Harriet Arminta, By Any Other Name: A Lesson in Genealogical Detective Work

Actual name: Harriet Arminta Armstrong Loverage

1850 Census: Harriet A. Armstrong

1860 Census: Harriett Armstrong

1870 Census: Aminta Armstrong

1880 Census: Armitta Loveridge record-image_-13

Birth of son Thomas “Loveridge,” 1873, Michigan Births, 1867-1902: Mary Loveridge

Birth of son “Walter Loveridge,” 1874, Michigan Births, 1867-1902: Mary Loveridge

Birth of daughter “Maria Loveridge,” 1878, Vital records: marriage records, 1847-1930, birth and death records, 1867-1921, and corrections and delayed birth records, dates vary (Familysearch.org): Maria Armstrong

Birth of son Thomas Harry “Loveridge,” 1880, Ohio County Births, 1841-2003: Armingee Arnistrang (Note: This is a different son from the first Thomas, who was gone by the 1880 census. Thomas Harry didn’t fare much better, dying on August 29, 1881.) A second record index for this son, same set of records lists him as Thomas Harry “Leveridge” and Harriet Arminta as Amiya Armstrong.

Birth of son Thomas “Loverist,” 1882, Ohio County Births, 1841-2003: Armida Armstrong (Her husband Thomas Loverage, after whom all these Thomases were named after is listed as “Thomas Lovertts.”)

Birth of daughter Gladys Martha “Mattie” “Loverige,” 1886, Ohio County Births, 1841-2003 (index only): Minnie Armatrout

Death: 1899, Ohio County Death Records, 1840-2001: Harriette Loveridge

Obituary, 1899, Newspapers.com Obituary Index, 1800s-current: Harriett Armjctron Loveridze (Spouse Thomas Loveridge)

Death of her son George Walter Loveridge, Michigan, Death Records, 1867-1952: Armentina Armstrong

Death of her daughter, Gertrude “Chattie” Armstrong Wheeler, Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953: Arminta Armstrong

Genealogy Lesson: Harriet’s records demonstrate why a genealogist must think outside the box when searching for an ancestor. Incorrectly indexed records and misspellings of names are rampant. And, like now, people went by different names, but recordkeeping was looser, resulting in confusion about the actual name and correct spelling.

Often the only way to find records of an ancestor is by broadening the search and focusing on those around them. Many times, the census record for a certain person has proved elusive, only to pop up when I searched for their spouse or child.

Keeping a broader focus can also help determine if the record you’ve found is for your ancestor or for someone with a similar name. Keeping with the example of Harriet, once I learned the name of her husband, I was able to follow them through a few censuses, thereby learning the name of some of her children. The search was further confused by the fact that they had three children named “Thomas,” and several who, like Harriet, went variously by first names, middle names, and nicknames. Fortunately her son George Walter (or Walter George in at least one case) and Alanson (Lancing in one case), and her husband Thomas M. were consistent enough to trace the family and piece together the rest of the puzzle.

The family moved a lot, further complicating this search. Harriet was born and raised in Napoleon, Ohio before moving to Jackson, Michigan with Thomas after their marriage (for which I never found a record). The first Thomas and George Walter were born there. According to censuses, Alanson was born in Ohio. His sister Bessa/Maria was born in Napoleon in 1878, but died in Marion, Ohio in 1891 at age 13. In between those events, Thomas Harry and the last Thomas were born in Defiance, Ohio in  1880 and 1882, respectively. Gladys Martha was born in Mansfield, Ohio in 1886. By 1899, Harriet died and was buried in Marion.  Thomas M., George, “Lancing,” and Martha (Gladys) remained in Marion, along with a daughter-in-law Lena and granddaughter Agness at least through 1900.

The Loverages then moved to Michigan, with Thomas M., Alanson, Thomas, and Gladys listed in the 1903 Detroit city directory.

Gladys and Alanson remained with their father in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, through the 1910 and 1920 census. Thomas M died there in 1939. He was buried alongside his wife in Marion. Gladys died in Detroit in 1972 at age 86.

If I wanted to continue researching this family line, I would follow up on Thomas Jr., George Walter, and Alanson, and trace Lena and Agness, possibly finding out which son Lena was married to.

However, my main interest in the Loverages was to learn about Harriet. She was Montcalm’s sister, making her the great-aunt of my grandfather. Her children and their children are more distant relations than I care to spend time on right now. 🙂


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