Monday, March 2, 2015

MYSTERY MONDAY–Who’s Your Daddy? - Brick Walls Post #1 - John C. Gould 1833 - 1919?

Green tree with question marks_John C Gould
If I could ask for just one thing regarding my genealogy research this year, it would be to find out who John C. Gould’s parents were.
Gould is my maiden name.  Only being able to take that name back to my 2nd great grandfather and no further is my biggest genealogical brick wall.  And, if I don’t uncover this mystery my youngest brother may never consider my research a success.  He listens to my great finds and revealing stories and then asks “but, have you found out who John’s parents were?”

Here is a brief bio:

JOHN C. GOULD – born Jan 1833 in Michigan, married Sarah M. HART on 7 Oct 1858 in Armada, Macomb, Michigan.  Had one son, William Val Gould (probably born as Vivaldo William Gould) in 1859. Had one daughter, Julene E. Gould who lived 2 years 1861-1863.  Wife Sarah died on 11 Nov 1911 in Detroit, Wayne, Michigan.  John died 19 May 1919, age 86, in Nankin Township, Eloise, Wayne, Michigan.  He is buried at Rose Hill Cemetery, Armada, Macomb, Michigan.

GOULD street sign

Here’s what I’ve done during the past dozen or so years to find John’s parents:
  • Looked at census records for the years 1840-1920 that could possibly contain his name.  Including tracking the Gould heads of household for the census years 1830 and 1840 in Michigan.
  • Located him in the 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900 and 1910 census records in Michigan.
  • Located his Civil War Draft Registration card
  • Located a purchase and sale of land in Macomb County, Michigan in 1863 and 1871.
  • Located him on Agriculture census records in 1850 and 1870.
  • Ordered and received his marriage record to Sarah M. Hart
  • Located him in Detroit City Directory listings beginning in 1878.  With the final City Directory listing I could locate in 1912.
  • Researched his wife, Sarah M. Hart’s entire family, including siblings and their spouses.
  • Located the death record and obituary for his wife Sarah in 1911.
  • Found out everything I could about his son, William V. Gould and his family.
  • I’ve hired two professional researchers back in Michigan to assist me.  They added a little bit of information, but found nothing about his parents.
  • I’ve gone back to Michigan and gone to the courthouse in Macomb County and researched probate records for a Gould family I have always strongly believed could be connected.  No mention of John in the records.
  • I’ve posted inquiries on RootsWeb beginning in 2006.
  • Sent emails to Macomb County genealogy group – no records found
  • Gone to the Mt. Clemens Library in Macomb County and looked for records, books etc. – Nothing found
  • Talked to people in the Armada Village office, asking about the naming of Gould Rd. in the town of Armada.  They could provide no information.
  • Checked all Goulds buried in Michigan on the FindAGrave site.  I have entered a memorial for him (burial unknown) #32438846 and was later able to confirm his burial at Rose Hill Cemetery.
  • Checked marriage records for the same time frame that he and Sarah were married, looking for possible siblings for John.
  • Sent numerous other emails to people I’ve found on mailing lists or websites.
  • Located a possible death certificate on  This John Gould died in Eloise State Hospital.  Much of the information on this certificate fits, but no parents are listed.  I have contacted people who may have information on Eloise Hospital records or burials and come up empty. UPDATE - After finding the article about his burial I am convinced this death certificate is the correct John Gould. (see image below)
  • I’ve also read several books about brick walls, hoping for some spark that might lead me to John’s parents.
  • Had my brother, direct descendant of John C. Gould, provide DNA.  There are no other known direct male descendants.  He has done both YDNA and Ancestry autosomal with results uploaded to all the sites.   As of 10 Jan 2019 I have not located a good match.  My brother's Gedmatch number is A567536.
1.  What have I missed?
2.  Where should I look next?

