While working on Ancestry.com recently I found a family tree that listed Emma Jane as Emma Jane Piper. Where did Piper come from? I wrote the owner of that information, but no response. So what do I do with this controversy. I have her as Emma Jane Evans and truly believe she was an Evans, particularly because my mother’s middle name is her namesake. Emma Jane Evans is mom’s great grandmother. Emma’s husband and my mom’s great granddad is William Bennett. There is no question that William and Emma Jane are married and that they lived in Guilford in the 1880 Census.
How to prove she is an Evans
To start with I went to familysearch.org which is free and to ancestry.com where I have a membership.
On familysearch.org I searched for Emma Jane Evans and found her marriage. According to the Maine Marriage Records, Emma Jane Evans married William Bennett on October 3, 1862. They married in Guilford, Maine which is in Piscataquis County. There are a lot of my family’s ancestors in Guilford. This is a good fit.
It makes sense to select a federal census from either website for Guilford, Maine. I selected the 1900 census. In this census William Bennett and wife Emma Bennett are 69 and 52 years of age respectively and are living with their daughter Clara Nickerson’s family. Clara is one of their daughters and she did marry a Nickerson so this is a good fit also.
The Piper genealogist had her Emma Jane being born in June 1847 and dying in 1898 on October 14, in Gilead Maine. Since this is the 1900 census, the mysterious Emma Jane Piper Bennett is already deceased. Piper is the wrong surname. Emma Jane Evans Bennett was born in the same month and year, but she is still alive in 1900.
The census show me that Emma Jane and William have been married 37 years, or since about 1863. I know from the marriage records that they married on October 3, 1862; so this fact is verified additionally.
Next I looked at the census page for Guilford in Piscataquis County Maine and found my family surnames of Bennett, Evans, and Titcomb as close neighbors. This is outstanding information.
Living on North Guilford Road is the Nickerson family, the home where Emma Jane and William are living. The head of the household is their son-in-law Alexander Nickerson, his wife Clara, the three Nickerson children, and my mother’s grandparents. This all fits well.
Next door to this Nickerson home is an Evans residence. Stewart and Annie P. Evans with their two children live here along with Stewart’s brother James. An Evans family living next door to another couple of Evans is not likely a coincidence, so this is again a very good fit.
The next house is the Titcomb home of John P. and Emmie Titcomb. Titcombs are ancestors of my family, so we have another good family fit.
I did pick up a fact in the 1900 census that I did not know. Emma Jane Evans Bennett was in “nursing.”
I am no longer concerned about Emma Jane Piper. I think my proof for the surname Evans is very solid. I could gather a lot more through other censuses but don’t see a need for this research at this point. William Bennett and Emma Jane Evans Bennett are my mother’s great grandparents.
Research is good. Use the information you gather to build a timeline for your family members and the facts unveil themselves nicely.