Quest for Simmons Ancestors - Page 2

   by Wayne Simmons
   Last Updated: December 10, 2011

Here is what you will find on this page.  A stated "Tidbit" of information that I have in my physical research files about William Simmons.  This bit of information will be stated as an "Event" whenever possible, as it is the events of one's life that triggers my curiosity and subsequently the research that I perform.  Each piece (Tidbit) of information will have questions and/or assumptions that will need to be explored.  Each question must be answered and each assumption must be proven or disproven with stated and supported facts.  When an Information Tidbit research has been completed the background color will change from the gray color to a light green color.  The sources used in my research are documented on my "Wm Simmons Sources" page which may be accessed via the article links on the left of each page.

What you will not see here are the files that I have been sorting through trying to make sense from all the Tidbits of information.  The information presented here may not be in logical order.  However, as questions are answered and assumptions are validated the information will be re-sequenced into the proper order.

Your comments are always Welcome!  If you see something that is not correct or if you have additional information related to any Tidbit of Information, please contact me using the "Contact US" link in the left column of each page.  I am making every attempt to be as accurate as possible with the information presented on this website.  However, since I am just human, there will be errors made.  When an error is encountered, correcting it will be a priority!  Anyone contributing to this Quest for the Ancestors of William Simmons and Betsey Ives will be recognized for your contribution unless specifically requested to not be recognized.  Thanks for your help!

