Hunting for an orphan boy

Solomon Preston Hufford (1863-1916) of Doddridge Co., WV, had three wives. Wives #1 and #2 died on him; he died on wife #3. By 1920, both he and wife #3 were dead, and an 8-year-old Thomas Hufford popped up living with Solomon Preston’s brother Lewis (b. 1869). The boy was described as Lewis’ “nephew.” And then the boy vanished.

Assuming the info on the 1920 census was correct, that meant that the boy’s father was one of Lewis’ three brothers: Solomon Preston b. 1863; Hiram Nathaniel b. 1875, or Thomas B. b. 1878.

Solomon Preston b. 1863 was on the 1910 census with wife #3, two daughters from his 2nd marriage, a daughter from his 3rd marriage, and a step-son from wife #3’s first marriage. Solomon died in 1916; wife #3 died in 1919. So, Solomon could fit as the father.

Hiram b. 1875 was on the 1910 census with his only wife and their two children. Hiram died in 1912. His wife remarried and was on the 1920 census with her two Hufford children, her new husband, and some children from her new marriage. So, the father was not likely Hiram, because Hiram’s surviving wife had her children with her in 1920.

Thomas b. 1878 was long gone from West Virginia by 1910. He’d burned thru his 1st marriage (to Lydia Hall), left behind a daughter born in 1901 (Ruby Jewel), and was in Spokane County, Washington, newly married, and trying not to mention that 1st marriage. In 1910, the wife he left behind was in Wood County, West Virginia, with their daughter, and she was calling herself “widowed.” She reported two births, with one living. So, the boy with Lewis on the 1920 census was not a fit as a son for Thomas.

The only fit as a father was Solomon Preston. My assumption was that Solomon Preston’s wife #3 had a son Thomas in about 1912, but I could find no record for the birth. And I could not find Thomas after the 1920 census.

Six years ago, a volunteer with findagrave photographed a grave stone in Doddridge County and added the photo and the info to the findagrave database. A quick read of the grave stone says, “THOMAS P. 1908 1960,” but a closer look shows a blade of dried grass in the right leg of the letter R, which is an R, not a P. There’s no surname on the gravestone, but the findagrave volunteer guessed the surname was HUFFORD, likely because the stone nearby read “Juanita Hufford 1910 1998.”

However, a Thomas born in 1908 just didn’t fit with any of the Doddridge County Huffords. The only “Thomas Hufford” in that area, born in that time, was the 8-year-old Thomas Hufford on the 1920 census. Still, I changed the year of birth for Thomas in my database from 1912 to 1908. I should not have, but I did, and figured I’d try to make sense of it later.

Then, just a few days ago, someone added info at findagrave about a burial in Cincinnati, Ohio: Thomas P. Hufford, b. Jan. 20, 1912 WV; d. Feb. 4, 1974, Ohio. I started filling in the blanks.

It became clear that Thomas b. 1912 who was buried in Cincinnati was the Thomas on the 1920 census, living with his uncle. The 1940 census (Hamilton Co., Ohio) gave Thomas’ place of birth of West Virginia. More importantly, the Wilmington News-Journal (Wilmington, Ohio), had some information in the March 21, 1969, issue, on page 6: “Mr. and Mrs. Thomas P. Hufford of Loveland, visited Sunday with Hufford’s sisters, Mrs. Earl Dillow, Mrs. Louisa Friend and Mrs. Juanita Morris.” Solomon Preston’s daughter Goldie Tempest had married Earl DILLOW (3rd husband); his daughter Louisa Samantha had married Howard Herman FRIEND; his daughter Gladys Juanita had married Thomas Ray MORRIS. Perfect match.

But who then was that “Thomas P. Hufford 1908 1960”? Well, he was not a Hufford. He was Thomas Ray MORRIS, whose wife was Gladys Juanita Hufford, the sister of Solomon Preston’s son Thomas, the orphan boy. I’m also suspecting that the findagrave volunteer reported the grave sites of Gladys and her husband Thomas in the wrong cemetery. At this time, they are listed as being in Chestnut Grove; however, records say their remains were buried in Masonic Cemetery.

