Monday, November 28, 2016

Matrilineal Monday: An Update on Jennie Hayes, wife of Rollie Backus

In January 2014, I wrote a post summarizing what I had so far on the ancestors of my mother-in-law, Ruth. I was stopped on Rollie George Backus who was born 15 August 1881 in New York. Rollie had a son named Herman who was born in the town of Java on 1 March 1905. One step in a potential research plan was to obtain a birth certificate on Herman but I have never done so.

Another action on my list was to explore any Hayes enumerated in Cattaraugus or Wyoming County during the 1900 census to try and find the parents of Jennie who married Rollie. I suspected that Jennie's maiden name was Hayes based on a newspaper entry found at stating under the heading of Lime Lake that "Miss Iva Hayes returned from a month's visit with her sister, Mrs. Rollie Backus at Curriers Corners."

I went back over those newspaper entries recently. I was able to pinpoint that this entry was dated July 15, 1903. I also went back to the original announcement of the birth of a son to Mr. and Mrs. Rollie Backus in the town of Java. Underneath that entry it stated that "Mrs. Hayes of Machias is caring for her daughter, Mrs. Backus."  This further confirms that Jennie's maiden name was Hayes.

Using those clues, I still have had a hard time trying to come up with a matching Hayes family in either county during the 1900 federal census or the 1892 New York state census. (I did determine that the 1892 enumeration for Wyoming County is not extant which is good to know for further research). Lime Lake is just a small hamlet of Machias which are both in Cattaraugus County but I was still not having much luck identifying the Hayes family I needed.

I did find a sweet newspaper entry for Jennie and Iva Hayes showing how they did in school:

Image from

I found a couple more entries for Iva Hayes: In May of 1904 she was visited by the Misses Gertrude and Bessie Phillips. In May of 1907 under the area heading "Elton" it was noted that "Miss Iva Hayes of the Lake road is spending some time at Mrs. Hills." There were no other entries for Jennie Hayes but under the same heading wherein Iva was listed as visiting her sister in 1903 (but in the second column of the newspaper), Frank Lafferty and family were visiting George Hayes of Lime Lake as well.

I typed in George Hayes residing in Cattaraugus County for the years 1892-1910 at In the 1900 federal census, I found George B. Hayes, age 27, born December of 1873, in the household of his parents, Erwin and Mandania Hayes in the town of Yorkshire. This was the same town Rollie was living that year with his uncle Adelbert Hitchcock. Even better, George had two sisters listed, one named Nancy (age 12, born August 1887) and one named Jennie. Perfect, right?

Well, there appears to a discrepancy, though. Jennie's age is given as 9 and her birth month and year as June of 1890. I'd be inclined to dismiss it and probably did before but I found Iva with the same family in 1905. William E. Hayes age 61 and wife Mandana 52 are listed with Iva Hayes age 14 during the 1905 New York state census. (Luckily his wife has a distinctive name.) Besides the husband and wife still listed in Yorkshire for the 1910 census (Mandania was listed as the mother of 5 living out of 10 children), nothing else comes up for William E. Hayes or Erwin Hayes in I did a quick google search and found an index for the name Mary Mandania Pettengell but could not locate anything further.

The final thing for now that I have found is an old photograph of Erwin Hayes of Yorkshire in a 1976 edition of the Olean Times Herald. He was a war veteran and is listed here with others of his post:

Image from;
Erwin Hayes is front row, sixth from the left, with arms crossed

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