Sunday’s Obituary: Mercia Griffin Wilbur

Mercia Wilbur obituary 23 March 1881 issue of the Rock Creek Banner
Mercia Wilbur obituary 23 March 1881 issue of the Rock Creek Banner

I don’t know if I have anything to add to this. I think every genealogist would give their right arm to have an obituary like this. You get a maiden name, a birthday, date of marriage, detailed descriptions of the moves the family made, information on children, etc. However, it doesn’t have parents’ names, but then a lot of obituaries at this point in time don’t, even for children. At the same time, most obituaries I’ve seen aren’t this detailed either. But I think we’ll all tell you, it doesn’t help if that’s all the information you have.

In this case, with the beautifully named Mercia Griffin Wilbur, that’s pretty much it. I mean, I have census records, but they only cover the period after 1850, when they became every-name censuses. She was already well into her married life by this point. Census records, an obituary, and a death record are all I have. Based solely on the name of her son, Harvey Griffin Wilbur, I took a guess on her father’s name.  Turns out, there was a Harvey Griffin in the Sidney, New York area with a daughter Mercia’s age in the 1840 census. It’s purely a guess, but it’s a smart guess, I think.

I’ve been able to determine that their son William was the “darling” who died of smallpox in 1836. I’ve also been able to narrow down her husband Anson’s death date to 1874 or 1875. All simply from an obituary.

We are more, much more, than names and dates. These are the kind of obituaries I like, if only the parents’ names were included.

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