Saturday, April 11, 2009

Mystery #3: John Shoens

According to the 1855 New York State Census for Camillus, Onondaga County, NY, John Shoens (aka Shones, Showens, Showan) was born in Oneida County around 1799. According to deed records, he started purchasing land in Onondaga County around 1829. At the time of his death in 1856, he was listed as 57 years old. The mystery arises because the surname Shoens does not appear in any census before 1830. The closest matches are two 'Shons' (Hendrick and Jerom) in Albany County in the 1790 Census. A John Shoenee was enumerated in Worcester, Otsego County in 1800. No variations of the surname were found in Census records for 1810 and 1820. Where was he in those years? Since the census records prior to 1850 only list the head of the family, it is possible that he may have been orphaned and/or was apprenticed and living with an unknown relative, friend or master.

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