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William B. Daniels in Washington State

While researching my 2nd great-grandfather, William Daniels, I discovered another genealogical doppelganger - that is, someone who looks a lot like the person you're looking for, based on the name, age, and places found in the records, but in actuality, it's not the right person.

In this case, I was searching the archives at Washington State University's website, when I found a portrait of a man named William B. Daniels. And while I've never seen a photograph of my 2nd great-grandfather, William Daniels, the name, time, and place all lined up pretty well. Had I finally found a photo of him?

Well, as it turns out, the archivists took the time to transcribe the writing on the back of the photo and it reads as follows:

"William B. Daniels. Born November 1st 1817. Died April 21st 1894. He and his family crossed the plains around 1854 from Ohio. My father (born Dec. 17 1848) Byron Daniels, Horace & Gilbert's father, Hubert Daniels, and the small Horace - who died in Vancouver when he was only 29 years old. He and grandfather Daniels are buried together in the old Vancouver City Cemetery. Grandmother Daniels' maiden name was Sarah Hall - born in 1824 in Cayuga County, New York." Date: ca.1887

Here were see more similarities in their stories. My 2nd great-grandfather, William Daniels, crossed the plains with his parents - but in 1851, and his son, Percy H. Daniels, ended up in Cortland County, New York, very close to Cayuga County. The major difference, however, is his birthdate, 1817. My ancestor, William Daniels, was born Jan. 2, 1840, and died May 24, 1924.

It is good to be aware of these doppelgangers when you're doing research. Newspapers, directories, and many other records don't usually provide many clues to differentiate between people who share the same name. One other indicator that this is a different William Daniels, is the place. While both these Williams were in Washington State, my William Daniels was living in Kamilche in 1892. Kamilche is 118 north of Vancouver. In 1900, my William Daniels lived in Satsop, which is about 103 miles north of Vancouver. These may not seem like long distances today, but given the mountainous terrain and time period, it certainly was no hop skip and jump away.

So, it looks like I'll have to keep searching for a photo of my William Daniels. If you have one, please contact me! Subscribe to follow my journey!


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