Way back when, I had a hunch that Caroline Wilder, wife of John Wilder (brother of my 2nd great-grandfather, Bernard Wilder) was born Caroline Crandall. The proof I used was that Caroline Crandall, daughter of Henry and Mary Crandall, was in Freedom, Cattaraugus County, New York, living with her parents in 1850. This is where John and Bernard were living. Then in 1860, John is married and has a wife named Caroline. There was nothing beside that census record of 1850 and my tingling geni-senses to show she was previously Caroline Crandall….until today.
Today I found the Will of Henry Crandall which leaves his daughter, Caroline A Wilder, property and money.
It’s so nice when my geni-senses are confirmed with actual records, and it’s a reminder that one should always revisit people in our tree to see if new records have become available online. I could find no other source for Caroline’s maiden name except that 1850 census record showing her and John Wilder living in the same town. Because this happened in New York and it’s a “closed state”, meaning many records are not available online, I could not use John and Caroline’s two children’s marriage or death records to confirm Caroline’s maiden name. Wills and Probate records became available on Ancestry almost exactly one year ago and have become a real asset for genealogists. I’m glad I added Crandall as Caroline’s maiden name two years ago. I probably wouldn’t have found this record without it. My tree is a work in progress. Yours should be too.