52 Ancestors: #12 Daniel Halstead

A few weeks ago, I wrote about a potential breakthrough on the parents of my 4x great grandma, Mary Jane Halstead. I’ve found good evidence that her parents are Daniel and Olive Halstead who lived in Brutus, Cayuga County, New York at the time of the 1855 New York census. At the end of that post, my plan was to:

  1. Do more research on all of the Halsteads in this 1855 NY census record – parents Daniel and Olive Halstead, four sisters (Harriet, Catherine, Eliza, and Emila) and H.A. Fuller (who I believe to be Mary Jane’s daughter Harriet and who is listed as Daniel and Olive Halstead’s granddaughter).
  2. Try to find Olive Fuller and David Halstead after Mary Jane’s death around 1851 and before Olive’s marriage in 1866.
  3. Find an exact death date for Alva Fuller, Mary Jane’s husband.
  4. Find death records/burial information for Mary Jane and Alva.

I’ve been fairly successful with the first goal, completely unsuccessful with #2 & #4, and haven’t been able to make any progress on #3 (last time I had narrowed it down to sometime between 1867 and 1870).  I’m spoiled in that most of my ancestors have lived in Ohio or West Virginia for the last 150-200 years, and both states have a lot records available freely/on ancestry.com from pretty early on. Unfortunately, it seems like New York did not regularly keep birth/marriage/death records until closer to 1900, and even those that exist are mostly not indexed and/or easily available (especially for a poor grad student). So I have to be a little more creative in finding the information I’m looking for, I guess! So in today’s post, I’ll write about the information I’ve found about Daniel and Olive Halstead, who are potentially Mary Jane’s parents. After examining all this evidence, I still think that I have found Mary Jane’s parents, but unfortunately, I still don’t have any records showing it for certain. Census information At the end of the last post about Mary Jane, I had just found Daniel’s family in the 1855 New York census, shown again here. In that census recorc, Daniel and Olive were found with four daughters (Harriet, Catherine, Eliza, and Emila) and a granddaughter H.A. Fuller. Since then, I’ve found a lot more information on this family. 1855 NY census Halsteds I’ve found these census records, with the following household members listed each year:

  • 1850 US Census (Brutus, Cayuga County, New York): Daniel Halsted (55, farmer), Olive Halstead (51), Harriet Halstead (29), Caroline Halstead (26), Martha Halstead (17), William Halstead (12), Eliza Halstead (10), Emily Halstead (5), Jacob Hizer (17, farmer), Alvah K Halstead (20, farmer)
  • 1860 US Census (Sennett, Cayuga County, New York): Daniel Halsey (64, farmer), Olive Halsey (60), Harriett Halsey (40, tailoress), William Halsey (23, farmer), Emma Halsey (15), William Johnson (18, labourer)
  • 1870 US Census (Sennett, Cayuga County, New York): Daniel Halsted (73, gate keeper), Olive Halstead (70), William W Halstead (33, Salesman?), Cilia Halstead (26, Bording), Florence L Halstead (8), Frank Halstead (5), Carrie Halstead (10/12)
  • 1875 New York State Census (Sennett, Cayuga County, New York): William W Halstead (38, farm labour), Celia F Halstead (30), Florence L Halstead (13), Frank E Halstead (10), Carie C Halstead (2), Daniel Halstead, (77, widowed); Daniel listed as being born in Saratoga County, others all in Cayuga County
  • 1880 US Census (Sennett, Cayuga County, New York): William Halstead (42, farm labor), Celia Halstead (36), Florence Halstead (18, teaching school), Frank Halstead (15), Carrie Halstead (11), Ollie Halstead (7), Daniel Halstead (85, boarding)

These census records give the following information for Daniel:

  • Two more children: Martha and William (as well as William’s wife and children)
  • Another possible relative: Alvah K Halstead, living with Daniel’s family in 1850 – is this another son or a more distant relation?
  • A birthdate: between 1795 and 1798
  • A birth location: Saratoga County, New York
  • A probable range for his wife Olive’s death date: between 1870 and 1875 (she appeared in the 1870 US census but not the 1875 NY census)
  • A probable range for his own death date: between 1880 and 1900 (Daniel appeared in the 1880 US census but not the 1900 US census)