Here is a descendant report that shows John & Sarah’s son, William and his children, which includes my grandfather, Harry Whipple Gould.
1-John C. GOULD [56]{FindAGrave #32438846 & #125849145}
born: Jan 1833, , , MI
died: After 1910
+Sarah M. HART [130]{FindAGrave #32439008}
born: Dec 1835, , , , Canada
marr: 7 Oct 1858, Armada, Macomb, MI
died: 11 Nov 1911, Detroit, Wayne, MI
parents: Henry HART [143]{FindAGrave #31946503} and Olive Glasier DOTEN [144]{FindAGrave #31946513}
2-William Val GOULD [7]{FindAGrave # 31868691}
born: 31 Aug 1859, Armada, Macomb, MI
died: 24 Feb 1924, Detroit, Wayne, MI
+Mary "Mae" Eve THORP [8]{FindAGrave # 24216381}
born: 4 Apr 1862, Oswego, Oswego, NY
marr: 1881
died: 3 Nov 1946, Detroit, Wayne, MI
parents: Horace Henry THORP [131]{FindAGrave #32025637} and Catherine C. DORSEY [132]{FindAGrave ~
3-Unknown GOULD [2485]
3-Ford Val GOULD [17]{FindAGrave #61960668}
born: 31 Aug 1884, Detroit, Wayne, MI
died: 17 Jun 1947, Detroit, Wayne, MI
3-Harry Whipple GOULD [5]{FindAGrave #14481532}
born: 10 Feb 1886, Detroit, Wayne, MI
died: 17 Feb 1960, Ft. Lauderdale, Broward, FL, United States
3-Roy V. GOULD [16]{FindAGrave #61961339}
born: 26 May 1888, , , MI
died: 18 Jul 1971, Yucaipa, San Bernardino, CA.
3-Gladys Lillian GOULD [19]{FindAGrave#88657246}
born: 11 Jul 1890, Detroit, Wayne, MI
died: 8 Oct 1966, Detroit, Wayne, MI
3-May Adele GOULD [18]{FindAGrave #91531460}
born: 25 Feb 1898, , , MI
died: 28 Sep 1984, , San Bernardino, CA
3-Helen C. GOULD [21]{FindAGrave #32439516}
born: 12 Mar 1901, Detroit, Wayne, MI
died: 17 Feb 1945, Detroit, Wayne, MI

2-Julene E. GOULD [221]{FindAGrave #132128928}
born: 1861, Armada, Macomb, MI
died: 27 Sep 1863, Armada, Macomb, MI
Documents associated with John C. Gould    (Click on any image to enlarge it)
GOULD_John C & Sarah HART_1857-Mich
Marriage record - John C. Gould & Sarah Hart 1858
GOULD_John C_purchase of land from Hannibal & Amelia Stone_22 Dec 1863_Armada Macomb Michigan
Land Purchase in Macomb Co., Michigan 1863
GOULD_John C_US Civil War Draft Reg Record_Jun 1863_Macomb Co Michigan
Civil War Draft Registration for John C. Gould 1863
GOULD_John C_sale of land to Walter Hibblewhite_23 Nov 1871_ArmadaMich_pg 1
Sale of land in Macomb Co., Michigan 1871
GOULD_Sarah_nee HART_death cert_1911_Michigan
Death certificate for Mrs. Sara Gould 1911
GOULD_Sarah_nee HART_death notice_DetroitNews_13 Nov 1911_pg 12_cropped
Death notice for Sarah Gould 1911
GOULD_John_possible death cert Eloise Mich 1919
Death certificate for John Gould - 19 May 1919

Newspaper article about John's remains being moved
from Detroit to Rose Hill Cemetery in Armada - 23 May 1919

And here are his direct line male descendants with their relationship to him:
William Val Gould-circa 1900-cropped
Son - William V. Gould 1859-1924
Grandson - Harry W. Gould 1886-1960
H. Norman Gould-1933-cropped
Great grandson - Harry N. Gould 1912-1991
GOULD_Harry Norman II_headshot cropped from family picture_circa 1992
2nd great grandson - H. N. Gould II
3rd great grandson - Joshua J. Gould

There you have him.  My biggest genealogical mystery & brick wall to date. 
If you have any ideas, suggestions or strategies to knock down this wall, please contact me. 

