Winter is a good time to slow down and do things we don't have time for in the summer. Some people like to sit by a fire with a mug of hot chocolate and put a jig saw puzzle together. I put a few of them together in my lifetime but it's been years since I've done one. It always seems like such a pity when it's all finished and you have to take it apart to put it back in the box. Maybe someday when I'm so old I can't drive anymore or my mind is too fuzzy to think about more challenging things, I'll turn to jig saw puzzles for entertainment.
In the meantime, my favorite kind of puzzle is finding a family that has disappeared from the pages of history and bringing them to light. This winter I latched onto one such family. I've known about them for several years but this winter I started going after them in a systematic and diligent way.
I'm referring to the Jacob Good family of Dauphin County. Jacob and his brother Samuel both lived in the Harrisburg area of Dauphin County but no one seemed to know who they were.
A few years ago, a friend of mine in Virginia found the papers related to the estate settlement of Jacob Good who died in Rockingham County in 1805. He was born in Lancaster County but moved to Virginia in 1794. His five oldest sons remained in Pennsylvania. The estate settlement showed that Jacob and Samuel of Dauphin County were his two oldest sons.
Published genealogies say the Dauphin County Jacob "died young," implying he died as a child. Not true! I found documents in Dauphin County which show that, while he died in his low 40s, he lived long enough to have two wives and five children.
After more searching I have concluded that Jacob's oldest son had no children and the two younger ones died before they were old enough to marry. The two daughters married and had children but they did not carry on the Good name. Elizabeth married John Krugh and Barbara married John Stoner. The Krughs crossed the Susquehanna River to live in Cumberland County. The Stoners moved to Livingston County, New York (east of Buffalo).
I found a few family trees which identified the parents of Elizabeth (Good) Krugh, but no one seems to know who Barbara's parents were. Putting the pieces of the Krugh and Stoner family trees together has been a challenging and fascinating pastime. I now have 12 children for the Krughs and lots of their grandchildren, many of them in Mercer and Van Wert counties in Ohio. The Stoners had seven children. All but one of them stayed in New York. I found a website with old newspapers from New York that yielded a lot of obituaries and helped me confirm family connections.
You may be wondering why I would go to all this work for a family that is not my relatives. Like a jig saw puzzle, it's the challenge of finding the next piece and seeing the finished picture emerging. It may help someone else with their "brick wall" and the pleasure of digging out the story is my reward.
I'm still working on this but, eventually, when I'm satisfied I've done the best I can, I will publish it. I won't have to take it apart and put it back in the box. That's my kind of puzzle for a cold winter day!