My George W. is not to be confused with the one who was born circa 1810 and died 1887 in Wisconsin, which is too bad because that guy has plenty of documentation. He isn’t the one born 1825, married Harriet Richardson and enlisted in the Civil War draft. He isn’t the one born 1857 and married Ella Harvey.
This is what I do know about my George:
- He was born around 1832-1834 in New Hampshire, supposedly Great Falls.
- By 1850, he was living and working as a shoemaker in Dover, Strafford County, New Hampshire. He was boarding with someone, but doesn’t appear to be with family.
- In 1854 or 1856, his supposed son Frank was born.
- December 8, 1857, registered to marry Lucy Ann Goodwin in Somersworth, Strafford County, New Hampshire.
- 1858 George married Lucy.
- 1860 Census shows the little family together in Dover, with George still working as a shoemaker. He has $600 in Real Estate and $100 in Personal Estate.
- He lived in Haverill, Essex County, Massachusetts between March 1 – September 1, 1861.
- Seven years later in August 1868, George, now living in Boston, filed for divorce from Lucy.
- At approximately the same time George filed for divorce, a
newspaper notice appeared in the Boston Daily Traveller, stating that a George Washington Colomy of Boston, a shoecutter, wished to change his name to George Washington Chesley. The wish was granted on September 7, 1868. The location and occupation make me certain this is my George. (Why would he want to change his name? My guess is: to make him harder to find!)
- In February 1869 (just 2 months after the George-Lucy divorce is finalized), a George W. Chesley marries Mary Jane Coleman of Westfield, Hampden County, Massachusetts. What makes me suspicious that it might be my George is that when they appear in North Greenbush, Rensalaer County, New York in the 1870 Census, living with her mother and sisters, George is a shoemaker!
What I and other descendants want to know about George is: who are his parents, and where did he end up, post-divorce? Obviously, there are no easy on-line answers. I’ve already tried the 1865 Massachusetts Census, Old Fulton Postcards and other newspaper sites. Here are some ideas on how I might be able to discover more (when time and money permit):
- search Colomy the 1840 Census in Strafford County, New Hampshire, seeing if there are any males over 5 but under 10. If so, these are potential father candidates to be researched further.
- order the FamilySearch microfilm for the Colomy divorce court paperwork. I’m thinking there have to be more details about George in there.
- see if there are any Boston city directories for the late 1860s and see if George is in there, searching both Colomy and Chesley.
- take a broad look at all the Colomys in early New Hampshire.
If anyone has other ideas on finding George (or if you might have seen him anywhere!), please let me know in the comments.