Elizabeth Barnes Salisbury Bevis

I finally decided to sit down and work with the clues I had for Ossian Salisbury.  Just to recap, these clues are:

  • First name appears variously as Ocean, Oceanna, Ossian, OssiaAnn, and Osia Ann.
  • Surname appears variously as Salisbury, Saulsberry, Sauelsbury, Sausberry, Stansberry, Landsbury, Lounsbury, and Browning (her married name).
  • She was born in Illinois.
  • She married in 1852, at the age of 17 (which places her birth around 1835).
  • She was married in Kentucky to Daniel Browning.
  • Her mother was Elizabeth Burns or Barnes.
  • Her step-father’s name was Bevis.

Since I have recently begun ordering film from FamilySearch.org, I thought I would start by ordering the film for the record that gives her mother’s name.  When I put the film number in, the website informed me that there were already digital images online for that roll.  I thought to myself, that’s funny, since there are no images attached to the record.  So, I clicked the link provided for the digital images and searched for the page that the index had cited.  There it was!

Marriage register showing Ocean's mother cropped

From Jefferson County, Kentucky Reference Book 5, p. 153.

I looked first for Elizabeth’s name.  It looks like Barnes to me, but I can see where someone could get Burns.  In this record, Daniel Browning married Ocean Stansberry (or maybe Stausberry) on June 30, 1852.  Her mother, Elizabeth Barnes, gave consent.  Consent was proved by Lewis Browning (Daniel’s father).1

I looked for any records of an Elizabeth Barnes or Burns who married a Salisbury or a Stansberry, to no avail.  I only knew that Elizabeth gave birth in Illinois in about 1835.2  Using those details, nothing turned up.  It’s very possible, that they had been married much longer or in a different state or country.  Or, maybe they were never married.

I shifted focus to the step-father.  I had the name Bevis.3  Not knowing if this was a first name or surname, I tried both with Elizabeth Barnes, Burns, Salisbury, and Stansberry.  I found that an Eli Bavis married an Elizabeth Saulsbury in Clark County, Illinois in 1838.4  Thank God for soundex!  I kept searching on FamilySearch for Eli Bavis, but turned up nothing new, so I moved my search over to Ancestry.

Here, I found the same marriage citation, but when I clicked it, it suggested two census records for me to look at.  The first showed Eli Bavis in Clark County, Illinois in 1840.5  It was just an index record, so I couldn’t see family members and age groups.  The second was the 1850 Census.  This one was taken in Jefferson County, Kentucky.  Eli and Elizabeth Bevis lived here with their five small children, Lydia, Jane, Susan, Levi, and Bloony.6  Ossian wasn’t listed.  Since this was two years before her wedding, she should have been about 15 and living at home.  Perhaps she worked as a servant in another household, but I have been unable to find her thus far.

I wish I had turned up information on her father, but I’m satisfied for now to know who Bevis is and to confirm her mother’s name.


  1. “Kentucky Marriages, 1785-1979,” index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/F438-JWR : accessed 29 Nov 2014), Daniel Browning and Ocean Stansberry, 30 Jun 1852; citing Jefferson County, Kentucky, reference bk 5 p 153; FHL microfilm 482707.
  2. Ancestry.com. Kentucky, Marriage Records, 1852-1914 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007.  Kentucky. Kentucky Birth, Marriage and Death Records – Microfilm (1852-1910). Microfilm rolls #994027-994058. Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives, Frankfort, Kentucky.
  3. De La Montange, Marie. Letter to Sanford Wiseheart. 12 Feb. 1938. MS. New Albany, Indiana.
  4. “Illinois, County Marriages, 1810-1934”, database, FamilySearch(https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:X2P6-BQQ : accessed 24 January 2016), Eli Bavis and Elizabeth Saulsbury, 1838.
  5. Ancestry.com. Illinois, Compiled Census and Census Substitutes Index, 1810-1890 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 1999.  Jackson, Ron V., Accelerated Indexing Systems, comp.. Illinois Census, 1810-1890. Compiled and digitized by Mr. Jackson and AIS from microfilmed schedules of the U.S. Federal Decennial Census, territorial/state censuses, and/or census substitutes.
  6. Ancestry.com. 1850 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.  Year: 1850; Census Place: District 1, Jefferson, Kentucky; Roll: M432_205; Page: 188B; Image: 381.

Ossian Salisbury: An Ocean of Possibilities (52 Ancestors #03)

Ossian Salisbury has been a very tough woman to track down.  Part of the reason she’s been so tough to research is because she didn’t live very long.  She was born in 1835 and died sometime between 1860 and 1866.  The other reason she’s been so difficult is because her name is different on almost every record on which she appears.  I’ve come across Ossian Salisbury, Ocean Landsbury, Ocean Stansberry, Osia Ann Sausberry, Ocean Sauelsbury, and Oceanna Browning.  My grandmother told me before that she had also seen OssiAnn as a variant given name and Saulsberry and Lounsbury as variant surnames.  I have yet to find those.

