The following success story was shared with me from one of our Salt Lake Christmas Tour favorites, Jan from Florida. I thought it was cool enough to share here with you:

In June 2013 my friend Jan, who lives in Florida, sent me an email telling about this really unusual and kinda sad entry she found on a U.S. census.  She had been tracing a sibling of one of her 3-greats grandmother from Maryland to California. “I knew they had a son born in 1849 in Missouri and named after his father,” she explained.  Looking in 1850 in St.Louis, Missouri, she found this:

Oliver Irwin, b.ca. 1812 in Maryland, brickmaker

Isabella (Moffitt-Jan knows this), b. 1823 in Pennsylvania

Margaret, daughter, b.ca. 1842 in Missouri

“boy found at front door,” age 11/12, b. prob. Missouri

Most intrigued, Jan looked for the family in the 1860 census and found them in San Rafael, California:

Oliver Irvin, age 48, b. Maryland, stockraiser

Isabelle, age 44, b. Pennsylvania, housewife

O.M. (Oliver Moffit), age 10, b. Missouri

Alice, age 9, born Ohio

I looked for them again and found some of them on the 1880 census of San Rafael:

Oliver Irwin, age 63, b. Maryland, widowed, retired banker

Oliver M. (Moffit)  Irwin, age 31, b. Missouri

                                Sarah Moffatt, sister, age 72, b. Pennsylvania

Jan further explained more about this family:  “Oliver Irvin married Isabelle Moffit;  his sister Sarah Irvin married John Moffit. Sarah and John had a son in 1844 in Missouri whom they named Oliver Irvin Moffitt. Oliver and Isabelle’s adopted/foundling son they named after his parents, Oliver Moffit Irvin.

Can you keep that story straight? And what a truly unbreakable brick wall for the Irvin or Irwin or Moffit or Moffat family. Did that foundling son leave descendants to look for him??

And, dear old Uncle Oliver Irvin surely had an interesting variety of careers.

Thanks, Jan, for sharing this story. Proves doing genealogy is not-never boring!

Donna, aka Mother Hen, until next peek.