Jane Glasson married John Short in Whitstone Parish, North Cornwall, England, 6 Jan 1821. They were both listed as "otp", meaning that they had lived in the parish for at least 3 weeks and had not sought out poor relief. http://www.cornwall-opc-database.org/search-database/more-info/?t=marriages&id=587662

Her headstone in Millwood, Knox County, Ohio, USA gives death date 29 January 1860, age 69.

They had a son, John, baptized in Jacobstow Parish, (also North Cornwall) 9 July 1826. http://www.cornwall-opc-database.org/search-database/more-info/?t=baptisms&id=3710376

Jane's maiden name, Glasson, is supported by 2nd-hand evidence from the biography of her husband in America (page 664): https://archive.org/stream/centennialbiogra00lewipu#page/664/mode/2up

The Glasson surname is very common in south/west Cornwall, but unheard of in North/east Cornwall in the 19th century. There has been extensive research done on the Glasson families of Cornwall (see Penwith genealogy board: http://azazella.proboards.com/board/11/glasson)

Witnesses to the Banns of John Short and Jane Glasson's marriage in Whitstone were Henry PAYNTER and Anthony ARTHUR. The former was a farm owner in Whitstone Parish. PAYNTER was the witness to several marriages during the early 1800's, both family and seemingly non-family. I suspect that Anthony ARTHUR was a labourer on the farm, as his occupation is listed as such in the birth record of his daughter, Sarah Ann, born 4 Nov 1821 in Whitstone. He married Susanna WARREN at Whitstone, 29 March 1821. 

My guess is that Jane was employed as a domestic or farm laborer in Whitstone at the time of her marriage, but why was she apparently so far from 'home'? (i.e., was it common for single women to migrate 60+ miles to work in a parish where she knew nobody?!) Any explanation or sources for social history of rural women workers would be much appreciated.

  • I've upvoted your well researched and well written question but note that it ends by asking three questions which can be problematic for focussed Q&A. I want to encourage you to ask more questions.
    – PolyGeo
    Dec 30, 2016 at 21:43
  • Thanks PolyGeo- in the future then I should refer to say, the first lengthy question and post each of the (3 in this case) questions separately?
    – user5836
    Dec 31, 2016 at 1:30
  • 1
    I say this with a little reservation, but I think yes. Provide the background and ask the most important question to you first, and then give it a little time (perhaps a day, maybe only an hour or two) to see whether you engage a potential answerer. If you do, then their answer may answer another of the questions anyway or otherwise show that it no longer needs to be asked. Then, if you need to, copy the link from your first question into the start of a second question as background, and then ask the second (and later the third) question.
    – PolyGeo
    Dec 31, 2016 at 1:36

2 Answers 2


This addresses a question which was not asked explicitly, but is crucial to the solution of the other questions posed within: how can you know you've identified the correct person named Jane Glasson, and not some other person?

Here are some suggestions for further research, and some ideas for you to think about. First let's start with a brief overview of the research cycle, as outlined in this article from FamilySearch:

  1. Identify what you know.
  2. Decide what you want to learn.
  3. Select records to search.
  4. Obtain and search the records.
  5. Evaluate and Use the information.

(after step five, return to step 1 and repeat)

To evaluate the information you have, one useful tool is Elizabeth Shown Mills' Evidence Analysis Process Map (PDF) which she talks about here in her QuickLesson 17: The Evidence Analysis Process Map.

Another important tool is Inferential Genealogy, where we go beyond the information which is on the surface of a single record, and dig deeper, combining information from many records to build a conclusion. In his video class, (handout here), Dr. Tom Jones, CG, CGL, FASG, FUGA warns against "Kinship Acceptance", which he defines as "The uncritical use of kinships determined or accepted by others."

What immediately leaps out at me is that John Short's biography that you found on the Internet Archive is an authored work -- where did the author get the information about John's wife's maiden name? Does he cite his source?

