The Family of Mary Washburn

I have had a hard time locating the family and ancestors of my grandmother’s mother. My first problem was locating Alice’s maiden name. My grandmother thought that it was HILLIS, but wasn’t sure. Over the summer, she showed me her parents’ 50th wedding anniversary announcement in the newspaper. It stated that Alice’s parents were George HILLIS and Mary WASHBURN.



I located the HILLIS family living in Rising Sun, Ohio, Indiana in the 1910 census, but could not find them in 1920 or 1900. In 1920, the youngest child Barrett was living with his unmarried sister Vallie in Rising Sun. This made me think that the parents were both deceased. I could not find them in any transcriptions of cemeteries in Ohio County though. I also did not locate them in the marriage transcriptions for Indiana.


In the fall I decided to search the IGI for George and Mary. I was able to find an entry for them that referred to a batch made from the Hamilton County, Ohio marriages. They were married 05 Sep 1886. I wondered if Mary was from the Cincinnati area and I searched for Mary WASHBURNs in Hamilton county in the 1880 census along with her birth year. I found a Mary WASHBURN living with her father Francis/Frank M WASHBURN in Hamilton county in 1880 and 1870. In 1860 I found the family living in Gallia county, Ohio. I still needed to link this Mary to my Mary.


I searched on Ancestry for more information about Francis WASHBURN. I found that he had served in the civil war for the Ohio Volunteer Infantry. The most important and interesting find about him was in The Genealogy of the Cleveland and Cleaveland Families by Edmund James Cleveland (1899). An entry for Francis WASHBURN listed that he had married Lavina MATHEWS and had 4 daughters (Mary Susan, Lizzie Gertrude, Myrtl and Sylvia). It was looking more and more like I had found the correct family for Mary, but I still needed more proof.


I went on Family Search’s pilot record search and searched the Ohio death records for Francis WASHBURN. I found his death certificate that said that he was born in Gallia county, Ohio, but his parents were not listed. He died 18 Feb 1912 of hepititis. I also found the death certificates of his daughters Sylvia (who never married and died in 1934) and Myrtle (married to Silas Barrett WATERS and died in 1951). Lizzie had died as a child in Gallia county. Lavina had died before Ohio death certificates started.



I also searched for the surname HILLIS. First, I found a stillborn child, Willard, of Mary and George HILLIS in 1912.


Then I hit the jackpot. I also found a death certificate for Mary HILLIS in Hamilton County, Ohio. She died 19 Apr 1919. It listed her as the widow of George HILLIS and daughter of Francis WASHBURN and Lavina MATHEWS. This was the link that I needed to connect my Mary Washburn to the family in the Cleveland genealogy book and other records that I had found.



After finding that Mary was from the Cincinnati area, I searched in Hamilton county for her with George and her family in the 1900 census. I was able to find them indexed under the surname HOLIS in Anderson Township. I can’t tell you how many surnames I had already search under to find that family, but I must have only been looking in Indiana and not Ohio for them all.


I still need to find more evidence to prove my case once and for all, but I think that I am on the right path. I need to get a hold of George and Mary’s marriage certificate to see what information it can give me. What I have read about marriages at the time tells me that there won’t be much to gather from it. I’ll also search church records for it. I also need to figure out when and where George died. It should be between the death of their stillborn child and Mary’s death, since she was a widow. Since Mary was buried in Rising Sun, I think that is where George probably died. But I have not been able to find them in any cemetery transcriptions. I wish Indiana death certificates were available online.

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