| Jan Verhas –Hide and See
Wikipedia Commons In Public Domain
Sometimes I envision myself playing the childhood game of hide and seek with my ancestors. Despite my best laid plans and no matter how determined I sometimes feel, I just can’t seem to find much about my Betsy McCloskey. I know she existed, but what I know is sparse. Who were her parents? Who were her siblings?
Betsy was my third great grandmother and here is what I do know. Elizabeth, or Betsy as she was sometimes called, was born about 1810 in South Carolina…..I think. One census entry for her indicates that she was born in Georgia instead. Her last name was McCloskey, McCluskey or McCleskey—-I’m not even sure exactly which. The only known indication of her last name is from her son John Monroe Ganus’ church membership record and on that record, it appears to be McCloskey. However, the name McCleskey or McCluskey seems to be much more common during that time period in both South Carolina and Georgia.
On the 1850 census she is recorded as “Betsy.” As for the 1860 census, thanks to a census enumerator with little regard for detail, she is simply “E”. By 1870 her husband James is living with their oldest daughter Mary Ganus Cook and I have assumed that she has died. Sadly, I have not been able to find a final resting place for either Betsy or James.
Betsy married James (Gur)Ganus about 1822. I have not been able to find a marriage record for this couple….anywhere. I’ve done extensive searches of the McC*skeys in the areas of Bibb and Monroe Counties of Georgia where the family lived about the time James would have married and in the area of Edgefield and Abbeville, South Carolina areas where the Gurganus family lived prior to moving to Georgia, but with no success. I’ve searched in DeKalb, Fayette, Campbell, Henry and surrounding counties. I did find potential siblings for Betsy in the approximate area where my Ganus family lived, and through wills, deeds and census records have been able to prove their connection to each other, but until this date I have not found a link between any of them and my Betsy.
I know to look at Betsy and James’ friends and neighbors as I’ve been taught by some of the best, but my problem stems from the fact that from one census to the next, James and Betsy are never living near the same group of people. While I have found deeds for their children, I have never found ONE DEED for James. I have searched for him among a variety of records, including military records but he is not to be found. I scratch my head and ask, “Did they have friends or associates?” I’ve often called them my gypsies, but even gypsies traveled in a band.
Years ago I had the privilege of emailing briefly with Walter Scott McCleskey who compiled the information for the book “The McCleskey Family in Georgia.” Knowing how thoroughly he had researched the McCleskey family in Georgia and how much his books are respected and used by many Mc-researchers, I had hope that in his researching he had perhaps come upon my Betsy or might have an idea to whom she might belong. He responded that he had no idea where she might fit in.
It’s discouraging, but I know I am among good company when it comes to looking for an elusive ancestor. Like so many others who continue to search and who refuse to give up, I look and hope and some day I just might find her.
Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2013