Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Google Books, genealogy and the Metcalfs

I was reading an article about Google scanning books and putting them on-line, and I decided to see if I could use some of these books to help me with genealogy research. I found out that one of the books scanned was "Metcalf Genealogy", published in 1898. As it turns out, my great-great-great aunt married a Metcalf...

This snippet was of some interest:

Ann Elisabeth Howes, born March 31, 1847; lived,
after her parents' death, with Clark Eldred, Elyria;
taught school many years in Lorain County, O., and Grant
Co., Wis.; married, October, 1879, to Alexander Cairns,
of Bloomington and Mt. Hope, Wis. One son, Earl
Cairns, born Aug. 9, 1880.

(Earl Cairns was my great-grandfather.)

My great-great grandmother Ann Elizabeth Howes was born in Northampton, England. Her parents, William and Elizabeth Howes, came to Ohio from England some time between 1850 (when their 5th child was born) and 1852 (when their 6th child was born). Not long after that, they got sick and died. Their children were adopted out to six different families in Elyria, Ohio. Ann's two oldest brothers fought in the Civil War; both died, although one of them, a doctor, survived with his wounds until 1874. Two other siblings married their adoptive siblings (ewww). (The remaining sister was the one who married a Metcalf.)

Of Ann's parents, the book says this:

William Elliot Howes, born March 22, 1818; married
Elisabeth West, who was born Sept. 27, 1817, at Gaton-
wood House, Northampton, Eng., where the family had
lived for three hundred years. Elisabeth West's father,
Thomas West, was born March 23, 1785; died Jan. 3,
1828. His wife, Ann Fairbrother West, was born June
18, 1785. After her husband's death she managed the
great Gatonwood Farm herself for nearly forty years, dy-
ing Jan. 29, 1866.

Gaytonwood Farm appears to be a campground now; here is a picture.

This book contains a lot more information about this branch of the family than had before. I have now added a lot of information about Ann Elizabeth Howes and her family to my database. Learning from past mistakes, I have footnoted it carefully with the source. Google Books gets a thumbs-up for its treatment of out-of-copyright books. (I am taking no position on their handling of in-copyright works.)

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