For the most part, none of these records indicate whether or not this is indeed Mary Jane’s family. However, there is a Harriet Halstead, whom I think could be Mary Jane’s sister, listed as living with both Mary Jane’s family and their parents in 1850. It’s not unheard of for a person to be listed in more than one place for a given census year, but it’s something to take note of and examine carefully. Unfortunately, since there are no death or marriage records (at least not that I currently have access to) from New York at that time, it’s hard to keep track of women from one census to the next if they’re not living with a known male relative. So did the Harriet Halstead that was living with Mary Jane’s family die or get married between 1850 and 1855, or are the Harriets listed in these two different households in 1850 really the same person, the one who continues to appear with father Daniel Halstead in 1855 and 1860? This question may never be answered satisfactorily, but for now, my best evidence  points to these two Harriets in the 1850 census being the same person. Besides these census records, I found burial information for Daniel and his wife Olive and some church records on the Cayuga County NYGenWeb Project website – they’ve got some great records there. Church Records I found several church records for Daniel Halsted from the Sennett Baptist Church. These showed Daniel, his wife Olive, and their daughter Harriett being “received by letter” at the Sennett Baptist Church in May 1868 (1), which fits with their census records which show that in 1850 they lived in Brutus but by 1860 they had moved to Sennett. Then Daniel and Olive were dismissed by letter in December 1865 and then again received by letter again on 9 May 1868 (2). A church record lists Daniel’s wife Olive as dying on 30 Nov 1870 (2), which also fits with her census records – she last appeared in the 1870 US census. The last church record for Daniel is a record of his death on 1 Mar 1885 at 90 years old (3). Burial Records I found these records for (I believe) Daniel and Olive in the Old Sennett Cemetery (4). The date of Olive’s death in pretty close to the church record for her death, both being at the very end of November in either 1870 or 1871. The writing on the gravestone is not very legible in the image, and without having seen the original cemetery records or church records, it’s quite possible that one of these dates is either wrongly transcribed in these online records and/or that one is the actual death date and the other is the date of the funeral/burial. It seems pretty clear to me that the Olive Flynn and Olive Halsted listed below are the same person – they have the exact same information in the cemetery record, and what are the chances that two women named Olive were born AND died on the same day, both married men named Daniel, and were both buried in the same cemetery? Plus Olive Flynn’s gravestone appears to be next to Daniel Halsted’s, and in the photos, their gravestones appear to have been made to match. So, these burial records don’t give much information about Daniel, but they do potentially give some more information about his wife Olive’s date of death and maiden name (or possibly a middle name or married name from a previous marriage).

FLYNN, Olive d. Nov. 27, 1871. Ae 72y, 6mo, 0da. Wife of Daniel Row 7 F1/F2 170
HALSTED, Daniel illegible Row 7 F1 173
HALSTED, Olive d. Nov. 27, 1871. Ae 72y, 6mo. Wife of Daniel Unable to locate grave. See list of unknowns.

 Two more records

I found a few more records that I believe belong to this Daniel Halsted, but there’s not enough information to be certain – 1820, 1830, and 1840 census records and an 1823 land assessment. The land assessment is for Springport, in Cayuga County. It lists a Daniel and James Halstead as owning land together.

The census record data is represented in the table below. Where a person is listed that I can’t account for with people I believe to be Daniel’s children, I put a letter with a question mark.

  Male Female
1840Springport under 5 10-14 40-49   under 5 5-9 15-19 20-20 40-49
William Alvah Daniel Eliza, A?, B? Martha Harriet, Catherine, C? Mary Jane Olive
1830 Springport under 5 15-19 20-29 30-39 under 5 5-9 10-14 30-39  
Alvah D? E? Daniel Catharine Harriet Mary Jane Olive
1820Scipio 16-25       under 10 16-25      
Daniel Mary Jane Olive

For the most part this seems to fit with my idea of this family, except that there are a few extra people that don’t seem to fit into the family. In the 1830 census, it seems reasonable to assume that the two unknown males are boarders or hired hands – they don’t appear in 1820 census and they’re old enough to be working and living on their own, apart from their own family. In the 1840 census, it’s a little less clear – there is one 15-19 year old female who not in the 1830 census, and two unknown girls under 5 years old. Is this a young, possibly widowed, housekeeper or relative and her two daughters? Or are the two young girls David and Olive’s daughters who died before 1850? It seems that they would be a little young to have been married by 1850. In the end, it seems like these records fit pretty well, and these census records show that there is a daughter that is the right age to be Mary Jane (she was born in 1818).

