Although one document may answer your specific question, continue looking for additional records. The first document you identify may not have an accurate answer, it may not offer a complete answer, or it may not answer the question at all. Following is a case study that illustrates how analyzing numerous records helped answer the birthdate question and the parentage question for Mary Elizabeth Weightman. The two research questions were then consolidated into the case study.
The Birthdate and Parentage of Mary Elizabeth Weightman
Brooklyn, Kings, New York
A daughter was born to George Weightman and Annie Elizabeth Evans on 3 October 1866 in Brooklyn, Kings, New York.
Figure 1 Brooklyn, Kings, New York Birth Certificate 3 October 1866 for female Weightman born to George Weightman and Annie Elizabeth Evans
This digital image of a microfilmed original record noted the child’s date of birth, the child’s gender, and her parent’s names, but not a first name. The birth was at 14th Street near 6th Avenue. The doctor attending the birth was Dr. Geo. A. Ostrander. George Weightman provided his signature as the informant for this birth record.
MARY ELIZABETH’S MARRIAGE
A marriage announcement was published on 2 March 1890 in The Brooklyn Daily Eagle newspaper that documented the wedding of Mary Elizabeth Weightman to Henry M. Edwards. A transcription of the article follows.
Mr. Henry M. Edwards and Miss Mary Eliza-
beth, daughter of Mr. George Weightman, were
married at the residence of the bride’s parents,
120 Hancock street, on Thursday evening. The
ceremony was performed by the Rev. J. G. Bac-
chus, D. D., rector of the Church of the Reforma-
tion, in the presence of the immediate relatives.
After the wedding supper a reception followed
from 8:30 to 10 P. M., when the many friends of
the bride and groom tendered their congratula-
tions to the young couple. The floral decorations
were much admired and a bountiful collation
was enjoyed by the guests. The wedding pres-
ents were numerous. Among those present were
Mr. and Mrs. R. W. Edwards, the Misses Made-
line, Alice, and Louise Edwards; James Edwards
Mr. and Mrs. George Weightman, the Misses A.
Louise and Carrie Weightman, Master G. Edwin
Weightman, Dr. and Mrs. George A. Ostrander,
Rev. J. G. Bacchus, D. D., and wife, Edgar Til-
ton, Mr. and Mrs. W. A. Tooker, Mr. and Mrs.
Horace E. Dresser, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Baker,
Mr. and Mrs. J. O. Bedell, the Misses Maud and
Lorena Bedell, Mr. and Mrs. Eli M. Merrill, the
Misses Mamie, Annie and Laura Merrill, Mr. and
Mrs. W. S. Colvin, the Misses Gracie and Mabel
Colvin, Mr. and Mrs. Edward A. Leslie. Mr. and
Mrs. E. Dunn, Mr. and Mrs. A. O. Webber, Miss
Julia J. Jones, William Evans, Jacob Evans, Mrs.
Alburtus, Miss Emma A. Halsted, Mr. and Mrs.
James S. Foote, W. P. Howell, the Misses Howell,
Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Weightman, W. L. Stroud, Jr.
The wedding was at Mary Elizabeth’s home at 120 Hancock Street in Brooklyn, Kings, New York. The Reverend J.G. Bacchus performed the ceremony. The article stated that the wedding was on a Thursday and the newspaper was published on a Sunday, so the couple was married on 27 February 1890. Doctor George A. Ostrander attended Mary Elizabeth Weightman’s marriage. He was the same doctor who attended the female Weightman’s birth on 3 October 1866.
The George Weightman household (and Mary Elizabeth as a small child) was not identified in the 1870 United States Census. Mary Elizabeth was enumerated in the 1880 United States Census with her family. In addition, she was noted as the wife of Henry M. Edwards in the 1900 and the 1910 United States Censuses. Mary Elizabeth was also enumerated in the State of New Jersey 1905 and 1915 Censuses.
