Monday, March 4, 2013

Amanuesis Monday: Samuel Albert House's Death Certificate

Amanuensis Monday

What's an Amanuensis, you say? It's a copyist: someone who sits like a crazy person squinting their eyes and probably ruining eyesight to read that old document hand-written so very long ago and type it out. We do because we love:)
There has been a whole lot of posting going on over here under the Nut Tree lately about one Samuel Albert House, who happens to be my 2nd great grandfather. You can find recent posts here:
Mom told me that SA House's death certificate information was provided by Mom's grandmother, Catherine Elizabeth House. Her son and Mom's favorite Uncle Tuck has been a strong resource for Mom's view of what happened because he gave her some behind the scenes info. Quite a while back Mom said that her grandmother was concerned that his death certificate reveal his illegitimate paternity, and so to make it all work out, she switched the surnames of the father and mother. In that way Samuel Albert ended up with the last name of House, which he went by all of his life, and his father became Isaac House instead of Isaac Biggerstaff, which was his natural father's name. We know plainly and for sure that his mother's name was Rebecca House.
There has been an ample amount of confusion about the identity of Samuel Albert's father around the internet, and this is the document that started the trip down the rabbit hole. Now that all other pertinent data and sources are lined up, one can more easily see what happened, and why anyone without all of the pieces to the puzzle would draw the same erroneous conclusion. 
So here's his Certificate of Death. Then I'll follow with a transcription of the salient passages, and explain the conclusion and how it's arrived at.
(Circled) 81
Registration Dist. No. 9
County: Allegany
Village or City: Frostburg
FULL NAME: Samuel A House
Color or Race:  White
Single, Married, Widowed, or Divorced:  Married
Date of Birth: Feb 11 1832
Age: 85 yrs  7 mos  21 days
Occupation: Track foreman
General nature of industry: Railroad
Birthplace: W Va
Name of father: Isaac House
Birthplace of father: Not known
Maiden name of mother: Rebecca Biggerstaff
Birthplace of mother: W Va
(Informant) Elizabeth House
(Address) Frostburg Md
DATE OF DEATH: 10 (month)  2 (day) 1917
And then follows the other information that he died of arterial sclerosis and the place of burial is St. Michaels. The date of burial is 10/4/1917.
And then the fun started!!
Who was this Isaac House, listed here as his father? The only Isaac House who was anywhere in the state of Virginia in 1832 lived in Harpers Ferry and nowhere close to the place of birth of Samuel Albert House and his mother Rebecca House. But that said, someone a while back attached that Isaac House from Harpers Ferry to the ICI file as Samuel Albert's father. Too bad about that piece of misinformation!
So I've followed this ancestry of Samuel Albert House all along from his recorded and indexed birth in Hampshire County, Virginia, through his work on the railroad and then as a farmer, to his move to Frostburg, Allegany, Maryland, and finally to his death certificate. I think his case is closed for me now and it's time to write it up and then one last check for any holes. In my and Mom's minds his father is undoubtedly Isaac Biggerstaff. Let's go find his family!!

And finally:
Cumberland Evening Times, Pg 2, February 1907.

 His Seventy-Fifth Birthday
Mr. Samuel A. House, one of Frostburg's
oldest citizens celebrated his
seventy-fifth birthday at his home on
Hill Street on Monday, Feb. 11th. Mr.
House is the father of sixteen children,
sixty-five grandchildren and one
great grandchild. He was the father
of the late Wm. House who met his
death at Newcastle lately. Mr. and
Mrs. House are both hale and hearty,
and can walk five miles with ease.
Mr. House received many gifts from
his many friends who wish him many
more happy years.
Amanuesis Monday is a weekly blogging prompt from GeneaBloggers. You can find the whole week's list of prompts here. Thanks, GeneaBloggers for being you!!

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  1. I've have been trying to figure out the mystery surrounding Samuel House's parents; that's when I came across your blog. Thanks so much for doing this blog! It has helped with my research on Samuel House (my great-great grandfather).

    1. Hey Cousin Lynn!! Thanks for stopping by:)