One other question this brings up: if this is Mary Jane’s family, where is her brother David? As you may remember from the last post about Mary Jane, the obituary for her daughter Olive said that when Mary Jane died around 1851, her daughter Olive went to live with her uncle David Halstead until she got married. In the table above, I assumed that the son born between 1825 and 1830 was Alvah Halstead who was in Daniel’s household in the 1850 census (but he was listed below the other children with another laborer, so it was unclear if he was really a son or just living with the family). But maybe Alvah wasn’t Daniel’s son, and the son in the 1820-1840 census records is David. Or maybe they’re the same person – a first and a middle name, or either the obituary or the 1850 census got the name wrong.


I’ve found a lot of information about Daniel’s life after marriage, but nothing about his life/family before marriage, although the James Halstead listed in the 1823 assessment could potentially be a brother or something. I haven’t looked into this any more though.

The question of whether or not Daniel is the father of my 4x great grandmother, Mary Jane Halstead, is still open, but for now, I think he is. Here’s a recap of the major evidence in favor of him being her father:

  • In the 1855 NY census, Daniel’s household includes a granddaughter, H.A. Fuller, who is the right age to be Mary Jane’s daughter Harriet A Fuller. This would be just a few years after Mary Jane’s death, and her husband Alva Fuller was not living with either of their daughters, so Harriet must have been living with someone else, probably another relative.
  • In Daniel’s 1820-1840 census records, a daughter is listed who is the right age to be Mary Jane – no other daughter this age appears in household in the 1850 census.

The biggest potential problem with this hypothesis is Mary Jane’s missing brother David who was listed in her daughter Olive’s obituary.

If you happen to have any more information about any of these people, especially anything that proves or disproves the relationship between Mary Jane and Daniel, please let me know!


(1) Baptist Church Members at Sennett 1867-1871, Cayuga County NYGenWeb.

(2) Baptist Church Members at Sennett 1863-1867, Cayuga County NYGenWeb.  

(3) Baptist Church Records at Sennett 1882-1887, Cayuga County NYGenWeb.

(4) Old Sennett Cemetery, Cayuga County NYGenWeb.

52 Ancestors: #10 Mary Jane Halstead – a brick wall breakthrough?

Mary Jane (Halstead) Bailey is my 4x great grandmother, and up until today, I hadn’t yet been able to find much information about her, including who her parents were, but I think I may have made a breakthrough finally. I’ll start with what I know, which mainly comes from records and newspaper items about her daughter, my 3x great grandmother, Olive Isadore (Fuller) Bailey. Important information about Mary Jane herself is in bold red text, and names of her family members that might hold clues to who her family is are in bold blue text.. Then I’ll continue on to lay out the information I’ve found that may reveal who her parents are. This post is going to be on the longer side, but if any of you readers make it through the whole thing, I’d appreciate hearing if you think I’m on the right track. Or if you happen to have any information about any of the people discussed here, I’d love to hear what you know.

Information from daughter Olive’s records

On Olive’s death certificate, her parents are listed as Alva Fuller and Mary J Halstead, both born in MIchigan. Olive herself is said to have been born on 29 September 1849 in New York state.

Olive (Fuller) Bailey's death certificate (exerpts)

Olive (Fuller) Bailey’s death certificate (exerpts)

In Olive’s census records for 1880, 1900, and 1910, her parents are both said to have been born in New York, while in 1920, they are said to be born in Ohio.

Olive’s obituary (1) is shown below, but the important pieces of information are as follows:(and can I just say again, how great obituaries are for the wealth of information they provide?)

  • Olive’s birthdate is the same as on her death certificate, and the place of birth is given in Auburn, N.Y.
  • Her mother, Mary Jane, died when Olive was about 2 years old – which would be about 1851.
  • Olive had an uncle David Halstead that she lived with after her mother’s death (this would be Mary Jane’s brother)
  • Olive had one sister, Mrs. Hattie Sunderline of Lyons, NY, and a niece, Mrs. Wm Brown, also of Lyons, N.Y. (these would be Mary Jane’s daughter and grandaughter, respectively)
Olive Isadore Bailey obituary

Olive Isadore Bailey obituary from the Newark Advocate

New connections from Olive’s records

Sister Hattie, niece Mrs. Wm Brown: It was fairly easy to locate Olive’s sister Hattie (Harriet A Fuller) after her marriage to Arthur Sunderline, and they had a daughter Mary who is the niece Mrs. Wm Brown mentioned in Olive’s obituary. Hattie’s family was still living in Auburn in 1870. I haven’t yet located them in the 1880 census, but by the 1892 New York state census, they were living in Lyons, NY, and were there in all the censuses until 1930. After that, I lost track of Hattie, so I assume she died. I never found an exact date of birth, but all of the records say it was ~1857. I hadn’t yet been able to figure out what happened to Hattie between her mother’s death in ~1851 and her marriage in ~1866, nor have I been able to find any marriage/death records that give any information about her parents.

