I can’t seem to get away from looking at records from Colorado this week. I’m still waiting for the 1940 census index for Colorado, but still trying to find more information from the area. Today I searched for a cousin in Jennifer’s Dunn line, Roy J. Dunn. I found him with some unexpected family members.
What I knew before today’s find was this: William J. Dunn (b. circa 1851, Wisconsin; the son of James B. Dunn and Anne Kendall) married Emma __ (b. circa 1854, Wisconsin). I don’t know their marriage date, but it was probably somewhere in the 1870s and probably in Wisconsin. The next records I have for them are the 1880 U.S. census where they appear in Black Hawk, Gilpin, Colorado, with William’s sister Mary Lois Dunn (b. 17 July 1862, Mineral Point, Iowa County, Wisconsin; d. 22 Aug 1951, Denver, Colorado). In 1885, William and Emma appear in the Colorado state census in Black Hawk with William’s brother Charles (b. circa 1857, Wisconsin) and William and Emma’s son Roy J. Dunn (b. circa 1881, Colorado).
That’s all fine and good, but here’s where the mystery comes in. Today I went looking for Roy and the first record that came up in the search results was a 1900 U.S. census record for Denver where he is living with his father William, who was then listed as a widow. Okay, so now we know that Emma died somewhere between 1885 and 1900, but wait, what does it say for William’s relationship to the head of household?
Hmmm, it says “brother.” We know that William’s brother Charles moved to Colorado as well, but looking at the previous page we see this…
William F. Ralph!????!?! I had to look at the page numbers three times to verify that this was the correct previous page. The street address, 2719 Arapahoe, also confirms that this is the correct pair of pages. So how does this Ralph surname fit in? It seems exceptionally unlikely that William J. Dunn had a direct or even half brother named William F. Ralph; William Dunn’s parents were together from their marriage in 1849 through to his father’s, James B. Dunn’s, death in 1882, in Wisconsin.
So the two Williams were more likely brothers-in-law, related through one of their wives. William didn’t, as far as I can see, have a sister named Jennie, but I suppose there could have been a sister tucked in between Elizabeth J. Dunn (b. circa 1865, Mineral Point, Wisconsin) and Harriet J. Dunn (b. circa 1868, Wisconsin), or it could have been that Harriet was going by Jennie H. in 1900 and married William Ralph.
Looking at the Wisconsin Marriages 1836-1930 collection at FamilySearch, we find that William and Emma were married on 8 Dec 1872 in Mineral Point, Wisconsin and that Emma’s maiden name was Martin and not Ralph, so it’s not her side of the family.
It seems to me that the next place to look to further research these new questions is in a library that I can actually visit economically, the Wisconsin Historical Society Library and Archives.
- 1860 U.S. census, Iowa County, Wisconsin, population schedule, Linden post office, p 91, dwelling 552, household 545, James Dunn household; digital images, Footnote.com (http://www.footnote.com/image/#79489556 : accessed 4 July 2010).
- 1870 U.S. census, Iowa County, Wisconsin, population schedule, Mineral Point, page 203, dwelling 118, family 116, James Dunn household; digital images, Heritage Quest (http://persi.heritagequest.com : accessed 26 February 2012).
- 1880 U.S. census, Gilpin County, Colorado, population schedule, Black Hawk, enumeration district (ED) 50, page 26, dwelling 256, family 284, William J. Dunn household; digital images, Heritage Quest (http://persi.heritagequest.com : accessed 26 February 2012).
- 1885 Colorado census, Gilpin County, population schedule, , enumeration district (ED) 1, page 12, dwelling 104, family 104, William J. Dunn household; digital images, FamilySearch (http://familysearch.org : accessed 4 April 2012).
- 1900 U.S. census, Arapahoe County, Colorado, population schedule, Precinct 4, Denver, Ward 5, enumeration district (ED) 35, sheets 8-B and 9-A, dwelling 180, family 196, William F. Ralph household; digital images, FamilySearch (http://familysearch.org : accessed 24 April 2012).
- Wisconsin "Wisconsin Marriages, 1836-1930," index, FamilySearch (http://familysearch.org : accessed 24 April 2012), Wm. James Dunn and Emma Martin marriage.