Years ago, I obtained her death certificate from the Hamilton County, Indiana Health department which listed her parents as William Cook and _____ Hirbarger. At the time of her death, she was living with her daughter, Lola May (Lambertson) Whisler and husband, Omer, so it is likely that one of them was the source for the information about Clara's parents. Clara's birthplace has been listed as Ohio in various census records with her parents born in Virginia, and her obituary adds to the confusion as it states that she came from Virginia to Ohio with her parents in a covered wagon.
Needless to say, searching various census records in 1850 for a family of a William Cook born in Virginia with a daughter named Clara or some variant was highly frustrating. I searched for German variants as well, thinking that Cook might have been Kuch, etc. with no success.
Preble County, Ohio was where Carey and Clara's oldest two children, Charles and Samuel, are listed as being born. It borders with Butler County, Ohio, where they were living in the 1870 census with Carey's father, John. I have yet to discover a marriage record for Carey and Clara in either county, but since the first two children were born there, I considered it likely that Clara's family was from there.
A search of the 1850 census in Preble County finds a family in Washington Township consisting of James M. Cook, age 37 born in Virginia; Mary, age 36 born in Virginia; Amanda, age 14 born in Virginia; Elizabeth, age 13 born in Virginia; Sarah, age 10 born in Ohio; Mary, age 8 born in Ohio; Thaddeus, age 4 born in Ohio; and Clarissa, age 2 born in Ohio.
This was the closest match I had found for Clara, assuming that this Clarissa might be her. Yet the fact that the death certificate said her father's name was William, not James, had me keeping this record in my list of "close, but no cigar". That is, until a couple of recent hints made me re-think who her parentage might be.
A recent Ancestry.com hint for Clara led me to the database U.S., Hinshaw Index to Selected Quaker Records, 1680-1940, which showed the following:
This is a membership card from the Hinkles Creek Monthly Meeting in Hamilton County, Indiana, recording the marriage of Carey Lambertson to Clara Cook. It lists Carey's birth date as April 29, 1847 as the son of John & Sarah of Butler County, Ohio and Clara's birth dated as November 16, 1848 as the daughter of James and Mary of Preble County, Ohio. Since this membership record was made by Clara and Carey, it is likely that they supplied the information to the church clerk and would have known who their parents were.
So this makes me think that the death certificate informant was wrong, and that Clara's father was James, not William. At the time of her death, Clara was 94 years old and had spent many years as a widow living with her various children. It's quite possible the informant at the time of death simply had the wrong names in their memory. Not to mention that death is a stressful time for families and it would be easy to give the wrong name.
A newspaper find from the Alexandria Times-Tribune of November 4, 1924 also adds some interesting information.
|Alexandria (IN) Times-Tribune, November 4, 1924, page 1|
ATTEND FUNERAL OF COUSIN AT GERMANTOWN
Charles Lambertson and Mr. and Mrs. Bert Lambertson were at Germantown, Ohio, Sunday to attend the funeral of the Messrs. Lambertson's cousin, the late Charles Martin.
Charles Lambertson was my 2nd-great grandfather, and Bert was his brother. They are both the children of Carey and Clara (Cook) Lambertson. Until this find, I was not aware of any cousins with the last name Martin on the Lambertson side, so this clue might lead to a cousin on his mother's side. Germantown is in Montgomery County, Ohio another known location of Lambertson relatives as well.
A search of FamilySearch.org for the death record of a Charles Martin that would fit the search criteria found the following record:
|"Ohio, Deaths, 1908-1953," database with images, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:X696-RXQ : accessed 2 August 2015), Chas A Martin, 31 Oct 1924; citing Germantown, Montgomery, Ohio, reference fn 56258; FHL microfilm 1,992,606.|
A search of the FindAGrave site led me to Charles Albert Martin's memorial page, with links to his parents memorials as well. His father was Francis Marion Martin (1846-1910) and Laura Ann (Cook) Martin (1853-1904). He also had a sister named Minnie L. Martin (1873-1932).
Laura's memorial page states that she was born February 1853 in Gratis, Preble County, Ohio and that her parents were James M. Cook (1812-1860) and Mary Jane Cook (1814-1891).
These clues line up with the family of James and Mary Cook found in the 1850 census of Preble County, Ohio.
In addition, a quick search of Ancestry.com Member Trees finds a couple of trees with this James M Cook, listed as James Madison Cook and his wife as Mary Harsbarger. Could this be where Clara's parentage was garbled on her death certificate - Hirbarger from Harsbarger? I think so. James was born in the Shennandoah Valley of Virginia and died 1860 in Preble County, Ohio.
I've located the family of James and Mary in the 1860 census of Lanier Township, Preble County, Ohio as James Cook, age 49 born in Virginia; Mary, aged 47 born in Virginia; Elizabeth, aged 22 born in Virginia; Thadius, aged 14 born in Ohio; Clarissy, aged 11 born in Ohio; Susan, aged 9 born in Ohio; Laura, aged 7 born in Ohio, Martha, aged 5 born in Ohio; and Henry, aged 3 born in Ohio.
This would tie the family groups from the 1850 and 1860 census together, and by the 1860 census we have Laura in the family who looks like a fit to be the one who married Francis Martin. In addition, both of these records contain a Clara the right age to be my Clara in the right family group. I'm pretty sure we have a match.
I've a lot more digging to see where the rest of these Cooks were in the ensuing years and possibly connect with folks researching the trees online, but I'm excited to be knocking down a brickwall.
If you have any additional information/corrections or are related to these families, I would love to hear from you.