Every family tree has a DEA (i.e., darned elusive ancestor), and in the Armstrong family tree, that person is William Armstrong. He was born about 1801-1803 in New York, possibly in Onondaga County, according to the 1865 NYS census. (He has not been found in the 1855 census, which also gives counties of birth; we think that he was probably living in a town whose 1855 census is missing, perhaps Marshall.) William died after 12 July 1870 and before 5 June 1875, probably in Madison County, New York, but we can’t be sure. He married Sarah “Sally” Nash, the daughter of Isaac and Amey (Hall) Nash. William and Sally raised their children (8 of whom are known or strongly suspected) in various towns in Oneida and Madison County: Augusta, North Brookfield, Marshall and South Hamilton. William was a miller and moved with the work.
It’s frustrating enough that we don’t know exactly when or where William died. What is really driving us crazy is that we don’t know who William’s parents were. My father and I have been on a quest to discover William’s parents for years. We are not alone, many genealogists have been researching William’s line. Now we’re asking for your help. There’s even a reward if you can provide credible evidence of William’s parents that we have not seen. We currently have three (or four) prime suspects for a parent or relative of William, but we’re not limiting ourselves to just these people:
- Suspect #1: James Armstrong, of Liverpool or Salina
- Suspect #2: Dorothy Vail of Camillus, wife of James Armstrong and Thomas Ferrall
- Suspect #3: Hezekiah Armstrong, of Brookfield
- Suspect #4: Hackaliah Armstrong of Hamilton