Merging Lineages

How many clues do we have to gather before deciding that it’s okay to merge one family line onto another? Maybe it’s not the number of clues, but the quality. Today’s case of “Should I? or Shouldn’t I?” came with a little epiphany about the family of Andrew Milton Guthrie (1868PA-1928PA). Due diligence is always a necessary step in determining if an idea is actually on track or just a big stretch of the imagination.

noun: epiphany
a moment of sudden revelation or insight.

Andrew Milton Guthrie was born 10 January 1868 in Pennsylvania. Twice married: 1st – Marjorie Alice Detar (1872-1962) and 2nd – Lucinda Elizabeth Wheeler, he was father to at least 11 children. The records show that he worked as a coal miner / engineer / fireman / foundry laborer in the Coal Industry and as a Glass Work laborer. The details about the dissolution of his first marriage are fuzzy, but occurred sometime after the tragic death of their youngest son in a streetcar accident. Andrew moved from Pennsylvania to Ohio where he remarried, but upon his death in 1928 he was back in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania and buried at Union Cemetery in Irwin.

Although I had gathered quite a bit of information on Andrew’s marriages and children, there was a big gap in his early years. His death certificate identified his parents as Andrew M Guthry and Susana Frain, and his birth location as Bolivar, Westmoreland, PA. Sounds simple enough until you discover there is no marriage record for his parents, and no sign of an Andrew M Guthrie / Guthry of an appropriate age in the census records.

Our most important clue is a Y-DNA participant matching the genetic profile of Guthrie Family Group 2A. He also inherited a genetic mutation flagging him as a likely descendant of GFG2A-Branch G. The origins of the group are in Scotland, but Branch G’s documented history is found in Londonderry, Ireland. There are 2 genetically-matched lines that belong to this branch: Descendants of James Guthrie & Jeanette Wilson and those of John Guthrie & Jane Reed. James and John are most likely brothers. Their descendants share 2 genetic mutations, one showing up at the 67-marker level, and the other at the 111-marker level. Andrew Milton Guthrie‘s descendant would need a test upgrade to verify the presence of the other genetic mutation. Based on the patterns within the group so far, it’s a good bet that he has it.

Even knowing that Andrew Milton Guthrie probably belongs to a GFG2A-Branch G family did not narrow down the field enough to conclusively pinpoint where he belongs. My hope of finding Andrew’s family made me hold out adding it to the Branch G list–until today. I decided to add him on as a separate Branch G twig and started to get organized by refreshing my memory on the key players and places, and grumbling over the missing early census records. Where was Andrew?

My little flash of inspiration hit when I decided to forget about Andrew and focus on the people around him starting with his mother, Susana Frain. Basically, I needed to look outside the box.

Susana Frain was born 18 Sep 1847 in Pennsylvania to Andrew & Elizabeth Jane (Steffey) Frain. No marriage record has been found for Susan Frain and Andrew M Guthry. Since son Andrew Milton Guthrie was born in January 1868, he was probably conceived in May or June of 1867, which means Susan would have been 19. The 1860 census lists her family in Kiskiminetas, Armstrong, PA. Her parents and siblings were still living there in 1870. That increases the odds that Susan met Andrew, the father of her child in Kiskiminetas.

Could the Guthrie family be living in Kiskiminetas in 1870, just two years after Andrew Milton Guthrie’s birth?

Off to check the census…
1870: Household of Margaret Todd Cummins, widow of Andrew Dixon Guthrie 1812-1860.

Despite the tempting prospect of Andrew Dixon Guthrie being a potential father, a quick look at his date of death ruled him out. His middle name was also not Milton, or start with an M, so that clue did not help. The couple also had no son by the name of Andrew. The only potential note in their favor is that Andrew Dixon Guthrie is the son of James Guthrie & Margaret Dixon, and grandson of Branch G progenitors John Guthrie & Jane Reed.

Back to the census! Let’s take it back a decade to consider candidates already there that might be around in 1867/8.
1860: Household of Samuel Dixon Guthrie (1801PA-1881IL). Wow! This census page is a mess. It looks to be overwritten and crossed out. A 23 male named Andrew is legible, but the surname is slashed out. Could he be our missing Andrew?

1850: Household of Samuel Dixon Guthrie (1801PA-1881IL) and his 2nd wife Mary Russell. Listed with them are two of Samuel’s four sons by his first wife Hannah Speer (1801-1846PA): William Guthrie, 17, and Andrew Guthrie, 13, and Rebecca Bond, 25.

This household does not have a direct descendant participating in YDNA testing. However, Samuel Dixon Guthrie is the brother of Andrew Dixon Guthrie, above. Another son of James Guthrie & Margaret Dixon, and grandson of Branch G progenitors John Guthrie & Jane Reed who have multiple participants in the DNA project.

