Bill's Genealogy Blog

Bill Buchanan is a long-time genealogy enthusiast, living in Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada. This blog will describe my experiences as I research my family history and help others.

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Location: Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada

I am a retired online school teacher. I love family history. Since 2007, I have spent much of my time providing part-time support for the world's largest free family history site This is very rewarding. I have helped others with the Family Tree and related FamilySearch products.
Since April 2010, I have served in the Edmonton Riverbend Family History Centre. I have a FHC blog at Bill's Family History Center Blog For information the Latter-day Saints and family history click

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Identifying Harvey Tibbits

I researched Harvey Tibbitts, the obscure first husband of Margaret Matilda Buchanan, my great aunt. I had amazing success. I already knew that he and “Maggie” were in the 1880 census living near Council Bluffs, Iowa. But I found him in the 1871 Canada Census and the 1861 and 1851 census of Upper Canada, along with tons other relatives and also found his uncle Elhannan Tibbits on an personal page. I shared this information with some cousins who share my interest in genealogy:

1852 Canada West (Ontario) Middlesex County, Westminster Township

48    Elhannan    Tibbits    Male    28    1824    Lower Canada

1    Mary    Tibbits    Female    77    1775    United States [Mary Curtis, the mother of George]

2    George    Tibbits    Male    54    1798    United States
3    Rachael    Tibbits    Female    36    1816    Upper Canada
4    Alonzo    Tibbits    Male    19    1833    Lower Canada
5    Hannah A    Tibbits    Female    14    1838    Upper Canada
[A gap of 10 years for the death of George's first wife Elizabeth and marriage to Rachael Norton, widow of Leonard Odell.]
6    Lorenzo    Tibbits    Male    4    1848    Upper Canada
7    Harry    Tibbits    Male    1    1851    Upper Canada [Harvey]
8    Henry A    Odell    Male    11    1841    Upper Canada [Rachel's child from her first marriage]
9    Eliza A    Odell    Female    9    1843    Upper Canada
10    Catherine    Odell    Female    8    1844    Upper Canada

20    Joseph    Tibbits    Male    44    1808    Lower Canada [younger brother of George]
21    Sophronia    Tibbits    Female    38    1814    United States
22    Silvy A    Tibbits    Female    14    1838    Upper Canada
23    Sarah    Tibbits    Female    12    1840    Upper Canada
24    Chestina    Tibbits    Female    10    1842    Upper Canada
25    Rosetta    Tibbits    Female    6    1846    Upper Canada
26    Alphonse    Tibbits    Male    4    1848    Upper Canada

29    Nilson    Tibbits    Male    28    1824    Lower Canada [Nelson, a brother of George]
30    Delana    Tibbits    Female    24    1828    Lower Canada
31    Myron    Tibbits    Male    4    1848    Upper Canada [a well-known medical doctor]

35    Leonard    Tibbits    Male    31    1821    Lower Canada [a brother of George]
36    Mary    Tibbits    Female    30    1822    Lower Canada
37    Eliza A    Tibbits    Female    9    1843    Upper Canada
38    Mary J    Tibbits    Female    7    1845    Upper Canada
39    Chester    Tibbits    Male    5    1847    Upper Canada
40    Colistia    Tibbits    Female    2    1850    Upper Canada

42    Benjn    Tibbits    Male    56    1796    United States [a brother of George]
43    Mary A    Tibbits    Female    25    1827    Ireland
44    Robert    Davis    Male    7    1845    Ireland [possible step child]

NOTE: Mary and her sons George and Benjamin were born in the USA.
In the 1880 census, Harvey says his father was born in Vermont.
From Vermont, they migrated to Lower Canada by 1824, then Upper Canada by 1833.

1861 Census of Canada
Name:    Harvey Tibbets    Gender:    Male    Age:    10
Birth Year:    1851    Birthplace:    Upper Canada
Home in 1861:    Middlesex, Canada West    Religion:    E Methodist
Film Number:    C-1051            Page Number:    14
Household Members:   
1861 Census of Canada, Canada West, Middlesex               
43    Elhanan    Tibbets    Male    37    1824    Lower Canada       
44    George    Tibbets    Male    63    1798    United States    Married   
45    Mrs G    Tibbets    Female    45    1816    Upper Canada    Married  [Rachael]
46    Lorenzo    Tibbets    Male    12    1849    Mc [UC]           
47    Harvey    Tibbets    Male    10    1851    Upper Canada    
48    Betsy J    Tibbets    Female    8    1853    Upper Canada   
49    George L Tibbets    Male    6    1855    Upper Canada          
50    William R    Tibbets    Male    4    1857    Upper Canada   