Let's assume for the moment that he was he looking at the same parish record as the one you found. If so, you are accepting his kinship determination that the parish record from Cornwall belongs to the couple he is writing about. What if he is wrong?

In a case like this, I would suggest widening my search, looking in all record groups that I could find that might mention anyone in the couple's immediate family. For England, references like FamilySearch's England Record Selection Table can help; so can the England Wales Checklist published by oneplacestudy.org (archived copy from the Wayback Machine). For a print reference work, Mark D. Herber's book Ancestral Trails describes all the various record types that might exist.

When reviewing records on the US side, you can consult works like the United States Record Selection Table in the FamilySearch Wiki, Kory Meyerink's work Printed Sources, Mills' Evidence Explained (it's not just about citations), and Christina K. Schaefer's The Hidden Half of the Family: A Sourcebook for Women's Genealogy, which outlines the changes in the law in the USA and highlights possible sources where women's names might appear in records.

You're on the right track when you ask about identifying the witnesses to the marriage. Widen the search and investigate anyone -- friends, associates, and neighbors -- who might be connected with the couple. See QuickLesson 11: Identity Problems & the FAN Principle for an example of how Mills identified a woman on a marriage record named Mary Smith (a very common name).

Another thing to try is working up a list of surname variants for Glasson in case records have been mis-indexed or mis-transcribed.

Also, beware of searching too narrowly when it comes to Jane's age. One important thing to consider when doing inferential genealogy is the principle Judy G. Russell talks about in her webinar "How Old Did He Have to Be?" (available by subscription or purchased download from Legacy Family Tree Webinars). By knowing the law, we can make better estimates of someone's age, when the age is not stated explicitly in the records. How old did she have to be, in order to marry in 1821? Is it possible that you've missed a baptism because she was not baptised when she was a baby, but baptised later on? Perhaps it isn't common for this time period, but sixty years later, I have registers with siblings born two years apart who were baptised on the same day.

Re-examine everything you have on the couple -- analyze the information, and question everything, and search more widely. As you think of new questions, write them down so you won't forget to explore them later.

  • 1
    Thanks very much Jan, I am very appreciative of this site and the members efforts to provide meaningful answers- not just ancestor collecting!
    – user5836
    Dec 30, 2016 at 21:47
  • 1
    To answer one point that you brought up: "John Short's biography that you found on the Internet Archive is an authored work -- where did the author get the information about John's wife's maiden name? Does he cite his source?" the biography was published in 1891, I do have the original printed book, and the ancestor written about was still alive and in good health at the time- so I believe that the information is based on an interview with John Short.
    – user5836
    Dec 30, 2016 at 21:51
  • It would be useful if you could edit this information into your question, and add the name and publication date of the book as the label to the link.
    – Jan Murphy
    Dec 31, 2016 at 17:37

The Jane GLASSON in this question has been identified as Jenefer GLASSON, baptized on 6 April 1792 to John Glasson and Anne MICHELL in the parish of Camborne, Cornwall, England.

The key piece of information was a better photo of Jane Glasson SHORT's headstone in Ohio, showing that her year of death was January 1860, not 1868 as was transcribed on findagrave. Combined with Jane's absence from her family in the June 1860 census, and her age from her headstone, put her approximate year of birth as 1791.

The names Jane/Jenefer/Genefer and sometimes Joanne where used interchangeably in 18th-19th century Cornwall, and it is common to find these names used for the same individual on different vital records and censuses.

A list of all possible individuals with those given names and variations of the surname GLASSON who were baptised between 1785 and 1805, was compiled with the help of other family researchers on Penwith Genealogy. The only person who could not be traced to a marriage to someone other than John SHORT or a burial, is this Jenefer GLASSON of Camborne.

Granted, this is not proof, as it is possible that Jane Glasson SHORT's baptism was never recorded. However, Jane and John's eldest child was named Anne, which lends support to this identification.

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