The Strattons

I continue to enjoy filling in some of the gaps in F.M. Emerson Holmes’ genealogy of the Holmes family. Recently, I’ve dug a bit deeper into the Stratton family.

Margaret Holmes was the second child of Andrew and Susannah Holmes and she travelled to Canada with her husband, a man named Stratton. F.M. Emerson’s genealogy for the Stratton family is threadbare in a lot of place. He knew very little about Margaret’s husband (only that his last name was Stratton) but he did have a pretty good picture of the eldest Stratton child, Mary Ann. The other two children, Joseph and Elizabeth were pretty sparse on details.

It was pretty easy to determine that Margaret’s husband was named John Stratton; they appear in several of the Lambton County censuses, living in Oil Springs. They disappeared after the 1881 census, but a few weeks ago, I found a record of a Margaret and John Stratten (note the ‘e’) buried in the cemetery in Strathroy, Lambton County. According to the cemetery transcription website that I found this data on, they died within a few months of each other in 1883. There’s no photo of the headstone, so I’m not sure if the transcriber spelled the last name incorrectly, or if the headstone is incorrect. (It’s also possible that this headstone is a completely different family). It’s also true that the Strathroy cemetery hasn’t been fully transcribed on other cemetery transcription websites, so I haven’t been able to cross-reference.

Strathroy is a bit of a hike from Oil Springs, but not unreasonably so. It’s also worth nothing that, at the time of their deaths, their eldest daughter, Mary Ann, appears to have been living in London, Ontario, which is closer to Strathroy than to Oil Springs. That might have something to do with the decision to bury the parents in Strathroy.

Elizabeth Stratton’s details were pretty easy to track down on Ancestry. Elizabeth Stratton married Samuel Wright, and they also went off to live in London. There are, in fact, a few extra children that F.M. Emerson didn’t know about: Margaret, Andrew and Fanny. Andrew and Fanny appear to have died young. Margaret disappears; perhaps she also dies young.

For a long time, I hadn’t been able to make any headway on Joseph Stratton. F.M. Emerson’s birthdate for Joseph (circa 1844) looks like a guess to me. Mary Ann was born in 1842, so I think he guessed the the next two kids arrived every other year. I can find the family in the 1861 and 1871 censuses, and Joseph’s birthdate looks like it should be closer to 1852 or 1853.

But today I decided to try to locate Ernestine. “Ernestine Stratton” seems like a name that’s not terribly common. And the married name, Sandgridge, looks distinctive (spoiler alert: I can find no Sandgridges anywhere) I couldn’t find anyone in Canada named Ernestine Stratton, so I speculated that the family went to the US. Sure enough, I quickly found a 1910 US Federal Census for Joseph H., Julia and Ernestine Stratton in Salt Lake, Utah. But was this “my” family? I was uncertain. Joseph was described as 55 years old (suggesting a birth year of 1855). His birthplace was described as Canada. But his father’s birthplace was described as England. Hm. I can’t say for certain that John Stratton wasn’t born in England, but I would have expected Ireland. But also, people aren’t terribly accurate about censuses.

So I checked a few more records. The same family appears in the 1900 and 1920 censuses. Joseph sometimes claims to have been born in Michigan. In 1900, he claims to be “American B.A.B” (born and bred?). Julia is from French Canada. Plus, there’s another child in the 1900 census: Geneveve [sic] Stratton.

So I’m fairly uncertain. Until I start looking at other people’s trees. One Ancestry member has a fairly well-fleshed out tree. And it includes a records for Ernestine Stratton and her husband, Henry Langridge. Aha! Once I try adding these additional names into my searches, I’m getting many hits.

Soon I have a fairly clear (and well-sourced) picture of this family. Both Vida Genevieve Stratton and her husband, Henry Eakles, die very young. When Henry Eakles dies, he’s working as a cartoonist in New York, and seems to have some long-standing breathing issues that required him to live at low altitudes. His son, Richard, is 17 months old when his mother dies, and he’s only 10 when the father dies. It’s likely that he was raised by either his grandparents or his aunt Ernestine.

Joseph and Julia’s family moves around a fair bit. They were married in Aspen, Colorodo, but are living in Salt Lake City, Utah by the 1900 census. They appear to have moved, briefly, to Arizona where several voting records and school yearbooks document the family. Importantly, in one of those Arizona records, it’s established that Joseph’s middle initial “H” stands for “Holmes”. Thus his full name is Joseph Holmes Stratton (his mother gave him her maiden name as a middle name). Finally, the family moves to California, where they live out their final days.

One comment

  1. avatar Doug Rogers says:

    I am going to have to look into my own Strattons in light of this post. I am in London and my Strattons are Wiltshire England, Norfolk County, and Straffordville. A line of Strattons back to Wiltshire along the road to Bath seem not at all to be related!