Sunday, August 22, 2010

Waters or Watters! Muddy waters indeed!

while back I found my great grandmother in 1910 US census living Lowell Massachusetts with new husband and my grandfather (a boy at this time) and his sister Flossie. For whatever the reason, it wasn't until this past month I decided to request a copy of the marriage certificate from the state of Massachusetts. I was hoping there would be more information on the certificate than just the union of the two. So, after gathering the proper information and time frame of the marriage, I sent the request to Massachusetts. I was told to expect a long wait for the return on any documentations. Happily, I received the certificate in just over four weeks. Not long at all for government work. Anyway, I hit pay dirt and more confusion, at the same time, about my great grandmother's nee, in which this blog post is about.

Oral history says;  my great grandmother's name was Waters or Watters. So, after my mother's death of Jan 4th, 2001 and her brother's death of Jan 1, 2001, I starting my families genealogy research. Shortly there after, I came across a document that stated that her nee was Walter not Waters. So the confusion thickens! I believe the document was my grandfather's birth certificate from Rhode Island. Now, armed with this information, including  my great grandmothers married names of Reynolds and McArdle... I set forth to dig.  Where to start was the question? I have to admit I didn't get very far with this branch because of the confusion. But she kept call me back to dig more, which in these days is a good thing!  The additional of digital records being added  almost daily means there is new information all the time. Now, the reason I keep returning to this branch of the tree is; oral family history has my great grandmother connected to a Penacook chief called Passaconaway! It would be very interesting indeed if there was a link back to this old chief, there is not.  Now, because I kept coming back, I did find my great grandmother living with her new husband in the 1910 census.

More confusion! Both oral and official records has my great grandmother's first name as Elizabeth, Hanna or Anna. With all these many possible surnames as; Waters, Watters, Walters, Reynolds, McArdle, and the given name as; Elizabeth, Hanna, Anna, she have been hard to pin down. Now, with this new document (the marriage certificate from above) stating that my great grandmother's nee was Elizabeth Anna Waters of Nova Scotia, it was off to Nova Scotia Canada. Oh! From this point on I will refer to my great grandmother as Anna. Back to the certificate, which also had the names of Anna's parents... Jackpot! No, their names was not Jackpot! But, rather a James and Sarah Waters of Nova Scotia. Notice I said "Waters"!  So, off to Nova Scotia for record research. First, I had to find the Nova Scotia genealogy vital record site, which I did at Historical Vital Statistics.

Bang! First search I found James and Sarah's marriage record. This record not only gave me the marriage date of 1867, it gave me birth place and the next generation of ancestors! Oh I am on a roll! I also noticed on this marriage record that James' was listed as Waters and his parents as Walters. Oh! The inaccuracy of recorders then and now. I wasn't  able to gather any more information about the surname of Water, so I moved onto trying Watters. Here I found a Thomas J Watters, parents James Watters and Sarah J. Dingle. Check out the column on the right.
Thomas Watters 1871
This header for this column was; Signature of Father. It's not his signature as you can see, rather it's the same as the rest of the cursive writing on this record, but the surname is back to Waters. Here's another! I know this is the same family as the nee of Sarah matches, the marriage date is correct and James is listed as a miner.

William Dingle Watters, 1876

James work in the gold mines of Goldenville Nova Scotia.  I did try to find Walters, but no hits.

After exhausting my searching on the Historical Vital Statistic site of Nova Scotia, I moved onto searching the Canadian census that are on line.  Since, I don't have a world account with Ancestry, I went to their actual site of Candian census, its free.

I did find the my James Waters family listed in the 1881 Canadian census for Nova Scotia on two separate pages.. dang archivist not paying attention to pages numbers
James Waters, 1881
Sarah and family, 1881
Again, in the 1891 census I was able to find Sarah's parents Thomas and Margaret Dingle and right under the Dingles on the census record there is a Watter, Sarah and family.  I believe this is my Sarah... what do you think?
Dingle & Waters, 1891
I hope this make some sense.. I did ramble on and was gathering data while typing this out.  Actually, I found a few more Watters that are related through James and Sarah, but there wasn't any inconsistencies to support the muddy waters as they are.......


  1. It's a bit addicting, the research and family history and sneaks up on you ;)

  2. Great job!!! I can wait to find out more especially about the old chief! Good luck and tomorrow while im at work I can help dig around too... don't know how much help I can be but i'll try =)