Unraveling the Case of Two Men Named Silas Bliven

My second great grandfather on my mother’s side has provided no end of stumbling blocks. First of all, his name itself is problematic. I believe he was born Theodaty Hiram Bliven. But over the years various documents recorded him as Theodaty Hiram, Hiram Theodaty, Hiram T., T. H. Bliven, and even Theodore. I often wonder if he did not want to be found after he and his wife divorced. But I digress. Today I want to focus on Theodaty’s parents.

On Ancestry.com, Rootsweb, and numerous other online trees, I find just as many people listing Silas G. Bliven and Caroline Woolworth as being Theodaty’s parents as I find those listing Silas R. Bliven and Hannah Fisk as his parents. I am now firmly convinced that Silas R. Bliven and Hannah Fisk are his parents. But I do understand the confusion. Take their births for instance:

Silas G. Bliven was born to Theodaty Bliven and Bethany Rogers about 1808 in Allegany County, New York.

Silas R. Bliven was born to Theodata Bliven and Hannah Rogers about 1807 in Allegany County, New York.

However, their lives took very different paths. Silas G. Bliven married Caroline Woolworth and he lived and died in New York. Meanwhile Silas R. Bliven married Hannah Fisk, moved to the Midwest and eventually to Washington State where he died. When Silas R. Bliven died in Washington the index lists his spouse as Hannah Fisk and his child as Hiram T. Bliven.

Theodaty Hiram also moved to Washington State. In 1916, while living in Spokane, Theodaty Hiram Bliven married Ettie Hall after having divorced his first wife, Esther T. Hilton. His marriage certificate lists Silas R. Bliven and Hannah Fisk as his parents. (The certificate is from the Washington, Marriage Records 1865-2004, available at Ancestry.com).

So, while the confusion with the two men named Silas – not to mention two men named Theodaty and one named Theodata – is understandable, I think the evidence clearly points to Silas R. and Hannah being Theodaty HIram Bliven’s parents. I have many other questions about Theodaty – and about Silas R. – but those are for another blog on another day.

Update 5/29/15: Movaco has just made all the U.S. Census images available online for free. Here’s the link to the 1870 census showing Silas R. Bliven, Hannah, and their children. Here Theodaty is listed as Theodata (possibly the lower part of the “y” is faded out). http://www.mocavo.com/1870-United-States-Census/126208/004257579/222#row-66

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