What you know based on what they knew

Parents' names from Hiram Felver's death certificate

Parents’ names from Hiram Felver’s death certificate

The first time I saw Hiram Felver’s death certificate I was confused. His father was listed correctly as Joseph Felver, although I’m not positive he was born in Washington, NJ. His mother, Margaret, was born in Washington, NJ but her maiden name certainly wasn’t Mary Updyke—it was Petty.

I couldn’t figure this out for awhile. Where did the name Mary Updyke come from and how did it get listed on Hiram’s death certificate? Why would Hiram’s wife, Clara, give the wrong information?

That’s when I reminded myself to check the dates. Clara (nee Rawlings) Huested Felver was Hiram’s second wife. She was a widow and married Hiram two years after his first wife, Emma Gould Felver, had passed away. When Clara and Hiram wed in 1897, Hiram’s mother was already deceased so Clara would have likely never known her. Clara would have known Hiram’s father, Joseph.

Most likely, Clara gave a maiden name for Hiram’s mother that she thought might be correct. I may never know what made her think it was Updyke, which sounds nothing like Petty, but perhaps there is an Updyke family connection somewhere else in the line that I haven’t uncovered yet.

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