So far Andrew Guthrie, the son of Samuel Dixon Guthrie and Hannah Speer is looking pretty good as a potential father for Andrew Milton Guthrie (1868PA-1928PA). Their four sons are documented in American Guthrie and Allied Families as:
1. William Henry Guthrie 1832-1923
2. John Milton Guthrie 1833-1918
3. James S Guthrie 1835-1846
4. Andrew S Guthrie 1836-1881

Note the use of the middle name Milton.

Also not that son Andrew’s middle name is not Milton, nor is his middle initial M as was listed on Andrew Milton Guthrie’s death certificate. Was that simply an assumption on the part of the informant, or an accurate report?

The source of that letter M was Mrs E Carl Smith of 107 Cravitt in Trafford, Westmoreland, PA, his residence at the time of his death. Was this one of Andrew Milton Guthrie‘s married daughters, another relative who knew him, or a non-relative? No answer for that one. Anyone?

Considering that Samuel Dixon Guthrie died in 1881 at Gibson City, Ford County, Illinois, and is buried at Drummer Township Cemetery, it seems possible that his son was the Andrew S. Guthrie who married there in 1873 to Anna Robbins. No further info found on the couple. Andrew S Guthrie, like his father Samuel, died in 1881.

Despite having the wrong (unverified) middle initial, Andrew S Guthrie is still the best candidate to be Andrew Milton Guthrie’s father. The place, timing, and direct paternal line Y-DNA are all right. Andrew S. Guthrie’s 1881 death date also correlates with the 1889 marriage record of Andrew Milton Guthrie listing his Guthrie father as dead.

Still, there are questions to be answered.
1. Was Susan Frain married to Andrew S Guthrie or was Andrew Milton Guthrie born out of wedlock?
2. Where was Andrew S Guthrie in 1870 when Andrew Milton Guthrie was 2 years old?
3. Where was Andrew Milton Guthrie in 1870? Presumably living with his mother Susan.
4. Where was Andrew S Guthrie in 1880, just a year before his death?
5. Where was Andrew Milton Guthrie in 1880?

No Frain-Guthrie marriage record has been found so far. If it happened, the event would most likely have been in 1866 or 1867 presumably prior to son Andrew Milton Guthrie‘s arrival on 10 January 1868.

By 1870, two years after Andrew Milton Guthrie‘s birth, Susan appears to be married to William Bair and still living in Kiskiminitas, Armstrong, PA. William Bair is a 57 year old laborer. Susan is listed as 22 and keeping house. Both children in the household are listed with the Bair surname: Andrew Milton Bair 4, and Juliann Bair 10/12. Since we know that Andrew’s descendants possess Guthrie Y-DNA, and that his death certificate listed his father as Andrew M Guthry, it looks like his stepfather’s name was being used here.

William Bair died in 1881, which makes the third person in this article that year. Diseases reached epidemic stages in Philadelphia, so it is possible that cholera, yellow fever, diphtheria, or the like was the cause.

In 1880, a year before William’s death, the census shows that the children are not living with William and Susan. Both are found in the household of Susan’s brother, John Frain and his family. Andrew Milton Guthrie is listed under the name Milton Bear, 14, and his sister as Julia Bear 11.

Susan married Joseph St.Clair Shepard in Greensburg, Westmoreland, PA on 28 August 1893 in Pennsylvania. They lived in Cokeville, Westmoreland, PA. She died in 1918 of apoplexy in Derry, Westmoreland, PA and is buried in Blairsville Cemetery in Indiana County, PA.

Andrew S Guthrie was listed as a 26 yr old, unmarried man on the Civil War Draft Registration Records, a stock broker (as in sale of cattle), and residing in Conamaugh, Indiana, PA. His age makes his DOB about 1837, which corresponds with Andrew S Guthrie’s known DOB of 5 Oct 1836. A Fold3 document classified an A.S. Guthrie of the 139th Pennsylvania Volunteers as an insane soldier in a letter dated 1865. It was a one page image with no details or disposition presented. A.S. Guthrie is on a Register of Civil, Military, and Naval Service records in Indiana County, PA for 30 Sep 1869 and 30 Sep 1871.

