Wednesday, August 01, 2007

A new-found Cousin or Not?

Previously, I wrote about a new-found cousin, Charlene, and her visit to Indiana last week. One of the reasons that Charlene came down to visit was to see if we could help her in determining who her grandfather really was. All of her records give his name as Noah Evert Long, son of John Henry and Elzora Mary Tabitha Shuder Long (aka Dora and Zora). Noah was born February 4, 1893 but, according to an online index for Kosciusko County, John H. Long and Dora Schuder were not married until October 25, 1896 (their marriage record has been ordered).

The 1900 census shows only wife Zora and daughter Idey in the household of John H. Long. The only "Noah" the right age in the 1900 census for Kosciusko County is a Noah E. Lantz, born Feb 1893, age 7, born Indiana, parents born in Indiana, enumerated as a border in the household of Samuel Denwood a 74 year old white male. Samuel's son, 31 year old Frank, is also listed as are two other borders (a 22 year old female and a 19 year old male), as well as a 19 year old male servant. The Denwood household is listed on page 4a and the Long household on page 5b.

In the 1910 census we see wife Mary T.; son Noa E, age 17; and daughter Ida M. in John's household. Both the 1900 and 1910 census show that Zora/Mary had 2 children both living. It also showed that John and Mary had each been married once for 14 years. In 1920, the household of John H. Long included wife Mary T; daughter Ida, age 16; and son Noah E, age 25.

A delayed-birth record for Noah, filed on November 13, 1943 in Gladwin County, Michigan states that Noah Evert Long was born February 4, 1893 in Oswego, Kosciusko County, Indiana the son of John Henry Long and Mary Tobitha Shuder; that he was the 1st child born to Mary Tobitha Shuder and she had no other children living. Listed as supporting evidence was Affidavit of Father and Affidavit of Mother. Documentary Evidence was given as "Bible Record, Operators License, Insurance Record". A couple of items to be noted: His sister Ida was still living in 1943; she died in 1974. His father, John H. Long, died in 1920.

Among the family "artifacts" that Charlene has is a postcard dated 9-1910 that was addressed to Noah Evert Lantz, Syracuse, Indiana. So, was Noah Evert Long really Noah Evert Lantz? Were his birth parents John Henry Long and Mary Tobitha Shuder?

= = = =

Then, as I was entering the data from my cousins into my genealogy database, a discrepancy jumped out at me. I'm not sure why none of us noticed it before, maybe we didn't have all the information in front of us at the same time, at any rate we didn't notice it and we have another anomaly.

Elzora Mary Tabitha Shuder, also known as Dora, Zora, and Mary T., was, according to the 1900 census, born in January 1873. Census records substantiate the fact that she was born in 1873: 1880, 7 years old; 1900, born Jan 1873 age 27; 1910, age 37; 1920, age 47.

However, Elkhart County Marriage Records (Book 4 page 379) show that her parents, Isaac Schuder and Nancy Jane Lavering, were not married until October 26, 1875. Isaac would have been 29 years old and Nancy Jane was 20. We're not using a transcription as we have a copy of the marriage record.

John H. Long died on September 16, 1920 and on November 8, 1926 Elzora married Walter L. Davis. I wasn't able to immediately get a copy of the record, that should be arriving in a few days, but the marriage record does give her parents as Isaac Shuder and Nancy Lavering. It also gave her date of birth, but I didn't make note of it (I know, bad me) but the year was 1873. Her grave marker in Syracuse Cemetery, Syracuse, Indiana has simply "Mary Long Davis / 1873 1954"

Elzora Mary's obituary was published in the Warsaw Times-Union on March 6, 1954

"Mrs. Mary Dora Davis, Syracuse, aged 81, died at 7 a.m. Saturday of complications at the Alfran Nursing Home, near Pierceton, where she had been a patient the past three weeks.
"Mrs. Davis was born in Elkhart County, Jackson Twp., the daughter of Isaac and Nancy Jane Schuder. She was married to John Long who died in 1920. Her second marriage was to Lincoln Davis, who is also deceased.
"Survivors include a son, Everett Long, of Coleman, Mich.; a daughter, Mrs. Walter (Ida) Ott, LaPorte, a number of grandchildren, four brothers, Ezra Shuder of Barbee Lakes, Charles Schuder of Ligonier, Cleveland Schuder of Milford, and George Shuder of North Webster."

