Dennis Prue

Dennis Prue

Dennis has been researching family trees for more than 30 years. His expertise has been invaluable in helping to break through brick walls.

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This Old Tree, November 2014

This column is about using land records to help put the pieces of a family tree puzzle together. There is a family that Spike and I have worked on, the family of Helen Elizabeth Smith and her three husbands.

The first husband is John E. Shaw and all we know is that they married in July 25, 1882 in Houlton. We never see a divorce or death record for John E. Shaw. They have a son Eugene Leslie b. Nov. 1882, who later in life is known as Lester E. Shaw.

The second husband is George D. Wellington married Nov. 23, 1883. There are records in Linnaeus for the birth of three sons Robert b. Dec. 1884, George b. Feb. 1887 and Joseph b. Mar. 1889. From various census records, add two more children to their family: Ira b. July 1891 and Eva Fern b. Nov. 1892. Eva was born in New Brunswick. We have not found a death record or divorce for George Wellington.

Last husband was James E. Monahan; they married about 1897/1898. Helen would have two children by James: Thomas b. May 1900 and Dorothy b. & d. Jan 1903.

The problem with this family is most of time Helen’s children are not living with her but are farmed out to different families in greater New Limerick area.

The use of probate records for Helen’s father George A. Smith helped to verify that the Ellen Monahan living in Millinocket was our Helen. Her father George died in April of 1910. Her brother Samuel was in of charge of settling their father’s affairs. In probate, it list Helen as being the Ellen Monahan who is living in Millinocket. Also it gave us a better picture of Helen brothers and sisters. Helen is never in a census with her parents.

Helen and James Monahan both died in October of 1937. Spike found that Helen had bought land in New Limerick in about 1920. We both look to see what happen to the land. In 1949 twelve years after Helen’s death the surviving children are all giving up their claims to their youngest brother Thomas Monahan. Each of the brothers and their wives sign off and gave the residents for the brothers in 1949. I t also let us to known that Eva was dead.

I had found an Eva Wellington getting married out in Washington State to a George Krona. The marriage record stated that she was George and Helen daughter. Once Spike found the land deed in 1949, Eva is not listed as having sign over her rights. It helped confirmed the death record for an Eva Krona in 1923 in Spokane was the correct one because Eva has had to have died before 1949.