I’ve been trying to get better organized in my genealogical research, with only limited success (mostly because I don’t know what to do with all my papers and photos), and also have been reading more about how to use and find information in particular public records.
This morning I opened “The Family Tree Problem Solver” by Marsha Hoffman Rising and started on the chapter about land records.
I’ve got lots of farmers in my family tree, so it seems fitting to begin my document searching with their land records. I’ve come to realize that many of my ancestors didn’t really move around much, but from census to census, their farms seemed to. They might be listed in St. Francois County in one census but Washington or Franklin the next.
And for relatives that I’m trying to trace from Missouri to Tennessee (where they left ahead of the Civil War), it would help to know more about land records.
All of this brings me to Donat Mairat and today’s post.
It appears that Donat Mairat bought 40 acres of land from the U.S. government in April 1857 in Washington County, Mo.
This is all fairly interesting when you take into account that he purchased the land only 17 years after arriving in the United States from France. It’s fairly possible that he had farmed other land prior to this and was just adding to his acreage. However, knowing that he emigrated from France in 1840, it’s also quite plausible that this was the first land he owned in the U.S.
A few facts about his life:
Donat Mairat was born on Aug. 7 1808, in Montursin, Doubs, France, the son of Pierre Joseph Mairat and Marie Therese Comment. He had eight siblings.
He and Adelle Seraphine Cordier were married in France on Jan. 8, 1840. On May 9, the couple arrived in New Orleans from Havre, France. They sailed aboard the Charles with Paul and Sophie Cordier, the parents of his wife, and several of their children.
In 1848, Donat’s brother Victor arrived in the U.S. with his family. The families all settled in Richwoods, a French mining community in Washington County, Mo.
Donat farmed in Richwoods for the remainder of his life, according to census records. I need to do more research to see what happened to the farm and land after his death in 1882.
After his wife, Adelle Seraphine died in 1864 (likely after or in childbirth with daughter Sarafine), he married Eugenia Angeline Calliott. They were wed in 1868 in Washington County, Mo.
Donat and Adelle Seraphine had 10 children together. (Sophie is my direct ancestor.)
Over time, it appears the family surname spelling changed to Mara or Marah, depending on the records, which makes keeping tabs on this family group a little more challenging than some of my other ancestors.