Saturday, January 25, 2014

52 Ancestors: #3 - Hunt for Henry Wakefield

Seated front-second from the right
great-grandfather, Charles Wakefield
son of Henry Wakefield

Last week I wrote about my husband's grandfather, Christian Wismer Ruth. Doug thinks I may be the foremost expert on Christian! I have reams of information, from birth to death.

At the other end of the genealogy spectrum? My 2nd great-grandfather, Henry Wakefield. Plenty of oral history, with very little documentation.

What do we have? Hearsay, fantastic family lore and conjecture. Goodness, even his birthday is a mystery!

From my mother, aunts and assorted family members, we have heard the following.

  • Henry was a horse thief ... chased from the border of Scotland
  • Henry immigrated to Maryland from England
  • Henry served in the British military
  • Henry died at sea

  • So .. what do the documents say about Henry Wakefield?

    click on image to enlarge for better viewing

    This record was discovered in "Trinity German Lutheran, 1853-1877: Baltimore City, Maryland. Ruppert, Gary B. Westminster, Md: Willow Bend Books, 2002". Book located at The Historical Society of Baltimore County.

    From record:
    • Parents of Charles (Karl) were Heinrich Wakefild and Elis. Jud - agrees with all records
    • Charles was baptized December 13, 1868 - death record lists birth as October 26, 1868

    We find Henry Wakefield in the Baltimore, Maryland, City Directory, 1868. This is the only directory with a listing for Henry.

    From record:
    • Henry's occupation is tailor
    • Resided at 290 S. Ann Street

    While researching on Google, I stumbled on  "Wakefield Memorial : comprising a historical, genealogical, and biographical register of the name and family Wakefield" compiled by Homer Wakefield. The book was privately printed for the compiler in 1897.

    Searching the index I discovered Henry! Genealogy happy dance! Well, maybe a little genealogy skip. You can see there are quite a few blanks in his entry.

    From record:

  • Born October 14 ___ 
  • Birth in England - 1900, 1920 United States Federal Census, Charles Wakefield lists father's birthplace as England. 930 United Federal Census, Charles lists his father's birthplace as Wales
  • Married August ___, 1867 to Elizabeth Judd - see record below
  • Died July 1, 1871; have found no records to support this date. At sea on ship "Callaloo" - have not found information about this ship
  • Served in United States navy during Civil War - enlisted November 9, 1863 from Baltimore, Md. - disagrees with family lore that states Henry served in the British Navy. Have yet to find records for either possibility
  • Discharged November 22, 1865
  • Resided 290 South Anne Street, Baltimore, Md. - agrees with Baltimore City Directory

  • \
    Baltimore City Court of Common Pleas (Marriage Index, Male) 

    • Only record on site for Henry Wakefield marriage in 1867. 
    • Henry Wakefield 40 years of age - birth date would be 1827
    • Occupation listed as mariner - disagrees with the 1868 Baltimore Directory
    • Bride listed as Elizabeth Young (could this be Judd?) - age agrees

    That is all the information I have for Henry Wakefield. Nothing but frustration at each turn. 

    Any tips/help would be greatly appreciated. Really need to kick down the wall surrounding Henry Wakefield!

    1 comment:

    1. Deb, you certainly found Henry in some unusual sources! Do you know when he immigrated to the U.S. I would think that would determine the timeframe of possible service in the British Navy. I know the British textile industry suffered during the Civil War because of the Union blockade of southern ports and the Confederates inability to export a sufficient amount of cotton. But I didn't think the British were terribly active in the Civil War besides sending military observers over to watch tactics and new weapons, but I might be wrong.