Friday, May 23, 2014

Brick Wall: Busted

I have tried to identify the father of Andrew McClintock (1804-abt 1864 in PA) for several years. The key to busting this brick wall was in the newly released Pennsylvania certificates of death.

Andrew and his wife, Mary Jane, had eight children that I know of. Three of those children died between 1906 and 1922, the years for which these death records have been released and are available at

(image from
Two of these records, those for Samuel & Adam, list the maiden name of their mother as "unknown." But the third child, their daughter Sarah Elizabeth (McClintock) Furst who died in 1922, lists the mother's maiden name as Jane Decker who was born in Pennsylvania. The informant was I. Torrence Shearer. Torrence Shearer was a grandson of Andrew & Mary Jane. Mary Jane didn't die until 1892 when Torrence was in his mid-30's, so it is likely that he knew her maiden name. He gave his grandmother's name as Jane Decker.

1830 Census, Gregg, Centre Co, PA (Andrew McClintick last in image) (image from
Andrew & Mary Jane McClintock were living with three young sons in Gregg, Centre County, Pennsylvania in 1830. From the birth date of their oldest son, William, in February of 1823, I am guessing that they probably married in that county in 1821 or 1822. But, we couldn't find a marriage record.

In 1830 in Gregg, Centre County, there weren't any other McClintock's. I decided to look in Gregg in 1820 to see if I could find a McClintock family & a Decker family with children the right ages for Andrew & Mary Jane since they would have married just a couple of years later.

I discovered that the township of Gregg didn't form until 1826. It was taken from three other townships: Potter, Miles, and Haines. In the 1820 census, there weren't any McClintock's or Decker's in Miles or Haines. But, there were some in Potter! In fact, there were 5 Decker's or Deckard's listed as heads of household and two McClintock's.

1810 Potter census pg 4 - Sarah Decker (top name); Jno McClintick (10 from bottom); Jno Decker (bottom name)

1810 Potter census pg 5 - Jno McClintick
I next went back to the 1810 census. At this time, Andrew would have been about 6 years old and Mary Jane about 7. I only found two McClintock/McClintick famlies and two Decker families.These were all found on pages 4 & 5 of the 6 page census

1800 Potter, Centre Co, PA census - showing John Decker & Sarah Deckert (from ancestry)
A possibility for Mary Jane Decker was the easy to pick out. There were two Decker head of households: Sarah (age 45+) & Jno (also age 45+). (Note: As they were both in the 26-44 category in 1800, that makes them now between the ages of 45-54. I'm guessing they are probably siblings.) But, only one of these households had a female living there who was less than 10 years old. That household is Sarah Decker's house. By also looking at the 1800 census, I discovered that Sarah was already listed as a head of household at age 26-44. Since she was probably already widowed, it doesn't make a lot of sense that she has a daughter under the age of 10 in the census taken 10 years later. At this point, I'm hypothesizing that Sarah is actually Mary Jane's grandmother and the female aged 16-26 in the household is Mary Jane's mother.

1820 Potter, Centre Co, PA census - showing Michael Deckad's family (from ancestry)
In the 1820 census, Sarah is no longer a head of household. But, there is a Michael Deckard listed as head of household at the young age of 16-18. There are only two other people in the household: a female under the age of 10 (possibly a younger sister?) and a female over the age of 45 (which is possibly Sarah). I have contacted a family member who is related to the Decker family of Potter. She's on vacation this weekend, but I hope to hear from her next week and either solidify these suppositions or gain some new insight.

Going back to the 1810 census and looking for Andrew McClintock's father (see earlier images). There were only two McClintock families found in 1810, both of them listed as Jno McClintick. Remember, Andrew should have been about 6 years old at this time. The second Jno only had one young female listed as a possible child. But, the other Jno had two sons under the age of 10. So, this Jno is probably the father of Andrew McClintock.

But, then came further evidence. I had hired a professional researcher to look up some records in Pennsylvania. While she didn't find a marriage record for Andrew McClintock & Mary Jane Decker, she did find a baptism record for Andrew!

A few years ago, she put the records of the Sinking Creek Presbyterian Church into alphabetical order. And, there was a match for my Andrew! She is looking to see if she can find the original record, but so far I have what she has in her database. It lists Andrew McClintock, son of John McClintock, baptized Aug 26, 1804! I will continue to gather proof, but I believe I have now found the father of my Andrew!

One last issue: she actually gave me a list of 6 children for John McClintock, with baptisms between 1804 - 1822. In 1820, John only had 3 children listed, when there 'should have' been 5. (One was baptized after 1820.) But, it is possible that two of these children died.

Lastly, she told me she didn't find any records for the Decker's in Sinking Creek Presbyterian Church, but she had other church records she would search.

This is one of the most complex genealogical puzzles I have solved. It took a lot of work and creativity to piece this family together. But, it paid off by busting through a brick wall!

Do we share common ancestors? I'd love to talk! Please write me at


  1. I just discovered your blog on Thomas McEntee's Geneabloggers page. I read the story of Andrew McClintock. I have 4 similar brick walls and really enjoyed following your thought process. I began blogging in earnest last fall and I am going to add your blog to my blog page. I look forward to continuing to read your posts. Excellent writing!
    Diane @

  2. Andrew and Mary Jane are my husband's 4th great grandparents. So glad I found your blog. Thx so much for sharing.

    1. R Toner, I'm glad you found it, too! I'd love to talk and find out who he descended through, if he's taken a DNA test, and more. Please email me if you see this at drleeds at sbcglobal dot net. Thanks!


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