Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Exploring the common: Johnston and Montgomery

James and Jane Johnston are elusive. I don't believe that they intended to be so, but they evade me at even turn. I have written about William Moulton Butler before, but this is an exploration for his wife and her kin, my third-great grandmother, Eliza J. Johnston.
The above is a clip of Eliza's death certificate. It states that she was born in Chicago, Illinois and that her parents were James Johnston of Scotland/England and Jane Montgomery of England. Could there be to more "plain" names, I ask you? This is the only mention of Eliza's mother, Jane, that I can find. Although Eliza was born in America in 1844, I can find no record of the family on the 1850 or the 1860 census. I believe that Eliza went in to service at a very young age as I find her on the 1870 census working as a housekeeper for her future husband. But what happened to her parents?

Eliza is buried in Graceland Cemetery in Chicago, Illinois. The plot was purchased by William M. Butler, Eliza's husband, on August 16, 1867.

Above is a record of two of the individuals buried in the plot. The first is a young child that I believe was Eliza's first son, but that is a story for another post. Note the second name: James Johnston. Buried October 16, 1867, I believe that this is Eliza's father. But where is Jane Montgomery Johnston? I have to assume that she died fairly young and was buried somewhere prior to Eliza and William be acquainted with each other, or she would have been buried in the same plot. And where has James been all his life? He was somewhere in Chicago in 1844 because of Eliza's birth, but where is he hiding for the next twenty years? I say hiding, but I'm sure he is in plain sight...I have just yet to find him. Or Jane for that matter. Suggestions welcome.


Elizabeth said...

If you have a subscription, try Fold3 (formerly Footnote), which has quite a few years of Chicago City Directories. Go to "Other Collections / City Directories" and select "Illinois" where you can try to search or browse. Sometimes browsing is easier in this case because not all names are indexed, just the first name on a page. Anyway, try browsing, select Chicago, then you can choose the year you want to browse. I look forward to seeing if you have any luck!
(I have had fun finding my great grandfather and 2nd great grandfather here!)

Heather Kuhn Roelker said...

A great tip, Elizabeth! I have looked through a few years and have found several James Johnstons...now to track down those leads. Thanks!