The George Weightman household was enumerated in the 1880 United States census in Brooklyn, Kings, New York. The family lived at 259 Putnam Avenue. Both George and his wife Annie E. were thirty-seven. They had three daughters. Mamie E. was thirteen, Annie L. was ten, and Carrie E. was seven. All three daughters were born in New York. Their son, George E. was four and born in New York.
Figure 2 Brooklyn, Kings, New York the United States 1880 Census George Weightman Household
The 1880 United States Census established a birth order for the children of George Weightman and Annie Elizabeth Evans. Mamie was noted as thirteen which placed her birth year as 1866/1867. Mamie was a nickname for Mary and was used interchangeably. Mary Elizabeth’s siblings Annie L., Carrie E. and George E. match the names of those in attendance at her 27 February 1890 marriage.
|1900 U.S. Census||Mary E.||33||Oct. 1866||20 June 1900||Brooklyn, New York|
|1905 N.J. Census||Mary||38||Oct. 1866||10 June 1905||Glen Ridge, New Jersey|
|1910 U.S. Census||Mary E.||42||29 April 1910||Glen Ridge, New Jersey|
|1915 N.J. Census||Mary E.||48||Oct. 1866||29 June 1915||Glen Ridge, New Jersey|
Table 1 Census Comparison for Mary Elizabeth (Weightman) Edwards
The census data collected for Mary Elizabeth (Weightman) Edwards was consistent in all instances. She aged appropriately across all censuses and noted October 1866 as her birth whenever given the opportunity. She lived in Glen Ridge, Essex, New Jersey for the 1905 – 1915 censuses.
GEORGE WEIGHTMAN AND ANNIE ELIZABETH EVANS PROBATE RECORDS
George Weightman’s probate record was examined. It was filed in Brooklyn, New York, New York and indicated that he died on 25 April 1913.
Figure 3 Excerpt from George Weightman’s Probate Detailing His Heirs
His papers included a list of his heirs. The list noted his second wife, Sarah Weightman, his daughter Mary Edwards of Glen Ridge, [Essex], New Jersey, his daughter Louise VanEtten of Milford, [Pike], Pennsylvania, and his son Edward Weightman of Brooklyn, [Kings], New York. (Later documents go on to correct his son’s name to George Edwin Weightman.)
Figure 4 Excerpt from Annie Elizabeth (Evans) Weightman’s Probate Detailing Heirs
Annie Elizabeth (Evans) Weightman died on 1 September 1911 according to her probate records filed in Brooklyn, New York, New York. Annie Elizabeth’s heirs were noted on the first page of her probate record. Her husband, George Weightman is listed with his residence noted as 120 Hancock St. in Brooklyn, New York, New York. Annie Elizabeth’s children were listed as Mary Elizabeth Edwards of Glen Ridge, [Essex], New Jersey, Annie Louise Van Etten of Milford, [Pike], Penns [ylvania], and George Edwin Weightman of Brooklyn, New York, New York. Carrie was not listed.
Despite the lack of a first name for the female Weightman child born to George Weightman and Annie Elizabeth (Evans) Weightman on 3 October 1866, a relevant collection of documents survived to determine that Mary Elizabeth Weightman was that child.
Mary Elizabeth’s family life was documented in The Brooklyn Daily Eagle newspaper. Her wedding night celebration was at her parents’ house at 120 Hancock Street in Brooklyn, Kings, New York. The 1880 United States Census listed Mary Elizabeth’s siblings as Annie L., Carrie E. and George E. and their attendance at her wedding was noted in the marriage announcement. In addition, the doctor who attended her birth was also listed as attending her wedding.
Mary Elizabeth’s age was consistently accounted for across all censuses she was enumerated within. She clearly knew her birthdate and so did anyone else who answered the census questions.
Both of Mary Elizabeth’s parents had probate records filed in Brooklyn, New York, New York. Their address was still 120 Hancock Street at the time of their deaths. They both listed a Mary Edwards of Glen Ridge, Essex, New Jersey as their child. Their child was Mary Elizabeth Weightman, born on 3 October 1866, in Brooklyn, Kings, New York.