Monday, June 6, 2011

Cousin Steve's Conrad Family Confusion

Cousin Steve is working on his Conrad family line from Frostburg, Maryland. His Dad is still with us but his Grandfather Charles "Pete" Conrad is gone along with his Grandmother Elsie. Steve is a good and thorough researcher and detailed by nature so he likes to see citations.

We're both newbies to this genealogy business so we stumble around... likely me more than he. He's hit his first brick wall and it's a doozie.

Charles William "Pete" Conrad and family.

The Conrads came to Frostburg before 1818 and stayed there, so that makes things nice and neat. A good examination the census and tombstones are in order. But now Steve is stuck making logic out of evidence for the William Conrad who came to Frostburg.

I'll let Steve explain in this section of an article he wrote for our family history newsletter. See what you make of it.

For more than 193 years, the Conrad family has been part of the Frostburg community. William Conrad moved to Frostburg on or before 1818. It was there he married Elizabeth Fraley and started the "Frostburg Conrad Family". It was recorded in his obituary that William came from Pennsylvania where he was born "near Williamsburg, Huntingdon Pennsylvania".

With this little bit of information I began the hunt for William’s father. At first it looked pretty simple as a number of people had his ancestor’s listed. However, when I checked further into the information I found none of it was sourced and many people had "MY" William mixed up with "Elder" William Conrad who moved from Huntingdon, Pa. to Harrison, Kentucky and became a church elder. It appears they were both born in the mid to late 1790’s and in the same county in Pennsylvania.

So throughout family trees in there are many people that have merged the two William Conrad’s adding to the confusion. "Elder" William Conrad has a grave stone in the Conrad Cemetery, Grant Co., Kentucky that lists his birth (Dec. 6th 1797) and death (March 13th 1882). A web search of Ancestry.Com on William Conrad from Family Tree will bring up a picture of this grave stone.

Not much else is known. The 1800 census for Huntingdon, PA contains a Jacob Conrad, who is listed as over 45 with 4 male children in the household under the age of 10. The only female listed in the household is a between the ages of 26 and 45. The question becomes is he the father of one of the two William Conrad’s. If so, then which one. After all, the census doesn’t say they are his children living in the household. Since the lady of the house is younger, somewhere between 26 and 45, does that mean that Jacob Conrad had a second family?

Next, I tried using the Huntingdon Historical Society for possible leads. I was told for $40 they would research William’s father.

What did he get back from The Huntington Historical Society? Not too much. Here's what Steve wrote about that.

My first glance through the material looked as if it was already completed research from past years basically looking for other Conrad’s or just Conrad’s in general. Of the 14 pages of reprinted material, none was from the timeframe I had requested, mid 1790’s to 1815 when William could have been living in Huntingdon. So I put down the material with a sense of frustration and disappointment.

Yeah, who wouldn't be disappointed with that? Anyone have any ideas about this brick wall of Steve's? Email me at

Butch, Steve and me, about 1947.

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