52 Ancestors: Week 15 – Do You Have Florence Elizabeth Hance in Your Family Tree?

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

I am a new addict to DNA. I hemmed and hawed for a long time before I took a DNA test through Ancestry last year. Since I got my results in November, I have been obsessed with unraveling the mystery of some of my DNA matches.

I\’ve had a group of matches that all trace back to one woman, Florence Elizabeth Hance or Hence (1865-1935). These matches look to relate to my paternal side. She appears to be a 2x great grandmother. I have narrowed down to her being the mother of one of my paternal great grandfathers: John Wellington McDonald or James Henry Douglas. I have eliminated my great grandmothers as being possible connections. My great grandmother Edna Johnson was born and raised in Nova Scotia, and the mysterious Elizabeth Hance has no connection to there. Also Edna\’s line goes back to the Foreign Protestants, which is a very well documented group of early settlers. My other great grandmother, Mary Black MacArthur, came to Canada in 1919 from Scotland. Elizabeth spent her entire life in Ontario, Quebec, and New York State. I also know who Mary\’s mother was: an Irish born woman named Annie O\’Connell.

Finding these matches has been so exciting and yet so frustrating. Finding where she fits into my tree will break one of my two biggest brick walls. Both my great grandfathers were born between the years 1885 and 1895. Either one could very well be one of her children. I built what they call a \”quick and dirty\” tree on Ancestry for Elizabeth, and she did not have an easy life. This is a quick time line for her:

  • 31 October 1865: Florence Elizabeth Hence is born in Williamstown, Glengarry, Ontario. She is the youngest daughter of Henry Hance and Josephet LaBerge (source: Census records)
  • 1871: Elizabeth Hence is living in Charlottenburg, Glengarry, Ontario with her parents and siblings (Source: Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1871 Census of Canada [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2009.) 
  • 1881: Elizabeth Hence is living in Chalottenburg, Glengary, Ontario as a servant in the house of Ronald and Adelaide Pariseau (Source: Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1881 Census of Canada [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2009.)
  • 31 August 1886: Elizabeth Hence marries Joseph Taillon in Dundee Quebec (Source: Ancestry.com. Quebec, Canada, Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1968 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2008.)
  • 7 February 1889: Elizabeth gives birth to her son Walter Joseph Tyo/ Taillon in Fort Covington, New York, USA (Source: Ancestry.com. New York State, Birth Index, 1881-1942 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2018.)
  • 20 April 1890: Elizabeth remarries to Moses Ledger in Fort Covington, New York, USA (Source: Ancestry.com. New York State, Marriage Index, 1881-1967 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2017.)
  • 1893 to 1900: Elizabeth gives birth to children Florence, Agnes, Francis and Rose. (Source: Census Records)
  • 27 November 1899 : Husband Moses Ledger dies in a logging accident in Franklin, New York, USA (Source: The Malone Palladium newspaper obituary 7 December 1899. Image of the obit on a public Ancestry tree)
  • 1900: Elizabeth Ledger is living in Fort Covington, New York, USA with her children. She is listed as a widow (Source: Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004.)
  • 9 March 1902: Elizabeth marries Alonzo Mitchell in Fort Covington, New York, USA (Source: Ancestry.com. New York State, Marriage Index, 1881-1967 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2017.)
  • 1904 to 1908: Elizabeth gives birth to sons Alonzo and Darwin Mitchell (Source: Census Records)
  • 1910: Elizabeth Mitchell is living with her children in Fort Covington, New York, USA. She is listed as a widow (Source: Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.)
  • 1915: Elizabeth is now the wife of Peter Blair and living in Bombay, New York, USA. Living with her are Peter\’s children as well as her 3 youngest children Rose, Alonzo and Darwin. (Source: Ancestry.com. New York, State Census, 1915 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.)
  • 1920: Elizabeth Blair is listed as a widow again and living in Bombay, New York, USA. Living with her are her two youngest boys Alonzo and Darwin. Also living there is her eldest daughter Florence, her husband Nolan Reynolds, and their children (Source: Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.)
  • 1930: Elizabeth is now married to Nelson McDonald and living in Malone, New York, USA. They are living with her daughter Agnes, her husband Arthur Noreault and their children. (Source: Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2002.)
  • 12 June 1935: Apparently, this is the death date of Elizabeth in Fort Covington, New York, USA. I have not found a definitive death date. This information is taken from the trees of my matches, and none are sourced.
I have followed Elizabeth\’s children, and have been able to trace the lives of all but two: her eldest son Walter Joseph Tyo, and her son Francis W Ledger. Because of all the half sibling relationships, it is difficult to say which son I could descend from. Both sons fit into a birth timeline for my great grandfathers. Without finding information on them and \”killing them off\”, I cannot say which one might be either James Henry Douglas or John Wellington McDonald. Of course, there is also the possibility that Elizabeth had another son that was adopted into the Douglas or McDonald line. I want to eliminate Walter Tyo and Francis Ledger as possibilities before I try and go down that route.
If you are a descendant of Elizabeth Hance, I would love to hear from you. I would especially like to hear from descendants of Walter Joseph Tyo/Taillon or Francis W Ledger. You can reach me by the contact information of my contact page. 

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