Serendipity on the Research Trail

One of my primary goals on a recent genealogy research trip to Oklahoma and Texas was to find a book with the genealogy research of Norma Ennis Musgrove Craig, a first cousin 2X removed. Norma’s book summarizes her 40+ years of  genealogy research on our Musgrove/Musgrave family. I learned of the  book, which contained childhood pictures of my grandfather, through a Google search and ordered the microfilm through the Family History Center. 1 I was able to make copies of each page, but the microfilm pictures weren’t very clear. I wanted better copies of the pictures.

As part of preplanning for the trip, I had contacted everyone on who seemed to have good sources for Norma or her sister Beulah, who wrote many of the charming family stories in the book. Beulah had passed away in 2003 and Norma in 2008. Only one person responded. Evidently when Beulah died, another family member got the house and the contents, including the genealogy research and the book. No one had seen any of materials since then.

I planned stops in Holdenville, Ada and the Oklahoma History Center, since Norma and Beulah had connections in each of those places. I researched each of those sites ahead of time to find the hours of operation, days open and any other pertinent information.

The Hughes County Historical Society in Holdenville was listed on-line, but with a disconnected phone number, no other contact information nor hours of operation.2 Since I had no idea what hours the HCHS would be open and since it  was the direction I was traveling, that was my first stop.  After a two and one half hour drive from Tulsa, I was standing in front of the closed doors of the dark HCHS building. My heart sank as I scanned the doors and windows finding no contact information nor hours of operation. As I turned to my car to rethink my next step, a man in a pickup truck stopped at the light called out “Are you trying to get in the museum?” When I answered yes, he continued with “Go to the business two doors down. They’ll have the phone number to reach someone.”

Two doors down, they did give me the name and seven digit phone number of the HCHS coordinator. Back in my car, I dialed the number using what I thought was the most likely area code. No luck, I reached someone in western OK. Next, I tried the other OK area code. Number out of service. Rats! Back to the business two doors down. They reminded me of the third OK area code, which I had forgotten in my sixteen years out of the state, and probably didn’t even need to use any way to reach the number.

Then the woman asked what I was looking for. I told my story about the book, the sister from Holdenville, etc., etc. She stopped me asking “What was the sister’s name?” When I gave her Beulah’s name, she just looked at me and said “You should just talk to her son. He owns the business across the street.”

Across the street, Beulah’s son was busy with customers, but his daughter, who did not typically work with her father, was filling in for the day.  After some discussion about the family, probably to confirm who I really was, the daughter told me the same story about a family member getting Beulah’s house and no one having access to that research any more. Then she told me, Norma’s daughter had all of Norma’s records. She gave me Norma’s daughter’s name and address.3

After a conversation establishing who I was, a meeting with Norma’s daughter was set up for the next Saturday morning. The records had been stored since Norma’s death, with no one else in the family interested in them. Norma had some strokes before her death, but still tried to work with her research, getting it mixed up. It would take a few days for the daughter to get the records organized enough for us to review.

On Saturday morning, I was given an original copy of Norma’s book, with the original picture of my grandfather and his two siblings along with much of Norma’s original research on my family line, including pictures, marriage licenses, wills, etc. In addition, I was able to conduct about two hours of interviews of Norma’s daughter, who remembered my 2nd great grandmother, Myzella Medcalf Musgrove. I was able to take pictures of a quilt made by Myzella.  The quilt was registered with the Oklahoma Historical Society, as being over 100 years old.4

One of the stories during the interview was how Norma got some grief from family members with some of her research results. Norma’s grandfather, William Tate Musgrove, my 2nd great grandfather, had evidently told the family he was Irish and had come to America on a ship.Norma’s research showed a paper trail where William Tate, a Civil War veteran who fought with the 42nd Regiment, Indiana Volunteers was not only born in the United States, but his family had been here since 1747. Norma and Beulah both became DAR members through Samuel Musgrave, William Tate’s great grandfather. I was able to share that my father’s y-DNA test linked him to other descendants of Oswin Musgrave who arrived in Pennsylvania about 1682, confirming Norma’s paper trail.6 By the way, in Norma’s book, she included William Tate’s nickname of Flannel Mouth, earned with the tall tales he was known for telling.7

All the information collected on these two trips will certainly keep me busy until my next genealogy field trip.

