Every couple months some distant relative contacts me about family history and I have to go pull out the paper files I've accumulated over 30 years to see if I have the answer. The oldest paper in my family folders are photocopies of Florida census records my wife made in 1982. They are those old style paper copies that feel like the print will rub off if you aren't careful. She worked at the State Library of Florida at the time and brought home things that she found about my family.
This week I was looking for proof that would help a distant relative gain membership into the Huguenot Society. His great great grandfather Mathew Calvin Blanchard was the brother of my great great grandmother Elizabeth Blanchard Hogan. The Blanchard family from Duplin County North Carolina settled there in the 1700s but had left France as part of the Protestant Reformation.
|1839 Militia Minutes|
He submitted an application to the Society but they rejected it for of lack of proof that Mathew Blanchard was the son of Benjamin Blanchard from Duplin County NC. Benjamin Blanchard died at the end of 1839 or beginning of 1840 so there is no census record with him as head of the house, listing his children. That wasn't done in the U.S. until 1850.
The 1840 census showed Holly Blanchard as the head of the house with the number and sex of the children and the 1850 census showed their names. So we had proof that Mathew and Elizabeth Blanchard were Holly's children but no proof from the Census that Benjamin Blanchard was their father. He was listed as the head of the house on the 1830 census but like the 1840 record it only showed the number of children and ages, no names. There is no record of a Will for Benjamin's estate which isn't unusual for that period.
What I found was a copy of the October 25,1839 minutes from the Duplin County NC Militia where Benjamin was excused from duty. It didn't say the reason, only that he had some affliction. I figure it was a serious illness since he died soon after this. This is why he was not on the 1840 census.
But what was even better was the February 22, 1832 Deed where Benjamin and Holly Blanchard sold a tract of land that Holly had received from her fathers' estate. This proved Holly was Benjamin's wife.
The third proof was a page from my great grandmother Rebecca Green's bible stating Holly Ezell Blanchard her grandmother.
|Rebecca Green's Bible|
Benjamin Blanchard was born about 1790 and died about 1840 in Duplin County North Carolina. Holly Ezell Blanchard was born May 31, 1797 and died in October 1884 in Taylor County Florida. I am not certain where either were buried but think Holly was buried in the New Hope Methodist Church Cemetery in Taylor County.