Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Did the Entire Family Disappear?
If you were looking for William McClease and his wife Isabelle in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, you would find them living in Upper St. Clair Township in 1870:
William McClease, 37, Laborer, born in PA
Isabelle, McClease, 34, born in PA
John McClease, 12, born in PA
William McClease, 6, born in PA
In the 1880 census, they would be missing.
The McClease family isn't part of my family tree, but I found them mentioned in a publication listed on the Library of Congress website when I searched for items related to Pittsburgh. Their story made me realize that anyone looking for them today would wonder why they couldn't find them. And then maybe they would give up and move on.
The publication is the Report of the Citizens' Executive Relief Committee of the Cities of Pittsburgh and Allegheny, for the Relief of the Sufferers by the Flood of July 26th, 1874. Beginning on page 18, it lists the names of more than 100 people who drowned. Multiple names from the same families can be seen on the list, including the McClease family:
William McClease, aged 45 years; McLaughlin's Run; body found
Mrs. Isabella McClease, aged 42 years; McLaughlin's Run; body found
John G. McClease, aged 16 years; McLaughlin's Run; body found
William McClease, aged 12 years; McLaughlin's Run; body found
Rettie McClease, aged 4 years; McLaughlin's Run; body not found
Searching the Ancestry.com message boards would lead you to a post that states the family perished in the 1874 flood. But there are many more names in the publication that may not be found by doing an online surname search. By reading some of the historical books related to the town or city where your ancestors lived, you may find a mention that helps with your genealogy research.