The Mystery of Almiron Goodrich: A Genealogy Story

Almiron Goodrich. Isn’t that a memorable name? His siblings, as recorded in genealogy papers my grandparents have collected, had just as interesting names: Burrel, Alpha, Huldah, Chauncey, Caleb, Garry, and Polly. (Admittedly, the last three aren’t as interesting)

The family tree my grandparents have lists ‘Josiah Juriah Goodrich’ and ‘Betsy Catherine Durstine’ as Almiron’s parents. When I began to add them to my family tree, I had no idea the long hours of struggle that were in store.

My information, written in an old-fashioned hand, said that Almiron Goodrich lived from 1848-1923 and that he married a woman by the name of Mary H. Cole.

Easy enough, I thought; how many Almiron Goodrichs could there be in the world?

I was looking forward to an easy generation addition to my family tree.There was even a Find a Grave on him.


That ‘find a grave’ looks like this:screenshot-2017-01-03-10-49-24

Wait. 1805? and he died in 1844, four years before he was supposed to have been born?

And who is Permelia Fisher? His siblings look right; I can’t imagine that collection of names occurring more than once in all of history… but the years are wrong, and I can’t read the gravestone.

A little later (after a LOT of fruitless searches- about 6 combined hours) I discover a census from 1840 that, while difficult to read, says that Alpha and Almiron lived in Attica, New York in that time, and then the Goodrich Family Association website lists Almiron and his siblings living the same time as the Find A Grave does.

Maybe my information was wrong, after all. But then, there must be a generation missing. ┬áNowhere have I found record of Almiron’s children, but the handwritten family tree says that Norman F. Goodrich was his son and was born in 1877.

Then, I come across another mystery: Almiron Goodrich married Mary Rathbone, not Mary Cole, in 1836. There’s no marriage license for that, but I do find this:


It’s almost impossible to read here, but it’s a marriage record that says April 21st, 1875: Attica, Almiron Goodrich to Mary H. Cole. The ages listed are both ’25’, which puts Almiron’s birth date in 1850- eight years after he had died?

Mary Cole seems to be from Sussex Co, NY, but the only Sussex Co. I can find is in NJ. The witnesses’ names are almost illegible, but I think they say Miss Hannah L—-g and M-. —- Russell. So, not family members, as is common with witnesses to a wedding. Unfortunately, in the copy, the heading is gone and I don’t know what all the blanks mean.

There seems to be an Attica, Michigan as well as an Attica, New York.

Lapeer County, MI, is where my ancestry lived.

Maybe the Almiron Goodrich of NY, born in 1805, was the father of my Almiron Goodrich of MI, born in 1850. That’s physically possible, and Almiron is enough of a unique name that it might be passed down from father to son. Except I can find no record of Almiron Goodich 1805 having a son named Almiron.

I do a little more digging and find something interesting. Permelia and Josiah Goodrich are buried in Michigan, too, as well as an obvious split of family. It seems that four of Josiah’s eldest children removed to┬áNY, and four remained in MI.

Buried in MI: Huldah, Chauncey, Garry, Polly. (Also, Josiah and Permelia)
Buried in NY: Caleb, Burrel, Alpha, Almiron.

Maybe one of Almiron’s (1805) siblings named a child after him, if he himself didn’t claim the name for one of his sons.

Caleb: children’s names not recorded on
Burrel: no Almiron recorded
Chauncey: children’s names not recorded on
Alpha: children’s names not recorded on
Almiron: children’s names not recorded on
Garry: children’s names not recorded on

Well. That didn’t help.I did discover that Garry Goodrich was born in NY, while the rest of his siblings are recorded to have been born in Vermont.

What’s the truth? I have no idea. It’s yet another roadblock I’ve found. I believe that there was a generation between Josiah and Almiron (1850). I do believe that they were related as grandfather and grandson. Who the generation in the middle was, whether it was Burrel, Alpha, Chauncey, Almiron, or Garry, I might never know.

I think this is a good place to note: I’ve made ‘best guess’ scenarios in my family tree as little as possible. As unique as a name is (Almiron Goodrich) one might discover that there were actually two men by that name, living within the same 100 year stretch. ‘Best guess’ scenarios sometimes can’t be avoided, but I’d suggest always making a notation in the comments or do as I do, put an asterisk in front of the name on the family tree so you know to come back and do more research someday.