Monday, 8 June 2015

Mystery Monday (Monday's Brick Wall #3): Trying To Find Isabella Clowes' Death Record

One thing in the course of my research that has been a brick wall for me is my 3x-great-grandmother, Isabella (Gordon) Clowes.

Isabella was born in Scotland. She was the wife of John M. Clowes and together, they had several children, including Robert James, William Alfred, Isabella, Sarah Ann, and Annie Scott Gordon. Their places of residence include Cape of Good Hope, South Africa. They arrived in America, in the port of Boston, on July 30, 1868 aboard the G. T. Kemp.

By June 1, 1875, Isabella was living with her husband, John, and children, Isabella, Sarah, and Annie, in Warwick, Rhode Island (Source: 1875 Rhode Island State Census).

On Find A Grave, there is a memorial for an Isabella Clowes, who died on July 10, 1875. I have reviewed this memorial multiple times and am thoroughly convinced that this Isabella is my 3x-great-grandmother. Reasons for this: 1) Part of the inscription on the headstone reads, "Wife of John M. Clowes". 2) Isabella is buried in Greenwood Cemetery, Coventry, Rhode Island, the same cemetery where her daughters Sarah, Annie, Robert, and William are buried. 3) Isabella's age on the headstone is given as being "53 yrs. 6 mos. & 22 days," making her date of birth December 18, 1921. Her year of birth is given as 1822 in the 1870 United States Federal Census, 1825 in the 1875 Rhode Island State Census, and she was said to be 42 years old when she came to America in 1868. The date of birth calculated by the given on her grave is close to the birth year approximations provided by the documents listed above. 4) There was no other Isabella Clowes living in Rhode Island besides Isabella's own daughter in 1870 and 1875.

Despite having Isabella's date of death, I still have been unable to find any trace of a death record for her. I have searched both Ancestry and Familysearch multiple times. I have visited Rhode Island State Archives and have found nothing. I find it tough to believe that in 1875, Rhode Island simply didn't file one for her. I'm left to assume that it was either lost in a fire or that she died elsewhere (Connecticut maybe?).

Copyright © 2015, David J. McRae

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