Breaking Down A Brick Wall - Finding Elizabeth Fitzcharles Parents
Setting Goals, Focusing, Organizing - How Do We Handle These Issues?
Happy hunting,
A_michigan girl
Copyright ©  2010-2023   Diane Gould Hall


  1. Hi Diane,
    Interesting puzzle. Some random thoughts:

    I notice you found him in the 1850 agricultural census but not in the 1850 population schedule. Did you try browsing the county page by page or searching for his agricultural neighbors in the 1850 population schedule? As he was 17 years old and unmarried then, chances are he still lived with or close to his parents.
    Did you try federal land records?
    Do you know where his wife lived in 1850? Could he have lived close to her?
    Did you research his associates and neighbors, for example witnesses from his marriage records, neighbors in the 1860 census?
    The name Vivaldo is very unusual. Are there any families with the Vivaldo last name in the area that could point to his mother's identity?
    Are there any local newspapers or town histories that might mention the Gould family (family visits, obituary, court cases)?
    What were Sarah's parents' names? Do the names William, Julene and Val occur in her family? If not, they might be clues to Gould relatives.

    1. Yvette - I'm overwhelmed right now, that I've gotten 4 comments and some suggestions. I gave a rundown on the items I have located for John. I do have a "possible" in the 1850 census, living with a Gould family. This is the family I have researched a lot and still found no firm connection. There is no John Gould with the middle initial "C" in the 1850 census, only John Gould, no middle initial. The age is correct, but I cannot be sure it's him. I do know where his wife was in 1850. She was living right there in Armada with her family, whom I've researched a LOT.
      As to the marriage record. I have begged them to send me an actual image of the record, with no success. I plan to hunt for it when I'm at the FHL this spring. I've always wondered if the original record would reveal some clues.
      I did mention the two land records for the purchase and sale of land in Armada. I've found no others...yet.
      Yes, I agree, Vivaldo is very unusual and so is Julene. Have never thought of looking for a surname being Vivaldo. THANKS!
      I have one court case he is mentioned in, but it yields no clues.
      I cannot thank you enough for your comments and input. I need all the help I can get.
      With great thanks,

  2. Another thought: you have a certified copy of the marriage record, not a copy of the original (they did not have typewriters back then). Have you tried getting a copy of the original? That might include information like witnesses which wasn't copied.

    1. Yvette - Please see the answer in my response to your other comment. Thanks :)

  3. Could he be the "Charles Gould" who lived with Benjamin and Huldahh Goodale family in 1850 in Bruce, Macomb County, MI? They had two Gould children living with them. Have you researched the Goodale family to see if there is any relationship?
    Have you tried putting all the Goulds in Macomb County in 1850 in a spreadsheet and ordering them by birth date? I think I see a pattern where all of people born before 1831 were born in New York and all of the people after 1831 were born in Michigan. That would suggest they all belong to the same family and migrated together.

    1. Yvette-Oh my gosh! I never even thought about him going by another name. Why not? I have many other ancestors who did just that. I'm beyond excited right now to have some other wonderful genealogy minds looking at this brick wall. This one is so important to me. I need to look outside "the box," which can be difficult when you are so close. I will be revisiting those census records today with this new thought in mind. There is a Willard B. Gould listed in Detroit city directories and living with John C. Gould. I have researched his family and found he was the son of Charles Gould and Lura Ann Lewis per his death certificate. I have suspected that Charles could be a brother to John based on dates of birth. Oh my, can you see my head spinning right now :) :) LOL!
      Again, I can't thank you enough!

    2. You're so welcome :-) Glad to see that I gave you some new ideas for your research. It's not hard for me to think outside the box, since I'm from the Netherlands and am used to doing things differently.

      I just love the power of a fresh pair of eyes. Two weeks ago, two genealogy friends and I spent a whole day together tearing down brick walls. We each brought our most frustrating brick wall and were able to solve two out of three (mine did not, grrr).

      To spin your head a little more: it seems that Benjamin and Huldah weren't named Goodale after all but Gould, if you search a little more closely. So maybe Benjamin and Huldah are the missing parents.

    3. I got all excited Yvette. But, then I smacked my forehead and realized that the 7 year old Charles in the 1850 census could not be my John C. Gould. He would have been 17 give or take a year, in the 1850 census. The 1900 census gives a DOB of Jan 1833. The rest of the census records from 1860-1910 are a match to that time period too. The possible 1919 death cert I've located on gives Jan 1833 also. I just can't be sure it's him because the informant was someone at the hospital, no parents names are given, his middle initial isn't included and no exact burial location is given. Why do I think it may be him? Because the name, month of birth, year is close, occupation as Farmer, widowed all match. If only we could find Eloise Hospital records.

