Friday, September 30, 2016

David Freeland ~ 4th Great Grandfather

I wrote about David Freeland three years ago in my Surname Saturday post for my Freeland line.

He brought his family to Canada from Scotland in 1821. Later, David Freeland and many of his family members ended up in Great Lakes states (New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Illinois).

What I didn't know when I wrote the Surname Saturday post were the names of all David's children and when and where he and they died.

A few months after I wrote the Surname Saturday post, I found that has indexed some records for Scotland. (See Tuesday's Tip ~ Scotland, Births, Baptisms, and Marriages.) So now I know that David Freeland was born on February 14, 1783, in Glasgow, Scotland, and that he married Barbara Fullerton Arroll on July 30, 1809, at Govan, Scotland. He had six children, all born in Govan, Scotland:
Barbara (1809-1887)
Anna (1812-1889)
James (1814-1863)
Charles (1816-????)
Mary (1818-1903)
Margaret (1820-????)
And a seventh, Oswald, born about 1823, in Canada.

The Scottish emigration record (Directory of Scottish Settlers in North America, 1625-1825. by David Dobson, (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Vol. 5. 1985)) suggests that David left Scotland and arrived in Canada with his wife, one son and four daughters. Charles must have died young, which would leave James, Barbara, Anna, Mary and Margaret traveling with their parents to the New World.

Because of a scrap of paper with a rudimentary family tree, I have married surnames for three of the four daughters, but I don't know what happened to Margaret.

I had found David in the 1850 U.S. Census living with his son, James, in Pittsburgh. By the time of the 1860 U.S. Census, David was living with his daughter and son-in-law, Mary and Frederick Wolf(e), in Buffalo. He was 77 years old and since I couldn't find him with any family in the 1870 U.S. Census, I assumed he died between 1860 and 1870. When I discovered that there is an 1865 New York State Census, and he was not listed, that narrowed my search for his death date.

Once again, Facebook has proved to be a useful resource, specifically, the group for the Western New York Genealogical Society (WNYGS), which I joined last spring. I shared my query about David Freeland, and got a helpful response: Freeland is not a common name in Buffalo, and there is a burial record for David Freeland on February 25, 1862, in Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo.

Recently, these burial records have been digitized and made available at the website for Forest Lawn Cemetery. (See the search page at Locate a Loved One.)

Searching for David Freeland, I found a burial record. The record is on one line over two pages and the transcription is below with my notes in [square brackets].

Name: Freeland, David
Place of Birth: left blank
Place of Death: Buffalo
Time of Death: Feby 20, 1862
Married or not: left blank

Late Residence: left blank [it would have been helpful to find an address here]
Age: 79 [implies a birth year of about 1783]
Decease [handwritten: Disease]: left blank
Location of Grave: Single 90
Undertaker: ditto marks under "Pierce" [I didn't find an undertaker by the name of Pierce in the 1862 Buffalo City Directory.]
Remarks: Rem to 254 Sec 8 9/22/84

In 1884, more than twenty years after his death, his remains were moved to a different section, that of a Brown family.

I am mostly sure that this is my fourth great grandfather, but would like some additional evidence, like an obituary or probate record. (No luck at's New York Probate Records, 1629-1971.) Or maybe the undertaker's record, but I need to learn more about the undertakers in Buffalo in this time period. Perhaps researching this supposedly well-known Brown family would offer some clues? (To use the FAN - Friends, Associates, Neighbors principle.)

I don't know where his wife or his youngest daughter Margaret are buried. The other four children are buried in Cleveland, Ohio (Barbara), Toledo, Ohio (Anna), Pittsburgh (James), and Chicago (Mary). See their FindAGrave memorials by starting at David's in Buffalo; these four children's memorials are linked to his.


  1. I missed the earlier entry about the handwritten family tree -- what a huge help, with maiden names, and the scrap survived! Interesting that David ended up in Buffalo. Do you know why?

    1. I love those old scraps of paper - this one's so old that I have no idea whose handwriting it is!

      I believe David ended up in Buffalo because that's where one of his daughters was living. However, that daughter and son-in-law ended up moving to Chicago and I don't know why!

  2. I distant relative shared the back of a card with me a few years ago. On it, was a handwritten list of the children of a particular ancestor. Of course, I had to verify it, but everything seemed to check out! It was a huge help!

    How great to be tying up these loose ends! And, Facebook can be a BIG help. I know I need to use it more often!

    1. Facebook and Ancestry Trees and other online resources - it's amazing what's out there.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.