1871 Census of Canada
Name:    Harver Tipits [Harvey Tibbitts]     Gender:    Male    Age:    20
Birth Year:    abt 1851        Birth Place:    Ontario
Religion:    Weslyan Methodist        Origin:    English
Province:    Ontario            District:    Middlesex East
District Number:    09            Division:    03
Subdistrict:    Westminster        Subdistrict Number:    a
Household Members:   
Name    Age
3 3    Tipits    Elhanen    Male    47    1824    Quebec    Married    English
3 3    Tipits    Elizie    Female    30    1841    Ontario    Married    English [Eliza Ann Odell]
3 3    Tipits    John    Male    5    1866    Ontario        English
4 4    Tipits    George    Male    73    1798    United States    Married    English
4 4    Tipits    Rachil    Female    55    1816    Ontario    Married    English
4 4    Tipits    Lourenzo Male    22    1849    Ontario        English
4 4    Tipits    Harver    Male    20    1851    Ontario        English [Harvey]
4 4    Tibit    Betey    Female    18    1853    Ontario        English
4 4    Tibit    George    Male    16    1855    Ontario        English
4 4    Tibit    Wm    Male    14    1857    Ontario        English

This page for Elhanan says that his parents are:
Jonathan TIBBITS 1775 – 1847
Mary Polly CURTIS 1775 – 1854 [This agrees perfectly with the 1851 census! Apparently the ones born in Lower Canada are much younger brothers to George and Benjamin. It makes me wonder whether some of the families on that census page with other surnames are the families of the Tibbitts daughters.]

This is the one where we first discovered Harvey and Maggie in Iowa.
1880 United States Federal Census about Harvay Tibbetts
Name:    Harvay Tibbetts     Age:    29   Birth Year:    abt 1851  Birthplace:    Canada
Home in 1880:    Valley, Pottawattamie, Iowa
Race:    White   Gender:    Male
Relation to Head of House:    Self (Head)
Marital Status:    Married
Spouse's Name:    Margaret Tibbetts
Father's Birthplace:    Vermont
Mother's Birthplace:    Canada
Occupation:    Farmer
Household Members:   
Name    Age
Tibbetts    Harvay    White    Male    29    1851    Self    Married    Canada    Vermont    Canada
Tibbetts    Margaret    White    Female    18    1862    Wife    Married    Canada    Ireland    Ireland

Interesting! Harvey's father was also in Iowa, along with brother William's family and various other family members. 

1880 United States Federal Census
Name:    George Tibbitts   Age:    82  Birth Year:    abt 1798  Birthplace:    Vermont
Home in 1880:    Valley, Pottawattamie, Iowa
Race:    White  Gender:    Male
Relation to Head of House:    Self (Head)
Marital Status:    Married
Spouse's Name:    Rachael Tibbitts
Father's Birthplace:    Vermont
Mother's Birthplace:    Vermont
Occupation:    Farmer
Household Members:   
Name    Age
Tibbitts    George    White    Male    82    1798    Self    Married    Vermont    Vermont    Vermont
Tibbitts    Rachael    White    Female    68    1812    Wife    Married    Canada    Canada    Canada
Tibbitts    William    White    Male    23    1857    Son        Canada    Vermont    Canada

Iowa, State Census Collection, 1836-1925
Name:    George Tibbits
Age:    87
Birth Year:    abt 1798
Birth Place:    Vermont
Residence Date:    1885
Residence Place:    Valley, Pottawattamie, Iowa, USA
Race:    White
Gender:    Male
Marital Status:    Widowed
Household Members:   
3    William B    Tibbits        Male    White    27    1858    Canada    Married
4    Eva M        Tibbits        Female    White    22    1863    Illinois    Married
5    Almina M    Tibbits        Female    White    0    1885    Iowa   
6    George        Tibbits        Male    White    87    1798    Vermont    Widowed

Anyways, there are a ton of other Tibbits family members in the Iowa, Pottawattamie, Council Bluffs area in the 1880s. When Harvey's parents moved there, several of their children and relatives came with them. I am guessing that land was cheap and plentiful at the time. I have not found a record of Harvey's death, but there are good records of him until 1880 and then nothing. I am guessing he died about 1881, as Maggie married Red Bob in 1883.

How did Maggie and Harvey meet? London and Elma, Ontario are not that far apart, and young men like Harvey often covered a lot of distance looking for work. And a young single man that age might also be looking for a wife. Maggie would have been about 17 years old and marriage would probably have been a priority for her too.

The little-known Harvey Tibbits has been well identified. The Tibbits are not related to me but I have researched them because I wanted a better understanding of Harvey.


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