Monday, March 26, 2012

Matrilineal Monday ~ Susan Arville Chapin

My initial interest in my family's history arose after my paternal grandmother died and my father inherited all of her family history materials, which includeThe Chapin Genealogy, containing a very large proportion of the descendants of Dea. Samuel Chapin, who settled in Springfield, Mass. in 1642, compiled by Orange Chapin, and published in 1862. With handwritten notes and "bookmarks" (little pieces of paper inserted at each ancestor going back to Deacon Samuel Chapin) made by an ancestor, this intrigued me, as I wondered whose handwriting it was and who originally owned this book.

It is very likely that this book originally belonged to my great great grandmother, Susan Arville Chapin. According to this published genealogy, another published Chapin genealogy (The Chapin Book by Gilbert W. Chapin, published in 1924), and the sampler that she embroidered at the age of 12, she was born on June 9, 1820, in Ludlow, Massachusetts, to Orramel Chapin (1791-1866) and Susan Rood (1799-????). [Note: these two secondary sources are known to have plenty of errors, as the handwritten notes made by my ancestor attest to, but it gives a starting place to research.]

Susan Arville Chapin's name was recorded in a variety of ways over the years (Susan A., Orville, Arvilla, Arville). Her father is found in the 1820 US Federal Census in Ludlow, Massachusetts, and in the 1840 US Federal Census in Chicago, Illinois. Although Orramel and his wife moved on to Wisconsin by the time of the 1850 US Census, Susan (more commonly known as Arville) married James M. Adsit on January 21, 1841, according to Orange Chapin's genealogy. They had seven children, and only two grandchildren (my grandmother, Libby, and her brother). They spent the rest of their lives in Chicago.

I wrote about James M. Adsit as the first banker in Chicago. The family moved to 400 Dearborn Avenue in 1884. After Arville's husband died in 1894, it looks like she continued to live at 400 Dearborn Avenue in Chicago, with four of her children (three unmarried, one widowed).

U.S. Federal Census 1900; Census Place: Chicago Ward 24, Cook, Illinois; Roll: T623_273;
Page: 14A; Enumeration District: 711; Record for J. M. Adsit
This census listing is unusual, with lots of errors - since I know the family, I was able to identify it.
Line 26) Head J.M. Adsit (actually Arville Adsit), born June 1835, (actually should be June 1820). She is a widow and of the seven children she gave birth to, five are still living. (And four are living with her in this household!) This record indicates that she was born in Illinois (she was born in Massachusetts), that her father was born in New York (he was born in Massachusetts) and that her mother was born in Massachusetts (actually I don't know for sure where her mother was born).
Line 27) Daughter Jeanie Adsit, born May 1873 (actually should be December 1860)
Line 28) Daughter Carrie Adsit, born June 1869 (actually should be January 1850)
Line 29) Son James Adsit, born April 1865 (actually should be April 1847)
Line 30) Daughter Ezra Wheeler (actually Isabelle Adsit Wheeler), born December 1859 (actually should be September 1844).
The four children are listed as having been born in Illinois (yes, true) to a father born in Illinois (actually born in New York) and a mother born in New York (actually born in Massachusetts). And for the first three children, New York is crossed out and Illinois is written in lightly.

This just goes to show you that you shouldn't believe everything you find in a census record!

Arville Chapin Adsit died on May 6, 1906, at her home on 400 Dearborn Avenue, Chicago. 

My descent from Susan Arville Chapin > Charles Chapin Adsit > Elizabeth Adsit > Charles McAlpin Pyle, Jr. > me.

Matrilineal Monday is a daily blogging prompt from Geneabloggers, the genealogy community’s resource for blogging. It is used by many genealogy bloggers to help them tell stories of their ancestors.


  1. Wow, Elizabeth, I'm a descendant of Samuel Chapin, too. Geneablogger Sara Campbell is hot on the trail of a Chapin descendant who lived on the property of a house she is purchasing in Western, Massachusetts. Her friend, geneablogger Shari Strahan, found a great newsclipping about her genealogy and a murder mystery. How can I send you a copy of the newsclipping?

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting (and sending the newsclipping). I posted Arville Chapin Adsit's obituary today.