Parents Alva and Mary Jane Fuller: Now that Olive’s obituary gave me her parents’ names, her sister’s name, and a city they were probably living in in 1850, I was able to find them in the 1850 census, right where I thought they should be, Auburn, New York. Olive is not listed, however, despite the fact that she was supposedly born in 1849 – maybe she wasn’t actually born until September of 1850? Also living with the family in 1850 is a Harriet Halsted, b. abt 1820, NY – maybe a sister of Mary Jane’s? This census is the only official record I have for Mary Jane, and it says she was born in about 1818 in New York.

The Fuller family in the 1850 census

The Fuller family in the 1850 census

What happened to Mary Jane’s husband Alva?

After Mary Jane died, I think her husband Alva is the one in these records (all available on ancestry.com and possibly elsewhere):

  • 1855 New York State census: living in Auburn as a boarder with widow Jane Wellington and her two children; listed as a widower,  b. ~1808 in Duchess County, NY, lived in Auburn for 16 yrs, and his occupation was labourer.
  • 1860 US census: living in Auburn with George and Eliza Gilfors, working as a clerk, born ~1800 in NY.
  • 1862, 1863, 1867 Auburn city directories: living at 50 Lewis and working as a watchman in ’62 and labourer in ’63

So after his wife’s death, it appears that he stayed in Auburn and never remarried, at least until 1867. After that, Alva disappears from census records and city directories, so I assume he died sometime between 1867 and 1870, but I haven’t found any records to prove this yet.

Brick wall

At this point in my research, I hit a brick wall and was stuck there for a few years. I occasionally came back to this branch, but wasn’t able to make any headway. I searched and searched for Mary Jane’s daughter Olive Fuller and her brother David Halstead, who should have been living together (along with his family, I assume) between Mary Jane’s death and Olive’s marriage in 1866, but I was never able to find them. There are a few David Halsteads floating around New York during this time that would be about the right age, but I wasn’t able to find anything to tie any of them to Mary Jane and/or Olive. I also wasn’t able to locate Mary Jane’s oldest daughter, Hattie Fuller before she got married – she must have gone to live with other relatives since she wasn’t living with her father, but I couldn’t find her.

For some reason, it never occurred to me to do any more searching for the Harriet Halstead that was living with the Fuller’s in 1850. This should have been an obvious step – she’s almost certainly a relative, probably a sister, of Mary Jane’s since they both are Halsteads and about the same age.

Breakthrough! I think.

So, I did a search on ancestry.com for Harriet Halstead born in 1820 in New York, and one of the first few results was an 1855 New York State census record – this would be just a few years after Mary Jane’s death. And, it looks like it’s the right one!

This Harriet is living in Brutus, New York, which is in the same county (Cayuga) as where I’ve found the rest of the family so far at that time. She’s also the right age – 32, which would put her birthdate around 1822. There’s also an H. A. Fuller, age 8 (b. ~1847), who’s the right age to be Mary Jane’s daughter Harriet/Hattie A (Fuller) Sunderline! Harriet is listed as the daughter of the head of household and H.A. Fuller is listed as the granddaughter. Also, the mother of this family is named Olive – could Mary Jane’s daughter Olive have been named after her?

1855 NY state census - Halsted family

1855 NY state census – Halsted family

So, could this be Mary Jane’s elusive family? I certainly think it is, but I also plan to do more research on this Halstead family to see if I can find any records that prove it, or at least give stronger support. If this Harriet Halstead and H.A. Fuller are the same two Harriets that appear with Mary Jane in the 1850 census, then I’ve finally found her family – her parents Daniel and Olive Halstead, and four sisters – Harriet, Catherine, Eliza, and Emila. This will also answer the question of what happened to Mary Jane’s oldest daughter Hattie after her death.

Besides doing more research on the Halsteads in this 1855 NY census record, I’m also still trying to find Olive Fuller and David Halstead after Mary Jane’s death, a death date for Alva Fuller, and death records/burial information for Mary Jane and Alva. But it sure feels good to have found some good leads to get through one of my brick walls!


(1) in the Newark Advocate, 15 February 1929, bottom/center of p. 12