I don’t know much about Ossian’s origins.  She was born in Illinois.  Her mother was Elizabeth Burns (or maybe Barnes).  She had a stepfather named Bevis.  I don’t know if Burns/Barnes was Elizabeth’s maiden name, or Bevis’ surname.  Or, Bevis could’ve been his surname and then I don’t know his given name.  I know nothing about Ossian’s birth father.

Here are the facts:

1.  Ocean Landsbury married Daniel Browning on June 30, 1852 in Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky.  She was seventeen and he was twenty one.  Ocean was born in Illinois.

Kentucky Marriages, 1852-1914, p.2, Ancestry.com

Kentucky Marriages, 1852-1914, p.2, Ancestry

2.  Ocean Stansberry married Daniel Browning on June 30, 1852 in Jefferson County, Kentucky.  Her mother was Elizabeth Burns.

Kentucky Marriages, 1785-1979, FamilySearch.org

Kentucky Marriages, 1785-1979, FamilySearch

3.  Mary Francis Browning was born on December 29, 1856 in Jefferson County, Kentucky to parents Daniel Browning and Osia Ann Sausberry.

Kentucky Births and Christenings, 1839-1960, FamilySearch.org

Kentucky Births and Christenings, 1839-1960, FamilySearch

4.  In 1860, Daniel (28) and Oceanna (25) Browning are living in 2nd District, Jefferson County, Kentucky with their children:  Harriet A. (7), Lydia F. (6), and Joseph (3).  Oceanna was born in Illinois.

1860 U.S. Federal Census, 2nd District, Jefferson, Kentucky, p.101, Ancestry.com

1860 U.S. Federal Census, 2nd District, Jefferson, Kentucky, p.101, Ancestry

5.  In 1870, D. (39) and Nancy C. (30) Browning are living in Boston, Jefferson County, Kentucky with their children:  George B. (3) and Mary C. (1), and his children from a previous marriage, Harriet A. (17), Lydia F. (16), Joseph (13), and Clara E. (9).

1870 U.S. Census, Boston, Jefferson, Kentucky, p.11, FamilySearch.org

1870 U.S. Census, Boston, Jefferson, Kentucky, p.11, FamilySearch

6.  Frances L. Wiseheart was born on June 14, 1853 to parents Daniel Browning and Ocean Sauelsbury.

Floyd, Indiana Deaths, CH-33, p.55, Stuart Barth Wrege Indiana History Room

Floyd, Indiana Deaths, CH-33, p.55, Stuart Barth Wrege Indiana History Room

7.  In a postcard to Sanford Wiseheart (Ossian’s grandson), Marie de la Montange says that his grandmother’s record needs to be corrected.  Her name is Ossian Salisbury.

Postcard from Marie de la Montange to Sanford Wesley Wiseheart, 12 Feb 1938

Postcard from Marie de la Montange to Sanford Wesley Wiseheart, 12 Feb 1938

8.  Clara Emma Browning was born on December 15, 1860 to parents Daniel Browning and __________ Salisbury.

Jefferson County, Kentucky Deaths, 1911-1961, Vol. 51, certificate 25121, Ancestry.com

Jefferson County, Kentucky Deaths, 1911-1961, Vol. 51, certificate 25121, Ancestry

Why did I choose Ossian Salisbury as the correct spelling of her name?  I’ll start with Salisbury.  I believe it is Salisbury because it appears that way in two documents, whereas every other spelling only occurs once.  In addition, Sauelsbury and Sausberry would both sound similar to Salisbury when spoken.  I can’t account for Stansberry without seeing the actual record, but I’d be wiling to bet this is a transcription error and that the name actually is Salisbury, Sauelsbury, or some similar sounding variant.  Landsbury is very different, however, I’ve examined a lot of early handwriting firsthand, and I can tell you that cursive capital “S” and “L” do look very similar.  I also believe that Marie de la Montange, who was a long time friend of the family, would be more likely to know the spelling of her name than any clerk would be able to guess from someone speaking it.

As for Ossian, Salisbury/Landsbury and Burns/Barnes are English or Scottish surnames.  Ossian (or Oisin) was a popular legend in both Scotland and Ireland.  Also, Ossian was born in Illinois.  Ossian M. Ross settled in Illinois in 1821 and founded Lewistown.  He was a Major in the War of 1812.  This name would’ve been popular in Illinois around the time of her birth.  I can’t account for why a female child was given a name that is traditionally male, but it isn’t unheard of for that to happen.  And, again, I do believe Marie de la Montange would’ve known.  The pronunciation of Ossian is similar enough to Ocean that it would be easily mistaken if it were only spoken and not written.

Of course, there are far too many variables in all of this for me to set anything in stone.  I just had to have something to call her in my pedigree chart and something to work with.  I continue, on a regular basis, to search for every variant of Ossian that I can think of with every combination of surnames sounding or looking similar to Salisbury or Landsbury that I can think of.  My greatest hope is to find her in the 1850 Census with her mother and stepfather.