Hunting for our American Albany-born Charles Adams

Our Charles Adams, husband of Anne Nancy Weatherstone has long been a mystery man – a decades-long brick wall in our collective Adams – Weatherstone family history research.

Birthplace – Albany 

Charles Adams’ 1867 marriage record suggests he was born about 1840-41 in Albany USA – note – there are 23 Albany’s in America !

California Georgia Illinois Chicago, Illinois Indiana Iowa
Kentucky Louisiana Minnesota Missouri Ray County Missouri New Hampshire
New York Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Texas
Vermont Wisconsin Green County Wisconsin Pepin County Wisconsin Wyoming

However it is most likely, in my opinion, that it was in Albany, capital of New York State, where our Charles Adams was born.

Albany has been stated to be one of the ten most populous areas in America at the time. It was fairly easily reached from New York city, an entry point for many immigrants to America – 2. Albany had become a commercial, industrial and transportation hub of upstate New York State from 1825, with the completion of the Erie Canal. There were lots of employment opportunities with the completion of the canal.

Further digging revealed that some of the other towns and cities named Albany in America did not even exist in 1840. And other Albany’s, which began to established from the 1830’s, are said to have been named after Albany, New York State.

Coincidentally, my Ancestry.com DNA test results showed that by far the vast majority of the potential Adams related ancestors, from my closer DNA matches, were to be found in the north eastern states of the USA around the Atlantic  Seaboard,  including and surrounding New York State.

These were, in order of number of matches – Massachusetts, Virginia, Connecticut, Kentucky, North Carolina, New York State, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maryland, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Maine. These areas are, by and large, in the 13 Colonies that declared Independence from England in 1776 – 3.

But of course, some of these possible Adams – line DNA matches may be due to DNA matches in some of my other family lines, and not Adams-connected at all. It’s going to be journey to work through it all.

Parents

Charles Adams’ 1867 marriage certificate listed him as the son of Charles Adams and Eunice Adams nee Gray.

However a search of USA Census records of 1850 does not reveal a family group of Charles Adams Senior, Eunice Adams and son Charles Adams Junior – though there are records for a Thomas Adams with wife Eunice Adams and son Charles Adams in the 1850 Census – Stratford, Fairfield, Connecticut, United States. However that Charles Junior’s birth place is given as Connecticut and not Albany, New York State. And there is a Census record for 1860 which lists Eunice Adams and a son Charles Adams. These two records for 1850 and 1860 are the only USA Census records, which I have been so far able to locate, that show a Eunice and Charles in approximately the right age ranges in the USA. Again coincidentally,  a significant number of my Ancestry.com suggested DNA matches had their Adams ancestors living in Connecticut or nearby Massachusetts.

By the time of the 1870 USA Census,  our Charles Adams was living in Grafton NSW – so that is not helpful either.

But of course, the question should be asked …. was his father actually named Charles also? Too often there have been clerical errors in so many official registers and documents.

And were our Charles Adams parents’ born in America, and did either of both them have English or Irish, or even Scottish heritage?

I’ve been in contact with Amanda Sch. from America, one of my Gedmatch.com DNA matches – and the only family lines that seem to make sense are our respective Adams family lines. We began to investigate further ..

Amanda’s Adams family hailed from Ireland, and lived in England before emigrating to America, where they settled in Pennsylvania. If our Adams lines were to be the basis of our DNA match, then it could infer that Charles was as close as perhaps some sort of  cousin of her ancestor. My suggested DNA matches show more Adams’s with English origins than Irish – and quite a number of the Irish were often from County Tyrone or just Northern Ireland. Others did not record where in Ireland though. The number of suggested DNA matches who have Scottish born ancestors was far less than for English and Irish born. An Irish Adams origin could also be a partial explanation as to significantly higher Irish ancestry that my DNA test revealed, compared to what I had been expecting. I had been expecting it to be under 20% Irish, but in fact it was much higher at 36% Irish. Again .. it’s a journey …

However, at this stage, considering all the  available information, it seems that Albany New York State looks like the most plausible birthplace for our Charles Adams.

Arrival in Australia

My father’s cousin Brenda had wondered if our Charles Adams had somehow been involved with Cotton. And cotton was exported across the world including from ports on the USA’s north eastern Atlantic seaboard apparently.

Alternatively, did Charles arrive in Sydney in 1859 on a ship like the Narragansett, originating from the USA, which was a whaling ship from Nantucket(in Massachusetts USA) operating in the South Seas ? And if so, did he desert in Sydney (or Melbourne) and head to the goldfields ? Ships desertions were extremely common during those years, with the Australian gold rush excitement. There is a mention of a C (or G?) Adams, “boatsteerer” from USA, arriving on the Narragansett, aged 22 years, listed in the ship’s crew on January 27 1859.

Or did our Charles arrive after the US Civil War years ? Checking Ancestry.com’s Civil War Draft Card records revealed over 300 Charles Adams born about 1835 – 1845 in the four drafts of 766,000 registrations during the conflict.  No easy answers there either !

Interestingly, my Ancestry DNA results (over 8000 matches !!), show 300 of hese suggested matches with “Adams” in their family lines. And of these, the largest number had Adams ancestors in Massachusetts – with many others in nearby states such as Connecticut. Again, some of these suggested DNA matches may have been due to other family lines…. I am plugging away at these 300 suggested matches with Adams in their family names …

Grafton, New South Wales

It seems our Charles Adams a Taxi Cab proprietor and Carrier in Grafton.

Charles Adams married  Anne (Nancy) Weatherstone in 1867 at the Church of England, Grafton. Anne was born in 1850 Grafton, in the Clarence River Region and she died  20-01-1941 at Grey St, Glen Innes.

Anne was the daughter of Clarence River pioneers : Samuel Weatherstone, a former convict from London UK, and Letitia Dougherty, a free settler from  Londonderry, County Derry Ireland. Refer Weatherstone Page for more details on Weatherstone – Dougherty Family. The Weatherstone family was Roman Catholic, and the Dougherty’s were Irish Catholic’s – so it is indeed interesting that the marriage of Anne and Charles took place in the Church of England in Grafton. 

Death

And we can find no death records for our Charles Adams in the various Australian states  – did he perhaps return to America  after the breakdown of his marriage to Anne Nancy Weatherstone as some American colleagues have suggested ?

There is still a lot more digging to go …