Here’s Solomon Preston’s info at findagrave:

Two more Hufford women found from page 244

Two more finds within the last week from page 244 of the 1909 book:

FIRST, Anna Louise Hufford (Mrs. Forney), daughter of George Andrew (son of Solomon, who was son of Philip, who was son of Christian b. 1716): Anna is listed as “Anna,” child number 2 of George Andrew. There is a trick to figuring out the listing of children for Anna: Her husband is listed as David C. FORNEY, married October 11, 1881, and ten children are listed for her. Yes, Anna had ten children, but those first two children were not the children of Mr. Forney. One is listed with the surname SHROYER on the 1880 census, but by adulthood, both of those sons were using their mother’s maiden name — Hufford. The trick was realizing that they got their Hufford surname from their mother, not their father.  Anna”s findagrave page has details of Anna’s life: Anna Louise Hufford (Mrs. David C. Forney)

Anna’s huband’s obituary from September 1929 was key to solving the puzzle. His obit listed as surviving children “five sons and three daughters, Sherman E. and R. E. [Roy E.] Forney, Altoona; Mrs. Ina Austin, Mary, Albert and Calvin Forney, at home; George Forney, in Virginia; Mrs. Ellie Huss, Hollidaysburg; two stepsons, Harry and Maurice Hufford, Altoona.”  The obit appeared in the Bedford Gazette (newspaper, Bedford, PA) on October 4, 1929.

SECOND, Sarah Emma Hufford (Mrs. McManamy), another daughter of that same George Andrew Hufford.  Sarah Emma is listed as “Emma,” child number 6 . The only information the 1909 book gives for Sarah Emma is that she married Mr. McMANAMY. No dates, no children, no location, and no first name for her husband. Here is the information at findagrave: Sarah Emma Hufford (Mrs. James Elmer McManamy).

Major correction, page 244, and a find of a lost Hufford woman

According to page 244 of the 1909 HUFFORD FAMILY HISTORY, Solomon Hufford who was born in about 1789 in Maryland and who lived in Bedford Co., Pennsylvania, had a daughter Mary Ann. (Solomon was the son of Philip, who was the son of Christian b. 1716.) Figuring out that the book was describing Mary Ann as the daughter of that Solomon requires decoding the placement and numbering system used in the book, but I spent several months some years back doing the figuring.  From that figuring, I created a READER’S GUIDE TO “The Hufford Family History: 1729 – 1909.”

The information about “Mary Ann” is sparse in the book.

sister of George.
Born July 23, 1818, Frederick county, Md.
Married June 15, 1848, by Joseph Dull, Justice of the Peace.
Occupation: farmer
Church: Lutheran
1. Ellen.
2. Georgie.
3. Lenora.
4. Susan.
Berlin, Pa., Somerset county.

Number 2 on the page is George, who is described as “Son of Solomon and grandson of Phillip, who was born in Frederick, Md., May 17, 1821.” With that, I could place “Mary Ann” on the tree.  However, there was no family like that to be found.  Now and again, I try to find some who seem “unfindable.”  Two nights ago, looking one way and another, something finally popped.  I kept seeing a family in Somerset Co., PA, with William and Susan Powell, and Susan was noted as born in Maryland, but their children’s names didn’t fit.  Well, the names didn’t fit until I found death certificates for all four children, and their mother was named as “Susan Hufford, born in Maryland.”  Then I found the death certificate of Susan Powell, born July 23, 1818, in Maryland, whose parents were named as Solomon Hofford and Polly Powell.  She died in Berlin, Somerset Co., PA.  Her gravestone at the IOOF Cemetery in Berlin, PA, names her as “Susanna Powell.”

Her children were Elmira Jane (b. 1848), Georgianna (b. 1852), Laura C. (b. 1855), and Susan A. (b. 1859).

There was no “Mary Ann” to be found.  She was Susanna, all along.

DNA-proven Hufford lines

DNA testing continues to find proofs among HUFFORD descendants. To date, the following lines have been proven via DNA matches with autosomal tests:

• Snowie Beatrice Hufford (1905-1992) > Lewis Townsend Hufford (1869-1939) > Solomon Hufford (1838-1893) > Peter Hufford (b. abt 1788) > Christian Hoffart II (1746-1826) > Christian Hoffart (1716-1788).

• Earl Leslie Hufford (1907-1933) > Jesse Emanuel Hufford (1876-1959) > Emanuel Hufferd (1831-1913) > Abraham Hufford (1788-1859) > Casper Hoffert (1762-1825) > Christian Hoffart (1716-1788).

The above two lines are proved by a DNA match between Snowie’s grandson and Earl’s grandson, on chromosome # 8, from 11156163 to 18892233.

My line to the immigrant Christian Hoffart (1716-1788) is the following:

• Sarah Catherine Hooker (1871-1952) > Elizabeth Hufford (1851-1929) > Andrew Hufford (1827-1881) > Abraham Hufford (1788-1859) > Casper Hoffert (1762-1825) > Christian Hoffart (1716-1788).

Based on my line, the following lines are proven:

• Martha Jane Curtis (1927-1991) > Edith E. Hufford (1883-1952) > Jacob Leonard Hufford (1841-1907) > Jacob Staley Hufford (1798-1884) > Casper Hoffert (1762-1825) > Christian Hoffart (1716-1788).
[Proven by DNA from Martha Jane’s daughter.]