Residences of Andrew Milton Guthrie:
1868 (Birth) – Bolivar, Westmoreland, Pennsylvania, USA – Source: Death Certificate and some children’s death certificates
1870 (U.S. Federal Census – Age 2) – Kiskiminetas, Armstrong, PA – William Bair – Susan Bair – Andrew Milton Bair – Julia Ann Bair – Note that he is listed under his stepfather’s surname
1880 (U.S. Federal Census) – Derry, Westmoreland, PA – John Frain 22, Emma Frain 23, Edward Frain 2, Joseph Frain 11/12, Milton Bear 14 (nephew), Julia Bear 11 (niece)
1889 (Marriage – Age 21) – Westmoreland, PA – Marriage of Andrew Milton Guthrie and Marjorie Alice Detar – Parents listed as “Susan Father Dead Guthrie”
1890 (U.S. Federal census) – Destroyed by fire in 1921. No portion of the Pennsylvania Census survives.
1892 (Birth of son Andrew Milton) – Pennsylvania – No specific town or county listed
1894 (Birth of daughter Mary) – Rome, Bradford, PA – According to Mary’s death certificate she was born in Rome, PA
1896 (Birth of son George William Dewey) – Irwin, Westmoreland, PA – Source: George’s WWII Draft Registration Info
1899 (Birth of son Ralph James) – Braddock, Allegheny, PA – According to Ralph’s death certificate
1900 (U.S. Federal Census) – North Huntingdon, Westmoreland, PA – Wife and children are living with her parents, John & Mary Detar. Can’t find Andrew listed anywhere.
1903 (Birth of daughter Marjorie) – Pennsylvania? Marriage record lists her birth location as Cleveland, OH
1905 (U.S. City Directories) – McKeesport, Allegheny, PA – 2115 Walnut – Occupation: Engineer
1908 (Birth of daughter Dorothy) – McKeesport, Allegheny, PA – According to Dorothy’s Social Security Application & Claim
1909 (U.S. City Directories) – Greensburg, Westmoreland, PA – 615 Oakland Ave – Laborer
1909 (Birth of daughter Estelle Mae) – Greensburg, Westmoreland, PA – According to Stella’s NY Marriage License
1910 (U.S. Federal Census) – Greensburg, Westmoreland, PA – 515 Hamilton Street – Listed with family. Andrew & Margie have been married 21 years and have had 9 children only 6 of whom are still living in 1910.
1910 (Birth of son Howard Walter – renamed or also named Melvin) – McKeesport, Allegheny, PA – Sources: Birth and Death Certificates
1911 (U.S. City Directories) – Greensburg, Westmoreland, PA – 515 Hamilton Street – Occupation: Laborer
1912 (U.S. City Directories) – McKeesport, Allegheny, PA – 210 W 6th Avenue – Occupation: Engineer
1917 (U.S. City Directories) – Newark, OH – “b” – boarder? – 328 Wilson – Occupation: Laborer
1918 (Birth of daughter Mildred Marie) – Newark, Licking, OH – Obit lists her DOB as 25 Oct 1918
1920 (Marriage – Age 51) – Newark, Licking, OH – Andrew married Lucinda Elizabeth ‘Lizzie’ Wheeler on 9 Jan 1920.
1920 (U.S. Federal Census) – Newark Ward 5, Licking, OH – 70 King Avenue – Occupation: Foundry Laborer – Andrew and Lizzie are listed with their daughter Mildred.
1921 (U.S. City Directories) – Newark, Licking, OH – 6 Everett Flats – Occupation: Glass Worker at the American Bottle Company
1921 (Birth and Death of son Wilbert Harding) – Newark, Licking, OH
1926 (U.S. City Directories) – Newark, Licking, OH – 92 Valley – Occupation: Laborer
1928 (Death of Andrew Milton Guthrie) – Trafford, Westmoreland, PA – 107 Cavitt Ave. – Listed as the husband of Margie Guthry. No mention of Lizzie. Source of info for death certificate is Mrs E Carl Smith living at same address, presumably a relative. Birthplace: Bolivar, PA. Died: 31 July 1928. COD: Cerebral Hemorrhage. Father: Andrew M Guthry (No birth location given). Mother: Susana Fraign (born Bolivar, PA). Buried at Union Cemetery, Irwin, PA on 3 Aug 1928.

Links lead to my Guthrie Research tree…

Andrew S. Guthrie seems to have had a rough time of it during his stint as a Union Soldier during the Civil War. He’s not the easiest man to track down, but he does look like the right candidate to be Andrew Milton Guthrie‘s father. The only dangling issue is that of his father’s middle name. Was the informant at his death listing it as “M” because they knew it or because they assumed he had the same middle name as the son? Did my little epiphany lead me to the right guy or is there another Andrew Guthrie hidden in the census?

The big question is whether or not I should merge Andrew Milton Guthrie onto Andrew S. Guthrie’s tree. What do you think… should I or shouldn’t I?

1 Comment »

  1. Your time spent on the Guthries leaves no doubt of your knowledge and information gathering. At some point it would seem you have to go with the information you have and take the leap,

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