Welcome to my genealogy blog. Ancestors I Wish I Knew is a combination of genealogical information and stories about individuals in my family tree. The focus is on those from my Cochrane, Eitelbach, Merrett, Minarcik and Richards lines and their descendants.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019


This week’s theme is thief and I found one in my family. 
One day while looking at the cases in the Old Baily in London I discovered this transcript of testimony in a trial for theft which involved my great great uncle, Andrew George Cobbett Cochrane. 

Andrew George Cobbett Cochrane was born on May 12, 1809 in London, England.  His parents were The Honorable Andrew James Cochrane and Ann Morgan.  Andrew had two brothers, William and George, and one sister, Anna Maria, all born in London.   In 1828, he married Emma Shaw at St. James Church, London, England.  According to the baptismal records for his daughter Emma, in 1830, the family lived on Museum Street, in London, and from the records for his son, Charles, in 1832, on Court Street.  Both records indicated that Andrew was an assistant overseer.

Here is the record from the Old Bailey from 1832

Mr. Thomas Adams is one of the directors of the poor of St. Giles' in the Fields and St. George, Bloomsbury - the prisoner was employed there as a schoolmaster, and to superintend the making of books and eyes ; he had for that, in addition to his keep, 12s. a month.
Old Bailey
WILLIAM WOODS . I am a wire-worker - I furnish the parish of St. Giles' with wire, to be worked up into books and eyes. On the 24th of August the prisoner brought this bill to me for 5l. 18s., for making books and eyes in the rough state, for which I found the materials - I paid him by a cheque on my bankers, Messrs. Young and Co., in Smithfield; this is it - it was returned as paid; on the 8th of October he brought me another bill, which was incorrect, but upon a second application, I paid him five sovereigns and 12s. in silver.
ROBERT WAINWRIGHT . I am master of the work-house. The prisoner ought to have accounted to me for these sums, but he never did.
COURT. Q. Was he employed by you to bring sums of money to you? A. The directors of the poor employed him, and he was to account to me as their agent; I used to pay him the 12s. a month.
PHILIP RILEY . I am beadle of St. Giles'. I took the prisoner; he said he understood he was wanted, that he was very glad, and had he met any of us in the street, he certainly should have given himself up.
GUILTY. Aged 26.
Recommended to Mercy . - Confined Six Months”

Erie County Savings Bank
Shortly thereafter Andrew George Cobbett Cochrane and William Cochrane along with their families migrated to the United States and settled in Buffalo, New York.  From what I could find about Andrew in Buffalo, he was an outstanding citizen.  The City Directories for Buffalo list the associations, organizations, and churches as well as the individuals who held offices in them.   In 1837, Andrew was the recording secretary of the Young Men’s Association, a literary society, which i  A year later, he was still the recording secretary, but also on the library and by-laws committees.  In 1847-48, he was the Assistant Secretary of the St. Andrews Society, a group for those of Scottish descent; a notary public,  and the Deputy District Grand Master of Erie District #3 of the Odd Fellows.  From 1847 to 1849, he was a trustee of the Unitarian Church.  Beginning in 1855 and until his death, Andrew was the general account for the American Merchants’ Union Express Company, which I believe was the forerunner of American Express.
s described as having a “well-selected” and large library of books and was the forerunner of both the Buffalo Public Library and the Buffalo Museum of Science.

I would like to talk to Andrew and find out more about incident.  Did he really think he would get away with it?  Why did he need the money?  Where was he confined? Did the arrest lead to his coming to the United States. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

#106 Soldier

I think of the he War of 1812 (1812-1815) as a kind of forgotten war.  It is sandwiched between the Revolution War and the Civil War and does not get a lot of attention.  However, it was an important war.  It was fought because of British restrictions on U.S. trade, America’s desire to expand its territory, and the impressment of United States sailors into the Royal Navy. 

The war did not go well for the United States with several defeats.  Most notable was the burning of the White House in 1814.   However, the The United States was victorious in New York, Baltimore and New Orleans.  

My great great great grandfather, James Hannah fought in the War of 1812.  He enlisted in the 147 Regiment of the Pennsylvania Militia under Colonel Rees Hill.  They were stationed in Erie, Pennsylvania to guard the navel facility.  There is no other information about what he did in the war or how long he served.  

If I could talk to him, I would like to know exactly what he did, how long he served, and if he was in any battles.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

#105 Poor-- Ann Morgan, Poor in Information

This week’s theme is poor.  Poor in money? Poor in land?  Poor in children?  How about poor in information?  That would fit my great great grandmother, Ann Morgan. Other than her name, and a couple of pieces of information about the birth of her children, she is a mystery.

So what do I know that can be verified.  According to the Church of England Records, Andrew George Corbett Cochrane was baptized in January, 1810 at St. Marylebone, London.  William was baptized in 1811, and a year after that Anna Maria Cochrane was baptized.  In 1813, George was baptized.  Three years later, George died.  In each case The Honorable Andrew James Cochrane Johnstone was listed as the father.  However, there is no record of a marriage between Andrew and Ann.

Unfortunately, Morgan is a common name and so is Ann.   I figured that Ann had her children in her late teens or very early 20.  That would mean that she was born in the 1790’s.  Both the 1841 and 1851 census list an Ann Morgan who would be the right age.   The only other piece of information is that she was an upholsterer. 

So I am stuck.  I would love to ask Ann some of these questions?  Who were your parents?  Where did you live?  How long was your relationship with Andrew Cochrane Johnstone?  Did he support you and the children?

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

#204 Rich Man

There are many ways to be rich.  My emigrant ancestor, Edward Richards (1610-1684) was a rich man.  When you are dealing with people in the 17th century, it is hard to determine exactly how rich any one was.  One way to determine that is to look at what they owned, particularly land.

Edward Richards lived in Dedham, Massachusetts.  He arrived there about 1632 and was granted a house lot and another lot because there was a defect in his house lot.  A little later he was able to buy an additional lot from Robert Feak.  Edward joined the church and signed the Dedham Covenant.

The town of Dedham was granted a good deal of land, some of which they held and other of which they distributed to its residents.  They had an interesting system.  The amount of land a person received was based on the amount of land the person already held and the number of people in the family.  So if you had a lot of land and a large family you got more land than people who owned less land and a smaller family.

Edward received land on 14 separate occasions.  In 1642 he was given 4 acres for improvement and two years later received 5 acres.  Typically, he was granted more land than the vast majority of individuals.  In 1657-8 when a cedar swamp was divided, Edward received the second larges grant, only the  Reverend Allin received more.  Another way to determine his wealth is to look at the taxes he paid.  Generally, he was in the top three or four men in terms of the the amount he was assessed.

Within the land granted to Dedham was a large tract of land which previous had been granted to a Mr. Cook of Dublin, Ireland for a large farm and manor house.  After Mr. Cook died, his attorney was given permission to sell the lands to Eliazer Lusher and Anthony Fisher of Dedham.  Some time later, Edward Richards was able to buy Mr. Cook’s farm and built “Broad Oaks,” which remained in the Richards family until 1838.

So I think, in terms of land Edward Richards was a rich man.  If I could talk to him, I would like to know what he did with all that land.  How much was farmed? How much was meadow? How many buildings was on that land?