Both the 1900 and 1910 census records show that Nancy Shuder had 9 children and that all 9 were still living. Census records for 1880 through 1910 give us the names of all of the children.

The funeral notice for Nancy Jane Shuder (who died January 2, 1954 aged 99 years and 30 days), which was published in the Warsaw Times-Union, states "Her husband, Isaac Shuder, to whom she married in 1872, died in 1905." The funeral notice also lists her children, one of whom was Mrs. Dora Davis, of Syracuse. Note the year of marriage - it is given as 1872.

Isaac Shuder died on August 11, 1905. An Administration Deed recorded April 13, 1906 states, in part: "This indenture witnesseth that Nancy J. Shuder, Administratrix of the estate of Isaac Shuder, deceased, of Kosciusko County in the State of Indiana, in an action pending in the Kosciusko Circuit Court of the State of Indiana, whereby Nancy J. Shuder Administratrix of the estate of Isaac Shuder, is plaintiff, and Nancy J. Shuder, William H. Shuder, Minnie B. Shuder, George M. Shuder, Charles J. Shuder, Elsie Wiseman, Cleveland Shuder, Anna M. Shuder, Ezra Shuder are defendants, being cause No. 10347 of said Court, by order of said Court entered in Probate Order Book V, at page 128..."

Note the omission of Elzora/Mary Long. This is the only document my cousin Caroline had regarding Isaac's estate. I'll have to see if there is a final settlement document.

On page 543 of the History of Kosciusko County (Royse 1919) there is a biography of Charles J. Shuder which lists the following as the children of Isaac and Nancy Shuder, stating "There were the following children in the family: Henry, of Tippecanoe; Minnie, wife of Harry Larabee; George, of Tippecanoe Township; Charles J.; Elsie, wife of Charles Wiseman, of Tippecanoe Township; Mabel, wife of Everett Leedy of Plain Township; and Ezra and Cleveland, both unmarried and at home."

I don't know what to make of the fact that Elzora is "missing" in the Administration Deed of 1906 and that Charles' biography of 1919 does not include her. Mrs. Elzora Davis, is listed as a sister in the obituaries for William H. Shuder (July 22, 1946) and Minnie Belle Linville (December 3, 1946) the only two siblings, besides Elsie, who predeceased her.

I've ordered a copy of the marriage record for Elzora and John H. Long. They were married October 25, 1896 in Kosciusko County and that record should give the names of her parents. We could also order her death record, which should also give her parents. My guess is that both records are both going to show that Isaac and Nancy Jane Shuder are her parents. But we'll get them anyway just to make sure. I'll also see if there is an estate settlement packet or a final settlement statement. Elzora was born in 1873, too early for "official" birth records in Indiana. What other records might be helpful?

So what do we have? Elzora/Mary Shuder Long Davis was born in 1873. Isaac and Nancy Shuder were married in 1875. Are Isaac and Nancy Jane her birth parents? Was Elzora/Mary taken in by Isaac and Nancy? Does it really matter? It appears that she was considered family, at least in the majority of the available records that we have. How should this be handled? Would you include Elzora/Mary as part of Isaac and Nancy's family in your database? I already have. And I've included all of the evidence found thus far and will add any new information as it is discovered. She may or may not be a blood relative, but I feel that she is family. And isn't that really what this is all about?

Census records cited:
1880 Van Buren Township, Kosciusko County, Indiana (page 18b) Household of Isaac Shuter
1900 Tippecanoe Township Kosciusko County, Indiana (page 4a) Household of Samuel Denwood
1900 Tippecanoe Township, Kosciusko County, Indiana (page 9a) Household of Isaac Shuder
1900 Tippecanoe Township, Kosciusko County, Indiana (page 5b) Household of John H. Long
1910 Syracuse, Turkey Creek Township, Kosciusko County, Indiana (page 6a) Household of John H. Long
1910 Tippecanoe Township, Kosciusko County, Indiana (page 133) Household of Nancy J. Shuders

1920 Syracuse, Turkey Creek Township, Kosciusko County, Indiana (page number illegible, family 108) Household of John H. Long


  1. Thank-you Becky for all the help you have given Char in researching our Grandpa Long. I am a 1st cousin to Charlene and have done some minor research but couldn't break the wall that was in our way. Charlene showed me all the pages of information that she has and it is simply amazing.

    another new found cousin,

  2. Greg, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. My cousin Caroline and I enjoyed meeting Charlene and sharing information. However, I'm afraid we now have even more questions than answers!


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