1. Craig, Norma Ennis Musgrove and Beulah Musgrove Berryman. Musgrave–Musgrove, 1747-1986, [Self published. Place of publication not indicated.], 1987. Microfilm of typescript (photocopy, 157, [8] leaves) at the Rockport Public Library, Rockport, Indiana. Family History Library, film 1502916 item 9;  ( 12 Aug 2013.)

2. Hughes County Historical Society, Currently open 9:30-1:00 on Saturdays, as of July 2013.

3. Names and identifying information of living persons have not been used to protect their privacy. If you have a specific need to know, please contact me at

4. As of 12 Aug 2013, the Oklahoma History Center website shows a couple of examples of old quilts, but doesn’t list pictures of all the quilts submitted. I’ll post my pictures in a later blog.

5. While the 1880 census shows the father of William Tate Musgrove born in New Jersey and his mother born in Pennsylvania, the 1900 and 1910 schedules indicate his parents were born in Ireland.

1880 U. S. Census, Justice Precinct 3, Collin County, Texas, population schedule (1st enumeration),  enumeration district (ED) 22, p. 32 (penned), line 25, dwelling 211, family 225, W. T. Musgrave; digital image, ( accessed 12 Aug 2013); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm roll 1296, enumeration district (ED) 022, p. 135D; imaged from FHL microfilm 1255296.

1900 U. S. Census, Bates Township, Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma, population schedule  (1st enumeration),  enumeration district (ED) 192, p. 9A (penned), line 15, dwelling 186, family 186, William Musgrove; digital image, ( accessed 12 Aug 2013); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm roll 1342, enumeration district (ED) 0192, p 9A; imaged  from FHL microfilm 1241342.

1910 U. S. Census, Pottawatomie Township, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma,  enumeration district 230, p. 6A (penned), line 3, dwelling 98, family 99, William T. Musgrave; digital image, ( accessed 12 Aug 2013); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm roll T624_1265, enumeration district (ED) 0230, page 6A; imaged from FHL microfilm 1375278.

6.  Musgrave, Duane and Marie Wilson Musgrave, A History of the Moses Musgrave Family, Quakers, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Kansas, and Further West, Evansville Bindery Inc, Evansville, Indiana, 1998.

7.  Craig and Berryman, Musgrave-Musgrove, 1747-1986, p. 43.

 Copyright © 2013 Andrea Musgrove Perisho

The First Musgrave in Our Family in America

John Musgrave came to American in 1682, when he was 13 or 14 years of age. He was a Quaker and came as indentured servant* with Valentine Hollingsworth, living with Hollingsworth and his family for about four years in Delaware.

John’s father, Oswin Musgrave, most likely made the arrangements for John’s passage to America, planning to follow shortly with the rest of the family.

John was born in Belfast, Ireland in about 1668. His older brother, Moses, and parents, Oswin and Elizabeth, soon joined him in what is now New Castle County, Delaware near the present Pennsylvania-Delaware border. The earliest record is a warrant to John and Moses Musgrave to buy 200 acres of land, dated the November 2, 1689. This was just seven years after William Penn had founded his colony in Pennsylvania.

John went on to become a successful yeoman farmer and a representative of the Township, as well as a provincial representative with William Penn. His family has been extensively researched as has his father Oswin.** Since my direct ancestor is his brother, Moses, I’ll focus on Moses in a later post, after introducing his father and brothers. 

