Saturday, December 4, 2010

Surname Saturday - Can I Conclude These Oswalts Are Related? - Part Three

In my previous post, I continued my analysis of the possible children of Benjamin and Mary Oswalt, but I stopped before I got to William. For this post, I plan to complete the series, and I would appreciate everyone's feedback on whether or not I can reasonably conclude that my ancestor, Adam Oswalt, was related to the Benjamin and William Oswalt living in the Saint Joseph and Barry Counties, respectively, of Michigan.

So why do I believe that the William and Benjamin Oswalt are brothers to my ancestor, Adam Oswalt? How do I even know that this William and Benjamin Oswalt are the same ones as the William and Benjamin Oswalt listed as living in the household of Benjamin Oswalt in the 1850 census? Well, the information that tells me that the William and Benjamin Oswalt of Michigan are the same as the ones in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania comes from the Civil War records of William and Benjamin, who both served in Michigan infantries. William Oswalt enlisted in the E company of the reorganized Eleventh Michigan, and in the muster-in roll for company E, the birthplaces of the enlistees are listed. William's birthplace is given as Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania. The birthplaces for Benjamin Oswalt and his fellow soldiers, who served in company G of the 25th Michigan Infantry, are not listed; however, from Benjamin's Civil War Pension file, I know that he was also born in Huntingdon County. (1) While I haven't yet obtained a copy of William's Civil War Pension file (Or to be more accurate, his widow's file), I can make that conclusion from examining Michigan's Civil War records. Of course, the Civil War records are not the only records that I have to connect William and Benjamin Oswalt.

So, what are my other sources? In the 1860 census, William Oswalt is listed as living the household of Daniel Black. Also living in Daniel's household were a Margaret and Mary Black. (2) While mentioning that William lived in the household of Daniel Black may not seem significant, but it is. In fact, this Daniel Black was also listed as a witness to Benjamin Oswalt's marriage to Elizabeth Freelove. Additionally, after Daniel died in 1901, Daniel's wife, Margaret, remarried to a David Elsey, and on the marriage record, Margaret listed the names of her parents as Benjamin Oswalt and Mary Robb. (Margaret's death certificate does not list the first name of her father or her mother's name, but does list her father's surname as Oswald.) (3) Margaret and Daniel provide the link between William and Benjamin. This link is especially important in that neither Benjamin or William's death records list the names of their parents. (Benjamin's Civil War Pension file does included testimony from Adam's brother and-sister-in-laws about Benjamin's early life.) (4)

So, how is Adam connected to William, Benjamin and Margaret? As I mentioned in my first post, Adam mentioned in his Civil War Pension file that he was born in Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania and his death certificate listed his parents as Benjamin Oswalt and Mary Rough. (5) Except for the maiden name, Adam's certificate and Margaret's second marriage give the same names for their parents. While this my greatest link between Adam, Margaret, William and Benjamin, it is not my only link. In 1871, Adam and his wife, Ann, sold the property they had bought the year before, and the witnesses to the sell listed on the deed were an Elizabeth Oswalt and John Dowlin/Dowling (I forget which was the actual spelling at the moment.) As I mentioned above, Benjamin married a woman named Elizabeth, and I believe that the Elizabeth Oswalt who witnessed the transaction was her. Of course, it could also possibly be William's wife, but I suspect it was Benjamin's wife since William's wife's name was Eliza. (Eliza's maiden name was Mosier/Moshier, and she remarried after William's death in 1876. I have not yet found a marriage record for them.) (6)

The last possible sibling I have for Adam is Nancy Oswalt. In the 1850 and 1860 censuses, she is living in the household of Benjamin Oswalt; however, after Benjamin (the father) died in 1861, I don't know what happened to her or to Benjamin's wife Mary. (7) I have not been able to find them in the 1870 census.

So, that is the information that I have so far on the proven and possible siblings of Adam Oswalt. Do I have enough information or evidence to conclude that William and Benjamin are Adam's brothers? What do you think? Any comments or suggestions are welcome. Thanks, and enjoy!

  1. Michigan Adjutant General, "59-14 Ovs 16 Folder 02 Eleventh Michigan Infantry (Reorganized): Muster-In Rolls of Draft Rendezvous," Civil War Service Records, document 11, Seeking Michigan,; Michigan Adjutant General, "59-14 Ovs 39 Folder 02 Twenty-fifth Michigan Infantry: Muster-In Rolls," Civil War Service Records, document 16, Seeking Michigan,; Civil War Widow's Pension File of Elizabeth Oswalt (Benjamin Oswalt).
  2. U. S. 1860 Federal Census, Michigan, St. Joseph County, Fabius Township, household of Daniel Black.
  3. Marriage of Benjamin Oswalt to Elizabeth Freelove, Saint Joseph County, Michigan marriages, FamilySearch Record Search; Death Certificate of Daniel Black, Cass County, Michigan death records, Seeking Michigan,; Marriage of David Elsey to Maggie Oswald Black, Van Buren County, Michigan marriages, FamilySearch Record Search; Death Certificate of Margaret Elsy, Van Buren County, Michigan death records, Seeking Michigan,
  4. Death of Benjamin Oswalt, Saint Joseph County, Michigan deaths, FamilySearch Record Search; death of William Oswalt, Barry County, Michigan deaths, FamilySearch Record Search; Benjamin Oswalt's Civil War Pension file.
  5. Civil War Pension File of Adam Oswalt; death certificate of Adam Oswalt, Kent County, Michigan death records, Seeking Michigan,
  6. "Deed from Adam and Ann Oswalt to ? (I can't remember the men's names at the moment since I don't have the record at school with me), Saint Joseph County, Michigan land records. (I would list the volume and page number for the deed if I had my notes with me, but I do not at the moment; marriage of Eliza Mosier Oswalt to Reuben Pierce, Barry County, Michigan marriages, FamilySearch Record Search.
  7. U. S. 1850 Federal Census, Pennsylvania, Huntingdon County, Walker Township, household of Benjamin Oswald; U.S. 1860 Federal Census, Pennsylvania, Huntingdon County, Juanita Township, household of Benjamin Oswalt.

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