    4. The Charles that I found was 17 in 1850, not 7, so I think he deserves further attention. The head of household's name of Goodale was corrected to Gould by someone so maybe he was living at home after all, right where you would expect him.

    5. Yvette - I'll go take another look. It's been a crazy busy week for me and I've barely been able to sit at my computer. Thank you for your comments. Believe me, I appreciate them.

  4. Interesting coincidence. I just finished a book called Annie's Ghosts about a woman who lived at Eloise Hospital. You might find it interesting just for background.

    1. Vonda - I have heard of your book from my family members, but have not read it....yet. Thank you for mentioning it and thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment.

  5. Newstrom's NorthwoodsMarch 3, 2015 at 6:29 AM

    I would suspect that it is incorrect that he was born in Michigan, but instead was a migrant from....New York.

    1. Thank you for your comment. I've suspected many things over the years, including what you mention about his birth place. However, I have no evidence or even a hint of his birthplace being anywhere other than Michigan. I haven't ruled anything out at this point.
      Thanks for stopping by.

  6. Several things come to mind. While there certainly were white people born in Michigan as early as 1831, there weren't a lot. They would have lived in fairly established areas or have bought land in remote areas. What were the established communities in 1831? Can you find any land being owned in 1831 by Goulds? (Does the BLM site have a Gould listed for Michigan?)

    Also, I think I would pursue that state hospital death. My experience has been that when someone entered a state hospital, they dropped off the radar. Are there newspaper accounts of his entering the hospital? Does the hospital have published burial records? Where are their admittance records archived?

    Keep hammering away, Diane. I believe you will find your answers! Best of luck!

    1. Thanks for your comment Miriam. I have researched all the Goulds in the 1830 and 1840 census in Michigan. There weren't many, but some. I've followed forward on those with sons in the 1840 census, that would fit John's age. I plan to use the resources at the FHL this coming June and pursue the heck out of this. When I went to the FHL last time I stayed 5 days, but my research was on many different families.
      As far as the Eloise Hospital. I have definitely contacted people who have information about it the hospital and what happened there. Bottom line from anyone I've talked to ... there are no existing records. Have I given up? No. But, that's the answer I've gotten so far.
      I really appreciate your comments because I can use all the help I can get. Oh, and I do need to look at more BLM records, thanks for the reminder :) Adding it to my list.

  7. Diane,

    This might be a ridiculous question, but have you searched family trees on or some of the other major online sites? I did quick search on Ancestry and found a John C Gould married to a Sarah Malvina Hart who is the son of Joseph J Gould, born in 1776 in Massachusetts (and moved to Michigan by 1840) his wife was Theda Burrel, born in Vermont around 1786. There are no sources with this information, but it's definitely worth using as a starting point for your research. Here is a link to the profile in ancestry - ,

    1. Rod, thank you for your comment. I am on Ancestry almost every day. I've seen the various trees that show John C. Gould as the son of Joseph & Theda. I have researched Joseph and Theda's family extensively, including their children and probate records. I find no link to John. Without a piece of solid proof I cannot say he is their son. I've certainly suspected for years that he is related to this family, but as yet, cannot find the proof. I sure hope this will be my lucky year. Oh, and John was, indeed, married to Sarah M. Hart. I have proof of that. Maybe my trip to the FHL this spring will bring me the records I need?
      Thanks for taking your time and stopping by. I appreciate your input very much.

  8. Well, one thing you could if the paper trail is running thin - is try the DNA testing route and see if any of Joseph and Theda's have done one too. Good luck though!

  9. Ooops, just saw that you tried the DNA route already! :-)

  10. Have you tried Goold or Gold - I have Gould from Somerset UK and occasionally find those variations.

    1. Hi Genielynau - Oh my yes. All variations for sure. Thank you for suggesting it though. I continue to look under any and all possible spellings on all the websites. One day...........dear Lord, before I am gone, I hope to break down this wall.
      Thank you for stopping by.


I look forward to reading your comments. If you have any connection to the people mentioned in this blog, please let me know. I write about mine and my husband's ancestors and would welcome new information or meeting a new cousin or two. Thanks for visiting and come back soon.