|Sarah Shelly Obit|
Last week I waited impatiently for the release of Pennsylvania death certificates on Ancestry.com. This week, I am pondering a discrepancy between one of those death certificates and a marriage license as to who is Sarah Ann Shelly's parents. The first clue I found was Sarah's obituary which names her parents as Abram & Hannah Shelley. While obituaries can provide wonderful clues they can also be filled with erroneous details and family tales. My search then took me to investigating her marriages. The wonderful History of the Woodcock Family from 1692 to September 1, 1912 which has a family tree from my grandpa Clinton Burket back thru Patriot ancestor Bancroft Woodcock, beginning with my immigrant ancestors Rachel Bancroft and Robert Woodcock has given me many leads. Unfortunately the information on Sarah is of limited help. It states Milton Woodcock married Sarah A. Shelley 9 Aug 1865, but does not name her parents.
After Milton’s death, Sarah remarried in 1886 to Isaac Steele. Here on their marriage application, Sarah’s parents are Jacob & Anna Shelly. Only husband to be Isaac provided the information to the clerk, so did he know his wife’s parents?
|Isaac Steele and Sarah Shelly Woodcock Marriage License|
Fast forwarding to last week, I found her death certificate on Ancestry.com. The family information was filled out her son-in-law David Burket whom she was living with at the time of her death. He declared Sarah’s parents were Abraham Shelley and Hannah Brown. So who really was Sarah’s parents and where should I search from here?
|Sarah's Death Certificate|
8 Nov 1837 – born to _____________; parent info conflicting
9 Aug 1865 – married Milton Woodcock; Source: History of the Woodcock family pg 34; no parents mentioned
3 Apr 1867 – daughter Elizabeth Catherine born
1 Jul 1868 – daughter Virginia born
4 Jul 1870 – son John born
1870 census – 32, living with Milton and 3 children in Holmesville, Ohio
12 Dec 1871 – son William born
6 Feb 1872 – son William died
2 Jul 1873 – daughter Susan born
10 Feb 1875 – husband Milton Woodcock died; Source: will names Sarah as wife; Sarah’s obit
1880 census – 43, widow, 4 of her children living with her; sharing property with Hannah Shelly in Hopewell, PA
1886 – Married Isaac Steele Source: marriage license; parents listed as Jacob & Anna Shelly
1900 census – 65, married, living with daughter and son-in-law (Mock), not husband
24 Sep 1904 – husband Isaac Steele died; Source: findagrave.com
1910 census – 69, widow, living with daughter and son-in-law (Mock)
1920 census – 84, widow, living with daughter and son-in-law (Burket)
19 Aug 1921 – died at home of daughter and son-in-law (Burket) Source: obit & death cert; obit lists parents listed as Abram & Hannah Shelly; info provided by son-in-law (Burket) parents Abraham Shelley and Hannah Brown