• Ivan Clyde Smith (1910-1959) > Mabel Edna McKinley > Mary Amelia VanHellen > Mary Ann Hufford > Jacob Staley Hoffert > Casper Hoffert > Christian Hoffart (1716-1788).
[Proven by DNA from Ivan’s son.]

• Norma Jean Hufford > Richard Robinson Hufford > Walter Arthur Hufford > David D. Hufford > Andrew Hufford > Abraham Hufford > Casper Hoffert > Christian Hoffart. … [Proven by DNA from Norma Jean’s grandson.]

• Dorothy Lorraine Hufford (1934-1972) > Clarence Everett Hufford, Sr. (1903–1987) > Levi Silas Lee Hufford (1871-1912) > Aaron J. Hufford (1846-1915) > Michael William Hufford, Sr. (1804-1875) > Casper Hoffert (1762-1825) > Christian Hoffart (1716-1788).
[Proven by DNA from Dorothy’s only daughter, who was placed for adoption at birth: a 5 cM match on chromosome # 13, from 108162547 to 109642722.]

• Vernon Clarence Carstensen (1928-2013) > Helen Anna Seiling (1904-1972) > Delia Mary Limmer (1874-1951) > Lucinda Hufford (1853-1914) > Jacob Stanley Hufford (1798-1884) > Casper Hoffert (1762-1825) > Christian Hoffart (1716-1788).
[Proven by DNA from Vernon’s son.]

• Fred Louis Remer (1944-1996) > Frederick Jesse Remer (1925-1973) > Jesse Henry Remer (1880-1949) > Mary Ann Bader (1854-1884) > Elizabeth Hufford (1826-1889) > John Hufford (1801-1825) > Casper Hoffert (1762-1825) > Christian Hoffart (1716-1788).
[Proven by DNA from Fred’s daughter.]

• Bess Levada Fasgold (1926-2010) > Iva Alberta Pumphrey (1898-1986) > Clara Elizabeth Hufford (1877-1967) > William Lafayette Hufford (1848-1928) > Jefferson Hufford (b. abt 1807; d. aft 1880) > John Hoffart (b. abt 1758; d. bef 18-May-1819) > Christian Hoffart (1716-1788).
[Proven by DNA from Bess’ son. This line has been problematic. The autosomal DNA match says the line is correct; however, another male descendant of this line has done a 37-marker Y-DNA test that showed a match at 0 points removed from someone who descends on a MOORE line from a MOORE who lived in Woodford County, Kentucky, in the 1800s, at the same time the HUFFORDs were there.]

If you are a HUFFORD descendant who has been able to prove your line with DNA testing, please share the information with me so that we can begin to collect information on proven lines. I’ll add the information here in this HUFFORD FAMILY HISTORY.

My line is above (Elizabeth Hufford). I have tested at familyTreeDNA, at 23andMe, and at ancestryDNA. My raw data has been uploaded at, and I will provide my gedMatch number upon request.

DNA proof, the new game in town

Autosomal DNA testing is the new world for genealogists.  I won’t try to explain it here, but it has moved into the realm of being reasonably affordable — typically about $100 per spit test.  Unlike Y-DNA testing that is good only for straight-line paternal ancestry, and unlike mtDNA testing that is good only for straight-line maternal ancestry, autosomal DNA testing shows close and distant relationships between two people.

After another HUFFORD descendant told me that he’d had his spit tested, I decided to step into the world of DNA testing.  For one hundred dollars and a small cup of spit, I would have the chance to learn if my 2nd cousin once-removed really is my 2nd cousin once removed.

Our connection is through Elizabeth HUFFORD (1851-1929) and her husband George HOOKER (1844-1921).  About four weeks after I put my spit in the mail, the DNA analysis showed that the relationship was for real: An eight cM segment on chromosome seven said, “Yes, you’re related.”

Still, that alone did not say whether the DNA segment came from Elizabeth Hufford or from her husband.

If you walk into the world of DNA genealogy, you’ll find that there is a learning curve: The more you fiddle with it, the more you learn. After some fiddling (that I won’t explain here), I found three others who also have that same eight cM segment on chromosome seven. They have strong Brethren and Anabaptist connections, but they have no knowledge of being HUFFORD descendants.

It may be that the gene that we five carry — while it proves that I descend from Elizabeth Hufford — may in fact be from another common ancestor above Elizabeth, other than straight back her Hufford line.

If you have not walked into the world of autosomal DNA testing, I recommend it.  It goes hand-in-hand with standard documentary genealogical research.  With DNA, you can prove what the documents say is so.