Oswin Musgrave

Oswin (first name also spelled Owen, Oswyn, Ossman and Oswin and last name also spelled Musgrove or Moosgrave on various documents) was the father of John and Moses. There is a lot of speculation about Oswin’s background. Oswin means “God’s friend”. There is speculation the name may be an adopted name. If so, we may never learn who his parents were. In “The Ejected of 1662: Cumberland & Westmorland; Their Predecessors and Successors” by Benjamin Nightingale there are quite a few references to a grandson of Sir Simon Musgrave who some speculate may be Oswin’s father.

Musgrave is a very old and noble English name with debate on which was first, a Musgrave from Germany via France with William the Conqueror or the English ones who formed the village of Greater Musgrave. Interestingly, Quakerism in Ireland was started by William Edmundson (1627-1712) who was born at Little Musgrave, England. The earliest records of Ireland have been lost by fire, leaving us to speculate on our Oswin Musgrave’s move from England to Ireland, and then on to Pennsylvania. That’s for other historians to research. Here’s what we do know.

 Oswin MUSGRAVE was born about 1640 in Cumberland County, England, some say at Eden Hall. He had died by 1687 in Chester County, Pennsylvania at age of 47. Oswin is thought to have moved from England to North Ireland about 1649, with his parents.  Oswin married Elizabeth last name unknown in 1665 in Armagh County, Ireland.*** Oswin and Elizabeth were Quakers. Elizabeth was born in 1644 in Armagh County, Ireland and died in 1698 in Chester County, Pennsylvania. Their sons were:
i. Moses Musgrave Sr.-born 1667 in Belfast, Armagh Co., Ireland; died Lancaster Co., PA at age 59.
ii. John Musgrave Sr.-born in 1669 in Belfast, Armagh Co., Ireland; died Chester Co., PA at age 76.
iii. Thomas Musgrave was born in America and buried in Darby, Delaware County, Pennsylvania.
iv. Abraham Musgrave was born in America and buried in Darby, Delaware County, Pennsylvania.
v. Aaron Musgrave was born in America. We have no details on his death.

Oswin and Elizabeth left Belfast, Ireland arriving in port on the Delaware River in 1682.**** In 1683, Oswin bought 100 acres of land near his son John’s 200 acres. By 1687, Elizabeth was referred to as Widow Musgrave. In 1689, Elizabeth Musgrave was one of twelve women impaneled as a jury; in Quaker communities, women served as jurors on trials with women defendants.  Elizabeth was still alive on November 28, 1697, when she was asked to bring consent for Moses to marry Patience Hussey.  

 “John, Aaron, Moses, Thomas and Abraham Musgr(o)ve were the first settlers in the valley of Sadsbury, Lancaster county. Their warrant bears date in the year 1713. They purchased nearly all the land in that rich valley from George and Caleb Pierce, cleared off their land, and erected themselves residences. . . They were members of the society of Friends … The old Musgrove burying ground was expressly reserved by Moses Musgrove… It was kept enclosed …but, it was plowed up long since …”*****

*Indentured servant – the historical practice of contracting to work for a fixed time, typically three to seven years, in exchange for transportation, food, clothing, lodging and other necessities during the term of indenture. Usually the father made the arrangements and signed the paperwork. Both men and women could become indentured servants; most were under the age of 21, and most became helpers on farms or house servants. They were not paid cash. It was a system that provided jobs and transportation for poor young people from the overcrowded European labor markets who wanted to come to the colonies where more workers were needed.

**“A History of the Quaker Branch of the Musgrave Family”, Stanley Musgrave Shartle, 1995.

***Ossman Moosgrave paid one hearth tax in County of Armagh, Ballynegirne, Oneilland, West Ireland, Ireland in 1664. Source: Hearth Money Roll, County Armagh,1664, p.47. This meant that he had one hearth in his home.

****“A History of the Quaker Branch of the Musgrave Family”, Stanley Musgrave Shartle, 1995.

***** History of Lancaster Co, Early Settlers and Eminent Men, Genealogical Publishing Co, Baltimore, 1974. contributed by Isaac Walker,.