Charity Courson: Phantom Ancestor (52 Ancestors #46)

SmokeCharity Courson feels like a phantom. This woman who is supposedly my 4th-great-grandmother is everywhere and nowhere all at once. Countless trees (both online and offline) list her as the wife of James Orr and the mother of William Orr. Some trees even list her as the daughter of Benjamin Courson. Most give a specific year of death: 1829, 1830, 1832; take your pick.

The problem is that not a single one of these trees that I’ve seen have a source beyond “GEDCOM file,” that is, if they have any sources at all.

Now, I’m not a source snob. I will consider the information in online trees. There’s too much valuable information to just ignore them out of hand. But no sources anywhere?! This really isn’t giving me a lot to go on.

It doesn’t help that Licking County, Ohio (where she probably lived) had a major courthouse fire in 1875. There are sources that I can — and should — examine. I just haven’t had a chance. Ancestors like Susan Tucker Kelley seem to take my time.

You’ve heard of “brick wall” problems. I think I’d feel better having her as a brick wall. That would be more substantial than being a phantom.

5 thoughts on “Charity Courson: Phantom Ancestor (52 Ancestors #46)

    1. Amy Johnson Crow Post author

      True, those GEDCOM files can strip out the “original” source. Rather frustrating!

      (And for those who are reading this — yes, I stopped by Cathy’s blog and commented there. She was very sweet in her comments :) )

  1. shelleykb

    Hi, cousin! If it makes you feel any better, you’re not the only one stuck on Charity Courson (supposedly my 5th great-grandmother). Like you, I’ve found pitifully little on her, all of it derivative or unsourced. Maybe we can put our heads together sometime and brainstorm a few research possibilities for this phantom…


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