I am trying to establish the birth family of Martha (L.) Stewart, born in Ohio 1832-1840 (1860 & 1900 census records). She is identified in the 1860 census living in Pease Township, Belmont Co., Ohio, with her husband, Henry Morrison, and three young children, the oldest born in Aug-Sept 1852 in Ohio. Family oral history claims that her father was James Stewart and that he was born in Ireland in 1804. To begin looking for Martha’s family of origin, I searched the US 1850 census
Assuming that: 1) the detail about Martha’s father being from Ireland is correct 2) Martha would have still been living with her family of origin at the time of the 1850 US census (October 8th). 3) she would have been 16 – 20 years old in 1850, judging from later census records and the timing of the birth of her first child, which I believe was legitimate. 4) her maiden name Stewart is probably correct, or at least some variant of it (Stuart/Steward/Stwart), but her father’s first name could vary. 5) the age of her father could also be uncertain
Search terms used in the 1850 US census on familysearch were: bp = Ireland, b 1790-1810, with first name and state of residence changed, depending on the search.
James Stewart, res. = Ohio resulted in 9 matches, only one of which has a Martha in the family, age 16. This seemed to fit, but further research (findagrave & written local histories) suggests that this Martha married a Durand and moved to Cincinnati by 1860 with her new husband.
A search for John Stewart, res. = Ohio returns 2 matches, neither of which are age-appropriate or have a Martha in the family.
Jas Stewart gives no matches.
Expanding the search to neighboring states, there are no matches using the search criteria above for Virginia or Illinois (James or John). For Pennsylvania: 12 results for James, 11 for John; only 3 with Marthas in the family and one is a 60 year old married woman. One of the remaining Martha Stewarts (yes, I know its funny) is with her family in Philadelphia:
John Stewart, b 1810, living in Kensington, Philadelphia; ALL BORN IN IRELAND: Elizabeth, 48 Martha Jane, 17 Robert, 15 Elizabeth, 13 Margaret, 12 John, 10 BUT they where all born in Ireland. I’ve seen place-of-birth mistakes on census records before, but tending towards listing a US place of birth for an immigrant, not the other way around. I also cannot find this family in PA or OHIO, or anywhere in the US in 1860 census. It is certainly possible that the parents had died and the children all married, but this is just a preliminary search and by no means exhaustive.
The third match is for a family in North Slippery Rock, Lawrence Co., PA: John STEWART: 53, male, farmer, real estate valued at $5200, b. in Ireland ~1797 Mary, 25, farmer, b. Ireland ~1825 Hugh, 23, farmer, b. Ireland ~1827 John, 22, Saddler, b. Ireland ~1828 David, 8, at school, b. prob. Penn ~1842 Martha, 16, b. Ohio ~1834 Sarah, 12, b. Penn ~1838 I am very tempted to say that this is my Martha Stewart’s family of origin and pursue other records for them. A preliminary census and land record search does locate the elder sons in the same area through 1900, but I still have not located Martha’s marriage record, and her death record is ordered, but not arrived yet. Cannot find a death record or will for John the elder. Again, I realize that this is just the beginning of the search, but my question is, can I reliably use the 1850 Census records above to identify Martha’s family of origin?