Event Date Information Tidbit Questions Assumptions Probable Conclusion
1875 On page 168 (Questsource #1) there is a biographical sketch of Lyman Simmons with the statement contained See Bibliography #1, click here within: "William Simmons, a farmer by occupation, had served in the war of 1812 when a young man. His father was Scotch and his mother German. The family moved into Rensselaer County at an early day."
  1. Do I look for a Scotch or German heritage? 
  2. How should " an early day." be defined?
  1. Over the years myself and other Simmons family members have assumed that William Simmons was of British descent.
  2. "...The family moved into Rensselaer County at an early day." means that William's parents moved into the county near its creation.
  1. Since I am researching the Simmons direct line, I should use William's father's stated heritage of Scotch and his mother's as German.
  2. Rensselaer County, NY was created in 1791 as a subdivide from the county of Albany.  See Questsource(QS) #2.
1869 It is documented that Wm Simmons did receive a Land Bounty for his service in the War of 1812.  This document does not provide any additional information about Wm or his parents.
  1. Are there any documents or records stored in any US government files that would provide details about Wm Simmons when he enlisted?
  2. Could William's parents be noted in this documentation?
  1. Military records of the early 1800's were kept and with sufficient detail to identify next of kin (i.e. his parents).
  1. Search on (QS#3) for detailed military records for the War of 1812 produced no additional information.
  2. A general internet search for more detail produced no additional information.
  3. The assumption about detailed military records of the War of 1812 may be a faulty assumption.
1867 Portrait of Betsey Ives
Portrait was discovered by Carolyn Pasquier (a resident near Tacoma, Washington). Betsey (Ives) Simmons
  1. Why isn't there a portrait of William Simmons found with this portrait of Betsey?
  2. From which American Indian Tribe is Betsey descended?
  3. Could the Indian Tribe be of New York or one of the neighboring states?
  4. What are the names and location of the American Indians in and around New York state?
  1. Based on the portrait I am assuming the statement from the Questsource #1 is correct "Her father was possibly a German soldier and her mother was (rumored to be) a full-blooded American Indian from New York State.".
  2. If the statement pertaining to Betsey's mother is a full blooded American Indian is true then it is fair to assume that the statement about her father possibly being a German Soldier could also be true.
  3. Based on the location of Sand Lake, New York and Troy, New York it seems logical to study the Iroquois tribes specifically the Mohawks first.
  4. A study of the other Indian Nations and tribes needs to be performed before zeroing in on the possibly tribes from which Betsey could be descended.
  1. The only conclusion that I can make at this time is: I firmly believe that Betsey is of 50% American Indian and that her mother is a full blooded American Indian. Now research must be performed to determine with which Indian Nation and Tribe she is related. With this research it is likely that additional information about Betsey's father will be discovered.
abt Nov 1836 About 1836 the Simmons family moved to Wheatfield, Niagara Co., NY and bought land for a farm.
  1. Why did William move his family to Niagara from Rotterdam?
  2. Was there a life's event that caused them to move?
  3. Was his father living at this time?
  4. Did the price of land in Niagara entice them to move?
  5. Did his church have a role in his move?
  1. Since family members tended to stay close to each other, it is likely that his parents had passed at this time.
  2. There had to be a reason to move his family such a distance since moving a family was not an easy undertaking.
  1. Transactions of 1835 and 1836 (from the previous page) show that William and Betsey sold a total of 110 acres of land in Rotterdam.  Obviously, in preparation for their move to Wheatfield.
  2. As of this date I have no data identifying William's parents.
bef 1836 Sometime after the Treaty of Canandaigan of 1794 was signed there was a migration of the Mohawk Indians from Rensselaer County, NY to an area near Nigara, NY.
  1. Was Betsey's parents living at this time?
  2. Did Betsey's parents migrate to Niagara with the Mohawk Tribe?
  3. Were Betsey's parents present at her Wedding in Sand Lake, NY 1815?
  1. Since family members tended to stay close to each other, it is possible that Betsey's parents had passed away by this time.
  2. If Betsey's parents were living at this time then it is possible that they had migrated to the Niagara Area years before Wm and Betsey migrated to Niagara.
  3. To insure that all possibilities are covered in this search it should be assumed that Betsey's parents are living as of this date.
  1. When there were marriages of Mohawk women with outsiders often the men would live with the Mohawk Tribe. See this article to support this statement History of Mohawk Valley. So it is possible that Betsey's parents did migrate to the Niagara, NY area before the migration of Wm and Betsey Simmons. Need to research in the Niagara area for more information about this possibility.
1820 The 1820 US Census shows William Simmons with a female under the age of 26 (presumably his wife Betsey) and two sons under the age of 10 who are probably William W. and George L. Asa W. died before the 1820 census. Also, this census indicates that William is engaged in farming.
  1. From where did William and family move?  Was it from Sand Lake?
  2. Why did they move to Rotterdam.
  3. Was William's parents still living at this time?
  1. At time of the 1810 US Census William would have been 14 years of age and not considered a head of household.
14 Mar 1815 William Simmons and Betsey Ives were married on this date in Sand Lake, Rensselaer, NY.  Marriage of William Simmons (18 years, 9 mos of age) and Betsey Ives (17 years, 8 mos of age).  This information was obtained from a family bible (bible not in my possession) entry and also noted in the Simmons Kinfolk Newsletters of Marcia Eisenberg (QC#5).
  1. Is Sand Lake the correct location of their marriage?
  2. Is there some official record of their marriage (Church or State)?
  3. Were the parents of William and Betsey living at this time?
  4. Were their parents in attendance for this wedding?
  1. There must be a record of their marriage in some form.
  2. Being married by either a Justice of the Peace or by a church, there must have been some witnesses.
23 Aug 1814 Enlisted into the War of 1812 at Sand Lake, Rensselaer, New York, USA at the age of 18 years, 2 mos.  
  1. Was William's parents named and documented on military records during his enlistment? 
  2. Was William and Betsey married while he was serving in the military?
  1. There must be some official record of his enlistment somewhere.
16 Jun 1796 The birth of William Simmons somewhere in Rensselaer County, New York.
I have no record yet to identify the parents of William Simmons. 
  1. Place of birth is believed to be Sand Lake, Rensselaer, NY: is this the correct location?
  1. Birth date established on the previous page by bible journal entries and QS#5.
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