Andrew Smith was a son of Jason Smith (1784-1858) and Hannah Rorapaugh (1792-1864). His wife Betsy was a daughter of Joseph Corbin (1799-1883) and Eleanor Loomis (1803-1876). Andrew and Betsy are buried in Harford Cemetery in Harford, as are her parents.

  • Jason Smith (1784-1858) was born in Massachusetts in 1784, son of Sgt. Blodgett Smith and Abigail (Blaine) Smith. Jason died in Tyner, Chenango County, New York on Nov. 28, 1858. He is buried in Loomis Cemetery in Tyner, with his wife, Hannah, and her parents. She was born in 1792 in Egremont, Berkshire County, Massachusetts, and died in Tyner on August 12, 1864.

  • Sgt. Blodgett Smith was born on August 9, 1744, in Pomfret, Windham County, Connecticut, a son of Thomas and Abigail Smith. Sgt. Smith died in 1794 in Berkshire County, Massachusetts. He was a soldier of the Revolutionary War.

  • Thomas Smith was born on Feb. 18, 1708, in Canterbury, Windham County, Connecticut, a son of Lieut. Henry Smith and Hannah (Blodgett) Smith. Thomas married a woman by the name of Abigail.

  • Lieut. Henry Smith was born in Sudbury, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, Dec. 15, 1682, a son of Thomas Smith and Abigail (Rice) Smith. Lieut. Smith married Hannah Blodgett and died Feb. 29, 1773, in Canterbury, Windham County, Connecticut. He is buried in South Cemetery in Brooklyn, Windham County, Connecticut.

  • Thomas Smith was born in Sudbury, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, on July 29, 1658, a son of John Smith and Sarah (Hunt) Smith. He married Abigail Rice abt. 1678 and died on April 9, 1718. He is buried in the Lower Village Cemetery in Stow, Middlesex County, Massachusetts.

  • John Smith was born in 1622 in Sudbury, Greater London, England. He married Sarah Hunt on Oct. 13, 1647, in Sudbury, Middlesex County, Massachusetts and died on Oct. 13, 1687 in the same place. His burial marker reads: "Buried here John Smith and Sarah his wife. First ancestors from Sudbury, England, 1638".

  • Hannah Rorapaugh, wife of Jason Smith, was a daughter of Peter Rorapaugh (1770-1851) and Catherine (Loomis) Rorapaugh. Peter was born August 26, 1770, in Hillsdale, Columbia County, New York, and died on August 17, 1851, in Smithville, Chenango County, New York. Rorapaugh may be of Swedish descent.

  • Catherine Loomis was born on March 29, 1774, in Egremont, Massachusetts, a daughter of Benaiah Loomis (1752-1838) and Rachel Patterson (1746-1816). Beniah was a Revolutionary Soldier. He was born in North Egremont on July 15, 1752, and died on March 8, 1838, in Smithville Flats, Chenango County, New York. He and his wife, Rachel are buried in Warn-Ten Broeck Cemetery in Brisben, same county.

  • Benaiah (or Benajah) Loomis was a son of Josiah Loomis, Jr. (born March 11, 1708 in Windsor, Hartford County, Connecticut) and Abigail Bacon (1712-1775), who he married on April 26, 1732, at Simsbury, Hartford County, Connecticut.

  • Josiah Loomis, Jr. was a son of Josiah Loomis (1684-1754) and Elizabeth Kelsey (1690-1726). Josiah (Sr.) was born on November 28, 1684, at Windsor, Hartford County, Connecticut. He died in 1754 in Simsbury, same county. He was a son of Daniel Loomis (1657-1740) and Mary Ellsworth (1660-1713). Mary Ellsworth was born in Windsor on May 7, 1660. She was a daughter of Sgt. Josiah Ellsworth (1629-1659) and Elizabeth Holcomb (1634-1712). Sgt. Josiah Ellsworth was born in Cambridgeshire, England, on Nov. 16, 1629, and died in Windsor, Connecticut, on August 20, 1689. He is buried in Palisado Cemetery in Windsor.

  • Daniel Loomis, called "Sgt. Daniel Loomis", was born on June 16, 1657, in Windsor, and married Elizabeth Holcomb in 1654. Daniel died in Windsor on June 25, 1740.

  • Sgt. Daniel Loomis was a son of Deacon John Loomis (1622-1688) and his wife, Elizabeth Scott (1628-1696).

  • Deacon John Loomis was born in Essex, England, in 1622, a son of Joseph Loomis, Sr. (1590-1658) and Mary White (1590-1652). He married Elizabeth Scott in Windsor on February 3, 1648. Joseph died on September 1, 1688, in Windsor, Hartford County, Connecticut, and is buried in Palisado Cemetery in Windsor.

  • Elizabeth Scott (1628-1696) was a daughter of Thomas Scott (1597-1643) of Hartford and Ann (1590-1675). After Thomas died at the young age of about 46, Ann married Thomas Ford on November 7, 1644, at Hartford, Connecticut.

  • Joseph Loomis, Sr. was born on August 24, 1590, in Essex, England, a son of John Loomis II (1562-1619) and Agnes Lingwood (1564-1619). Joseph died in 1658 in Windsor. Much can be learned about him in the book, "Descendants of Joseph Loomis who came from Braintree, England in the year 1638 and Settled in Windsor, CT". His wife, Mary White, was born in Essex, England, on August 24, 1590, and died in Windsor, Connecticut, on August 23, 1652. She and Joseph came to America with eight of their children on the "Susan and Ellen", departing from London on April 11, 1638, and arriving in Boston on July 17, 1638.

  • Mary White was a daughter of Robert White (1558-1617) and Bridget Allgar (1561-1605). Robert was born in 1558 in Shalford, Essex, England, and died in the same county on June 17, 1617. His wife was a daughter of William Allgar and Margaret Parye. Robert and Bridget were ancestors to several United States Presidents.

  • John Loomis II (1562-1619) was a son of John Loomis (1536-1567) and Kyrsten Pasfield (1526-1567).

  • John Loomis (1536-1567) was a son of Thomas Loomis (1507-1551) and Ann Stephen (1512-1551).

  • Thomas Loomis (1507-1551) was a son of Laurent Loomis/Lummyus (1491-1540) and Olivia Mayrett Hurst (born 1493).

  • Laurent Loomis/Lummyus (1491-1540) was a son of Oliver Loomis (1469-1535).

  • Oliver Loomis (1469-1535) was a son of William Lummyus (1449-1540).

See my next blog for what I found on the other Nicholas Smith (1855-1929)!


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