George Firth – declaring the mystery as solved…

It’s been over 8 years since I first knew of my 3x great grandfather George Firth, but I’m happy to say that today I officially merged George Firth, my ancestor from Yorkshire, with George Firth, the nephew of my 4x great grandfather, John Elliott in my genealogy software.

This means that my George and his wife, Susan Elliott (daughter of the above John Elliott), were also first cousins – not unheard of back then.

The clincher was discovering that both men were born on May 1st – the ancestor in 1837, according to his obituary, and the nephew in 1836, according to his baptism. This alone wouldn’t have convinced me, but the other evidence goes as follows:

  • Over many, many hours of research, I eliminated all other “George Firth from Yorkshire” as my ancestors. True, I only looked at Yorkshire, but it’s a large, populated area. Only one George Firth disappeared into thin air … the rest were found in later censuses or were identified in death or burial records.
  • Both George’s had an older brother named James born circa 1829 — and guess what, the older brother in Yorkshire also disappeared about the same time as George!
  • George and James Firth were living with John Elliott in Illinois at the time of the 1860 census. It was assumed they were lodgers, but now we know they were family!
  • Susan’s younger sister Ellen also married a first cousin, Joseph Elliott, but we now know George and Susan set the precedent.

I would love to find a letter or will which definitely links the two men, but given the evidence, I’m willing to put my money on the fact that my 3x great grandparents were also first cousins.


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