Monday, January 9, 2023

MYSTERY MONDAY Repost with Updates - Who's Your Daddy? 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.
This is an update on my original post from 2015.  I have indicated in Red where new information or discoveries have been made
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. I would look at other states, Ohio being a prime suspect as the nearest to Detroit. How about that name of Vivaldo? Often those unusual names have a family link of some type. Old maps of the area of Armada which often give all the landowners names

    1. Hi. Thanks for your input. I have also wondered why they picked the name Vivaldo? I have run just his first name on Ancestry, Family Search and My Heritage, as well as FindAGrave etc. Nothing so far. I have looked as some maps and found families associated with my Gould family along with other Gould lines. As to Ohio, that's a good thought and I will do some poking around. I always appreciate input from others. We never know when that one little morsel will lead us to a breakthrough. Thank you for leaving a comment.

  2. presume you have seen this map of Berlin Twp 1876 with JJ Gould and Sabin Gould at very bottom? They would seem to be right along your Gould Rd.unless I am reading maps incorrectly
    I am not sure why your mystery fascinates me so.

    1. Hi. Thank you for the map link. I'm not sure I've seen that specific one. Lord knows I've looked at quite a few maps. So MANY collateral family surnames on that one you shared. I so appreciate it when readers share their ideas. I value all the input. You never know when that one little morsel will lead to a solution.
      Thanks for stopping by.

  3. have you investigated John Gould age 17 in the 1850 census Michigan -Sanilac-Lexington? He is listed as a laborer for HOH Ruscellas Gould , not as member of immediate family.

    1. Hi. Yes, I have investigated that particular census and others with the same family. Followed them forward and back. Tried to connect via DNA, YDNA etc. So far, no connection has been found. I very much appreciate your input and you taking the time to leave a comment. I'm open and listening to any and all suggestions.

    2. At this point I must suggest that a traditional family unit may not be the answer.Orphaned at a young age, birth out of wedlock, adoption into a Gould family must all be considered. I also do not see any mention of church records but realize none may exist.

    3. I completely agree with you and have considered and am still looking at all of those avenues. I researched every Gould family living in Macomb County, Michigan in 1830 and 1840 forward. But particularly those years because he was born in 1833 (or sometime close to that). You mentioned church records. I love church records and have located them for so many ancestors. However, in this case I've come up empty. I've been to Armada twice and Detroit many times. I'm not done and I will not give up. Thanks for your encouragement and suggestions.


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.